Saturday, June 18, 2011

Obama again steps beyond his job description

President Obama – No, He Can’t

By Former Ambassador Yoram Ettinger,

“Second Thought: US-Israel Initiative”


President Obama pressures Israel to adopt his initiative, which is based on the 1949 cease fire lines, including the repartitioning of Jerusalem and land swaps. He implies that Israeli rejection of his initiative would undermine US-Israel relations, while advancing Palestinian maneuvers at the UN.

However, Obama lacks the domestic backing to effectively pressure Israel, which has recently gained in bi-partisan support on Capitol Hill and among constituents, while Obama lost the “Bin Laden Bounce” and is struggling with a less-than-50% approval rating. Obama’s power constraints are derivatives of the Federalist system, which is based on limited government with a complete separation of powers and checks and balances between Congress and the White House, Congressional “Power of the Purse” and the centrality of the constituent in a political system of bi-annual elections. Therefore, legislators are more loyal to – and fearful of – their constituents than to their party or to the president. Moreover, the loyalty to constituents constitutes a prerequisite for re-election.

Obama’s constraints in pressuring the Jewish State emanate from the unique attitude of Americans – as early as the 1620 landing of the Mayflower, as well as the Founding Fathers – to the idea of reconstructing the Jewish Commonwealth in the Land of Israel. The solid and sustained support enjoyed by Israel in the USA derives its vitality from the American people and from their representatives on Capitol Hill and in the legislatures of the 50 states more than from the president.

While the president plays a major role in shaping US-Israel relations, constituents and legislators laid the foundations for this relationship and they continuously codetermine its direction, tone and substance. They can also initiate, suspend, terminate and amend policies, direct presidents and overhaul presidential policies.

The results of the November 2010 Congressional elections revealed that Obama’s policies had lost the support of most constituents.
According to a May 26, 2011 poll by CNN – which is usually critical of Israel – most Americans do not share Obama’s attitude towards Israel. 82% consider Israel an ally and a friend, compared with 72% in 2001. 67% support Israel, while only 16% support the Palestinians, compared with 60%:17% in 2009. In fact, the Palestinians (16%) are as unpopular as are Iran (15%) and North Korea (17%).

These CNN findings exceed the February, 2011 Gallup poll (68% considered Israel an ally), the April 2011 Rasmussen Report (most Americans opposed foreign aid to Arab countries but supported foreign aid to Israel) and the April 2010 Quinnipiac Polling Institute (66% expected Obama to improve treatment of Israel).

But, the “Poll of Polls” is conducted daily in Congress – a coequal branch of government – where hard-core support of the Jewish State has been bi-partisan, robust and steady. Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid and Minority Whip Congressman Steny Hoyer publicly criticized (fellow-Democrat) President Obama’s focus on the 1967 ceasefire lines. Other key Democrats – whose cooperation is critical to Obama’s reelection campaign – have clarified that they expect him to veto any anti-Israel UN resolution. Just like their constituents – most Democrats value Israel as a unique ally, whose alliance with the US is based on shared values, mutual threats and joint interests.

Will Prime Minister Netanyahu leverage this unique American support, defying pressure and solidifying Israel’s posture of deterrence in the face of an unpredictably violent Middle East, where concessions breed radicalism, terrorism and war? Or, will he succumb to the psychological warfare launched by the White House?

This entry was posted by Jerome S. Kaufman on June 17, 2011.

Friday, June 17, 2011

"UNRWA and More"

Arlene Kushner

Please see an article of mine that just went up on American Thinker:

The subject is UNRWA, which is putting out serious misrepresentations regarding the need for its services -- and the severe conditions in Gaza, as well as the quality of the services it does provide.

The villain in its reports is, of course, Israel.


I noted with interest today, after my piece went up, an article on related issues in the JPost.

Says the Foreign Ministry, "UNRWA's report is false, biased." Seems UNRWA released a report saying that the children in their Gaza schools attend classes on a double shift. This is because 100 new schools must be built to meet enrollment requirements, but Israel has only approved building of eight schools (i.e., will permit building materials for eight schools to come through the crossings into Gaza). In other words, it's Israel's fault that the kids of Gaza can't study properly. The truth, as exposed by COGAT (Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories) is that UNRWA never filed a request to build 100 schools. Officials first heard about this via the media.

Israel has approved 32 educational projects in Gaza for UNRWA -- 24 for new schools and others for expansions. However, UNRWA has only begun bringing in building supplies for 11 schools.

Chris Gunness, UNRWA's spokesman, when queried about this, made a valiant effort to keep his finger pointed at Israel. His response:

"...projects were delayed since donors did not want to give funds after previous donations were not used for past projects due to...Israel's refusal to approve projects presented years ago."

Huh? This guy is something else.


One other note of great significance on the issue of UNRWA. I had mentioned in my piece, and it's here in the JPost as well, that UNRWA claims unemployment in Gaza has increased to 45%. (I.e., the situation is deteriorating because of Israel's blockade.) I had pointed out facts and figures indicating that there had actually been an economic upswing in Gaza in the last year -- which puts the lie to what UNRWA said.

Now the Foreign Ministry has taken a look at something else: It is the "refugee" population that saw an increase in unemployment. Among non-refugees, unemployment dropped by 9%. So then the question has to be asked as to how UNRWA manages those "refugees," that they are not participating in the overall economic growth in Gaza.

Here's another sign that UNRWA has to be dismantled.


On the political scene, we continue to spin around without quite going anywhere. Sometimes matters tilt in one direction and sometimes in another.

Back not so long ago, I had speculated that Abbas might be having second thoughts about going to the UN to have a state declared. The sign I saw was that he was stonewalling on the question of the prime minister for that unity government -- insisting that it be Fayyad, even though Hamas despises him. This held up matters.

Now there has been an announcement that a unity government has been selected, with names to be revealed shortly. A step towards a joint Palestinian Authority. Abbas has backed down on his insistence that Fayyad be PM, but reportedly there is no final decision yet on who will be selected.

And so, as of now, this is my take: Abbas has weighed his options -- has seen that Obama cannot move Netanyahu to pull back to those '67 lines, as he hoped might happen -- and so has decided to go with the UN after all.


This doesn't mean that a delusional Obama is not still continuing his efforts to "break the stalemate" and get the two parties back to the table, so that he won't have to cast a veto in the Security Council with regard to membership of a Palestinian state in the UN.

I have only words of praise for Netanyahu, who has held tight to his position. He has spelled out his parameters, again, and again, and again. They include:

[] Recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people
[] Relinquishment by the PLO of all further claims against Israel if an agreement is signed
[] Jerusalem united under Israeli sovereignty
[] No return of "refugees" to Israel
[] No return to '67 lines
[] A long term military presence in the Jordan valley
[] No negotiating with a PA that includes Hamas (if it has not accepted Quartet parameters)


European Parliament President, Jerzy Buzek, of Poland, was here this week. I want to look just briefly at a statement he made in the course of a press conference, because it so typifies international thinking:

"There is a unique opportunity for Israel and the Palestinians to shape a future based on dignity, unity and prosperity, which will be achieved only by negotiations.

...Now is the best time, when there is a window of opportunity..."

A window of opportunity. I wish I had a shekel for every time someone over the years has alluded to that window. It's amazing: it never closes. Whenever people want to push negotiations, behold! they see it.

I would have far more respect for Buzek, and others like him, if they would say, look, it's a lousy time, we know this. But we have to try anyway, have to bring matters back from the brink.

But as it is, there is no grappling with reality, no intellectual honesty whatsoever. This is how it is.


I want to reiterate what I said some days ago: There is no way within UN process or international law for the UN to bring a state into existence. And yet the media keep referring to this, public figures insist on alluding to this.

The fact is that we don't know exactly what will happen: It depends on whether the General Assembly will play by the rules. But what we do know is that it's not a sure thing.


Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon has been in Latin America, and Netanyahu is visiting states in Europe -- focusing now more on eastern Europe. The goal is to achieve what Netanyahu is referring to as a "moral minority." If the General Assembly should take some irregular action in voting a Palestinian state into existence, the point is that it should not be done unanimously. If the Western democracies in some substantial number -- the goal, I believe is 30 nations -- stands opposed, the weight of that vote is undercut.


There were reports just a couple of days ago indicating that the EU was opposed to unilateral Palestinian Arab action on a state. Buzek had been quoted as saying such a move could be "dangerous."

However, he qualified this in the press conference I alluded to above. The EU is not opposed to a Palestinian bid for statehood in the UN, he said, it's just that "it is better to negotiate the solution. It is much better to have a dialogue and understanding."

Here's a man hedging his bets.


If the PA does go to the UN, or otherwise takes unilateral action in the establishment of a state, then this will automatically void Oslo. Israel will be absolved of her obligation to pursue changes in the status quo that exists between Israel and the PA via negotiations.

See Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's comments on this here:,7340,L-4083458,00.html

Thus, I see the possibility of a real window of opportunity here. Not the one Buzek was referring to, I assure you.

I wrote last about a mini-conference to be held here in Jerusalem on Monday night on the subject of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria as an alternative to the failed two-state solution. What I've seen in the time since I wrote is enormous enthusiasm in several quarters.

