Friday, December 23, 2011

Kosher antisemitism?

From AIJAC, 20 Dec 2011, by Colin Rubenstein:
The US Ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman, addressing a conference on antisemitism on November 30, controversially insisted that Muslim "hatred and indeed sometimes... violence directed at Jews generally [is] a result of the continuing tensions between Israel and the Palestinian territories" and should therefore not be seen as the same thing as "real" antisemitism. He went on to insist that a Mideast peace deal would see a "huge reduction of this form of labeled ‘antisemitism'."
Aside from the immorality of, effectively, rationalising a form of racism as due to the alleged behaviour of its targets, Gutman's comments were factually indefensible. There are clearly elements of strong, even eliminationist, antisemitism within the Muslim tradition predating Zionism by centuries.
A good example is the hadith [a saying attributed to the Prophet Muhammed] which was quoted by various figures associated with the Muslim Brotherhood at an election rally in Cairo on Nov. 26. It states: "The Hour [of judgement] will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. When a Jew hides behind a rock or a tree, it will say, ‘O Muslim, O servant of Allah! There is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!'"
This hadith is among the most quoted passages about Jews in certain Islamic traditions. It is certainly part of the Hamas Charter and utilised by al-Qaeda as well as the Muslim Brotherhood.
It is true that, in medieval times, Jews in Muslim societies tended on the whole to be better off than in Christian Europe, but this is hardly to suggest that their human rights were fully respected. Further, Muslim antisemitism became more vicious and dangerous in the 19th and 20th centuries primarily due to the influence of modern European ideologies, including Nazism, which often came to be perceived through the lens of problematic anti-Jewish Islamic sources.
As a result, Jews across the Middle East began to suffer heightened violent hatred well before Israel and Zionism emerged on the agenda. In 1912, the Jewish quarter in Fez was almost destroyed in a mob attack. In the 1930s and 1940s pogroms and other attacks on the Jews were widespread in Iraq and Libya. Pro-Nazi Arabs slaughtered dozens of Jews in the "Farhoud" pogrom in Baghdad in 1941.
A good exhibit of the contemporary reality of this racist ideology was one of the speakers at the Nov. 26 Cairo Muslim Brotherhood rally - Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, probably the most popular Sunni cleric in the Arab world. He has previously described the Holocaust as "divine punishment" for the Jews and expressed the hope that "Allah willing, the next time will be at the hands of the [Muslim] believers." He also stated he wants to die a martyr in the process of killing "Allah's enemies, the Jews."
To imagine this ugly and pervasive amalgam of traditional regional and European antisemitism is all going to evaporate if Israel signs a peace deal with the Palestinians is fantasy. So why do people like Ambassador Gutman utter such fallacies?...

Do Palestinians really support a two-state solution?

From Foundation for Defense of Democracies, December 22, 2011, by Clifford D. May*:

The region we now call the Middle East is an elaborate mosaic. Among its peoples are the Arabs, ... Maronites, Druze, and Alawites; ... powerful clans such as the Hashemites and the House of Sa’ud; ...Kurds, a nation without a state, and ...Jews, reestablished as a nation in their ancient homeland.
The other day, Newt Gingrich waded into this historical labyrinth, setting off a minor brouhaha by noting that only recently did Arabs on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean claim to constitute a distinct nation called “Palestine” — the name given to the area by Imperial Rome. On this basis, he referred to Palestinians as an “invented” people.
The accuracy of his statement is beyond dispute. In the wake of the Second World War, when the United Nations recommended partitioning Palestine into two states, it did not use the term “Palestinian” to refer to Arab-speaking residents. At that time, pan-Arabism, the idea of forming a single, united Arab nation, was far more compelling than any parochial identification. The question was how to divide what, for 400 years, had been a corner of the Ottoman Empire between the Arabs of Palestine and the Jews of Palestine. Of the two, the latter were, at that time, more commonly referred to as Palestinians. Their newspaper was the Palestine Post (now the Jerusalem Post), their contributions to the performing arts included the Palestine Orchestra (now the Israel Philharmonic), and their American-based charitable organization was the United Palestine Appeal.
From 1948 until 1967, Gaza and the West Bank were under Egyptian and Jordanian control respectively. No serious demands for a Palestinian state were heard. Only after Israel took possession of those territories in a defensive war against Egypt, Jordan, and other Arab states did Palestinian nationhood become the central issue in what had been, until then, the Arab- Israeli conflict. 
...New York Times ...foreign-affairs columnist H. D. S. Greenway ... charges that Gingrich intended to “imply that the Palestinians are not worthy of a country of their own.”
Gingrich insists he meant no such thing. ...Gingrich favors a two-state solution similar to the one the Palestinians were offered in 1948 and at Camp David in 2000. In these and other instances, the Palestinians said no. What does that imply? Perhaps that Palestinians — or at least those who lead them — are themselves insufficiently nationalistic.
That’s indisputably true of Hamas, the Iranian-backed Muslim Brotherhood group that rules Gaza. The Hamas Covenant invokes “the best nation that hath been raised up unto mankind.” But that nation is not Palestine. It is the Islamic nation which is to be revived as a caliphate, an empire of which Palestine would be only a province.
The Hamas Covenant asserts without equivocation that “the Palestinian problem is a religious problem,” adding that there can be “no solution . . . except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.” As for Israel, the Covenant minces no words: “Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”
Okay, but what about Hamas’s rival, Fatah, and the Palestinian Authority? In recent years, Western diplomats have placed much hope in Palestinian Authority prime minister Salaam Fayyad, who, I think it fair to say, has made a serious attempt to build institutional and economic foundations upon which an independent and viable Palestinian state might rest.
But as my colleague Jonathan Schanzer last week pointed out in Foreign Policy magazine, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas has been methodically undercutting and marginalizing Fayyad. And Washington, Schanzer observes, instead of providing Fayyad “the support he needs to weather the storm, has chosen to stand on the sidelines.”
It gets worse. Abbas has been refusing to meet with Israelis until and unless they make major concessions in advance. Over the weekend, Khaled Abu Toameh, the distinguished Israeli (and Arab and Muslim) journalist reported that, in addition, “Abbas’s Fatah faction has declared war on all informal meetings between Israelis and Palestinians.” The Abbas/Fatah objection to such meetings, Toameh reports, is that they promote “the culture of peace” and are designed to “‘normalize’ relations between Israelis and Palestinians.”
Despite all this, there are many people who persist in the belief that the main obstacle to settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is Israeli intransigence, the unwillingness of Israeli leaders to “take risks for peace.” Such delusions are perhaps unavoidable when a “peace process” is predicated not on verifiable history and observable reality but on myth, wishful thinking, and willful blindness.
What would be an alternative? To say straightforwardly to the Palestinians: 
“If you want to develop as a nation and live in a state of your own, we will help you. But our support is not unconditional: You must be willing to compromise. You must be willing to make peace with the Israelis, who will be your neighbors. If, however, it is not Palestine to which you are committed but to a new anti-Western caliphate, and if building a Palestinian state is less important to you than ‘obliterating’ the State of Israel, we’re going to leave you on your own.”
What happens after that would be for Palestinians to decide and history to record.

*Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.

