FresnoZionism’s last post

May 8th, 2014


FresnoZionism will no longer be updated. It will be replaced by a new blog called Abu Yehuda.

I thought that it would be appropriate to make the change now, as I prepare to move to Israel. I suspect the perspective of the blog will change at that point!

If you are subscribing to FresnoZionism by email via Feedblitz, then you shouldn’t have to do anything. The next post you get will come from Abu Yehuda — unless you subscribed anonymously. Anonymous means that I don’t know your email address, so I couldn’t transfer it!

Everyone who has registered to comment should also have their user IDs and passwords functional on the new site. If not, please email me at info [at] abuYehuda [dot] com.

I have kept my Twitter account, @fresnozionism, and Abu Yehuda posts will go there. If you are following me, you don’t need to do anything.

If you are using an RSS reader, the feed is

The new site is still under construction. But I like the new look and I hope you will too.

— Vic Rosenthal


The appalling ignorance of our ‘educators’

May 6th, 2014
Alleged photo of "British football team at Auschwitz" from Australian Holocaust denial site used as source for Rialto school writing assignment

Alleged photo of “British football team at Auschwitz” from Australian Holocaust denial site used as source for Rialto school writing assignment

Rialto, California is a town of about 100,000, located east of Los Angeles. Until now its main claims to fame have been bad drinking water and being the site of a chunk of freeway 210 that appeared in the movie “Transformers” and the TV show “Drive.”

Now they are known for something else: they have some of the the stone-ass stupidest personnel in history in their school district.

Rialto’s eighth-graders recently got this assignment:

When tragic events occur in history, there is often debate about their actual existence. For example, some people claim the Holocaust is not an actual historical event, but instead is a propaganda tool that was used for political and monetary gain. Based upon your research on this issue, write an argumentative essay, utilizing cited textual evidence, in which you explain whether or not you believe the Holocaust was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain. Remember to address counterclaims (rebuttals) to your stated claim. You are also required to use parenthetical (internal) citations and to provide a Works Cited page.


The 18-page assignment instructions included three sources that students were told to use, including one that stated gassings in concentration camps were a “hoax” and that no evidence has shown Jews died in gas chambers.

“With all this money at stake for Israel, it is easy to comprehend why this Holocaust hoax is so secretly guarded,” states the source, which is a attributed to a webpage on “In whatever way you can, please help shatter this profitable myth. It is time we stop sacrificing America’s welfare for the sake of Israel and spend our hard-earned dollars on Americans.”

Just in case one of the teachers or administrators responsible is reading this, let me spell out the problem: this is not a legitimate controversy that can be debated. It is like asking the students to debate, pro and con, the proposition that the President is in the habit of having intercourse with sheep. It is like asking them to debate whether black people really are inherently dishonest and Mexicans lazy. The best “rebuttal” to this is either a punch in the nose or a lawsuit, depending on your social class.

Even in this day of Donald Sterling (non-US readers can satisfy their curiosity here if they care) some still don’t seem to get it:

“One of the most important responsibilities for educators is to develop critical thinking skills in students,” [school board member Joe] Martinez wrote in an email Friday morning. “This will allow a person to come to their own conclusion. Current events are part of the basis for measuring IQ. The Middle East, Israel, Palestine and the Holocaust are on newscasts discussing current events. Teaching how to come to your own conclusion based on the facts, test your position, be able to articulate that position, then defend your belief with a lucid argument is essential to good citizenship. This thought process creates the foundation for a good education. The progression is within district board policy and also supports the district’s student inspired motto: ‘Today’s Scholars, Tomorrow’s Leaders.’”

And district spokeswoman Sayeda Jafri said this:

“There is no doubt the Holocaust was one of the most horrific, traumatic time-pieces in our history,” she wrote in an emailed response Friday afternoon. “We want our students to engage in developing critical thinking skills and have an in-depth perspective on the importance of the Holocaust. Although I received one email last week in reference to this subject, the district has not received any concerns about this writing prompt from any teachers, administrators or parents. However, due to its sensitive nature, we are always open to go back and examine the prompt.”

But by Monday, the school authorities seemed to understand that it was time to change course:

In a statement released Monday, [Jafri] said an academic team was meeting to revise the assignment.

Interim [since March] Superintendent Mohammad Z. Islam was set to talk with administrators to “assure that any references to the holocaust ‘not occurring’ will be stricken on any current or future Argumentative Research assignments.”

“The holocaust should be taught in classrooms with sensitivity and profound consideration to the victims who endured the atrocities committed,” Jafri said.

Jafri also said that the superintendent had not known about the assignment until he was contacted by the ADL on Friday. Apparently she did not pass on the email that she had received.

