Archive for January, 2011

Palestinian Olympic teams, then and now

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

News item:

GENEVA — Representatives of Israel’s Olympic committee are ready to help Palestinian athletes train for the London 2012 Games, the International Olympic Committee said on Thursday.

The offer came during a “constructive and cooperative” first meeting of Israeli and Palestinian Olympic officials in the Swiss city of Lausanne hosted by IOC President Jacques Rogge, the Olympic body said in a statement.

The meeting at IOC headquarters was a first attempt to broker an agreement over obstacles Palestinian athletes and players say they face, hampering training and travel to compete in sports events…

“In the short run, priority will be given to assisting Palestinian athletes to move towards their dream of taking part in the Olympic Games in London next year,” [the IOC] added. — AFP

I shouldn’t dwell too much on the irony that the same folks that used the Olympics to raise the profile of their ’cause’ in 1972 by mass murder are now using them again, this time to blame Israel for ‘obstacles’ their athletes face.

There’s really no need for me to point out that the ‘obstacles’ are security measures which exist because Munich in 1972 was neither the first nor the last time Palestinian Arabs turned to terrorism. Or that their objective is not self-determination or a state but the denial of those things to the Jews.

Abu Daoud (Mohammad Daoud Oudeh), the leader of the 1972 Palestinian 'Olympic team', died of natural causes in Syria in July 2010.

Abu Daoud (Mohammad Daoud Oudeh), the leader of the 1972 Palestinian 'Olympic team', died of natural causes in Syria in July 2010.

So why bring this up?

Because I think that if the Palestinian Arabs want to have a real Olympic team made up of athletes instead of murderers, if they want to give up barbarism and join the civilized world, they really ought to apologize. They ought to say that what happened at Munich in 1972 does not reflect their ideals and values any more, and that they sincerely regret the bloody murders that were done in their name.

You know what’s coming, right?

Last year Abu Daoud, the leader of the 1972 Palestinian ‘Olympic team’ that murdered 11 Israeli athletes and a German policeman, died of natural causes in Syria. This is how Palestinian Arab leadership reacted:

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sent his condolences to Daoud’s family, WAFA reported.  “He wrote in his letter to his family, ‘He is missed. He was one of the leading figures of Fatah and spent his life in resistance [against the occupation] and sincere work as well as physical sacrifice for his people’s just causes,’ ” the news agency quoted Abbas as saying. — CNN

You can read more tributes to Abu Daoud here. Even before his death, he was honored, winning the Palestine Prize for Culture in 1999 for his book “Palestine: From Jerusalem to Munich”. In the book, he describes how he planned the Munich operation. After it was published, the German police issued an arrest warrant.

Now explain to me again how we can have peace with these people.

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How did Abu Rahma really die?

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011
Atropine

Atropine

The IDF has completed its investigation of the death of Jawaher Abu Rahma, the woman that was alleged to have been killed by IDF tear gas used against demonstrators at Bili’in on December 31, 2010. The Jerusalem Post report almost makes sense:

Jawaher Abu Rahma, the woman who Palestinians claimed was killed in late December from IDF-fired tear gas during an anti-security barrier demonstration near Bilin, died as a result of the medical treatment she received at a Ramallah hospital, the IDF probe into the incident has concluded.

Abu Rahma, IDF sources said on Saturday, did not actively participate in the demonstration but was inside a house about 500 meters away from the site of the demonstration. She was however evacuated to a hospital in Ramallah sometime later in the day and after the demonstration where she was treated for an unclear ailment.

“According to our findings Abu Rahma died as a result of the medical treatment,” an source in the Central Command said on Wednesday.

Medical documents obtained by the IDF show that Abu Rahma received unusually high doses of Atropine, a medicine that is commonly used as an antidote to nerve agents such as nerve gas. Israeli gas mask kits used to be distributed to the public with shots of atropine inside.

