David Collier: Apologise for the Balfour Declaration? You are having a laugh
One of the ‘apologise for Balfour’ campaigns was launched by the Palestine Return Centre in the House of Lords. It was to give a platform to vile comments and would lead to the suspension and resignation of Baroness Jenny Tonge.
Another of these campaigns, ‘the Balfour Project’ held an event at Southwark Cathedral last weekend. This itself part of a worrying trend of anti-Israel events recently held in Christian places of worship in the UK. Reports from that event suggest the campaign is “yet another vehicle for the vilification of Israel.”
Israel exists. The Jewish home was eventually created (albeit in a circular route), and is without much argument, the most liberal nation in the entire region. So just what should the UK Government apologise for?
There has been endless commentary on anti-Zionist outlets. I have analysed several of the pieces on the Balfour apology. They all centre around several key points.
- To use Balfour to establish Israel as a settler colonial enterprise.
- To use the Balfour Declaration to suggest contradiction between Zionism and democracy.
- To demonise Israel by suggesting Israel exists because of the support of global ‘unsavoury’ elements.
- To suggest it was the antisemites of the UK, rather than the Jews, who sought to support Zionism.
A recent article by Ben White is a perfect example of this. White pushes all these elements in his argument. Ben White is a prolific writer and one of the leading lights of the Boycott Israel campaign (BDS) in the UK. Another example is a recent article penned by Robert Cohen, one of the speakers at the Balfour Project conference.
A common refrain of Western commentators writing about the Middle East is that its problems stem in part from the supposedly artificial borders drawn up by Mark Sykes and François Georges-Picot in the 1916 agreement that bears their names. However, David Siddhartha Patel explains, not only was the agreement never implemented, but the order that existed prior to 1914 was neither wholly imposed from without nor wholly artificial:
Europeans did not draw borders willy-nilly, without regard to local factors. Local actors and historical precedents played important roles in determining not only what borders were drawn but even which proposed states survived and which did not. The Sykes-Picot agreement, for example, awarded much of south-central Turkey . . . to the French zone of direct influence; these and later efforts to carve up Anatolia were stymied by [the Turkish ruler] Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Local actors and politics [also] heavily influenced the specific location of the Iraq-Syria border. . . .
Local precedents for seemingly “artificial” states also mattered more than analysts often recognize. For example, scholars have demonstrated the extent to which the modern state of Iraq had Ottoman administrative roots.
As has already been demonstrated the centenary year of the Balfour Declaration, which commenced last week, is set to be the focus of anti-Israel activity by various parties and that – together with events marking the centenary itself – will no doubt be accompanied by media coverage.PA Balfour Decl art
We have already reviewed the BBC’s portrayal of the Balfour Declaration and noted the corporation’s promotion of the notion that the Balfour Declaration conflicted with earlier pledges given by the British government in the Hussein-McMahon correspondence.
In order to help readers locate material relating to those topics easily, we have added a section to the menu bar above titled ‘Library‘ (top right) where relevant links and documents can be found and we will be adding additional resources such as those below to the page.
In his book titled ‘The Balfour Declaration’ published in 1961, Leonard Stein wrote the following in relation to the Hussein-McMahon correspondence.
Nechema Friedman says her parents often recalled how the months they spent in a detention camp in Cyprus after World War II nurtured their desire to plant roots in Palestine.
The 69-year-old returned to the east Mediterranean island on Wednesday along with dozens of fellow Israelis also born in Cyprus to mark the 70th anniversary of the camps where 52,000 Holocaust survivors were interned by the British.
Cyprus’ Defense Minister Christoforos Fokaides unveiled a memorial at a Cypriot Army camp that formerly housed a British military hospital where 800 Jewish infants were born after the war. Some 2,200 children in all were born to Jewish couples in the camps.
“People still brought children into this world, their hopes revived here on this ground,” Friedman said at the memorial created in the semi-circle shape of the corrugated iron hut that housed detainees.