PLO moves to incorporate genocidal terrorists like Hamas, Islamic Jihad


...Leaders of several Palestinian groups, including Hamas and Fatah, agreed Thursday to “activate and reconstruct” the PLO so as to allow other non-member parties to join the organization. ...The move will pave the way for Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other radical groups to join the PLO, which includes 10 members – the largest being Fatah.
Regev said that anyone who had any illusions about Hamas's true character should have listened to the speeches last week in Gaza from Hamas's leaders at an event marking the 25th anniversary of the founding of the organization. "What we heard was a stream of hateful, extremist rhetoric," he said.
Hamas, Regev said, is totally opposed to peace and reconciliation, believes that the Jewish state should be obliterated, and that terrorism against civilians is justified.  "Hamas is not a political organization that uses terrorism, Hamas is to its very core a genocidal terrorist organization," he said.
Other members of the PLO include the Popular Front for the liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Palestinian People’s Party, the Palestine Liberation Front and the Arab Liberation Front, as well as six other tiny groups aligned with Syria and Iraq’s now defunct Ba’ath Party.
...Thursday’s agreement paves the way for the establishment of a provisional leadership of the PLO that would include, for the first time ever, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups. These groups will later become incorporated into various PLO institutions, especially the Palestine National Council (PNC), the organization’s parliament-in-exile.
The PNC is the legislative body of the PLO and elects its Executive Committee, the main decision-making body of the organization.
At Thursday’s discussions in Cairo, the Palestinian leaders agreed to form a committee headed by PNC Speaker Salim Zanoun to discuss ways of “activating and reconstructing” the PLO so that Hamas and other groups would be incorporated into the organization, Fatah and Hamas officials said.
They said that the committee would include, for the first time, representatives of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other groups that are not members of the PLO.
The committee will hold its first meeting in the Jordanian capital of Amman on January 15, 2012.
Following the meeting of the Palestinian factions, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas issued a “presidential decree” for the establishment of a new Palestinian Elections Commission that would prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. No date has been set for the vote, although PA officials have talked about the possibility of holding the elections on May 4, 2012.
The Palestinian factions are also hoping to hold new elections for the PNC, which has 669 members.
The Cairo discussions were also attended by Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal.
A Hamas official said that Mashaal and Abbas reached agreement on the release of detainees being held in Hamas and PA prisons in the Gaza Strip and West Bank by the end of next month.
The two also agreed to form a committee comprising representatives of several Palestinian factions to discuss ending restrictions imposed by the PA and Hamas governments against activists belonging to the two sides, including travel bans....

UNESCO and the the Spanish government fund antisemitism

From PMW, 22 Dec 2011, by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik:

Wiesenthal Center citing PMW calls on UNESCO to stop funding Palestinian kid's magazine
that glorified Hitler 

"We call on you to suspend UNESCO sponsorship  of Zayafuna [magazine] and to condemn its odious hatemongering"
Following publication of Palestinian Media Watch's book Deception, exposing glorification of Hitler in the Palestinian children's magazine Zayzafuna which is funded by the PA, UNESCO and the the Spanish government (through MDG-F), the Simon Wiesenthal Center called on UNESCO to halt its funding.
...UNESCO responded, 
"thank you for drawing our attention to the information reported by Palestinian Media Watch... Allow me to underscore that UNESCO takes this matter extremely seriously and it cannot but strongly deplore and condemn the statements you are referring to... We will bring this matter to the attention of the concerned Palestinian authorities..."
The Wiesenthal Center called UNESCO's response "inadequate."

See JIW's previous posting on  this subject for background.
Follow the link to PMW, 22 Dec 2011 to see the full article including links to the original correspondence.

It's now time to Confront Religious Zealotry

... religious zealots and their ... efforts to impose their stringent standards of observance on all Israelis ... has created so much fear and loathing of religion amongst the people that it could culminate with a fracturing of Israeli society and distortion of Jewish identity.
At all times there were individual rabbis and groups who interpreted Halacha – Jewish law – with extreme rigor. Their right to practice their individual religious lifestyle as they saw fit was always respected.
Regrettably, our dysfunctional political system has enabled zealots to hijack the state religious institutions which had formerly been administered by moderate religious Zionists. They transformed the Chief Rabbinate, which they previously held in utter contempt, into puppets exploited to impose haredi standards on the entire nation.
Their gross insensitivity, lack of compassion and the excessive stringency employed in relation to the highly complex issues associated with marriage and conversion is having catastrophic national repercussions and encouraging increasing numbers of Israelis to bypass the rabbinate by marrying in civil ceremonies in Cyprus and elsewhere. For example, they demand documentary proof testifying to Jewish ancestry dating back three generations – an impossibility for many offspring from Holocaust survivors and Jews from the former Soviet Union. They even resorted to an unprecedented halachic technique of retroactively nullifying conversions.
The Chief Rabbinate even sought to deny Tzohar, the association of moderate national religious rabbis, from conducting marriages. Fortunately they have failed and Tzohar have now reasserted their influence in regard to authorizing marriage.
In addition, the haredi establishment refuses to accept halachic innovations previously introduced to accommodate the requirements of a Jewish homeland. It rejects the halachic initiative, heter mechirah, sanctioned by the renowned former Chief Rabbi Kook at the beginning of the century, to avert destitution of farmers when the land was required to remain fallow during the shmita (sabbatical year).
The rabbis who nurtured us during our youth in a religious Zionist environment were no less pious than their counterparts today, yet they were not obsessed with gender separation and “modesty”. They never imposed gender separated youth groups or insisted that it was sinful to listen to women singing.
The prohibitions in this area are constantly expanding. In addition to barring mixed choirs, in Jerusalem this even led to efforts to ban advertising billboards featuring a woman's face or body. In their perverted version of “modesty”, some extremists even seek to pressure religious women to adopt what can only be described as Taliban dress code.
Not to mention the brouhaha over mixed seating in buses, despite the fact that even Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, one of the greatest ultra-Orthodox halachic authorities of the 20th century, had not only ruled that this posed no problem, but was highly critical of an individual becoming sexually aroused by merely sitting next to a woman. This week, even Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Metzger felt obliged to distance himself from this campaign.
Some of these trends have infiltrated into the national religious community, previously renowned for its moderation, serving as a bridge spanning all sectors of society and promoting Judaism to non-observant Israelis by example rather than by coercion.
The genesis of this worrying trend originated with the recruitment of haredim as teachers in the religious Zionist educational system. This led to the emergence of a new generation of educators, including rabbis, who retained their national ideals but having been educated exclusively in Yeshivot and lacking secular tertiary education, adopted the haredi rejection of worldly knowledge.
This absence of a broader education combined with an almost messianic obsession with the sanctity of the land rather than wider religious social values, created a brand of religious nationalism which became alienated from the people.
It led to some rabbis insinuating that conflicts between democracy and Halacha are inevitable and even encouraging religious soldiers to reject orders deemed to be inconsistent with religious law.
Whilst clumsily mishandled by the IDF, the recent call from some rabbis for religious soldiers to boycott army ceremonies in which women sing is unprecedented. This concept of Kol Isha was promulgated at a time when female singers were associated with promiscuity and was only observed by a small minority within the Orthodox framework. Surely, the few soldiers wishing to observe this could have resolved the problem by simply wearing earplugs. The madness is further exacerbated by Rabbi Levanon of Elon Moreh, allegedly recommending that soldiers choose death before complying with an order to hear women sing.
More outrageously, students from a religious pre military academy (Eli) were recently forbidden by their rabbi (Elie Sadan) to attend a lecture in the Knesset because it was being presented by a woman.
Chief Rabbi Goren and other former chief rabbis never objected to such activity nor absented themselves from events in which women participated. Yet, would anyone dare suggest that former chief rabbis, who would never conceivably endorse such stringent rulings, were any less pious or learned than the current incumbents? Was Chief Rabbi Herzog or Chief Rabbi Goren religiously inferior to our current Chief Rabbi Metzger?
However, today many rabbis who privately describe extremist halachic interpretations as abhorrent and harmful, feel intimidated and lack the courage to raise their voices in protest. Others mistakenly believe that a split in religious ranks would be more damaging than confronting the zealots.
The time has come for us to demand that mainstream rabbis speak up and publicly promote what Maimonides described as the “shvil hazahav” – the golden path of moderation.
The highly respected Tzohar rabbis, if unable to function within the existing rabbinical framework, must cease appeasing the zealots and muster the courage to break away and set up a totally independent Bet Din to deal with issues of marriage and conversion in a contemporary halachic manner consistent with the requirements of the nation.
Although prospects for success are remote, the national interest demands that the Knesset and political parties, comprised overwhelmingly of secular and moderate religious representatives, should suspend their differences in order to introduce changes to break the nexus which has enabled haredim to apply excessive leverage to impose their standards on the entire nation.
Ultra-orthodox children, like their counterparts in the diaspora, must receive an education which will enable them to earn a livelihood and not be destined to remain permanently dependent on state welfare. Their schools should be denied funding unless they provide core subjects such as mathematics, science and language into their curricula. Like other citizens, they too must contribute toward citizenship and serve in the Army or at least undertake some form of national service....
We must strive for a compassionate Zionist rabbinate that is equally well-versed in worldly matters as with sacred texts and responsive to the needs of the entire nation...

