Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Demographic Scare – Repudiated by Facts

From "Israel Hayom" Newsletter, December 8, 2011, by Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger:
The prophets of demographic doom have contended, since the establishment of modern day Zionism in 1897 and the Jewish State in 1948, that Jews are doomed to become a minority west of the Jordan River. The facts prove them wrong!
In 2011, in defiance of demographic fatalism, Israel's Jewish demography benefits from a tailwind while Arabs, throughout the Mid-East, experience a demographic headwind.
For instance, the annual number of Jewish births has surged by 56% since 1995 – reflecting a rising fertility rate (number of births per woman) - while the annual number of Israeli Arab births has grown by 10% - reflecting a sharp decline in fertility rate.
The annual number of Israel's Jewish births has expanded from 69% of total births, in 1995, to 76% of total births in 2011. In 1995, there were 2.3 Jewish births per each Arab birth, compared with 3.1 Jewish births per each Arab birth in 2011.
The secular Jewish sector – especially the Olim (immigrants) from the former USSR and the Tel Aviv area yuppies - is mostly responsible for the demographic surge. At the same time, the ultra-orthodox sector is experiencing a drop in fertility, resulting from its gradual integration into the employment market and expanded service in the Israel Defense Forces.
The Jewish-Arab gap of fertility has been reduced from 6 births in 1969 to 0.5 births in 2011, trending toward a convergence at 3 births per woman. In fact, Jewish-Arab fertility convergence is already in place among younger women and in northern Israel (the largest Arab community), while the fertility rate among Israeli-born Jewish women exceeds 3 births per woman. In Jerusalem, the Jewish fertility rate (4.3 births) is higher than the Arab rate (3.9).
In fact, Israel's Jewish fertility rate is higher than most Arab countries, other than Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Syria. For example, Jordan, a twin sister of Judea and Samaria in many respects, features 2.8 births per woman, Egypt has declined to 2.5 births and even non-Arab radical Islamic Iran has taken a dip to 1.7 births per woman (a 2.1 rate is required to sustain the current numbers) .
The sharp decline in the Arab fertility rate, west of the Jordan River, is a derivative of the successful integration of Arabs into the infrastructure of modernity. Israeli Arabs have blended into the infrastructure of education, medical, employment, leisure, banking, agriculture, sports, politics, academia, media and the arts. Most Arab women marry at the age of 20+, instead of 15-18, and stop the reproductive process at the age of 40+, instead of 50+. The phenomenon of Arab teen pregnancy is vanishing. Family planning and the use of contraceptives has become an acceptable norm among Arabs. This process has been faster among Judea and Samaria Arabs due to dramatic urbanization: 70% rural population in 1967 and 75% urban population in 2011, burdened by 30% unemployment, a PLO-Hamas civil war and a rising divorce rate.
Modernity has also reduced the Arab natural increase - birth minus death - due to the diminishing number of births on the one hand, and the increase in the number of the elderly – as a proportion of the Arab population - on the other hand. The latter is the result of the rapid rise of Arab life expectancy, causing a rapid shrinking of natural increase.
Net-Arab-emigration, from Judea and Samaria, has been an annual phenomenon since 1950 (with the exception of six years). Most emigrants are in the reproductive age. In contrast, net-Jewish immigration has benefitted Israel, with most Olim in the reproductive age. Waves of Jewish immigration (Aliya) have occurred every 20 years: 1950s, 1970s and 1990s. Another wave is possible, should Israel and the Jewish people rise to the occasion, leveraging economic, social and (Jewish) educational realities in Russia, Ukraine, other former USSR Republics, France, England, Argentina and the USA.
In 1898, the leading Jewish demographer/historian, Shimon Dubnov, referred to Theodore Herzl, the father of modern day Zionism, as "a messianic wishful-thinker.” Dubnov projected a 500,000 Jewish population in the land of Israel by the year 2000 – an insignificant minority. He was off by more than 5 million Jews. In 1948, the founder of Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, and the mentor of today's prophets of demographic doom, Prof. Roberto Bacchi, projected a 2.3 million Jewish minority of 33% in 2001. He was off by 3.5 million Jews.
Since 1967, Israel's demographers of doom have contended that Jews are doomed to become a minority west of the Jordan River. They prescribe the panacea to the demographic threat: conceding geography (Judea and Samaria) in order to secure demography. In defiance of these demographic projections, over six million Jews constitute a 66% majority in the combined area of pre-1967 Israel, Judea and Samaria. The number of Judea & Samaria Arabs has been inflated by one million (including overseas residents, double-counting Jerusalem Arabs, inflating birth numbers, etc.) since the arrival of one million Olim from the USSR.
Demographic facts conclude that anyone suggesting that Jews are doomed to become a minority west of the Jordan River is either dramatically mistaken or outrageously misleading.
Policy-makers should base policy upon facts and not upon refuted numbers!

