UN Watch: Report on U.N. Social Media Posts Accusing Israel of ‘Apartheid’
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres just swore in a new head of ESCWA, the UN regional agency for the Middle East that is composed of 18 Arab states, and based in Beirut. Israel has been excluded from the time the agency was founded four decades ago.
In March, Mr. Guterres rightly took action to remove ESCWA’s unauthorized publication of a politicized report—co-authored by Richard Falk, a discredited former UN official who was condemned by Ban Ki-moon for promoting 9/11 conspiracy theories—that demonized Israel as an “Apartheid” state.
As stated by Mr. Guterres, the Executive Secretary of ESCWA is “a representative of the Secretary-General.” As such, Mr. Guterres is obliged to uphold UN discipline regarding posts that single out a member states in contravention of the UN Charter.
ESCWA Speeches and Posts Demonizing Israel
Despite Mr. Guterres’ clear and unequivocal stand in March, numerous ESCWA webpages, Facebook posts, and tweets continue to display this same “Israel Apartheid” slur.
For example, on 6 March, Mr. Guterres’ then-representative Rima Khalaf abused the occasion of International Women’s Day at UN House in Beirut—with Mr. Guterres’ photo on display, and right after his message was read—to attack “the Israeli apartheid regime.” A room full of UN officials heard it, yet failed to object. Ms. Khalaf is gone, yet her obscene remarks are still online on the UN site.
Although Europe claims to respect human rights and the rights of peoples, it has been a party to violating the most essential right of the Jewish people: the recognition of its existence for more than 3,000 years, and the anchoring of this existence to its sacred monuments. Worse, Europe does so in the name of a people fictitiously invented less than 50 years ago. No serious scholar can find any trace of a “Palestinian people” before the 1960s. Europe has apparently been all too happy to accept lies.
While claiming to fight terrorism, Europe complies with the demands of a terrorist movement that does not even bother to hide its terrorist nature. When Mahmoud Abbas speaks Arabic, he continually incites the murder of Jews. He recently repeated that he would not stop paying tried, convicted and imprisoned murderers of Jews, and still calls these murderers heroic “martyrs”. On all maps used by the Palestinian Authority and in Palestinian textbooks, Israel does not exist; it is called Palestine.
Europeans, imbued with a generic sense of guilt, began attributing all that is wrong in the world to Western civilization. Because they had colonized parts of the Muslim world, they failed to note that Muslim culture had, in fact, colonized Persia, the Byzantine Empire, the Middle East, Greece, Cyprus, the Balkans, North Africa, Southern Spain, and, more recently, northern Cyprus.
The Israeli military on Wednesday unveiled the scope of its humanitarian assistance in Syria that has dramatically mushroomed over the last year to include treating chronically ill children who have no access to hospitals, building clinics in Syria and supplying hundreds of tons of food, medicines and clothes to war-ravaged villages across the border.
Since Syria disintegrated in to a brutal civil war that has left hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced, Israel has struggled with how to deal with the humanitarian disaster taking place just across the border, a dilemma made even more complicated by the fact that Israel and Syria remain officially at war.
Israel initially responded by providing medical treatment to Syrians wounded in the war, treating more than 3,000 people in field hospitals on the border and in public hospitals, mostly in northern Israel since 2013.
But on Wednesday the army revealed that since June 2016 it has quietly been working on Operation Good Neighbor, a massive multi-faceted humanitarian relief operation to keep starvation away from the thousands of Syrians who live along the border and provide basic medical treatment to those who cannot access it in Syria because of the war.
In the year since the operation was launched, over 600 Syrian children, accompanied by their mothers, have come to Israel for treatment. Hundreds of tons of food, medical equipment and clothing have also been sent across the border to Syria, clearly bearing Hebrew labels from Israeli companies.
Operation Good Neighbor
Operation Good Neighbor is a mission of compassion for those in need and of hope for a better, more secure border between Israel and Syria. Over the past six years, we’ve seen war destroy the lives of Syrian civilians. We couldn’t stand by and watch. While carrying out Operation Good Neighbor, we’ve had the honor of meeting our neighbors and hearing their stories.