Israel, Turkey reactivate air force ties

From JPost, 21 Dec 2011, by YAAKOV KATZ: 
The [Israel] air force has reestablished a coordination mechanism with Turkey that works to prevent aerial misunderstandings and potential clashes over the Mediterranean Sea.
...Despite the breakdown in diplomatic and military ties, the IAF continued to maintain an open line of communication with the Turkish Air Force to prevent potential misunderstandings when pilots from both countries encounter one another flying over the Mediterranean.
...A senior IAF officer said Wednesday that the coordination mechanism was recently reactivated as part of the countries’ efforts to stabilize and improve ties. Two weeks ago, the Turkish military attache to Israel attended an IAF briefing for foreign military officers at the Uvda Air Force Base on the sidelines of the IAF joint maneuvers with the Italian Air Force.
The officer said that the IAF would also likely invite Turkey to participate in a large-scale international aerial drill that it will be hosting in Israel in 2013. The IAF has significantly increased the number of joint-training drills it holds with foreign countries in recent years.
“There is nothing preventing them from participating,” the officer said.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tom Friedman: out of the closet, dyed-in-the-wool Israel hater

Friedman and Friends.jpg
For decades New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman balanced his substantively anti-Israel positions with repeated protestations of love for Israel.
His balancing act ended last week when he employed traditional anti-Semitic slurs to dismiss the authenticity of substantive American support for Israel.
Channeling the longstanding anti-Semitic charge that Jewish money buys support for power-hungry Jews best expressed in the forged 19th century Protocols of the Elders of Zion and in John Mearshimer's and Stephen Walt's 2007 book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, Friedman denied the significance of the US Congress's overwhelming support for Israel.
As he put it, 
"I sure hope that Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby."
...It doesn't matter to Friedman that overwhelming survey evidence, amassed over decades, show that the vast majority of the American public and the American Jewish community support Israel. It doesn't matter to him that the support shown to Netanyahu in Congress last May was a reflection of that support.
...researchers discerned no difference in levels of support for Israel across the political spectrum. As the study reported, "We found that conservatives were no more likely than liberals to feel connected to Israel or regard Israel as central to their Jewish identities. These findings are remarkable given that liberalism is associated with reduced support for Israel in the broader American population."
...On December 7 Politico's Ben Smith published a detailed report about how two of the Democratic Party's core institutions, the Center for American Progress and Media Matters are waging a concerted, continuous campaign to diminish left wing Democratic support for Israel. Media Matters official M.J. Rosenberg acknowledged that given the depth of popular support for Israel in the US, chances are remote that their efforts will pay off in Congress today. He explained that his goal is to shift the Democratic Party's position on Israel through its younger generation.
As he put it, "We're playing the long game here."
Happily, to date, they are losing the long game as well as the short game both in Israel and the US. While it is important to remain on guard against radicals like Friedman and Rosenberg and their fellow travelers on campuses, it is also important to recognize that despite their powerful positions, they remain marginal voices in both Israel and the US.

Chinese=Jews in Malaysia

...Ng Wei Aik is state assemblyman and aide to Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng. day soon after Israel’s military operation against the Gaza flotilla, he saw that his party, the DAP, had beaten Najib Razak to the clock. The prime minister was being tardy, Ng complained ... If Najib is slower, then by inference, his heart may not be with the Palestinians, that is, Muslims. If not with Muslims, who with? Conversely, DAP people like Ng cast the impression that they think of Muslims every moment of their waking hours. So touching….
Now it seems domestic politics is beginning to be measured in terms of hours taken to react and to issue a condemnation. And that over an ancient, Jewish-Muslim conflict nearly half a world away and reignited more than half a century ago, it having sparked when Malaysia was not even in existence.
Ng’s posturing is sign that the country is off on yet another trajectory in demonizing Chinese and in Sino-Malay relations. Anti-Chinese racism in Malaysia has this historic, lasting quality in varied forms: before, in stereotypical portrayal of Chinese as gangsters, prostitutes, towkays, usurious money-lenders (‘Ah Longs’); today, gamblers and Jews.
Most tellingly it is DAP’s scathing attacks on Israel that beat even the usual hate mongering coming from Umno and PAS/PKR.
This is to the credit of the Gaza flotilla, which offered a window of opportunity to propel Malaysia into arriving at the milestone in Chinese-Malay relations – a milestone reaffirmed on the streets earlier this month in demonstrations against Israel (against Jews really), and almost simultaneously in the Ketuanan Melayu propaganda papers: Jews equal Chinese.

