Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Left’s Very Anti-PC Strategy: Hate, Fear, Stereotype, and Treat Diversity as Evil

Barry Rubin

When one talks to supporters of President Barack Obama, one quickly learns that his actual policies and their relative success or failure are of no importance for many of them. Some have defected, many more are worried (even if they won’t admit it publicily) but might overcome their doubts and vote for him again.

The significant factor shaping their views is one of self-image. That’s why evidence and events have relatively little influence on them unless–which may be precisely what happens in America between now and November 2012–these things become too big to ignore. “Too big to ignore!” Perhaps that should be a counter-slogan against, “Too big to fail.”

To support Obama makes them smart, sophisticated, anti-racist, modern, members of an intellectual and social elite standing against the yahoos with the pitchforks out in the provinces. From the defenders of the downtrodden, the left has transformed itself into the well-financed aristocracy sneering at the peasantry. That’s why the theme of portraying the opposition as greedy rich, fat-cat, corporate chieftains and simultaneously hillbilly, gun-toting, religious fanatic racists who think Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya and want to reinstitute slavery is so incredibly effective in shoring up its base of support.

Even the simplest points of fact—that the Tea Party is a group of people opposed to big government, high taxes, tight regulation, and large deficits—barely appears amidst the propaganda aimed at discrediting any opposition as illegitimate.

If you can persuade people that anyone is insane if they want to cut economically unproductive government spending and not raise taxes at a time of massive depression and growing deficits has got a pretty good propaganda machine.

The hardcore Obama supporter is not watching unemployment levels, the economy, the mess in Egypt and Libya, or the effectiveness of health care reform, His concern is that if he decides Obama is a terrible president it means he is one of “them.” This is a horror he can never accept. For the Jews among them—which explains their higher membership in this group—these factors are reinforced by the image of becoming the very Nazi Cossack Klu Klux Klan monster that is their worst nightmare.

The left isn’t doing this because it’s on the defensive or desperate. On the contrary, this is its main strategy. How else can you persuade about half the population, liberals and centrists, to support the most left-wing policy in American history? That’s why they need a strategy based on hate, fear, stereotyping, demonization of the “other,” rejection of diversity, and all those other things that supposedly Political Correctness and Multiculturalism supposedly oppose! What’s the response? I’m not going to tell you anything you don’t know but it might be useful to have it all in one place:

1. Avoid playing into these stereotypes whenever possible. Once you lose your credibility by being too extreme or not being able to present facts, it is very hard to regain it in this atmosphere.

2. Word of mouth, have the best arguments and point them out to people. Never doubt that no matter how confident many of these people appear to be they are having severe doubts about their policies and ideas working. Be able to argue on the other side’s own terms in order to show hypocrisy (see point in bold above).

3. Provide credible alternative sources of information. Youre reading one of the best ones, PJM, right now.

4. Don’t rant; don’t argue with those who cannot be persuaded; and don’t spend your time attacking people whose differences with you are relatively small. Focus on the large portion of the open-minded. Remember the purpose of communication is not to make yourself feel good but to make people on the other end feel that you’re right.

5. Don’t write off traditional liberals who are somewhere between being horrified and confused by the policies they are supporting. Point out that this is a leftist and not liberal program. This isn’t the platform of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, or even Bill Clinton. It is the worldview of the 1948 Progressive Party and the 1960s’ New Left.

6. The simple truth is–as expressed by such people as Vice-President Joe Biden and Senator Harry Reid–that the far left argues that anyone who is an African-American, Hispanic-American, woman, or gay has no right to oppose Obama and his policies. If they do, they are a traitor to their “race” (or whatever) and should be treated with the utmost contempt and shut up as quickly as possible. So much for diversity.

7. Point out how this anti-democratic strategy is destroying America’s tradition of free and open debate, as well as the cherished institutions of universities, schools, and media. On issue after issue–climate change, the budget, revolutionary Islamism, Israel, etc.–the message is that there is only one proper stance and disagreement will not be tolerated. There’s nothing intellectually advanced or sophisticated about such behavior. It is the most reactionary approach possible. The left, disguised as liberals, takes an approach more akin to the Middle Ages or eighteenth-century conservatism than to historic liberalism. If Galileo Galilei said the earth goes around the sun, Al Gore would retort, in the style of a church inquisitor, that the science on that matter has already been permanently settled.

8. The basis of the left’s case is to deny things have changed. On the one hand, it needs to fool people into thinking that America is still full of racists and bigots and big corporations still rule the land as they did many long decades ago. On the other hand, they need to fool people into thinking that we are still in the 1950-2000 era in which spending resources are unlimited, schools don’t indoctrinate kids, universities aren’t ideological institutes for producing intolerant left-wing activists, the media is still reasonably fair, and the United States has not yet passed the maximum burden of entitlements whose continue growth will destroy the country.

9. Point out that this isn’t exactly the best time to portray Western Europe as a model for the United States since Europe has cracked up very badly and following the same policies will produce the same result.

10. Direct experience and observation changes people who are not blinded by ideology. And clearly Obama’s policies have failed at home and abroad, a point that will be regularly and increasingly obvious over the next 15 months. That should count for something and perhaps people will be ready to listen to why this has happened.

Abbas Wants US-led NATO Force for PA State

Gavriel Queenann

Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas told visiting US Congressmen on Thursday he wants the security of a future PA state to be handed to NATO under US command, the Maan news agency reported Friday.

The PA state must also be "empty of settlements," Abbas said, according to official Palestinian Authority news agency WAFA. Members of the US Congress and Senate delegation, headed by Democrat Senator Steny Hoyer, met with Abbas in Ramallah on Thursday, and quizzed Abbas on Israel's designation as a Jewish state, the status of refugees, and reconciliation between Abbas' Fatah party and rival Hamas, Presidential adviser Nimir Hamad said.

Abbas reiterated the Palestinian Authority's well-known positions on these matters, Hammad added, and specified that security responsibility for the Palestinian Authority would be handled by a third party, suggesting the US-Europe military alliance NATO.
In September 2010, Abbas outlined his government's acceptance of international forces from NATO or similar to the UNIFIL force operating in southern Lebanon playing a role in PA security, as long as forces did not include one single Israeli, whether from the civilian population or the military.

Abbas is currently pursuing a unilateral recognition of PA statehood based on pre-1967 lines at the United Nations in September.

Friday, August 12, 2011

We Stop for Ducks

Norma Zager

“Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate, now what’s going to happen to us with both a House and a Senate?” Will Rogers

Few Americans haven’t seen a line of baby ducks following the Mama duck across the street. This picture also includes a line of cars stopped on both sides to allow the ducks safe passage. I, too, stop for ducks.

Human beings are nothing if not paradoxical. The safety of a baby duck is paramount, and yet we allow the good of our nation to come second to political and selfish ideological agendas.

I imagine most have spent the last week or two sickened by the partisan display of political insanity Washington dinner theatre has provided. If nothing else, we do get a great deal of entertainment for our money from Beltway Productions. Although unfortunately, too often of late, we have been treated to shows far more frightening than the mind of a Hitchcock or De Palma could conjure.

Sadly, many are faced with circumstances they could never have fathomed, and the world has glimpsed the pitiful state of the United States Congress’ selfish, childish lust for power.

As Harry Truman’s desk plate once read so eloquently, “The Buck Stops Here.”

No matter how many people Obama tries to lay the blame upon, it cannot disguise his egregious lack of leadership.

The Congressional dog and pony show has once again displayed little intelligence or responsibility, but provided instead copious amount of fodder for comics and late night hosts.

And yet, Americans aren’t laughing.

Facing the gravest financial times since the Great Depression, we are too overwhelmed by the intensity of our circumstances to even fathom an exit from this previously undiscovered circle of hell where we now reside.

Ducks you ask?

Yes, exactly the point.

While families are forced from their homes, doing without food and the basic necessities of life, we stop our car for a family of ducks.

We watch as a brutal leader in Syria murders babies, children have no food to eat and Iran continues to threaten the safety and security of the world.

We stop for ducks.

Our Navy Seals are killed, Somalia allows thousands of children to starve every day and prevents rescue workers from helping, another American father or mother is pink slipped and loses their healthcare for their children and—we stop for ducks.

Europe is falling apart, China is stealing our technologies, candidates are throwing stones at one another and yet—we stop for ducks.

Shouldn’t we be equally concerned about what our leaders are doing to people, to us? Harry Reid postures to ensure Obama’s reelection with no concern for Americans that are suffering for his wild spending spree.

The Republicans jump on a high horse at a time when perhaps walking alongside the horse is the best way to travel.

The White House begins an uproarious session of the blame game at all our expense.

But we do stop for ducks.

Do we stop so we can go home and feel good about ourselves? Is it so we can look in the mirror and say, well I’m a good person I didn’t run over a Mama duck and her babies?

I understand it’s difficult to see a way out of our current mess. We have certainly gotten ourselves in knee deep this time.

Two billion plus for the United Nations, over 1.5 billion a year for Pakistan, over 600 million for the Palestinians to help care for and honor known terrorists, financial contributions to the International Monetary Fund to bail out Greece, Spain, Italy, etc. etc.

Lots of money leaving America these days, but how much is coming back in? And to whom is the money going? Not Americans, but the evilest of evil to buy our destruction.

If foreign aid was designed to help ensure our friendships and support among nations, how’s that working for us?

Americans are broke. Seniors who lived on their investments have lost them or at least half.

Politicians continue to receive world-class healthcare while children do without meds and proper medical services.

Babies go to sleep hungry in our biggest cities while people attend a $35,000 a plate dinner for a man who makes Marie Antoinette look like Albert Schweitzer.

But we do stop for ducks.

Never before in recent history have the interests of the American people been so egregiously dismissed. Have the cries of babies, the needs of families, children and the elderly been swept aside so callously to ensure political advantage?

Selfishness and self-interest have become the watchwords of America. The world has gotten a front row glimpse at the failure of a once great nation.

Congress makes Caligula look like Mother Teresa and a high price has been paid.

We have one chance to turn this country around and take back our dignity. To act like the caring and compassionate nation we are—we stop for ducks.

