Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Rhetoric of Nonsense

Fabricating Palestinian History

by Alexander H. Joffe
Middle East Quarterly
Summer 2012, pp. 15-22

For nearly two decades the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been denying Israel's right to exist, and a recent "Nakba Day" was no exception. In a Gaza speech on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, his personal representative made the following statement:
National reconciliation [between Hamas and Fatah] is required in order to face Israel and Netanyahu. We say to him [Netanyahu], when he claims that they [Jews] have a historical right dating back to 3000 years B.C.E.—we say that the nation of Palestine upon the land of Canaan had a 7,000-year history B.C.E. This is the truth, which must be understood, and we have to note it, in order to say: "Netanyahu, you are incidental in history. We are the people of history. We are the owners of history."[1]
This remarkable assertion has been almost completely ignored by the Western media. Yet it bears a thorough examination: not only as an indication of unwavering Palestinian rejection of Israel's right to exist but as an insightful glimpse into the psyche of their willfully duped Western champions.

Unpacking Abbas's Speech

Archaeologists have only the dimmest notion of prevailing ethnic concepts in 7000 B.C.E. There may have been tribes and clans of some sort, and villages may have had names and a sense of collective or local identity, but their nature is completely unknown. Even with the elaborate symbolism of the period, as seen in figurines, and other data such as the styles of stone tools and house plans, nothing whatsoever is known regarding the content of the makers' identities. Writing would not be invented for almost another 4,000 years and would only reach the Levant a thousand years after that, bringing with it the ability to record a society's own identity concepts.

There were no Jews or Arabs, Canaanites, Israelites, or Egyptians. There were only Neolithic farmers and herders. In fact, none of the concepts that Abbas used developed until vastly later. The Plst—a Mediterranean group known to the Egyptians as one of the "Sea Peoples" and who gave their name to the biblical Philistines—arrived around 1200 B.C.E. Arabs are known in Mesopotamian texts as residents of the Arabian Peninsula from around 900 B.C.E. The concept of a "nation" emerged with the kingdoms of Israel and Judah and their neighbors sometime after 900 B.C.E. The Romans renamed the Kingdom of Judea "Palestina" after the biblically attested Philistines, the hated enemy of the Israelites, following the defeat of the Bar Kochba revolt in 135 C.E. The ethnic identity called "Palestinian," denoting the local Muslim and Christian inhabitants of the region south of Lebanon and West of the Jordan River, tenuously developed as an elite concept at the end of the Ottoman era and did not propagate to the grassroots until the 1920s and 1930s.[2]

Forget politics – Who has legal right to Jerusalem?

Yonah Bob - The Jerusalem Post

Is there a simple answer to the question of who owns or has the legal right to Jerusalem? Dr. Jacques Gauthier, a Canadian lawyer who specializes in international law, answered that question on Wednesday with a resounding yes and suggested that if a theoretical court that was 100-percent objective were to study the legally relevant facts, ignoring politics, it would find unequivocally that only Israel possesses the exclusive title to Jerusalem.

Gauthier was interviewed by The Jerusalem Post during a trip he made to Israel for a June 11- 12 conference highlighting Jewish claims to Jerusalem. He has been studying international law for 30 years, focusing on a number of issues including human rights, and has not limited himself solely to the Middle East. He studied in Geneva under Dr. Marcelo Kohen in 2006.

Gauthier’s thesis is 1200 pages, weighs 10 pounds and contains over 3200 footnotes.

Friday, June 15, 2012

ZOA: President Obama Calls Israeli Govt. "Extreme Right"‏

President Obama Calls Israeli Govt. "Extreme Right" Despite Israeli Concessions, Broadening of Israeli Coalition & Absence of Palestinian Concessions

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has taken issue with the description of the Israeli government offered by President Barack Obama to a Jewish group in which he was reported in the Jewish daily Forward as saying that the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu was "extreme right." 

