Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: We Cannot Accept Anything from Trump
Given that strong incitement against the Trump administration and its policies, as well as the continued boycott of White House officials, it is hard to see how Abbas or any other Palestinian would be able to accept anything that comes from the Americans.
This move is precisely parallel to the one they have taken with Israel. Abbas and his representatives in Ramallah have radicalized their people against the Israeli government to a point where meeting or doing business with any Israeli official is tantamount to treason. That is why Abbas does not and cannot return to the negotiating table with Israel and also why Abbas cannot change his position toward the Trump administration.
Rather than building state institutions and imposing reforms, democracy and accountability, the Palestinian Authority leadership is now focusing its energies on foiling the US peace plan. Apparently, this effort is more pressing than improving the living conditions of the Palestinians.
Wasel Abu Yousef, a senior Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official, summed up the current Palestinian strategy when he said this week that the Palestinians were moving on three levels to thwart Trump’s upcoming plan: rallying worldwide support for the Palestinian position against the plan, uniting all Palestinians, and opposing attempts to normalize relations between the Arab countries and Israel.
Were Palestinian leaders to impose a small portion of these efforts to bringing democracy, freedom and accountability to their people, the Palestinians would be further from the brink of disaster. But the two Palestinian governments — in the West Bank and Gaza Strip — are far from interested in doing something so positive for their own people. On the one hand, these regimes are still engaged in a struggle to the death over money and power; on the other, they agree on sabotaging a peace plan they know nothing about. A peace plan just might include something positive for the Palestinians — something else the Palestinian leaders know precious little about.
Caroline Glick: Even with Early Israeli Elections, the Left Will Lose
The left’s ideological radicalization became undeniable over the past summer. In July, the Knesset passed a new law called the Jewish Nation State Law. The law did nothing more than give quasi-constitutional weight to Israel’s national identity as the nation state of the Jewish people, and to its national symbols, including its national anthem and flag. It declared that Israel’s national language – Hebrew – is Israel’s national language. And so on and so forth.
Rather than shrug their shoulders and vote in favor of this uncontroversial piece of legislation, Israel’s political left had a collective apoplectic fit. They insisted that Israel’s national ethos and symbols were exclusionary and therefore passing the law was a racist act.
Their position was shocking because consistent survey data of the Israeli people have demonstrated that the public is nationalist, proud, and unapologetic. A mere eight percent of Israeli Jews identify as leftists. And yet, far-left and center-left parties spent several months competing to see who could condemn the law most vociferously and hysterically. In so doing, they effectively wrote the Likud’s political campaign in the next elections.
It isn’t clear that Netanyahu’s government will live out its days or whether Israel will go to early elections. Some commentators claim that the next elections will take place in late May, after Israel’s Independence Day.
But what the political dramas of the past several days made clear is that whenever Israel holds its next elections, their results will be unlikely to deliver a new government that is significantly different from the current one.
In a speech at Al-Quds Open University, Fatah Central Committee member and Fatah Commissioner Abbas Zaki urged new students to seek death for Jerusalem. Zaki shouted to the young people:
“Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! Cursed is anyone who doesn’t sacrifice for Jerusalem!”
Zaki continued: “What did [Arafat] say? He said: ‘Rise! The gates of Paradise have opened.’ He who asks for death – life will be given to him. Those who die [naturally] are the cowards. But real men approach death with a smile. Do not be afraid – death is in the hands of Allah. Rush toward death and life will be given to you!” [Official Facebook page of Abbas Zaki, Nov. 19, 2018]
This is a prime example of how the PA and Fatah poison the minds of Palestinian children and youth, teaching them to aspire to die for Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and “Palestine.” For two decades, Palestinian Media Watch has documented these messages from the Palestinian leadership to the Palestinian people. Zaki’s inciting speech shows that encouraging the young generation to seek death for “Palestine” is not merely a historical artifact from the period of the PA terror campaign (the second Intifada, 2000-2005), but rather an integral part of the Palestinian narrative, culture, and society today – and worse yet: an integral part of PA policy.
In a speech at Al-Quds University, a Fatah official urged new students to seek death for Jerusalem. This is a prime example of how the PA and Fatah poison the minds of Palestinian youth, teaching them to aspire to die for Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa.