He who started it
Mahathir Mohamad has been one of the earliest to bed the Chinese and the Jewish diaspora – his two pet hate projects. His most recent rants against both Jews and Chinese are today preambled and chorused by other Malaysians, notably Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah (left),  and Muslims and Chinese Christians who are staunchly anti-Jew.
From a lone Mahathir project before, it’s gone truly Malaysian. DAP, PKR, Chinese, everybody appears to have unanimously jumped on the bandwagon, or should we say the flotilla?
Equating Jew and Chinese, Ridhuan Tee says upfront: “the Jews are already right in front of our eyes???. To rub it in for the Chinese, he praises Hilter and fascism.
...Ng contributes to feather the very bed made by Mahathir – Jews equal Chinese – and which Ridhuan Tee now repeats to no end.
Drive Chinese into the sea?
The device Mahathir employs (and in whose hallowed footsteps Ridhuan follows) is a form of logic technically called syllogism, using two inter-related or parallel concepts, and tying them up to forge a third – the conclusion.
Because it is so easily mistaken as truth, syllogism is used everywhere in the English speaking world, as in Malaysia by individuals who otherwise cannot make a convincing case from empirical evidence.
From one of the latter editions of The Malay Dilemma, below is a sample of terms, all Mahathir’s, and note they are entirely of a subjective, adjectival kind because in syllogism no objective facts are required – just say it.
First Parallelism (P.1):
  • Jews: hook-nosed, stinginess, financial wizardry, commercial control, understand money instinctively.
  • Chinese: almond-eyed, unscrupulous, manipulative, monopoly wholesale trade, defer to riches.
Second Parallelism (P.2):
  • Palestine: whole country was taken (sic!) and handed to the Jews
  • Malaya: predatory immigrants, Sinocization (sic!) of the country
The examples above pile syllogism on syllogism. The conclusions in each of them automatically pull together to create a third: (P.1) Jews = Chinese; (P.2) Palestine = Malaya; therefore, (P.3) Chinese illegally occupied Malaya. Extrapolate P.3, hence, drive the Chinese into the South China Sea as Mahathir did to the Vietnamese boat people? (Arabs say the same of Israel’s Jews.)
These conclusions need not be made plain; they become intuitive just reading the stuff.
The Chinese profile being constructed for hate has evolved so far along these lines (and note the same syllogism at work):
  • Chinese are Jews.
  • Chinese are infidels and the heathen.
  • Jews killed Jesus.
  • Jews kill Palestinians.
  • Therefore Chinese are anti-Palestinians
  • Palestinians are Muslims.
  • Malays are Muslims.
  • Therefore Chinese oppress Muslims.
  • Chinese won’t become Muslims or Christians (neither will Jews).
  • Therefore Chinese are anti-Muslims and anti-Christians.
Taken far enough in this reconstructed profile of racial hate, as Mahathir did in the Dilemma, is a recipe for a future pogrom.
...praising the anti-Semitism, opposition politicians fawning after the Muslim vote are locked hand-in-hand with the Muslim fundamentalism they once denounced.
The greatest Malaysian achievement in the ‘Peace Flotilla’ to Gaza is, therefore, not concern for Palestinians. ...the Turkish flotilla electrifies a domestic, Malaysian, hate-Chinese project by transforming and giving it an international character, supported even by local Chinese, Lim Kit Siang et al.
From Mahathir, anti-Semitism as a way to drum up Chinese hatred is to be expected. But how could the opposition, one might ask, be so callous in their politics?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Iran is close to a nuke - a military showdown is no longer avoidable

"..they have reached a point where they can assemble a bomb in a year or potentially less," 
said US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in a CBS interview Tuesday, Dec. 20, marking a radical change in US administration policy, he added:
 "That's a red line for us and that's a red line, obviously for the Israelis. If we have to do it we will deal with it."

... as recently as Dec. 2, the US defense secretary ... warned Israel that a military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would hold back its bomb program by no more than a year or two and seriously damage the world economy...In the CBS interview [yesterday], ...he answered: 
"It would probably be about a year before they can do it. Perhaps a little less." That would depend on their having "a hidden facility somewhere in Iran that may be enriching fuel."...The United States does not want Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. That's a red line for us and that's a red line, obviously, for the Israelis. If we have to do it we will deal with it....There are no options off the table. A nuclear weapon in Iran is unacceptable.
...Panetta made no mention of sanctions in this interview – not even of the ultimate penalties of an embargo on its oil trade and blacklisting its central bank.
debkafile's intelligence sources link this radical change of posture, and its implied open door to joint US-Israeli military action, to the discussion on the Iranian nuclear issue President Barack Obama had with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in Washington last Friday, Dec. 16 ... at about the same time as Leon Panetta was meeting with Turkish leaders in Ankara. Both meetings ...addressed the reality of Iran having a nuclear bomb within months.

The administration's change of course finds expression in six areas:
  1. Panetta ... now accepts that Tehran may be only months away from [a nuclear bomb].
  2. His reference to "a hidden facility somewhere in Iran that may be enriching fuel" reflects the growing conviction among Western and Middle East intelligence experts that Iran has fast-tracked its high-grade uranium enrichment in underground facilities.
  3. He is no longer warning Israel against attacking Iran and appears to be taking the opposite tack...
  4. It is the last moment for the US to avert the Middle East's plunge into a nuclear race. Dec. 5, the former Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal said that after failing to persuade Israel and Iran to give up their nuclear weapons, Riyadh had no option but to develop its own; and Turkish leader have been saying to the  Obama administration that if Iran has a nuclear weapon, so too will Turkey.The administration is now facing the bleak realization that a disastrous nuclear race in this volatile region can be deflected only by military action to cut down and destroy Iran's nuclear weapons program.
  5. Iran's capture of the American RQ-170 stealth drone on Dec. 4 brought home to US military and intelligence planners that a military showdown between the US and Iran is no longer avoidable and if America does not take the initiative, Iran will keep on driving it into corners until there is no other option but to hit back.
  6. The sudden death of the North Korean leader Kim Jong II and the period of uncertainty facing his successor Kim Jong-un could potentially lead to Pyongyang - or factions fighting for power – stepping up its involvement in Iran's nuclear weapon and missile development programs.

PLO teaches its children to admire Hitler because he murdered Jews

Hitler tells a Palestinian girl in her dream:
"I killed them [the Jews] so you would all know that they are a nation which spreads destruction all over the world."
The following is an excerpt from Deception: Betraying the Peace Process, chapter 14, section 1:
The Palestinian Authority funds a monthly educational magazine for children called Zayzafuna. The magazine is made up of material written by the magazine's staff and also includes essays and poems written by children. Accordingly, Zayzafuna both represents the values of the educators and serves as a window into the minds of the participating Palestinian children. The magazine is published with the sponsorship of the PLO's Palestinian National Committee for Education, Culture and Sciences.
Most of the content in Zayzafuna is positive and educational. ...When it comes to portraying Israel and Jews, Zayzafuna changes its tone and includes items glorifying Jihad against Israel and praising Martyrdom death for Allah, and the Martyrs themselves.
[In] an essay submitted by a teenage girl ...Hitler is presented as a positive figure to be admired because he killed Jews in order to benefit the world.
...In addition, the magazine portrays a world where "Palestine" has replaced Israel by referring to Israeli cities such as Haifa and Jaffa as places in "Palestine" or as "occupied" cites. It denies Israel's right to exist by saying that Israel is on "stolen" or "occupied" land, and demonizes Israel and Jews. Approximately one fourth of the children's submissions are on nationalistic topics, and among them are expressions of hatred and delegitimization against Jews and Israel that mirror the messages transmitted by the PA leadership through official media, PA education and other structures under their control.
It is specifically because this is not a hate magazine, but in general a positive publication promoting good values, that the hatred expressed towards Israel and Jews is so damaging. All the positive messages about coexistence and peace, which abound throughout the magazine, apply to everyone but Israelis and Jews. The message of Zayzafuna concerning Israelis and Jews is that they are in a unique category separated from other peoples and religious groups: For others - peace, cooperation and coexistence; for Israelis and Jews - hatred, confrontation and Jihad
...The following is the essay in Zayzafuna presenting Hitler with other positive role models.
"One hot day, I was very tired after a hard day... and suddenly I saw four white doors in front of me. I opened them in no particular order.
I opened the f irst door and saw a beautiful place full of f lowers. I was surprised to see a man there. I asked him, 'Who are you?'
He said, 'I am Al-Khwarizmi.' [Ninth century Persian mathematician who lived in Baghdad, known for his contribution to the development of algebra.]
I said: 'You're the one who invented mathematics and arithmetic?' He said: 'Yes. What's your situation like today?'
I said: 'The Arabs and Muslims are in a deep sleep; they can't do anything. They have moved away from all the sciences.'
He [Al-Khwarizmi] said: 'Yes, I know that. The day will come when the Arabs will return to their glory. And you - you have a great duty, which is to take an interest in the Islamic sciences and to protect them from being forgotten.'
I said, 'I promise,' and left the door.

