Saturday, December 24, 2011

Welcome to Cairostan

Op-ed: Egypt’s radicals eliminating country’s connection to West, but does anyone care?

Guy Bechor

It was barely mentioned in the Israeli and global media, but the following event pertains to the whole of Western civilization: Last Saturday, violent groups of Islamic-Salafi radicals burned the famous scientific institute established by Napoleon in Egypt after its first encounter with the West. Some historians consider it the start of modern times in the Middle East.

The site, L’Institut d’Egypte, held some 200,000 original and rare books, exhibits, maps, archeological findings and studies from Egypt and the entire Middle East, based on the work of generations of western researchers. Most of the artifacts were lost forever, burned or looted.

It’s difficult to understand the modern Middle East without these studies, which were overcome by an immense fire. The large building was situated in the center of Cairo and torching it was a symbolic, intentional act. Those who burned the building and its artifacts meant to burn the era of logic, enlightenment, research and individualism. This was a grave provocation against the whole of Western civilization, a desire to disconnect from science, research and modernity, while cynically using a Western means – that is, democracy – in order to take power.

One need not go all the way to blowing up the pyramids, as some of Egypt’s Salafis wish to do after they seized some 35% of the new parliament seats (alongside 40% of the Islamic brotherhood,) and there is no reason to go as far as Afghanistan, where the Taliban blew up the huge Buddha statues. The elimination of Egypt’s non-Muslim past is already here.

Anything that dates back to the Pharaohs, that is ancient, or that is Western is destined to be destroyed, and the mission has already been launched in the most symbolic manner: The outset of Egypt’s modern era, which the Salafis seek to erase, and in fact rewrite. This is a battle for writing the history of Egypt and of the Arab and Muslim world.

UNESCO’s silence

This isn’t a new phenomenon, and in Jerusalem as well we see elements associated with political Islam trying to erase any presence of the 3,000-year Jewish existence there, on Temple Mount for example – existence that pre-dated Islam.

In 1258, the Mongols burned the immense library in Baghdad known as the “House of Wisdom.” It held rare writings that have disappeared forever, Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, and the other cornerstones of Western civilization. All we know today is that these books existed, yet following the terrible fire in Baghdad they were burned forever. The Mongols sought to secure the same objective as Egypt’s Salafis: Erasing the past and keeping only their present.

All of this is happening while the confused West is lauding the new democracy established in Egypt, without understanding that this democracy is erasing the historic Egypt that was intimately connected to the West and its culture; a new Egypt shall rise on the ruins of the great fire. What we are seeing here is not a battle for power, but rather, a battle for perception, memory, heritage and historiography; that is, the writing of history.

Oddly, this is happening in Egypt of all places, a state that always demanded the return of the archeological findings taken from it as part of its national ethos. Artifacts of the era of the Pharaohs are still held in London and in Paris, yet Israel already returned all the archeological findings it discovered in the Sinai. Now, it is doubtful whether Egypt would be able to safeguard its own museums, which are also facing the threat of fire and looting.

And who is supposed to raise a hue and cry over the burning of Egypt’s Western past? Who is supposed to be greatly disturbed by the fact that Egyptian authorities are having trouble protecting their own museums? UNESCO, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Yet not much is happening there. Well, we can’t blame this organization; after all, it is preoccupied with admitting “Palestine” into its ranks.

2012 Promises to be an Especially Difficult Year for Israel

Neil Snyder

Muslim persecution of Christians is a growing problem in the Middle East:

"When the major media reported a few months ago that Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was set to be executed for leaving Islam, many Western people were shocked, finding it hard to believe that in the 21st century people are still being persecuted -- by their governments no less -- simply for being Christian.

The fact is, Muslim persecution of Christians in the modern era has been consistently growing worse. Yet, because only one out of every few hundred or so cases ever receives major attention, few in the West have any idea that it exists.
The problem is so disconcerting that Christian Solidarity International has started a petition drive hoping to force President Obama to raise the issue at the global level:

"We urge you, Mr. President, to present during the forthcoming State of the Union Address your administration's policy to prevent the eradication of the endangered Christian communities and other religious minorities of the Islamic Middle East."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has voiced his concern already:

"We cannot accept and thereby facilitate what looks more and more like a particularly perverse program of religious cleansing in the Middle East."

To date, President Obama has not seen fit to inject himself and his office into the debate. His reluctance to speak publically about Muslim persecution of any sort is probably motivated by his desire to create an America that is tolerant of Islam. In the process, he has thrown Christians under the bus:

"Christians in the Middle East and other parts of the world encounter an Obama administration that seems utterly indifferent to their fate. One of the most important but mostly neglected stories in recent years is the severe persecution of Christians in the Middle East and other parts of the world. Words such as 'religious cleansing,' 'mass murder' and 'authentic martyrdom' have been used by those who know the situation best to describe this persecution."

As appalling as Muslim persecution of Christians is, Muslims of different persuasions hate each other even more than they hate Christians. From Thailand to Pakistan to Egypt, sectarian violence is erupting into conflicts that border on civil war. This problem is especially prevalent today in Iraq, and with the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, it is a growing concern. On Friday, thousands of Iraqi Sunni Muslims took to the streets to protest against Shi'ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki:

"Friday's protests took place a day after at least 69 people were killed in a wave of bombings across Baghdad. The demonstrations have also come on the heels of a growing political crisis involving Mr. Maliki and Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi."

The situation in Iraq is rapidly spinning out of control with Maliki and al-Hashemi accusing each other of stirring up sectarian trouble for political purposes:

"The Sunni vice president wanted for allegedly running a hit squad in Iraq on Friday accused Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of waging a campaign against Sunnis and pushing the country toward sectarian war."

Peter Wehner writing for Commentary calls what's happening in Iraq a "March Backwards Into the Sun":

"Yesterday, a barrage of at least 15 bombs were set off in Baghdad, which according to press reports rocked almost every major neighborhood in the Iraqi capital. Dozens of people were killed. We're seeing a dramatic resurgence of sectarian and ethnic divisions."

Concerning Iraq, The Economist went so far as say,

"[T]he American neo-con dream of a post-Saddam Iraq spreading democracy throughout the Middle East was always a delusional fantasy. The risk, now that there is no American presence to hold the ring, is that Iraq will fall into sectarian chaos (just as neighbouring Syria may). That in turn will strengthen the argument that in the absence of a Saddam-like strongman Iraq, with its Sunni and Shia Arabs and Sunni Kurds, can never be a coherent state and must, at best, become a loose federation."

Although the Arab Spring began as a movement for liberalism and human rights, it has morphed into sectarian strife throughout the Middle East and North Africa:

"Many pundits and government officials have praised the 'Arab Spring' as a prelude to the rise of a new and more democratic Middle East. But it is difficult to reconcile this notion with the images of growing intersectarian violence within the region, such as the recent anti-Shiite attacks perpetrated in the course of the celebration of the Shiite Ashura festival on December 5 and 6. The event, a traditional catalyst for intersectarian violence, served as a powerful reminder that identity politics continue to play a major role in the region.

Indeed, these Arab uprisings, while fueled by widespread desires for more freedom at the grassroots level, demonstrate that preexisting religious identities were never abandoned in favor of new national ones and that Middle Eastern politics are still very much based on group affiliation and identity politics."

As 2011 draws to a close, 2012 promises to be the year of sectarian strife in the Middle East, and no one knows for sure what it portends. This much is certain, though: when Arab Muslim political leaders are confronted with internal difficulties, they unite by blaming the Jews. Israel is a bastion of freedom and democracy in the Middle East, and she is a ready target for Muslims of every persuasion because they hate Israel more than they hate each other. Therefore, 2012 promises to be an especially difficult year for Israel.

Neil Snyder is a chaired professor emeritus at the University of Virginia. His blog,, is posted daily. His latest book is titled If You Voted for Obama in 2008 to Prove You're Not a Racist, You Need to Vote for Someone Else in 2012 to Prove You're Not an Idiot.

Neil Snyder

Read more:

Friday, December 23, 2011

Barkat Plan ‘Will Turn Jerusalem into Sderot’

Gavriel Queenann

Coalition and Likud Knesset-faction Chairman Ze'ev Elkin expressed surprise that Jerusalem mayor Nir Bakat is trying to persuade officials to accept his plan to divide Israel's capital.

"I regret that the mayor of Jerusalem, elected with the votes of the nationalist public, openly endorses the erosion of Jerusalem's unity," Elkin, who also chairs the Knesset Jerusalem Lobby, said.

"Neighborhoods Barkat wants to remove from his municipal jurisdiction are a part of the sovereign territory of Israel protected under the Basic Law... the Jerusalem law, and a referendum we enacted in this Knesset,” he added.
According to Elkin, "excluding the areas and leaving them outside the security fence was a terrible mistake that only increases the numbers of Palestinians within the city, and harms the security situation. Who wants to add insult to injury and make some parts of Jerusalem like Gaza."

"It will turn Jerusalem into Sderot," Elkin said. "We cannot let this happen."

Sderot and other Israeli communities near Gaza have been targeted with over 12,000 rockets and mortar shells by terror organizations in the Hamas-run enclave.

MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) responded to Barkat's plan saying "Barkat is ignoring paragraph 97 of the Criminal Code of the State of Israel - that says any act which adversely impacts the sovereign territory of the country or surrenders land to a foreign state [without government approval] is an act of betrayal."

"Barkat is attempting to fill the shoes of the Prime Minister and ignoring laws rather than imposing his authority as mayor in all parts of Jerusalem, which were entrusted into his hand."

Eldad is sponsoring a law that would declare Jerusalem to be the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish people.

Barkat is promoting swapping some municipal lands left outside Israel's security fence in exchange for other lands that remain within it. He says the plan would address the city's impotence when it comes to providing services and exercising of authority in neighborhoods that remain outside the fence.

Nationalist leaders have expressed dismay at Birkat's plan, which they say could have detrimental effects amid a struggle to maintain Jerusalem's deep historical and cultural Jewish identity.

Arutz Sheva learned that Barkat is also lobbying Rabbi Haim Druckman and Rabbi Shlomo Aviner for their support.

Rabbi Druckman reportedly expressed support for the program saying it actually increases the overall area of the city while leaving several frequently contentious Arab enclaves outside the fence.

UNESCO stops funding Palestinian magazine following PMW exposure of Hitler glorification

"UNESCO strongly deplores and condemns
the reproduction of such inflammatory statements"

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Following Palestinian Media Watch's exposure of the Palestinian Authority funded Zayzafuna magazine's presenting Hitler as a role model for youth, and the Wiesenthal Center's protest to UNESCO, UNESCO has announced it is no longer funding the magazine.
PMW Bulletins
UNESCO stops funding Palestinian magazine following PMW exposure of Hitler glorification
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Dec. 23, 2011

Share |
UNESCO stops funding Palestinian magazine
following PMW exposure of Hitler glorification

"UNESCO strongly deplores and condemns
the reproduction of such inflammatory statements"

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

Following Palestinian Media Watch's exposure of the Palestinian Authority funded Zayzafuna magazine's presenting Hitler as a role model for youth, and the Wiesenthal Center's protest to UNESCO, UNESCO has announced it is no longer funding the magazine.

Letter from the office of UNESCO's Director-General:

"UNESCO is shocked and dismayed by the content of the February issue, and has requested more detailed information and clarification from the editors of the magazine and to Palestinian Authority. UNESCO strongly deplores and condemns the reproduction of such inflammatory statements in a magazine associated with UNESCO's name and mission and will not provide any further support to the publication in question."


"Stances That Are Welcome"

Arlene Kushner

It makes me crazy when overly cautious representatives of the Israeli government tiptoe in such a fashion that they convey the impression that they are unsure of Israel's rights. But this is not the case here.

The government (or more accurately, the Foreign Ministry), weary of meddling European governments with a pro-PA stance, has delivered a strong message to France, Britain, Germany and Portugal -- the four EU nations currently sitting on the Security Council. For these four nations released a joint statement on Tuesday that: condemned building in Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem (which sends "a devastating message"); addressed the "disturbing escalation of violence by settlers;" and called for parties to "present as soon as possible to the Quartet comprehensive proposals on territory and security."

From the Foreign Ministry, then, came a message that, "interfering with Israel's domestic affairs, including on issues that are to be solved within the framework of direct talks, does not enhance the status they wish to be granted." his is Avigdor Lieberman's voice, loud and clear. Which is why this statement doesn't tiptoe. It would be more productive, suggested the Ministry statement, if these countries attended to the extreme violence in Syria, helping Arab countries to develop democracies, and stopping Iran's nuclear threat.

"If, instead of contributing to stability in the Middle East through these steps, they invest their efforts in inappropriate bickering with the one country where there is an independent justice system that knows how to handle lawbreakers of all kinds, they are bound to lose their credibility and make themselves irrelevant.

"The European UNSC members have chosen to do what is easy and unnecessary, rather than muster their courage to do that which is difficult and necessary."

I love it!


The issue addressed by these nations that most irritated officials was the call for the proposals to be submitted to the Quartet. Israel's position is that three-way negotiations are a waste of time and that proposals should only be submitted at the table when there are face-to-face negotiations. And, in fact, just last week representatives of the Quartet said the same thing -- that the parties should submit proposals to each other in direct talks.

The position of the four nations making the statement was directly in line with what the PA is claiming: that proposals are supposed to go to the Quartet. They submitted their proposals, they are saying, but an obstructionist Israel has not done so.

Then too, Israeli diplomats were greatly irked by the fact that demands upon Israel are very specific, while what is expected of the PA is left in general terms.

The four nations attempted to predetermine the outcome of the negotiations by calling (in line with PA demands, of course) for the '67 lines as border and Jerusalem as the capital of two states. But these are matters to be determined only via negotiations.

How these European nations speak is not news. What is of import is the strength of the Israeli response.


This week, Mahmoud Abbas met in Turkey with Amna Muna, who lured an Israeli teenager to his death by pretending to establish a romantic relationship with him via Internet. She was released as part of the Shalit deal.

The prime minister's office had plenty to say about this, including a statement that, "Instead of promoting peace and reconciliation the Palestinian leadership seems to be putting extremist murderers up on a pedestal."

But I don't believe I caught any condemnation from EU nations who want to see Abbas refrain from such behavior in the interests of peace.


The US on the issue of Iran: Mixed messages and a thoroughly confusing situation. We've had American officials dispatched here to warn us not to attack Iran, and we've seen the president eager to avoid "offending" Iran with what might be seen as "a declaration of war," as he attempted various diplomatic means of controlling the situation.

But it now seems that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta -- who is one of those people who had been sent to Jerusalem to warn us -- speaks out of both sides of his mouth. For he has now given an interview on CBS in which he says that Iran might have the bomb within a year. The US has the ability to attack anywhere in the world, he told his interviewer. The US will not allow Iran to go nuclear, and will take any steps necessary to stop it.

A change of heart as he faces the frighteningly imminent countdown? Acceptance of evidence presented by Israel (Barak was just in Washington)? Or politicking in an election year?

Who knows. What I do know is that it will take more than words from an Obama administration official to convince me that the US is serious on this matter.


What makes Panetta's words seem like more than politicking is another interview -- the timing of which is no coincidence -- given to CNN by US Chief of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey:

The US, he said, is formulating a plan for attack on Iran: "I am satisfied that the options that we are developing are evolving to a point that they would be executable if necessary."

Well, this is reassuring. But we have to ask what took them so long. They should have had such plans all along. This does seem to indicate a readiness by Obama to maybe, perhaps, possibly consider such an option. For it goes without saying that such plans would be activated only if the president gave the word.

The General further said that:

"We are trying to establish some confidence on the part of the Israelis that we recognize their concerns and are collaborating with them on addressing them."

And a statement by Defense Minister Barak seemed to confirm this:

"The change in American statements on Iran are a very important development. If any of my meetings with American officials contributed to this, then I'm happy about it. It is also important that the Iranians hear this, because it shows them that there are consequences."

"...The US is standing behind Israel in a way it has not done for a long time now, with more determination and depth..."

Yes, I know, the reality must be separated out from the politics here. Barak has been an Obama buddy. But this offers a reasonable measure of hope.


According to Israel Hayom:

"Intelligence recently provided to the US by Israel regarding developments in Iran, and threats of the use of force by the Israel Defense Forces against Tehran's nuclear program, played a central role in the uptick of comments by senior US defense officials against Iran this week.

"Furthermore, the assessment in Israel is that several other U.S. allies in the Middle East have made it clear to Washington that if it does not seriously intend to stop Tehran's nuclear march, these countries would have to conduct a reassessment of their strategic positions – a reassessment not necessarily in Washington's favor."


Tomorrow is Shabbat, and with the celebration of Chanukah, and precious time with grandchildren, it is likely to be a few days until I post again.

It is impossible to touch upon every subject of concern. I have not mentioned Thomas Friedman's anti-Israel positions, or the subsequent and very appropriate refusal of Netanyahu to write something for the NY Times.

Far more significantly, I will want to return to issues touching upon Egypt, where the situation is hardly stable. The military has been flexing muscle: Not without violence, they have been working to put down protests against military rule. From the perspective here, their last ditch effort to control the country, as unsatisfactory as it is in multiple ways, beats control by the Islamists.

What is startling however is that, according to the Jordanian paper, Albawaba, Dr. Yusri Hamad, spokesman for the Egyptian Salafi Nur party, has said that the party would be expressed willing to sit down with Israel under certain conditions; this would not contravene Islamic law, he said. While party leader Dr. Emad Abdul Ghafoor declared, "We must respect the treaties signed by Egypt." However, his statement linked the treaty with Israel to establishment of a Palestinian state.


I think we can learn the lesson at least a couple of times over just in this posting alone -- that world events are fluid and unpredictable, and as much as the pundits think they know what is going to happen, in point of fact we have to sit tight and watch it all unfold. Praying, at the same time, of course.


Let me here wish all of my Christian friends on this list a joyful holiday.


© 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.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

The NGOs that Stole Christmas

NGO Monitor

Church Groups Manipulate Christmas Spirit to Delegitimize Israel and Promote BDS

JERUSALEM - The Christmas season is being exploited by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to advance anti-peace agendas and to delegitimize Israel, says NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institution. By manipulating traditional Christmas songs, images, and messages, NGOs such as Sabeel, War on Want (UK), Amos Trust, and Adalah-NY continue to demonize Israel with crude, antisemitic rhetoric.