No, I do not believe that there was a Muslim conspiracy to teach Holocaust denial, despite the superintendent’s and spokeswoman’s names (they are of Bangladeshi and Pakistani origin). I do think that there is a real problem with the mainstreaming of outrageous lies, and an incredible lack of judgment displayed by the under- or mis-educated people to whom we entrust our children.

This is actually more appalling.

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The ignorance, arrogance and bias of Obama’s negotiators

May 3rd, 2014

I have seen these people, the LORD said to Moses, and they are a stiff-necked people. — Exodus 32:9

Two unnamed members of the Obama/Kerry negotiating team — probably former Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk and academic David Makovsky — gave an interview to Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea, published yesterday, in which they displayed the ignorance, arrogance and bias that characterizes this administration and its clumsy attempt to force Israel into a disastrous deal with the PLO.

The interview is here. The officials’ account is riddled with inconsistencies — for example, they claim that the last straw, the final blow that caused Abbas to abandon negotiations was the announcement that Israel intended to build in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem:

And then came the Housing and Construction Ministry’s announcement of building tenders for more than 700 housing units in Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood.

Abbas lost interest. He turned to the reconciliation talks with Hamas and to the question of who would inherit his mantle. According to the Americans, this is the reason for his recently launched public front against Mohammed Dahlan.

The Americans understood from their Israeli counterparts that the Gilo tenders announcement was an intentional act of sabotage, one of many, by Housing Minister Uri Ariel, an extremist who opposes any agreement with the Palestinians.

But earlier they said that Abbas agreed to the Clinton parameters regarding Jerusalem: Jewish neighborhoods would be in Israel, Arab neighborhoods would become part of Palestine (never mind that this might be a terrible idea). What is Gilo if not a Jewish neighborhood? And they fail to mention that prior to this announcement, Abbas violated his commitment not to seek statehood through the UN, and applied to join various UN treaties and conventions. So how could this have been the ‘last straw’?

Throughout the interview, they blame Israel for the failure of the talks, in particular for settlements. They completely fail to understand the significance of the recognition issue, or the degree of importance attached by Israel to security:

We couldn’t understand why [recognizing Israel as a Jewish state] bothered [Abbas] so much. For us, the Americans, the Jewish identity of Israel is obvious. We wanted to believe that for the Palestinians this was a tactical move – they wanted to get something (in return) and that’s why they were saying ‘no.’

“The more Israel hardened its demands, the more the Palestinian refusal deepened. Israel made this into a huge deal – a position that wouldn’t change under any circumstances. The Palestinians came to the conclusion that Israel was pulling a nasty trick on them. They suspected there was an effort to get from them approval of the Zionist narrative.

If the “Zionist narrative” means that there can be a Jewish state in the Middle East, then Netanyahu is guilty as charged! If US negotiators were too obtuse to understand why Israel demanded this and why the Palestinians would not agree, then they understood nothing.

“At the end of a war [referring to 1991, the Gulf War] there is a sense of urgency,” they said. And then one of them added bitterly: “I guess we need another intifada to create the circumstances that would allow progress.”

“20 years after the Oslo Accords, new game rules and facts on the ground were created that are deeply entrenched. This reality is very difficult for the Palestinians and very convenient for Israel.”

Another intifada? The reality of 1400 dead Jews since Oslo was “convenient?”

What I found the most distressing was the insulting, demeaning tone — the lack of respect for the sovereign state of Israel, mixed with threats. Here are some examples:

“As of now, nothing is stopping the Palestinians from turning to the international community. The Palestinians are tired of the status quo. They will get their state in the end – whether through violence or by turning to international organizations.

The Jewish people are supposed to be smart; it is true that they’re also considered a stubborn nation [traditional anti-Jewish themes]. You’re supposed to know how to read the map: In the 21st century, the world will not keep tolerating the Israeli occupation. The occupation threatens Israel’s status in the world and threatens Israel as a Jewish state.

Israel is not China. It was founded by a UN resolution. Its prosperity depends on the way it is viewed by the international community.

This is a remarkably ignorant statement. The Jewish nation is actually a lot like China, going back thousands of years, always with a presence in and a connection to the land of Israel. Created by a UN resolution? Do they mean the non-binding and never implemented 181? The modern state of Israel was created by the struggle and blood of the Jewish people who threw out the British colonialists and defended themselves against the genocidal Arabs, who quite literally subscribed to Nazi doctrine.

Excuse me, these are the diplomats who represent the US? Or just a pair of idiots?

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Trend of US Israel policy is negative

April 30th, 2014


Yesterday I tried to explain why John Kerry’s use of the concept of ‘apartheid’ in connection with Israel was so outrageous.