According to the IDF’s findings Abu Rahma died of medical complications due to the medical treatment she received that was not connected to tear gas. The IDF has also uncovered documentation which hints to the possibility that Abu Rahma was sick with cancer and had been hospitalized several weeks before her death. — Jerusalem Post

This is strange indeed. Atropine? Nerve gas? Why would they treat her for exposure to nerve gas? Israel does not even use nerve gas against enemy troops, not to mention demonstrators. And Atropine isn’t a treatment for cancer.

The Ha’aretz report is both more confused and more damaging to Israel, leaving a lingering doubt that the tear gas was nevertheless somehow involved:

Military investigation finds that Jawaher Abu Rahma was misdiagnosed and given the wrong treatment at the hospital after inhaling tear gas at a demonstration in Bil’in last month.

The IDF findings, which were presented to GOC Central Command Avi Mizrachi, were based on hospital documents, some which showed that doctors believed Abu Rahma was sickened by phosphorous fertilizer and nerve gas. She was therefore treated with atropine and fluids, without Palestinian doctors realizing that she had in fact inhaled tear gas. — Ha’aretz

Keep in mind that she was more than a quarter mile away from the site of the demonstration, and it’s highly unlikely that there would be a high enough concentration of tear gas at that distance to require hospitalization in the first place. And I doubt that the doctors thought Israel had used nerve gas against the demonstrators!

No, I think there is a better explanation.

Atropine is an antidote for aldicarb pesticides, such as temik. Aldicarb is highly toxic. When I lived in Israel in the 1980’s it was commonly used, although there were very strict rules about how it is applied, protective gear, etc. It would not surprise me in the least if Arab farmers also use it, and perhaps are somewhat less careful.

Atropine also might be given as an antidote to organophosphate pesticides like parathion, also highly toxic. This would explain ridiculous initial statements that Israeli soldiers or police had used ‘phosphorous’ on the demonstrators, and the mentions of nerve gas. Most military nerve agents are based on organophosphates.

Accidental pesticide poisoning (and the use of pesticides for suicide) is a big problem in the developing world, according to the World Health Organization.

The Palestinian doctors probably were quite familiar with pesticide poisoning. My guess is that Abu Rahma was somehow exposed to a pesticide like temik or malathion. Unlike tear gas, they are deadly, so relatives rushed her to the hospital — where someone accidentally gave her more than a safe dose of atropine.

Now, those of you who went to the demonstration in front of the Defense Ministry on January 1, to protest “Israeli war crimes,” including Palestinian Authority PM Salam Fayyad — don’t you feel stupid?

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Moty & Udi learn about democracy

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Thousands of demonstrators protested the ‘anti-democratic’ actions of the government Saturday night, in particular the decision to create a Knesset commission to investigate the sources of funding for non-governmental organizations active in Israel.

I’ve already discussed this at length. Regardless of the applicability of this or some other remedy, no country can be expected to tolerate massive foreign-financed subversion.

Here’s how it works:

  • Arabs claim that IDF soldiers or ‘settlers’ have committed some kind of atrocity: mistreating Arabs, uprooting olive trees, even burning sheep.
  • An NGO like B’Tselem, funded by organizations and countries hostile to Israel — the New Israel Fund, the Ford Foundation, the governments of The Netherlands, the UK and Norway, and various left-wing church groups — ‘investigates’, meaning they uncritically accept Arab claims.
  • The NGO holds a news conference or releases a report, which is picked up by the press as fact — period. Even when what is alleged is unlikely or impossible, there is no attempt at confirmation beyond the NGO report.
  • Anti-Israel media then present it to the world in dramatic, emotional ways.
  • UN commissions add it to their list of verified Israeli crimes. A case is built which can be grounds for future resolutions or, at some point, even sanctions.
  • European activists file charges based on universal jurisdiction, so that Israeli officials become fugitives subject to arrest if they land in Europe.

This process is ongoing. Every day there are new incidents. It’s a highly leveraged attack, since it’s trivial to make up stories, but responding to them takes actual investigation, which is time- and resource-consuming, and in many cases nearly impossible. Anyway, even when they are proven false, the damage is done.

