JPost Editorial: Beyond partisanship
While in New York, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the presidential candidates of both major parties.
To his credit, Netanyahu managed to maintain a statesmanlike neutrality that reflects America’s broad, non-partisan support for Israel. The prime minister was less successful at doing this in the previous presidential elections, during which he was perceived as favoring Mitt Romney over Barack Obama.
In the months that remain until the November presidential election, Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders should strive to maintain their neutrality. The ties between Israel and the US are too strong and profound to turn support for Israel into a partisan issue.
Israel is an American ally in the most profound meaning of the word, and this should be reflected in our diplomacy.
Regardless of which party receives a mandate from the American people to enter the White House, relations with the US will remain strong. That is apparent from the statements made by both candidates, but it is also self-evident from the very nature of the alliance between the US and Israel. In every significant way Israel and America are allies.
Ideologically speaking, Israel shares America’s values.
Shmuley Boteach: Good times come as Israel omitted from the US debate
My, how four years change things. In Obama-Romney in 2012 Israel was a big and serious issue. It came up in the debates. Romney traveled to Israel. Netanyahu was accused of choosing sides.
Four years later, tonight in the Clinton-Trump showdown, Bibi merited a tiny mention in the closing moments of the debate when Trump said he had met with the Prime Minister the day before “and he’s not a happy camper.” He said it in relation to President Obama’s Iran Nuclear Agreement, which legitimized the Mullahs as a nuclear power and will give them $150 billion by which to sew terror mayhem throughout the world.
Hillary Clinton brags about being the original architect of the deal and she strongly defended it in the debate.
Aside from that, Israel was not mentioned at all.
Which is not to say that the Middle East did not come up. It came up plenty. It is to say that, believe it or not, Israel is seen, I assume, by both political candidates as an island of stability in an otherwise horrible region. So why even talk about it? I remember a saying attributed to Golda Meir which said something to the effect that good times would come to Israel when it appears in the media as much as Switzerland.
In an in-depth interview, the Israeli prime minister discusses a range of topics. These include his economic reforms as finance minister in the early 2000s and what can be done to remove further impediments to growth, Israel’s relationship with Russia, what’s special about his country’s alliance with the U.S., and even his thoughts about divine providence.
Benjamin Netanyahu Receives Hudson’s Herman Kahn Award
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are strong supporters of Israel and that in terms of relations with the US, “it doesn’t matter which one is elected.”
The comments at the cabinet meeting, during which Netanyahu also trumpeted boosted ties with Africa at the UN, came hours after the two White House contenders wrapped up a bruising televised debate and two days after the prime minister separately met both candidates while in New York.
Netanyahu said that in those meetings both Clinton and Trump had expressed overwhelming backing for Israel.
“They both spoke about their support for Israel and the importance of relations between our countries,” Netanyahu said. “It doesn’t matter which of them will be elected, US support of Israel will remain strong, our pact will remain strong and will even get stronger in the coming years.”
Netanyahu met with both Clinton and Trump on Sunday in meetings designed to put Israel on good footing with the next US president. Almost identical statements from the prime minster’s office said that he discussed “issues relating to advancing peace and stability in the Middle East” with Clinton and “issues relating to Israel’s security and its efforts to achieve stability and peace in the Middle East” with Trump.
A new study argues that the large majority of American Jews have a deep-seated notion that being Jewish is inextricably bound to being liberal.
That idea took hold after the large waves of Jewish immigration to the US in the late 19th century, according to the study’s author, American history professor Gil Troy.
American Jewish liberalism and association with the Democratic party is showing no signs of abatement, despite many predictions to the contrary since Ronald Reagan’s presidency, according to Troy’s research, which is being published by the Ruderman Family Foundation’s Program for American Jewish Studies at the University of Haifa.
In particular, Troy notes that president Franklin Roosevelt, author of the New Deal program of social initiatives and policies, became a hero for American Jews who benefited from these measures and drew them even further toward the Democratic Party.