This might be a beginning -- the very start of establishing a solid momentum. Call it working towards a paradigm shift -- getting people to see that another way is not only possible but desirable. It will require commitment and planning and organizing. The point is that after the UN convenes in September may be the right time to really get this going.

I'll have more to say after the conference.


Lt. Col. (ret.) Yonaton (Yoni) D. Halevi -- one very savvy researcher -- has done a briefing for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs -- -- on "Power Dynamics Inside Hamas":

There has been "overt confrontation between Mahmoud al-Zahar, the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Gaza, and Damascus-based Hamas political bureau leader Khaled Mashaal [that] reflects underground currents feeding the tension within the Hamas leadership in Gaza and Syria.

"Al-Zahar is demanding that Hamas-Gaza be given more weight in decision-making, while the Hamas leadership abroad contends that the center of power should remain outside of Palestine.

"Since the Israeli disengagement from Gaza in 2005, Hamas' decisive victory in the parliamentary elections of 2006, and Hamas' military takeover of Gaza in June 2007, the Hamas government has gained significant political and economic power. It conducts foreign relations and imposes taxes on imports from Israel and from Egypt which have become remarkable revenue sources. This has weakened the dependence of Hamas-Gaza on the Hamas leadership abroad.

"In addition, the consolidation of the Hamas regime in Gaza, where the main military forces of the al-Qassam Brigades are stationed, has gradually changed the balance of power inside Hamas. Al-Zahar challenged Mashaal's authority to lead the movement, arguing that the center of power should move from abroad to 'inside' Palestine."

What caught my eye was this, which is has enormous implications:

"...The current main interest of Mashaal and his colleagues is to promote reconciliation with Fatah in order to pave the way for Hamas to join the PLO and take over the organization that is recognized internationally as the sole representative of the Palestinian people."

If Hamas should gain control of the organization that is charged with negotiating on behalf of the "Palestinian people," would people like Buzek still see a window of opportunity?


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Jewish Enemies of Israel

David Solway

Everywhere we look we see these broken Jews who have embraced left-wing causes, or assimilationist fatuities, or the temptations of social prestige, or the fashionable bromides of the zeitgeist that promise peace and understanding with anti-Semitic killers and despots in a pluralistic New World Order that exists only in their own febrile and disarrayed minds. Their behavior is nothing short of scandalous: Reform and Reconstructionist Jews who profess to have as much (or more) in common with Muslims and Buddhists as with their embattled congeners in the Holy Land, espousing the Sabbatarian fiction of multiculturalism; intellectual and political recreants like Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Michael Lerner, Neve Gordon, Joel Beinin, Charles Enderlin, Jeremy Ben-Ami, Richard Falk and the contemptible Richard Goldstone who labor to abolish the Jewish state or change its character unrecognizably, siding impenitently with its adversaries; artistic Jews—I have in mind people like Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua, David Grossman, Daniel Barenboim, Aharon Shabtai and the late Harold Pinter, among innumerable others—who give or gave succour to the enemy; media Jews who open their op-ed pages, both in Israel and America, to Palestinian “negotiators” and avowed terrorists; American Jews who vote for the most anti-Israel president who ever put his feet up on the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, and who, as Isi Leibler says, have “adopt[ed] an anti-Israeli chic”; mogul Jews in the entertainment industry who tiptoe around the Islamic fact and have nothing good to say on Israel’s behalf; filmster Jews like Steven Spielberg, Eyal Sivan, Ran Edelist and Amos Gitae, among a multitudinous crew of pan-and-zoom Israel bashers, who can always be counted on to impugn the nation’s character or justify the Palestinians; and the endlessly ramifying Jewish anti-Zionist and post-Zionist organizations in Israel and the West that accuse the Jewish state of insensate aggression, or immorality, or original sin, or illegitimacy, or inflicting collective punishment on their neighbors, ad nauseam. As I wrote in Hear, O Israel!, it is almost as if there is something in the Jewish psyche that breeds sinat chinam, or baseless hatred, in the midst of an historic kinship.

These individuals and groups comprise a veritable host of Joseph’s Brothers who go about their business selling Israel out and, although they may not know it, are quite plausibly arranging for their own eventual misery. As Rabbi David Algaze of Havurat Yisrael said of Tony Kushner, the Jewish playwright who believes Israel was a mistake and falsely accuses it of engaging in “the deliberate destruction of Palestinian culture,” he “is ignoring history and history will come back to haunt him.”

The issue we are broaching is not only whether Israel can survive its obvious enemies both in the Islamic world and in the West. The situation is bad enough as it is. The issue is whether Israel can survive its own. For Israel may not win through if it is constantly maligned and attacked by a swelling fifth column of fellow Jews who may bring the same fate upon the nation as it suffered in Biblical and Roman times. The Assyrians and Babylonians and Romans of yore have not gone away; they have merely transmuted into contemporary forms.

If Israel is to survive it must be defended, or at the very least not undermined, by its ethnic compatriots in the Diaspora or the admittedly small, but influential, cadre of its fractious and deluded citizens. It must, as a minimal condition, be allowed to fight its wars in peace.

Click here to continue reading

French flotilla called off

Members of Jewish community in France band together, send 500 letters of protest against Gaza flotilla, effectively preventing ship bought by organizers for €530,000 from docking in Marseille. 'Many battles left until September,' says one

Ronen Medzini
Israel News

One of the ships slated to participate in the flotilla to Gaza later this month will not set sail, Ynet has learned, less than a day after the Turkish IHH organization announced it was reconsidering its participation in the flotilla as well.

The ship was to set sail from the port of Marseille, but a lengthy battle by the French Jewish community has apparently succeeded in preventing it. Organizers of the flotilla issued a statement thanking participants Wednesday and urging them to seek other transportation, such as on ships departing from Greece and Turkey.

The French ship – one of 15 participating in the flotilla – was intended to carry a few dozen activists. Organizers bought the vessel for €530,000.

Ynet learned Wednesday that the ship was being prevented from docking in France thanks to pressure applied by parliament members and organizations on insurance local companies and authorities. The vessel is currently anchored in waters outside of Marseille, where it has been for the past four days.

"It's fantastic. Even we didn't believe this battle would lead to victory," a member of the French Jewish community told Ynet. He said he and other Jewish representatives had decided to join together to try to prevent the flotilla, and subsequently wrote letters of protest to 500 MPs and organizations.

"We acted fast, sent letters and warned all of the communities. We used social media and the internet, sent mail, set meetings, and made phone calls," he said. "We enlisted 15 non-Jewish organizations to support the battle, and together we warned all of the political parties with no ties to Israel about the consequences."

'A small battle in a large war'

On Tuesday the battle came to a hilt when Jewish MP Jacques-Alain Bénisti but a query to French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, asking to learn France's official position on the flotilla. The move was said to have put pressure on local insurance companies and helped to cancel the French ship's participation.

"We feel great joy, but we know that this is just a small battle in a larger war. There are many battles left until September. We must not claim victory, only rejoice in the united front we have presented and move on," a source from the Jewish community said.

"The next goal is to take control of the online field, appeal to youths, explain to them our position, and offer incentives to work with us."

Earlier Wednesday, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported that the IHH is considering canceling the flotilla following developments in the region, particularly in Syria. "We think we can achieve our goals regardless of whether we send the Marmara ship to Gaza or not. We shall make a final decision by the end of the week," the IHH spokesman said.

IHH senior official Hussein Uruç confirmed the report saying the group is rethinking the departure date but that preparations are still underway. "Tomorrow we shall make a final decision on the matter, but right now there is still one date and there are no problems with the flotilla," he said.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Arlene Kushner


UNRWA – the UN Relief and Works Agency – appears to be adopting a new face and new policies. These changes can be seen as part of a bold PR campaign to insure, first, that the UN will renew its mandate on June 30. Allusions to “administrative reform” promote an image of an agency that has its house in order.

1. Additionally, UNRWA wants to secure maximum funds for its operation. Whereas the vast majority of operational funds in the past came from donations provided by individual nations, UNRWA now seeks financial resources from the United Nations regular budget. 2. The changes, however, are tactical, and do not begin to represent the sort of reform that is urgently advocated by the Center. UNRWA operations, at their core, have not changed, and the problems they generate remain as critical as ever. In fact, not only do the tactical changes mask underlying problems, they also generate additional problems.

Washington Office

UNRWA is in the process of setting up a Representative Office in Washington DC, the mandate of which will be “to represent the interests of UNRWA vis-à-vis Washington, DC-based US government and non-governmental entities, with particular reference to the US Congress and the US State Department [and the National Security Council].”