The Women’s March, having embraced convicted terrorist and immigration fraudster Rasmea Odeh, now Embraces Wanted Cop Killer JoAnne Chesimard aka Assata Shakur. That embrace has generated a lot of controversy, and Tapper tweeted about it, and mentioned “ugly sentiments” from Sarsour (along with the Chicago Dyke March, which targeted LGBT Jews they suspected of being Zionist). Tapper asked in the tweet, “Any progressives out there condemning this?”
Sarsour responded by accusing Tapper of being “alt-right”:
and also demanded to know what her supposed “ugly sentiments” were:
Tapper responded by referring to Sarsour comment about Ayaan Hirsi Ali:
We wrote about that comment by Sarsour earlier, #WomensMarch Co-Chair Linda Sarsour’s Twitter attack on victim of female genital mutilation:
The controversy over Sarsour, however, reached new heights when it was discovered that she viciously attacked Ayaan Hirshi Ali, a childhood victim of Female Genital Mutiliation. Ali is hated by Islamists because of her break with Islam over her mutilation.
Sarsour tweeted that Ali, and also Brigitte Gabriel, shouldn’t even have vaginas — a particularly inappropriate comment given the genital mutilation of Ali. Even if Sarsour were not the Co-Chair of the Women’s March it would be a cruel tweet, but coming from someone who has become a feminist hero to liberals, it was particularly bad.
Sarsour deleted the tweet once it was discovered by Nurit Baytch, but a screenshot already had been archived…
This incident between Tapper and Sarsour demonstrates, once again, that the ill-defined term “alt-right” is a label widely abused in order to smear anyone who strays from the regressive leftist agenda. Tapper hardly is “right” much less “alt-right.”
Someday, everyone who disagrees with Linda Sarsour and her supporters/fellow travelers will be accused of being “alt-right”.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 18, 2017
CNN pundit Marc Lamont Hill has a serious crush on convicted terrorist Assata Shakur. On Monday, Lamont Hill honored the convicted cop-killer for her birthday, issuing a string of praise and defense of Shakur in tweet form.
“Happy 70th Birthday to Assata Shakur!!!!” gushed the CNN employee in one of his many pro-Shakur tweets.
In March of 1977, former Black Panther Party member and then-Black Liberation Army (BLA) Leader Shakur was convicted “of eight counts of murder, robbery and assault in a 1973 shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike that left one state trooper dead and another wounded,” reported The New York Daily News the day following Shakur’s conviction. The terrorist notably called the jurors “racist and misled” after her fate was announced.
BLA was a terrorist organization. As noted by The Washington Post, “the BLA was responsible for four bombings, four hijackings and 32 violent armed confrontations in the United States” from 1970 to 1984. “Sixteen of those involved confrontations with law enforcement officers who were killed.”
The convicted cop-killer escaped from prison in 1979, just two years into her life sentence, and fled to Cuba where she has remained. Shakur, with a massive $2 million reward on her head, remains on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorist List to this day.
Dov Hikind: Linda Sarsour: The crybaby terrorist supporter
She stands on stage with terrorists and praises them. She Tweets pictures of children throwing rocks and calls it courageous. She celebrates cop killers. She calls for Jihad on the White House. And when she’s called on it, she cries wee, wee, wee all the way home.
This is Linda Sarsour, the crybaby poster child of radical America’s vocal fringe. Self-promoting, self-congratulatory, divisive as they come, and all under the guise of “justice”.
But people are waking up to it, and not just on “the right.” Jake Tapper, Chief Washington Correspondent for CNN, a Progressive if ever there was one, called out Sarsour on her latest radical act, her support of Assata Shakur. Shakur is one of the many aliases of Joanne Deborah Chesimard, a former member of what authorities describe as a “revolutionary extremist organization” known as the Black Liberation Army. She is on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. Tapper recognized Shakur as “a cop-killer fugitive in Cuba” and questioned Sarsour’s typical “ugly sentiments.”