Anti-Semitism 2.0

From Hudson New York, March 21, 2011, by Mudar Zahran, a Palestinian writer and academic from Jordan, who now resides in the UK:
The concept of the "evil Jew" has made a well-disguised comeback: Criticizing Israel and Zionists, is now deemed a legitimate option to cursing Jews and Judaism. Not only is it open, socially acceptable and legal, but it can actually bring prosperity and popularity.
This new form of anti-Semitism 2.0 is well-covered-up, harder to trace and poses a much deeper danger to the modern way of life of the civilized world than the earlier crude form of it, as it slowly and gradually works on delegitimizing Jews to the point where it eventually becomes acceptable to target Jews, first verbally, then physically -- all done in a cosmopolitan style where the anti-Semites are well-groomed speakers and headline writers in jackets and ties; and not just Arab, but American and European, from "sanitized" news coverage of the most bloodthirsty radicals, to charges against Israel in which facts are distorted, selectively omitted or simply untrue, as in former President Jimmy Carter's book on Israel.
Why would a Palestinian be writing this? The answer is simple: The Palestinians have been used as fuel for the new form of anti-Semitism; this has hurt the Palestinians and exposed them to unprecedented and purposely media-ignored abuse by Arab governments, including some of those who claim love for the Palestinians, yet in fact only bear hatred to Jews. This has resulted in Palestinian cries for justice, equality, freedom and even basic human rights being ignored while the world getting consumed with delegitimizing Israel from either ignorance or malice.
Worse, just as the old form of anti-Semitism has proven itself a threat as poisonous to its supporters, as it was to the Jews, the new form of anti-Semitism 2.0 could prove itself the same -- all the more likely as we see the world tolerating Iran's nuclear ambitions not necessarily out of love for the Mullah's regime, but instead because of mental fixation against Israel.
Such bias against Israel cannot be "accidental" or merely "unfortunate." No other nation has received the amount of scrutinizing, criticism, coverage, demonization and delegitimization. In fact the question to be asked is not whether there is bias against Israel; but rather why there is bias against Israel?
While honest coverage is a pride claimed by all modern media, news reports are assigned according to every editor's choice, this has resulted in a wide editorial bias against Israel and its actions. What makes things worse is the fact that there are no adverse consequences -- such as "lack of access" or physical retribution -- against whoever writes lies about Israel, an open society with a free press. More than 80 human rights non-governmental organizations operate within Israel, constantly monitoring and criticizing it with nothing to worry about -- either professionally or politically --therefore, anyone who misreports or misrepresents facts, or even who lies, is free to keep doing so -- including the the Israelis. For example, the English language newspaper of choice for foreign journalists, Ha'aretz, does not even contain a corrections column. Reporters are told only to write about "The Conflict," and if they do not file by six pm, they are out of a job -- while conflicts which are claiming lives, such as the slaughter of the Assyrians in Iraq, are forgotten. The global media seem to be so consumed by the conflict in Israel which, as dramatic as this may still be, still has claimed only a fraction of the total number of victims of other conflicts.
Bias against Israel does not stop with the media; international organizations exhibit a similar pattern. The recent governmental meltdowns in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have exposed that Arab dictators keep cash and property in Western countries, where they are able to roam freely, while many Israeli politicians have to think twice before they set a foot in Europe for fear of being arrested for "war crimes." Also, Israeli military actions seem to receive more scrutinizing from the international community than the rest of the world's militaries: the UN Security Council still stands reluctant to tackle Qadafi's ongoing atrocities against protesters, but shows no hesitation in investigating even wild claims against Israel.
Recent protests in Arab countries have provided further proof of the media's selective coverage. While young peaceful protesters are being shot by the Jordanian King's guards or attacked by what doctors describe as "a mysterious teargas" in Yemen, the media fail to provide proper coverage for any of that; on the other side, a car accident involving a Palestinian boy and an Israeli driver made global headline news.
Further, amid recent protests in Arab countries, most global media outlets refrained from taking a position on the power-contested Arab dictators; but they have never failed to present pre-packaged anti-Israeli positions when they cover Palestinian uprisings. This extends to perplexing twists: when the protests in Libya started, for example, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi, a leading Muslim scholar and no friend of Israel,, appeared on Al-Jazeera, saying, "Qaddafi has done to his people what the Zionists would never do to the Palestinians," yet this strong statement from an unlikely source never made it to the Western media.
Media bias against Israel dies not harm only Israelis; it comes at very dear price to us, the Palestinians. In July of 2010, for example, a seasoned journalist Robert Fisk interviewed a group of right-wing ultra-conservative East Bank-Jordanians who were calling on King Abdullah of Jordan to strip the Palestinian majority of their citizenship and property. The group, mostly made up of retired Jordanian servicemen and journalists were also calling for ending the peace treaty with Israel and "establishing it as an enemy state." Despite my attempts to contact Mr. Fisk –-along with another Jordanian-Palestinian journalist---to warn him of the people he was going to meet, he nonetheless, published an article entitled, "Why Is Jordan Occupied by Palestinians?" -- Which was mainly a manifesto for those with whom he had met. They then publicized the article as a global media victory for themselves, and drove the Palestinians of Jordan into even deeper fear for their own safety in a country where they are already oppressed by security agencies; virtually barred from any government or local authority positions, excluded from state universities, despite paying "a university tax", as well as other taxes and tariffs --which their fellow Jordanians of Bedouins heritage are exempted from-- and regularly and openly insulted by the government-run Jordanian media calling for them to be expelled.
The day before Mr. Fisk met with the extremist group, one of their members, a retired intelligence officer now turned writer, published an article calling on the Jordanian intelligence service to "chop off Mudar Zahran's head in the UK without any observance of diplomatic restraints;" would Mr. Fisk have met with an Israeli journalist calling for the Mossad to behead a Palestinian on British soil?
Anti-Semitism and the image of the "evil Jew" find their roots deep in Europe's intellectualism, from Shakespeare to Nietzsche, not to mention the fraudulent Franco-Russian Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The pretexts for Hitler's Nazi ideology existed vigorously before he came to power. Hitler probably manifested more of a crude exposure of a public trend, exacerbated by a terrible economy, except that the suffering Hitler brought to the world was not limited to Jews. It took the destruction of entire nations and the deaths of millions for people to realize that racism and extremism can be as dangerous to the oppressors and the haters as it is the oppressed and the hated.
As a result, European societies of today collectively renounce racism and anti-Semitism, but even though the haters encountered rejection and exclusion, they were nonetheless able to find an alternative pathway by prospering on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. As it has raged -- and continues to rage -- for sixty years, the global media have found a lively source of news material that is endlessly interesting as a conflict between "two religions," "two ethnicities," and the line between the West, represented by Israel, and the East, represented by the Palestinians and Arabs in general.
This form of hatred is hurting us all; it must be countered.