3. Key staff members in this office will lobby “relevant members of Congress and their staffers to advance understanding of UNRWA’s role in the context of the regional issues of the Middle East [and] the Agency’s operations…”

4. The Office additionally will “monitor on a daily basis relevant developments in the US Congressional agenda, with a view to formulating and leading the implementation of an outreach and advocacy strategy dedicated to optimizing UNRWA’s relations with Congress and other Washington, DC-based governmental and non-governmental agencies…”

5. Lastly, it will formulate and institute “a media and communications strategy dedicated to addressing the US audience, including disseminating information to media as well as 2 civil society and non-governmental entities and timely responses to queries from media and other entities…”

6. Talks by John Ging

Since February 2011, John Ging has been going out to speak within American communities, primarily on US college campuses, often via Hillel chapters. His subject, broadly, has been Gaza. What is notable about this is that Ging has been promoted directly by J Street and J Street U.

7. (J Street co-founder, Daniel Levy, serves on the Board of Directors of American Friends of UNRWA.)

When Ging began this speaking tour he was still serving as Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza. The Center has documented numerous highly politicized, inciteful and tendentious statements he made over time in that capacity.

8. In February he moved over to OCHA, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, where he is Director of Operations. And yet, on April 27, 2011, John Ging will be speaking at the Hillel Chapter on the Brown University campus, having been promoted yet again by J Street.

9. He is now billed as the former Director of UNRWA’s Gaza operations.


In the course of years of investigating and documenting the work of UNRWA, the Center has consistently concluded that UNRWA operations and policy constitute a major precipitating factor with regard to unrest and radicalism in Palestinian Arab areas. In fact, a report on UNRWA produced by the Center in 2003 indicated that:

“…a continuation of the status quo of UNRWA operations is neither desirable nor acceptable. That status quo is detrimental both to the long term well being of the refugees and to the possibilities for peace in the Middle East.”

10. In light of the increasing radicalism in Gaza, this conclusion is more relevant than ever. Unique rules for Palestinian refugees

11. UNRWA is the only international organization dedicated exclusively to one group of refugees. This is in contradistinction to the UN High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), which is charged with working on behalf of all the world’s refugees, other than those who fall under the UNRWA mandate.

Furthermore, the High Commission is mandated to promote solutions to refugee problems. But UNRWA provides only humanitarian aid (education, health care, welfare assistance, social services) and has by policy absented itself from involvement in any creative resolution of the Palestinian refugee problem.

3. This arrangement, which has been in place for over 60 years, has generated a highly problematic and inequitable situation:

 UNHCR policies call for permanent settlement of refugees as quickly as possible, so that they might get on with their lives. When it is possible to repatriate refugees, this is done, but when it is not possible, refugees are provided with permanency either in the country to which they fled, or a third country. Once they achieve citizenship, they are no longer counted as refugees.

 UNRWA, on the other hand, says that Palestinian refugees and their descendents cease being refugees only if they “return” to Israel, from which they or their parents or grandparents great-grandparents fled in 1948. No other settlement option is considered permanent – the status of refugee continues to pertain even if a Palestinian has full citizenship in another country. What is more, the children of refugees (patrilineal line), now to the fourth generation, continue to be conferred with the status of refugee.

Problem generated by these unique rules

 The Palestinian refugee population is the only refugee population that has grown by leaps and bounds over the years instead of diminishing. While some 500,000 to 800,000 refugees were estimated to have fled Israel in 1948, UNRWA now claims over four million refugees on its lists.

Promotion of the “Right of Return”

12. In point of fact, there is legally no “right of return.”

Resolution of the Palestinian refugee problem is defined within the UNRWA mandate as being based on UN General Assembly Resolution 194, paragraph 11, which states in its lead sentence that “the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.” However, General Assembly resolutions are only recommendations and carry no weight in international law. What is more, the UNRWA mandate utilizes one phrase from a larger paragraph that in fact alludes to various solutions to the refugee problem including resettlement.

Lastly, there remains the question of whether refugees would truly live in peace with their Israeli neighbors. Evidence that this might be the case is close to non-existent.

Nonetheless, UNRWA for more than six decades has made the notion of “return” the focal point of its operation. Refugees are consistently taught about the villages in Israel they or their families had come from – this is reinforced in multiple ways, from the registration code on their ID cards to names on streets in the UNRWA camps to special programs.

4. The message delivered to refugees is that they have an inalienable right to return, and that Israel is blocking their exercise of that right.

The official UNRWA website currently runs a series of quotes from refugees. These quotes reflect precisely what has been communicated to them by UNRWA:

“We were born here, and live here, but we are strangers.” (a refugee in Jordan)

“All Palestinian children want to enjoy their rights. We want to live like everyone else.”

(a refugee in Gaza)

Problems generated by the policy on return

 The refugees themselves pay a price for this policy, for they are maintained in a stateless limbo situation, unable to find permanency and get on with their lives.

This constitutes a deprivation of their human rights – a fact that is largely ignored within the international community.

 The reality is that they are political pawns, forced to live with uncertainty when their problems might have been resolved, so that they might be used to pressure Israel. Consistently over the years attempts to ameliorate the difficult conditions of the refugees have been blocked because this would have the effect of reducing their desire to “return.”

As far back as June 1957, the Chairman of the Near Eastern Sub-Committee of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee reported at the end of a survey:

“The fact is that the Arab States have for ten years used the Palestine refugees as political hostages in their struggle with Israel. While Arab delegates in the United Nations have condemned the plight of their brothers in the refugee camps nothing has been done to assist them in a practical way lest political leverage against Israel be lost.”

13. That situation has not only persisted, it has been exacerbated over the years. In 1984, former Minister Mordecai Ben Porat wrote, “Preservation of the image of miserable, homeless, and penniless refugees has ruled out any possibility of dealing with the issues...the funds initially intended to erase the refugee problem have become a powerful instrument intent on preserving this very problem.”

14. (Emphasis added.)

In line with an Israeli government decision on the matter, Ben Porat had been asked by then Prime Minister Begin to address ways to ameliorate the situation of the refugees but found his efforts were consistently blocked.

5. Most notably, in 1985, when Israel attempted to move refugees into permanent housing that had been constructed with funding from the Catholic Relief Agency, the UN officially intervened. A General Assembly resolution15 was passed that forbade Israel from moving refugees out of their temporary shelters, since this would violate their "inalienable right of return" to the homes that they left in 1948.”

 The result of this situation has been a radicalization of frustrated Palestinian refugees, who are imbued with rage. This rage is directed at Israel, which is perceived as the cause of their suffering.


It has been irrevocably and inevitably the case that the situation of the refugees has rendered them receptive to membership in and support of the terrorist organization Hamas.

What has further been the case, however, is that UNRWA has, at best, turned a blind eye to refugee association with Hamas, and more frequently, has implicitly sanctioned refugee terrorist involvement and utilization of UNRWA facilities for terrorist activities.

UNRWA Employees Involved with Hamas

The association of UNRWA employees with Hamas follows from the fact that some 99% of those employees (top managerial staff excluded) are themselves Palestinian refugees – subject to the same frustrations and angers as other refugees.

This connection had become apparent by 2002, in good part because the IDF moved into UNRWA camps in Judea and Samaria as part of Operation Defensive Shield.

In interview, IDF Colonel (ret.) Yoni Fighel, a former military governor in the territories, observed that, “As long as UNRWA employees are members of Fatah, Hamas, or PFLP, they are going to pursue the interests of their party within the framework of their job…Who’s going to check up on them to see that they don’t? UNRWA? They are UNRWA.”

16. The situation still pertains. (See following.)

Hamas Presence in the UNRWA Schools

Teachers Union

The UNRWA teachers’ union in the Gaza Strip – by far the largest union sector – has close to 7,000 members; elections are held once every three years to select representatives to its executive council. For over 15 years, Hamas (via its affiliate Islamic Bloc).

17… has dominated the UNRWA’s teachers’ union in the Gaza Strip. In 2006, the Hamas victory was decisive: for the first 6 time, its candidates won all 11 seats for the teachers’ section, meaning that Hamas representatives would control the executive council of this union sector. In the 2009 elections, once again, Hamas-affiliated candidates won all 11 seats in the teachers’ section guaranteeing Hamas control of UNRWA schools in Gaza.

18. Islamic Bloc Operating in the Schools

The Hamas-affiliated Islamic Bloc (known in Arabic as Al-Kutla Al-Islamiah) maintains broad programs in UNRWA schools; these begin as early as junior high school, and promote incitement for jihad and opposition to Israel.

Representatives of the Kutla operate in the schools, with each group of representatives supervised by a counsellor (amir) assigned by Hamas. The goal is winning the hearts and minds of students so they can be recruited into the Hamas military wing during high school or after graduation.

This is done via supplemental programming, special events, and offers of assistance, including: clean-up projects; visitation of sick students; vacations; soccer tournaments; planting trees at the schools; assistance in preparing for exams; quiz contests with prizes; bringing and bands and singers associated with Hamas; and so on. Teachers are also given gifts by Kutla at holiday times.

19. One example of many, regarding Kutla involvement in the schools: Iz-A-Din Adel Al-Farah, a 15 year old student in eighth grade in UNRWA’s Al-Qarara junior high, had joined the Kutla and was head of the Daawa committee. After he was killed in an IDF operation in January 2009, Kutla activists in the school hung up posters that included a picture of Al-Fara in uniform and carrying a gun.