For a top official of the US, supposedly Israel’s ally, to employ language more usually found in the sewers of Jew-hatred — sorry, I have to be accurate — is shocking, but indicative of the level to which US-Israel relations have fallen in the Age of Obama.

But there is also a practical significance. Kerry’s remarks constitute a threat. If Israel doesn’t roll over on command, suggests Kerry, it will get the South Africa treatment, boycotted and divested from by the so-moral ‘international community’ until its Zionist regime is forced to resign from the human race, like the National Party of apartheid South Africa. This isn’t the first threat from Kerry, who promised (and thus encouraged) a ‘third intifada’ if Israel didn’t hurry up and make a deal.

Kerry continued by blaming Israel for the failure of negotiations, even though the PLO leadership refused to commit to end the conflict, maintained their demand for a right of return to Israel, and never stopped the vicious incitement to murder in their media.

What has happened is that the center of discourse about Israel in the US has shifted. Administration and media people, educated in our ‘great’ universities — universities richly endowed with Arab petrodollars — have consumed a diet of extremist anti-Israel propaganda from teachers like David Klein, Lawrence Davidson, James Petras, Joseph Levine (three out of four Jewish!), and many others. Like the education for hate carried out by the Palestinian Authority, it has been effective. The students, including the President and his Secretary of State, learned their lessons and are applying them in their daily work.

The US Congress has been less affected, because of pressure from pro-Israel constituents — mostly evangelical Protestants and older or more observant Jews. But there is strong pressure on the evangelicals (especially younger ones) to move them away from their support of Israel, and as the older Jews (who tend to be Zionists) die off, the liberal Jewish community becomes less and less committed to defending Israel. Congress will follow the lead of its constituents.

I don’t see any reason for these trends to reverse, and the more that opinions formerly considered extreme become mainstream, the more they will inform policy.

On a personal note, I will be moving back to Israel in a couple of months. The US has been good to me, and I’ll miss my friends and a lot more about this wonderful country. But I can’t help but admit to a feeling of relief that Kerry, Obama and others like them will no longer represent me.

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John Kerry exposes his anti-Israel bias

April 28th, 2014
Apartheid -- the real thing

Apartheid — the real thing

News item:

If there’s no two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict soon, Israel risks becoming “an apartheid state,” Secretary of State John Kerry told a room of influential world leaders in a closed-door meeting Friday.

Senior American officials have rarely, if ever, used the term “apartheid” in reference to Israel, and President Obama has previously rejected the idea that the word should apply to Jewish State. Kerry’s use of the loaded term is already rankling Jewish leaders in America—and it could attract unwanted attention in Israel, as well. …

The application of the concept of ‘apartheid’ to Israel, a theme that began with the notorious Durban Conference in 2001, is one of the most offensive propaganda techniques used by Israel’s enemies to demonize it, matched only by the “Israelis are the new Nazis” one.

Apartheid, as everyone knows, is a set of laws designed to create ‘separation’ between races that existed in South Africa between 1949 and 1994. It was much more than mere racial segregation, being a complete system to ensure that blacks (and ‘coloreds’) would have inferior status in every sphere and be unable to obtain political influence. Nothing remotely like it exists in Israel (on either side of the Green Line) nor is it contemplated, even by the most right-wing members of the Knesset.

To be completely fair, apartheid is much closer to Islamic Shari’a, under which non-Muslims’ rights are severely limited. And racism more appropriately characterizes Mahmoud Abbas’ demand for a Jew-free ‘Palestine’ than Israel in any sense. But never mind, this isn’t a contest.

Kerry is alluding to the argument that if Israel annexes all of Judea and Samaria (and Gaza?), demographic considerations would lead to a loss of Israel’s Jewish majority. At that point, it’s argued that Israel would be forced to limit Arab suffrage in order to keep its character as a Jewish state.

This line has been shown over and over to be unsound. The demographic predictions are false, being based on phony Palestinian numbers and wrong assumptions about Jewish and Arab birthrates, and there are other alternatives. This has been covered in detail in numerous places, including Caroline Glick’s book The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East.

But even if this is all that he had in mind, it is beyond inappropriate and offensive that the American Secretary of State would echo the most vicious anti-Zionists by using the word ‘apartheid’ in connection with Israel. Indeed, his use of it indicates that behind his ‘balanced’ rhetoric — he likes to blame ‘both sides’ — he is strongly biased against Israel.

Kerry needs to apologize (the lame attempt to minimize the damage by State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki doesn’t cut it). Or, as the Emergency Committee for Israel suggests, quit.

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