I turned to the next door; there Hitler awaited me. I said, 'You're the one who killed the Jews?'
He [Hitler] said: 'Yes. I killed them so you would all know that they are a nation which spreads destruction all over the world. And what I ask of you is to be resilient and patient, concerning the suffering that Palestine is experiencing at their hands.'
I said [to Hitler]: 'Thanks for the advice.'

Then I turned to the third door, and met Naguib Mahfouz [Nobel Prize- winning Egyptian author], who was the one who knew best the value of time and how to use it.
He said: 'People's pastime, these days, has become killing time and wasting it, as though they are punishing themselves. So strive to use your time in the best way.'

At the fourth door I meet Saladin Al-Ayoubi [Muslim leader who defeated the Christian crusaders and conquered Jerusalem in the twelfth century]. He said: 'I am Saladin.'
I said: 'You were the one who liberated Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa [Mosque].' He answered: 'Yes.'
I said: 'Return, oh Saladin, for Jerusalem and Palestine cry out and no one answers.'
He [Saladin] said: 'I know, but every time has its men, and the right man to liberate Jerusalem is still to come.'

And before I could finish my dream, the alarm clock rang and I woke up. It was seven in the morning, and I needed to go to school early, because I had promised Naguib Mahfouz that I would use time well."
[Zayzafuna, February 2011]

Although repugnant, a Palestinian teenager's admiration for Hitler because he killed Jews, alongside other Muslim role models, is not unexpected. 

...Palestinian children are brought up with the teaching that killing Israelis and Jews is heroic
The PA has named streets, schools, sporting events and more after Palestinian terrorists who have killed hundreds of Israeli civilians. In Palestinian cultural, educational and social events, every Palestinian child is exposed to repeated glorification of terrorists who have killed Jews. Palestinian children have participated in summer camps named after Dalal Mughrabi who led a bus hijacking in which 37 civilians were killed, and played in football tournaments named after Abd Al-Basset Odeh, a suicide bomber who killed 31 Israelis at a Passover dinner. It is not surprising that a Palestinian child who has been educated to see those who have murdered Jews as heroes and role models will conclude that Hitler, the one who murdered the most Jews in history, is likewise worthy of admiration.

About the publishers and advisory staff of Zayzafuna:
The magazine is published by the Zayzafuna Association for Development of Children's Culture, and sponsored by the PLO's Palestinian National Committee for Education, Culture and Sciences.
The magazine's advisory board is comprised of Palestinian Authority officials and educators, including PA Deputy Minister of Education Jihad Zakarneh, and former PA Minister for Women's Affairs Zuheira Kamal. [Zayzafuna, February 2011]
The Zayzafuna magazine is part of a larger education program funded by the Palestinian Authority which contributed 90,000 Shekel ($24,370) in 2010 and 10,000 Shekel ($2,700) a month in 2011.
Since August 2011, the magazine is also sponsored by UNESCO and the MDG Achievement Fund (MDG-F), a UN humanitarian foundation funded by the Spanish government. [Zayzafuna, August 2011.] In the October 2011 issue a note appears: "Opinions expressed in this magazine don't necessarily express UNESCO's views."
Deputy Chairman of the Zayzafuna organization Abd Al-Karim Ziyada has explained the following about the funding of Zayzafuna:
"The magazine has advertisements, which cover some of the costs. For the year 2010-2011 we have subscriptions by students and schools, and that also helps [funding the magazine]. We are fortunate in that the Palestinian Authority and the Prime Minister [Salam Fayyad] have helped us this year with aid in the amount of 90,000 Shekel ($24,370) to cover the magazine and organization costs, and that has given us a push forward. Allah be praised, there is a new agreement for a monthly [PA] payment of 10,000 Shekel ($2,700) to cover the magazine [costs]."
[PA TV (Fatah), May 9 and 13, 2011]

This excerpt above is from a chapter in the book Deception: Betraying the Peace Process, recently published by PMW. The book includes a longer analysis of the other material as well found in issues of Zayzafuna from May 2010 through August 2011, focusing on messages relating to Israelis and Jews. A short summary of the positive messages in Zayzafuna and that are unconnected to Israel, is also included.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Palestinians: Invented People

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The concept of Palestinian identity and nationalism is a recent invention. Both historically and in contemporary times, the Arabs living in the area now known as Palestine were regarded both by outsiders and by their own spokespeople as members of the greater Arab population, without a separate or distinct identity. Today, however, it is clear that Palestinian nationalism has emerged and become a political factor.  

The recent statement uttered by US Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich that the Palestinians are an “invented people” has been criticized [but] ...the accuracy of his statement cannot be denied. 