20. Terrorist Activities in the UNRWA Camps and Facilities

Operation Defensive Shield also shed a light on the use of UNRWA camps for terrorist activity. Speaking of the UNRWA Jenin refugee camp, in 2002, then Deputy Prime Minister Natan Sharansky, said:

“Dozens of suicide bombers were sent from that relatively small place. It had more explosive materials, this small area of the Jenin refugee camp, than most of the big cities of Judea and Samaria. Definitely, it had the highest concentration of explosive materials in this area, if not in the world.”

21. Over the course of the years since:

 Wanted terrorists have been found hiding inside schools run by UNRWA.

 A large number of youth clubs operated by UNRWA in the refugee camps have been discovered to be meeting places for terrorists.


 Sniper shooting has been done from UNRWA schools and bombs for terrorist attacks have been manufactured in such schools.

 UNRWA vehicles – including ambulances – have been utilized for transporting weapons and explosives, as well as terrorists on their way to attack.

22. In recent years this situation has been most problematic in Gaza, where terrorism emanates from inside the UNRWA camps and camps are used as launching sites for rockets, as well as the storage of rockets. The UNRWA Jabalyia camp in northern Gaza is most notable in this connection. During Operation Cast Lead, in Gaza, in December 2008/January 2009, tensions between the IDF and UNRWA were heightened when UNRWA leveled accusations that Israel had hit UNRWA facilities inappropriately. The IDF provided evidence for the presence of terrorists inside or on the grounds of those facilities.



UNRWA is, according to its mandate, a purely humanitarian organization. Politicized statements made by its staff would be inappropriate in any event. However, what the Center has tracked over the years are politicized statements that are tendentious, inciteful, and overtly anti-Israel. A few examples will suffice here:

 During Operation Cast Lead, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness, spoke on the radio.

24. After speaking about proportionality, without any sense of what the term means legally, he addressed the reason for the rockets that Hamas had been launching at Israeli civilians:

“But let me also say that the root of the rockets —and people in Gaza tell you this all the time— and, by the way, I also spend a lot of time in Gaza. They will tell you that the occupation is being resisted. That’s the reason for the rockets…

“And from the UN’s point of view, there is one occupied territory. So if there’s one Israeli soldier occupying the West Bank, then Gaza is also occupied. I’m afraid that is how international law works. Gaza has continued to be occupied.

And until the underlying cause of this, the occupation, is addressed and the strangulation, which is part of that occupation, is addressed, I fear for the people of Sderot.”

Gunness, who sounds like spokesman for Hamas here, is also totally wrong in what he says about “one occupation.”

 Similarly, Karen Abu Zayd, who was then Commissioner-General of UNRWA, in a speech made after the war, fabricated accusations:

“The saddest thing, is that all of the private sector - every single factory and workshop - was destroyed. Anybody who was working has to start all over.”



In point of fact, Israeli attacks were pinpoint — done to hit specific identified targets. One might also ask how AbuZayd determined such a thing: how could she know that there was not a single workshop left standing? This is not a case of empathy for the residents of Gaza that would lead to a tendency to exaggerate. In this instance, one is led to the possibility that AbuZayd willfully and maliciously misrepresented information for political purposes.

 On May 3, 2010, in an interview in his Gaza office with the Norwegian paper Aftenposten, John Ging, then Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, suggested that the international community had a responsibility to act with regard to the situation in Gaza. The situation now, he suggested, is that “Israel refuses to act reasonably.”

“Therefore we ask the international community: Bring us the supplies we need to rebuild schools and run them, bring us the equipment we need to hospitals and health centers. Everybody knows how desperate the situation is in the Gaza Strip after almost three years of blockade. We need action now…

“And who would stop the ship with such things as teaching materials and materials to building schools? In that case we would get a new reality for the international community. Then the purpose of the blockade would be to destroy Gaza, not to protect Israel.”

26. There is considerable reason to believe that this inciteful statement served to promote the flotilla that sailed towards Gaza in May 2010 with such disastrous results.


It is UNRWA policy to utilize the textbooks of the administrative region in which its various schools are located. Thus, for example, in Syria textbooks used in the Syrian schools are employed.

In Gaza and Judea and Samaria, UNRWA uses PA texts. The academic organization known as IMPACT-SE ( – formerly CMIP – has done a thorough analysis of these textbooks, utilizing UNESCO guidelines.

Some basic findings:

 Israel’s name, with a couple of very minor exceptions, does not appear on any of the maps.

 Several Israeli cities, as well as an archaeological site, a region and a mountain within Israel are defined as Palestinian.

 Jerusalem is presented as a Palestinian city.


 Peace is not mentioned at all, while war against Israel as a usurper, occupier and aggressor is implicitly encouraged.

 The refugee issue is mentioned within the context of the destined return of refugees to their 1948 homes.

 There is praise of and encouragement for the waging of Jihad, Holy War.

 Jews and Israelis are represented as being cunning and deceitful.


The nations that are primary donors to UNRWA – in the interests of promoting a peaceful situation between Israel and the Palestinians and protecting the human rights of the Palestinian refugees – are called upon to facilitate the follow changes within UNRWA:

 UNRWA’s mandate is adjusted to conform with that of UNHCR.

 Genuine, sustained and concerted effort be made by UNRWA to ensure that terrorist activities do not occur within or on the grounds of its facilities and that its vehicles not be employed for terrorist purposes.

 Hamas, in the guise of the Islamic Bloc, be prevented from maintaining a presence in UNRWA schools or facilitating activities in those schools.

 Persons with terrorist organizational affiliations, which includes affiliation with Islamic Bloc, be prohibited from running in the elections for the teacher’s union.

 The current school books in use in UNRWA schools be replaced by textbooks –which are available – that promote peace and recognize the legitimate presence of Israel as a Jewish state.

 A monitoring mechanism that provides full transparency be set in place for tracking the ways in which UNRWA utilizes its funds.



2 Ibid.


4 Ibid.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.


7 See comments by J Street U director Daniel May, on “J Street U Brings John Ging to Campus:

8 See

9 Marshall Einhorn, Director of Hillel at Brown, indicated in communication with David Bedein, Center Director, on April 21, that Hillel had been contacted by J Street, which offered Ging free of charge.


11 All information provided here is from the UNRWA report op. cit.

12 Ibid.


14 Nadav Anner and Mordechai ben Porat, Will There Always Be Refugees: A Survey and Proposals for a Solution of the Middle East Refugee Problem, Merkaz Hahasbara, Jerusalem,1984, p.36.

15 The document can be retrieved at:

16 Allison Kaplan Sommer, “UNRWA on Trial,” Reform Judaism Magazine, Winter 2002, p. 42.

17 Party affiliation is always unofficial, but everyone knows who various candidates represent.

18 Khaled Abu Toameh, “Hamas wins teachers union elections for UN schools in Gaza,” The Jerusalem

Post, March 29, 2009.

19 Lt. Col. (res.).Yoni Dahoah Halevy, in direct communication with the author. Arabic-speaking, he provided information based on his research, on request.

20 Ibid.

21 From the Foreign Ministry website:



24 A radio news show for Democracy Now! hosted by Ami Goodman, January 5, 2009.



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Ladder for the PA, Please?

Khaled Abu Toameh

The Palestinian Authority is searching for a ladder to climb down the high tree it climbed up regarding its intention to ask the UN in September to recognize a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines.

Already this week there were signs that the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah may delay the statehood bid under certain circumstances.

The Palestinian leaders may have finally realized that their decision to go to the UN would have serious repercussions for the Palestinians. The US Administration has made it clear that it would veto a Palestinian-initiated resolution at the UN in September. The threat was relayed once again this week to two senior Palestinian envoys who visited Washington and held talks with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Palestinian leaders in Ramallah are beginning to realize that the tree they climbed is high. Now they are waiting for someone to give them a ladder.

They now understand that it is not only the Americans who are opposed to their plan, but also several EU countries.

Palestinian officials have expressed fear that the Americans and Europeans would impose financial sanctions on the Palestinian Authority if it insisted on going ahead with its unilateral statehood bid.

This explains why the tone in Ramallah is now sounding different than before. Palestinian officials are now saying that they may abandon their plan in return for American and European guarantees that Israel would refrain from "creating new facts on the ground" in the coming months – a reference to construction of new homes in West Bank settlements and east Jerusalem neighborhoods.

In other words, the Palestinian Authority is no longer demanding a full cessation of settlement construction, but only that Israel refrain from creating new and irreversible facts on the ground.

Also, the Palestinians are now saying that they would be willing to return to the negotiating table with Israel if Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu openly declared his acceptance of US President Barack Obama's "two-state" speech at the State Department a few weeks ago.

The feeling in Ramallah is that the Palestinian Authority got itself into a mess with the statehood bid, and is now searching for a face-saving solution. What seems to have complicated matters for the Palestinian Authority is the fact that differences have erupted among its top leaders in Ramallah over the statehood idea. It remains now to be seen who will provide the ladder.