Yossi Tzur, who lost his son, Assaf, in a terror bus bombing, has unpleasant memories from his meeting with Hillary Clinton. He shared them with his Facebook friends Tuesday morning.
“On 2004, I went with a delegation of families of terror victims to the US, we talked to decision makers, in Congress, Senate and others, the time was when the debate over Israel right for a security fence was at its peak. Israel was taken to the international court in the Hague over the fence. Talking about the need for a fence was very important to us.
“We were welcomed with warmth, with empathy, all heard us and gave us their attention, well, almost everybody.”
Tzur went on to describe the delegation’s meeting with Rudy Giuliani. “You could feel the warmth of the man, his humanity, his care,” he wrote. “You could see tears in his eyes when he told the stories. The meeting was scheduled for an hour, it took almost two hours and then he stood with us patiently taking photos with each and every one.”
From New York, the delegation went to Washington for a series of meetings, one of them was in the Senate with NY Senator Hilary Clinton. Tzur recalled that “we arrived at her office in the Senate and were shown into a small meeting room, it could hardly fit all of us, it was dark, crowded, it didn’t even had water on the table. So we waited.
“Time went by, 15 minutes, 30, an hour. Her aids were embarrassed saying she is coming any minute now. After an hour and a half Clinton arrived.
“She looked as us seeing the group in the room, we could see she is not really there with us, we felt she was impatient and just looking to finish it and go. We felt really uncomfortable… Even before we could speak she said, you probably want a photo, come let’s go out, leading us to the stairs. There she asked us to stand on the stairs and one of her aides took the photo. We still wanted to talk to her, people came ready to tell her their story, she didn’t intend to hear, it looked she didn’t want to hear. With inhuman coldness she went out amongst us all and disappeared in one of the corridors leaving us shocked and disappointed.”
Michael Lumish: This week on NOTHING LEFT (Sept 27, 2016)
3 min Editorial: Tim Costello (World Vision Australia) and Hadassah Hospital
13 min Ian Fayman, candidate for Glen Eira Council
21 min Geoff Bloch, on Section 18C
41 min David Bedein, on Palestinian textbooks
1 hr 04 min Norman Rosenbaum, brother of murdered Yankel in New York
1 hr 41 min Isi Leibler, Jerusalem
Anyone involved with organized pro-Israel politics has likely gotten caught up in heated discussions over how to set a narrative and get activists to stick with it during the course of a campaign. Themes, messaging calendars and lists of talking points are several of the devices that have been proposed, and sometimes implemented, to get our side to settle on and consistently tell the same story.
This desire to control a narrative is the perfectly reasonable response to the fact that our opponents, while devious and deceitful, are also quite disciplined with regard to staying on message. The false or truncated information they produce might vary from campaign to campaign, and their message might be fine-tuned to play on the vulnerabilities of a particular audience. But their central “Israel = Apartheid” message stays consistent, speaker after speaker, article after article, event after event.
For a variety of institutional and cultural reasons, our side struggles to maintain similar message discipline. The organizational structure of the Jewish community leads to many independent groups creating their own strategies — including messaging strategies — which they prefer to “sell” to other groups, rather than abandon their own creation to pick up someone else’s theme.
The fight against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement was one of the hottest topics at the National Israeli-American Council Conference in Washington, DC this weekend.
Oded Revivi, the mayor of Efrat and the chief foreign envoy of the Yesha Council — the umbrella organization of municipal councils of Jewish communities in the West Bank — told The Algemeiner on the sidelines of the conference on Sunday that the main victims of BDS are actually the Palestinians themselves.
The BDS movement, Revivi emphasized, “does not serve the interests of private Palestinian individuals. It has an agenda that is remote from the needs of the Palestinian people and it jeopardizes the potential of reaching a peace agreement.”
“If we have a factory that employs Palestinian workers and it is threatened with being shut down due to BDS, it is Palestinians who will lose their jobs,” he said.