For more: https://t.co/C9oM4izbIG pic.twitter.com/nrFW5AgyjZ
— Pal Media Watch (@palwatch) November 22, 2018
Judges at the International Criminal Court have ordered the court’s chief prosecutor to reopen for the third time her probe into the May 2010 flotilla incident, during which Israeli commandos killed 10 Turkish citizens aboard a naval vessel that was aiming to break the Gaza blockade.
Israel has reacted scornfully to the pre-trial chambers’s decision last week to require Fatou Bensouda to reconsider a case that she had repeatedly sought to close due to lack of gravity.
One official in Jerusalem said that the court was wasting its limited resources on a frivolous suit in a manner that reflected poorly on other outstanding cases, including an ongoing preliminary examination into alleged crimes committed by Israelis in the Palestinian territories.
“When this is the quality of the court’s decisions, and when its exploitation for political ends is so easily and repeatedly allowed, it is no wonder that so many are deeply concerned that the court has lost its way,” a senior Israeli official told The Times of Israel this week.
Thousands of pages, no end in sight
The Hague’s five-year engagement with the flotilla incident is a procedural saga of Kafkaesque proportions, with thousands of pages of legal arguments and counterarguments — not about the alleged crimes themselves but rather about who has jurisdiction to close and reopen probes — and no end in sight.
U.S. President Donald Trump has decided to postpone the long-awaited unveiling of his Middle East peace plan at least until February, the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds reported Wednesday, citing the recent political crisis in Israel as the reason.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “prefers no announcement of the plan whatsoever, especially now, amid the recent developments in the region and the political crisis in Israel,” an unnamed source told the newspaper, adding that Trump’s advisers have recommended he postpone unveiling the plan.
The political crisis, which followed a flare-up in violence along the Israel-Gaza border, was sparked by the surprise resignation of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman over the subsequent truce agreement between Israel and Hamas. His resignation nearly forced an early election, which was narrowly avoided at the last minute. The Israeli government is now operating with a precarious coalition of 61 MKs and could still potentially collapse.
The east Jerusalem-based newspaper reported that it was the Israeli Ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, who recommended that Trump shelve the plan for the time being, given the political pressures Netanyahu’s government now faces.
Dermer is one of the officials privy to all the details of the plan, which Trump has dubbed the “deal of the century,” the report said. As such, he has been working closely with senior White House adviser Jared Kushner and U.S. Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, as well as with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.
“The October 12 elections for seats on the UN Human Rights Council ushered in several new members with abysmal records on democracy and fundamental human rights.
According to Freedom in the World, Freedom House’s annual global analysis of political rights and civil liberties, the 46 new and returning council members include 22 countries rated Free, 10 Partly Free countries, and 14 that are considered Not Free. This mixture broadly resembles that at the global level, but the council has a somewhat smaller share of Partly Free countries and a thicker slice of Not Free countries than the world as a whole.
Indeed, the proportion of Not Free members, 30 percent, is the highest since the council was established to replace the UN Commission on Human Rights in 2006. Undemocratic regimes are represented in many multilateral institutions, but their strong presence on the Human Rights Council is in direct conflict with its mission.
It is deeply troubling that a body whose mandate is to advance human rights worldwide would count among its members Saudi Arabia, China, Egypt, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cuba, Bahrain, Eritrea, and Somalia. Some of these states are leading authoritarian regimes that have set out to eviscerate political opposition and crush all dissent at home while subverting democracy beyond their borders, including by taking aim at multilateral institutions. All eight feature systematic violations of fundamental rights whose perpetrators enjoy domestic impunity and far too little international accountability…”
The United States is considering adding Venezuela to its list of state sponsors of terrorism but no final decision has been made, a person familiar with the deliberations said on Monday.
Adding Venezuela to the list could limit US economic assistance and impose financial restrictions on a country already suffering from hyperinflation, mass migration and shortages of food and medicine.
Discussions on the issue have moved forward in recent days with strong lobbying from Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who has long pressed the administration to take a tougher stand against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, the source said.
A time frame for a decision on whether to add Venezuela to the terrorism list had not yet been determined, the source said.
A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it would be a challenge for the Trump administration to provide concrete proof linking the Maduro government to terrorism if it decides to put Venezuela on the list.
The four countries currently on the list — North Korea, Iran, Sudan and Syria — have been found to “have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.”