Comment: As much as I respect Toameh's work I beg to slightly disagree. One must understand who Obama really is-a Chicago politician-ruthless-as Abbas is nothing more than Arafat in a suit, so is Obama nothing more than Daley with a smooth delivery and gift of gab. Obama is setting up 2012 plan to abandon Israel. He is forcing Israel's hand believing that he can still convince Bibi to get us to say yes to "1967 lines" s a starting point-this is his objective. Given that Bibi may stand firm and reject again this request, Obama has set the world stage of opinion squarely on our shoulders. He will say: "All Israel had to do was say that the "1967 lines" were a starting point, that's all they had to say and then we would have rejected any PA attempt to unilaterally create a state. But no, Israel should not do this demonstrating, with regrets, that Israel is THE reason why peace cannot move forward. So, it is with great reluctance the USA must now...

Monday, June 13, 2011


Arlene Kushner

It is coming not from one source, but from multiple analysts -- including some with impeccable credentials:

The Obama administration is leaning on Israel to accept what Obama proposed regarding the '67 lines (the armistice lines of '49, although they are not referred to as such) as the starting point for negotiations.

Says Eli Lake in the Washington Times:

"Steven Simon, the new White House National Security Council senior director for the Middle East and North Africa, told representatives of the American Jewish community Friday during a conference call: 'We have a month to see if we can work something out with the Israelis and Palestinians as accepting these principles as a basis for negotiations. If that happens we are somewhat confident that the Palestinians will drop what they intend to do in the UN.'" "...The request of Mr. Netanyahu to publicly endorse those lines was made June 6 to the prime minister’s top peace negotiator, Yitzhak Molcho, at a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the National Security Council, according to an Israeli diplomat based in Jerusalem."


What is unprintable, then, is my response to this tactic of Obama, designed to protect him from the public "embarrassment" (before the Muslim world, that is) of vetoing in the Security Council any PA attempt to unilaterally establish a state via that venue.

That it represents a gross injustice to Israel is beside the point for him. That pushing us back to indefensible borders represents a security threat to the Jewish state is also apparently irrelevant -- in spite of the fact that he has repeatedly declared an undying commitment to Israel's security concerns.

But...I've covered all of this ground in previous postings.


It seems that Obama was not listening when Netanyahu told him no, and no again, we are not going back to those '67 lines.

Or, perhaps he was listening but refused to take the Israeli prime minister at his word. In point of fact, several readers have sent me "inside" information -- which I declined to cite directly because it was not solidly documented -- regarding Obama's alleged private fury that Netanyahu would have responded as he did. Not solidly documented, but sure fits the pattern.


Jonathan Tobin, writing in Commentary, has this to say about the Obama ploy:

"While the administration is trying to sell this pressure as being part of a master plan to head off a vote in the UN on Palestinian statehood, the administration is misjudging both the Palestinians and the diplomatic situation.

"It should have already been made clear to both Obama and Clinton that any time they call for a unilateral Israeli concession in the hope that it will entice the Palestinians to return to peace talks, their move has the opposite effect. Obama's calls for settlement freezes in the West Bank and Jerusalem only caused the Palestinians to adopt these as preconditions for talks. The same is now true of the president's ill-advised emphasis on the 1967 lines.

"Since the Palestinian Authority knows that it cannot sign a peace accord recognizing the legitimacy of Israel no matter where its borders may be drawn, they will seize upon any excuse not to talk and Obama has supplied them with just what they wanted.

"Moreover, the reported desperation of the Americans to avoid casting a veto in the UN of the Palestinian attempt to gain a state without recognizing Israel and ending the conflict is also misplaced. Appeasing the Palestinians in this manner will damage Israel's position..."’s-not-done-hammering-israel-on-1967-lines/


The good news is manifold, however.

First, and most importantly, Israel is not going to agree to start negotiations based on this premise. Even more so is this the case when Fatah has not renounced its intention to form a unity government with Hamas. And, I must note, there has been no call from Obama for Fatah to do so, which means that he seems to think he might get Israel to the table with a government that includes Hamas.

And then, the American administration appears committed to that "distasteful" veto even if Israel does not agree to the Obama premise.


Add to this the fact that the Germans have decided they are not eager to back a unilateral PA move:

Development Minister Dirk Niebel has told Der Spiegel magazine that he and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle would be conducting a high-level diplomatic mission to the Middle East, to try to convince PA leaders to drop plans to gain UN recognition for an independent state: "We must convince the Palestinians that a unilateral declaration of independence is the wrong way to go."

Germany is a major European player and this has to be a blow to the PA.


The PA, for its part, anticipating the US veto of its efforts in the Security Council, is considering an alternate approach. What's important in this regard, it seems to me, is simply clarifying that what is being discussed is absolute nonsense:

According to Al Hayat, Nabil Sha'ath, PA negotiator, has explained that the PA may demand the implementation of the 1947 Partition Plan as it was proposed in General Assembly Resolution 181.

In 1947, Great Britain, weary of its role with regard to the Mandate for Palestine -- which called for establishment of a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine from the river to the sea, with dense Jewish settlement to be encouraged -- turned the situation over to the General Assembly. Great Britain had been charged with responsibility for the Mandate by the League of Nations, but the UN had assumed all responsibility for League actions.

In Resolution 181, the General Assembly recommended to Great Britain that Palestine be partitioned into states for the Jews and the Arabs. Recommended: this is the operative word here. That resolution carries no weight in international law.


What is more, while the Jews -- eager to take what they could get! -- readily accepted this recommendation, the Arabs refused it because they did not want to give legitimacy to a Jewish state. So now, 64 years after the Arabs turned down the opportunity for a state in Palestine, they want to enact this recommendation??

Says Sha'ath: Even though the Partition Plan called for two states, "Israel announced its independence unilaterally and was recognized by the UN."

Give me a break! The Jews announced on the lines specified by the Plan. Nothing stopped the Arabs from announcing their state alongside. Nothing but Arab intransigence.


And here we come, again, to a serious misrepresentation of reality. The UN, while it recommended the formation of a Jewish state, did not "recognize" Israel (that is, bring it into existence). Israel came into being by virtue of its declaration of independence. The UN subsequently accepted Israel as a member of the UN, which is another matter. Sha'ath is, deliberately, I have no doubt, conflating two issues:

"Even if the US uses the veto, there will be 131 UN members that recognize Palestine. The US then won't be able to stop these countries from treating us as a state."

But the PA doesn't need the General Assembly for this. It simply has to declare a state and wait on recognition by various other states. What the US can, and will do, is block the membership in the UN of such a state, should it be declared.


A few points should be made here, before we move to other subjects (undoubtedly to return to this in due course).

The PA speaks about the Partition Plan with a very specific and devious intent -- not because it needs the UN to "recognize" a state:

Israel declared independence on the area that the UN General Assembly had recommended. Then the Arab League attacked, and in the course of the ensuing war, the area of Israel was somewhat enlarged. Whatever additional area was taken was legitimate because it was in the course of a purely defensive war. Subsequent to that war, armistice agreements were signed recognizing armistice lines (with the understanding that final borders would be negotiated at some point in the future). These lines are essentially what is meant by the '67 lines -- the lines that defined Israel until the 1967 Six Day War.

The point here is that the Partition borders and the 1949 armistice lines (i.e., the '67 lines) are not the same thing.

Make no mistake about this: What the PA is saying is, Oh, you won't agree to go back to the '67 lines, we'll fix you. We'll remind the world that all you had originally were the lines circumscribing a smaller area as defined by the General Assembly Partition Plan. We'll push you back to that.

(Of course, the PA is demanding Jerusalem as its capital, but under the Partition Plan Jerusalem was to be internationalized -- NOT part of an Arab state -- with a referendum to be held at a future time. But why would the PA allow facts to get in its way?)


I cannot let this discussion end without making one very specific point: When Israel agreed to accept the area defined by the Partition Plan, as deficient as it was with regard to what had originally been promised under the Mandate, it was an expression of the eagerness by Zionist leaders to bring a Jewish state, of whatever size was possible, into reality. We'll take it! was the cry.

Compare this please, with the constant harping by the Palestinian Arabs that this offer was no good and that offer was not sufficient. There is a palpable lack of eagerness to bring that state into existence -- in spite of the shockingly generous terms that were offered first by Ehud Barak and then by Ehud Olmert. Their constant refrain is, Not good enough yet! We intend to have it all.


JINSA in its latest Report, # 1098, addresses another issue with regard to the PA and the UN:

In essence what it says is that the Palestinian Arabs may be pushing too hard this time. Until now it was easy to cut the PA slack --"to prevent the Arabs from paying the price of their rejection of the independence of Israel in 1948" -- because it didn't affect any other countries.

But now UN member states suddenly realize that bending the UN rules in order to recognize a Palestinian state "might work against them as they face secessionist movements of their own."

"There are 37 recognized and recognizable secessionist movements in Africa. There are 65 in Asia, including 13 in Burma, five in China (Uighurs, Tibetans and Mongolians among them). Russia straddles continents and faces five secessionist movements in Asian Russia and 13 more in European Russia, including Chechens. The rest of Europe has more than 50, including 18 in Italy and nine in Spain. France has four irredentist movements, four secessionist movements, five autonomist movements and several movements to change the borders of Departments. There is one each in Poland, the Netherlands, Romania and Switzerland..."