"These NGOs have hijacked Christmas to promote their extremely divisive boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) and demonization campaigns," says Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. "Manipulating religious symbols and images in this manner is deeply offensive, and clearly does not foster an environment of coexistence among Israelis and Palestinians. These NGOs are pursuing hate-filled agendas." Friends of Sabeel - Detroit is selling Christmas cards as a "fundraiser in support of Friend of Sabeel - North America," one of which implies the destruction of the Jewish state by depicting a map of Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza as one territory filled in with the phrase "The Empire will not last!"

Adalah-NY held its annual "Anti-Apartheid Holiday Caroling" on December 17, 2011 in front of a New York jewelry store owned by Israeli businessman Lev Leviev. The protest is part of Adalah-NY's campaign targeting Leviev because he is an Israeli, and they invited activists to sing awkward and offensive versions of traditional holiday songs. This year, the event was held in conjunction with Code Pink, whose Stolen Beauty campaign targets the Israeli company Ahava. In their lyrics, the NGOs use the "Ethnic cleansing and apartheid" blood libels, and chanted "Selling beauty creams, / Blood mixed in with mud"; other inflammatory lyrics include "That beauty cream you bought her / Makes her soul disappear."

UK-based Amos Trust is advertising its annual Bethlehem Pack, "a resource to help churches talk about the current situation in Bethlehem at carol services and Christmas events." Exploiting charged theological images to attack Israel, this text proclaims: "If Jesus was born today in Bethlehem, the Wise Men would spend several hours queuing to enter the town" and "If Jesus was born today in Bethlehem, much of the shepherds' fields would have been confiscated for illegal Israeli settlements."

"Linking the suffering of Palestinians to Christian themes revives traditional and deep seated antisemitic theology," Steinberg adds. "By employing these tactics, and grossly misrepresenting a complicated conflict, these NGOs are making peace more difficult to achieve."

Read NGO Monitor's full report on the NGOs that Stole Christmas.

Betraying Ben-Gurion

Efraim Karsh • December 22, 2011

It is ironic that Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), Israel's only university bearing the name of the Jewish state's founding father, and established in the ancient desert he dreamt of reviving, has become a hotbed of anti-Israel propaganda at the expense of proper scholarly endeavor.

So much so that an international committee of scholars, appointed by Israel's Council for Higher Education to evaluate political science and international relations programs in Israeli universities, recently recommended that BGU "consider closing the Department of Politics and Government" unless it abandoned its "strong emphasis on political activism," improved its research performance, and redressed the endemic weakness "in its core discipline of political science." In other words, they asked that the Department return to accurate scholarship rather than indoctrinate the students with libel. The same day the committee's recommendation was revealed, Professor David Newman -- who founded that department and bequeathed it such a problematic ethos, for which "achievement" he was presumably rewarded with a promotion to Deanship of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, from where he can shape other departments in a similar way -- penned an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post in which he compared Israel's present political culture to that of Nazi Germany. "I will no doubt be strongly criticized for compared making such a comparison," he wrote,

but we would do well to paraphrase the famous words of Pastor Niemoller, writing in 1946 about Germany of the 1930s and 1940s: "When the government denied the sovereign rights of the Palestinians, I remained silent; I was not a Palestinian.
When they discriminated against the Arab citizens of the country, I remained silent; I was not an Arab. When they expelled the hapless refugees, I remained at home; I was no longer a refugee. When they came for the human rights activists, I did not speak out; I was not an activist. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out."

Even if every single charge in this paraphrase were true, Israel would still be light years apart from Nazi Germany. But one need not be a politics professor or faculty dean to see the delusion in these assertions.

To begin with, which Israeli government has denied "the sovereign rights of the Palestinians"? That of David Ben-Gurion which accepted the 1947 partition resolution with alacrity? Or those headed by Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, and Benjamin Netanyahu, which explicitly endorsed the two-state solution? Has Newman perhaps mistaken Israel's founding father for Hajj Amin Husseini, leader of the Palestinian Arabs from the early 1920s to the 1940s, who tirelessly toiled to ethnically cleanse Palestine's Jewish community and destroy the nascent state of Israel? Or possibly for Husseini's successors, from Yasser Arafat, to Ahmad Yassin, to Mahmoud Abbas, whose commitment to Israel's destruction has been equally unwavering?

There is no moral equivalence whatever between the Nazi persecution, exclusion, segregation, and eventually industrial slaughter of European Jewry, and Israel's treatment of its Arab population. Not only do the Arabs in Israel enjoy full equality before the law, but from the designation of Arabic as an official language, to the recognition of non-Jewish religious holidays as legal resting days for their respective communities, Arabs in Israel have enjoyed more prerogatives than ethnic minorities anywhere in the democratic world.

To put it more bluntly, while six million Jews, three quarters of European Jewry, died at the hands of the Nazis in the six years that Hitler dominated Europe, Israel's Arab population has not only leapt tenfold during the Jewish state's 63 years of existence - from 156,000 in 1948 to 1.57 million in 2010 - but its rate of social and economic progress has often surpassed that of the Jewish sector, with the result that the gap between the two communities has steadily narrowed.

It is precisely this exemplary, if by no means flawless, treatment of its Arab citizens that underlies their clear preference of Israeli citizenship to that of one in a prospective Palestinian state (a sentiment shared by most East Jerusalem Palestinians). This preference has also recently driven tens of thousands of African Muslims illegally to breach the Jewish state's border in search of employment, rather than to stay in Egypt, whose territory they have to cross on the way. The treatment of mass illegal immigration (hardly the hapless refugees presented by Newman) is a major problem confronting most democracies in the West these days, where there is an ongoing debate about what are the basic responsibilities of governments for their citizens' wellbeing and the right of nations to determine the identity of those entering their territory.

Even more mind-boggling is Newman's equating Israel's attempt to prevent foreign funding of Israeli nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) involved in the international Israel de-legitimization campaign -- along the lines of the US Foreign Agents Legislation Act -- with repressing political opponents by the Nazi regime. What "human rights activists" have been unlawfully detained by the Israeli government, let alone rounded up and thrown into concentration camps? On what planet does the Ben-Gurion University faculty dean live?

But Newman is not someone to be bothered by the facts. His is the standard "colonialist paradigm" prevalent among Israeli and Western academics, which views Zionism, and by extension the state of Israel, not as a legitimate expression of national self-determination but as "a colonizing and expansionist ideology and movement" (in the words of another BGU professor) - an offshoot of European imperialism at its most rapacious.

And therein, no doubt, lies the problem with BGU's Politics and Government Department: the only Israeli department singled out by the international committee for the unprecedented recommendation of closure. For if its founder and long-time member, who continues to wield decisive influence over its direction, views Israel as a present-day reincarnation of Nazi Germany in several key respects, how conceivably can the department ensure the "sustained commitment to providing balance and an essential range of viewpoints and perspectives on the great issues of politics" required for its continued existence?

The writer is research professor of Middle East and Mediterranean Studies at King's College London, director of the Middle East Forum (Philadelphia) and author, most recently, of Palestine Betrayed.

Obama’s Hanukah Charm Offensive

Tevi Troy

Tablet’s Allison Hoffman has a big piece on Team Obama’s recent desire to improve its standing in the Jewish community. The argument that Team Obama seems to be making is that Obama has lots of Jewish friends — some of my best friends are Jewish — and that there is some kind of nefarious “whisper campaign” against Obama on the issue of Israel. The argument is flawed on several fronts. I don’t doubt that Obama has Jewish friends, but this has not made his Israel policies any more palatable. As for the notion of a whisper campaign, it seems to me that Republicans have been shouting their concerns about Obama and Israel from the rooftops. Nobody seems to be whispering, not the Emergency Committee for Israel, not the Republican Jewish Coalition, not Dan Senor, nor any of the dozens of writers and analysts who have made the case that Obama has exhibited a certain coldness towards Israel and towards Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Debbie Wasserman Schultz seems to be leading the bury-your-head-in-the-sand brigade when she says that “To the extent we have a problem, it’s being created by individuals who . . . are attempting to mischaracterize, distort, and lie about the president’s record.” There is no need to “distort” or “mischaracterize” Obama’s problematic record on Israel. Dan Senor gave the best short summary of the argument in the Wall Street Journal in September, and it is as yet unrefuted in a serious way. Obama and his team can denounce their critics and trot out a host of liberal Jews to say what a great guy he is, but that will not change the fact that many in the pro-Israel community, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, recognize the problem and will be willing to vote accordingly in November.

"Facing Forward"

Arlene Kushner

Chanukah has begun and, as is my custom, after lighting candles I sit before them quietly, searching for peace, contemplating the way life does go on. And determined, absolutely determined, to find inspiration for strength and hope.

A weighty task in today's world. But to despair is forbidden.

And so on that note....


Please see my latest piece, up on Front Page Magazine. It deals with the pro-Arab US State Department, and its offensive response to requests for a public position regarding deprivation of Jewish religious rights on the Mount of Olives.

See it, and share it, because this is the sort of thing people need to know. An agreement has been reached between the government (with Minister Benny Begin actively involved on its behalf) and the Yesha Council (working with the residents of Ramat Gilad) that would prevent destruction of the small community. According to this agreement, the outpost would be considered part of the community of Karnei Shomron, and five caravans on disputed land would have to be relocated.