The demonstration, which was organized by a coalition of left-wing political groups and some of the same organizations that are at the center of the funding controversy, was aimed at Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, whose Israel Beitenu party introduced the bill to investigate the NGOs into the Knesset, and who has spoken strongly about the issue.

Lieberman was also attacked for championing a loyalty oath for Israeli citizenship, which his opponents consider ‘racist’.

Lieberman gives voice to a reaction against increasing — and increasingly damaging — anti-Zionist activities by extreme left-wing Israeli Jews and Arab citizens of Israel. In my opinion, such a reaction is justified and has been a long time coming, although perhaps Lieberman presents himself in a way that many see as demagogic.

Nevertheless, Israel is a small and vulnerable society and cannot survive if there are absolutely no limits on subversive behavior within the state.

There is now a counter-reaction from the Left, which is also spilling over into the US, with numerous articles springing up like mushrooms after a rain, all viewing with alarm various ‘undemocratic’ phenomena in Israel. As usual, Israel is expected to be more tolerant of ‘dissent’ than any nation in history, even when the ‘dissent’ is paid for by its enemies and involves deliberate violent provocations, such as occur every week at Bili’in.

In fact there is something profoundly undemocratic in Israel, but it is not the democratically elected center-right government. Rather, it is the undemocratic proclivity of the Left to try to deny the fact the Israeli public democratically kicked them out of power and reduces their influence with every succeeding election.

The public, who were the targets of the suicide bombers of the intifada, who continue to be the targets of Hamas rockets, and who will probably bear the brunt of casualties in the next war, understand that the ‘peace process’ failed because the Arabs didn’t want peace. They voted. The precipitous drop in the number of seats held by Labor and left-wing parties was a mandate that said: don’t inflict this on us any longer.

Those politicians, extreme leftists, anarchists and paid agents for the hostile European governments, who simply will not accept the verdict of the public, and who insist that the ‘peace process’ has to be jammed into them no matter what — they are the ones who are behaving undemocratically.

Barack Obama once said “elections have consequences,” but the establishment that ruled Israel from its founding until the shocking upset of 1977 has never understood this. They have always believed that they know better than the voters, and often made Faustian bargains with the Europeans or the NIF, for example, to get their way.

But — as literature has told us ever since the theme came into being — any profit from making a deal with the devil is short-term at best. Ultimately, you lose your soul.

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Quote of the week: MK Orit Zuaretz

Monday, January 17th, 2011
MK Orit Zuaretz, who called the Labor party "naked spineless, invertebrate mollusks".

MK Orit Zuaretz, who called the Labor party "naked spineless, invertebrate mollusks".

One thing about Israeli politics is that its practitioners don’t hold back. They let you know what they think. For example, a member of the Knesset for the Kadima party, Orit Zuaretz, is reported to have said

The prime minister is stirring in the dark and the Labor movement is revealed as naked spineless, invertebrate mollusks… — Jerusalem Post

Whew. Can you imagine what she says to her kids when they are slow in doing their homework?

This has to do with Ehud Barak, former leader of the Labor party, who is Defense Minister in the present coalition government. On Monday he left the Labor Party and started his own party, to be called ‘atzmaut‘ (independence). Of course he gets to remain in the Knesset, the government and his ministerial position even though nobody voted for Ehud Barak — they voted for ‘Labor’ and he was at the top of its list. As you can imagine, the Naked Spineless Invertebrate Mollusk — er, Labor — Party is irritated.

Barak took four other Labor MKs with him, and the remaining 8 will leave the government. But Netanyahu’s coalition will still have a majority of 66 seats (out of 120) and will continue in power.

Apparently the move was precipitated by demands from some Labor members that the party should vote to leave the government because Netanyahu wasn’t moving fast enough (that is, wasn’t making the concessions demanded by the Obama administration) in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. Barak wanted to keep his position, the second most important post in the government.

This further marginalizes the increasingly marginal Labor Party. But given that they apparently still believe that the path to peace runs through concessions — they learned nothing from the Intifada and the Gaza withdrawal — they deserve to be marginalized. Now it’s possible that the party will splinter further, with some Labor MKs joining Kadima on its right or Meretz on its Left.