Will you miss Christopher Hitchens?

I have read several appreciations of Hitchens written by conservatives and neo-conservatives who knew him and appreciated his transformation from a man of the left into a man of the right since the US invasion of Iraq.
All of these essays, like the generous conservative swooning over Hitchens for the better part of the last ten years makes me uneasy. For all of his personal transformation, there is one prejudice that I don't think Hitchens every abandoned and that is his anti-Semitism.
Please read the linked essay on the subject by Benjamin Kerstein. Kerstein wrote it last December and I believe that he definitively proved that my unease at Hitchens has always been well-deserved.
The fact that so many pro-Israel conservatives are willing to overlook his underlying, and always obvious hatred for Judaism is I believe the function of a larger problem. Jews are always reluctant to admit that just because someone is good on everything other than Jews doesn't mean that we can give him a pass on hating us.
And we can't give anti-Semites a pass. They won't end their bigotry because we love them. They will see our love as justification for their hatred. After all, we must deserve to be hated if we are so willing to embrace our haters. To the best of my knowledge, Hitchens never disavowed his antipathy for Israel or his rejection of our right to define ourselves as a nation or our legal, national and moral rights to the land of Israel. And so I will never disavow my objection to him and refusal to give him a pass for his anti-Semitism.
He may have known how to hold his liquor, spin a yarn, turn a phrase and all the rest, but he was no hero in my eyes. He was a Jew hater.