Gil Yohanan

This serves as a perfect example of a way in which small "unauthorized" communities in Judea and Samaria can be saved instead of being razed.


As a small aside, I would like to call attention to what Danny Dayan, chair of the Yesha Council, said yesterday, according to the JPost:

"The agreements were already 95 percent ready...before the attacks. Suddenly, Defense Minister Ehud Barak created a provocation of preparing forces to evacuate Ramat Gilad and that's what led to the violence."

The "attacks" he refers to are the incidents involving youth, primarily at the Ephraim's Brigade base, which I recently discussed. Barak's provocation should be duly noted.


A brief background regarding this complex and sensitive subject of dealing with "illegal outposts::

It has been Israeli government policy since the time of Menachem Begin not to build on privately owed Palestinian land in Judea and Samaria.

Peace Now, however, works on the assumption -- a HUGE assumption -- that any land in Judea and Samaria that is not specifically government land is privately owned Palestinian land. And so this group (which is not even a registered NGO in Israel and receives funding from abroad), goes to the High Court and makes charges against outposts, claiming they are situated on Palestinian land. The group makes this claim even though it has no standing in the relevant cases and even though NO Palestinian has come forward to claim the land.

This was the situation regarding Ramat Gilad. Once the charge was made, the government acquiesced, as it often does, making a commitment to address the situation per the charge -- which at that point meant destruction of houses.

Moshe Zar, who lives in Karnei Shomron, claims that he purchased the land for Ramat Gilad privately, but the civil administration maintains that there was lack of sufficient documentation with regard to one area. The agreement being drafted now would move the caravans from the area that is contested.

Zar says he is content with this compromise for now so that Ramat Gilad can be saved. The fight concerning the legality of the contested area will continue in court, however, even after the caravans are moved -- for Zar insists that his documentation is in place.


News reports have it that the agreement is not quite finalized. One source I spoke with indicated that the hold-up is the fact that Defense Minister Barak has not signed it yet. Another source said everything has to be precisely in order and then the agreement has to be submitted to the Court for final approval.

But it was Danny Dayan -- who speaks for the Yesha Council, a party to these negotiations -- who provided an explanation for me that had the most clarity:

No Barak has not signed, and Dayan doesn't know that he is going to sign. But, he says, this is not going to be a formal agreement that requires signatures: It is an informal understanding. And, as such, it has, he believes, "passed the point of no return" It is in place, and has been accepted by both sides. Yes, says Dayan, this understanding will be brought to the Court -- by January 5, if not before. But if both sides have agreed, the Court will accept it. It's not a question of waiting with bated breath to see what the Court says.


Relevant to all of this is proposed legislation that has been advanced by MK Zeev Elkin, chairman of the Likud faction, MK Faina Kirshenbaum (Yisrael Beiteinu), MK Danny Danon (Likud), MK Carmel Shama (Likud), MK Nissim Zeev (Shas), MK Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas), MK Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi), MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) and Yisrael Eichler (United Torah Judaism) and signed in all by 20 members of the Knesset.

The bill, which would apply only to settlements of more than 20 families in Judea and Samaria, provides that if no land owner (i.e., Palestinian Arab land owner) had appealed to the court for redress within four years, a customary length of time, then the houses built on the land could not be destroyed. If an individual subsequently appealed to the court, the court would be able to dictate financial compensation.

The originators of the bill released a statement, which read:

" the past few years a number of petitions have been filed in Israel by public organizations fighting against Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and their interest was to destroy communities or neighborhoods they claimed were built on private land. The Justice Ministry and Supreme Court believe the only way to deal with these situations is to demolish the buildings.

"This bill is intended to prevent more homes from being destroyed..."

What it does is present a very rational alternative that would avoid the horrendous heartache of young families who are pulled from their homes and then must watch as bulldozers take them down.

What it also does is remove from organizations like Peace Now the ability to meddle for political ends as they now do.

“No one wants to take over land that belongs to a [Palestinian Arab] family, but there is a long way between that and declaring that all non-state land is Palestinian land,” said MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud).


It had been thought at first that the prime minister would be for this, but it turned out that he declined to support it. In fact, he instructed the Minister of Justice to ensure that the legislation would be rejected by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation. And, indeed, that is what happened this past Sunday.

What Netanyahu had previously committed himself to was creation of an outpost committee that would review challenges to government designation of specific areas of land as belonging to Palestinian individuals [when no such individuals have come forward]. But as of this date, no committee has been appointed.


The fact that the Ministerial Committee didn't approve this legislation doesn't mean it cannot go forward. Its sponsors intend to make sure that it does. But it's a much harder haul.

As a first step, an appeal is being made to the Ministerial Committee for a re-vote on the legislation. MK Orlev is convinced that a majority of the committee is actually for it. But the political pressures are overwhelming, and apparently some members of the committee chose to absent themselves when the original vote was taken.

The bill -- whether the Ministerial Committee approves it or not -- can then advance to the Knesset for three readings.

A group known as the "Judea and Samaria Joint Residents' Council," is launching a lobbying campaign to move this bill forward. Representing the councils of the Shomron and Binyamin, the Joint Council is focusing on saving the outpost of Migron -- but their efforts will help across the board.


What seems important with regard to this legislation is that there is movement in the direction of changing the situation -- even if success will take time.


Sometimes I wonder if the Palestinian Arabs have a special thespian gene, or if they have hidden drama schools for their officials. They are the best, the very best, at presenting their alleged case even when it is riddled with lies.

All of this occurred to me as I read yesterday what Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat had told journalists:

"We have come a long way on each issue, and today, as we end 2011, my heart is aching that we do not have a partner for peace." Got it? His heart is aching.

The PA might collapse soon, he warned, if there is no progress in the "peace process": What has to happen is that Western leaders must press Netanyahu to accept the pre-1967 lines.



I had a similar experience when I began doing research on UNRWA some years ago. The Arab PR representative who met with me looked into my eyes and clutched his chest, as he told me with the deepest (feigned) sincerity about the situation of the refugees.

He's gooood, I thought then. And the fact that he and others have been so good at what they do is part of the reason why the Western world did not grapple honestly with the issue of UNRWA for a very long time.

Thus it is heartening to see that this situation is beginning to reverse itself. There was Danny Ayalon's video, which I shared recently.

And now I see that Elliot Abrams, writing for the Council on Foreign Relations is calling for the dismantlement of UNRWA:
"...But those are criticisms of how UNRWA is carrying out its mission, while the deeper problem is the mission itself. That mission might accurately be described as enlarging the Palestinian refugee problem forever and thereby making any Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement tremendously more difficult if not impossible to achieve.

"Starting the process of closing down UNRWA would be a move toward peace, as it would replace the permanent perpetuation of the Palestinian refugee problem with a process designed to reduce it in size and some day solve it."


Those of use who have been fighting this fight for a long time now begin to breath a sigh of relief -- not that the fight is all over.

Who knows, maybe some day I'll be writing about calls for the PA -- an entity that works against the goals of true peace -- to be dismantled, as well.


An elaboration on my last posting, for the sake of providing full information: I spoke of the dispute between those who like salt and those who like sugar on their potato latkes. But -- as readers reminded me -- I neglected to mention two other tasty alternatives, applesauce and sour cream.


Let me close by sharing a video clip of opera at the food market at Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv on a recent Friday. A clip to make you smile:


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A History of Hatred: The Muslim Brotherhood and Anti-Semitism

Sarah Schlesinger

On February 2, 2011, the Obama administration took pains to mollify American Jewish leaders concerned by the prospect of Islamist groups coming to power in Egypt. In a conference call initiated by the White House, a senior administration official reassured them that the Muslim Brotherhood would “be a minor player in Egyptian politics.” To say the administration’s prediction proved incorrect is an understatement. The MB’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) has already apparently won 40 percent of the seats in the lower house and is predicting even higher final totals. What does this mean for the concerns of American Jewish groups?

The Brotherhood’s vehemently anti-Zionist stance has long been known and is reflected in the election program of the FJP, which denounces “Zionist plots” (and American plots as well). It remains to be seen whether the MB will push for the abolishment of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, though its leaders hint that they’d like to put it to a referendum at the same time that they demonize Israel to Egypt’s electorate. Less publicized, however, is the pervasive anti-Semitism — distinct from anti-Zionism and directed towards “Jews” in general — that is a staple of the rhetoric of Brotherhood leaders. Concerns about the MB’s anti-Semitism were renewed in the wake of a pre-election Brotherhood rally which reportedly devolved into both anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic fervor. Martin Kramer commented on the rally’s repeated use of the “hiding Jew” hadith, in which Muhammad is quoted as saying that Judgment Day “will not come until the Muslims fights the Jews and kill them,” noting that “the hadith predates the State of Israel by well over a millennium, so it certainly can’t be attributed to Israeli provocation.” Indeed, the Brotherhood’s anti-Semitism is independent of its anti-Israel sentiments and can be traced throughout its history.