Please don’t be misled by a toothy smile or a pledge of change that was far from the change we were promised. Or a politician’s tactics or lies designed to destroy an opponent and distract voters from his own abject failure.

Our leaders don’t stop for ducks, but of course, they are not us. They run over babies and children and if we allow it, they can only quack up our country further.

In truth, politicians run—all the way to the bank with our money in tow.

Lord, protect the duck family that gets in their way en route.

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,” August, 2011


MEMRI vs. CRIHL and US Money

My Right Word

Are you upset that MEMRI received $200,000?

Office of International Religious Freedom Funds Middle East Media Research Institute Project

The Department of State’s Office of International Religious Freedom in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor awarded a $200,000 grant to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) to conduct a project that documents anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and Holocaust glorification in the Middle East. This grant will enable MEMRI to expand its efforts to monitor the media, translate materials into ten languages, analyze trends in anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial and glorification, and increase distribution of materials through its website and other outlets. Well, is a $500,000 grant one that also will make you upset?

In an effort to settle one of the longest-running disputes in the Middle East peace process, American, Israeli and Palestinian researchers are conducting what purports to be the first scientific study of incitement in Palestinian and Israeli textbooks. The study, funded by a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State, was commissioned by the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land (CRIHL), a Jerusalem-based consortium of senior Islamic, Jewish and Christian religious figures in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. The study seeks to provide the first rigorously empirical and objective analysis of how Palestinian and Israeli textbooks depict the “other.”


Thursday, August 11, 2011

The PA denies Jewish history in Jerusalem The Jewish Temple is "the alleged Temple"

Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Earlier this week, on the Jewish day of mourning known as Tisha B'Av, which commemorates the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple, the official PA daily denied the Temple's existence, referring to it as "the destruction of the alleged Temple" and "the so-called destruction."

For years, Palestinian Authority leaders have actively denied Jewish history both in ancient Judea/Israel and in Jerusalem in particular. Palestinian Media Watch has documented this ongoing PA policy of historical revisionism, which centers on the denial that a Jewish Temple ever existed in Jerusalem. PA political and religious leaders, officials, and even academics consistently refer to the Temple as "the alleged Temple." [Arabic: Al-Haikal Al-Maz'oom]. The Palestinian claims that the Temple never existed and that Jews have no history in the Land of Israel not only contradict Jewish sources, Christian sources, and the archeological record, but contradict the Quran as well. The Quran in Sura 17:2-7 mentions the "Children of Israel's" two periods of independence in the land and the destruction of both the First and the Second Temple: " enter the Temple even as they entered it for the first time, and to lay waste..."

The PA accuses Israel of forging a false Jewish history in the land while at the same time stealing Palestinian history, culture, and heritage. The Palestinians refer to these actions as "Judaization." The main target of this "Judaization" is the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which Israel purportedly conspires to destroy in order to build the Jewish Temple.

Advisor to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Ahmad Al-Ruweidi, recently denied the existence of the Temple while commenting on an Israeli excavation of a tunnel:

"I personally visited the entrance to this tunnel, and it is clear that they [the Israelis] have built it modeled on the alleged Temple, as a basis for transferring the Temple in the future into the Al-Aqsa Mosque."

The following are examples from the PMW archives from April to July 2011. The examples are arranged in two categories: PA leaders refer to the Jewish Temple as "the alleged temple" and PA denial of Jewish history in the land and accusations of heritage theft.

PA leaders refer to the Jewish Temple as "the alleged temple"

PA daily news report: "The destruction of the alleged Temple."

"Since Monday morning, groups of extremist Jews have been roaming the courtyards of Al-Aqsa mosque (i.e., the Temple Mount) one after the other, under heavy police protection, on the occasion of the [week of the] so-called "destruction of the Temple"... This Sunday, the occupation's police handed the shop owners in the Market of the Cotton Merchants... which leads to the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, an order forcing them to close their shops on Monday afternoon (i.e., the eve of the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple - Tisha B'av), in order to facilitate the arrival of the settlers to the Market, for the sake of holding special Talmudic rituals on the occasion of the destruction of the alleged Temple."

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 9, 2011]

Abbas' advisor: Israel wants to transfer the alleged Temple into the Al-Aqsa Mosque

PA TV News broadcast, main report the Committee to Protect Silwan's report concerning the Israeli excavation of a tunnel.

PA TV newsreader: "[The Committee to Protect Silwan] noted that some of the Israeli sources had said that a gold bell had been found in the tunnel, belonging to what they call the Second Temple Period. This once again highlights the efforts of the Israeli side to forge the history of the holy city."

Interview with Ahmad Al-Ruweidi, advisor to President Abbas, on the Committee's report:

Abbas' advisor, Al-Ruweidi: "I personally visited the entrance to this tunnel, and it is clear that they [the Israelis] have built it modeled on the alleged Temple, as a basis for transferring the Temple in the future into the Al-Aqsa Mosque."

[PA TV (Fatah), July 26, 2011]

Chairman of the Palestinian National Council calls Temple "alleged temple"

"Chairman of the [Palestinian] National Council, Salim Al-Za'anoun, yesterday demanded a halt to the works to Judaize the city of Jerusalem, the vicinity of the [Al-Aqsa] Mosque, turning them into ritual baths for the 'alleged temple', and turning the surroundings of the Mosque and the Old City of Jerusalem into biblical parks."

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 19, 2011]

Jews visiting the Temple Mount are "invasion," and all Israelis are "settlers"

"Israeli MP Michael Ben-Ari invaded the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Tuesday heading a group of settlers, who were on a tour of the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, listening to Ben-Ari's explanations about the alleged Temple... Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'a Law, Sheikh Yusuf Ida'is, said that the invasion of Al-Aqsa had been carried out under the protection of extensive occupation (i.e., Israeli) police forces. He warned of a most dangerous plot of the Israeli establishment, including its various branches, to seize control of [the Mosque], in order to destroy it and establish the alleged Temple in its place."

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 9, 2011]

Official PA daily: Israel's "Judaization plans... serve the myth and legend of the alleged Temple"

"It should be noted that the decisions to destroy and remove the Al-Bustan neighborhood were meant to realize the Judaization plans, according to which Talmudic parks would be established in its stead, serving the myth and legend of the alleged temple."

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 12, 2011]

PA TV: The "alleged Temple" is "myth and legend"

"In occupied Jerusalem, the so-called 'Israel Supreme Court of Justice' is expected to rule on the fate of 88 homes in the Al-Bustan neighborhood. Member of the Silwan and Al-Bustan Neighborhood Defense Committee, Fakhri Abu Diab... emphasized that occupation forces [Israel] are trying to remove the neighborhood altogether and to expel its residents, numbering more than 2,500, with the aim of building Talmudic parks which serve the myth and legend of the alleged Temple."

[PA TV, May 11, 2011]

Official PA daily: "The legend and fable of the alleged Temple"

"The Committee for Protection of Silwan Land and Assets warned of accelerated work in the area... [Member of the committee Fakhri] Abu Diab drew attention to the fact that the occupation authorities (i.e., Israel) are acting to falsify facts and history, by 'planting' alleged graves in the area, claiming that they are Jewish ones, and thereby conclusively seizing the area... He stated that the results of the [construction of] very prominent works being carried out by the occupation's instruments, are changes in the area's landmarks, with the aim of falsifying its history and its heritage, and [bringing about] its complete Judaization, as a service to the legend and fable of the alleged Temple. As to the parks... they will belong to the Temple, which the occupation authorities and groups of extremist Jews are hurrying to build in place of the Al-Aqsa Mosque."

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 7, 2011]

Former Minister of Religious Affairs: The "alleged Temple" never existed on the site of Al-Aqsa Mosque

"' Center for Research and Communications' recently published the book, 'The Guide to the Al-Aqsa Mosque', by speaker at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and former Minister of Religious Affairs, Sheikh Yusuf Salameh. The book... deals with the Al-Aqsa Mosque, its importance, and the religious importance of the city of Jerusalem, in order to refute what the Israelis disseminate, claiming that the Al-Aqsa Mosque was built on the ruins of their temple. Sheikh Salameh said that the book was published at this sensitive time, with the holy city in general and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in particular being subjected to brutal occupation attack, aimed at forging reality, culture and history... The book refutes the Israeli claims that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is situated upon the ruins of the alleged Temple, and states that the Al-Buraq Wall (i.e., the Western Wall) is an authentic part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and is not the 'Wailing Wall', as the occupiers falsely refer to it."

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 2, 2011]

Former PA Chief Justice of Religious Court: Israel plans destruction of Al-Aqsa Mosque to build "alleged Temple"

"Former [PA] Chief Religious Justice, Sheikh Tayseer Al-Tamimi... warned against negligence of the nation in fulfilling its obligation to defend Jerusalem, which would allow the Israeli occupation to carry out its plans - its transformation into a Jewish city and the destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in order to establish the alleged Temple in its place."

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 28, 2011]

Official PA daily: "Alleged Temple"

"The Al-Aqsa Institute for Islamic Trusts and Heritage said that the Israeli occupation had replaced several stones from the wall with stones carrying Talmudic Jewish symbols, such as a stone with a model of the alleged Temple."

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 13, 2011]

PA denial of Jewish history and accusations of heritage theft

PA TV News: Israel steals Palestinian identity and cultural heritage

PA TV News on a Debka folkdance festival held in Safa, in the Ramallah district:

PA TV reporter: "[The groups] are directing a message to the entire world, that the Palestinian nation still retains its identity and its cultural heritage, while Israel attempts to steal this heritage."