While the economic impact of BDS has been limited thus far, Revivi noted, the threat must not be underestimated.
An anti-Israel group at San Diego State University (SDSU) will host a lecture on Thursday by an infamous Israeli activist whose use of antisemitic rhetoric on social media recently sparked a major controversy.
SDSU’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has invited Miko Peled — who referred to Jews as “sleazy thieves” — to participate in “Palestine 101,” an event that, according to its Facebook page, “will give an introduction to and history of the Israeli Occupation of Palestine.”
Writing in the SDSU student newspaper, The Daily Aztec, campus activist Anthony Berteaux expressed outrage. SJP’s invitation, he wrote, “suggests [it] accept[s] and condone[s] [Peled’s] antisemitism and that his rhetoric is something to be accepted.”
“We are capable of having difficult, nuanced conversations about the conflict between Israel and Palestine without having to resort to antisemitic rhetoric,” Berteaux wrote, calling on “silent” campus activists to “speak up” against Peled’s planned appearance on campus.
Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is calling on the National Theatre of Norway to denounce a video falsely produced on its behalf by Norwegian actors calling for a boycott of its Israeli counterpart.
“Hypocritically hiding behind the guise of freedom of speech, Norwegian actors have produced a video — using official funding — in which a fake spokesperson for the National Theatre of Norway disgracefully calls for a boycott of Israel’s national theater, HaBima, and the entire state of Israel,” a Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement said.
The video, published online and transcribed in a Sept. 20 article in the Norwegian weekly, Morgenbladet, dramatized an “apology” from the Norwegian National Theatre for cooperating with HaBima on a project called, “Terrorisms.” The actress/spokesperson claimed the theater was unaware of the “powerful role HaBima and other Israeli art institutions play in normalizing the Israeli occupation.”
The actress also apologizes on behalf of the theater for being ignorant of the “colonial conflict based on ethnic cleansing, racism, occupation and apartheid.”
The MFA said the “disinformation clip is reminiscent of the works of the Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, or the Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl.”
Yesterday I caught Lally Cadeau’s final performance as Rose in Rose, the one-woman play written by American-British playwright Martin Sherman, and first produced in 1999 (and starred Olympia Dukakis). The Toronto show was mounted by the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company, part of its 10th anniversary line up.
Going in, the only thing I knew about the play was that it was about an elderly Holocaust survivor named Rose, and that Cadeau, who was playing the role for the second time, received rave reviews for her performance.
What I didn’t know (spoiler alert) was the play’s end game: to depict the state of Israel in the worst possible light; to smear it as a place where Jews, formerly the victims of Nazis, had now become the victimizers of Palestinians, who had assumed the mantle of victimhood from Jewry; to portray Israel as a land of brutes and hot heads who had turned it into a land of spoiled milk and rancid honey and who, even worse, had no legitimate claim to the land. (In one of the play’s most egregious lines, Rose speaks of “ancient Palestinians,” thereby implying that their connection to the land is every bit as venerable as the Jews’ when in fact it pretty much dates from Yasser Arafat’s arrival on the scene.)
It’s utter tommyrot, of course, the same old spurious, anti-Zionist talking points spewed by the likes of Max Blumenthal and Walt & Mearshimer. The problem is that they are being voiced by a lovable Bubbie named Rose who, prior to this, has endeared herself to the audience by telling them the story of her the shtetl in the Ukraine! the Warsaw ghetto! the voyage on the Exodus! a new life in America!– in all its harrowing, horrible and occasionally humorous details.
The UC Irvine chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) disrupted a showing of the Israeli film “Beneath the Helmet” by yelling obscenities, physically blocking students, and attempting to force their way into the room where the event was being held.
When asked for comment, SJP President Celine Qussiny expressed pride over how the organization peacefully physically intimidated the participating students. She also maintained there is nothing wrong with the situation escalated to the point where police had to escort fearful Jewish attendees. “I think it’s great! Including law enforcement increases the diversity of the people involved in this Middle East debate and ushers in fresh ideas and discussion.”