Suddenly what the PA wants of the UN, which would set a precedent, might not seem like such a good idea. Interesting, indeed.


Yale University has just decided to close the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of anti-Semitism, a move that has generated considerable concern.

See Caroline Glick's take on it here:

"...The move has been widely criticized as politically motivated. For its part, the university claims that the move was the result of purely academic considerations.

"While not clear-cut, an analysis of the story lends to the conclusion that politics were in all likelihood the decisive factor in the decision. And the implications of Yale's move for the scholarly inquiry into anti-Semitism are deeply troubling."

Subsequent to this piece, Glick made one correction that I note here:

"...I mistakenly wrote that YIISA was the only institute in a North American university dedicated to the study of anti-Semitism. As it turns out, there is another one at Indiana University run by Prof. Alvin Rosenfeld. I had heard of the center, but was under the impression that it was still in the planning phases. So sorry for the error and congratulations to Indiana University for doing the right thing."


Please, also see this June 10th article, "Reclaiming a historical truth," by Efraim Karsh, the very fine historian who has recently assumed the position of director of the Middle East Forum.

This is a piece that sets the record straight, and merits broad sharing. Documenting the fact that many Arabs in 1947 and 1948 fled Israel at the bidding of their own leaders, or were driven out by the "Arab Liberation Army" that had entered Palestine before the end of the Mandate, it puts the lie to the Arab myth of Nakba -- that Jews drove the Arabs out.


"The Good News Corner"

A group of scientists, headed by Professor Michael Ovadia, of the zoology department in the life sciences faculty of Tel Aviv University, have isolated a substance from cinnamon that inhibits Alzheimer's disease in rats. The promise for human beings is considerable, but further study is necessary.

The substance in cinnamon not only inhibits the creation of amyloid molecules (that form fibers that interfere with brain function), but also breaks down those that already exist -- suggesting curative as well as preventative properties.

One of the reasons for excitement here is because cinnamon is a natural substance without side effects in controlled quantities. Professor Ovadia is already drinking tea with the cinnamon extract in it, but warns that those who want to try this should not ingest more than 10 grams of cinnamon a day. That's a lot of cinnamon.

© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.

Fighting Self-Hating Jews

Ari Bussel

A local activist in Orange County has been fighting a large organization. The organization is Jewish and it supports an initiative to send students, Jewish and others, to Israel. Thus far, the idea is fantastic. For instance, the program “Birthright,” started by philanthropist Bronfman and now an official endeavor of the Israeli government, sends young Jews to Israel to get to know the country. They return after a short stay, an all-expense paid trip, turned into Israel’s best ambassadors.

They, who never saw the Jewish state, experience it first hand—from its modern façade to its Biblical roots. They get to know this tiny country, a beautiful petite lady, and its over seven million inhabitants. They experience the Dead Sea, considered one of the wonders of the world, cover themselves in black mud and float in water that does not let them drown. They ascend onto Masada and hear about determination and conviction turned into action, and thirstily they absorb the most marvelous scenery down below.

Then onto Jerusalem where they discover all major religions coexisting, like a miracle, in this eternal capital of the Jewish people.

They visit the main power-center of Israel, where the executive, legislative and judicial branches reside, and discover that minorities are well represented there—Muslim Arabs in the Supreme Court, in the Knesset and in the Government and another non-Jewish minority, the Druze in the Knesset and in the Government.

They see their peers in uniforms, green, white or grey, a mandatory draft that precedes life in society. College waits until after the obligatory service.

A plethora of immigrants, all assimilated, surround them everywhere they go, as they experience the wonder of children who do not distinguish one another by skin color.

Out and about to enjoy the nightlife, safe and secure in their surroundings.

Until terror hits. Until the country is attacked. Until they are presented with the hatred threatening to swallow up the tiny Jewish State.

Israel is surrounded by enemies just a short drive from Israeli towns and cities. They amass tens of thousands of rockets to use at will. They cultivate terror, fueled non-stop by incitement against the Jews and Israel’s very existence. They call for Israel’s annihilation and the world claps and dances in joy, drawn to an ancient promise to exterminate the Jews.

Thus, when a local non-profit called the Olive Tree Initiative (OTI) sends students to Israel “and Palestine,” and arranges for the students to meet members of the Palestinian Authority who are Hamas-affiliated or Muslim Brotherhood influenced, one must wonder why.

Impressionable young minds, motivated and eager to discover why this tiny country is constantly on the front pages, are exposed to a very clever and deceptive enemy.

One that speaks two languages; one for the West and another to the Arabs. They claim, “we condemn murders” then send their people to commit homicide bombings, calling for a “holy war” against the “Zionist Occupiers.”

A mother swears her son was under her supervision the whole night, after finishing a delicious dinner she made, and goes to proclaim no “Palestinian” (Muslim Arab) will ever murder a child. Her anguish showing, horrified of the very thought, she looks around at the children playing in the street – “it is against our nature she says” and blames the Zionists of murdering their own to blame her people.

Her son, it turned out from his own admission, was “out and about” on that Friday night. He did exactly what she proclaimed on TV no Muslim Arab will ever do: her own flesh and blood who was under her supervision the whole night. Now, one has to evaluate the effectiveness of such education and the credence we give to interviews made for international audiences.

In English they say, “we want peace, two states living side by side,” but in Arabic in the most captivating music videos they sing, “we will return, soon, very soon, to our cities” and name every Israeli city as theirs. There is no place for Israel on their maps, in their hearts or their discourse.

Israel for them must cease to exist, and this they teach their children. They train for hatred and war in a way no fake-sweetness will disguise the bitterness of the pill. They burn Israeli products and plan for the day they will burn all Israelis. In fact, many of their young people are ready to embark on death missions.

Recently 18 and 19 year olds entered a home on a Shabbat eve and butchered two parents and three of their kids, the youngest just three month old. One child not at home survived, and two others were spared as the perpetrators rushed to leave. When caught they explained without remorse: “They were Jews. They deserved to die.” Cold, plain, simple, trained assassins doing what they had been taught.

These are Israel’s “Peace” partners. The people the OTI are exposing to students from the University of California Irvine (UCI) and other California state-subsidized universities. Jewish groups help finance this project, and Jews support and facilitate the activities of OTI.

Controversy is in no short supply in Orange County’s UCI. Thus, exactly six months ago, the Jewish Federation invited Israel’s Minister of Public Diplomacy and the Diaspora especially for this purpose. The invitation stated:

“Due to our ongoing efforts to provide a pro-Israel voice at UCI, and working in conjunction with the Israeli consulate, Yuli Edelstein, Israeli Minister of Diaspora Affairs will come to UC Irvine later today as a guest of the Olive Tree Initiative.

“As you know, there has been controversy regarding the Olive Tree Initiative of late, and we are proud to have another high level government official from Israel address our community and students.”

I wonder if the “other high level government official” meant the unfortunate speech of Israeli Ambassador to the USA at UCI when members of the Muslim Student Union (MSU) stood up and shouted false claims against Israel.

It was fascinating to watch this masterful performance. Nothing new, except for the Jewish community that bused its people for the event. They were astonished when hit with the hatred and sophistication of the MSU.

It was a wakeup call, a call for action! Rushing to do something, the Jews of Orange County decided the best plan of action was appeasement. Oh, the folly of the politically correct and naive.

Alas, imagine the cooperation and coordination between the Jewish community—acting quickly lest it lose its support base—and the Israeli Consulate. Rather than go on the attack, exposing the lies and true intentions of Muslims trying to silence free speech and their hatred to the West, not only for Israel, the Federation and Consulate chose to appease the OTI instead.

The head of an American organization’s office in Israel feared the visiting minister would walk into a trap. He implored local activists to be present and protect the Minister from a repeat performance of Ambassador Oren’s visit. While he was correct in his prediction, note that the local Consulate was instrumental in facilitating this event, so the Minister’s top advisers were comfortable with the planned visit. Everything else was dismissed as false alarms.

Whose responsibility is it to know what is happening on the ground? Who is in charge of informing the Minister (and likewise the Ambassador) what to expect? Who safeguards the interests of the Jewish State if not the Israeli Consulate?

Thus, when the Federation touts the event under the auspices of the Consulate, all roads point to the Consulate. It was their responsibility, the umbrella they raised over the event, its organizers and participants. At the end of the day, the Israeli Consulate must explain why it supports the OTI.

Is it common for Israeli ministers to rush to the USA and talk to local groups? How many Israeli ministers in recent years have come to talk with the OTI, Americans for Peace Now, Amenu, Meretz and other center-left to extreme-left Jewish (or those masquerading as Jewish) organizations? Those who are familiar with the non-stop stream of Israeli visitors to California immediately understand the uniqueness of this event and the grave implications of the Consulate’s involvement.

The Minister returned to his office and very busy schedule. I do not know if he forgot about the visit, but I am quite convinced he is not supporting the OTI. I sat with one of his top deputies just a few weeks ago in Jerusalem, and supporting OTI or similar activities is counter to their work. For him it was an excursion, a short respite of regular business, then back to Israel.