[PA TV (Fatah), July 15, 2011]

PA distortion: Jews changed original Arabic name "Al-Buraq Wall" to "the Wailing Wall"

Official PA daily's columnist on religious affairs, Is'haq Feleifel: "The great and exalted Allah commanded the angel Gabriel to place Muhammad upon the riding beast [named] Al-Buraq, which was a cross between horse and donkey. The night journey was both physical and spiritual... Once he [Muhammad] reached the Al-Aqsa Mosque, (PMW note: the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem was not yet built in the time of Muhammad. The "night journey" mentioned in the Quran is dated to 621 CE. The mosque was built on the Temple Mount by the son of Ummayad Caliph Abd Al-Malik 84 years later in 705 CE.) the angel Gabriel removed Muhammad from upon Al-Buraq's back, and then he tied the beast to the Al-Buraq rock, which was called the 'Al-Buraq Wall'. The Jews changed its name to the 'Wailing Wall', because the Jews are always trying to change Arabic names into Hebrew names, especially when it comes to prayer sites or names of towns and villages. For example, they call Al-Quds 'Jerusalem'; Al-Khalil [they call] 'Hebron'; Atara - 'Atarot, Nablus - 'Shechem', Tel Al-Rabi'a - 'Tel Aviv'(PMW note: 'Rabi'a' is the Arabic translation of the Hebrew word 'aviv', meaning 'spring'); Askelan - Ashkelon. There is not enough room to list all the names which have been replaced with false names. Even the 'Torah' falsified, changed and forged; this is the way of the Jews - they always try to change the real names to other, false names, in order to erase the [historical] facts."

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 1, 2011]

It should be noted that all six Hebrew names of cites appear in the Bible long before the Arabic names existed.

Palestinian distortion: "If I forget thee, oh Jerusalem" was Crusader expression usurped by Zionists

Palestinian researcher Dr. Hayel Sanduqa on PA TV claims that the Hebrew Bible's psalm was actually first said by a Crusader:

"[The Israelis] have acted to change Jerusalem's character. Even the expression (Psalm 137:5) 'If I forget thee, oh Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember thee.'

This statement, said by the Frankish [Crusader] ruler of Acre shortly before he left, was borrowed by the Zionist movement, which falsified it in the name of Zionism."

[PA TV, June 2, 2011]

Jewish presence in land of Israel 2,000 years ago "represents... nothing more than invention and falsification"

"The Zionists must acknowledge publicly, in front of the world, that the Jews have no connection to the Palestinian Arab land, upon whose ruins arose the colonialist settler Zionist plan that settles and expels, represented by the Israeli apartheid state. That which occurred two thousand years ago (i.e., the Jewish/Israeli presence in the land), assuming that it is true, represents in the book of history nothing more than invention and falsification and a coarse and crude form of colonialism."

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 27, 2011]

Israel stole Palestinian heritage, including clothing, keffiyeh, falafel and humus

Columnist Muwaffaq Matar, commenting on the cheap products from the Far East flooding the Palestinian market:

"The Israelis have already stolen our clothing, our keffiyeh, our falafel and our humus, so why should we [now] allow produce from China and Taiwan to burn our olive tree (i.e., destroy the local economy)?"

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 26, 2011]

PA mayor: "The Zionist enemy" is trying "to create a history" at the expense of Palestinian history

Ahmad Budheir, Mayor of Kufr Al-Hares: "We are suffering from the Zionist enemy, from the visits of the settlers - or the incessant invasions of the settlers - into the town, from the harassment and repeated assaults on citizens, on homes and on the land. They are trying to create a history that doesn't exist on our land, as usual, to steal the history and to steal the culture. They are trying to build history at the expense of our own history."

[PA TV (Fatah), May 23, 2011]

Abbas denies Jews have history in Israel

Abbas' speech in Gaza, delivered in his name by his advisor and representative Abdallah Al-Ifranji, in honor of "nakba" day - "catastrophe" day, the day the PA mourns the creation of the State of Israel:

PA moderator of PA Gaza event: "The speech of President Mahmoud Abbas, Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee and President of the Palestinian Authority, will be delivered by the comrade, the great fighter, Abdallah Al-Ifranji, representative and advisor of the President."

Mahmoud Abbas, (delivered by his representative, Abdallah Al-Ifranji):

"National reconciliation [between Hamas and Fatah] is required in order to face Israel and Netanyahu. We say to him [Netanyahu], when he claims - that they [Jews] have a historical right dating back to 3000 years BCE - we say that the nation of Palestine upon the land of Canaan had a 7000 year history BCE. This is the truth, which must be understood and we have to note it, in order to say: 'Netanyahu, you are incidental in history. We are the people of history. We are the owners of history.'"

[PA TV, May 14, 2011]

Official PA daily: Israel not only steals land but also history of Jerusalem

Headline: "Jerusalem is capital of Arab civilization"

"[Jerusalem] is the religious, historical, cultural and scientific capital of the Palestinian people in particular, and of the Arab nation in general. It is the pinnacle of civilizations of the entire world. When the Arab Jebusite king Malkizedeq built the city of Jerusalem, naming it Jebus and designating it the capital of his country six thousand years ago, none of the world's capitals existed yet... The veteran families which lived in ancient Jerusalem... lived a life of culture and civilization in the full sense of the word, to the extent that other cities which arose thousands of years ago attempted to imitate Jerusalem, the unique wonder, but none of them succeeded in building [a city] like Jerusalem. This is Jerusalem, the city which is closer to God's royal throne than any other part of the globe...

Therefore the invaders [Israel/the Jews] desired it, despite its small area... because this is the place which the Creator blessed, along with its environs. The invaders [Israel/the Jews], who steal the city's geography, are trying to also steal its history."

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 14, 2011]

Official PA daily: Israel resorts to forgery to create evidence for Jewish history in Jerusalem

Headline: "Personalities living in Jerusalem: The occupation authorities (i.e., Israel) are forging the wall of Jerusalem by inserting stones engraved with a model of the alleged Temple"

"Respected Jerusalem bodies and personalities warned of suspicious forgery activities accompanying the extensive rehabilitation works which the occupation authorities [Israel] are carrying out... Chairman of the Jerusalem Association of NGO's, Hazem Gharabli, told WAFA...: 'What intensifies the concerns of Jerusalem bodies and individuals - even regular people - is the fact that the occupation authorities have completely covered the area where the rehabilitation works are being carried out, not allowing anyone to see which activities are actually going on there.

Their aim may be to remove original stones and to replace them with stones with Talmudic drawings or engravings, alluding to the existence of a Jewish heritage in the city.'... The Al-Aqsa Institute for Islamic Trusts and Heritage said that the Israeli occupation had replaced several stones from the wall with stones carrying Talmudic Jewish symbols, such as a stone with a model of the alleged Temple, and a stone with a Star of David."

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 13, 2011]

Deputy Minister of Culture: Israel steals Palestinian culture

"Deputy Minister of Culture, Musa Abu Ghreibeh, spoke about the role of his Ministry in reviving the Palestinian memory, especially in light of Israeli measures aimed at erasing this memory from the minds of Palestinians and specifically of the youth. He also noted with approval the role of the Eve Center (i.e., center for women's issues) in strengthening culture, resolve, and activity aimed at preventing the occupation from stealing Palestinian culture."

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 4, 2011]

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Israel’s tribal protest

Op-ed: Despite effort to speak on behalf of nation, social protest represents just one Israeli tribe

Yoaz Hendel
Israel Opinion

The tens of thousands of people who marched through the streets of Tel Aviv Saturday night constitute yet another show of force for the protest movement that emerged here out of nowhere.

Even an objector such as myself, who has no special sympathy for the hidden politics of the organizers, cannot deny the process they facilitated; the fact that they managed to bring indifferent Israelis out to the streets in an era of individualism; the fact they managed to stir discourse about justice and society; and mostly the fact that they prompted all of us to examine things in a different way. However, with all due respect to the achievements and numbers, a protest is measured by results and not by slogans. Despite the great desire and Shlomo Artzi’s music, it was not the “people” that hit Tel Aviv’s streets last night, but rather, only a particular tribe within the people.

The “people” wants “social justice” but is having trouble agreeing what that means.
The middle class or the poor? Well-to-do young people who seek normal prices in order to make ends meet, or poverty-stricken Israelis who can’t even start to make ends meet? With all due respect to the reports from the media induced national bonfire last night, it was a display of one specific tribe, and we should keep that in mind.

We must admit the truth – this protest, from its very beginning to the rally last night, was created by the media of this same tribe. It’s the project of the century for Israel’s largest public relations agency, with numerous news items and headlines that present a consistent picture. When Israel’s media outlets carry the uniform message that “the protest is spreading,” the protest spreads, regardless of whether this is good or bad.

No room for questions

The masses who hit the streets last night were intoxicated by the sweaty media embrace from Rothschild Boulevard and by the fact that everyone is seemingly backing them – the singers, artists and politicians. They hit the streets knowing that objection is impermissible. This is pleasant and heart-warming, yet the problem is that in a democratic state it may prompt the opposite process. This protest is seemingly so justified that it appears questions are no longer allowed. And with the abundance of historical significance here, it seems there is no room for discussing practical results.

The tents, the protests, the philosophical discussions and even the political fantasies constitute a celebration of democracy. The problem is that in these types of celebrations there are always some who get too intoxicated. The State of Israel should be grateful to and embrace the initiators, regardless of their political views. Personally, I hope that they will soon become volunteer activists, that they will enlist to the cause of making the Negev and Galilee flourish, and that they will enter politics, regardless of which side they choose.

Yet as an Israeli, I hope that they will soon understand that speaking on behalf of this people - even when the cause is just - is dangerous.

Kept in a Cage

Ari Bussel

We sat in the community room at a major LA shopping center. Over sixty people gathered on a beautiful Sunday afternoon to hear two members of the Flotillas to Palestine.

One of the speakers was an Israeli, Yonatan Shapira, a helicopter pilot who co-founded Combatants for Peace and is a member of Boycott from Within; the other Mary Thompson, an American-Canadian who co-founded the Free Gaza Movement.

Thompson in her own words: “I underestimated the power of Palestine.” It is a constant call of action to her, ever since she saw “a little boy [al-dura] shot and killed in front of my eyes.” For Yonatan it was “when you see families crush and evaporate in the bombs … horrible things start happening.” Except, the boy’s “death” was made for international consumption (he changed his position after pretending to be dead for 45 minutes; his father protecting him under constant fire was not even scratched) and Israel is the one country that goes to lengths like no other country to ensure civilians are kept out of harm’s way, even when terrorists hide at schools, mosques and hospitals.

They fight to end Occupation and against Apartheid in Israel, although they have never met before. They came to speak in front of a coalition promoting non-violent resistance against Israel. [The label “non-violent” is misleading to us and quite flexible for them, for it justifies practically any means, including knowingly breaking the law.]

