A View From The Frontlines
In the summer of 2015, just three days after I moved to Israel for a one-and-a-half year stint freelance reporting in the region, I wrote down my feelings about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A friend of mine in New York had mentioned that it would be interesting to see if living in Israel would change the way I felt about it. My friend probably suspected that things would look differently from the front-row seat, so to speak.
Boy was he right.
Before I moved to Jerusalem, I was very pro-Palestinian. Almost everyone I knew was. I grew up Protestant in a quaint, politically-correct New England town; almost everyone around me was liberal. And being liberal in America comes with a pantheon of beliefs: You support pluralism, tolerance and diversity. You support gay rights, access to abortion and gun control.
The belief that Israel is unjustly bullying the Palestinians is an inextricable part of this pantheon. Most progressives in the US view Israel as an aggressor, oppressing the poor noble Arabs who are being so brutally denied their freedom. “I believe Israel should relinquish control of all of the Gaza Strip and most of the West Bank,” I wrote on July 11, 2015 from a park near my new apartment in Baka. “The occupation is an act of colonialism that only creates suffering, frustration and despair for millions of Palestinians.”
Perhaps predictably, this view didn’t play well among the people I met during my first few weeks in Jerusalem, which even by Israeli standards is a conservative city. My wife and I had moved to the Jewish side of town, more or less by chance —the first Airbnb host who accepted our request to rent a room happened to be in the Nachlaot neighborhood, where even the hipsters are religious. As a result, almost everyone we interacted with was Jewish Israeli and very supportive of Israel. I didn’t announce my pro-Palestinian views to them —I was too afraid. But they must have sensed my antipathy. (I later learned this is a sixth sense Israelis have.)
Because my first few weeks in Jerusalem I found myself constantly getting into arguments about the conflict with my roommates and in social settings. Unlike waspy New England, Israel does not afford the privilege of politely avoiding unpleasant political conversations. Outside of the Tel Aviv bubble, the conflict is omnipresent; it affects almost every aspect of life. Avoiding it simply isn’t an option. (h/t Yenta Press)
Douglas Murray Speaking at the Israel Rally in London
Melanie Phillips: A most deplorable analogy
Now an analogy is being drawn between Britain’s decency over the Kindertransport and its supposed absence of decency over today’s European migrant crisis. Many, not least within the UK’s Jewish community – including, astoundingly, some of its religious leaders – have made much of the supposed analogy between these migrants and the Jewish refugees from Nazism. The refusal to take not just a greater number of Dubs children but also more adults migrants, they claim, is on a par with the refusal to accept refugees from the Holocaust.
I’m appalled by this analogy. Neither the Syrian civil war, brutal and unspeakable as it is, nor any other current conflict can be compared to the Holocaust.
That was the attempt to exterminate the entire Jewish people, along with the mass murder of other groups. Unlike today, there were no refugee camps from whence to pluck these victims to provide them with a better life. They were simply deprived of life altogether. The Holocaust was an attempted genocide. Today’s migrant crisis is part of a mass movement of people, not all of them refugees, which threatens to engulf western Europe.
It is absolutely nauseating that the Holocaust is being used in this way as an emotional bludgeon, so that anyone who supports restrictions on today’s migrants is not only attacked as a heartless monster but also for somehow betraying the memory of the victims of Nazism.
In fact this analogy itself diminishes the Holocaust. It is not just offensive. It displays an inability to make vital moral distinctions. It uses excruciatingly complex global dilemmas as a platform for self-centred grandstanding.
And it is simply incomprehensible, tragic and unforgivable that some who are making this comparison are Jews themselves.
Hen Mazzig had been a member of Israel’s most left-wing party. But that didn’t prepare him for the sheer level of Israelaphobic craziness that he would encounter on campuses in the Pacific Northwest.
This year, from January through May, I went to college campuses, high schools, and churches to tell people about the history of modern Israel, about my experience growing up in the Jewish state, and about my family. I also always spoke about my military service as an officer in an IDF COGAT unit that attends to the needs of Palestinian civilians who are not involved in the conflict and promotes Palestinian civil society.