According to the report, during a meeting with a delegation of orthodox rabbis from the Orthodox Union, “The President described Israel’s government as having been extreme right and said that Netanyahu, just like any other world leader, does not want any restraints’” (Nathan Gutman, ‘Obama Gets Copy of Washington Letter,’ Forward, June 5, 2012).

Thursday, June 14, 2012

PMW reports lead to closure of website and investigation of NGO

Burj Luq-Luq's website closed and PYALARA being investigated by its donor following PMW reports this week
on Palestinian NGOs' hate speech, promotion of violence
and glorification of terrorists

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

This past Monday, Palestinian Media Watch reported on two Palestinian NGOs that were spreading hate speech and promoting violence against Jews and Israelis. 24 hours later, one NGO's website was closed down while the other NGO was being investigated by one of its funders, Save the Children UK.
PMW reported that the Palestinian UN-funded NGO, the Burj Luq-Luq Social Center, performed a puppet show for children, whose educational message was: "Hold machine guns, not cigarettes" because "youth are being killed by the Jews." The NGO posted the video of the puppet show on its website next to the names of its funders. After PMW's release, the website is now showing the following message: "Coming Soon! This website is coming soon, please check back later." []

PMW also documented 
glorification of terrorists by PYALARA, an NGO funded by the EU through the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office, Save the Children UK and Cordaid. On their weekly PA TV program, the PYALARA hosts referred to terrorists including suicide terrorists as "more honored than all of us... They are the greatest role models for us." This came just weeks after PYALARA, by visiting their  families, glorified imprisoned terrorists who are serving many life sentences for sending suicide bombers to murder civilians, among them one terrorist sentenced to 26 life-sentences.

Gaza sniper fires at farmer near border fence


Farmer working in field in Eshkol Regional Council area hides behind tractor until IDF soldiers arrive to evacuate him.

IDF soldiers near the Gaza border Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen
A Palestinian sniper in the southern Gaza Strip fired at an Israeli farmer working in a field near Kibbutz Nir Oz in the Eshkol Regional Council area on Thursday.

The man was not injured, hiding behind a tractor until IDF soldiers arrived and evacuated him to safety. IDF soldiers returned fire toward the Palestinian sniper.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Beginning of the End for Liberal Jewry

Jonathan Tobin

 | A new survey of the Jewish population in the Greater New York area contradicts the conventional wisdom about the subject. It has long been assumed that any portrait of American Jews must tell us a story about an aging, liberal population that is rapidly assimilating. But, as the New York Times reports, the latest results show that the population of the largest center of Jewish life outside of Israel is actually growing. 

The survey's estimate of New York City's Jewish community pegs it at about 1.1 million, with 1.54 million being counted when you include the surrounding suburban counties on Long Island and Westchester (Jews in Northern New Jersey who would also be considered part of Greater New York were not counted). Of even greater import is that the rapid expansion of fervently-Orthodox and Hasidic Jewry are the sole reason for this population growth. 

By contrast, the numbers of Jews who identity with the heretofore much larger non-Orthodox movements have declined precipitately. The only other sector that is growing is made up of those Jews who reject all the denominations or eschew religion entirely.

A Tale of Two American Martyrs

Apologists for Islamic persecution of Christians regularly argue that the animosity is not driven by religion, but rather a "sectarian" divide, by any number of "indigenous" factors—poverty, intertribal conflicts, political machinations, etc. Other times, persecuted Christians are portrayed as Zionist agents and rapists, spies and traitors—anything other than people killed for their Christian faith.
Joel Shrum (L) and Jeremiah Small: Martyred in the lands of Islam.
Consider, however, the following two stories which deal with, not indigenous Christians—that is, not members of the native framework with its complex socio-political factors—but American Christians; not Zionist spies, but teachers who were, nonetheless, killed last March for sharing their faith with Muslims, for behaving like Christians.
First, on March 1, Jeremiah Small, a "beloved teacher and friend" who taught at a Christian school in Iraq, was shot to death by an 18-year-old student, even "as he bent his head to pray at the start of a morning class. The 33-year-old teacher from Washington state took bullets to the head and chest and died at the scene." According to students, "Mr. Jeremiah's hands were still folded in prayer when he fell"; others say a day before the shooting "a heated discussion" broke out "during which the pupil threatened to kill the teacher because of conflicting religious views."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Why is Ehud Barak still Defense Minister of Israel?