Sarsour’s response was predictable. She’s labeled Tapper a member of the “alt-right”.
If CNN is the “alt-right” where does that leave everyone else?
NY State Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) says there’s something fishy about Linda Sarsour’s “Jewish Cemetery Advocate.” Sarsour gained headlines after boasting about raising big bucks for Jewish cemeteries, but when one of those cemeteries said they’d never seen a dime, Sarsour trotted out Jennifer Goodland. “Read this from Jennifer Goodland of Golden Hill Cemetery in Colorado…” Sarsour tweeted and posted on her Facebook as proof of her integrity.
Christopher Mathias of the Huffington Post also tweeted Goodland’s letter and glibly asked, “Hi @HikindDov, any comment on this?”
The letter from Goodland attacked the Algemeiner Journal, which had first claimed that Sarsour’s fundraiser on behalf of Jewish cemeteries was less than honest.
Just one small issue: Goodland is NOT an employee of Golden Hill Cemetery in Colorado.
On July 12, two of Hikind’s staff members spoke with Neal Price, executive director of Golden Hill. Price told both Yehudah Meth, Director of Communications, and Inna Vernikov, Esq. (Special Assistant to Hikind) that Goodland is not now and has never been an employee of the cemetery nor a spokesperson for Golden Hill. Price said he had only spoken with Goodland once when she called to “offer help.” He said he never heard of Goodland before then and that she was not officially involved with his cemetery in any official capacity, nor is she a cemetery spokesperson.
A woman in Saudi Arabia has been arrested for driving posting a video of herself wearing a miniskirt.
And what on earth does this have to do with Israel?
Everything, according to pathological Israel hater Richard Silverstein.
This is truly a sickness.
I suppose we are also to blame for the time he wore a skirt?
Israel refuses to prosecute male rapists of women. Pixellates images of women in media photos. plenty of misogynism in Israel. https://t.co/5ESJOLT4WF
— Tikun Olam (@richards1052) July 18, 2017
This approach is hurting me. I am a Muslim Arab woman. I am a singer. And this Wednesday, I will share the stage with Radiohead in their concert.
I was born in Haifa and grew up in Lod—two cities with a mix of Arab and Jewish communities, living side by side. It wasn’t always easy, but my personal experience has taught me that open dialog is the only way to overcome our differences. Ever since I won a singing competition on Israeli TV, my music and my story have inspired many in Israel to open their minds and hearts to Arabic music and my people’s culture.
I have dedicated my life to music, and dedicated my music to breaking down borders and bringing people closer together. That is why this past year I did what no other Arab-Israeli has done before, and sang in Israel’s official Independence and Memorial Day ceremonies.
“Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its government,” Yorke wrote in response to Loach claims. However, I believe that it has everything to do with endorsing its people, and using music to engage with them. After all, if we don’t engage one another, and work together, we will never find peace between us.
This Wednesday, I will also perform alongside one of Israel’s most talented artists, Dudu Tassa—a Jewish singer—to bring a message of co-existence to every corner of the country. The two of us were fortunate enough to be invited by Thom Yorke to tour with Radiohead across the U.S. earlier this year. (h/t Zvi)
Radiohead returned to Israel for the fourth time, playing to a crowd of some 50,000 fans on Wednesday on a hot and humid Tel Aviv night.
The concert in Israel comes despite the group facing massive pressure from anti-Israel activists to boycott the Jewish state.
This was the final date on the band’s world tour marking the 20-year anniversary of the album that brought the group to international fame: “OK Computer.”
The band came onstage around 8:30 p.m., opening with “Daydreaming” from 2016’s “A Moon Shaped Pool.”
Unlike other bands performing at the outdoor venue, Radiohead have done away with the so-called “golden ring” where high-priced tickets are sold closest to the stage, allowing all their fans to get up front, close to the band.
The crowd was warmed up first by opening acts Dudu Tassa and Shye Ben Tzur.
Dudu Tassa and the Kuwaitis toured with Radiohead for the US leg of their tour while Shye Ben Tzur and the Rajasthan Express opened at several of the European concerts.