That went about as well as expected. Especially when BDS was involved. BDS rhetoric makes Nazi rhetoric look sensible and reasonable because it taps into whatever dementia is in the air.
At a BDS event in Portland, a professor from a Seattle university told the assembled crowd that the Jews of Israel have no national rights and should be forced out of the country. When I asked, “Where do you want them to go?” she calmly answered, “I don’t care. I don’t care if they don’t have any place else to go. They should not be there.”
When I responded that she was calling for ethnic cleansing, both she and her supporters denied it.
The United Kingdom issued new guidelines on Monday barring city councils from undermining national policy by targeting Israel for boycotts.
Issued by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, the guidelines strive to “stop councils from introducing restrictions on the companies and countries they use – particularly by introducing boycotts on goods from Israel,” the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) announced in a statement. They will “make following the British government’s foreign policies a legal requirement when buying goods and services – effectively outlawing locally-imposed boycotts.”
The move helps the UK comply with rules imposed by the World Trade Organisation, which require member countries to treat suppliers without prejudice. It strengthens guidelines issued last year discouraging local councils from adopting boycotts of Israel.
“We need to challenge and prevent divisive town hall boycotts which undermine good community relations,” Javid stated. “No council should be boycotting any company or country unnecessarily – instead their main focus should be delivering the value for money taxpayers rightly expect. … We will clampdown on these inappropriate and needless boycotts once and for all.”
The DCLG explained in its statement that these boycotts “damage Britain” and have “led to the removal of Kosher food from the shelves of supermarkets, or calls for Jewish films to be banned.”
If a man from Mars attended a lecture given by an official from a foreign government and saw more than 40 of my peers protest in this fashion, he would probably leave with the impression that said government had done something seriously worthy of that protest. So score one for the protestors.
At the same time, our man from Mars might be curious about the merits of the protestors’ arguments; if they were really so valid and irrefutable, why not challenge Danon during Q&A rather than shout shallow slogans at the audience like “From Palestine to Mexico, border walls have got to go,” and “1, 2, 3, 4, occupation no more, 5, 6, 7, 8, Israel is an apartheid state.” Score one point against the protestors.
Which is to say that when students are chanting instead of chatting, the discourse dissipates into color war, a reality that should trouble all activists who seek to win hearts and change minds.
What was actually accomplished by protesting and disrupting this event? If the Students for Justice in Palestine & Co want to see their ideas aired, and Danon’s ideas challenged, why not agree to host a debate with pro-Israel students? But SJP’s policy of anti-normalization—non-engagement with Zionists—precludes such an event.
Last week, YouTube removed a video from Palestinian Media Watch’s YouTube account, claiming the video violated “YouTube’s policy on hate speech,” while retaining the Arabic language video on the YouTube account of the original poster, the Lebanese band “Al-Waed Band for Islamic Art.” Consequently, PMW’s account received a “strike.” Three strikes result in account termination.
The original music video, whose purpose was to promote terror, had been viewed 63,000 times at the time that PMW’s video was banned. PMW exposed this video in order to eliminate the hate speech expressed within.
PMW thanks our friends at the Simon Wiesenthal Center for sending YouTube documentation that we supplied that clarified the situation. YouTube acted swiftly, reinstating PMW’s video and removing the original terror-promoting video from the Al-Waed Band’s account, which erased the strike against our channel.
The original video promotes violence and terror attacks against JewsIsraelis, accompanied by animation that depicts JewsIsraelis as trembling in fear and fleeing from impending Palestinian terror attacks.
While the radical left expressed moral outrage at the existence of the Jewish state, Tablet Magazine’s Senior Writer Yair Rosenberg asked why these protestors failed to disrupt former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a known Holocaust denier and a proponent of exterminating the Jewish state.
The answer is simple: According to the radical left, Holocaust-denying, homophobic, and Jew-hating Islamists get a pass but the UN representative of the only Jewish state is not allowed to speak on campus. Their hypocrisy remains visible for all to see.
While Students for Justice in Palestine continues to receive funds from genocidal terrorist groups like Hamas, the pro-Israel students at SSI continue to stand up for liberal values of tolerance, free speech, and free expression by inviting someone that fascists feel compelled to disrupt.