Brotherhood publications in the 1930s contained frequent anti-Semitic attacks, focused on Jews as Jews. In The Jews in Modern Egypt, Gudrun Krämer recounts the Brotherhood’s involvement in extensive anti-Jewish activity throughout the 1930s and 1940s, including boycotts, graffiti, and physical violence. The Brotherhood’s anti-Semitism was epitomized in Brotherhood leader and ideologue Sayyid Qutb’s infamous 1950s essay “Our Struggle with the Jews.” Qutb’s treatment of the Jews was anchored not in Palestine but rather in Muhammad’s conflicts with Jewish tribes. In his enormously influential Milestones, Qutb refers to “one of the tricks played by world Jewry … so that the Jews may penetrate into body politic of the whole world and then may be free to perpetuate their evil designs.” His assertions about the evil nature of Jews echo anti-Semitism in the vein of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, invoking blood libel, usury, and world domination, rather than anti-Zionism based on Palestine.

It seems little has changed.#page# A 2005 BBC article examined the outspoken Holocaust denial of the seventh General Guide of the Brotherhood, Muhammad Mahdi Akef. In a 2007 Foreign Affairs article entitled “The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood,” Robert S. Leiken and Steven Brooke argue that the MB presents a “notable opportunity” for a moderate Muslim ally, but admit that “Brotherhood literature has expressed hatred for all Jews, not just ‘Zionists.’”

A 2011 Anti-Defamation League report includes more recent quotes from MB leadership. In an NBC news interview, FJP vice chairman Essam El-Erian — described by Al-Ahram Weekly as “possibly the most prominent representative of the new generation of Brotherhood leaders” — stated that “Israel cannot tolerate peace … because they want to live in war. It is the history of the Jewish people.” At an MB rally in June 2011, Mohammad Badie, the eighth General Guide of the Brotherhood, told the crowd that “Allah has warned us the tricks of the Jews, and their role in igniting the fire of wars.” Badie also claimed that there was an American-Zionist conspiracy to cause the 2011 revolution to fail: “It’s a Jewish plot to divide Muslims, old and new, and that their intentions are evident from Napoleon to Zionism’s founder Theodore Herzl.” Badie previously stated that the Brotherhood will “continue to raise the banner of jihad against the Jews,” citing them as “[our] first and foremost enemies.”

ADL’s report cites a special series of articles posted in October 2010 on, the Brotherhood’s Arabic-language site, by Brotherhood member and Al-Azhar professor Ismail Ali Mohamed. The six-part series, entitled “The Manners of the Jews as Outlined in the Teaching of the Old Testament and Talmud,” includes such articles as “Authenticity of Perversion and Corruption in Jewish Personality” and “Hostility, Savagery and the Desire to Spread Death and Destruction.”

Islamic scholar and longtime Brother Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi has been one of the most outspoken anti-Semitic ideologues of the contemporary MB. An iconic image of Egypt’s Arab Spring was when Qaradawi made his first public speech in Egypt since 1981, in February, leading the crowds of Tahrir Square in Friday prayers. Qaradawi’s anti-Semitic tirades are too numerous to tally; his commentary on Al Jazeera in January 2009 is but one example:

Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them — even though they exaggerated this issue — he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers.

Qaradawi has also claimed that “the Jews of today bear responsibility for the deeds of the Jews of yesterday,” referring to the crucifixion of Jesus. In addition, he stated on Al Jazeera: “[T]he problem with the Jews is not one of faith or religious laws. The problem is the covetous aspirations that have characterized their attitude since the days of the Prophet Muhammad.”

Despite professing that they have no problems with Jews, Muslim Brotherhood leaders and ideologues have demonstrated just the opposite: the current of anti-Semitism runs strong through their rhetoric over many decades. After the February conference call with the White House, American Jewish Committee executive director David Harris stated that “the big question is, can they [the Muslim Brotherhood] play a constructive role or not? There are those who would like to believe they can. To put it mildly, we remain to be convinced.”

Given the Brotherhood’s virulent and persistent anti-Semitism, we all need to be convinced. Having now seen Egypt’s election results, the administration should be working to press this emerging power’s leadership to renounce its religious bigotry once and for all.

— Sarah Schlesinger is a research fellow at the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"The Festival of Lights"

Arlene Kushner

Tonight we light the first candle of Chanukah. And so I want to put aside our day-to-day worries about the world, in order to consider the meaning of this holiday, and have a little fun as well.


Last night I attended a lecture on Chanukah by a wonderful teacher, Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz.

He provided new perspectives for the holiday. (New, at least, to me.) The essence of what he said -- as I heard it -- is this:

As many of us understand, in different sources, and at different times, there are two very different reasons offered for the celebration of Chanukah.

One is that the Jewish traditionalists, the Hasmonians or Macabees, defended Judaism against the Greeks, who controlled Judea and, with it, Jerusalem. The Hellenists threatened the Jews with cultural assimilation and set about depriving them of their right to practice their religion. The Hasmonians re-took the Temple, which had been defiled by the Greeks, and rededicated it (chanukah = dedication); they drove out the Greeks and established a period of Jewish independence in the land.The other is that when the Temple was rededicated there was only enough pure oil to light the Menorah for one day, and yet it burned for eight days. This was a miracle.


Says Rabbi Breitowitz, the common impression is that the miracle of the oil took place at the end of the battle with the Greeks, which is when the Temple was secured. But historically this was not the case. The Temple, with some area of Jerusalem around it, was re-taken early in the battle -- it was, in essence, a beachhead. But the fight against the Greeks that succeeded in driving them out took 25 years.

When we consider this, we can look at the miracle of the oil in a new way.

It delivered a message to the Hasmonians: Do what you can. Don't give up. The Almighty is with you.

Thus were they strengthened and assured as they continued in their battle. The miracle was a miracle of light over darkness that provided the people with the strength to overcome.

We don't make holidays just for miracles, the rabbi says. There are other miracles in the Torah that are not marked by holidays. But in the case of Chanukah, the miracle is bound up with what the Hasmonians were able to achieve.


We are living in very dark times. As we light our candles over the next eight days, and say our blessings, and sing our songs, we are celebrating these ancient events and expressing gratitude to Heaven.

But we also need to gaze upon those lights and remind ourselves: Do what you can. Don't give up. The Almighty is with you.


And there is, I would suggest, yet one other lesson to be drawn from this history. The Hasmoneans were a minority among the Jews, many of whom were content to assimilate and looked at them with contempt or disregard. Standing resolute in the face of this required a special strength.

It is not very different today. Many Jews have lost their way. There are Jews for whom our ancient traditions are without meaning. Jews who feel no connection to Israel. And Jews who embrace the position of our enemies (imagining themselves to be very righteous, I would add). These Jews see those of us who hold fast to our faith, and our traditions, and our right to our land as rigid and foolish and misguided.

In the face of this, we must stand strong. Do what we can. Pray that the Almighty will be with us, and that light will overcome the darkness.


Here in Israel, it's sufganiyot -- donuts, for celebrating.

But I will never relinquish my love for hot potato latkes (pancakes), brown and crispy around the edges. As you may know, there is a makloket (quarrel) with regard to latkes: Are they eaten with salt or sugar? No sugar for me -- I do mine with salt.


Sharing a few Chanukah songs.

Maoz Tzur -- translated often as "Rock of Ages," but more literally perhaps "Mighty Fortress" -- is sung after the candles are lit. Here is an Ashkenazi version that is traditional for most reading this:

And here, a Moroccan version with a very different sound:

The Maccabeats are popular in certain circles, and so I include their 2010 Chanukah video:

The Nefesh B'Nefesh Flashmob for Chanukah of 2009 still seems worth including for its spirit:




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EU Adopts Assistance Package of €160.4 Million to Palestinian Territory

BRUSSELS, 20 December 2011 (WAFA) - The European Commission adopted a new assistance package for the Occupied Palestinian Territory for 2012, amounting to €160.4 million, according to a press released published Monday.

It said two thirds of this will go to the Palestinian Authority (PA) to help it cover wages and pensions for essential civilian workers, particularly medical and teaching staff, as well as social allowances for vulnerable Palestinian families. The funding will also cover arrears of bills by the Palestinian Authority to the private sector for medical supplies.

The remaining amount of €55.4 million will be allocated to the core budget and general fund of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides basic health, education and social services for a Palestinian refugee population of five million people both in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and in neighboring states. EU aid to PA is channeled through the EU's assistance mechanism for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, PEGASE, the financial mechanism launched in 2008 to support the three-year Reform and Development Plan presented in 2007.

Catherine Ashton, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Vice President of the Commission, said, 'This decision highlights our commitment to the Palestinian people. It consolidates our support to the Palestinian Authority's institution-building program and contributes to the ability of the PA to provide essential public services. Today’s decision also underlines our support to Palestine refugees, through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.'

EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, Štefan Füle, said, 'This is a sign of our strong political and financial commitment to build a democratic and viable Palestinian state, as well as to contributing to the well-being of the Palestinian refugee community,” said the press release.

“We have made a special effort both to mobilize extra funds from this year's budget and to front-load those from next year to respond to the difficult financial situation both the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA face in providing vital services to the Palestinian people. Indeed, I trust that other donors will also share the burden of this support,” he added.

“The total €160.4 million package is made up of a front-loaded amount of €100 million from the 2012 budget together with €0.4 million from 2011. This means that the overall 2012 funds for the Occupied Palestinian Territory can reach the same level as in 2011, with a total allocation of €300 million,” said the press release.