Radiohead played their first ever international concert in Tel Aviv in 1993, but haven’t performed in the country since 2000.
Here are five ways in which Yorke has shown his love and appreciation for Israelis – who are more than ready to show him the same in return.
1. Rolling Stone interview
2. Ken Loach tweet
3. Israeli opening acts
4. Finger to pro-Palestinian activists
5. A debt of gratitude
It’s a little-known story, but Radiohead actually owes much of its early success to their popularity in Israel. And it’s clear that almost 25 years later, Yorke and the band still feel a debt of gratitude to Israel. While their first single “Creep” wasn’t doing that well in the US when it first came out in 1993, it landed in the hands of Israeli DJ Yoav Kutner and quickly soared to the top of Israeli charts. In fact, that success led Radiohead to its first-ever international gig – in Tel Aviv in March 1993. More than 24 years later, the band has graduated from its first show at the small, now-defunct Roxanne club to Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park, where more than 50,000 fans will greet them. The love story, after all, goes both ways.
The album and song brought the band limited success in its native England and initially little recognition in America, but in Israel it went over like gangbusters.
“The funny thing about Radiohead early on was that they were more famous abroad than in England,” Tim Greaves, Radiohead’s longtime tour manager, told the New Yorker magazine in 2001. “They’d go around in a van, playing in sweaty little clubs. Then they’d go to Israel and they were rock stars.”
It all began when a copy of the song was presented to Army Radio disc jockey Yoav Kutner in 1992, when it was released as a single before the album came out. Kutner fell in love with the song and played it repeatedly on the popular radio station. (Kutner could not be reached for this article.)
From then on out, “Creep” was everywhere in Israel, on the radio and MTV Europe (back in the halcyon days of MTV actually playing music on television), along with Beck’s similarly pejoratively titled “Loser.”
At times in the mid-90s, Israeli radio listeners could count on hearing “Creep” multiple times a day. And in 1995 the infectious song became even more unavoidable in the Jewish state when the popular clothing brand Castro used it in a commercial for its winter collection.
In it, a man in a trench coat and nothing else flashes a pretty girl as she walks by him on the street, only to be shocked when the girl, also wearing a trench coat, does the same.
The chatter about Radiohead and their upcoming Wednesday night, July 19 performance in Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park has been mostly political, with the exception of their devoted Israeli fans, who are just excited about seeing them
Among the fans is Jerusalem violinist Michael Greilsammer for whom the groundbreaking UK rock band has always represented a musical turning point.
The fiddler wanted to show his appreciation for the band that changed his own tunes, and filmed himself playing “No Surprises,” one of his favorite Radiohead songs, from the band’s 1997 “OK Computer” album.
“I’m closing a circle with this song, album and band that changed my life,” said Greilsammer.
A letter published in the Guardian (signed by dozens of Palestinians, both in the UK and the Palestinian territories), supporting director Ken Loach’s criticism of Radiohead’s Tel Aviv performance, continues in the media group’s legitimisation of propaganda suggesting that BDS is a moral imperative because Israel is a uniquely malevolent force in the world.
The letter characterises Israel as a “ruthless” practitioner of “violent racism”, and an “apartheid” state “worse” than South Africa – one which racially segregates roads, denies water to thirsty Palestinians and “brutally” “slaughters” innocent children. Millions of Palestinians, the letter informs Guardian readers, are “imprisoned behind walls” and are cruelly denied live-saving medical care. Palestinians, we’re told, are “shot at check points”, evidently without cause.
Conversely, the letter of course completely ignores the role of Hamas and other violent extremists in Gaza and the PA who foment violence and seek Israel’s annihilation.
Though we’ve refuted the specific charges in the letter many times, it’s also important to consider the impact of such baseless and incendiary rhetoric on British Jewry.
British director Ken Loach denied that his calls for a cultural boycott of Israel were hypocritical, saying that “every penny” from Israeli screenings of his films would go toward the anti-Israel boycott movement, with his producer asserting that the Israeli deal was made mistakenly.