What did it take for the Washington Post to accuse a Jewish man of racism for exposing a white man as an anti-Semite? That white man’s conversion to Islam.
That’s how reporter Bill Donahue treated Charles Jacobs, the president of my organization, Americans for Peace and Tolerance, in a January 17 puff piece on the influential Muslim convert and cleric, Imam Suhaib Webb: “An unlikely messenger becomes a guiding spirit to young Muslims.”
Jacobs marched with Martin Luther King Jr. and received the “Boston Freedom Award” from MLK’s widow, Coretta Scott King, for his work freeing black slaves in Sudan. But he is now apparently a racist because our organization’s research into the radical Islamic ideology of an Oklahoma-born white male conflicts with the Post’s portrayal of Webb as a cool former hip-hop DJ who knows how to hang with the kids while sharing his religious wisdom and liberal politics in rap lyrics.
I don’t quite get the hipness angle. Webb’s awkward affectations bring to mind Sacha Baron Cohen’s parodic character “Ali G,” a cringe-worthy mix of cultural appropriation, poseurism, and banality that would make Rachel Dolezal blush through her spray tan. But Donahue is a reporter on a mission.
“The segment is full of outrageous lies about ‘settler terrorism’ against Palestinian olive farmers. This has absolutely nothing to do with cooking and I have never heard anything like it in the 20 years that I have been listening to this APM [American Public Media] show.” So reads a complaint received by CAMERA concerning the APM food show The Splendid Table (ST).
Another complainer wrote, “I regularly listen to The Splendid Table for its usually excellent reporting on food trends and cooking tips. This report left me with a massive case of indigestion.”
The politicized Jan.13, 2017 segment of the ST weekly public radio/online podcast food show condemned Israeli “settlers” for vandalism in the West Bank damaging Palestinian Arab farmers’ olive groves – but made no mention of a reign of Arab terror that has resulted in the murder and maiming of scores of West Bank Israelis. A recent example of this is the murder of a Jewish child by a Palestinian man who hates West Bank “settlers” because he misguidedly believed that Jews stole his land.
Since it’s a food show, an intent for some semblance of balance could have been indicated by noting that West Bank Israelis actually commercially grow asparagus, tomatoes, eggplants, sweet peppers, onions, and dates, among other crops. But there’s not a word about this since it goes against the Palestinian narrative portraying Jews as alien colonizers who don’t relate to the land while aiming to confiscate Palestinian land. Likewise, the report falsely implies that West Bank Israelis lack humanity and warmth in contrast with their Arab neighbors. Accordingly, the report’s cast of characters consists mainly of a Jewish resident who threatens his Arab neighbors, victimized Arabs who work the land, and others who advocate and volunteer for them.
The authors lied on both of those claims. In an article published in The Daily Bruin on November 25, 2015, Abejón responded to a flyer campaign by David Horowitz that connected SJP to radical Islamic terrorism, claiming that the organization “strives to create a conversation around and raise awareness about the occupation of Palestine.” The by-line of the article states that Abejón was the chapter’s education and resources director.
Furthermore, SJP at UCLA has a long history of anti-Semitic activity on their campus. Nearly two years ago, four SJP-affiliated students questioned a Jewish student’s potential to have an “unbiased view” to serve on the undergraduate’s judicial board due to her involvement with Hillel and a mostly Jewish sorority. A UCLA law student and the Graduate Student Association president left the university following months of harassment from anti-Israel activists for choosing to remain neutral on a BDS question.
When UCLA first introduced a BDS resolution three years ago, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro went back to his alma mater to condemn the resolution as a despicable act of Jew-hatred.
Rasmea Odeh is rising to prominence in radical circles in the U.S.
In addition to injecting her anti-Israel activism into Black Lives Matter protests, which we previously covered, Rasmea is part of a group organizing a planned “national strike” of women in March 2017, to protest Donald Trump.
Rasmea also has been fully embraced by the anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace, which has supported her for a long time and which is featuring her on a panel at JVP’s upcoming annual conference.