She also wanted to make very clear that the organization differentiates between the Zionists they target and the Jewish students. “We don’t accept anti-Semitism, but we are indeed anti-Zionists. If it was up to me I would eliminate all the Zionists from campus. Although Zionists are mostly Jews, so odds are if you’re a Jew there is a good chance you are a Zionist. We only rough-up these coupon herders because we want to end the Israeli occupation. Anyway, what was the question again?”
The September 24th edition of the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Today’ included an interview (from 01:46:26 here) in which presenter Sarah Montague discussed the question ‘are more black people now being shot by police in the US?’ with the Guardian’s Gary Younge.
At around 01:48:57 Younge made the following statement:
“…a black man’s life expectancy in DC is lower than a man’s life expectancy on the Gaza Strip…”
Montague interjected incredulously:
“Seriously? Sorry, but that is an…a startling statistic – if it’s true.”
Younge: “Absolutely. According to CIA figures about life expectancy in the Gaza Strip and the government figures on black life expectancy in DC, that was certainly true last time I looked.”
So was Montague’s scepticism justified?
CAMERA’s Israel office has prompted correction of a Los Angeles Times book review which inaccurately referred to the occupation of the Gaza Strip. The Sept. 2 review had stated: “In many circles, you’re more likely to hear about Israel’s settlements, intransigence and its nearly 50-year-long occupation of the West Bank and Gaza than you are about its pluck or ingenuity.” (Emphasis added.)
Earlier this month CAMERA contacted a Times editor, noting that the passage wrongly implies that the Gaza Strip is still under occupation. Israel completely withdrew in 2005, ending Israel’s 38-year-old occupation of the Gaza Strip.
CAMERA reminded The Times of its Feb. 4, 2011 correction on virtually the same topic. That correction, also prompted by CAMERA, stated:
“Decolonizing Architecture”: A review of the exhibition “Decolonizing Architectue” in the Feb. 2 Calendar section implied that Israel continues to occupy the Gaza Strip. In fact, Israeli forces pulled out of the area in 2005.
Regarding this month’s error, the editor promptly responded to CAMERA, noting that the United Nations and groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch regard the Gaza Strip as occupied, but agreed to run a clarification noting Israel’s disagreement with the definition.
Earlier this week we noted that a report titled “US approves record $38bn Israel military aid deal” which was published on the BBC News website’s US & Canada and Middle East pages on September 13th presented an inaccurate and misleading portrayal of Israeli construction. As was observed at the time:
The employment of phrases such as “Israeli settlement building,” “construction of Jewish settlements” and “construction of settlements” obviously leads BBC audiences to mistakenly believe that Israel is constructing new communities rather than – as is actually the case – building homes in existing towns and villages, most of which would under any reasonable scenario remain under Israeli control in the event of an agreement.
Following communication from BBC Watch, the version of the article currently available online has now been amended. The passage which previously stated “Pro-Palestinian groups criticised the deal, saying it rewards Israel despite the ongoing construction of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank” now reads as follows:
Pro-Palestinian groups criticised the deal, saying it rewards Israel despite the ongoing construction in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
A man dressed in a vintage military uniform emblazoned with a Nazi symbol and toting a “Tommy Gun” and a hand gun unleashed a flurry of bullets near a Houston shopping center on Monday morning, injuring nine people before he was shot dead by police.
The shooter was identified as attorney Nathan DeSai, FOX26 reported, citing multiple sources. Authorities, however, refused to officially confirm the man’s identity.
Officials said the gunman had 2,600 rounds of ammunition either on him or in his car and was carrying a .45 semi-automatic handgun and a .45 semi-automatic Thompson carbine. An “edged weapon still in its sheath” was also recovered from the shooter.