Remarks prepared for discussion with the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression

Professor Gerald M. Steinberg, Political Science, Bar Ilan University and President, NGO Monitor

Part 1: Overview and Background:
1) By any objective standard, Israeli democracy is as robust and pluralistic as any in the world. There are no restrictions on any form of protest or advocacy, including very fierce and unpopular criticism of the government and military. No other democracy can claim to have greater freedom of expression, despite more than six decades of war and terrorism; threats of annihilation; and in parallel, the challenges of developing a cohesive society based on numerous divergent communities scattered for generations as Diasporas, many of which do not have traditions of pluralism and democracy. 2) Like other Israelis, I am aware that we are not a perfect society. As in others nations, we have flaws, and it is our responsibility to correct them. But aggressive campaigns to greatly exaggerate these imperfections, as part of the ongoing effort to delegitimize Israel facilitated by the soft-power of groups not subject to any democratic accountability, should not be assisted by a United Nations framework focusing on freedom of expression and freedom.
3) Israel systematically protects the rights of its minority populations to freedom of expression and to protest. For example, each year, Israeli police forces and government institutions facilitate Gay Pride parades in Jerusalem Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Eilat; marches on Human Rights Day; protests by the Islamic movement; and to mark the murder of Yitzhak Rabin.
4) Mass demonstrations on socio-economic issues were held in Summer 2011, and attest to Israel's dynamic civil society and a culture of advocacy and peaceable protest. Israeli police facilitated these activities, blocking off roads and granting permits. The government responded to protestors’ demands positively, in the form of a task force to address their claims.
5) During the “Arab Spring,” where thousands were murdered at the hands of their own governments, protestors in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and elsewhere were quoted as taking inspiration from the peaceful social protests that took place during the summer in Israel. This highlights the Israeli commitment to free expression.
6) In contrast, the history of reporting by UN frameworks on human rights in Israel has been characterized by biased mandates, false and unverifiable allegations, double standards, and hypocrisy – from Jenin (2002) through Goldstone (2009), as well as reports by special rapporteurs Jean Ziegler, John Dugard, and Richard Falk. The results have been highly counterproductive in promoting human rights. I am here today to engage with the Special Rapporteur, and to contribute to an accurate report that will not repeat the flaws and negative impacts of previous UNHRC reports related to Israel.
7) The geopolitical context resulting from over six decades of conflict and violence, including the results of the 1967 war – particularly the Israeli control of disputed territories that had been occupied in 1948 by Jordan (the West Bank), and by Egypt (Gaza) and the ongoing political stalemate, presents a unique and highly complex situation. In this context, allegations of human rights violations are part of political or soft-power warfare that accompanies the hard-power attacks and violence. Such accusations should not be accepted at face value, and must be tested against credible evidence that is independently verifiable.
8) Therefore, NGO Monitor urges the Special Rapporteur to subject accusations from organizations and individuals regarding the state of freedom of expression in Israel to careful scrutiny and independent verification, and to avoid erasing the context of these allegations.
Part 2: Israeli Civil Society, Democracy and Freedom of Expression
1) Israel has a vibrant civil society: a free and highly critical press, and an NGO sector with tens of thousands of groups across the political, social, and ideological spectrum engaging in often intense debate.
2) The Israeli public, media, government and Knesset (legislature) are conducting an intense debate on the massive and unique level of foreign government funding for highly political non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
3) This debate includes questions on and criticism of the unfair advantage gained by a very narrow group of political advocacy civil society organizations that receive massive and often secret funding from foreign (mainly European) governments. Major concerns exist regarding the lack of accountability for these organizations, their “democratic deficit,” non-transparent funding processes, and impact of these resources. This political manipulation and lack of transparency is unique in the case of European government funding for a narrow group of Israeli NGOs, and constitutes a blatant violation of democratic norms.
4) In and of themselves, the fierce public debate and numerous failed legislative proposals affirm the strength of Israeli democracy.
5) A concerted political campaign by a narrow group of powerful NGOs uses slogans claiming “anti-democratic behavior” to intimidate critics. This campaign, including the denunciation of the very discussion of preliminary legislative proposals as entirely illegitimate, seeks to prevent this political debate. Partisan allegations from NGOs should not be taken at face value; in a democracy, groups claiming to speak in the name of human rights have no immunity from criticism and public debate.
6) Criticism of both the false claims of “war crimes” and of the secretive processes by which they receive large European government funding does not prevent members of Israeli NGOs such as Breaking the Silence, Yesh Din, Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), and many others from promoting their agendas. There is no threat to freedom of expression in this criticism of NGOs.
7) In contrast, attention should be paid to the close relationships between some influential journalists, such as Akiva Eldar (Ha’aretz) and these political advocacy NGOs. This relationship may provide unfair access of these groups of NGOs to the media, in contrast to other groups that do not have similar access.
8) Issues of politicization, credibility, and faulty methodology in NGO publications on human rights are particularly acute in the Israeli-Palestinian context. Additionally, some NGOs have falsely claimed to be “human rights organizations,” granting them an aura of objectivity and credibility (“the halo effect”).
Part 3: Criticism of NGO Political Campaigns as Central to the Democratic Process
1) NGO Monitor was formed and began researching these issues after the participants in the NGO Forum of the 2001 UN Durban Conference adopted a plan of action to exploit false claims of war crimes, apartheid, and human rights violations to advance the “total international isolation of Israel,” through the use of boycotts, legal frameworks, and other forms of political warfare.
2) The evidence of NGO inaccuracy, bias, and unbalanced influence in the Israeli political discourse increased significantly in the wake of the UNHRC’s report on the Gaza conflict (Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict – the “Goldstone Report”), published in September 2009. Much of the content of the allegations was provided by political advocacy NGOs (while ignoring the thousands of rocket attacks from Gaza – every one a war crime). When the principal author of the report, Judge Richard Goldstone, acknowledged that the allegations were baseless, the focus on NGO biases and inaccuracy increased. This criticism included a recognition of the role of foreign government funding for these NGOs in greatly amplifying their influence, while NGOs that did not enjoy such funding were at a distinct disadvantage in the marketplace of ideas.
3) As a result of these campaigns, in 2010 and 2011 members of the democratically elected Israeli Knesset introduced legislation designed to address the impact of the non-transparent, large-scale foreign government funding for these organizations. This political manipulation and lack of transparency is unique in the case of funding for Israeli NGOs, and violates democratic norms. Some of this proposed legislation was based on practices in other countries, such as the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act and prohibitions on discriminatory business practices (regarding anti-boycott legislation).
4) The NGOs that are recipients of this foreign government money and their supporters began a political campaign seeking to prevent this debate, charging that any criticism is inherently “undemocratic,” “McCarthyite,” etc. Statements by officials from Israeli political advocacy NGOs (the New Israel Fund, B’Tselem, and ACRI) quoted in U.S. government cables (published in Wikileaks) revealed their cynical manipulation of democratic processes and structures.
5) Media reports on these issues, both in Israel and outside, are often distorted and confused, including quotes and analysis based on inaccurate translations. Many of these reports fail to address basic issues related to the unique context of NGO political power in Israel, the secret foreign government funding processes, and the substance of the proposed Knesset legislation.
6) Only one law dealing with NGOs has been passed, mandating funding transparency. All of the other proposals, often condemned by the NGOs and their supporters as “anti-democratic,” have either been withdrawn, defeated, or amended. Within the governing coalition, a number of MKs and ministers have also actively opposed the bills. Thus, in contrast to the self-interested claims of NGOs seeking to protect their secret foreign government funding, all the available evidence demonstrates the vibrancy and strength of Israeli democracy. (The law creating a civil right of action for economic damages caused by discriminatory boycotts does not directly address NGOs. In contrast to false NGO claims, the law does not criminalize anti-Israel boycotts.)
Part 4: Criticism of Government Policies, Minority Rights, and Freedom of Expression
1) Allegations to the contrary not withstanding, there is no censorship of Israeli civil society activities. Critical reports of the government issued by NGOs such as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), B’Tselem, Yesh Din, Adalah, Mossawa, and many others receive extensive press attention in Israel, including from the government-owned media. When ACRI recently released a publication criticizing alleged harassment of demonstrators, the document was widely disseminated and served as the topic in an op-ed in Haaretz, one of Israel's most influential papers. This type of public debate and intense criticism of government policies would not be possible in a country without free expression.
2) Regarding the Arab minority population, while discrimination is an issue, this is often confused with impact of security requirements to protect against violence and terrorism. The facts clearly show that there are no restrictions on freedom of expression or opinion beyond those often found in other democratic societies, which do not have such ongoing conflicts. In fact, to the extent that Israel has placed any restrictions, they do not rise to the level of those imposed by democratic countries such as France, Switzerland, the UK, etc. Arab representatives in the Knesset frequently deny the legitimacy and advocate the destruction of Israel as the home of Jewish nation, for which they are strongly criticized as part of the political debate.
3) Arab-sector NGO officials and MKs have participated in activities such as the so-called “Free Gaza flotilla” (2010), which deliberately provoked a violent confrontation with Israeli security forces enforcing a blockade necessary to prevent deadly weapons from reaching Hamas and other terror groups. MK Haneen Zoabi was aboard the Mavi Marmara, a boat operated by the Turkish group IHH (which is a member of the Union of Good, a U.S.-banned terror organization), from which Israeli soldiers were attacked when they attempted to board. In most cases, participation in an armed attack against one’s own military forces would be considered treason, but no such charges were made against MK Zoabi. Although a Knesset committee recommended that her parliamentary immunity be revoked, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin declined to submit this to the full Knesset. Instead, on July 13, 2010, she was stripped of three parliamentary privileges. Nevertheless, Zoabi continues to freely travel around the world advocating against the State of Israel, leveling charges of “apartheid” and “war crimes.” In a regime that restricted free speech, Zoabi would not be able to conduct these campaigns.
4) In January 2010, MK Tal a-Sana addressed a rally of Hamas officials and 100 members of the Free-Gaza Movement chanting, “Katyshuas on Ma’alot, Qassams on Sderot.” In April of that year, a-Sana, Zoabi, and several other MKs met with Moammar Qaddafi in Libya – a country officially at war with Israel. In most other countries of the world, including many democratic states, the activities of Zoabi and a-Sana would have resulted in criminal prosecution, forced removal from the legislature, or even imprisonment.
Conclusion: We urge the Special Rapporteur to avoid repeating the practice of applying double standards and using false claims in order to condemn Israel, and to subject accusations from organizations and individuals regarding the state of freedom of expression in Israel to careful scrutiny and independent verification.
[1] NGO Monitor is a Jerusalem-based civil society organization that provides independent information and analysis regarding the activities, campaigns, and funding of powerful political NGOs operating in the Arab-Israeli conflict. NGO Monitor publishes systematic studies on NGO transparency, accountability, fact finding, interpretations of international law, human rights, humanitarian aid, and the laws of armed conflict.
[2] Gerald M. Steinberg, “The Politics of NGOs, Human Rights and the Arab-Israel Conflict,”Israel Studies 16.2 (Summer 2011): 24-54; Robert Charles Blitt, “Who Will Watch the Watchdogs? Human Rights Nongovernmental Organizations and the Case for Regulation,”Buffalo Human Rights Law Review 10 (2004): 261-398; Ben-Dror Yemini, “NGOs vs. Israel,”Middle East Quarterly XVIII.2 (Spring 2011): 67-71; Don A. Habibi, “Human Rights and Politicized Human Rights: A Utilitarian Critique,” Journal of Human Rights 6.1 (2007): 3-35.
[3] Gerald M. Steinberg, “Europe´s Hidden Hand: EU Funding for Political NGOs in the Arab Israeli conflict: Analyzing Processes and Impact,” NGO Monitor Monograph Series 2, April 2008; NGO Monitor, “Foreign Government Funding for Israeli Political NGOs 2009/2010,” November 15, 2011; NGO Monitor, “Analysis of UK Government funding for Israeli and Palestinian Political Advocacy NGOs: 2008-2011,” April 22, 2011
[4] NGO Monitor filed a complaint with the ethics committee of the Israeli Press Association regarding highly misleading and unprofessional coverage of NGO issues in the Ha’aretz internet edition, and the committee found the complaint justified, and ordered to newspaper to publish a correction. The text of the decision (in Hebrew) is available at
[5] The Turkel Commission, established by Israel to investigate the 2010 “Free Gaza Flotilla” incident, criticized the credibility of political NGOs that present claims as if they are “completely disconnected from the activity itself” and “detach[] everything from the reality and placing it in one area without explaining why.”
[6] Richard Goldstone, “Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and War Crimes,” The Washington Post, April 2, 2011.
[7] Gerald M. Steinberg, “The Politics of NGOs, Human Rights and the Arab-Israel Conflict,”Israel Studies 16.2 Summer 2011.
[8] Gili Cohen, “ACRI report: less freedom for citizens, more harassing of demonstrators,”Haaretz, December 4, 2011.
[9] In 2011, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands banned Muslim women from wearing the Burka in public. A 2009 referendum in Switzerland made minaret construction illegal. In contrast, no such restrictions are in place in Israel.
[10] See for example UK Terrorism Act (2000) and the cases of Geert Wilders (Netherlands), Jean Marie Le Pen (France), Nick Griffin (UK), and Joerg Haider (Austria).
[11] In contrast, despite his long history of incitement and inflammatory remarks, MK Azmi Bishara was only sought for police questioning after he was suspected of engaging in money laundering and providing the Hezbollah terrorist organization with information on strategic targets for rocket attacks on Israel during the 2006 Lebanon War. Bishara resigned from the Knesset on his own accord.