I have spent much time over the past three years covering Gaza that the event sparked my interest. I finally got to meet members who were on the boats determined to break the blockade over Gaza. The fact there was never a maritime route to Gaza is inconsequential to them.

I was eager to listen, and I was not disappointed, it was a loony-land (lunatic + Hollywood) delusional extravaganza, an exciting production even I had not seen before. Well except perhaps in Sunset Boulevard when reality got so blurred when Gloria Swanson said, “I am ready for my close up, Mr. De Mille,” and walked toward the cameras.

I often write about the failures of the Israeli public relations machine and the prospect of Israel’s downfall as a result. Little did I know how wrong I was until that event. According to the speakers, the Israeli Hasbarah (propaganda machine) is doing so well that only Israel’s position is heard (including, apparently, on the front pages of the major international papers). Israel itself is so strong that it is able to twist the arms of countries to do its bidding, whether it is Greece or Egypt, not to mention the US of A which acts as Israel’s outsourcing arm.

Some readers may wonder if the three billion dollars the USA gives Israel each year are also a result of Israel’s persuasive powers. Is Israel holding the US hostage, forcing it to give the money?

Those Jews must be very powerful indeed! Or so one would think.

What sounded like a story made into a movie turned out to be two solid hours of straight Israel-bashing. A good Jewish boy in a very affluent part of Israel, son of a squadron commander who became a helicopter pilot himself, volunteers his time with new immigrants in crisis and helps disabled children. Then he wakes up one day and realizes Israelis are brainwashed and he must help them to awake as well. “We do horrible things” he says and becomes a one-person mission to correct all of Israel’s supposed evils.

“Gaza is a cage of animals, not people, the majority of whom are children, that once you open it, …” says Yonatan thus explaining why Israelis are afraid of the Gazans.

“One million of the 1.6 million Gazans are the original inhabitants or their direct descendants of now Occupied Palestine. Israel keeps them locked up since they are a LIVING WITNESS of that era (1947 – 1949) …” it was explained to those in the audience who did not follow. If Israel had not caged them, how would the world know the truth? Perhaps Israel should have prevented the passage of 15,523 patients and accompanying individuals who exited the Gaza Strip for medical care in Israel in the past year.

“The Blockade is not a recent thing, it has been going on for 30 years. [Our struggle] is not about humanitarian aid, it is about freedom.” Falsehoods notwithstanding, one must be very careful, since the “freedom” sought is freedom from Israel’s very presence.

What does Israel want? “The West Bank has water. Gaza has offshore natural gas. Israel wants these resources.” [I was ashamed: Israel only wants material things, gas and water. What about the very air the Gazans breathe – has Israel not tried to deplete it too? Has Israel not thought yet to prevent the Gazans from their most basic human right of free and limitless air in addition to thirsting them and stealing their reserves?]

Israel keeps the Gazans “locked in a huge open air prison, a ghetto, and bombs them all the time.”

I was aghast. What type of military succeeds to hold 1.6 million innocent civilians in an extraordinarily dense open-air prison, constantly bombarding-to-kill them and yet their numbers keep growing? What are the brutal occupiers bombing the Gazans with – candy? Flowers? Love letters? What a lousy military indeed!

The battle lines are drawn: “Race laws, Apartheid, Occupation; Justice, Human Rights.” Lady justice must be blind to reason, logic and facts.

The truth eventually emerged during the presentation, because as a pro Zionist propaganda organization (Stand With Us) has shown, there are thriving and bustling shopping malls, hotels and restaurants throughout Gaza. Their businesses are flourishing. There is no shortage of supplies. Interestingly, initially it was a “humanitarian crisis of the worst kind,” until exposed, so naturally the narrative needed to be changed. Not a problem, TAKE II or III or IV or V.

The story is so fantastic that I was astonished. Israeli soldiers were apparently deeply disappointed that Greece stopped the most recent Flotilla from leaving, since it prevented them from killing some of the participants and stealing their computers and money. Allow me to use the speaker’s own words. She said, “We knew Israeli pirates [naval soldiers] were ready to commit violence and kill us.” Taken directly out of the Pirates of Penzance.

An opportunity of a lifetime: steal money from those aboard the ship and kill them, knowing they advocate only non-violent resistance. Are Israeli soldiers so destitute their only wish in life is to be pirates on the high seas, targeting peace activists for their money and lives? Apparently, the $3b a year is not enough to appease the bloodthirsty Israelis.

Yonatan, the pilot, explained that a “pilot does not hover if you think someone is going to shoot you.” Israel had full knowledge that those on the Mavi Marmara were not armed, he claims. He can even prove it, if Israel were to release everything (hundreds of hours of tapes) that was confiscated. I still am at a loss: Why stop at (killing) nine, when there were hundreds (unarmed and benign peace activists) on the Mavi Marmara? Why not just sink the ship and let the people drown in agony?

Since many in the audience call themselves “Jews” and given that at least two of the co-sponsoring organizations have the word “Jew” in their name, I was wondering about their purpose. My question answered in a most amazing manner by Yonatan who said:

“We opened the door a bit, other people are inspired.” “We must be very creative.” “Engage.” “I am part of a non-violent struggle to do ASIAT NEFASHOT” (to bring other souls closer to one’s cause).”

To the Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel movement in Los Angeles (BDS-LA) he offered the following advice: “Use our voice of Israelis and Jews supporting BDS and magnify and raise the awareness. There is a huge gap between reality and what is said in the media.”

This last statement, said for the mth time, was the tipping point; I could not stop laughing. “Our” side has the very same complaint; the media portrays only the other side and is biased and misleading. Apparently, the “other” side thinks the same.

Laughing aside, I became very serious: There was nothing in the presentation about the evils of Israel’s enemies, as if they are not part of the picture in any way. In the presenters’ most perverted world perception, it is all Israel’s fault.

There was not a single positive things said about Israel, like free press, the ability to assemble without fear and to freely express one’s opinion (even if it is against Israel), the medical, agricultural and other help Israel provides to the Gazans, the equality in its society to all, irrespective of one’s religion or skin color, the ability of Arabs to serve in the Supreme Court or the Knesset, as Ministers and Judges.

Nothing. Not a single positive thing is associated with Israel. I thought I was watching a Klan meeting discussing black people, I was that outraged.

My friend and I were singled out at the very beginning, when Yonatan said, “maybe this whole event is for you.” It mattered not what we would have said – history, facts or logic – nothing would resonate unless we bashed Israel and protested (non-violently of course) its so-called Occupation and Apartheid Regime.

So we had our pictures taken from all sides, videos rolling, and became the constant center of attention for the two hours of Israel-bashing. It was a circus of perverts who make money and attracts attention by luring audiences to enjoy two hours of non-stop mockery of reality and good sense, a non-stop attack on human kindness and everything good the world has to offer.

I was ready to shout, “this is not the Israel Defense Forces you are talking about; this is NOT Israel you are describing,” but it would have been useless. If one lie is exposed, like Gazans are not starving under the Blockade as shown by Zionist-evil-propaganda-machine Stand With Us, then just make up another lie.

Yonatan did not stand for the IDF, nor did he stand for Israel. He is the example not of goodness but ungratefulness; how a person can lie in a soft voice, all legitimately done, in his eyes, to reach his end.

He is neither ashamed nor humble about his plans. State them clearly and explicitly and be specific, sixty some people will gather on a beautiful Sunday afternoon to support you. You are fighting a fight to annihilate Israel, a just and noble cause, and you have described the means you employ to achieve this goal.

It was indeed a private showing for my friend and me. All others were part of the choir, part of a sick movement to destroy Israel. I doubt they mean good, for their hatred knows no bounds, driving them to insanity sugar-coated as “peace activists.”

Discourse will do little, for it is not possible to persuade a heart and mind filled with hatred. Those so blinded by anger and hatred that anyone who dares to say “I am Israeli (who does not hate his country’s very existence)” will be automatically blocked out and instantly scorned.

I am an Israeli and a Jew, and I am very proud of Israel. What I witnessed today, Israelis and Jews masquerading as “concerned liberals and progressives” who seek good, would be terrifying and upsetting to any reasonable person.

Israeli soldiers do not spend their days training to murder people and their nights salivating and fantasizing on murders not committed. Israelis do not view Gazans as animals that must be caged or Arab women as sub-human thus not worthy of being raped. Israelis spend their time creating medicines and technologies to extend lives, not erase them.

One needs only look to Syria today, that is a government that murders rivals and opponents for the sake of murder. Where bodies are thrown into the water due to an inability to bury them. Why do these purveyors of good not protest that sort of evil, voice inequality of women in Arab society throughout the Middle East and countless other injustices?

No—Israel is at fault. It is their pet hatred and their own self-loathing sickness. I am a Jew who hates myself, ergo I also hate Israel. Israel rules the world. Israel is Evil (and by extension the USA that enables Israel’s dirty deeds).

I left there sad and upset to my very core. It is a sad day indeed for the Jewish people. These twisted minds are trying to make Israelis into the new Nazis.

Those fighting for our very existence are the products of the two freest societies in the world; the United States of America and Israel. Where else but in a free society could these people spew their venomous lies? Perhaps they should fly to Syria and give rebellion a shot. Shot is exactly what they would get.

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,” August, 2011


"On Tisha B'Av"

Arlene Kushner

I write in the waning hours of Tisha B'Av.

Last night I listened to the chanting of Eicha (Lamentations) on the grassy banks of the Tayelet -- the pathway on a high part of Jerusalem that provides a magnificent view of the Old City.

Today I studied Kinot (elegies on the destruction of the Temples and other catastrophes of Jewish history), and then listened to a teaching -- by Rav Ari Kahn -- on feeling close to the Almighty on this day. All at Matan, an institute for serious Jewish learning for women.

My head, as it should be, is still very much with the import and the themes of the day. And so I wish to touch upon at least one more theme that speaks to us now, before I move on to mundane subjects such as tent demonstrations.
Yesterday I wrote about the sin of sinat hinam (causeless hatred), as the reason for the destruction of the Second Temple. But there are traditions that take us back much further than that -- to the sin of the spies, which is said to have occurred on the same day.