This conclusion stems from two factors. The first is that Arabs living in the area now known as Palestine were regarded, both historically and in contemporary times, not as a separate entity but as part of the general Arab people. This has been recognized by Arab spokesmen, by scholars, and by objective international official reports. The second is that no independent Palestinian state has ever existed, let alone one that manifested a “Palestinian identity.”
A few examples can illustrate this. The first Congress of Muslim-Christian Associations in the area met in February 1919 to consider the future of the territory formerly ruled by the Ottoman Empire, which dissolved after World War I. The Congress declared: “We consider Palestine as part of Arab Syria as it has never been separated from it at any time. We are connected with it by national, religious, linguistic, moral, economic, and geographical bonds.” The celebrated scholar Philip Hitti, testifying before the Anglo-American Committee in 1946, stated there was no such thing as Palestine in history, “absolutely not.”
The United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP), in its September 3, 1947 report, remarked that Palestinian nationalism, as distinct from Arab nationalism, was a relatively new phenomenon. It concluded that Palestinian identity was part of a rich tapestry of identities, mostly predicated on Arab and Islamic solidarity.
The Palestinians themselves reached the same conclusion. Palestinian spokesperson Ahmad Shuqeiri told the UN Security Council in 1956 that Palestine was nothing more than southern Syria. The head of the Military Operations Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Zuheir Muhsein, declared on March 31, 1977, “Only for political reasons do we carefully underline our Palestinian identity. …the existence of a separate Palestinian identity is there for tactical reasons.” The PLO, in its own Charter or amended Basic Law (article 1), states that Palestine is part of the Arab nation.
That “Arab nation” never included a state known as “Palestine.” Indeed, the inhabitants of the general Palestinian area were not subjects of an Arab nation but of the Ottoman Empire, which ruled the area from 1516-1918. This was the last recognized sovereign power in the area. The area of Palestine was a district of the Empire, officially a vilayet (province), not a political entity. No independent Palestinian state has ever been established, nor was there a single administrative or cultural unit of Palestinians. Arabs in the area were not different in any way from other Arabs in the Middle East. Nor was Israel established on the ashes of any state other than the Ottoman Empire.
On the other hand, a sovereign Jewish state existed prior to the rise of the Roman Empire. While the Romans destroyed the Second Temple, changed the name of the land to Syria Palestina, and banished the Jews from Jerusalem, this did not eradicate all Jewish presence in the area. Moreover, the Jews in the Diaspora maintained a strong consciousness of the historical connection of the Jewish people to Palestine – a connection that was acknowledged in the League of Nations mandate. Jewish nationalism has used legends of individuals like Moses as common ancestors and founders of the Jewish people.
... the Jews constitute a people – a set of individuals linked together not only by a common religion, but also as members of an ethnic community with memories of a shared past, common ceremonies and culture, and mutual legal codes, social behavior, myths and symbols. Between Jews there is a peoplehood, a subjective belief in their common descent from ancestors in Judea and Samaria.
The first official naming of “Palestine” as a distinct, defined territorial area came with the decision of the League of Nations, dealing with areas of the former Ottoman Empire, to create a Mandate for Palestine. This was accorded to Great Britain, which ruled the area from the Mediterranean Sea to west of the Jordan River from 1922 until May 1948.
All people living in that area were regarded as “Palestinians” without any ethnic connotations. Ironically, the name was used not by Arabs but only by Jews in the area, as in The Palestinian (now the Jerusalem) Post, and the Palestine Symphony (now Israel Philharmonic) Orchestra. Only after the State of Israel was established in May 1948 did the term “Palestinian” become exclusively used in referring to Arabs in the area.
It is now clear that a concept of Palestinian identity and nationalism has emerged... as a claim to self-determination by Arabs in the period after World War I in reaction to the increasing importance of Zionism and the assertion of self-determination by the Jewish people. The single most important factor leading to the idea and development of a Palestinian national identity was the creation of Israel and the Arab defeat by Israel in 1948-49. One might say it was even an imitation of the Zionist movement. Palestinian national identity was formally asserted only with the formation of the PLO in 1964.
The essential problem is not simply a terminological one – a refusal by many to acknowledge that the category of Palestinian identity is a recent invention. Rather, the insistence on a presumed, time honored right of a Palestinian people to the disputed land is being used as a weapon against the right of Israel to exist. Such an insistence is a handicap to a peaceful, negotiated agreement between the Palestinians and Israel. The decision about the exercise of sovereign power in Palestine remains to be determined in an overall peace settlement.
*Michael Curtis is a distinguished professor emeritus of political science at Rutgers University.

Ending UNRWA And Advancing Peace

From the Council on Foreign Relations, December 19, 2011,by Elliott Abrams:

A Palestinian rides his bicycle as he passes the United Nations Works and Relief Agency (UNRWA) headquarters at Shati refugee camp in Gaza April 26, 2008. (Courtesy REUTERS/Ismail Zaydah).

Since the end of the Second World War, millions of refugees have left refugee camps, and refugee status, and moved to countries that accepted them–quickly or slowly–as citizens. Post-World War II Europe was an archipelago of displaced persons and refugee camps ...Czechs, Poles, Lithuanians, Germans, Latvians, Greeks, and many more nationalities. 
By 1952, all but one of the camps had closed. Hundred of thousands of Jewish refugees from Europe went to Israel after 1948, and then hundreds of thousands more arrived from Arab lands when they were forced to flee after 1956 and 1967. 
The children and grandchildren of these refugees, born after their arrival, were never refugees themselves; they were from birth citizens of the new land, as their parents had become immediately upon their own arrival. In this process many nations and agencies have played wonderful roles, not least the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The exception to this refugee story is the Palestinians. In most of the Arab lands to which they fled or travelled after 1948 they were often treated badly, and refused citizenship (with Jordan the major exception) or even the right to work legally. And instead of coming under the protection of UNHCR, they had a special agency of their own, UNRWA, the UN Relief and Works Agency. In the decades of its existence, it has not solved or even diminished the Palesinian refugee problem; instead it has presided over a massive increase in its size, for all the descendants of Palestinian refugees are considered to be refugees as well. Once there were 750,000; now there are five million people considered by UNRWA to be “Palestinian refugees.” And UNRWA is now the largest UN agency, with a staff of 30,000. UNHCR cares for the rest of the world with about 7,500 personnel.
The political background to this story is simple: only in the case of Israel was there a determined refusal to accept what had happened during and after World War II, with the establishment of the Jewish state and the increase in its population by the acceptance of refugee Jews. 
Of all the world’s refugees, whom UNHCR tries normally to resettle, only the Palestinians are an exception. UNRWA presides over generation after generation of additional refugees, and Arab states and leaders make believe that some day they can turn back the clock and send them–and their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren–to Israel.
To say this is not necessarily to criticize the day-to-day activities of UNRWA, for it was handed a mission by the UN. There are and have always been many UNRWA officials who are reliable international civil servants. ..But UNRWA should cease to exist, and Palestinian refugees should be handled by UNHCR with the intention of resettling them. 
That process should begin with a redefinition of who is a refugee entitled to benefits, so that benefits are based on need rather than on status. Moreover, Palestinians who have citizenship in other countries should not be considered refugees at all–the standard practice for every other group of refugees in the world. Why, for example, should the nearly two million Palestinians in Jordan, over 90 percent of whom have Jordanian citizenship, today be considered refugees by UNRWA at all?
Lest that position seem idiosyncratic, consider this: in 2010 Canada cut off its funding of UNRWA, and just now the Netherlands government has said it is considering the same action. How did they explain this? The foreign minister told parliament that Holland would “thoroughly review” its policy and the ruling party called UNRWA’s refugee definition “worrying.” UNRWA, said the party spokesman, “uses its own unique definition of refugees, different to the UN’s. The refugee issue is a big obstacle for peace. We therefore ask the government acknowledge this discrepancy, which leads to the third-generation Palestinian refugees.” Correction: fourth-generation, actually.
It is worth noting that there are many other criticisms of UNRWA: that it overlooks terrorist group activity in some camps, or allows members of Hamas and other terrorist groups to hold UNRWA staff positions. But those are criticisms of how UNRWA is carrying out its mission, while the deeper problem is the mission itself. That mission might accurately be described as enlarging the Palestinian refugee problem forever and thereby making any Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement tremendously more difficult if not impossible to achieve.
Closing UNRWA would in the end be a great favor to Palestinians who live outside the West Bank and Gaza, assuming that the needed services it provides them could be provided by other agencies or the governments of the countries in which they live. Some of those individuals will some day move to the West Bank or Gaza, but they do not need UNRWA to do that. None of them will ever move to Israel, and the existence of UNRWA helps to maintain the cruel myth that they will.
The “peace process” seems stalled today; no negotiated final settlements is on the horizon. But there are many things that can be done that move toward peace, such as the building of Palestinian institutions and improvement of the economy in the West Bank. 
Starting the process of closing down UNRWA would be a move toward peace, as it would replace the permanent perpetuation of the Palestinian refugee problem with a process designed to reduce it in size and some day solve it.