“We will guarantee that every penny from the sale of I, Daniel Blake that comes to Sixteen Films or the sales company from the Israeli distributors will go to grassroots Palestinian organisations fighting oppression, after consultation with the BDS movement,” Loach wrote in a letter to The Guardian Tuesday, along with screenwriter Paul Laverty and his producer Rebecca O’Brien.
“We have always respected this appeal [for boycotts] and have encouraged other people working in the arts to do the same. We reject the allegation that any of us have exempted ourselves from the cultural boycott,” the trio added.
Former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters compared the Israeli government to Nazi Germany, saying Israel is “the worst regime in the world,” during an hour-long Q&A session over the weekend led by Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement leader Omar Barghouti.
Throughout the conversation, Waters made several bombastic statements.
“I think that artists who say that they can somehow improve the situation by going and playing in Israel and having conversations with Israeli artists are wrong,” said Waters.
“I’ll tell you why I think they’re wrong, and that is because there are many, many Israeli Jews who are part of the BDS movement … and any of those people will say, ‘No, I don’t want to sit around a campfire with you, what I want you to do is not cross the picket line.’”
Waters added that it was impossible to hold a conversation with “a population that have largely been under a state of living in propaganda 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all their lives since they were born.”
As the Jerusalem Post noted, Waters never bothered explaining how it is that the Israelis he considers are worthy of talking – i.e. those who support the BDS movement – had successfully escaped the “propaganda.”
The American Civil Liberties Union has called on US senators to oppose a measure targeting boycotts of Israel and its settlements.
The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, introduced in March by Democratic Senator Ben Cardin and Republican Senator Rob Portman would expand 1970s-era laws that make illegal compliance with boycotts of Israel sponsored by governments — laws inspired at the time by the Arab League boycott of Israel — to include boycotts backed by international organizations. Those adhering to boycotts would be the subject of fines.
While the measure is aimed at the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, it also targets efforts by the United Nations and the European Union to distinguish products manufactured in Israel from those manufactured in West Bank settlements.
In a letter Monday, the ACLU urged senators not to co-sponsor the measure and to oppose its passage.
“We take no position for or against the effort to boycott Israel or any foreign country, for that matter,” wrote Faiz Shakir, ACLU’s national political director. “However, we do assert that the government cannot, consistent with the First Amendment, punish US persons based solely on their expressed political beliefs.”
More than 70 years after the Holocaust, the European Union has been involved in demonizing and delegitimizing the Jewish State through actions inimical to Israel’s existence. They include indirect funding of terrorist activities, refusals to examine this misdirection of funds, assistance to build illegal Palestinian communities within Israel’s boundaries, and criticism of Israel’s attitudes towards Palestinians as “ethnic cleansing.” These EU activities have gone on for the past 25 years, and represent a persistent undermining of the Jewish State under the guise of European humanitarianism.
Since the beginning of the Oslo process in 1992, the EU has backed the Palestinian Authority, becoming one of its main financial supporters. Since 1993, the EU and its member states have given over four billion euros to the PA and a variety of Palestinian NGOs. Ostensibly, these funds were meant to develop democratic institutions as well as promote education and prosperity among Palestinians. In actual practice, a substantial portion of the European funding has fueled corruption and terrorism.
In 2004, Ilka Schroeder, an EU member of parliament representing the German Green party, called for an investigation of this EU-funding. She accused the governmental body of “winking approval of terrorist attacks” by “financing a murderous anti-Semitic terrorist war against Israel.” Further, she proclaimed, “It is a well known fact that the EU-funding for the Palestinian Authority was channeled to a black budget.”
As part of her investigation, Schroeder uncovered evidence that PA terrorist leader, Yasser Arafat, had personally signed checks to people linked to terrorist activity. Ultimately, the EU declined her request for a full inquiry and for an accounting and recovery of misappropriated funds.
Ireland’s president met with Omar Barghouti, the co-founder of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a move Israel denounced.
Michael Higgins shook Barghouti’s hand and warmly acknowledged him at a conference of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the largest civil society organization on the island of Ireland with 80,000 members.