I cannot explain the Consulate’s lack of thinking or inclusiveness. Neither is new. I can, however, attest to the effects of their actions.

The Minister’s footprints, the very fact he was here, was detrimental. For the past six months, the OTI has been expanding its reach to other campuses, most recently to UCLA and the Greater Los Angeles area. They have been utilizing—appropriately from their perspective albeit quite misleading—that special meeting with the Minister to further their sphere of influence.

A local activist that has been working to expose the OTI and stop funding and support by the Federation and Hillel (a Jewish group, of course), asked for a meeting with the President of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. Will the Federation here aid and abate as well, or will it stand firm and focus its resources solely at what has proven successful, like Birthright “Taglit” (Discovery) program?

The President of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles said in no uncertain terms: I would not have met you, had one of our major donors (also seated at the meeting) not forced my hand! He was reluctant otherwise to do or commit to anything.

He did, however, give an excellent suggestion: You must find, he told the activist, someone like the major donor sitting here, down in Orange County. Smart, Jay Sanderson, you touched right on the control button: Only major donors can affect change. If local activists, those on the front line, want to achieve anything, they need to reach the major donors. What is right is irrelevant unless it is backed up with major funding.

Incidentally, the major donor who arranged the meeting pledged, but did not yet consummate this year’s pledge. To the President of the Federation, you have taught a very important lesson: MONEY TALKS, and apparently only money. Thankfully, while you may not be reading this, some of your major donors regularly do.

The donors, like those at the helm, are isolated from what is happening on the ground. The echoes may reach their offices, but there are so many gatekeepers and opinion shapers, paid consultants and advisers, that those at the top are protected from the ugly truth.

Besides, who really wants to get one’s hands dirty? Why fight when one can live the good life in ignorance and bliss? Problems at UCI? All exaggerated. MSU planting fear in Jewish students on campus? Preposterous! Go find another major donor to annoy for I am too busy running the Federation!

Whose job is it to know what is happening on the ground? If the Consulate as a matter of policy does not attend events not strictly pro-Israel from fancy to ultra-special, should it not, at the very least, be responsible for amassing information, intelligence, and be aware of what is happening? Should it not know who is active, what is being said and what to expect? At the very least this information must be transferred to the home office (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) or disseminated to local activists, to engage in preemptive action.

Blinded by the spotlight and paparazzi, the very important “public servants” working at the Consulate think—mistakenly—they are stars. For someone who does not attend anti-Israel events, a regular occurrence in Los Angeles, why would they orchestrate and facilitate such a high-ranking ministerial visit to California?

Would the Minister likewise attend an event by any other group, possibly more center-right or one that actually has ISRAEL’S WELFARE AT ITS HEART?

Jewish people are a very special breed. They fight for their enemies, call for boycotts, divest and sanction their own country, malign Israel’s activities and wishes to live peacefully, then enable those very activities that will bring about Israel’s downfall.

Those at the helm like the President of the Federation, the Consul General, the President of a certain University in Israel and others forget their true masters. They neglect the small point, that they were elected or appointed to represent and to serve. They are not “above” the people—they represent the people. They are responsible TO the people.

They mistakenly think they are modern-day gods sitting upon Mt. Olympus. Time to wear a disguise and go among your people. What a wonderful expedition that would be: discover, study, listen and feel. You may be astonished to learn how disconnected you are, how counterintuitive and harmfully counterproductive your actions are.

The People are sending a message: Get ready to leave your too-comfortable surroundings, walk among your people. You are vitally needed to protect Israel and the Jewish people. We on the ground cannot do it alone.

The series “Postcards from America—Postcards from Israel” by Ari Bussel and Norma Zager is a compilation of articles capturing the essence of life in America and Israel during the first two decades of the 21st Century.

The writers invite readers to view and experience an Israel and her politics through their eyes, Israel visitors rarely discover.

This point—and often—counter-point presentation is sprinkled with humor and sadness and attempts to tackle serious and relevant issues of the day. The series began in 2008, appears both in print in the USA and on numerous websites and is followed regularly by readership from around the world.

© “Postcards from America — Postcards from Israel,” June, 2011


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Protecting Free Speech

Ari Bussel

The expression “ugly” or “naked” truth hits one squarely in the face. No makeup, costumes or other tricks of the trade, just plain, exposed reality. One we often do not like when we see it.

Many times it takes a child, someone naïve, unbiased and innocent, to expose things as they really are, not the way we were grown accustomed to see them. Without any pretense or illusion, without lighting or sound effects, the child declares, “Naked is the King,” and we are astonished at the simple truth we see for the very first time.

I remember sitting at dinner prior to a play with a group of friends, one of whom is a Regent of the University of California, Los Angeles. I was talking about the hatred toward anything Israel and by extension anything Jewish on UC campuses. I was an outsider among this group of friends, so I was politely but firmly dismissed. Although my ears were not burning later, I would not have been surprised to learn I was called a pessimist, an extremist or an alarmist. In the group setting, it was politically incorrect to say anything, so I was handled gently. The way a person treats a sick child or an adult on his deathbed. Or someone merely to be tolerated, but not taken seriously.

A year later I was once again invited to join the same group of friends for dinner and a play. I was the beneficiary of the extra season ticket when one couple fell out.

The discussion again centered around Judaism on campus. Oh, how their positions had changed. Finally they had started to feel something was wrong. “Suddenly” I was not that off-the-wall, my warnings and diatribes were no longer dismissed as foolish, but rather faced as a new reality. I did not feel vindicated, just saddened that reality finally hit center stage.

In this very series we have, over the past three years, been the target of numerous adjectives and descriptions. None of these, however, is sufficient to camouflage or change the truth. Personal attacks do not make the truth thinner or lighter, taller or stronger. They simply reflect badly on the attacker.

Why was I still worried? Finally there was a Regent “feeling” that something was wrong under her watch. I looked around at this group of very influential philanthropists in a position to fight back, to react. I knew, though, that the small steps toward recognizing the problem were insufficient.

The enemies of the West and of free speech and the blatant Anti-Semites are galloping forward ushering hatred never before experienced. The realization by those who defended and enabled them all along that their behavior has been dangerous was insufficient to drive them into necessary action or to stop the advancement.

Allow me to use the following analogy: Even when the actual condition in the reactors in Japan, following the earthquake-tsunami of 2011, was finally ascertained, the drastic steps necessary to protect the population and environment were not taken. The Japanese will suffer silently, their national honor at stake, but radiation leakage finds its way around the globe, spreading to fish in the ocean and to the atmosphere above us, its aftermath devastating to us all.

Circumstances sometimes call for drastic measures, but it is human nature to ignore, hope for the better and expect miracles to happen. People are then forced to react when faced with a full-blown problem threatening to overtake them. By then, the situation is already critical, and appropriate measures are more painful, and often unsuccessful, as when cancer strikes and has spread throughout the body.

Following this dinner, several months later in fact, the Israeli Ambassador to the USA was to speak on the Irvine campus. A group of Israel supporters came to hear him speak hours earlier at a nearby Church event, but none agreed to join me later at UCI. Everyone knew what was about to happen.

The enemies of the West and Israel demand access, the ability to speak and the respect of others to listen to what they have to say. They, however, are under no obligation to honor any of these courtesies themselves.

In their minds it is perfectly legitimate for them to silence others, preventing both the speaker’s right to speak and the listeners’ right to listen. When removed for disturbing the peace, their tirades continue outside, using megaphones and loudspeakers to drown out others. When this does not work, they threaten with violence, and if terror fails, they do not hesitate to resort to actual, physical violence.

At their “events,” all hate speech is acceptable. Not even the slightest disturbance is tolerated. Hired “body-guards,” ex-prisoners or foreign-looking, are used to patrol and guard lest anyone dares to speak. Photography and videotaping is prohibited. Those who hold pro-West or pro-Israel positions are not allowed access and the police are called to remove such persons. Seemingly, there is no end to their Chutzpa, but no one stands up to them, not even the police.

A feeling of fear preempts their events, and there is a feeling of terror whenever they appear. Often times they are not students, faculty or staff, rather outsiders coming to establish “Sharia Law” on campus.

Jewish students are ill equipped and ill prepared to handle these instigations. Their “Jewish experience” ended sometime after their Bat or Bar Mitzva (“reaching adulthood” ceremony, at 12 for girls and 13 for boys). There was a gap for five to six years, and then they entered a university, where ideas should be exchanged in a safe environment to learn, advance, discover, explore and expand.

This preconceived notion of what the university experience should be about is shuttered when the brutal reality of those trying to silence us—the West and Israel—takes center stage.

No one is able to stop them, because no one stands in their way. For a very long time the upper echelon ignored the situation, while the infestation grew into a plague. Clearly one could not profess, “I did not know,” for the signs were quite visible: Professors bashing Israel in courses having nothing to do with Israel, directly or indirectly. Allowing “Apartheid Weeks” and “Racism Weeks” on campus. Allowing speeches and rallies comparing Israelis to Nazis and every possible poisonous and vile attack against the Jewish People and Israel. All was dressed as “freedom of speech” or “academic freedom;” the “Freedoms” to murder Israel and the West while passersby continued their hurried stroll.