The Solution Is Less Than Fifty Feet Away

My Right Word

It's reported:

Settlers Jewish residents from the West Bank Samaria outpost of Ramat Gilad and Defense Ministry officials are working on a compromise that will prevent the looming demolition of the outpost...the compromise will see five structures that are currently located on private Palestinian land shifted a few meters closer to the outpost itself...One of the sources stressed that no agreements has been reached as of yet, adding that the sides are still deliberating the matter. Arutz 7's version:

A Channel 2 report on Monday night said a deal had been worked out to legalize Ramat Gilad and prevent any future attempts at demolition. The report said five buildings slated for demolition would be moved several dozen meters, off land that Arabs dispute.

In return for moving the buildings the state has agreed authorize the area as part of the city plan of Karnei Shomron, effectively turning the area into a new neighborhood for the town. The plan was reportedly worked out between Minister Benny Begin and Yesha Council head Danny Dayan.

A report in Makor Rishon on Friday said that Begin had worked out the deal last week, but that Defense Minister Ehud Barak had decided to reject it – and raced to demolish the site.

My outpost, my outpost for fifty feet (with apologies to Shakespeare).

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Palestinians’ Genocide Rally

P. David Hornik

The Palestinians have been in the news thanks to Newt Gingrich calling them an “invented” people seeking Israel’s destruction. A Palestinian event a couple of days later got much less coverage—even though it bore out at least the second part of that description.

Hamas, which rules Gaza and won the Palestinian parliamentary elections resoundingly in 2006, has celebrated the 24th anniversary of its founding with a gala gathering of 350,000 in Gaza City. At it Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh proclaimed:

Resistance is the way and it is the strategic choice to liberate Palestine from the (Jordan) river to the (Mediterranean) sea and to remove the invaders from the blessed land of Palestine…. Hamas, together with other stubborn resistance factions, will lead the people towards uprising after uprising until all of Palestine is liberated.The crowd, for its part, responded with chants of “We will never recognize Israel.” To honor the event Hamas’s military wing Izzadin al-Qassam released a statement saying it had killed 1,365 Israelis, perpetrated 1,117 attacks against Israel including 87 suicide bombings, and fired 11,093 rockets at Israeli targets. As Evelyn Gordon notes,

Hamas’ boasts are almost certainly exaggerated: It claims “credit” for more than 80 percent of all Israeli casualties since 1987, whereas Israeli data shows a much more equal distribution between Hamas and its rival, Fatah, aka Israel’s “peace partner.”…

In other words, Hamas’s bloodlust is so intense that it takes “credit” even beyond its actual record of slaughter of men, women, and children. That record includes, for instance (in collaboration with Palestinian Islamic Jihad​), the bombing of the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem in 2001, which killed 18, including children aged ten, eight, four, and two.
And when the “Palestinian people”—the apple of the world’s eye since the 1970s—come out in force as in Gaza City last Wednesday to applaud Hamas, they know exactly who and what they’re applauding.

Is Hamas still popular today in the combined Palestinian entity of Hamas-run Gaza and the Fatah-run West Bank? Indications are that it is. Presidential (and parliamentary) elections for that combined entity have been slated for next May. Khaled Abu Toameh reports that “most Fatah leaders in the West Bank have appealed to [its president Mahmoud] Abbas to run for another term” because “He’s the only one who could defeat Hamas.”

Abbas carries seniority and a pedigree going back to his days as right-hand man of Fatah leader and arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat​. His movement, today, keeps instilling the message that Israel is a usurper to be destroyed. And its top echelon is worried that Hamas, which boasts openly of its murderous toll and this year has again fired hundreds of rockets and mortars at Israel, is so popular that Abbas is the only one who stands a chance against it.

Meanwhile it’s reported that under a congressional proposal, the U.S. would keep sending economic aid to the Palestinians next year so long as they don’t seek membership in any more UN organizations. At the end of October the Palestinians were accepted into UNESCO, implying a statehood status and flouting the terms of the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process.”

A Hamas win in the May elections, however—particularly for the presidential slot—would presumably complicate any plans for continued U.S. assistance, since the U.S. (along with Canada and the EU) formally deigns Hamas a terrorist organization.

But even if the elections are scuttled or Hamas doesn’t take all the bacon, are the “Palestinian people” with their genocidal ethos a fitting destination for U.S. aid?

Fatah Declares War on Normalization with Israel


Abbas party's decision comes after week of Israeli, Palestinian meetings being sabotaged by Palestinians.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction has declared war on all informal meetings between Israelis and Palestinians, Hatem Abdel Kader, a senior Fatah official, said over the weekend.