“You give a great example of your internationalism by organizing fringe events and by inviting Omar Barghouti who will speak on the challenge ahead for Palestine,” Higgins said during a July 4 speech at the organization’s biennial conference, which take place in Belfast.
The conference delegates endorsed the BDS movement.
Speaking at the conference, Barghouti sought support for his calls for a boycott of Israel. BDS targets “complicity” in Israeli crimes, “not ethnicity,” he said.
In response to a report in Israel Hayom Tuesday that the prestigious Festival D’Avignon in France plans to feature a play about the terrorist who killed four Jews at a school in Toulouse and three French paratroopers in 2012, Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev has appealed to French Culture Minister Francoise Nyssen to discontinue funding for the play and prevent it from being performed at Avignon or any other theater festival.
“The time has come for us, ministers in democratic countries, to join hands to put a stop to artistic activity that supports terrorism and glorifies terrorism, even when it uses the excuse of freedom of expression,” Regev wrote to Nyssen.
The play, titled “Me, the Death I Love As You Love Life,” portrays the final hours of the life of terrorist Mohamed Merah, who carried out three separate attacks over one week in March 2012, the last of them a shooting rampage at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse, where he killed schoolteacher Rabbi Yonatan Sandler and his sons Gavriel, 3, and Aryeh, 6, and 8-year-old Miriam Monsonego.
A 34-year-old white supremacist was arrested Friday on suspicion of putting an anti-Israel sticker on the door of a Colorado Springs synagogue in June, the Anti-Defamation League said in a news release.
William Scott Planer faces misdemeanor charges for placing the “FIGHT TERROR, NUKE ISRAEL” sticker on the door of Chabad Lubavitch of Southern Colorado’s center in June, the release said.
Planer was arrested on suspicion of bias-motivated crimes, Colorado Springs police said Tuesday without elaborating.
“Originally from Sacramento, Planer has been on the ADL’s Center on Extremism’s radar for a number of years,” the ADL said. “He is associated with at least two known white supremacist groups … “
Related: Notable Christians who’ve had a change of heart on LGBT issues
Since the incident, community members have sent emails and cards and stopped by the center to show their support, Rabbi Moshe Liberow said Monday. The sticker was “an act of cowardice,” he said, but it has made their community stronger.
Britain’s Prince William and his wife, Kate, visited the former Nazi concentration camp of Stutthof in Poland on Tuesday, where they heard the personal accounts of Holocaust survivors.
The royal couple received a guided tour of the camp by two of its survivors, Manfred Goldberg and Zigi Shipper, both 87, from north London. The royals were shown discarded shoes, clothing and other personal items that were seized from prisoners on arrival at Stutthof.
They were also shown the gas chamber where those too sick to work were killed.
The couple paid their respects to the victims by placing remembrance stones at the Jewish memorial at the camp.
Writing in the museum’s guest book, the couple reflected on the profound emotions evoked by the site.
“We were intensely moved by our visit to Stutthof, which has been the scene of so much terrible pain, suffering and death,” they wrote.
“This shattering visit has reminded us of the horrendous murder of 6 million Jews, drawn from across the whole of Europe, who died in the abominable Holocaust. It is, too, a terrible reminder of the cost of war. And the fact that Poland alone lost millions of its people, who were the victims of a most brutal occupation. All of us have an overwhelming responsibility to make sure that we learn the lessons and that the horror of what happened is never forgotten and never repeated.”
A sister-in-law of a victim in the 2015 Paris supermarket terrorist attack has immigrated to Israel, fleeing a sense of insecurity living as an Orthodox Jew in France.
Eva Saban was one of 150 French Jews who arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday evening aboard a flight sponsored by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.
“We have been wanting to make aliya for a while, but after the terror attack at the Hyper Cacher we were left with no doubts. We are living in fear,” Saban said.
Her brother-in-law Philippe Braham was one of four people killed after being taken hostage in the kosher supermarket, shortly after the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack.