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein blocked Meretz and Joint List lawmakers from holding a conference calling for all Jews to leave Hebron.
The gathering, planned for Monday, was titled “Hebron First,” and called for the immediate evacuation of the Jewish area of Hebron as a precursor to evacuating more settlements.
Among the speakers were MKs Ayman Odeh and Dov Henin of the Joint List and Michal Rozin of Meretz, and also invited were Palestinian residents of Hebron, as well as representatives of far-Left organizations Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, Yesh Din and Peace Now.
B’Tselem Director-General Hagai El-Ad was expected to speak in the Knesset for the first time since he accused Israel of war crimes at the UN Security Council.
The event was called a “meeting” and not a “conference,” because conferences have to be approved by the Knesset speaker.
A new sign is up in Jerusalem pic.twitter.com/gMpHBuTbuh
— Daniel Meron (@AmbMeron) November 21, 2018
Israel’s Shin Bet internal security agency announced on Thursday that it uncovered an attempt by Hamas to establish a terror cell in the West Bank to carry out serious terror attacks in Israel.
According to the agency, the activity that was discovered was “different from Hamas’s efforts in recent years, both in terms of its scope and in its potential danger.”
The investigation found that the cell was directed by senior Hamas figures in the Gaza Strip who pressured the cell members – who had been trained in preparing explosive devices and instructed to target civilians – to carry out the attacks “as soon as possible in order to bring about an escalation in the Gaza Strip and West Bank at the same time.”
The cell was uncovered following the arrest of 25-year-old Owes Rajoub, a resident of the Palestinian town of Dura near Hebron on August 23, after he shared his plans to carry out attacks with a number of his friends and family members.
His interrogation revealed that he had been recruited by an activist from the Gaza Strip who had approached him shortly after Ramadan. He suggested that Rajoub join Hamas’ military wing and that he would send him material on manufacturing explosive devices which could be remotely detonated.
The United States Justice Department has refused a formal Israeli request to allow Jonathan Pollard to move to Israel, a report said Wednesday, three years after the convicted spy was released from jail.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was said last year to have asked US President Donald Trump to allow Pollard to emigrate.
Pollard served nearly 30 years in prison on a conviction of spying for Israel and has been prevented from moving to the Jewish state since his November 2015 release.
Hadashot TV news reported that Israel had also lodged a formal request with the US Justice Department, asking for Pollard to be allowed to move to Israel, where he would remain under restrictive conditions as part of an agreement between both countries.
Several weeks ago, the Justice Department unequivocally rejected the request, according to the report, saying the reason was the severity of the crimes Pollard committed in the 1980s.
The Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday sentenced an American-Israeli man, convicted of hoaxing US Jewish community centers and other targets around the world with thousands of bomb threats, to 10 years in prison.
The 20-year-old, M., whose full name is withheld by a gag order in Israel, has been diagnosed with autism and also suffers from a brain tumor, which his parents and attorney argue impacted his behavior. But, while Judge Tzvi Gurfinkel acknowledged M.’s medical condition, he concluded that the young man was responsible for his actions and understood the difference between right and wrong.
The sentence, which included a fine of NIS 60,000 ($16,068), was three years longer than the seven years that the prosecution had asked for. Gurfunkel ruled that M.’s term will be counted starting from his arrest in March 2017.
The judge addressed the defense used by M.’s attorneys, who quoted the 20-year-old as having told police that “he thought he was causing fun for others.” Gurfunkel said the terror that M. had caused could in no way be interpreted as “fun.”
“Under normal circumstances, if it was not a person with autism, I would have sentenced him to 17 years in prison. The defendant’s condition requires considerable mitigation of the punishment,” said Gurfunkel. “However, it is impossible to ignore the severity of the defendant’s actions.”
As the judge read aloud M.’s sentence, the young man’s father, G., began shouting, “He has autism! He is sick!” and was immediately removed from the courtroom.
Fun to talk about Jewish rights (“illegal settlements”) and massive Israeli building on our ancestral homeland of Judea and Samaria (“occupied Palestinian land) with @Ali_Mustafa on @trtworldhttps://t.co/ByjWCJvwuX
— Yishai Fleisher 🕎 ישי פליישר (@YishaiFleisher) November 21, 2018
The IDF increased its almost daily aerial actions in Lebanese airspace by 35% from July to October 24 in response to growing concerns over Hezbollah missiles and Iranian activity in the country and neighboring Syria.