Fatah’s decision came following a series of meetings between Israeli and Palestinian peace activists and academics to promote peace and “normalization” between the two sides. Last week, Palestinians thwarted an attempt by a group called the Israeli Palestinian Confederation to hold a conference in Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

At the conference, Israelis and Palestinians were expected to vote for a joint parliament that would offer itself as a “third government” for the two peoples.

Palestinian protesters stormed the Ambassador Hotel in Sheikh Jarrah in east Jerusalem and forced the Israeli organizers and hotel management to cancel the event.

The following day, a similar anti-normalization protest in Bethlehem forced the group to cancel a planned conference near the city.

Al-Quds University President Sari Nusseibeh, who was supposed to speak at the conference, had to cancel his appearance after receiving threats from Palestinian activists belonging to Fatah and other groups.

The Fatah leadership fears that the Israeli government would exploit such meetings to tell the world that there is some kind of dialogue going on between Israelis and Palestinians and that the only problem is with the PA leadership, which is refusing to return to the negotiating table, the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper reported.

Abdel Kader, a former PA minister for Jerusalem affairs, revealed that the Fatah leadership has decided to foil all informal meetings between Israelis and Palestinians.

“We will try to thwart any Palestinian Israeli meeting, even if it’s held in Tel Aviv or west Jerusalem,” Abdel Kader said. “In Fatah we have officially decided to ban such gatherings.”

He said that it was inconceivable that such meetings are being held at a time when Israel continues to build settlements and refuses to accept the pre- 1967 lines as the future borders of a Palestinian state.

The PA leadership has repeatedly announced that it won’t resume peace talks unless Israel accepts the two preconditions – cessation of settlement construction and recognition of the pre-1967 lines.

Abdel Kader criticized Nusseibeh for agreeing to meet with Israeli academics, politicians and peace activists “in violation of instructions by the Palestinian leadership” in the West Bank.

“These meetings don’t produce anything [for the Palestinians] and are only used by Israel for political gains,” the Fatah leader explained. “If all the meetings the Palestinian leadership has had with the Americans, Europeans and Quartet representatives haven’t achieved anything, how can these informal meetings lead to any results?”

Abdel Kader also said that Israeli political parties were trying to take advantage of informal meetings to win the votes of “so-called moderates” in Israel.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gingrich versus the Palestinian Authority


US presidential candidate and the former speaker of US House of Representatives Newt Gingrich said this week that the Palestinian Authority does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and that Palestinian schoolbooks teach children to become terrorists. Gingrich cited what he said were PA sources to back up his remarks.

However, the PA has rejected his statements as “groundless.”

According to the British daily The Guardian: “Palestinian officials said Gingrich’s allegations were based substantially on material produced by an Israeli organization, Palestinian Media Watch, which has published a long list of entries on its website ( under the heading ‘Promoting Violence for Children.’ An article from 2007 describes Palestinian textbooks paid for with US aid money that deny Israel’s right to exist.

“But Xavier Abu Eid, a senior adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization, said the website and Gingrich’s allegations were groundless.” (December 11, 2011)

Certainly the PA’s rejection of the US candidate was expected, as his charges contradict what the PA has been telling Western countries for years. This is not merely an irrelevant distraction and rhetoric of a presidential campaign. It is these issues – PA nonrecognition of Israel and its support of terror – that are at the heart of the peace process and constitute a major impediment to its success. Therefore, it is critical to determine who is correct – Gingrich or the PA.

What exactly was said about the PA?

During the ABC News Republican presidential candidates’ debate (December 10, 2011), Gingrich said that the PA does not recognize Israel’s right to exist. He said that “the Palestinian Authority ambassador to India said last month, ‘There is no difference between Fatah and Hamas. We both agree Israel has no right to exist.” This quote, taken from a PMW bulletin, is precise and is very significant, elaborating one of the most important and yet relatively unnoticed principles of PA ideology.

The PA Ambassador to India, Adli Sadeq, wrote in the official PA daily: “They [Israelis] have a common mistake or misconception by which they fool themselves, assuming that Fatah accepts them and recognizes the right of their state to exist, and that it is Hamas alone that loathes them and does not recognize the right of this state to exist. They ignore the fact that this state, based on a fabricated [Zionist] enterprise, never had any shred of a right to exist.” (Al- Hayat Al-Jadida November 26, 2011)

The point of the PA ambassador was the following: The PA differentiates between recognizing that Israel in fact exists – and its unwavering denial of Israel’s legitimacy, that is, Israel’s right to exist. The PA educates its children with this dual message that Israel exists but has no right to exist, as expressed in a PA schoolbook for grade 12: “Palestine’s war ended with a catastrophe that is unprecedented in history, when the Zionist gangs stole Palestine and established the State of Israel.” (Arabic Language, Analysis, Literature and Criticism, grade 12, p. 104)

Defining Israel as being created after “Zionist gangs stole Palestine” is the definitive expression of denying Israel’s right to exist. Significantly, this rejection of Israel is not just found in Palestinian schoolbooks but is a central part of the ongoing Palestinian discourse.

When a fire raged in northern Israel last year and the PA sent a team of firefighters to join international forces trying to put it out, it was justified by a regular columnist in the official PA daily as follows: “Even if an aggressive foreigner occupies our home and steals it, we don’t wish for the home to burn.” (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, December 5, 2010)

Even the official PA daily, when reporting on sporting events, uses political language that tells its readers that it rejects the legitimacy of Israel. The official PA daily reported on a ceremony honoring an Israeli Arab soccer team and its success in moving up to Israel’s top division Premier League. Yet when the story was reported in the PA daily it was described as “the team’s rise to the national league in the homeland occupied in 1948.” (Al- Hayat Al-Jadida, June 18, 2010)

It did not report that it was the “national league in Israel.”

In the article in the official PA daily that Gingrich quoted, the PA ambassador to India explained this central duality of the PA ideology, whereby they recognize Israel’s existence as a fact of history, but reject Israel’s right to exist, as does Hamas.

In a different part of the article the PA ambassador explained this explicitly: “There are no two Palestinians who disagree over the fact that Israel exists, and recognition of it is restating the obvious. But recognition of its right to exist is something else, different from recognition of its [physical] existence.” (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, November 26, 2011) Clearly, Gingrich was correct.

Similarly, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas himself has promoted this dual message. In his speech at the UN asking for recognition of Palestine as an independent state, Abbas stated to the international community: “Let us build the bridges of dialogue instead of checkpoints and walls of separation, and build cooperative relations based on parity and equity between two neighboring states – Palestine and Israel.” (Speech at the UN, September 23, 2011)

However, on the very next day, Abbas’s own government- controlled PA TV as part of its UN statehood campaign broadcast a map that included PA areas as well as all of Israel, wrapped in the Palestinian flag, symbolizing Palestinian political sovereignty over all of Israel. This visual statement was another blatant denial of Israel’s legitimacy.

Newt Gingrich’s second critique of the PA, which presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann likewise mentioned in the ABC debate, was of the PA schoolbooks which he said teach children to be terrorists. Gingrich said: “These people are terrorists. They teach terrorism in their schools. They have textbooks that say, ‘If there are 13 Jews and nine Jews are killed, how many Jews are left? We pay for those textbooks through our aid money.”

Here, Gingrich was correct in principle but his example was not. The PA schoolbooks do not include that particular math question. Instead the PA Ministry of Education does something far worse: It glorifies murderers and terrorists. The PA Ministry of Education has two of its schools named after Dalal Mughrabi (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, January 23, 2006), the woman who led the most lethal terror attack in Israel’s history, the Coastal Road massacre bus hijacking in which 37 civilians were killed.

What exactly is the PA message to its children regarding terror? When the Ministry of Education makes children study in a school that venerates a terrorist who killed 37 civilians, its message is very clear: Terror and killing Israelis is not only justified but is even worthy of honor.

Fatah has a women’s club at Palestinian universities called Sisters of Dalal, honoring the same terrorist Mughrabi. Two summer camps for children this past summer had groups named after her, and one of the camps was sponsored by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. The entire environment the PA has created for its children envelopes them in glorification of terror.

The PA, it seems, learned that the world would no longer permit it to directly call to kill Israelis, for to do so would cause it to lose American and European funding. So instead of promoting the terror, it glorifies the terrorists; instead of Palestinian children learning that they must kill Israelis, they learn that whoever kills Israelis will become a Palestinian hero.

When the American congressional candidates criticized the PA for promoting terror among Palestinians they were absolutely correct. When they accused the PA of denying Israel’s right to exist they were merely exposing authentic PA ideology.

The time is approaching for the PA to make some hard choices. Is it going to change and take the path of peace or is it going to continue on the path of deception?

Itamar Marcus is director of Palestinian Media Watch ( ). Nan Jacques Zilberdik is a senior analyst at Palestinian Media Watch.

At 03:06 PM 12/18/2011, you wrote:

Ynet has,7340,L-4163032,00.html

On Sun, Dec 18, 2011 at 2:56 AM, Brian of London <> wrote:

I see that Scott Baker, editor of The Blaze has written something that, in my opinion, tries way too hard to be "fair" and quote from a range of sources. It's dripping with false moral equivalence and I think it's really dangerous.

I think his piece is at odds with Beck's stance and again, congrats to Itamar Marcus on the 30 minutes he spent with Beck, that was a truely great segment. I Youtubed the whole thing which you're free to promote if you want.