“Our children go to an Orthodox school, and as they leave the building they remove the kippa from their head,” she said. “We no longer are sure of what we would like to do next, but we are confident that this is the right move for our children, and we pray to God it will all work out.”
The Israeli television series Fauda—which, thanks to Netflix, has become an international hit—depicts an IDF counterterrorism unit and its duel with a Hamas mastermind in the West Bank. Reviewing the show, which takes its name from the Arabic word for “chaos,” A.E. Smith writes:
In a number of key respects, Fauda gets the reality of life inside counterterrorism agencies, probably helped by the fact that its creators . . . both served in the IDF’s Duvdevan special-operations unit. For if the series has a prevailing theme, it is disguise, deception, and the manner in which operators . . . lose themselves within their own dissimulations. Daily proximity to the adversary brings an unparalleled level of intimacy, and often the two sides come to identify with each other in unexpected ways.
Members of [the] team slip in and out of their identities as Palestinian Arabs, quite literally as easily as they change clothes. When [one] arrives at the wedding [where the Hamas operative is to be found], he transforms into an Arab before our eyes. His look, his movements, the genuine joy he seems to be feeling at being part of the celebration—he seems to have become what he is pretending to be.
The risk here—for [Fauda’s characters], for cops and intelligence officers, even for terrorists—is that such sustained intimacy becomes normal. The job and the adversary become more real, more meaningful, than husbands, wives, children, lovers.
Some 7,000 Jewish athletes from 80 countries prepared to head back to their home countries this week following the 20th Maccabiah Games, a two-week event that is being praised for helping create “positive connections” to Israel.
The Jewish athletes from overseas had arrived in Israel in early July, joining 2,500 Israeli contestants in the world’s third-largest sporting event, which convenes every four years and is often dubbed the “Jewish Olympics.” This year’s games, hosted in Jerusalem, had the added significance of coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Israel’s capital city.
Tamir Goodman, a former Maccabiah athlete who gained fame during his high school basketball career in 1999, when Sports Illustrated magazine nicknamed him the “Jewish Jordan,” told JNS.org, “The 2017 games were all-around great — great for the athletes, great for Israel and great for the thousands of fans who got to watch and cheer on the teams.”
Contestants competed in 43 different sports at complexes throughout Israel. Soccer was the largest competition, with more than 1,400 athletes from 20 countries participating. In addition to the athletes, as many as 20,000 international visitors attended the games, injecting around $100 million into Israel’s economy.
“Most of the federations who sent athletes to Israel took the competition very seriously,” Ilan Kowalsky, head of the Sports Department at Israel’s Interdisciplinary Center research college in Herzliya and a basketball coach, told JNS.org. “They did not send third-[division] or fourth-division athletes. Only the top swimmers, basketball players and lacrosse players came to compete.”
The Google search “Benjamin Netanyahu” yields 16,100,000 results – but “Gal Gadot” yields 20,700,000. When a country’s newest leading lady produces three million more Google hits than the prime minister, an interesting question arises: at this moment in time, which Israeli means more to the world at large, and what are the benefits of Gal Gadot’s international exposure?
Since Wonder Woman was released on May 15, it has grossed $747 million worldwide, making it one of 2017’s biggest hits. Subsequently, as the film’s lead, Gadot has been a smash hit as well. While already reasonably well known for her roles in the Fast & Furious franchise and Keeping Up with the Joneses, Wonder Woman has propelled Gadot to A-list fame.
It’s no secret that Israel has an image problem. Gadot’s newfound celebrity is possibly the best international publicity for the Jewish state in years, and is a perfect example of soft power. A term coined by Harvard University’s Joseph Nye, soft power is “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion.” It is the capacity of a state to shape others’ long-term attitudes and preferences in its favor: essentially, a diplomatic reputation adjustment.
Soft power can sit entirely separately from politics, and often takes the form of cultural exports. An Israeli as Hollywood’s new darling is pure gold in the currency of soft power. Right now, Gadot has the capability to give Israel a better name in a world that ignores its many nuances, preferring to focus only on its failures.
We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.