Redacted from article in Israel Matzav
May 30, 2012

“Barak has been through everything and learned nothing”

Recently I received an email from Zechariah Baumol’s yeshiva announcing an event marking 30 years since his ‘disappearance’ in the battle of Sultan Yaqub. That battle was commanded by none other than the current Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, who is rumored to have gone to sleep while the battle was raging. Baumol is one of five soldiers from that battle whose fate was unknown for many years. He is one of three from that battle who are still missing.

Barak – along with Shimon Peres – is a politician about whom it can be said that he has been through everything and learned nothing. It was Barak who fled a training accident at Tzehilim, leaving IDF soldiers to die as he left in his helicopter. It was Barak that tried unsuccessfully to reach a deal with Yasser Arafat at Camp David twelve summers ago and got a violent intifada in return for his flexibility (i.e. giving away virtually all of Judea and Samaria and at least 1/2 of Jerusalem and Arafat turned him down). It was Barak who left an IDF soldier to die while he sought ‘permission’ from Yasser Arafat to rescue the soldier on Rosh HaShanna twelve years ago. It was Barak who continued to try to give away the store to Arafat, while that intifada raged, in a bid to save his seat as Prime Minister. And, it was Barak who, as Defense Minister, passed on the opportunity to finish off Hamas during Operation Cast Lead.

The unique evil of Auschwitz and a deeply distasteful football PR stunt

 By Melanie Phillips

Some years ago, on a fact-finding trip to Munich, I visited the nearby site of the former Nazi concentration camp at Dachau.

It was an unsettling and disturbing experience, beyond being brought up against the horrors that had taken place there. For I found myself surrounded by coach parties of Japanese and other tourists eagerly photographing the camp sights — and even posing for snaps in front of the exhibits.

I thought about this queasy-making ‘Holocaust tourism’ when I read about last week’s visit to Auschwitz by seven members of the England football squad, ahead of their first match today in the Euro 2012 football championships being held jointly in Poland and Ukraine.
Members of the England team enter the Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz, under the sign which translates into: 'Work makes you free'
Members of the England team enter the Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz, under the sign which translates into: 'Work makes you free'

Of course, the fact that Poland was the epicentre of the industrialised Nazi killing machine, and had virtually its entire population of three million Polish Jews exterminated — not to mention the bestial part played by the Ukrainians in the Nazi genocide — is impossible to forget.

Many visit the Auschwitz extermination camp, where some 1.5 million Jews and others were murdered, as an educational experience to learn about the unimaginable events of the Holocaust. 

Indeed, the England squad’s trip was organised by the Football Association jointly with the Holocaust Educational Trust. 

Obama's malignant obsession with Jews and Israel

Joan Swirsky, RenewAmerica analyst

Jew hatred comes in many forms — all of them irrational and unsupported by empirical fact, but all of them powerful and largely effective in deflecting personal and political failure onto a tiny people, who by their mere existence highlight the glaring deficiencies that exist in their adversaries. Like a deadly systemic infection, be it viral or bacterial, Jew hatred comes in many strains.

Strain #1 — the Dumb Factor

The Dumb Factor is based mostly on ignorance. In short, a dim-witted parent, family member, friend, teacher, or coach — one who was "schooled" by another dimwit — tells an innocent child that much of what is wrong with his or her life is because of "the Jew" who lives down the street, or employs his or her parent, or publishes the local newspaper...whatever.