Friedman’s parents, Moshe and Gita Weissler, were among the Holocaust survivors fleeing Europe on 39 crammed, rickety boats who were interned in a dozen camps on Cyprus while trying to reach [British Mandate] Palestine. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
French investigators have long suspected that the Paris attacks, in which teams of jihadists killed 130 people, were coordinated by one or several people from Syria, but have never named anyone before.
“He’s the only coordinator from Syria to have been identified during the investigations,” one of the sources told AFP.
Investigators in Belgium and France were long unsure as to who was the person behind Abou Amahad, a nom de guerre long linked to the terror attacks in Paris and in Brussels on March 22, in which 32 died.
‘It was awful. There was just blood. It was like the apocalypse’: How the Brussels attacks unfolded Play! 01:57
According to Le Monde, he was identified from a strip of several photograph as Oussama Atar by Adel Haddadi, one of the Syria-based terror suspects he had sent to Europe to commit atrocities but who failed to reach Paris in time for the November attacks.
Atar’s name had already been mentioned in the Belgian press in August as a potential “mastermind” of the Brussels bombings with no further details. Now a “certain consensus” exists that he coordinated the attacks in both capitals remotely from Syria.
Le Monde said that he had lone been based in Raqqa, Isil’s de-facto capital in Syria, where a US-backed Kurdish alliance has just launched a campaign to try and retake the city from the jihadists.(h/t UR)
The directors of the Bataclan concert hall thought long and hard about ever opening its doors again after jihadist gunmen massacred 90 people there during last year’s Paris attacks.
With the British star Sting set to reopen the refurbished venue Saturday, co-director Jules Frutos told AFP that they had had their doubts and “for some time it was difficult”.
“But then, after a few weeks it was clear. We had to go on after such horror and not leave a mausoleum, a tomb,” said Frutos.
“One night of tragedy” should not be allowed to wipe out decades of great musical memories, he insisted.
“We owed it to ourselves to rebuild everything. It was obvious that it had to be rebuilt identically,” added Frutos, who has managed the venue with his business partner Olivier Poubelle since 2004.
“It’s important we didn’t change it as a venue, its past — that’s why people loved it. One night of tragedy mustn’t overshadow decades of parties and music,” he said.
Legendary Israeli spy Rafi Eitan, the man who caught the architect of the Holocaust Adolf Eichmann, has told Europe to stop immigration.
The former officer of the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, is well known in Israel and abroad after 56 years ago capturing notorious war criminal Eichmann. At the invite of the populist Freedom Party (FPÖ) Mr. Eitan told an audience in Austria that Europe must “lock [her] borders”, reports Austria’s Kronen Zeitung.
When asked his opinion on the security situation of Central Europe in the wake of the migrant crisis over the last year, Mr. Eitan stated: “The Muslim world is markedly different from Western culture,” adding: “When there are Muslims, now, in every European country, we must expect violence and terror.”
The former spy also warned that there were many extremists now living in Austria and Europe that will “make a Muslim country out of Germany or Austria”.
When asked what he thought the solution to the current migrant crisis was, Eitan gave a clear response: “Three points of advice: First, stop immigration, set your limits, and secondly, give money for incentives , so that the refugees go back to Syria or to Iraq. Thirdly, do not let them have any spare time.”
Dutch Jews warned against political abuse of the Holocaust’s memory following an Amsterdam synagogue’s controversial decision to host a commemoration that was organized by an anti-Israel group.
The Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, issued a statement condemning this perceived abuse on Wednesday, the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass” pogrom in 1938 against Austrian and German Jews that many Holocaust historians view as the opening shot in the Nazi-led campaign of violence against the Jews.
CIDI’s statement followed weeks of debate over the planned hosting on Nov. 9 at the Uilenburger Shul of a memorial organized by Platform Stop Racism and Exclusion, a far-left group that is shunned by local Jews for its members’ perceived animosity toward Israel and sympathy for Hamas.
“Abuse of the memorial event of this horrible night by political interest groups, be they left or right wing, is painful and objectionable,” CIDI wrote.
Termed “alternative,” the Uilenburger memorial ceremony will occur simultaneously with the main memorial event organized annually by the Central Jewish Board. This year, the event is to take place at the Portuguese Synagogue of Amsterdam and will feature an address by Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who usually does not speak at such a commemoration.