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon “recorded 550 air violations, totaling 2,057 overflight hours,” according to a report written by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, which the Security Council in New York debated behind closed doors on Wednesday without any conclusions.
“Unmanned aerial vehicles accounted for 481 of these violations (87%), with the remaining violations involving fighter jets or unidentified aircrafts. UNIFIL protested all air violations to the Israel Defense Forces and urged their immediate cessation,” Guterres stated.
The report, which is submitted three times per year, recorded violations of UNSC Resolution 1701 of August 2006 that set out the ceasefire conditions for the end of the Second Lebanon War.
The previous report covering the period March 1 to June 19 “recorded 456 air violations, totaling 1,518 overflight hours. Unmanned aerial vehicles accounted for 368 (80.7%) of these violations.”
The Palestinian Authority security forces are going after east Jerusalem residents who are suspected of selling properties to Israeli Jews, on “direct orders” from PA President Mahmoud Abbas, a Fatah spokesman revealed on Thursday.
An Israeli law passed in 1995 bans the PA from engaging in political, diplomatic, security or security-related activities within the area of Israel, including east Jerusalem. The PA, however, has repeatedly violated the law in the past two decades by holding political and security activities in east Jerusalem.
Osama Qawassmeh, spokesman for Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction in the West Bank, confirmed that the PA security forces had recently arrested an American-Palestinian man from east Jerusalem on suspicion of involvement in the sale of an Arab-owned house in the Old City of Jerusalem to Israeli Jews.
On October 18, The Jerusalem Post revealed that the PA security forces arrested the east Jerusalem man, who was later identified as Isam Aqel.
Aqel’s family notified the US Department of State about the arrest and expressed deep concern over his safety.
After Aqel’s story appeared in the Post, Israel arrested two senior PA officials on suspicion of involvement in the incarceration of the American-Palestinian citizen.
A Palestinian Authority court in Qalqilya on Wednesday sentenced two Palestinians convicted of selling land to Israeli Jews to 15 years of hard labor.
“The court sentenced F.A.E. and A. Kh. M. from Kafr Thulth in the Qalqilya Governorate for the crime of leaking land to the enemy,” a memo on the PA High Judicial Council’s website said, referring to the two convicts by their initials and using the Arabic term to allude to selling land to Israeli Jews. “The court…sentenced the convicts to 15 years of hard labor.”
Qalqilya is in the northern West Bank.
Palestinian law considers attempting to sell or selling land to Israeli Jews a punishable offense.
According to the law, possible punishments for trying to sell or selling land to Israeli Jews include different degrees of hard labor and execution.
However, the law requires that PA President Mahmoud Abbas approve any death sentence, and he has not signed off on any executions since 2006.
“The president does not approve execution sentences,” Hassan al-Aouri, Abbas’s former legal adviser, said in a phone call.
Hamas’ political leader Ismail Haniyeh and the group’s military leader Yahya Sinwar have been repeatedly locking horns over the terrorist group’s policies in the Gaza Strip, and the rivalry has gotten to the point where the two no longer speak to each other, Israel Hayom learned Wednesday.
According to Gaza sources, the growing animosity between the two has caused a rift in Hamas, pitting Haniyeh’s supporters against Sinwar’s supporters in a devastating split.
Haniyeh’s camp includes top political officials in the group and Sinwar’s camp hails from Hamas’ military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, led by Hamas strongman Mohammed Deif.
A senior Hamas official described the rift in Hamas’ leadership as ”unprecedented,” saying it has undermined the Egyptian-led efforts to strike an agreement between Hamas and Israel that would allow for the economic rehabilitation of Gaza.
”Sinwar, who was released [from Israeli prison] as part of the  Schalit deal, is very committed to the issue of Palestinian prisoners,” the official added. “He promised the prisoners still in jail that he will do everything in his power to secure their release, and he is following through on that. Haniyeh is less interested in the prisoners and has refused various offers for a prisoner exchange deal with Israel.”
In order to appreciate the unprecedented scope and severity of the rift between Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh and the group’s Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar, we have to go back in time to when the terrorist organization’s political bureau was headquartered in Damascus, before the Syrian civil war.