I've written about this before: When the children of Israel approached the land of Ca'anan, Moses sent out 12 spies, one from each tribe, to scout out the land before the people entered. Ten came back with negative reports regarding giants in the land, etc. "We were like grasshoppers in our own eyes." Why were they like grasshoppers to themselves? Because they forgot that the Almighty had promised them the land and was with them.

The people, listening to them, then became alarmed about going in.

God subsequently determined that they should not go in yet -- the children of Israel were required to wander the desert for 40 years, until the generation that had been afraid was gone. Then, even after the people entered the land, subsequent tragedies were traced back to this sin.


Today we as a people have begun to come back to the land, and this is seen as a tikun, a repair for the sin of the spies. It is a redemptive process, an expression of faith in what we have been given by God and in our ability to thrive here. The modern State of Israel is referred to as reishit tzmichat geulatenu -- the beginning of the flowering of our redemption.

Many -- I among them -- have established a life-commitment to the land. It's difficult to adequately put into words the meaning of being here: the heightened sense of life and sanctity in spite of all the difficulties. But it's very real, and I see God's hand in our return.


It brings great sadness then, if not alarm, that there are Jews in growing numbers outside of Israel for whom Israel has little or no import. (How is it that after 2,000 years of waiting, now that there is a State, the majority of American Jews has never so much as visited??)

Woe unto us as a people if we get it wrong this time.


There is an ancient drainage channel, which begins in the Siloam Pool and runs from the City of David to the archaeological garden near the Western Wall. The Israel Antiquities Authority has been doing excavations there -- in cooperation with the Nature and Parks Authority, and the City of David Foundation -- and has now announced two significant finds that touch upon the theme of Tisha B'Av:

First, a 2,000 year old iron sword, still in its leather scabbard, along with parts of the belt that carried it.

Directors of the excavation, Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Professor Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa, have released a statement:

"It seems that the sword belonged to an infantryman of the Roman garrison stationed in Israel at the outbreak of the Great Revolt against the Romans in 66 CE [which preceded the destruction of the Temple]. The sword’s fine state of preservation is surprising: not only its length (c. 60 cm), but also the preservation of the leather scabbard (a material that generally disintegrates quickly over time) and some of its decoration."

And second, "a stone object adorned with a rare engraving of a menorah." It was found in the soil beneath the street, on the side of the drainage channel and in close proximity to the site of the Temple. Shukron and Reich speculate that "a passerby who saw the menorah with his own eyes and was amazed by its beauty incised his impressions on a stone." They consider "the portrayal of the menorah’s base [to be] extremely important because it clarifies what the base of the original menorah looked like, which was apparently tripod shaped."

The Israel Antiquities Authority press release can be seen here:

On this site is a link to high resolution photographs of the artifacts.


Now, the tent demonstrations:

Last Saturday night there were very significant demonstrations, centered, but not exclusively, in Tel Aviv. The number bandied about for the total is 250,000 to 300,000 people. I'm a bit dubious because exaggerations are frequent in such situations. (In fact, a number of activists have submitted a letter to the Israel Journalists Council charging that while the media -- set on pressuring Netanyahu -- had reported more than 20,000 demonstrators in Jerusalem, advanced imaging technology indicated a count of under 6,000.)

But the numbers were impressive, in any event.

What seems to have happened is that the economic themes of the original demonstrations resonated with a more broad-based group, so that the concerns of those gathered in some good part moved beyond the intentions -- radical, communist/take down the government -- of the leaders of the original demonstrations. Certainly there were statements made by leaders of some groups protesting that they didn't want to bring down the government, but simply have the government respond to their real needs.

This is not to say that political parties left of center -- certainly parties such as Labor and Meretz, but I include Kadima -- have taken this position: Livni is transparent in her eagerness to use this situation to her political advantage. This is more than a bit ironic, as the Kadima administration of Olmert that preceded the current government, and of which Livni was a part, did not promote housing.


The media made a good deal of the fact that very different elements had joined the demonstrations. At one point both MK Ya’acov Katz (National Union) and MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) could be spotted on the scene on Saturday night.

The theme in certain quarters was one of national unity: see all the different people out in a democratic action that promotes togetherness. We cannot help but wish this to be so, and perhaps at some level, in some places, it was.

But across the board that's a facile description of what was going on. MK Katz encouraged people living in communities in Judea and Samaria to come out, to protest the lack of housing for them and to emphasize the degree to which building in Judea and Samaria would alleviate the national housing shortage. But those who are opposed to any Israeli presence beyond the Green Line were less than welcoming and not ready to embrace them as a legitimate part of the demonstrations. In fact, a couple of people were arrested on suspicion of setting fire to the tents of right wing protesters.


The bottom line here is that Likud recognized that the crowds could not be ignored and that some response would have to be forthcoming. But the term uttered over and over was "responsible":

It would be a huge mistake to rush to respond to all of the demands of the protesters in a manner that undercut the stability of the nation. If we are undercut, in the end, everyone will pay -- including those making demands right now. Israel cannot support all prices, subsidize all costs, etc. etc., and keep going.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, after meeting with Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer on Saturday night, said:

"It must be pointed out that the Israeli economy is doing well from a macroeconomic perspective. The influence of the global debt crisis has been limited, until now, thanks to the resolve that the attained, among other things, by the budgetary discipline of the past few years.

By Sunday, Steinitz had declared clearly:

"the government cannot respond to all these demands [of the demonstrators]. Just as we have been attentive to public sentiment and to the fight over the cost of living and housing, so to the public must be attentive to what is happening in the world.

We are still navigating the Israeli economy through difficult times. We must be responsible and cautious. We must maintain the general economic structure and budgetary framework. Countries that lived beyond their means are today paying the price. We do not want to be in the situation that Greece, Spain and others find themselves in today." (Emphasis added)

Even Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who has supported the demonstrations, has now come out against defense cuts:

"We must remember that security-wise we don't live in Switzerland or Finland. We are in a burning field, with everything that is happening in the states that surround us...and I'm not even mentioning Iran."


Prime Minister Netanyahu's decision by Monday was to appoint a team to meet with protest leaders and draw up a plan. His words echoed those of Steinitz:

"We will be unable to please everyone. It is impossible to take the sum total of the demands regarding all the distress and say, and boast, that we can meet them all.

"We will listen to everyone. We will speak with everyone. We will hold a genuine dialogue...we will really listen to the distress and the proposals for solutions. In the end, we will consider practical solutions. Practical solutions require choices. They also require balance. (Emphasis added)

"Yesterday, something happened which had not occurred in the previous 70 years, since countries began to receive credit ratings. The credit rating of the US, the greatest economic power in the world, was lowered by Standard and Poor's. This event joins with the crisis that is spreading to the major economies of Europe. It is possible that 120 - 130 million Europeans live in countries that are on the verge of bankruptcy and mass unemployment."

What has to be done in Israel, says the prime minister, is to "act with economic responsibility while making the corrections that express social sensitivity.

"It is impossible to ignore the voices coming from the public and there is no reason to do so. We want to give them genuine solutions. I would like to provide these solutions in a thorough -- not cosmetic -- way.


The team that Netanyahu has established will be headed by economist Manuel Trajtenberg, who was charged with appointing appropriate professionals to meet with the protesters. They are supposed to have intensive discussions with different groups and sectors of the public. The team will then make proposals to the 16-minister socio-economic cabinet headed by Steinitz. Final recommendations will be submitted to the prime minister, who will bring them to the full cabinet for approval on changes in the Israeli economy.

Netanyahu wants the team to focus on changing the nation's priorities; changing the mix of tax payments; expanding access to social services; increasing competition to reduce prices; and implementing the housing plan that has already been introduced.


Yesterday, Trajtenberg presented 22 names to Netanyahu. Of these, 14 will be full members and eight will participate in discussions. These are people, says Trajtenberg, who "bring with them professional expertise alongside social sensitivity, public experience, and youth who can understand the feelings of the public today." The team -- which includes economists, officials and academics -- will begin meeting with protesters this week, and present conclusions next month.


In response to this plan, Roee Neuman, a spokesman for the tent protest movement, said, "We didn't want any sort of committee. We wanted the government to take action right away."

You got it? Right away. Precisely what the government should NOT do -- act precipitously without deliberation.

"We are citizens, not politicians. It's up to us to give them concepts and principles, but for them to come up with a formulated plan to make it work."

Excuse me? Of course, "coming up with a formulated plan" takes time, so that this demand by Neuman flies in the face of his other demand, that response be instantaneous. So much for taking him seriously.

What I see is that he cares not a whit for the stability of Israel, for he expects every single concept coming from the street to be made to "work." No discussion, no compromise. This, I would say, tells us something about the tent protests.

Fervently is it to be hoped that Trajtenberg and Netanyahu will resist the impulse to give in more than is advisable.


© 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.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Campaign to Panic Israel Into a Bad Strategy

Barry Rubin

I have a high regard for Aluf Benn, a brilliant guy and one of Israel’s best journalists. He has just become editor of Haaretz, Israel’s left-wing newspaper, but is the most moderate person to hold that post in many years. Benn has written an interesting op-ed piece in the New York Times.

Labor Party leader Michael Herzog has written something similar. The message is that Israel must rush to help create a Palestinian state as fast as possible in order to protect its own security, even survival. Of course, if this state were to demilitarize (Herzog’s proposal), end the conflict, give up the demand for Palestinians to “return” to Israel, and implement a permanent peace treaty that would be a great idea. And if such a deal would improve Israel’s regional position that, too, would be good. And if the Palestinian side was eager to make a compromise peace agreement with Israel, that would be viable.

But since none of these conditions apply this line of argument simply makes no sense at all. It would be great to have a stable peace. Unfortunately, this approach is a formula for a vastly worsened strategic position for Israel and the certainty that it would lead to another decades’-long round of conflict. Benn makes three points:

1. Israel was very worried about the “Arab Spring.”

2. However, now Israel doesn’t have to worry.

3. Therefore Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should rush to work with President Barack Obama and get the peace process started again.