In the seemingly intractable conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, words are just as powerful weapons as rockets or knives. Words can kill, but they are also a casualty of the conflict.
You may remember Newspeak, the fictional language in George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, which was an altered form of regular English designed and controlled by the state in order to suppress free thought, individualism, and happiness. Newspeak intended not only to force the populace to conform their thoughts and ideologies towards those of the state, but to make it impossible to even conceive of any other point of view.
Reminiscent of Newspeak, the English language as applied to Israel and the Palestinians has been repeatedly bastardised and butchered beyond all recognition, and accepted by many people as “the truth”, without question or challenge.
So below we helpfully present a dictionary of terms that have been as misappropriated as the Jews’ history in Israel. For practice, we suggest you go to Kia Ora Gaza’s Facebook page with this dictionary in hand. In no time at all, you will be a card-carrying Newspeaker!
Apartheid. Colonise Fascism Flotilla Genocide Human rights activist Illegal
Occupation Oppression Peace activist Pro-Palestinian Refugee Refugee camp
Siege Stolen Terrorism Extra-judicial killing Zionist
A BDS-hole walks into a store and accosts the owner for the “crime” of supporting Israel.
But the owner won’t have any of it, leading to frustration by the BDS-hole and ultimately some overt racism.
And just to show you how out of touch these BDS-holes are, the video (with overt racism and all) was originally uploaded here by the BDS-holes themselves.
Bonus: they seem to have also boycotted the correct use of a camera.
Don’t ever think your vote doesn’t count.
Thanks to the algorithms of ranked choice voting, Cheryl Davila has won a seat on the Berkeley City Council by 34 votes.
Cheryl’s been a regular at local anti-Israel functions in the Bay area.
She recruits her campaign volunteers directly from UC Berkeley Students for Justice in Palestine
Her contributors read like a who’s who of anti-Israel activists. Hatem Bazian. Hassan and Margaret Fouda. JVP’s Andrew Gutierrez, Cindy Shamban and Glen Hauer. Barbara Lubin of the Middle East Children’s Alliance. Donald Wagner from Fiends of Sabeel. The entire Ezzeddine family. The Zayour family. Anti-Israel activists from as far away as Texas and New York have contributed to her campaign.
Cheryl Davila knows this support didn’t come cheap.Faced with the sky-rocketing cost of housing, homelessness, and parking shortages, the last thing Berkeley should need to worry about is establishing its own foreign policy. Nevertheless, expect her to introduce a Berkeley Divestment from Israel resolution into the City Council next year.
A national anti-Israel student organization is spending “much of its energy trying to deny its obvious bigotry,” the head of a Jewish rights-focused legal group told The Algemeiner, adding that it is “significant” the organization is now “increasingly on the defensive.”
Kenneth Marcus — president and general counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law and an international antisemitism expert — was responding to the sixth annual National Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) Conference, which aimed to mobilize and increase support for activity related to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on college campuses.
“SJP is increasingly stung by accusations of prejudice, especially in its support for the antisemitic BDS movement,” he said, referring to a pamphlet distributed at the conference — and obtained by The Algemeiner — claiming that the organization does not tolerate “any form of discrimination based on…national origin…citizenship.”
According to Marcus, the inclusion of such a statement — which is an example of a “weak” denial by SJP of its actions — is “not surprising,” considering that the group is “continually in the position of having to deny that it is engaged in hate activity.”
Following correspondence with HonestReporting, Thomson Reuters Foundation has admitted to several factual errors and has amended its story. Those amendments include:
- Removing the erroneous statement that the Israeli water company Mekorot is responsible for supplying water to Palestinians in the West Bank. The story now correctly notes that the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee is responsible i.e. Palestinians also share the responsibility.
- Adding statements from both COGAT and the Israeli Foreign Ministry to the effect that Palestinians have refused to take part in water discussions.
- Adding details of a letter sent by COGAT to the international community calling for the renewal of cooperation and promotion of water projects.
While dubious Palestinian claims still remain in the story, the addition of Israeli counterpoints is a significant change for the better.