Give Peace A Chance

A 15 minute film about a new perspective for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians based on the discovery of the formerly classified minutes from the San Remo peace conference of April, 1920. This long hidden document explains the legal rights of the Jews as well as the Palestinians. By returning to the negotiating table and respecting historical facts and international law the film believes there can be real peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Monday, December 19, 2011

What is Palestine?

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the geographic term "Palestine” was predominantly associated – from biblical times until the 1948 establishment of Israel- with the Jewish people, Jewish history and Jewish geography. It was the crux of Jewish national aspirations, the Jewish Homeland.
In 135 AD, Judaea was renamed "Palestina,” by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, following the suppression of the Jewish uprising, in order to eradicate Jewish nationhood and to uproot the inherent Jewish attachment to the Land of Israel.  Similarly, Jerusalem was renamed "Aelia Capitolina,” in honor of Aelius Hadrian and the Roman Capitol, in an attempt to obliterate Jewish association with the spiritual and physical core of Judaism.
Since 1949, and increasingly since 1967, the term "Palestine” has been employed, by Israel's enemies, in order to delegitimize the existence of the Jewish State.  In April 1950, Judea and Samaria were renamed "the West Bank”, by the Jordanian occupation, in order to assert Jordanian rule, and expunge Jewish connection to the cradle of Jewish history. Until 1950, all official Ottoman, British and prior records referred to "Judea and Samaria" and not to the "West Bank.”
"Palestine" is a derivative of the Hebrew term "Plishtim” (invaders), the Biblical name of the Philistines, non-Semites from the Greek islands and from Phoenicia, who migrated in the 12th century BCE to Pleshet, along the Mediterranean. The term "Palestine" was established, in the 5th century BC, by the Greek historian, Herodotus, and adopted in 135 AD, by the Roman Empire, in an attempt to erase "Judaea" from human memory.
According to Prof. Bernard Lewis, the icon of Mid-East historians (International History Review, January, 1980), "the earliest attempts at a territorial definition of the country later known as Palestine are in the Bible.”   In its attempts to devastate Jewish national aspirations, the Roman Empire attached Palestine to the province of Syria.  In 400 AD, Palestine was split into Palestina Prima – with its capital in Caesarea – and Palestina Secunda – with its capital in Bethshean, further diminishing the stature of Jerusalem. 
Prof. Lewis notes that the 7th century Arab conquest of Palestine perpetuated the neglect of Jerusalem, while elevating the status of Lydda, Ramla and Tiberias. "In the early medieval Arabic usage, Filastin [Palestine] and Urdunn [Jordan] were sub-districts forming part of the greater geographical entity known as Syria…. Under Roman, Byzantine and Islamic rule, Palestine was politically submerged.  It reappeared only under the Crusaders…. the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem….
"Under the successors of Saladin, and still more under the Mamluks, the country was redistributed in new territorial units … with its capital in Damascus…. After the Ottoman conquest in 1516-17, the country was divided into Ottoman administrative districts... subject to the authority of the Governor-General of Damascus....
"[The term Palestine] was no longer used by Muslims, for whom it had never meant more than an administrative sub-district and it had been forgotten even in that limited sense…. 
"With the British conquest in 1917-18, Palestine became the official name of a definite territory for the first time since the early Middle Ages…. Palestine at this moment included both banks of the Jordan…. On November 29, 1947, the General Assembly of the UN adopted a [non-binding] resolution approving the partition of mandatory Palestine into three components: a Jewish state, an Arab state and an international zone…. [The Arab] rejected the partition resolution and went to war to prevent its implementation…. The Palestine entity, formally established and defined by Britain, was formally abolished in 1948 with the termination of the Mandate.” 
The Land of Israel (Palestine) has played a critical role in Jewish history, religion, nationalism, culture, language and personal and communal relationships, compared with the marginal role played by Palestine in Arab and Muslim history. Hence, the moral high ground for mandating the establishment of a Jewish State by the 1917 Balfour Declaration (on both sides of the Jordan River) and the 1922 League of Nations' British Mandate for Palestine (from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean).  Article 80 of the UN Charter upholds the "Mandate for Palestine,” which has not been overruled until today.
The fact that most Arab towns and villages in Judea and Samaria have retained their original Biblical Jewish names, highlights Jewish roots in the Land of Israel (Palestine).  For example, Bethlehem, Hebron, A-Dura is Biblical Adora'yim, A-Ram is Haramah, Anata is Anatot, Batir is Beitar, Beit-Hur is Beit Horon, Beitin is Bethel, Mukhmas is Mikhmash, Seilun is Shilo, Tequa' is Teqoah, etc.
These sites are not occupied by the Jewish State.  They are the epitome of the Jewish moral high ground and Statehood in the Land of Israel, Palestine.

Netanyahu: "NO THANKS" to ‘New York Times’

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is refusing to pen an op-ed piece for The New York Times, signaling the degree to which he is fed up with the influential newspaper’s editorial policy on Israel.
In a letter to the Times obtained by The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, Netanyahu’s senior adviser Ron Dermer – in response to the paper’s request that Netanyahu write an op-ed – wrote that the prime minister would “respectfully decline.”
Dermer made clear that this had much to do with the fact that 19 of the paper’s 20 op-ed pieces on Israel since September were negative.
Ironically, the one positive piece was written by Richard Goldstone – chairman of the UN’s Goldstone Commission Report – defending Israel against charges of apartheid.
“We wouldn’t want to be seen as ‘Bibiwashing’ the op-ed page of The New York Times,” Dermer said, in reference to a piece called “Israel and Pinkwashing” from November. In that piece, a City University of New York humanities professor lambasted Israel for, as Dermer wrote, “having the temerity to champion its record on gay rights.”
That piece, he wrote, “set a new bar that will be hard for you to lower in the future.”
Dermer’s letter came a day after NYT columnist Thomas Friedman wrote that the resounding ovation Netanyahu received in Congress when he spoke there in May had been “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.”
With Friedman clearly – but not solely – among those in mind, Dermer wrote that “the opinions of some of your regular columnists regarding Israel are well known. They constantly distort the positions of our government and ignore the steps it has taken to advance peace. They cavalierly defame our country by suggesting that marginal phenomena condemned by Prime Minister Netanyahu, and virtually every Israeli official, somehow reflect government policy or Israeli society as a whole.”
Dermer also took the paper to task for running an op-ed piece by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in May that asserted that shortly after the UN voted for the partition of Palestine in November 1947, “Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened. War and further expulsions ensued.”
Those lines, Dermer wrote, “effectively turn on its head an event within living memory in which the Palestinians rejected the UN partition plan accepted by the Jews, and then joined five Arab states in launching a war to annihilate the embryonic Jewish state. It should not have made it past the most rudimentary fact-checking.”
That it did find its way into the op-ed pages of the “paper of record,” he wrote, showed the degree to which the paper had not internalized former senator Daniel Moynihan’s admonition that “everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but... no one is entitled to their own facts.”
Furthermore, Dermer wrote, the paper’s sole positive piece about Israel since September – the Goldstone piece rejecting the apartheid charges – “came a few months after your paper reportedly rejected Goldstone’s previous submission. In that earlier piece, which was ultimately published in The Washington Post, the man who was quoted the world over for alleging that Israel had committed war crimes in Gaza fundamentally changed his position. According to The New York Times op-ed page, that was apparently news unfit to print.”
Dermer wrote that the paper’s refusal to run positive pieces about Israel was not because they were in short supply. In fact, he said he understood that in September the paper had turned down a piece cowritten by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland), expressing bipartisan support for direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and opposition to the PA’s statehood gambit at the UN.
“In an age of intense partisanship, one would have thought that strong bipartisan support for Israel on such a timely issue would have made your cut,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, Rep. Steve Rothman (D-New Jersey) called on Friedman to apologize for saying the congressional ovation Netanyahu received in May was “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.”
Rothman said he gave Netanyahu a standing ovation not because of “any nefarious lobby,” but because it is in the US’s vital strategic interest to support Israel.
“Thomas Friedman’s defamation against the vast majority of Americans who support the Jewish state of Israel is scurrilous, destructive and harmful to Israel and her advocates in the US,” Rothman said. “Friedman is not only wrong, but he’s aiding and abetting a dangerous narrative about the US-Israel relationship and its American supporters.”