The man’s apartment was filled with historic and vintage military items “going back to the Civil War,” Houston Police Department Captain Dwayne Ready said during a Monday evening news conference.
Germany is on high alert after two bombs were detonated in the eastern city of Dresden last night.
One went off outside the entrance to a local mosque, the other outside a congress hall. In both cases police spoke of “hate crimes.” No-one was hurt in the blasts.
The explosion was triggered around 10pm last night and also hit a nearby international congress building.
Police have for long warned that neo-Nazis in Germany have been forming themselves into well armed paramilitary cells; the fear now is that this may be the precursor of more right wing terror to come.
“Although so far noone has claimed responsibility, we believe a xenophobic motive lies behind these crimes,” said Dresden police chief Horst Kretzschmar.
“We also see a connection to the Unification Day ceremonies due to take place this weekend” – the annivesary of East and West Germany becoming one state shortly after the fall of communism in 1989.
The Chinese government has been cracking down on the religious practices of a small Jewish community whose ancestors settled in a central Chinese city over 1,000 years ago, according to The New York Times.
Some 100 to 200 individuals in the town of Kaifeng — out of 1,000 total who claim Jewish ancestry — remain actively observant, and they have been targeted by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government campaign to squash non-licensed religions.
The government has shut down organizations that helped to rebuild the Jewish community, prohibited gatherings for Passover and other Jewish holidays, closed Hebrew and Judaism classes and removed Jewish historical signs and objects from public spaces.
“The whole policy is very tight now,” Guo Yan, 35, a tour guide who runs a small museum on Kaifeng’s Jewish past, told the Times. “China is sensitive about foreign activities and interference.”
No arrests have been made and the Jewish community can still gather in small groups to pray, but they are closely monitored by the government.
The approved state religions in Communist China are limited to Buddhism, Catholicism, Islam, Protestantism and Taoism.
A Holocaust survivor who participated in a revenge plot to poison former SS officers after World War II has died at the age of 91.
Lithuanian-born Joseph Harmatz lost most of his family in the Holocaust and became one of the “Avengers,” a group of 50 young men and women who sought to punish the perpetrators of the Final Solution. Several members began working undercover at a bakery that was a supplier for an American prisoner of war camp, Stalag 13 at Langwasser near Nuremberg, Germany. On April 13, 1946, Harmatz oversaw the coating of 3,000 loaves of bread with arsenic with the goal of killing 12,000 SS personnel.
Harmatz once told the Associated Press that the mission was, “Kill Germans. As many as possible.”
While many SS officers became sick, none died as a result of the poison, though a recently declassified US military report revealed that the amount of arsenic used should have been fatal.
Authorities in Nuremberg investigated, but decided not to press charges because of the extraordinary circumstances.
“We were gathered here, and sent along ‘the path to death’,” says Raisa Maistrenko, pointing to a Kiev ravine that 75 years ago witnessed one of the worst atrocities of World War II.
Maistrenko was only three when the Nazis helped by local collaborators slaughtered 34,000 Jews — mostly elderly, women and children — between September 29-30, 1941, as Hitler’s forces advanced toward Moscow on the eastern front.
Maistrenko is the Ukrainian capital’s last survivor of the 29 people who managed to escape execution, either by falling into the ravine before they were shot in the back, to lie on top of thousands of corpses and later flee, or wearing crosses to hide their true religion.
The 78-year-old’s 18 relatives never returned from Babi Yar — a site that unnervingly stands next to Kiev’s main TV tower and is rarely mentioned by modern locals.
– Go-cart in hand –
After entering Kiev, Nazi troops told the nearly 200,000 Jews who made up a quarter of the city’s population to pack up their documents, money and warm clothes and go to the ravine or face death.
“All the Jews decided to go because they thought they would be evacuated by train as the railway station was nearby. Nobody could possibly assume there would be a mass execution,” Maistrenko says in slow, hushed tones.
Her father had been drafted into the Soviet army and she lived with her mother in her grandparents’ apartment.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat held an impromptu meeting with Jonathan Pollard in New York on Monday.