The Reuters republication of the original Thomson Reuters Foundation story has also been amended to reflect the corrections.
In addition, HonestReporting has contacted Haaretz requesting that it also update its version of the story on its own website.
Graffiti with Nazi imagery and the word “Trump” were discovered in Philadelphia on the same day that Donald Trump won the presidential election.
The graffiti was spotted Wednesday on a South Philadelphia storefront, Philly.com reported. Police are investigating.
One image included the worlds “Sieg Heil 2016,” a reference to the German Nazi greeting. Another showed the word “Trump” with the T replaced with a swastika.
There were additional reports of similar images as well as other racist graffiti in South Philadelphia, according to Philly.com.
Mayor Jim Kenney condemned the graffiti. “The acts of political and racial vandalism that occurred this morning in South Philadelphia must be condemned in the strongest possible terms,” he said.
The Anti-Defamation League also denounced the “hate graffiti.”
A former Rutgers student was found guilty last week of committing a spate of terrorist attacks on New Jersey synagogues, NorthJersey.com reported.
According to the report, Aakash Dalal, 24, was convicted of 17 out of 20 counts — including bias intimidation, criminal mischief, aggravated arson and conspiracy to commit aggravated arson — in the indictment, for his masterminding of the attacks, which he carried out with the help of his classmate, Anthony Graziano, between December 2011 and January 2012. Graziano was convicted in May.
Dalal, who had been awaiting trial since his March 2012 arrest, vandalized and set fire to Jewish institutions in Maywood, Rutherford, Paramus and Hackensack.
In one 2011 attack, Dalal and Graziano spray-painted antisemitic messages on two synagogues, including a swastika and “Jews did 9/11.” In 2012, the pair attempted to torch the Temple K’hal Adith Jeshurun in Paramus, and Dalal firebombed Temple Beth El in Rutherford.
At Dalal’s trial, the rabbi of Beth El testified that he awoke at around 4:00 a.m. to find his bed, carpet and window on fire. His wife at the time, five children, mother and father-in-law were asleep in the house, which is located next to the synagogue.
Israel Day, on Thursday November 10, organized by the America-Israel Friendship League (AIFL), aims to mark Israel’s advancements and underline its disproportionate prominence on Wall Street.
Companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange now make Israel the largest foreign presence outside of China and Canada.
After an NYSE bell ringing ceremony two panels will be held. One, on the empowering of Israeli women, will feature women entrepreneurs including Tzameret Fuerst, entrepreneur and co-founder of Circ MedTech, and Karen Haruvi of Teva Pharmaceuticals, Ltd.
The second, organized by BlueStar Indexes, a financial firm specializing in Israeli capital markets, will focus on capital market and investment trends for Israeli publicly listed companies.
British soccer team Liverpool Football Club, one of the most prestigious teams in the world, has suggested that Israel sign a sponsorship package which will see an Israeli logo featured on giant billboards in the stadium of Anfield as well as on the sleeves of the shirts worn by the players.
The club’s business development manager met on Monday with Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin where he made the suggestion.
The meeting took place during the World Travel Market (WTM) fair in London, where Levin and Israeli Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev opened the Israeli booth.
A club representative noted that the initiative and desire to work with Israel stems from the club’s owners, two of whom are Jewish. According to the representative, the sponsorship with significantly generate further tourism to Israel of the club can greatly assist tourism in Israel. In addition to the Israeli logo appearing on the sports kit and in the home stadium, recently renovated at the cost of 130 million pounds, it will also feature on the club’s active social media pages. Players will also be brought to visit the country.
Liverpool is considered one of the best teams in Israel with three of its past stars hailing from Israel—Avi Cohen, Ronny Rosenthal, nicknamed “Rocket Ronny” and Yossi Benayoun.
Corporate giants Microsoft Ventures, a unit of China’s HNA, India’s Tata, GE Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures will join forces with Tel Aviv University and Israel’s Pitango Venture Capital to set up a new $20 million fund to invest in Israeli startups that are developing Internet of Things (IOT) technologies, the university said.