Let’s look at Benn’s point 2 and the reasons he gives for Israel no longer having to worry:

--Syria’s regime is in serious trouble and cannot use the anti-Israel card to escape. But that doesn’t change the fact that the regime is still there and can still try to use aggressive actions against Israel. Moreover, it isn’t clear the next regime in Syria will be better. And the fact that Syria is weak at present doesn’t really change anything in strategic terms since it has been weak for a long time.

It isn’t as if the Palestinian Authority has been held back by fear of Syria. In addition, neither Israel nor the United States has influence within Syria to affect events. So what great opportunity does this give Israel?

-- Hamas is “moving away from Iran and closer to Egypt.” Again, so what? The implication is that Hamas is moving from a radical patron (Iran) to a moderate one (Egypt) so that it might be more politically flexible. Yet in fact what’s happening is a sorting out of revolutionary Islamists into Sunni and Shia camps. The actual patron of Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt, since it borders the Gaza Strip, is a more dangerous ally for Hamas than is Iran. Already, arms and money flow in more freely than before. Egypt’s government won’t pressure Hamas to make peace with Israel or to stop terror attacks. That was President Husni Mubarak’s policy and he’s now on trial for his life.

-- “Turkey, cold toward Israel for a year, signaled a desire to turn from Mr. Assad and get closer to the American camp.” No. Israel’s attempts to resolve the Mavi Marmara affair with Turkey’s government failed completely because the Ankara regime didn’t want a deal. Every time it appeared Israel might meet its demands the Turkish government raised its demands.

And while Turkey has turned against the Assad regime that’s not joining the “American camp” but wanting to ensure Syria’s next government is friendly toward Turkey (but not necessarily to the United States), say a Sunni regime with Islamist leanings like the one in Ankara. And, if Turkey’s regime has influence it wants a strongly anti-Israel government.

--“Most important, the transitional rulers in Cairo stuck to Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel — always Israel’s deepest concern.” The key word here is “transitional.” Since these people will be out of political power in a few months and their successors will gut the treaty of meaning even if they don’t cancel it, how’s that reassuring?

In a previous New York Times op-ed, Benn was critical of Obama and urged him to convince Israel of his own friendliness and effectiveness. That hasn’t happened yet there’s no hint in his new article that a lack of American support is another factor worrying Israel. Benn says Netanyahu: “Should have used this spring and summer to reach a new understanding with Mr. Obama based on confidence about the American-Israeli friendship. He should have worked out an agreement on how to reignite the peace process, rather than antagonize the American president.”

Perhaps, however, much of this problem is due to Obama? And how could Netanyahu get a process going since the Palestinian Authority didn’t want to talk and instead has focused on declaring unilateral independence through the UN?

Benn suggests Netanyahu can “change course,” having “reaped “diplomatic fruits” from the regional crisis. I fail to see what these fruits might be. Benn then concludes:

“His timidity and cynicism will prove costly for Israel when the Arab storm reaches its shores. Before time runs out, he must leverage Israel’s new strength to join Mr. Obama in creative diplomacy to avert a diplomatic debacle in September and pursue a stable peace with the Palestinians.”

But what could Netanyahu have done otherwise? Does “timidity” mean not to take big risks for no return and to make things worse? Does “cynicism” mean believing—correctly—that the PA isn’t ready to negotiate seriously?

When a storm is coming you don’t throw open all the doors and windows and move out onto the balcony (or porch or back deck or patio) to live in the belief that this will dispel the thunder, lightning, hailstones, hurricane, tsunami, or tornado. That would be crazy. The same applies to this bizarre piece of analysis.

I don’t get it. What’s the supposed big opportunity being missed? It is truly bizarre to claim that things are about to become much worse so Israel has to put itself in a weaker strategic position in order to prepare for the crisis. If the critics were arguing that if Israel made big concessions there would be full peace and the conflict would disappear that would be internally logical. But they don’t dare openly make such a claim since it is obviously—after the experience with the 1990s’ peace process—ludicrous.

So what are they left with? Israel will be more unpopular if it doesn’t give in? But popularity through concessions has been tried and failed.

There will be more Palestinians born? But the demographic numbers are wrong (based on PA fabrications); it doesn’t matter in practice; and a strategically weaker Israel would still be facing numerically larger neighbors that would still be hostile.

Israel will have a Palestinian Arab majority or rule over a larger population so it cannot be a democracy? But Israel doesn’t rule the Gaza Strip or the populated portion of the West Bank now. And nobody in Israel is proposing annexation.

The final assumption is that Israel must “prove” it wants peace, something it has been doing energetically for 20 years without persuading those who won’t be persuaded.

What is lacking in this attempt to panic Israel into taking extreme risks, then, is any logic whatsoever. This has nothing to do with “left” or “right” ideology but simply the nature of reality.

Certainly, it can be useful for Israel to make statements to indicate its desire for peace and its flexibility. But nobody can make a case for a desperate need to get an agreement right away or to make major concessions. The creation of a Palestinian state will not defuse the forces of revolutionary Islamism but only encourage them; it will not strengthen Israel’s stability and defense but weaken it.

If Yitzhak Rabin or Shimon Peres were prime minister could they really do anything different? Having a left-of-center government would improve Israel’s image among left-of-center Western intellectuals and leaders. But what might actually be different in diplomatic or strategic realities?

Now Israel’s government has responded, saying to the PA: If you are willing to talk about recognizing Israel as a Jewish state (by the way, the PA’s constitution says that Palestine will be an Arab and Muslim state), Israel will talk about pre-1967 borders. Within hours, this offer was turned down by the PA. Naturally, there will be no effect on the same people clamoring for more unilateral Israeli concessions.

Unless critics of Israel’s policy provide a more attractive option in real terms they’ll continue to be ignored both by Israel’s leaders and voters. Insults, false arguments, and panic do not suffice.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Honduras’ Palestine Gamble

Israel: Daily Alert

President Porfirio Lobo’s decision last week to vote in favor of recognizing Palestine as a member of the UN in September represents a major foreign policy reversal for Honduras that has clearly blindsided Israel and its principal ally, the U.S.

What many do not seem to appreciate is that, in many ways, Honduras has a more natural kinship to the Arab world than to Israel. Of Honduras’ population of 8.2 million, an estimated 200,000 to 250,000 are people of Arab descent – the great majority, Palestinian. The country’s powerful business class is dominated by Arab-Hondurans. Former President Carlos Flores Facusse (1998-2002) comes from Palestinian lineage. Honduras’ current foreign minister, Mario Canahuati, is part Palestinian.

The country’s wealthiest individual, Miguel Facusse Barjum – Palestinian. Top coffee exporter Oscar Kafati – Palestinian.

"Before Tisha B'Av"

Arlene Kushner

Tonight begins the Ninth of Av, the day on which we mourn the destruction of our Temples in Jerusalem, and mark several other tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people on this date over the years.

It is a day of considerable solemnity, in which we afflict ourselves. It is the only full -- 25 hour -- fast in the calendar other than Yom Kippur. We don't bathe and we sit low to the floor. Eicha, the Book of Lamentations is read.

This day is the culmination, so to speak, of three weeks, and then with greater stringency, nine days, which began the process of mourning. If we're honest about it, we are mourning not just because of the destruction in history, but because the destruction continues. We are told that the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 of the Common Era because of causeless hatred (sinat hinam) between Jews, and we are not yet where we should be as a people.


But it is also a time of hope. For tradition tells us that the Moshiach will be born on this day. It falls to us to bring him, I believe. Bring him by virtue of how we act.


Tomorrow, Amcha-Coalition for Jewish Concerns, the group led by Rabbi Avi Weiss in New York, will be holding its 34th annual outdoor mincha service for Tisha B'Av. It will be for Jews in danger worldwide.

2:00 PM at the Isaiah Peace Wall, First Avenue and 43rd Street, NYC, opposite the UN. Torah reading will be lead by Rabbi Weiss. Bring your own siddur, men, tallit and tfillin if possible.


I wanted to go back once again and describe the latest happenings with regard to the tent demonstrations. But I don't believe I can do it justice today, and will save it for another posting to follow soon.


© 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.

The Persecution of Christians in the Middle East

Cheryl Halpern

See also: The Jihad Against the Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek Christians

The terrible violence in Oslo last month has brought the world's attention to the ravings of a madman and a murderer -- someone who was motivated to kill fellow Christians because he feels they had acquiesced to a takeover by Islam.

Our revulsion is appropriate -- this was the killing of innocent people in the name of religious and political hatred. However, when the roles are reversed, and Christians are in the minority and Muslims in the majority, are we equally upset by murder, intimidation and religious hatred?

Sadly, we don't appear to be. The world is standing silent as Christians living in Muslim-majority lands are killed, and their killers are venerated.

Today, Christians, regardless of affiliation, are being systematically harassed, persecuted, and murdered throughout the Middle East, the region of the globe from which Christianity first emerged. Churches have been bombed and those attending Christian services have been killed. Christian homes have been ransacked and cemeteries have been destroyed. Converts from Islam to Christianity are considered apostates and subject to severe punishment. In Iran, a man named Youcef Nadarkhani has been sentenced to hang for the state crime of converting from Islam to Christianity. His appeals for clemency to Iran's highest courts have been rejected. The former President of Lebanon, Amin Gemayel has declared, "Massacres are taking place for no reason and without any justification against Christians. It is only because they are Christians." This can only be called religious cleansing on a vast scale.

Christians once represented significant populations in the Middle East; the Copts of Egypt, the Assyro-Chaldeans of Iraq, the Maronites of Lebanon, and the Southern Sudanese. Yet from the later part of the 20th century until today, the indigenous Christians are becoming refugees in the face of Muslim violence and persecution.

Lebanon was once 60 percent Christian. Today there are only 1.5 million Lebanese Christians -- approximately a third of the country. In Palestinian-controlled Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, Christians were once 90 percent of the population, but are now a very small fraction of that. The Palestinian Authority that controls Bethlehem even banned the cross for sale as a souvenir for tourists. Samir Qumsieh, director of Al-Mahed Nativity TV in Bethlehem noted, "it is like saying that Jesus was never crucified."