Barak, not a very attractive character in some respects, at least has the military experience needed for his job, unlike the last Labor Defense Minister, the unbelievable Amir Peretz — who gave birth to a whole genre of jokes about x-ray vision when he pretended to see out of a pair of binoculars without removing the lens caps.

Zuaretz and other Kadima members would have liked to see Labor bring down the government, or at least reduce its margin to a paper-thin one seat by quitting en masse. Then Kadima would be the logical replacement for Labor in the coalition. Kadima’s leader, Tzipi Livni, could even share the PM job with Netanyahu. Barak’s clever if cynical maneuver, probably in cooperation with his old Army buddy Netanyahu — hence the ‘stirring in the dark’ comment —  prevented this.

And you thought American politics was complicated!

Incidentally, the ‘other’ Barack — Obama — is thought to want to bring about a change in the coalition with Kadima taking the leading role, because he thinks it will be more pliant about making concessions to the Arabs than the present Likud-led government. But that isn’t in the cards today.

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Anti-Zionism is antisemitism

Sunday, January 16th, 2011
This drawing by UK cartoonist Dave Brown won the Political Cartoonist Society's "Cartoon of the year" prize in 2003.

This drawing by UK cartoonist Dave Brown won the Political Cartoonist Society's "Cartoon of the year" prize in 2003.

As you may or may not have noticed, the Obama Administration has appointed a “Special envoy to combat anti-Semitism,” Hannah Rosenthal. Jennifer Rubin interviewed her for the Washington Post today. Rubin writes,

I began with a simple question: What are the consequences for countries in Europe, South America and the Middle East that spew anti-Semitic rhetoric or condone and encourage anti-Semitism? In a lengthy interview, I never quite got an answer. She responded that her own hiring is more than “a baby step.” She said that it is important that she has a “seat at the table” and has “made major observations” in her year on the job. She touted her ability to spur non-Jewish leaders to speak out about anti-Semitism. That is all very commendable, but what are the consequences for those who persist in peddling anti-Semitism?

The State Department employs Natan Sharansky’s methodology for distinguishing anti-Israel criticism from anti-Semitism. Namely, language or conduct that demonizes, delegitimizes or imposes a double-standard on the Jewish state is anti-Semitism. Rosenthal enthusiastically described internal training for State Department officials to help them understand the distinction.  — Washington Post

The State Department and Rosenthal are missing Sharansky’s point, which was that most anti-Zionism today simply is an expression of antisemitism, even if pictures of identifiable Jews eating babies are left out.  They are devoting far too much effort to carefully distinguish between antisemitism and anti-Zionism, not so much to condemn antisemitism as to justify anti-Zionism.

It is important to understand that calls for Israel to be replaced by an Arab or Islamic state, whether they come from Fatah, Hamas, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Noam Chomsky, are both political — anti-Zionist — and antisemitic.

The alliance between Hitler and the Grand Mufti al-Husseini, as well as the protection of Nazi war criminals by Arab states after WWII points to the identity between Jew-haters and Israel-haters.

So I am going to tell you what I would like to hear someone associated with the administration say. I doubt that Rosenthal, a former member of the board of the phony ‘pro-Israel’ group J Street, would agree:

In 1948, after almost 2000 years, Jewish sovereignty was re-established in the historical land of Israel. Today, antisemitic hatred and fear of the Jewish people as individuals (or members of an imagined conspiratorial community) has become focused on the Jewish state, the concrete manifestation of the Jewish people in the political world.

The primary manifestation of antisemitism today, then, is anti-Zionism: the concerted attempt to delegitimize the Jewish state in order to weaken it and thus deny self-determination and self-defense to the Jewish people.

The US affirms the proposition that anti-Zionism is antisemitism, and that it will support the right of the Jewish people to defend and keep its state in its historical homeland.

A demand for self-determination for a Palestinian Arab people is only acceptable insofar as it does not conflict with or detract from the right of the Jewish people to live peacefully in the Jewish state of Israel.

I’m not holding my breath.

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