Pollard and his wife Esther were sitting at an outdoor cafe in Manhattan, near a venue where Barkat was to appear at a fundraising event. The mayor’s office said in a statement that he “bumped into” the released spy.
Barkat stopped to chat, then took a gold Jerusalem pin from his lapel and gave it to Pollard, who had been awarded honorary citizenship in the capital city while he was in jail.
“Even though Jonathan is prohibited from coming to Jerusalem,” said Esther Pollard, “the eternal capital of the Jewish people can come to New York, or any other place in the world. We look forward to, and hope for, the day when we can come to Jerusalem and make it our true home.”
Three Israeli army officers set out on an adventure to Thailand in 2012 after completing their service in the Israel Defense Forces.
Nothing unusual here; an estimated 40,000 post-army Israelis go backpacking every year for extended periods to cheap and exotic destinations in Asia, Africa, or Latin America.
But these three had a new idea: to capitalize on the large number of Israeli travelers already in needy countries, in order to make a positive difference and show the world the compassionate face of former IDF soldiers, says Gili Cohen, now 29, cofounder of Fighters for Life (in Hebrew, Fighters without Borders).
Since its founding in 2013, FFL has been organizing annual volunteering missions for young Israeli backpackers heading to Gondar, Ethiopia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Mumbai, India.
Applicants accepted into the program begin preparing six months before departure. They meet with past FFL volunteers, do some volunteering in Israel, and devise an agenda for their two-week stay, usually including agriculture and construction projects as well as teaching English, math, music, and personal hygiene to children in orphanages or slums.
FFL returns to work with the same children the following year to assure continuity and a greater impact.
Donors, mostly from the South African Jewish community, underwrite the $12,000 bill for each mission. Costs are low because the 25 participants are flying on their own dime.
‘Don’t take these attacks for granted’
The recent resurge of violence, which has so far mainly been attempts to stab soldiers and police officers, is another reminder of the dangers Rachel and soldiers like her face every day. It reminds her of other things, too. Things many of us take for granted, like how fast we as a society move on or don’t give enough attention to incidents that fortunately end without casualties.
“Even as a soldier, when you hear about an attack, you obviously get stressed out and you make sure, first and foremost, that it’s not your friends (who were involved in the attack),” she says. “It’s hard to understand such a situation if you don’t experience it yourself. In our country, it’s easy to take it for granted, to say that ‘there were only (a few) injuries,’ or that someone ‘was only lightly wounded.’ But every incident like that changes someone’s entire world in a moment. We carry it with us for the rest of our lives, for good and for bad. But this is our job, we need to be prepared for it.”
How did your family react to this incident?
“My family was, of course, proud of me. But to me, there was more to this incident. The public always has a hard time accepting that women can be combat soldiers. To me, this is proof for all female combat soldiers. There are a lot of combat soldiers, (including) men, who would have run away in such a scenario, but us girls dealt with it. So who’s to say that we can’t?”
And what’s next?
“Today I’m finishing my time as a platoon sergeant. I’ll complete my three years of service soon, and be released (from the IDF). Then I plan to take the university entry exams, do the Israel Trail, and after that—only God knows.”
The Israeli Air Force completed a 16-day exercise in Greece this week that included a landing atop the 2,918-meter (nearly 10,000-feet) Mount Olympus, the fabled home of the Greek gods, the military said.
Israeli Blackhawk and Sikorsky CH-35 heavy transport helicopters — in Hebrew the Ya’sur and Yanshuf, respectively — along with a Beechcraft King Air B-200 light transport plane, known as the Tzofit in Israel, took part in the exercise, according to the air force.
The IAF craft flew some 200 sorties during the 16 days and nights in the Hellenic country, often alongside their Greek counterparts.
The drill put Israeli pilots in unfamiliar locations, performing landings at higher altitudes and in different conditions than they experience in Israel.
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