The new consortium will be called Israel IoT Innovations – i3 Equity Partners (“i3”). It was set up by the five corporations together with Pitango and the Tel Aviv University, via its RAMOT technology transfer company. The aim is to invest in early-stage Israeli ventures and help them develop into entities playing in the global arena, the statement said.
Tapping into the know-how of the Israeli tech industry will also help the consortium members grow their business in IoT, which is already penetrating and changing many areas of human life, according to the statement.
The new initiative “will be the first stop for IoT-related startups looking to access the main global players in the IoT space,” said i3 managing partner Noga Kap. “With our unique and proprietary network we will look for entrepreneurs who are adapting to changing markets in the IoT domain, and creating products that matter. Leveraging our partners’ strategic experience and extensive IoT industry connections, we will provide our portfolio companies with the resources they need to build great businesses.”
Eric Greitens, a former Navy SEAL whose military awards include the Bronze Star, has become the first Jewish governor of Missouri.
Greitens, a Republican, defeated Democrat Chris Koster with 51 percent of the vote on Tuesday to 45 percent for the state’s attorney general.
“Tonight, we did more than win an election; we restored power to the people and we took our state back!” Greitens told supporters at a hotel in Chesterfield, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Greitens, 42, grew up in the Maryland Heights suburb of St. Louis and attended the town’s Reform synagogue. He attended Duke University, where he become a Rhodes scholar.
An all-Arab unit in the Israeli army is the subject of a controversial new documentary by BBC Arabic, titled “Israel’s Arab Warriors.”
The documentary followed recruits in the Gadsar unit for six months, highlighting the soldiers’ patriotic attitude toward the Jewish state against all the odds.
“I consider myself an Arab and a Muslim but I also consider myself part of this country,” one soldier, Mahmud Kashua, told the BBC.
“It’s our state and we have to give back, to help as much as we can to the state which protects us.”
Although Arabs make up 20% of Israel’s population, less than 1% of them serve in the army. Today, however, there are ten times the number of Arabs serving in the IDF than there were three years ago.
The head of the IDF’s Minorities Unit, Israeli-Arab Col. Wajdi Sarhan, said he hopes that those numbers would double in 2017. The Gadsar unit has some 500 Israeli-Arab soldiers.
“Our mission is to enlist as many as we can,” he said.
“We are doing our utmost to integrate minorities into the army to maintain the status quo demographically. Serving in the army is a great platform to connect the Muslim community to the state.”
Mahmud Kashua’s father, Jamil Kashua, is supportive of his son’s decision to serve in the IDF.
Israel’s Arab Warriors – Trailer
When was the last time you LAUGHED about Israel, instead of feeling sad, anguished, disheartened, worried, disenchanted, uncomfortable, ashamed or angry?
The fact is, a steady diet of conflict-driven news warps perceptions of the real Israel. How do I know? When I read the foreign media – including the Jewish papers, I don’t recognize the contours of the country I’ve called home for almost 50 years. OK, in part this is because I’m an odd news junkie, exposed to the wildest and wackiest news stories that ‘hide’ in the Hebrew press. Israel is an outrageously amusing and lively place to live, yet outsiders haven’t a clue about the humorous side of what goes for normalcy in Israel.
Israel has all the quirky elements with which humanity as a whole is blessed …and then some, the fodder for columns such as News of the Weird and best selling books like The Darwin Reports. Reuters’ Oddly Enough reported how a British woman named Brenda Eccles had her deceased husband’s ashes made into an egg timer so he could ‘help’ in the kitchen? An equally eccentric Israeli petitioned Israel’s supreme court claiming the right to forego burial…to be eaten by wild animals when he died, to repay nature for a lifetime at the top of the food chain but few outside Israel are familiar with this tidbit. Israeli officials are no less silly than those abroad: City elders in Herzliya painted the asphalt of the main drag purple for a refreshing change – only to have the color fade in the Israeli sun; city hall in Binyamina resolved to erect a miniature Eiffel Tower to help French immigrants acculturate, but not before they installed singing traffic lights to calm impatient Israeli motorists.
Even in the worst of times, Israelis continue to do nutty and nervy life-embracing things.
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.