Khaled Mashaal, who headed the political bureau at the time, was the strongest person in the organization and had ultimate say on matters, mainly due to the fact that he controlled the group’s financial assets. And because he was operating out of Syria, he was able to do something Haniyeh is not – travel the world, mostly to Arab and Persian Gulf countries who donated their money generously.
Senior Palestinian officials in Gaza and Ramallah attest that ever since Hamas’ inception in the late 1980s there has always been an atmosphere of structured tension between the group’s military and political wings. However, the chasm between the organization’s two strongest leaders has never been deeper.
“The chaotic situation enables the emergence of enclaves of terror, inspired by the ideology of ISIS and al-Qaeda. The world should make sure that Libya does not turn into another pre-2001 Afghanistan-like state on the doorstep of Europe.” — Dr. Mordechai Kedar and Dr. Dan Gottlieb.
“Since there is almost no power on the ground in Libya with which the EU can come to an agreement to stop the influx of illegal migrants from the sub-Saharan states through Libya to Europe, this migration route will probably continue to be a gateway for many more thousands of Africans into Europe.” — Dr. Mordechai Kedar and Dr. Dan Gottlieb.
The forging of alliances among the key players in the Mediterranean — such as Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel and the Balkan states — is equally crucial in the endeavor to stabilize Libya. Ankara’s questionable ties with the violent Islamist forces in Libya, however, demonstrate that Turkey currently has little, if anything, to contribute to stabilization.
Anti-Syrian Regime Websites: Regime Granting Citizenship To Millions Of Iranians, Hizbullah Operatives To Change Country’s Demography From Sunni To Shi’ite Majority, Conceal The Fighters’ Presence In Syria
Throughout the Syria war, websites opposed to the Assad regime have repeatedly claimed that this regime and its ally Iran were using the war to change Syria’s demography by expelling Sunni populations, deemed a potential threat to the regime, and bringing in Shi’ites, who are more likely to support it. According to these reports, the Assad regime and Iran use a variety of methods – including threats, siege and starving – to compel Sunnis to emigrate and then seize their property and replace them with elements loyal to the regime, including non-Syrians. President Assad outlined this policy in a July 2015 speech, saying, “The homeland does not belong to those who live there, nor to those who hold a passport or are citizens. The homeland belongs to those who protect and guard it.”
In the recent months, several websites reported that the regime was naturalizing thousands and even millions of Shi’ites, members of Iranian and Iran-backed militias that are fighting alongside the Syrian army. On November 17, 2018, for example, the Saudi website elaph.com and the Syrian opposition website nedaa-sy.com posted what they claimed was a letter from the head of Syria’s General Intelligence to Syria’s interior minister. The letter contained a list, provided by the “special office” in the Syrian President’s Office, of Iranians to be granted Syrian citizenship. According to Elaph, this is only one of thousands of documents in its possession indicating “systematic action by the regime to settle Iranians throughout Syria.”
This report joins many others published in the past claiming that the Syrian regime has granted citizenship to some two million Iranians, including operatives of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).Other reports state that the regime is also granting citizenship to Hizbullah operatives deployed in southern Syria, along the border with Israel. This may be an attempt to conceal the presence of Hizbullah in the region, which contravenes the understandings reached between Israel and Russia.
The disturbing slaying of Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabian agents has rightfully garnered the attention of the national press.
Yet the hours of coverage surrounding The Washington Post contributing columnist’s grim fate raises the question of why the hundreds of other journalists who have perished at the hands of dictators, such as Bashar al-Assad’s Syria — have not received similar concerns from America’s chattering class.
Depending on the organization, the number of journalists or members of the media killed in Syria range from 123 to nearly 700. According to the American-based Committee To Protect Journalists, 18 of its estimated 123 reporters killed were murdered at the hands of the Syrian government or various rebel groups.
Other groups, such as the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), believe the number killed from March 2011 to May 2018 is as high as 682. In addition, the SNHR believes as many as 1,116 journalists have been detained.
The United States sanctioned an international network that funneled oil to Syria and the terrorist groups Hamas and Hizballah, the Department of the Treasury announced Tuesday.
U.S. sanctions prohibit organizations and countries from doing business with the Syrian regime or terrorist groups. Breaking the prohibition triggers sanctions to fall on the offending party.
Iran has used a network of Russia-based businesses to funnel oil to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. In return, Syria has funneled “hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars” to U.S.-designated terrorist organizations including Hamas and Hizballah, according to the Treasury Department.