"They may look like you and me," the critic says, "but underneath that head of hair are horns, and by the way, they bake their Passover holiday bread-substitute with the blood of kids like you and your sister, and you should know that they control all the money in the world, and never forget that they killed Jesus." Then the kid gets older and his actual life experience contradicts what he's heard as he or she studies or socializes or works with Jews and sometimes falls in love and marries one.

Monday, June 11, 2012

When delegitimization is met with silence


Anti-Jewish boycotts have returned to country where they once marked beginning of an unprecedented genocide against Jews of Europe.

Anti-Semitism Photo: Reuters
Something startling occurred in Germany last week. Anti-Jewish boycotts have returned to the country where they once marked the beginning of an unprecedented genocide against the Jews of Europe.

With the slogan “Occupation tastes bitter,” the German chapter of the Catholic organization Pax Christi began a national boycott campaign against Israeli products.

The NGO rejected any equation of its campaign with the infamous Nazi boycotts of the 1930s because, as Pax Christi emphasized in a statement, its focus was on the “settlements.”

Yet the vice-president of the organization admitted she would not buy “goods with the origin specification ‘Israel’ because under this designation products could come from the settlements.”

Even with this ambiguous clarification, it seems unclear how a boycott aimed only at companies run by Jews, where most of the workforce is Jewish and that are geographically connected to the only Jewish state could be anything but anti-Semitic.

Obama White House Held ‘Hundreds’ of Meetings with Hamas-Tied CAIR: Official

White House new director for community partnerships George Selim admits to hundreds of meetings with CAIR.
White House new director for community partnerships George Selim 
admits to hundreds of meetings with CAIR.
Photo Credit: Edward Cash

According to the Daily Caller, aides to President Barack Obama have been holding “hundreds” of meetings behind closed-doors with representatives of the Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR), America’s largest Muslim advocacy organization, with close ties to Hamas and its parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood.

George Selim, the White House new director for community partnerships, a position formed this year to ensure cooperation by law enforcement and Muslim social service agencies, was the source of the information regarding CAIR and the White House.

In response to a question by the Daily Caller whether or not his office refuses to meet with any Muslim groups, Selim said that there are “hundreds of examples of departments and agencies that meet with CAIR on a range of issues.”

Syria is in civil war


Spain, 1936. An army revolt against the democratically elected government sets off a civil war.

Demonstrators protest against Assad after  prayers Photo: REUTERS
‘We protest with all our power against the sham, the hypocritical sham, that [the nonintervention policy] now appears to be.” – Philip Noel-Baker, House of Commons, October 29, 1936.

Spain, 1936. An army revolt against the democratically elected government sets off a civil war. On one side are the Fascists, led by General Francisco Franco. On the other side is a coalition of democrats both socialist and liberal; communal nationalists; anarchists, Communists and independent Marxists. The Western democracies declare an embargo: no arms to be sold to the Loyalist side. But Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy help the rebels, while Stalin’s USSR helps the Communists, increasing their power within the Loyalist coalition. In the end, the Fascists win and rule Spain for decades.

Syria, 2012. The people revolt against the dictatorship, setting off a civil war. On one side is the anti-American, repressive Syrian regime that itself became a champion of revolutionary Islamism; its ally, Iran; and Hezbollah. On the other side is a coalition of democrats, communal nationalists, and Islamists. The Western democracies declare an embargo: no arms to be sold to the rebels. But Shia Islamist Iran and Russia help the regime, while Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood help the Islamists, increasing their power within the rebel coalition. In the end, either the regime wins or the Islamist component among the rebels is more likely to win.