Legal Insurrection readers will recall, however, that Rasmea is the military member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) who was convicted in Israeli in 1970 of the 1969 bombing of the SuperSol supermarket in Jerusalem, and the attempted bombing of the British Consulate.
That supermarket bombing killed Israeli Hebrew University students Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner.
Rasmea claims she was not involved in the supermarket bombing, and was convicted only because she gave a false confession after 25 days of sexual torture.
Previously, we have explored the factual conflicts in Rasmea’s story, including that she confessed the day after arrest, not 25 days later; bomb-making material was found in her room; she received an open trial observed by a representative of the International Red Cross who described the trial as fair.
The Norwegian Government prides itself on being one of the first nations to have an action plan against antisemitism in Norway. A central strategy to rid us of this scourge is to have more education about Judaism and antisemitism in school, as well as dedicating more funds towards research on the subjects.It is therefore highly ironic that the national syllabus on Religious Education in secondary school does not mention Judaism even in an parenthesis.
lifted from utrop.no (google translate)
Judaism made invisible in school textbooks
Judaism’s space in textbooks has become as small as the period before the 1970s. With growing anti-Semitism in society, this is unfortunate, according to a researcher.
– Christianity and Islam have very large place in the textbooks, which makes Judaism a little dot in relation to the other religions, says Suzanne Thobro.
Thobro (36) is a PhD candidate in Religious Studies at the University of Tromsø (UiT). She has researched books on religion course for high school and have seen the development right from 1935 and until today.
She says it’s striking that Judaism’s space in textbooks has become increasingly smaller, and she considers it a setback for Judaism’s place in the study of religion.
– It will be like before 1970, where Judaism is relevant in a historical context of Christianity. It suggests that you do not consider Judaism as important to learn about, says the researcher.
However, the next paragraph reads:
“Israel and Egypt maintain a blockade around Gaza aimed at preventing attacks by militants there, though the measure has been condemned by rights groups as a form of collective punishment.”
The BBC knows full well that restrictions – such as those on the import of munitions and dual-use goods – implemented by Israel following the violent take-over of the Gaza Strip by a terrorist organisation almost a decade ago are necessary counter-terrorism measures and not ‘collective punishment’. But nevertheless, it once again misleads its audiences by amplifying that baseless propaganda trope.
A court has ruled that a convent in northern Germany must allow Nazi-sympathetic artwork to remain on display, the Art Newspaper reported.
The heirs of the artist Erich Klahn won a court battle against the German regional public authority, Klosterkammer Hannover, which tried to back out of a contract requiring them to exhibit Klahn’s art, which frequently portrays anti-Semitic and racist imagery, including swastikas.
Klosterkammer Hannover learned of Klahn’s Nazi affiliation in 2014 and proceeded to try to cancel the contract with the artist’s heirs, but a court ruled the revocation to be invalid. The local authority then appealed the decision in the Federal Court of Justice, but its request was rejected on December 22, 2016, the report said.
The artist joined the Nazi party in 1921 and “was influenced by the political right, [allowing] himself to be instrumentalized by Nazi cultural policy,” Klosterkammer Hannover said in its appeal.
Although Klahn eventually left the Nazi party, his work frequently displays nationalistic symbolism. A Good Friday altarpiece he contrived for the Mariensee convent in 1939 featured swastikas on each of the hinges and is among the pieces that will remain on display.
YouTube’s most-watched blogger PewDiePie will lose his preferred status on the Google-owned video service after posting several videos containing anti-Semitic remarks and Nazi references, the tech giant said Tuesday.
YouTube said it was canceling the popular program from the 27-year-old Swede, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, the same day Disney said it was cutting its ties with the social media star.
PewDiePie — known for posting humorous clips to his more than 53 million followers on YouTube — will be sanctioned for violating the platform’s guidelines on hate speech, Google said.
“We’ve decided to cancel the release of ‘Scare PewDiePie Season 2’ and we’re removing the PewDiePie channel from Google Preferred,” a statement from the US tech company said, refering to a program that allows advertisers to direct their messages to the key 18- to 34-year-old demographic, with an implicit guarantee that the participation won’t hurt their brand.
“Scare PewDiePie” was a program that YouTube ordered for its online subscription service.
The speaker of the House of Commons is visiting Israel and the Knesset in an historic first.
Conservative MP John Bercow visited the Knesset on Monday and attended a series of meetings and panel discussions on Tuesday. He is the first serving speaker of the House of Commons to ever visit Israel and its parliament.
“Your visit has special and historical value,” the speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein, told Bercow.
“Cooperation between the UK and Israel are expressed in a variety of fields, including new technologies, science, education and the fight against terrorism. I hope that we continue to strengthen relations between the parliaments,” Edelstein added.
Among the events Bercow is attended on Tuesday was a gathering of the Young Knesset, during which Israeli students conducted deliberations in the Knesset committees and plenum. He addressed the students on the workings of the British parliament and the powers that his office holds.
Celebrity American horror author Stephen King knows a good thriller when he sees one. And he’s seen the Israeli award-winning TV series Fauda, currently streaming on Netflix.
King tweeted on Tuesday: ‘“FAUDA, on Netflix. Cool Israeli thriller. With episodes only a little longer than your average sitcom, it’s all killer and no filler.”
Last year, the gritty series with a backdrop of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict won six Ophir Awards, including best drama series. YES has picked up a second season of the show.
Israel successfully launched into space Wednesday a new nanosatellite, the first for Israeli academia, that will conduct scientific missions for Ben Gurion University of the Negev.
BGUSAT is the result of a five-year joint project between BGU, Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) and Israel’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Space.
The satellite, 10x10x30 centimeters (4x4x12 inches) — a little larger than a milk carton — and weighing just five kilograms (11 lbs), is outfitted with innovative cameras that can photograph a large array of weather phenomena and a guidance system that allows operators to choose the areas to research through a dedicated ground station at BGU. Researchers will be able to position the satellite to take a variety of pictures from different angles.
It is the first time any Israeli university will have access to data from an Israeli nanosatellite for research purposes, BGU, IAI and the Israel Space Agency said in a joint statement earlier this week. Its unique orbital path close to Earth’s atmosphere will enable researchers at Ben Gurion and Tel Aviv universities to study scientific phenomena such as Earth’s airglow layer.
Motorola Solutions Inc., the US maker of communications equipment, is looking to Israeli technology to lead it to a new generation of intelligent products.
The company opened its new innovation center, its second and the only one outside the US, in Israel in December and is in the process of hiring some 20 experts and researchers to develop technologies for its clients: public safety officers, armies, municipalities and governments worldwide. The center will focus on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity technologies.
Motorola’s mission is to help mission critical workers, like police, army officers, firefighters, and emergency health responders to make sense of the tons of data available to them, “and get the right information to the right person at the right time and in the right way,” Paul Steinberg, Motorola’s chief technology officer, said in a phone interview during a two-day visit to Israel earlier this month. Chicago based Steinberg is in charge of development and execution of the company’s technology strategy, its technological vision and venture investments.
Motorola Solutions is a former wireless technology arm of Motorola, the radio pioneer that made the equipment that allowed astronauts on the moon talk to Earth in 1969 and went on to make the first commercial cellphones. The company makes walkie-talkies, pagers, body-worn cameras and other public-safety and communication equipment for first responders, and it believes that its future products won’t be based just on voice or text.
Eric Braeden, the actor who plays Victor Newman on “The Young and the Restless,” has come out with a memoir, in which he talks about trying to right the wrongs of his Nazi father.
Something which included playing for a predominantly Israeli soccer team, and visiting Israel numerous times.
Eric Braeden, who plays complex billionaire Victor Newman on “The Young and the Restless,” has written a memoir detailing his fascinating life. Born in Germany in 1941, Braeden writes of coming over to America as a young man and falling into acting.
Through it all, he writes of trying to right the wrongs of his Nazi father by playing for a Jewish soccer team in Los Angeles to visiting concentration camps in Poland. The grandfather of three spoke to Fox News about his extraordinary life.