Betraying Ben-Gurion

From Hudson New York, December 22, 2011, by Efraim Karsh, research professor of Middle East and Mediterranean Studies at King's College London, director of the Middle East Forum (Philadelphia) and author, most recently, of Palestine Betrayed:
It is ironic that Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), Israel's only university bearing the name of the Jewish state's founding father, and established in the ancient desert he dreamt of reviving, has become a hotbed of anti-Israel propaganda at the expense of proper scholarly endeavor.
So much so that an international committee of scholars, appointed by Israel's Council for Higher Education to evaluate political science and international relations programs in Israeli universities, recently recommended that BGU "consider closing the Department of Politics and Government" unless it abandoned its "strong emphasis on political activism," improved its research performance, and redressed the endemic weakness "in its core discipline of political science." In other words, they asked that the Department return to accurate scholarship rather than indoctrinate the students with libel.
The same day the committee's recommendation was revealed, Professor David Newman -- who founded that department and bequeathed it such a problematic ethos, for which "achievement" he was presumably rewarded with a promotion to Deanship of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, from where he can shape other departments in a similar way -- penned an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post in which he compared Israel's present political culture to that of Nazi Germany...
...There is no moral equivalence whatever between the Nazi persecution, exclusion, segregation, and eventually industrial slaughter of European Jewry, and Israel's treatment of its Arab population. Not only do the Arabs in Israel enjoy full equality before the law, but from the designation of Arabic as an official language, to the recognition of non-Jewish religious holidays as legal resting days for their respective communities, Arabs in Israel have enjoyed more prerogatives than ethnic minorities anywhere in the democratic world.
To put it more bluntly, while six million Jews, three quarters of European Jewry, died at the hands of the Nazis in the six years that Hitler dominated Europe, Israel's Arab population has not only leapt tenfold during the Jewish state's 63 years of existence - from 156,000 in 1948 to 1.57 million in 2010 - but its rate of social and economic progress has often surpassed that of the Jewish sector, with the result that the gap between the two communities has steadily narrowed.
It is precisely this exemplary, if by no means flawless, treatment of its Arab citizens that underlies their clear preference of Israeli citizenship to that of one in a prospective Palestinian state (a sentiment shared by most East Jerusalem Palestinians). This preference has also recently driven tens of thousands of African Muslims illegally to breach the Jewish state's border in search of employment, rather than to stay in Egypt, whose territory they have to cross on the way. The treatment of mass illegal immigration (hardly the hapless refugees presented by Newman) is a major problem confronting most democracies in the West these days, where there is an ongoing debate about what are the basic responsibilities of governments for their citizens' wellbeing and the right of nations to determine the identity of those entering their territory.
Even more mind-boggling is Newman's equating Israel's attempt to prevent foreign funding of Israeli nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) involved in the international Israel de-legitimization campaign -- along the lines of the US Foreign Agents Legislation Act -- with repressing political opponents by the Nazi regime. What "human rights activists" have been unlawfully detained by the Israeli government, let alone rounded up and thrown into concentration camps? On what planet does the Ben-Gurion University faculty dean live?
But Newman is not someone to be bothered by the facts. His is the standard "colonialist paradigm" prevalent among Israeli and Western academics, which views Zionism, and by extension the state of Israel, not as a legitimate expression of national self-determination but as "a colonizing and expansionist ideology and movement" (in the words of another BGU professor) - an offshoot of European imperialism at its most rapacious.
And therein, no doubt, lies the problem with BGU's Politics and Government Department: the only Israeli department singled out by the international committee for the unprecedented recommendation of closure [unless it addresses some of the problems pointed out by the committee]. For if its founder and long-time member, who continues to wield decisive influence over its direction, views Israel as a present-day reincarnation of Nazi Germany in several key respects, how conceivably can the department ensure the "sustained commitment to providing balance and an essential range of viewpoints and perspectives on the great issues of politics" required for its continued existence?

Also see the following (thanks to Israel Academia Monitor - follow the links to their source articles):

The Department of Government & Politics at BGU has been recently reprimanded by the Council for Higher Education for shoddy academic standards and excessive political activism. The Department's International MA program on conflict, described as "a unique program which examines the different ways in which global and local processes have formed numerous sites of conflict both within the Israeli society and its relations with its neighbors," is illustrative in this sense.
Many of the courses in the program are heavy on neo-Marxist, critical analysis and replete with bibliography drawn from books published by radical non- academic presses and journals who mix scholarship with leftist ideology and pro-Palestinian advocacy. For instance the course "War, Security and Governance," defines conflict as more than the use of "brute force" to include such things as "pervasive controls" by government and "capital." International corporations are described as greedy villains in the service of "capital" and the Israeli government is seen a major violator of human rights. The syllabi show virtually no attempt to offer a non-Marxist perspective on conflict and global economy.
The program's field trips to "sites of conflict" offer a dim view of Israel's alleged mistreatment of Israeli Arabs, Bedouins and foreign laborers. This should come as no surprise; the Department has a large number of neo-Marxist, critical scholars and political activists who see no division between classroom instruction and extra-mural political engagement, This is particularly unfortunate since the MA program caters to foreign students who can put their newly minted degree to good use in the burgeoning movement aimed at delegitmizing Israel.