I remember driving the lecturer to a UCI lecture I attended. A famous authority on Middle East, he is revered by many as the top scholar on the subject and labeled by others the most dangerous person against Islam. Why? Because the Islamists do not like what he has to say. He presents the truth without any pretense, the truths they constantly try to hide and bury under makeup and make believe.

The police had to escort us from our arrival to campus to the parking, then to a waiting room, then the lecture hall and back. They checked for explosives under my car. The Islamists—member of the Muslim Student Union and others—wore tapes over their mouths. During the Pledge of Allegiance, they remained seated in protest. To the audience, their defiance was disrespectful to the country that welcomed them. Later, as the distinguished professor started to speak, they disrupted him continuously. One person after another rose and shouted insults. As soon as one was removed another stood.

They gathered outside and continued the mayhem designed to prevent the speaker from speaking and the audience from hearing. It was their “right,” and the police did not intervene.

It took many dress rehearsals until those in charge of the University understood the real threat to civil society. They allowed hate speech to continue far too long and did not take measures to stop the spread of hatred, but instead protected it.

By allowing the spread of a disease aimed at someone else (Israel or the Jews), its effects against population X can be applied against population Y. The true discovery is that it has little to do with Israel. It is designed to conquer America.

The Muslims, incidentally, understand this all too well. Thus, terror attacks against Israel (like homicide or road side bombings) have been exported from Israel to Jordan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Britain, Spain and elsewhere. The simple truth is it works very well elsewhere as it does against the Jews.

Similarly at a university: If we do not stand up when “blacks” are targeted, why would anyone stand up when “Jews” are the focus? We are have been trained and are so sensitive about African-Americans (thanks in large part to Jews who stood up, some half a century ago, and fought). But we have been desensitized to the ever-worsening plight of the Jews and Israel. The demonization of the latter is so effective that anything bad that happens to “them” is justified; even by fellow Jews.

Once, not very long ago, the situation was different. When I was a student at UCLA one could safely hold an event about Israel or wear a Kippa (yarmulke) or a shirt with the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) name and symbol on it. One did not need to hide or fear, because frankly, people did not really care.

Recently at a conference at my Alma Mater, the hundreds of attendees had to enter via metal detectors, the UCLA police was in full force, hate literature was distributed outside (it is their “right”), once seated inside they stood one by one and shouted insults and anti-Israel slogans. Finally all removed from the lecture hall, they started the performance outside. Déjà-vu.

At another conference, held by the Islamists—UCLA was chosen specifically since the location would add credence and send a signal (even though the University had nothing to do with the conference other than renting space it should not have rented)—the atmosphere was the Communist era. If you veered right or left, looked in a way that someone else did not like, tried to record or photograph, even raised a question that MIGHT have sounded pro-Israel or the West, you were headed out, escorted by vicious-looking guards who look like they developed their muscles on tax payers expense and would enjoy nothing more than have the opportunity to teach you a lesson.

We must restore sanity, but that will only happen when people see the naked truth with their own eyes. Until such times, my descriptions will be dismissed as nothing more than ranting, and even those who know me well continue to refuse to believe. They listen politely and dismiss what I say with a smile of a parent at a lost youth or elderly parents adamant of their way.

Until they experience Islamist hatred first hand.

I just hope it will not be too late. They will be overwhelmed then, like Japan was with the Tsunami that followed the Big Earthquake. Japan was ready and trained constantly. We are not. We choose to bury our heads in the sand and ignore the threat, while the devilish dance getting closer and closer around us, threatening to suffocate us.

An earthquake cannot be forecasted, nor can a major Tsunami. Seconds, minutes or at most hours may be the time frame for a warning. Here the process lasts years, and the enemy becomes more emboldened and more sophisticated with every passing day.

I just watched a segment of a speech in San Francisco before a Jewish Film Festival. The pro-Israel, Pro-West speaker was interrupted so many times by the audience with boos and shouts that I was immediately reminded of “ those demanding free speech but preventing it for everyone else.” The segment is from 2009, and changes are only for worse.

We must all stand up now to protect our most basic rights. As they disappear, who will ensure we get them back?

Protecting Israel is nothing short of protecting the West and America. We must stand up when lies are spread, when terror is employed to instill fear. We must stand together to protect what is most dear to us —life in the United States of America, as we know it.

The series “Postcards from America—Postcards from Israel” by Ari Bussel and Norma Zager is a compilation of articles capturing the essence of life in America and Israel during the first two decades of the 21st Century.

The writers invite readers to view and experience an Israel and her politics through their eyes, Israel visitors rarely discover.

This point—and often—counter-point presentation is sprinkled with humor and sadness and attempts to tackle serious and relevant issues of the day. The series began in 2008, appears both in print in the USA and on numerous websites and is followed regularly by readership from around the world.

© “Postcards from America — Postcards from Israel,” June, 2011


New citrus supplement busts cholesterol and sugar

Karin Kloosterman

A new dietary supplement being developed by Israeli and American researchers could change the way our bodies digest cholesterol and sugar.
Hamburger and fries
The new citrus compound could cancel out the bad effects of eating a hamburger and chips, or other fast foods laced in sugar and fat.

Imagine an ice-cream sundae topped by a special chocolate sauce that will never let that blessed moment on your lips stay forever on your hips, or a pizza topping that you sprinkle over the cheese like oregano, made from a secret ingredient that will help your body break down all the fat, so that it won't clog your arteries.

These are some of the very real possibilities coming out of a Hebrew University-Harvard University team working on extracting naringenin, a compound from grapefruit, and using nanotechnology to make it into a complex absorbed 11 times better than normal. This may forever change the way our metabolisms deal with fatty and sugary food. The research on this citrus extract is led by Dr. Yaakov Nahmias from the Benin School of Engineering and Computer Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Maria Shulman, his graduate student. They have isolated the molecule that creates the bitter taste in grapefruits, and have strong clinical evidence that if developed as a dietary supplement, it could change the way our bodies deal with fat and sugar.

The studies hold significant implications for the drug market, particularly in relation to diabetes, obesity, arteriosclerosis and even hepatitis C, Nahmias tells ISRAEL21c while bouncing his new baby on his knee.

Nahmias is a young researcher by Israeli standards at age 37, because all men must serve in the military for three years. But he raced through the necessary milestones to become a full-fledged scientific investigator, completing a degree at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, a doctorate in Minnesota and post-doctoral work at Harvard.

In his study reported in the scientific journal PLoS One, he explained how under regular conditions the absorption of the fat- and sugar-busting molecule naringenin is quite low. You'd have to ingest a lot of grapefruits for it to work -- probably more than you'd ever want to eat.

To improve absorption capabilities, the researchers applied new tools from nanotechnology, and engineered a form of naringenin that includes an extra ring of sugar attached to the molecule. It is this extra ring that improves the absorption of naringenin and turns its bitter taste to sweet.

Harvard University and Yissum, the technology transfer arm of the Hebrew University, have filed for patents. Clinical trials are now being carried out in the United States.

First dietary supplement to ward off atherosclerosis

According to the researchers, this is the world's first dietary supplement that affects our body in a positive way as it reacts with the food we eat. The new complex is not a difficult pill to swallow; Nahmias predicts it could best be applied directly to food before it hits the market.

But as a pill, it could potentially wipe a few other leading drug formulations off pharmacy shelves. It could be taken as a natural preventative measure against the buildup of lipids before cholesterol levels get high. Based on clinical studies now underway in Massachusetts General Hospital, it could even revolutionize the approach to the hep C virus.

As Nahmias explains, "Type II diabetes patients need to take drugs to make their body more sensitive to insulin. They also have problems with elevated lipids. Our clinical trial is for hepatitis C, which assembles on the LDL triglycerides. We've found [our molecule] can block the production of the virus."

In earlier studies, the scientists found that one dose of their new molecule given to rats before a high-sugar and high-fat meal reduced the creation of "bad" cholesterol, or very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), by 42 percent.

"The complex is special in that it is taken just before a meal, as a preventative measure," says Nahmias. This is completely different than statins, which are prescribed to people with high VLDL, usually to be taken for life.

"In comparison, existing medications are given only after the chronic development of abnormal lipid levels in the blood," says Nahmias, who hopes to work with industrialists to develop the product platform further.

Reprogramming metabolism

Nahmias, a biologist and chemical engineer, believes he will follow this research through for the next few years in his quest to understand the way body cells "think" about the metabolism. "I want to try and reprogram metabolism. Some people have fast metabolisms, and some slow. Sometimes the intestinal cells are better or worse at absorbing intestinal sugar," he explains. "One can have very different fauna, or bacteria, in the intestines, which influence how the intestines break down fat and sugars."

It might be possible to lace a high-fat or high-sugar food, such as a doughnut, with his new compound to prevent the intestines from absorbing sugar, he says. "This is a very science fiction approach but we are really talking about changing the way we look at metabolic diseases, arteriolosclerosis and obesity.

"Instead of treating the symptoms, we are treating the cause. The cause is food. It all starts and ends with food, and the way our body reacts to it."