“We are acting against a complex scheme Iran and Russia have used to bolster the Assad regime and generate funds for Iranian malign activity,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
“Central Bank of Iran officials continue to exploit the international financial system, and in this case even used a company whose name suggests a trade in humanitarian goods as a tool to facilitate financial transfers supporting this oil scheme,” Mnuchin added. “The United States is committed to imposing a financial toll on Iran, Russia, and others for their efforts to solidify Assad’s authoritarian rule, as well as disrupt the Iranian regime’s funding of terrorist organizations.”
Iran has not declared all its chemical weapons capabilities to the global chemical weapons agency in The Hague, in violation of an international non-proliferation convention, the US ambassador to the organization said on Thursday.
Ambassador Kenneth Ward told a meeting of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) that Iran had failed to report a production facility for the filling of aerial bombs and maintains a program to obtain banned toxic munitions.
There was no immediate Iranian reaction to the remarks.
“The United States has had longstanding concerns that Iran maintains a chemical weapons program that it has failed to declare to the OPCW,” Ward said at an OPCW conference.
“The United States is also concerned that Iran is also pursuing central nervous system-acting chemicals for offensive purposes,” he stated.
Iran failed to declare the transfer of chemical weapons to Libya in the 1980s, even after Libya declared them to the OPCW in 2011, he said.
Iran Nuclear Weapons Program
Textbooks published by the Saudi government continue to be rife with antisemitism, a newly-published Anti-Defamation League (ADL) analysis found.
“The United States must hold its ally Saudi Arabia to a higher standard,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said following the unveiling of the report, titled “Teaching Hate and Violence: Problematic Passages from Saudi State Textbooks for the 2018–19 School Year.”
“The US cannot look the other way while Saudi Arabia features antisemitic hate speech year after year in the educational material it gives to its children,” Greenblatt added.
The ADL said its study “analyzes new textbooks the kingdom released to its schools this fall, translating from the original Arabic dozens of troubling passages that clearly propagate incitement to hatred or violence against Jews, Christians, Shi’ite Muslims, women, homosexual men, and anybody who mocks or converts away from Islam.”
“Because of Saudi Arabia’s status as custodian of Islam’s two holiest sites and its historic massive investment in religious proselytization abroad, the kingdom’s textbooks have a significant international footprint and have been used in countries in Africa, Europe, and other parts of Asia,” the ADL noted.
The Saudi regime, the ADL recalled, “assured the US government it would remove all intolerant passages from its textbooks by the start of the 2008 school year.”
But a decade later, the ADL said, “such pledges remain unfulfilled.” (h/t Zvi)
I agree, Ambassador Power, and hope you will likewise apologize for justifying Saudi Arabia as Chair of the UN Human Rights Council panel that selected women’s rights monitors for the world. You falsely dismissed that as meaningless & “procedural”: https://t.co/7F3frNJteG
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) November 21, 2018
We human rights activists live a difficult life: our organizations are feted in Geneva, do as we please with no oversight, and enjoy unparalleled international credibility with the United Nations. Despite those hardships, however, as an activist I always consider even my moments of relaxation, observing certain cultural rituals, lacking, without connecting the occasion along multiple avenues to my central mission: depicting Israeli behaviors as reprehensible, regardless of truth, fairness, or the possibility of compromising other, more dangerous human rights situations. Thanksgiving dinner proves no exception.
My family loves to celebrate with the traditional roast turkey with customary side dishes and relishes, but, given my idiosyncrasy, our mealtime discourse tends less toward observations of gustatory quality and more toward overwrought metaphors decrying Palestinian suffering at the hands of Israel. I consider the event a failure if, by the time the pumpkin pie makes it to the table, no one has compared the cranberry sauce to Israeli bloodshed, or declaimed that no amount of gravy can conceal the moral rot behind Israeli Apartheid policies.
In past years I hesitated to participate in this national ritual, knowing that any number of indigenous American groups might find a commemoration of an event that heralded not coexistence as its original participants may have hoped, but genocide and continued discrimination, offensive. But then an acquaintance suggested framing the festive meal as an occasion to denounce Israel alone among all the myriad nations violating human rights, and my attitude changed. I had discovered a way to redeem Thanksgiving dinner!
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.