Professor Oren Yiftachel, a radical academic from the MAPMES Program at Ben Gurion University and one of the intellectual architects of the theory of Israel-as-an apartheid state, has written extensively on the Bedouins in the Negev. Unofruntately, in order to score political points, Yiftachel misrepresents key facts and simplifies the real dilemma facing the state in its dealings with an indigenous nomadic population. As already reported Haim Sandberg, an authority on land usage in Israel, proved that significant parts of the Negev desert was considered to be mewat under the Ottoman Empire. The designation included land that was not used for agriculture or pasture and was remote from human settlments. British mandatory authorities initiated a process of transferring property deeds to the Bedouin population, but restricted the circumstances under which claims could be made to mewat land, a decision that the Israeli government has followed.

The Israel Academia Monitor (IAM) watchdog, which “monitors abuses of academic freedom and politicization of Israeli campuses by extremists and radicals,” has found, “Israeli academic institutions have been misused in recent years for radical anti-Israeli and even anti-Semitic propagandizing, often by tenured radicals with embarrassing academic records and dubious research credentials.”
The deeper concern, however, is the pervasiveness of such views in Israeli institutions in the State of Israel, which highlights on the one hand how open Israeli academia is, and on the other the absurdity that it would tolerate such extreme views even at the expense of its international legitimacy. Of all the Israeli universities, Ben-Gurion University in the Negev (BGU) has become the leader and chief exporter of many of these attitudes, especially to those Middle East departments in the U.S. that want to appear balanced in the face of charges of anti-Israel biases—a move that at first glance appears welcome.

Israel's Top 20 Greatest Inventions of All Time

From JPost, by Abigail Klein Leichman (Jerusalem Post):
Indispensable Israeli inventions are being displayed and demonstrated at the Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem. 
Israel's top inventions highlighted at the exhibition include:
  1. Netafim smart drip micro-irrigation, 
  2. Ormat geothermal power plants, 
  3. Pythagoras Solar windows, 
  4. Hazera Genetics slow-ripening cherry tomato, 
  5. EpiLady electric hair remover, 
  6. MobileEye safe auto navigation system, 
  7. Leviathan Energy silent wind turbine, 
  8. BriefCam video-synopsis technology, 
  9. Better Place electric car network, 
  10. Intel Israel computer processors
  11. TA Count real-time microbiology detection, 
  12. Solaris Synergy solar panels that float on water, 
  13. HydroSpin internal pipe electricity generator, 
  14. Elbit electro-optic observation system, 
  15. Turbulence interactive movie, 
  16. Decell Technologies GPS and phone-based road traffic information monitoring, 
  17. PrimeSense 3D vision technologies, 
  18. Takadu water utilities monitoring, 
  19. EarlySense hospital patient monitoring, and
  20. Panoramic Power energy monitoring.

Hamas & PLO agree: Goal is destruction of Israel

At a ceremony marking the 24th anniversary of the founding of Hamas, Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh said that Hamas may work for the "interim objective of liberation of Gaza, the West Bank, or Jerusalem," but that this "interim objective" and "reconciliation" with Fatah will not change Hamas' long-term "strategic" goal of eliminating all of Israel:
"The armed resistance and the armed struggle are the path and the strategic choice for liberating the Palestinian land, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river, and for the expulsion of the invaders and usurpers [Israel]... We won't relinquish one inch of the land of Palestine."
In his speech, Haniyeh also promised that Hamas will "lead Intifada after Intifada until we liberate Palestine - all of Palestine, Allah willing. Allah Akbar and praise Allah."
Two days later, contradicting Haniyeh's statements, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said that Hamas leader abroad Khaled Mashaal had agreed that:
-    "There will be no military resistance."
-    "The permanent solution is on the '67 borders." 

According to Abbas, Hamas agrees to a permanent solution on the '67 borders. However, Haniyeh said that Hamas agrees to a temporary solution on the '67 borders as a first stage only.
For many years, the PLO promoted a "stages plan" that would first create a Palestinian state on the 1949 - 1967 armistice lines, and then work from that position to destroy Israel. 

Senior Fatah official Abbas Zaki recently stated that this remains the goal for Fatah as well, but that 
"you can't say it to the world. You can say it to yourself." ...

Follow the link for the full Bulletin including longer excerpts of the statements mentioned above.