Roughly only a third of all of Iraqi's Christians prior to the war remain. In 2010, Iraq's Christian leaders called off Christmas celebrations in the aftermath of a bloody assault on a major church. Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako explained, "Nobody can ignore the threats...The situation of the Christians is bleak."

One year ago, in Iskenderun, Turkey, the head of the Catholic Church in Turkey, Bishop Luigi Padovese, was repeatedly stabbed and then decapitated by his driver, Murat Altun, who shouted, "I killed the Great Satan. Allahu Akhbar." His murder garnered little outrage.

In Saudi Arabia, a Muslim nation that is making major investments in technology and higher education, a nation that purports to be America's ally, it is still a crime to hold private religious ceremonies for any faith other than Islam. It is even illegal to own Christian or other non-Muslim religious items. Violators have been sent to prison and deported.

We in the West tend to gloss over these incidents, but we should not be so dismissive. The treatment of religious minorities - or any minorities - often tells us a great deal about the majority. If Islamic majorities hear no moral outrage and receive no resistance when they harass Christians, why stop the incitement and intolerance?

The mainline Christian churches are surprisingly unalarmed by this persecution. Many U.S. and U.K. churches are more focused on boycotting and divesting from Israel, which is odd since Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian population is growing in number.

There is only one historical metaphor for today's Middle East Christians: The Jews of Europe in the decades prior to the Holocaust. Like today's Christians, the Jews of Europe were a minority, once thriving and at peace with their neighbors. But they, too, were subject to discrimination by state authorities and orchestrated violence. Those who left Europe as refugees were the lucky ones; those left behind became victims of genocide.

The lesson we learn is a simple one: If we do not protect the freedom of conscience in all societies, the dark hatred of religious bigotry is sure to inflict damage on an unimaginable scale. We are seeing that today in the Middle East, in its earliest forms. And so it falls to our political and religious leaders to make clear their moral outrage, and to stand up not only to rogue terrorists but to despotic governments who have brought murder and pain into the homes of those who have chosen to pursue their alternative expressions of faith.

Cheryl Halpern is on the council of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and is former chair of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Page Printed from: at August 07, 2011 - 07:12:25 PM CDT

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Official PA daily: Shimon Peres is "tip of triangle of destruction" - Israel and the Peres Center for Peace

Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

The following article from the sports pages of the official PA daily is an example of how neutral Israeli activities are twisted and used to promote hatred of Israel in the PA.

The article is about Israeli international sports contacts and criticizes Israel's invitations to foreign athletes. Israel is accused of inviting the athletes that Palestinians admire most - just in order to frustrate Palestinians.

"'Israel' aims its poisoned arrows with great accuracy at the heart of every sports star who enters the hearts of Palestinians and Muslim Arabs. It is clear that Israel is able to invent ploys and set traps in order to attract the Arabs' favorite international football stars... to cause frustration to the Palestinians... Since our enemy is shrewd, it is well aware of how the Spanish [football] League is admired by Palestinians and Arabs; therefore, it continues to target the stars of the outstanding Spanish League..."

The writer criticizes Israeli President Shimon Peres and the Peres Center for Peace, describing the President as the "tip of the triangle of destruction," and attacking the center for "spewing its poison in the faces of the Palestinians." The Peres Center for Peace promotes coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians through sports events and Peace Matches, where mixed Israeli-Palestinian football teams play against top international teams like Real Madrid and others. Internationally acclaimed athletes and other celebrities act as Ambassadors for the center and help promote awareness of these peace-promoting initiatives. The writer of the article in the Palestinian daily describes the participation of the international sports stars and their visits to Israel as anti-Palestinian activities.

One such athlete criticized in the article is Argentinian footballer Maradona, who was criticized for being "one of the first athletes to don a skullcap and pray at the Al-Buraq Wall (i.e., the Western Wall), shedding crocodile tears in occupied Jerusalem in 1986."

The article also includes general hate speech, referring to Israel as "the Zionist entity," writing that "the Zionist octopus' arms reach out in every direction," and slandering Israel by claiming that "the Zionist policy of oppression... has not limited itself to destruction of [sports] facilities and the murder of athletes."

In addition, the words Israel and Tel Aviv throughout the article appear in quotation marks as an indicator of non-recognition of Israel.

Hate speech about Israel's contacts with international sports stars:

"The [Israeli] 'War of Stars' is made up of dirty campaigns which the Zionist machine carries out against Palestinian sports..."

"'Israel' aims its poisoned arrows with great accuracy at the heart of every sports star who enters the hearts of Palestinians and Muslim Arabs."

"It is clear that Israel is able to invent ploys and set traps in order to attract the Arabs' favorite international football stars..."

"Since our enemy [Israel] is shrewd, it is well aware of how the Spanish [football] League is admired by Palestinians and Arabs; therefore, it continues to target the stars of the outstanding Spanish League..."

"[Argentinian football player] Maradona, who is incapable of standing on principle or sustaining a position... was one of the first athletes to don a skullcap and pray at the Al-Buraq Wall (i.e., the Western Wall)..."

"The current manager of Real Madrid visited the Zionist entity..."

Hate speech about Israeli President Shimon Peres and Peres Center for Peace:

"The tip of the triangle of destruction - Shimon Peres."

"The Peres Center for Peace, which scatters roses in all directions while spewing its poison in the faces of the Palestinians..."

Hate speech about Israel in general:

"The Zionist octopus' arms reach out in every direction..."

"The Zionist policy of oppression, which has not limited itself to destruction of [sports] facilities and the murder of athletes..."

"... methods of Hebrew deception."

"...the foremost racist entity..."

"The 'Tel Aviv' government knows that sports are the most important means to improve its ugly image..."

"The racist Israeli policy..."

All this and more in an article about Israeli invitations to foreign athletes.

The following are longer excerpts from the article in the official PA daily:

Headline: "Israel conducting War of Stars against Palestinian sports"
"The Zionist octopus' arms reach out in every direction in order to obstruct all attempts to bring about a recovery in the various areas of the Palestinian experience. Sports are not detached from the Zionist policy of oppression, which has not limited itself to destruction of [sports] facilities and the murder of athletes, but works to sway the opinions of international sports stars to its side by falsifying and changing facts in the ugliest manner.

Within the occupation entity (i.e., Israel) intensive activity is carried out, led by the most senior politicians headed by the tip of the triangle of destruction - Shimon Peres. This is done through the Peres Center for Peace, which scatters roses in all directions while spewing its poison in the faces of the Palestinians. The activities of the occupation state focus on bringing the most glittering international football stars, by inviting them to social events, charity activities (from their perspective), regional conferences and peace encounters, or by other methods of Hebrew deception. The visit by the Spanish player Gerard Piqué, defender for the Spanish Barcelona team to the occupation entity, will not be the final chapter in the 'forbidden love' series between the entity [Israel] and the [international] stars. The entity's leaders have prepared further prayers of appeasement and certificates of stardom for whoever joins those who have preceded them in illegal relations between the world and the settler entity.

The 'War of Stars' is made up of dirty campaigns which the Zionist machine carries out against Palestinian sports, aided by all the celebrities of the world's sports sector, after it identifies them as being ignorant of anything related to the Palestinian cause, or having a bias in favor of the colonialist state.

Crocodile tears
It started with [Argentinian football player] Diego Armando Maradona, who is incapable of standing on principle or sticking to a position. Despite his revolutionary chatter and his loyalty to the liberation ideas of [Che] Guevara and Castro, he was one of the first athletes to don a skullcap and pray at the Al-Buraq Wall (i.e., the Western Wall), shedding crocodile tears in occupied Jerusalem in 1986. Afterwards Maradona dedicated the World Cup which Argentina won that year to 'Israel', in response to Italy having dedicated the Cup to the Palestinians four years earlier...

Accurate arrows
'Israel' aims its poisoned arrows with great accuracy at the heart of every sports star who enters the hearts of Palestinians and Muslim Arabs. It is clear that Israel is able to invent ploys and set traps in order to attract the Arabs' favorite international football stars, to pollute their history and their past, and to cause frustration to the Palestinians - even before [frustrating] the Arabs - because of the stars' disregard for the Palestinian right and their visit to 'Israel' which murders, kills the Palestinian soul, and destroys and ruins sports facilities.
Since our enemy is shrewd, it is well aware of how the Spanish [football] League is admired by Palestinians and Arabs; therefore, it continues to target the stars of the outstanding Spanish League, from the presidents of the clubs to managers and players.

José Mourinho, the current manager of Real Madrid, visited the Zionist entity in 2005, as manager [and coach] of Chelsea, champion of the English League. He said then that he had come to 'Israel' in order to prove that football brings hope, and to aid the efforts of the Shimon Peres Center to create a better world through the establishment of mixed Palestinian and 'Israeli' teams...

Kidnapping the stars
Since Real Madrid and Barcelona are factories for champions, the feverish Zionist activity focuses especially on the various African and European players of these two clubs.

The Cameroon player Samuel Eto'o acquiesced in 2006 to Peres' invitation to visit the occupied territories... How could a player who was burned for so long by the fire of racism on European playing fields come and support the [state that is the] foremost racist entity according to the language of international conventions?
Since the 'Tel Aviv' government knows that sports are the most important means to improve its ugly image in the world, it does not suffice with this quantity of glittering stars who have fallen into the trap and justified this [visit] by meeting with 'Israeli' children, victims of what they call Palestinian terror. The 'Israeli' organization One World announced that it has come to an agreement with the Brazilian Ronaldinho, currently playing for Milan, to distribute sports shirts with the Brazilian star's signature and sports socks as gifts to the [Zionist] entity's children. It said that the reason for this [initiative] is the positive effect that this will have on these children's psyches...

Warm friendship
Women have been a central factor in drawing the [football] game's stars to the [Zionist] entity's state. The most famous manager in the world right now, and coach for the Spanish Barcelona [football club], Pep Guardiola, did not renege on his promise to his 'Israeli' girlfriend, singer Ahinoam Nini, to [visit] occupied Jerusalem as part of the Zionists' celebrations of the establishment of their state...