Already, 10,000 civilians have died.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Prime Minister Netanyahu Tells Me My Daughter, an Israeli Soldier, Protects America Too

Shmuley Boteach

Tuesday night I was blessed to win the Republican primary in New Jersey’s Ninth Congressional District and will face Congressman Bill Pascrell in the general election in the fall. As fortune would have it, I was in Israel on the day of the primary for the wedding of my wife’s baby sister, and Wednesday morning I met privately with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his senior adviser Ron Dermer at the Prime Minister’s office. 
Ron was one of my closest students and friends when I was the Rabbi at Oxford University and is today regarded by many as the single sharpest mind on the Middle East. Prime Minister Netanyahu and I reminisced about his two visits to the University of Oxford, where I hosted and he addressed thousands of students and where he mesmerized even his detractors in masterful defenses of Israel. We also spoke about his father, Benzion, who passed away last month at age 102 and whom I had befriended after a series of lectures we hosted where the great man discussed his opus on the Spanish Inquisition.

Another Tack: Those who deny freedom

US President Barack Obama fancies himself in grand Lincolnesque terms and avers over and over that Abraham Lincoln is his model. Quite shamelessly invoking the Great Emancipator, Obama chose to kick off his first presidential bid on February 10, 2007, in Springfield, Illinois, just where Lincoln voiced his historic challenge to slavery in June 1858. And honing the comparison with a characteristic deficit of humility, after his electoral victory Obama took his family with much pomp to the Lincoln memorial.
But, for all of Obama’s blatant manipulation, it’s not that superficial similarities don’t exist. Like Honest Abe, Obama cuts a thin, lanky figure and sports oversized ears. None too- modestly Obama considers himself a master-rhetorician, a supreme crisis-manager, if not the outright shining beacon of liberty. There’s absolutely no denying that Obama is a dab hand at stagecraft and expediency.

Milking the advantageous analogy for all it’s worth, Obama’s inauguration speech theme was lifted with abundant conceit from a line in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: “a new birth of freedom.” Obama just loves the word “freedom.” With theatrical flair he enunciates it liberally at every occasion.

That in mind, it would therefore be reassuring to assume that never far from Obama’s awareness is what Lincoln wrote in 1859: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”

On "Private Palestinian Property"


Haaretz informs us that Israel's government

plans to legalize 13 of the 18 settlement outposts against which petitions to the High Court of Justice have been filed. Because the 13 outposts are not built on privately-owned Palestinian land, the legalization process could presumably make the petitions against them moot.  The remaining five outposts cannot be legalized, because they are located on privately-owned Palestinian land, and so are slated for evacuation.

Reflecting on the matter of the behavior of the government - and the lack of firm instructions to the Attorney-General's and the State Prosecutor's offices - I think that there is a sub-text that has not been adequately stressed in the issues of Migron, Ulpana neighborhood, et al. which is what exactly is "private Palestinian property"?

For background, as regards the HaYovel neighborhood in Eli, we were informed:

For the first time in three years, the state has confiscated uncultivated land in the West Bank. The land will be used to legalize a nearby settlement outpost.

Last week, acting on orders from the government, the Civil Administration declared 189 dunams of land belonging to the Palestinian village of Karyut to be state land, so as to retroactively legalize houses and a road in the Hayovel neighborhood of the settlement of Eli. This would seem to violate Israel's long-standing commitment to the United States not to expropriate Palestinian lands for settlement expansion.

An Ottoman land law dating from 1858 allows uncultivated land to be declared state land. This law, which is still in force in the West Bank, is what was used to carry out the expropriation.

According to last Sunday's decree, the lands in question belong to the village of Karyut. Hayovel was built on these lands in 1998 as a temporary outpost, and later permanent houses and an access road were built. A 2005 report on the outposts by attorney Talia Sasson concluded that Hayovel was built on private Palestinian land.

There it is again, "private Palestinian land".

I have no doubt that Arabs own land as private property.  But even Talia Sasson, we are informed,
found that use of private Palestinian land for outposts was due not to some nefarious land grab but to errors in marking state land on maps. According to Ms. Sasson's summary report, Summary of the Opinion Concerning Unauthorized Outposts: