Archive for April, 2012

Who created the state of Israel?

Monday, April 30th, 2012
Jews dance in the streets of Tel Aviv, November 30, 1947 (the partition resolution had been approved on the evening of the 29th)

Jews dance in the streets of Tel Aviv, November 30, 1947 (the partition resolution had been approved on the evening of the 29th)

In a NY Times obituary for Benzion Netanyahu, the father of Israel’s PM, who died today (Monday) at the age of 102, this sentence appears:

Ultimately, Israel was created as a result of the partition the revisionists opposed.

The “revisionists,” of course, are the followers of Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinski, who believed that the state of Israel should comprise all of historical Eretz Yisrael, which includes all of the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan (plus some parts east of the Jordan that were given to the Arabs by the British in 1922). They saw the proposed partition, which gave the Jews only a sliver of the original Mandate, as unacceptable.

Much can be written about revisionist Benzion Netanyahu (who once served as Jabotinsky’s secretary) and his son, including the true but trivial remark of an unfriendly commentator that “to understand Bibi you must understand the father.” This is true for all of us that have fathers, but the PM has certainly taken a different political path than his father.

But I digress. I want to talk about the sentence from the obituary that I quoted above. Was the state of Israel created as a result of the 1947 partition resolution?

That is what I was taught as a child: that the throng of Palestinian Jews in the photograph above were celebrating the creation of the state. But what was passed at the UN in New York was a non-binding resolution of the General Assembly, and while the ‘official’ representatives of the Zionist movement — the Jewish Agency, controlled by Jabotinsky’s ideological opponent, David Ben Gurion  — accepted the proposal, both the leadership of the Palestinian Arabs and the Arab nations vehemently rejected it. As a result, it was not implemented and did not create the envisioned Jewish and Arab states.

The British retained control until May 14, 1948. During this time they refused to assist in implementing the plan (they had abstained from voting on the resolution), because they hoped to prevent the establishment of a Jewish state. Arthur Koestler (Promise and Fulfilment – Palestine 1917-1949, p. 163) wrote,

And indeed war, between the Jewish forces (primarily the Hagana) and the Palestinian Arab militias, along with Arab ‘volunteers’ from other countries, continued. After the declaration of the state of Israel, several surrounding Arab nations invaded Palestine, hoping to grab territory for themselves as well as to finally put an end to the threat of Jewish sovereignty in their midst. The war left the Jews in physical possession of the land up to the ‘Green Line’, the 1949 armistice line between the armies.

The partition resolution, therefore, had little to do with the creation of the state of Israel and nothing to do with its boundaries (its eastern border is still undefined in international law). Its only function may have been to provide a pretext for British withdrawal.

On May 14, 1948, Israel declared independence, and the state was recognized immediately by the US and shortly thereafter by the USSR. Other nations soon followed suit. On March 4, 1949, the UN Security Council recommended that Israel be admitted to the UN and on May 11 the GA voted her its 59th member. Thus the international community recognized the Jewish state. But who or what created it?

In the 19th Century, Theodor Herzl recognized the truth that the Jewish people could only be secure as a sovereign state, and inspired the Zionist movement to bring Jews back to the land of Israel. In 1922, the League of Nations accepted the principle of a Jewish home in Palestine and wrote the text of the Balfour Declaration into the Palestine Mandate. The Mandate entrusted the creation of this home to the British.

The British, unfortunately, did their best to subvert the intent of the Mandate, in the process dooming countless Jews to death in the Holocaust. But the Jews of Palestine worked to create the structure of a Jewish state during the Mandate period, building institutions of governance, security, education, communications, health care, etc. They waged an anti-colonialist struggle against the British, while protecting themselves against terrorism (even then) from Arabs opposed to Jewish sovereignty.

When the British left, they were prepared to establish a state. Since then, Israel has defended her sovereignty in several wars.

So the answer to the question posed by the title to this post is simple: Zionist Jews in the Land of Israel created the state, and not any UN resolution.

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Edward R. Murrow wouldn’t be pleased

Thursday, April 26th, 2012
Edward R. Murrow at Sde Boker, Israel in 1956 (l-r: Murrow, Itzhak Navon, Moshe Pearlman, David Ben Gurion).

Edward R. Murrow at Sde Boker, Israel in 1956 (l-r: Murrow, Itzhak Navon, Moshe Pearlman, David Ben Gurion).

Like Hassan Nasrallah in 2006, Bob Simon and CBS were shocked at the response to the vicious little slander against Israel they perpetrated on “60 Minutes” this past Sunday.

“All we did was grab a couple of yahud and they’re bombing the crap out of us!” said Nasrallah (or something similar). “Don’t they understand the rules of the game?”

Well, Bob, we don’t have to play by your rules. We don’t have to accept your incessant attacks on Israel and consistently dishonest reporting any more than we do Hassan’s kidnapping and murder on the Lebanese border.

We are not going to let this slide anymore — not the pro-Israel community of Jews and Christians in the US, and not the Israeli government:

“The interview not only confirmed my concerns about the segment but deepened them,” [Amb. Michael Oren] wrote, calling Simon’s approach “a feebly disguised attempt to exploit Christians—and inflame religious tensions” without any “historical or diplomatic context.”

Oren blasted “Mr. Simon’s lack of understanding of – or genuine interest in – the basic facts regarding Christians in the Holy Land,” and anticipated the segment “would be irresponsible, unfair, and beneath the standards of your program.”

Rather than blaming Israel, he wrote, CBS should have blamed the local Palestinian administration, which has control of major West Bank cities, and the militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza. Israel’s critics respond that the Palestinian authorities are under ultimate Israeli control, and Palestinian Christian voices in the “60 Minutes” segment blamed Israel for their hardship.

Maybe CBS, like NPR, sees itself as a soldier in the information army of the Obama Administration. Or maybe Simon and his pretend “investigative journalists” are just too fat and lazy to actually go out and investigate anything, and find it easier to recycle the usual tired Palestinian line. After all, the rules of the game say that you never go wrong by bashing Israel.

One pro-Israel Christian group sent 29,000 emails of protest to CBS in a single day. And mainstream Jewish groups like Hadassah, the Jewish Federations, the ADL, etc. are also expressing their displeasure.

Not this will appear to have any effect on CBS, which claims to have gotten only “a few hundred” comments on the program, pro and con. They stand by their words. Courageous journalists, not afraid of The Lobby.

But things are changing. Just as the Second Lebanon War — despite Israel’s admitted failures of strategy and execution — taught Hizballah that they could not continue to act against Israel with impunity, CBS will see that they their information attacks won’t continue to go down quietly either.

Their lies and deceptions are being exposed and dissected in numerous places (for example, here). The monolithic media mouthpieces for the Obama Administration– CBS, NPR, the NY Times, AP, etc. — are now so predictably, and laughably, wrong on anything touching on Israel or, indeed, anything in the Middle East, that nobody who isn’t entirely ignorant pays attention to them. And the implication of this is that they cannot be trusted about other issues as well.

My father liked to say (usually right before an election) that “the American people are not as dumb as they look.” And he was right, although sometimes it took them longer than he’d hoped to understand how they had been fooled.

More and more people are beginning to understand that the mainstream media’s posturing about professionalism, freedom from bias and fact checking, are often precisely that.

Edward R. Murrow, who as a matter of fact was quite pro-Israel, was obsessed with professionalism, with getting the details and the story right, as well as presenting it compellingly. He had nothing but contempt for those who would slant a news story for political purposes.

Murrow wouldn’t be pleased by his network today.

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Paul Krugman’s “what must be said”

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012
Krugman: Beinart is a brave man

Krugman: Beinart is a brave man

The universal concealment of these facts,
To which my silence subordinated itself,
I sense as incriminating lies
And force–the punishment is promised
As soon as it is ignored;
The verdict of “anti-Semitism” is familiar.

Günter Grass, explaining how he will be punished for his ‘courage’ in saying “what must be said.”

This could be the stupidest conceit of today’s Israel-haters: that they are breaking the silence, speaking out in a fresh and original way, daring to say things that others may be thinking but fear to put into words because of the terrible retribution of the Zionist conspiracy, which will destroy them by branding them as antisemites.

The latest expression of this idiotic meme comes from the economist Paul Krugman, someone I have always admired despite his left-of-center politics. I will quote in full his remark, published today in the NY Times:

Something I’ve been meaning to do — and still don’t have the time to do properly — is say something about Peter Beinart’s brave book The Crisis of Zionism.

The truth is that like many liberal American Jews — and most American Jews are still liberal — I basically avoid thinking about where Israel is going. It seems obvious from here that the narrow-minded policies of the current government are basically a gradual, long-run form of national suicide — and that’s bad for Jews everywhere, not to mention the world. But I have other battles to fight, and to say anything to that effect is to bring yourself under intense attack from organized groups that try to make any criticism of Israeli policies tantamount to anti-Semitism.

But it’s only right to say something on behalf of Beinart, who has predictably run into that buzzsaw. As I said, a brave man, and he deserves better. [my emphasis]

I’m actually embarrassed for Krugman. It seems to me that the industry of bashing Israel is alive and well in many places, especially his own NY Times, home also to such ‘brave’ men as Thomas Friedman, Roger Cohen, Nicholas Kristof, etc. who face the Zionist buzzsaw without flinching week in and week out.

It’s not as much brave to pick on Israel as it is profitable. Who ever heard of Peter Beinart before he adopted the persona of Brave Jew Standing Up to Powerful Zionist Establishment?

Maybe Krugman should spend some time thinking about where Israel is going, because an honest effort to do so would require that he learn something about it. Beinart’s work of fantasy won’t be much help there.

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Vandals spit on Jewish sovereignty

Monday, April 23rd, 2012
"Wretched Zionists, whom do you dominate? The miserable Arabs?

"Wretched Zionists, whom do you dominate? The miserable Arabs?"

News item:

One of the Six-Day War’s most famous landmarks, Ammunition Hill, was vandalized early Monday morning. This is the fourth related incident in less than a week, just days before Israel marks its Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism.

According to Army Radio, the vandals spray-painted anti-Israel slogans, including “Günter Grass was right,” [referring to the German Nobel laureate’s recently published poem in which the former SS officer said Israel was a danger to world peace] and “Zionism — the root of all evil” as well as “lame Zionists.”

Here is an excerpt from a description of the battle of Ammunition Hill by Yaakov Lozowick:

Between 1949 and 1967, while Jerusalem was divided between Israel and Jordan, there was an Israeli enclave about a mile to the east of the border, in the Jordanian part of town. This was Mount Scopus, with the campus of the Hebrew university and Haddassh hospital. There was an agreement whereby every two weeks 200 Israelis would cross Jordanian territory to the enclave, and sit there until the next group replaced them two weeks later.

Throughout the whole period everyone knew that sooner or later the war would resume, and that when that happened Israel would try to reconnect the mountain with the city. To prevent this the Jordanians built a series of fortifications in that mile, and its centerpiece was Ammunition Hill, an apt name borrowed from the days after the British conquered the city in 1917 and General Allenby stored his army’s ammunition there…

On the night between June 5th and 6th 1967 the paratroopers, backed by a few tanks, made their attack, directly on the Jordanian fortifications. The section of the battle on Ammunition Hill raged from about 2am to 5:30, early next morning. It was face to face combat, between the best forces each side had. 71 Jordanians were killed, and 35 Israelis: most of the defenders died, as did a quarter of the attackers.

A story I heard not long afterward told that in the early morning the IDF troops gathered the fallen Jordanians into a pit and covered it, with a makeshift sign that read “Here lie 71 brave Jordanian soldiers”.

A few hours later the paratroopers were at the Kotel.

The perpetrators of the vandalism could have been anti-Zionist Haredim, Arabs or left-wing extremists. Judging by the content of the literate Hebrew graffiti, my guess is that in this case they are the former.

For example, the message in the photo above reads: “Wretched Zionists, whom do you dominate? The miserable Arabs? Zionism — mother of sin!”

It is simply impossible for me to imagine what would motivate Israeli Jews to desecrate a monument to men who died defending the Jewish state that protects and, in many cases, feeds them.

I would like to see the vandals, who spit on Jewish sovereignty, banished to a place where it doesn’t exist. They have made their statement, let them live by it.

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Not letting a monster go to waste

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012
Anders Behring Breivik gives "right-wing salute" in court

Anders Behring Breivik gives "right-wing salute" in court

As the trial of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik is about to go into its second week, some have asked why he has been given a public platform to air his grievances for almost a week, and to describe, in excruciatingly horrible detail, precisely how he murdered 77 people last July 22.

The much-discussed question of his sanity is paramount to determine what to do with him, whether to imprison him — the maximum penalty for his crimes is a surprisingly short 21 years — or institutionalize him. But while practically important, it depends on the Norwegian legal system’s conception of what is a legitimate insanity defense and is not interesting from a moral or political standpoint.

Mass murder to draw attention to a political issue — this is what Breivik himself claims to have been doing — is not common in Western society. And the effects of his actions — at which he ‘succeeded’ far beyond his own expectations — will be the exact opposite of his objective. Rather than mobilizing opposition to multiculturalism and unrestricted immigration, his point of view is discredited by association with his terrible crime.

Breivik is a social deviant, and highly irrational to boot. And if ‘evil’ has any meaning, it certainly includes causing pointless death and suffering to the degree that he did. Insane or not, it’s easy to characterize him: he is a monster.

So why was a monster allowed to speak at length? Here are some explanations:

Norwegian legal experts say it’s crucial that every part of the proceedings is conducted by the book so that Breivik cannot claim he didn’t get a fair trial. Many say it’s also important that the gruesome details are documented to make sure that Breivik is kept away from society for a long time, maybe for the rest of his life.

“When Behring Breivik at some point in the future goes to court and demands to be released — whether from a prison or from a psychiatric hospital — the judgment will the be most central document in that evaluation,” Inge D. Hanssen, one of Norway’s most experienced crime reporters wrote in newspaper Aftenposten.

But certainly his crime is well documented in the words of the police, etc. Wouldn’t a simple confession have been enough? Couldn’t he have signed a written statement?

To some foreign observers, Norway’s desire to do right has gone overboard, allowing the confessed mass killer just what he wants: a platform to promote his extreme political ideology. Print media can cover all parts of the trial. Norwegian TV broadcasts much of it live, including when he enters court, but isn’t allowed to show his testimony.

Unfortunately, I suspect that the answer lies here. Breivik is a monster, but he is a right-wing monster. And although he is a social deviant and ‘crazy’ in some sense, some are taking the opportunity to place the blame for his actions on those who oppose multiculturalism or worry about the effect of mass immigration of Muslims to European countries. For example,

BRUSSELS — Security services in Europe have neglected the kind of right-wing extremism which inspired Norway’s Anders Behring Breivik to commit mass murder, a UK-based rights group has warned.

“Post-911, all major authorities have themselves in the EU focused on the direct threat of Islamic terrorism while they took their eye off the ball on the radicalisation of Europeans,” Daniel Hodges, a campaigner for Hope Not Hate, a London-based NGO, told EUobserver on Monday (16 April).

“EU authorities have been lagging on radicalisation in Europe. They’ve been slow to grasp the power of the Internet and social media that encourages and helps co-ordinate the activities of the groups,” he added.

Hope Not Hate in a report out on Sunday said the ‘counter-jihad’ movement has become the new face of the far right in Europe and North America. The survey identifies some 300 disparate groups and individuals behind the trend.

Many of them say Muslims are a threat to Western cultural identity or values because old-fashioned racist language is no longer acceptable in mainstream politics and media. They also profess sympathy toward gay people and Jews…

Breivik – who is today standing trial in Oslo for killing 77 people on 22 July 2011 in two separate attacks — drew inspiration from some of the people cited in the Hope Not Hate study for his own 1,500-page manifesto. [my emphasis]

The article goes on to name names, including the David Horowitz Freedom Center, cited as financing counter-jihad groups, and various right-wing bloggers. The “Hope not Hate” website has a list of dangerous organizations, websites and individuals; the USA section includes such ‘extremists’ as Daniel Pipes, Brigitte Gabriel, M. Zuhdi Jasser, etc.

Of course no one in the Norwegian establishment, which is committed to multiculturalism, will admit that Breivik did them a favor by associating right-wing positions with vicious mass murder. But I believe that they are not letting the monster go to waste, and that is why he is allowed to speak so freely. This, they wish to imply, is the true face of the Right.

I am sure there are right-wing extremists that are capable of murder, although the only incident that I can think of that compares to Breivik’s act is the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. But murderousness does not characterize right-wing culture in general any more than it does the moderate Left, and far less than radical Islam. And it certainly is not legitimate to use Breivik to smear anyone who is not pro-Islam.

Need I add that there is one culture in which people like Breivik are considered heroes, in which they enjoy the approval of a majority of the population, and in which the leadership pays stipends to imprisoned Breiviks?

Of course that would be the Palestinian Arabs, whom Norway proudly supports!

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Dept. of ‘What was she thinking?’

Friday, April 20th, 2012
Rabbi Miri Gold. What was she thinking?

Rabbi Miri Gold. What was she thinking?

What was she thinking?

Q. What kind of interactions or relationships do you have with Arab citizens of Israel?

A. Miri Gold (rabbi of Kehilat Birkat Shalom at Kibbutz Gezer; board member of Rabbis for Human Rights): … For 16 years, our two families have also thrown a yearly hafla (party), where as many as 500 family members and friends—Jews and Arabs—eat, drink, dance, and have fun. One year the party happened at the same time as the deadly terrorist attack on the Dolphinarium discotheque in Tel Aviv. A few young Arabs who’d left our hafla to party in Tel Aviv came back to tell us the news. We turned on the TV and realized that we were all equally vulnerable, angry, and sad. Had we been at the club, all of us could have been the victims. There was no distinction between Jewish and Arab lives. — Reform Judaism Magazine

If the people on the Bus of Blood had been Arabs, they would be dead. If the children of Ma’alot, or the Israeli athletes at Munich, or the customers of Sbarro’s Pizza, or the students at the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva, or the Fogel family, or Asher and Yonatan Palmer had been Arabs, they would be dead.

It isn’t news that anybody’s flesh, Jewish or Arab flesh, can be penetrated by explosive-accelerated nuts and bolts, bullets or knives.

Anyone can be a victim. A harder question to ask Rabbi Gold is “who can be a perpetrator?”

Shabbat shalom.

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Sweden, a pioneer of political correctness

Thursday, April 19th, 2012
Reported number of violent, including deadly, crimes in Sweden, per 100 000 pop, years 1975-2006

Reported number of violent, including deadly, crimes in Sweden, per 100,000, years 1975-2006

Ha’aretz reports,

Arkia has to stop flying to Stockholm because the Swedish capital’s international airport now refuses to allow Israeli methods of security inspections dictated by the Shin Bet security service … Thus, Stockholm’s airport joined those in Malmo, Sweden and in Copenhagen in refusing to allow Israeli security inspections, which involve ethnic and personal profiling, extensive questioning and selective inspections based on the perceived degree of risk to security.

Arkia, the only Israeli airline flying to Sweden, had to move its operations to Malmo and Stockholm this year after Denmark refused to permit Israeli security procedures at its airports last summer. Arkia elected to fly passengers to Sweden and take them by land to Denmark. Now this avenue is closed.

This could very well spread to other European countries:

“It seems from the international media that additional European countries waving the flag of civil rights and equality will refuse the Israeli security demands, which I’ve warned would happen,” said Arkia CEO Gadi Tepper. Arkia and other Israeli airlines would face serious difficulty if much of Europe is blocked to them, he said.

So Sweden, as usual a pioneer in politically correct insanity — this is the country that has invented a new pronoun equivalent to “he-she” to promote gender equality — finds the idea of profiling and asking intrusive questions so repugnant that they would prefer passengers on Israeli planes to accept an increased probability of getting blown to bits.

But that’s not just because they are anti-Israel. They are equally prepared to let themselves get blown to bits in various ways for the sake of political correctness. According to a 2006 cable from the US Embassy in Stockholm released by Wikileaks, Sweden granted 873,040 residence permits to immigrants between 1980 and 2004. The dispatch, apparently by  interim chargé d’affaires Stephen Noble, includes this:

¶2. (SBU) According to a report by the National Council for Crime Prevention published in December 2005, immigrants or individuals with at least one immigrant parent perpetrated about 45 percent of all crimes during the period 1997-2001. In regard to the most serious felonies — murder, manslaughter, assault and rape — the percentage was even higher.

¶3. (SBU) A National Council press release about the report focused on other findings showing immigrants are often wrongly suspected of crimes — possibly in deference to the politically sensitive nature of the crime statistics. The Council report cites failed government integration strategy as partly responsible for the over-representation of immigrants in criminal activity.

The situation is worse today. More than 14% of the population of Sweden is foreign-born. About 5% are Muslims from the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the former Yugoslavia. Most recent immigrants (since 1990) have been Muslim asylum seekers.

The Swedish government knows there is a problem. The approach to solving it, however has been — what else is new? — politically correct:

The diversity policy [as opposed to encouraging assimilation] that was introduced in the 1990s did not result in any obvious improvements. Thus, the government set up a commission in 2001 to investigate migrant communities’ access to power and influence.

In 2003, however, two members of the commission’s scientific committee publicly criticized the commission, claiming it discriminated against its non-Swedish members. The government discontinued the commission and set up a new commission to investigate integration in relation to structural discrimination.

The new commission consists of two researchers and a secretariat, but above all, it has been in a position to engage a large number of independent researchers for specific studies and tasks. Most of the researchers are young post-docs in sociology, economics, anthropology, and political science; a large share are of immigrant background. One of the critics, University of Uppsala ethnic studies professor Masoud Kamali (born in Iran), was appointed chair of the new commission.

This new commission has clearly adopted a post-colonial theoretical perspective. In its report released in 2005, it proposed introducing affirmative action on a broad scale to counteract structural discrimination. Affirmative action, the commission stated, should not only apply to ethnic or migrant minorities but also to other social categories. The commission even proposed that categories of people in a low socioeconomic position (including native Swedes) should enjoy the benefits of affirmative action.

However, the commission has not been able to pinpoint the causes of structural discrimination. All the main trade unions and the employers’ association have jointly repudiated the policy proposal. Members of the non-socialist opposition parties, who on the whole are more favorably inclined to labor migration, have criticized the government for encouraging the production of ideological discourse rather than seriously determining the facts, analyzing the problems, and developing feasible strategies to deal with the shortcomings. [all emphasis mine]

Some have suggested that the Swedish government has put the fox in charge of the henhouse. Meanwhile, there has been a very large increase in crime, including violent crime. There has also been a spurt of antisemitism against the tiny Jewish population (20,000) — both of the Muslim variety and the left-wing “anti-Zionist” type — which has gone entirely out of control in some places, like Malmö.

It’s ironic that Sweden had a highly restrictive immigration policy before and immediately after WWII, so very few Jews found refuge there. Today, political asylum is easy to get. I’m sorry that Israelis will find it hard to visit Sweden now, at least on Israeli aircraft. But one wonders why they should want to.

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Zero tolerance for ISM ‘activists’

Monday, April 16th, 2012
IDF officer striking Danish ISM protester

IDF officer striking Danish ISM protester

Many of you have already seen this video of an IDF officer striking a Danish International Solidarity Movement (ISM) ‘protester’ in the face with his weapon. The incident occurred when the activists blocked a road near Jericho on Saturday.

The injured protester after the incident

The injured protester after the incident

IDF authorities have suspended the officer, Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner, and have ordered an investigation. Unsurprisingly, the media — including the left-wing Israeli media — have jumped all over this example of Israeli ‘brutality’.

We should keep in mind that the edited video, produced by the ISM, shows only a few seconds of the incident, which took place over a period of two hours. And Lt. Col. Eisner says that the same protester had previously struck him with a stick or bicycle pump, fracturing his fingers. Nevertheless, it’s likely that he will be severely punished for his action.

Those who sympathize with the officer say that the video does not show the context of the incident, which includes the two hours prior to it. But there is a lot more context than just this that needs to be taken into account.

The ISM was created in order to support the Palestinian project to eliminate the Jewish state. It sees ‘nonviolent’  — that is, without guns or explosives — protest as part of the overall struggle, which also includes violent ‘resistance’.  In a 2002 essay called “Why Nonviolent Resistance is Important for the Palestinian Intifada: A Response to Ramzy Baroud,” ISM founders Huwaida Arraf and Adam Shapiro explain,

The Palestinian resistance must take on a variety of characteristics – both nonviolent and violent. But most importantly it must develop a strategy involving both aspects. No other successful nonviolent movement was able to achieve what it did without a concurrent violent movement – in India militants attacked British outposts and interests while Gandhi conducted his campaign, while the Black Panther Movement and its earlier incarnations existed side-by-side with the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

Nonviolence, as they argue, can be effective in achieving goals that violence alone cannot, such as “changing the image of the Palestinian struggle,” and involving foreigners:

Additionally, more foreign civilians would be encouraged to come to work with Palestinians in their legitimate struggle against occupation and injustice, thereby internationalizing the Intifada and bringing more resources to bear on pressuring Israel and the international community to establish a just peace.

And what is the ultimate goal? Is it a peaceful two-state solution? No.  One of ISM’s objectives is to secure the ‘return’ of Arab refugees and their descendents (between 4-5 million) to Israel, which would effectively end the Jewish state. They directly support Hamas and other terrorist groups, sometimes as human shields.

ISM has chapters all over the US and Europe from which they recruit naive activists, whom they bring to Israel to participate in their actions. If these people are injured or, better, killed, they provide great propaganda value. In this particular case, the Danish government has already made inquiries regarding the treatment of its citizen.

Nonviolent does not mean non-hostile. Nonviolent actions in war, especially when it is an asymmetric war in which public opinion is one of the fronts, can be very effective tactically, sometimes much more so than violent acts.

Just because nonviolence is associated with good causes like the US civil rights movement does not mean that it cannot be used for evil ones. The tactic itself is morally neutral.

These people are in effect combatants in the Arab war against Israel, albeit without guns. They do their best to disrupt operations and protect terrorist fighters, who do have guns and explosives. Although there are leftist or anarchist Israelis who take part in demonstrations, the international activists are in the majority and the most effective as propaganda tools.

Democratic countries like Israel seem to believe that as long as  a ‘tourist’ does not use an actual weapon when he participates in anti-state activities, he must be treated as an honored guest. While I don’t think Israel can adopt the methods used by Arab countries, Russia, Turkey, China, Iran, etc., there is more that can be done.

There should be zero tolerance for these enemy soldiers. ‘Internationals’ who enter military zones or disobey orders from soldiers or police should be arrested immediately, deported, and prevented from reentering Israel. Like the “Flightilla” participants, anyone identified as having a connection with ISM should be barred from entering the country.

Frankly, I cannot sympathize with the slightly injured protester. He came to Israel in order to help destroy the Jewish state and replace it with another Arab dictatorship, resulting in the dispersion and/or death of its Jewish population. In effect, he was trying to kill Lt. Col. Eisner’s children, and it’s tragic that Eisner will be punished because he gave him a split lip.

Update [18 APR 1847 PDT]: For more about how the ISM operates, read this fascinating piece by investigative journalist Lee Kaplan.

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First Muslim Life Peer in UK supports terrorists

Sunday, April 15th, 2012
Lord Nazir Ahmed. Solidarity with murderous terrorists

Lord Nazir Ahmed. Solidarity with murderous terrorists

MEMRI reports:

During a recent visit to Pakistan, Lord Nazir Ahmed, a member of the British House of Lords who originally hails from Pakistani Kashmir, announced he was putting up a bounty of £10 million for the capture of U.S. President Barack Obama and his predecessor, George W. Bush. The announcement, made at a conference held in the Pakistani town of Haripur, came in response to a recent U.S. announcement offering a $10 million reward to anyone providing information leading to the capture of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, founder of the Pakistani jihadi organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and emir of LeT’s charity arm, Jamaatud Dawa.

I’m sure that Bush and Obama are well-protected. But before I discuss his offer, here is a reminder about what Lashkar-e-Taiba is:

LeT has been responsible for numerous terror attacks, including one on the Indian Parliament in 2001 in which 7 people (plus 5 terrorists) were killed. The most well-known was the 2008 incursion into Mumbai in which 150-190 people were murdered (numbers in sources vary; also 10 terrorists were killed).

The Mumbai incident, which continued for 3 days until Indian special forces finally overwhelmed the terrorists, was remarkably vicious, including the random shooting of people at a railway station, an attempt to kill hospital patients, and the invasion of hotels and restaurants.