The eyes of the world have been turned in recent weeks to Spanish Barcelona's defender, Gerard Piqué, as he visited 'Israel' - for several reasons. First, he is the defender for the world's best football team. Second, he accompanied his girlfriend Shakira, the best-known singer in the world, who appeared at the World Cup in South Africa with the song 'Waka Waka'. Third, Shakira herself is of Lebanese Arab descent, regardless of her Colombian citizenship. She had refused more than once to visit the Zionist entity, and she made statements against the racist Israeli policy."

[Wasfi Shahwan, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 1, 2011]

Norway As Example: It's Forbidden to Discuss How Political Apologists for Terror-Using Groups Unintentionally Increase Terrorism

Barry Rubin

Before I begin I want to make five points absolutely clear:

1. I was one of the first people in the world to write condemning the action in Norway as terrorism and as committed by a right-winger. Therefore--and based on my career of 35 years including 30 years working on counterterrorism--it should be clear that I would never endorse the murder of dozens of people. The irony is that a plea to fight terrorism by not granting it rewards was distorted into a pro-terrorist position! 2. A large portion of the Norwegian mass media has repeatedly stated that I endorsed the killings and called the kids at the camp terrorists. This is a lie. False quotes were attributed to my article. To my best knowledge, nobody in Norway tried to establish the truth or report fairly.

3. No Norwegian media--indeed no reporter from anywhere in the world--made any attempt to interview me on this issue and find out what I thought and what I wrote. Imagine, this is the biggest story in Norway and nobody contacted me at all.

4. The Jerusalem Post never discussed this issue with me nor contacted me to discuss the issue and hear my position. I have written for this newspaper for about 30 years without a single controversy arising before.

5. We have arrived at the strange situation in which the Norwegian media and apparently the Norwegian government considers me to be "pro-terrorist" but does not consider Hamas (and a number of other groups one could name) to be "pro-terrorist."

What explains this kind of thing--deliberate lies, deceitful reporting, disinterest in truth, disinterest in fairness? Answer: The conversion of the public debate and media into propaganda exercises in which (ironically, McCarthyist) witchhunts are conducted and those entrusted with the sacred pursuit of truth and accuracy use their positions to spread lies, incitement, and indoctrination.

This has been going on now for some years but there's nothing like experiencing something first-hand to comprehend it well. I now hope to get back to work as an analyst of international affairs and especially of the Middle East.

Foreign Minister Store with Hamas Prime Minister Haniya: Smiles at Hamas, Frown at Israel. Deny Being an Enabler of Terrorism. Norwegian media accuses me--but not Hamas--of supporting terrorism. Haniya on US. assassination of Usama bin Ladin, “Of course we condemn the…killing of a Muslim jihad fighter….We pray for Allah to cover him with His mercy, next to the prophets, the righteous, and the martyrs."

A Case Study from Norway:
It Is Forbidden to Discuss How Political Enablers of Terrorist Groups Unintentionally Encourage Terrorism Without Being Labelled A Terrorist

By Barry Rubin

“I do not understand Norway’s position, and I say that as a friend of Norway. If they shoot, if they fire rockets, why doesn’t Norway believe that they are terrorists? What else do they need to do? Let us not forget that Norway and the other Scandinavian countries called in Yasir Arafat and said: `Iif you want a deal, you must first renounce terrorism. You must recognize the state of Israel, and you must commit yourself to peace.’ Why is all this forgotten? What is the difference between the PLO at that time and Hamas today?” --President Shimon Peres, May 2011

We want Palestine in its entirety—so there will not be any misunderstandings. If our generation is unable to achieve this, the next one will, and we are raising our children on this. Palestine means Palestine in its entirety, and Israel cannot exist in our midst…. We liberated Gaza through resistance. We want to conduct resistance in the West Bank as well." -- Hamas leader Mahmud Zahhar, July 2011, a few days before members of Norway’s ruling party expressed enthusiasm for helping Hamas. .

Ironically, the reaction to my article, “The Oslo Syndrome,” proved its thesis, the same point as the one President Shimon Peres made. If terrorism is empowered, terrorism is more likely to occur. That uncontroversial point has been blown up into something controversial by deceit.

The Norwegian government and media establishment wants no honest discussion of these issues. Instead, my article was misrepresented in order to stir up a frenzy that closed ears and shut eyes to what I was saying. Indeed, the Norwegian newspaper falsely claimed that I had endorsed the terrorist attack there.

How’s that for constructive dialogue and healing?

The blog “Israel Matzav” sums up my position very well:

“Rubin said that this terror attack, committed by a ‘normal Norwegian boy’ [not my words] ought to make Norwegians do some introspection about their government's support for terror organizations like Hamas. Is Norway giving its youth the wrong message through its support for Hamas? Why is Norway not even willing to ask itself that question?”

And the Norwegian reaction is to reiterate--as the ambassador portrayed his country’s view--that there is a rational reason to murder Israeli children (“occupation,” despite the fact that Israel has withdrawn from all of the Gaza Strip, much of the West Bank, and indicated its readiness to accept a Palestinian state eleven years ago) but not to murder Norwegian children. In other words, one can only discuss the evil Norwegian terrorist in the parameters laid down by the Norwegian left. One can talk endlessly about how his specific ideology--right-wing, allegedly Christian, and Islamophobic--but not the way he fits into a much wider pattern of rising terrorism in general.

I didn’t write about the content of his ideology but about his choice of strategy on the basis of my three decades’ of scholarly study about terrorism. Why did the Norwegian terrorist think that killing people would help—not hurt—his cause? Because like terrorists around the world he sees other groups that use terrorism succeed politically, build a mass base of support, and gain sympathy for their cause despite their methods.

Second, nobody else apologizes for criticizing Israel in the harshest terms after terrorist attacks, something I did not do to Norway. No newspaper in the world to my knowledge apologized for the terrible things written on its pages about the United States after September 11.

The deputy foreign minister and foreign minister of Norway, who both attacked me, have never criticized Hamas or Hizballah by name. Last May, Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre explained, “We condemn organizations that are involved in terrorism, but Norway has considered the situation as such that having lists where we put an organization and call it a terrorist organization will not serve our purposes.”

Obviously, if Hamas was named as a terrorist group then cabinet ministers can’t have its leaders to tea. But by not naming it, they are saying: You can commit hundreds of acts of terror and it will cost you nothing politically. But if Israel responds, for example, by counterattacking into the Gaza Strip, we will condemn Israel.

Yes, this is a policy that encourages terrorism and makes it look successful: it wins sympathy for the cause and antagonism toward the victims. But while Norway won’t criticize terrorist groups by name, its officials and media are unrestrained in attacking Israel.

Alan Dershowitz has written from personal observation that in Norway, “Anti-Semitism doesn't even mask itself as anti-Zionism.” And this behavior is carried on by public institutions and media.

Former Prime Minister Kare Willoch criticized President Barack Obama for appointing Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff because he was “Jewish.” Nor the author Jostein Gaarder who wrote an op-ed in Aftenposten entitled, “God’s Chosen People” at a time when three Israeli soldiers had been kidnapped by Hizballah and a war was on, describing Judaism as “an archaic national and warlike religion.” Apology?

In 2008, a Norwegian comedian said on national television, “I would like to wish all Norwegian Jews a Merry Christmas - no, what am I saying! You don't celebrate Christmas, do you!? It was you who crucified Jesus." Apology? Last year the minister of finance spoke at a largely Islamist-organized anti-Israel rally. Apology? A person who has served as a Foreign Ministry official remarked in 2008 that she occasionally wished the UN would send “precision-guided missiles against selected Israeli targets.” Apology?

But I never said and I’m not saying now that a terrorist attack took place in Norway because of its anti-Israel policies or atmosphere. Nor am I saying that Norway “supports” terrorism itself, that it applauds the murder of civilians elsewhere. What I’m saying--as nobody has publicly acknowledged in Norway—is that to show terrorists they will get more sympathy than Israel, to reward a group like Hamas, to say that terrorism can be ignored if directed against the “proper” people is to increase the overall level of terrorism against Israel and in the world, including in Norway itself.

You’ve never heard of Samira Munir and Norway’s establishment has swept her story away. She was a Norwegian politician of Pakistani origin who fought for women’s rights and against sharia law. She was found dead in November 2004, supposedly a suicide but seeming far more likely to have been a terrorist murder. She had received daily death threats by phone and walking down the street. Might this act, whose perpetrators were never punished, indicate that some people think they can commit terrorism, get away with it, and suffer no political damage?

If others who have extremist views and/or mental disorders see every day that terrorism produces political advantage and sympathy for those who commit it they are more likely to commit terrorism. If groups see their terrorism is no barrier to being invited to Norway and to have lunch with cabinet ministers while their enemies’ self-defense countermeasures will be condemned and vilified they are more likely to adopt terrorism as a strategy.

The underlying concept of the Norwegian response is that Norway is a country that isn’t supposed to have terrorism committed against it. But Israel is a country that deserves to have terrorism committed against it. My point is that neither country “deserves” to have this happen. That doesn’t mean Norway is guilty or should be punished or that an evil terrorist attack is justified. No, it means that Norway should be more consistently and universally against giving terrorists victories—even though it does so by ignoring their terrorism.

We are now approaching the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the United States. There were those then, including in Norway, who said the United States had it coming and the attack was due to its policies. There are always those—including in Norway—who say that Israel has it coming and the attack is due to its policies.

My view is the precise opposite. I’m saying about Norway precisely the same thing I said about the United States after September 11: the attack proves the need to take a tougher stance against terrorism and against all terrorist groups. If the world thinks al-Qaida won and its attack brought political gains, then there would be more terrorism. As it happened, there was tough action against al-Qaida itself but other terrorist groups concluded that terrorism worked, increased their operations, and did reap political rewards.

The world that the Norwegian government and left-wing media wants is to accept there are two groups in the world: those immune not only from criticism but from serious discussion of their actions, as compared with those who can be lied about with impunity, have hatred incited against them, and then must apologize for not staying in their place as second-class people with second-class rights to express their views.

What I wrote in the “Oslo Syndrome” is that people who accept rationales for terrorism and reward those movements politically increase terrorism. Equally, those who accept double standards, slanderous lies (without apology) about themselves in the media of other countries, and the consorting of those countries with groups that want to exterminate them only increase that behavior, too.