The American congressional candidates were correct in criticizing the PA for promoting terror

US presidential candidate and the former speaker of US House of Representatives Newt Gingrich said this week that the Palestinian Authority does not recognize Israel's right to exist and that Palestinian schoolbooks teach children to become terrorists. ...However, the PA has rejected his statements as "groundless." 
...Certainly the PA's rejection of the US candidate was expected, as his charges contradict what the PA has been telling Western countries for years. 
This is not merely an irrelevant distraction and rhetoric of a presidential campaign. It is these issues - PA non-recognition of Israel and its support of terror - that are at the heart of the peace process and constitute a major impediment to its success. Therefore, it is critical to determine who is correct - Gingrich or the PA. 
What exactly was said about the PA?  
During the ABC News Republican presidential candidates' debate (December 10, 2011), Gingrich said that the PA does not recognize Israel's right to exist. He said that 
"the Palestinian Authority ambassador to India said last month, 'There is no difference between Fatah and Hamas. We both agree Israel has no right to exist." 
This quote, taken from a PMW bulletin, is precise and is very significant, elaborating one of the most important and yet relatively unnoticed principles of PA ideology.
The PA Ambassador to India, Adli Sadeq, wrote in the official PA daily: 
"They [Israelis] have a common mistake or misconception by which they fool themselves, assuming that Fatah accepts them and recognizes the right of their state to exist, and that it is Hamas alone that loathes them and does not recognize the right of this state to exist. They ignore the fact that this state, based on a fabricated [Zionist] enterprise, never had any shred of a right to exist." (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, November 26, 2011) 
The point of the PA ambassador was the following: The PA differentiates between recognizing that Israel in fact exists - and its unwavering denial of Israel's legitimacy, that is, Israel's right to exist. The PA educates its children with this dual message that Israel exists but has no right to exist, as expressed in a PA schoolbook for grade 12: "Palestine's war ended with a catastrophe that is unprecedented in history, when the Zionist gangs stole Palestine and established the State of Israel." (Arabic Language, Analysis, Literature and Criticism, grade 12, p. 104)  
Defining Israel as being created after "Zionist gangs stole Palestine" is the definitive expression of denying Israel's right to exist. Significantly, this rejection of Israel is not just found in Palestinian schoolbooks but is a central part of the ongoing Palestinian discourse. 
When a fire raged in northern Israel last year and the PA sent a team of firefighters to join international forces trying to put it out, it was justified by a regular columnist in the official PA daily as follows: "Even if an aggressive foreigner occupies our home and steals it, we don't wish for the home to burn." (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, December 5, 2010)  
Even the official PA daily, when reporting on sporting events, uses political language that tells its readers that it rejects the legitimacy of Israel. The official PA daily reported on a ceremony honoring an Israeli Arab soccer team and its success in moving up to Israel's top division Premier League. Yet when the story was reported in the PA daily it was described as "the team's rise to the national league in the homeland occupied in 1948." (Al- Hayat Al-Jadida, June 18, 2010)  
It did not report that it was the "national league in Israel."  
In the article in the official PA daily that Gingrich quoted, the PA ambassador to India explained this central duality of the PA ideology, whereby they recognize Israel's existence as a fact of history, but reject Israel's right to exist, as does Hamas. 
In a different part of the article the PA ambassador explained this explicitly: 
"There are no two Palestinians who disagree over the fact that Israel exists, and recognition of it is restating the obvious. But recognition of its right to exist is something else, different from recognition of its [physical] existence." (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, November 26, 2011) 
Clearly, Gingrich was correct. 
Similarly, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas himself has promoted this dual message. In his speech at the UN asking for recognition of Palestine as an independent state, Abbas stated to the international community: "Let us build the bridges of dialogue instead of checkpoints and walls of separation, and build cooperative relations based on parity and equity between two neighboring states - Palestine and Israel." (Speech at the UN, September 23, 2011)  
However, on the very next day, Abbas's own government- controlled PA TV as part of its UN statehood campaign broadcast a map that included PA areas as well as all of Israel, wrapped in the Palestinian flag, symbolizing Palestinian political sovereignty over all of Israel. This visual statement was another blatant denial of Israel's legitimacy. 
Newt Gingrich's second critique of the PA, which presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann likewise mentioned in the ABC debate, was of the PA schoolbooks which he said teach children to be terrorists. Gingrich said: "These people are terrorists. They teach terrorism in their schools. They have textbooks that say, 'If there are 13 Jews and nine Jews are killed, how many Jews are left? We pay for those textbooks through our aid money." 
Here, Gingrich was correct in principle but his example was not. The PA schoolbooks do not include that particular math question. Instead the PA Ministry of Education does something far worse: It glorifies murderers and terrorists. The PA Ministry of Education has two of its schools named after Dalal Mughrabi (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, January 23, 2006), the woman who led the most lethal terror attack in Israel's history, the Coastal Road massacre bus hijacking in which 37 civilians were killed. 
What exactly is the PA message to its children regarding terror? When the Ministry of Education makes children study in a school that venerates a terrorist who killed 37 civilians, its message is very clear: terror and killing Israelis is not only justified but is even worthy of honor. 
Fatah has a women's club at Palestinian universities called Sisters of Dalal, honoring the same terrorist Mughrabi. Two summer camps for children this past summer had groups named after her, and one of the camps was sponsored by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The entire environment the PA has created for its children envelopes them in glorification of terror. 
The PA, it seems, learned that the world would no longer permit it to directly call to kill Israelis, for to do so would cause it to lose American and European funding. So instead of promoting the terror, it glorifies the terrorists; instead of Palestinian children learning that they must kill Israelis, they learn that whoever kills Israelis will become a Palestinian hero. 
When the American congressional candidates criticized the PA for promoting terror among Palestinians they were absolutely correct. When they accused the PA of denying Israel's right to exist they were merely exposing authentic PA ideology. 
The time is approaching for the PA to make some hard choices. Is it going to change and take the path of peace or is it going to continue on the path of deception?
(For more information on PA deception, see Deception: Betraying the Peace Process