The group is concerned with far more than the Indian ‘occupation’ of Kashmir. It has a global focus:

a Markaz al-Dawa wal-Irshad [LeT’s parent political organization] publication titled Hum Jihad kyun Kar rahe hain? (Why Are We Waging Jihad?), declares the United States, Israel and India as existential enemies of Islam.  It lists eight reasons for Jihad: 1) to eliminate evil and facilitate conversion to and practice of Islam; 2) to ensure the ascendancy of Islam; 3) to force non-Muslims to pay  jizya (poll tax, paid by non-Muslims for protection from a Muslim ruler); 4) to assist the weak and powerless; 5) to avenge the blood of Muslims killed by unbelievers; 6) to punish enemies for breaking promises and treaties; 7) to defend a Muslim state; and 8) to liberate Muslim territories under non-Muslim occupation. — Husain Haqqani: The Ideologies of South Asian Jihadi Groups, p. 24-25

Their concern with the Jewish occupation of ‘Palestine’ led the terrorists to include the Mumbai Chabad house on their list of targets, where Rabbi Gavriel Holzberg, his pregnant wife Rivka, and four others were murdered. It was not an afterthought, and in an intercepted phone call from Pakistan, the terrorists were told that dead Jews were worth 50 times other victims.

Gavriel and Rivka Holzberg. Murdered because Jews rule "Muslim land"

Gavriel and Rivka Holzberg. Murdered because Jews rule "Muslim land"

Baron Nazir Ahmed is Britain’s first Muslim life Peer. Here is an explanation of his reason for supporting this terrorist organization, from a Pakistani newspaper (also from MEMRI):

In an expression of solidarity with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, British parliamentarian of Kashmiri origin Lord Nazir Ahmed has announced a reward for the [capture] of U.S. President Barack Obama and his predecessor, George W. Bush…

Lord Nazir said that the bounty placed on Saeed was an insult to all Muslims, and [that] by [offering it], President Obama has challenged the dignity of the Muslim ummah.

Even if Ahmed would say that the methods of LeT are too violent — and I have no idea what he would say if asked — his remarks show that it is intolerable to him that infidels like Bush or Obama should place themselves above a Muslim.

This is precisely the ideology of LeT. Haqqani continues:

This list of itself is sufficient to justify a virtual state of permanent jihad. “Have all the obstacles to observing the faith in the world been removed?” the unnamed author asks rhetorically, adding that non-Muslim dominance of the global system makes jihad necessary. “Is the current world order that of kafirs (unbelievers) or of Muslims? Is the global economic system according to the wishes of Allah, which requires the end of interest and usury?” Jihad is described as essential to ensure ascendancy of Islam and to create circumstances whereby non-Muslims would either convert to Islam or pay jizya.

Maybe a good test for whether a Muslim is ‘moderate’ or not is to ask him if unbelievers should have the same rights as believers.

Certainly those who do not accept this, like Ahmed, should not hold a position in a governing body of a Western democracy like the UK.

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Can there be a ‘progressive Zionism’?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

I want to contrast two widely divergent views of the Jewish people and what the relationship of American Jews toward Israel should be. First, Rabbi Daniel Allen of ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists:

If we take Israel seriously, and if Yom Ha’Atzmaut is a holiday for all Jews, which it should be, then how do we celebrate the success of Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, this April 25/26 as Israel turns 64?

The answer is relatively easy; make a commitment to make Israel an always improving society. In a recent study in the United States by the Public Religion Research Institute, the question was asked: What is most important to one’s Jewish identity? The leading answer, with 46%, was a commitment to social equality. Support for Israel was second with 20%. If the Jews in group one and the Jews in group two could be combined, then 66% of American Jews could work together to create more social equality in Israel.

And Rabbi Daniel Gordis:

[Peter] Beinart’s real problem is that Israel is not, and was never meant to be, a felafel-eating, Hebrew speaking version of the United States. It is not ethnic-neutral. It was created, and our children die for it, not simply so there can be another democracy in the Middle East. Is one more democracy worth my soldier son’s risking his life? No, it’s not. Israel is about the revitalization of the Jewish people. It is, to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, “of the Jews, by the Jews and for the Jews,” all while protecting and honoring those who are not Jewish. Are we perfect? Hardly. But do we aspire to America’s ideal of a democracy? Not at all. We’re about something very different.

To be fair, you need to read all of both articles. But — leaving aside the (I have to say it) typically American arrogance in Rabbi Allen’s piece, the idea that we know better than Israelis what their democratic country should be like — there is a fundamental difference in their conceptions of the nature of our people, and therefore of the function of a Jewish state.

Allen writes,

As Reform Jews, we are committed to social equality. As Reform Jews, we are already making Israel an ever more inclusive democratic state.

I think it’s not unfair to say that, like Beinart, Allen believes that the essence of Jewish ethics is equal treatment for all human beings. I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but he would probably explain the concept of chosenness as being chosen to bear the burden of being a “light unto nations.” He would probably reject the idea that Israel should treat Jews differently in any way than non-Jews.