U.S. producer Noble Energy is expected to announce in the coming days an investment of $550 million in the development of Israel’s Leviathan gas field, according to a company outlook and guidance report for 2017, published Monday.
News of the impending investment provided a boost for the local energy sector at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
The $550 million represents one-fifth of the company’s global investments of $2.3 to $2.6 billion for 2017.
Noble Energy President and CEO David Stover said in the guidance report: “We have a tremendous opportunity with the Leviathan project offshore Israel. In 2017, our teams will begin project development, with first gas targeted for the end of 2019. I have no doubt that our outstanding track record of major project execution will again deliver substantial value to the company.”
The report also said, “Capital expenditures in the Eastern Mediterranean for the initial development of the Leviathan project include drilling one production well, long-lead investment items, and ramp up of construction activities. The company will also complete an additional production well at Tamar [gas field], which was drilled in the fourth quarter of 2016.”
February 14th is Valentine’s Day, but for Israel it is a special anniversary, as the Knesset marks its 68th birthday. On February 14th 1949, the First Israeli Knesset convened, lead by the elected Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, marking a pivotal event in one of the most exceptional and underappreciated elements of Israel’s story – the story of Israeli democracy.
Most people take for granted that Israel is a democracy, but in fact, there are at least three features that make Israeli democracy a significant accomplishment worth celebrating:
1. The non-democratic culture from which it sprung
One unique feature of Israeli democracy is that it seems to have come out of nowhere. Israel did not inherit a democratic system – at the turn of the 20th century, when the Zionist dream was beginning to take shape, the land that would become the state of Israel was ruled by the Ottomans, who ruled through an autocratic monarch. The first Zionist leaders, such as Ben Gurion and Weizmann, themselves grew up in the Russian Empire; a Tsarist, not a democratic, regime. And in the first three years of Israel’s existence, its population doubled (itself a unique feat) due to immigration – and the majority of these immigrants came from Eastern Europe and the Arab nations in the Middle East, thus once again, not bringing with them any experience of living under democratic rule. The location, founders and citizens of Israel had no experience of democracy – so where did Israeli democracy come from?
With a name like Beit She’arim, Hebrew for “House of Gates,” it seems obvious that the UNESCO world heritage site would have ancient portals. Still, archaeologists from the University of Haifa were surprised to stumble across a massive gateway during recent excavations at the site in northern Israel.
Half of an impressive northeast-facing gate built of limestone blocks, with postholes for doors and locks, abutting a circular tower, along a road leading into the ancient town, turned up during a dig in the fall of 2016, the school announced Wednesday.
Despite its outsize cultural significance as the headquarters of the Sanhedrin, the chief Jewish judicial and scholarly council, and the birthplace of the Mishna, Beit She’arim was a relatively small town — not a likely place for fortified city walls.
“As far as we were aware, a settlement of this type wasn’t supposed to be ringed by a wall, and therefore it was almost obvious that the name Beit She’arim wasn’t connected to the word ‘gate,’” archaeologist Adi Erlich, who headed the dig, said.
IDF Officers Visit USS George H. W. Bush at Sea, February 14, 2017
A group of Israeli Defense Forces officers, led by Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, visited the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) in the Mediterranean on Tuesday, February 14, for a day of familiarization and discussions with American naval personnel. U.S. Embassy Chargé d’affaires Leslie Tsou also took part in the visit. While on board the vessel, the visitors received a briefing on the ship’s various combat capabilities and observed flight and maritime operations from the deck of the carrier. The tour and demonstration included an up-close view of aircraft catapult launches, arrested landings, and a tour of the ships vast aircraft hangars, flight squadrons, operation center, bridge, and flight control tower.
The purpose of the visit was to demonstrate the capabilities and firepower of USS George H. W. Bush and Carrier Strike Group 2, and to support cooperation between the U.S. and Israeli navies, as well as ensuring interoperability between the U.S. and its Israeli partners. Such visits are a means of sustaining the U.S.’s long-standing alliance with Israel. The group was hosted by the ship’s commanding officer, Capt. Will Pennington, and the commander of the Carrier Strike Group, Rear Adm. Kenneth R. Whitesell.
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