Gordis emphasizes the tribalism — “a view of the world that says that we are not just like everyone else, that we are distinct and ought to remain that way” — inherent in Jewish tradition. For Gordis, chosenness is about more than just visibly following the same ethical precepts espoused by Unitarians. And he believes that the distinctness, the deliberate separateness, of the Jewish people both informs and is preserved by the Jewish state.

But in order for this to happen, there can’t be equality in every respect between Jews and non-Jews — although it is possible and important to ensure that all of Israel’s residents have civil rights as we understand them (keeping in mind the special circumstances of Israel as a nation under continuous siege).

If you do not believe in an essential difference between Jews and non-Jews, how do you justify giving Jews a right of return to Israel but withholding it from Arabs? Why should the national anthem include the words “a Jewish soul still yearns” when some Israeli citizens are not Jews? How, in other words, can we demand a specifically Jewish character for the state when we we don’t recognize anything special about the Jewish people?

The problem with the identification of Jewishness with a universalist ethics plus some ritual and cultural — food, etc. — baggage, as Beinart and Allen appear to do, is that it leaves no rationale for the existence of a Jewish state.

These are hard questions for progressive Zionists. Maybe Rabbi Allen will answer them.

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Why Günter Grass should be persona non grata

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

I thought the Günter Grass issue was behind us yesterday, but it isn’t letting up. After Israel’s Interior Minister Eli Yishai announced that Grass would be persona non grata in Israel (on the basis of a law that, understandably, bars former Nazis), a number of voices were raised against the ban, while agreeing that Grass’ poem was obnoxious.

For example, Alan Dershowitz said,

Grass should be debated and defeated in the marketplace of ideas rather than banned from participating in face to face dialogue with Israeli intellectuals and political figures, who are perfectly capable of confronting him in the public arena of debate and dialogue, and even of literature. Israel need not fear poets or polemicists. It should certainly not use its security apparatus, which includes control over its borders, to exclude has-been octogenarian writers with whom it disagrees.

Salman Rushdie, the author with an Iranian death fatwa on his head, tweeted,

OK to dislike, even be disgusted by #GünterGrass poem, but to ban him is infantile pique, the answer to words must always be other words.

Jeffery Goldberg wrote,

With the decision to ban Grass, Israel changed the subject from his feculent poem … to a question of whether the Israeli government is opposed to the free exchange of ideas.

And the Los Angeles Times adds,

…by overreacting to Grass’ criticism, Israeli officials are acting like, well, Iranians.

All are missing the point. His freedom of expression is not being limited by the ban — he can say whatever he wants in Germany, or even Iran, or any other place — just not in Israel. And really, do we need “a free exchange of ideas” like these? Sometimes an accusation is so absurd that even refuting it gives it a status it doesn’t deserve.

Rather than pique, the decision — which as far as I know is purely symbolic, with Grass showing no desire to visit Israel — is an expression of a more important principle, that of Jewish sovereignty.

By shutting the door in Grass’ face, Israel is saying something like this:

We can’t prevent people like Grass from making vicious and hateful statements, but we don’t have to let them in our house.

Jews have been forced to listen to vicious libels and demonization from the mouths of those that hate them for hundreds of years, often trembling in fear at what they portend. Now we have our own house. Here we have the right — and the power — to demand respect.

We don’t have to take abuse, to pretend that disputation with antisemites is simply an “exchange of ideas.” We don’t have to defer to idiots like Grass, nor do we have to beg our powerful enemies to let us live.

Maybe we are a little touchy sometimes, but given our history it is understandable.

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Günter Grass: nothing to see here, folks

Monday, April 9th, 2012
Gunter Grass. Senile dementia and 'celebrity disease'.ë

Günter Grass. Senile dementia and 'celebrity disease'.

I wasn’t going to write about Günter Grass and his ugly poem.  Googling “Günter Grass poem Israel Iran” gets 789,000 hits. It has been covered from almost every imaginable angle. But I was asked my opinion, so I’ll make it short: what I think is that there isn’t much of a story here. A well-known personality enters his dotage. So what?

Grass doesn’t know who is doing what to whom. The proposition that Israel threatens Iran with a nuclear first strike is so impossible that only an idiot could believe it. Grass’ assertion of it tells us that he is completely disconnected from reality. Time to retire from public life and feed the pigeons in the Unter den Linden.

It’s a combination of senile dementia plus the “celebrity disease”: people tell them how intelligent and perceptive they are for so long that their inner editor shuts down, and popular prejudices and clichés bubble up and are emitted as if they were brilliant insights.

So Grass bravely stands up and says “what must be said” despite his certainty that he will be ‘punished’ with accusations of antisemitism. How courageous to join the anti-Israel chorus in a Europe already full to bursting with Israel-haters! Adding nobility to courage, he’s ready to accept the punishment if it will ‘free others from silence’. Pass the barf bag.

More interesting would be to study why younger people, who presumably still have some functioning brain cells, believe similar nonsense.

Just another ex-Nazi closing in on his reward. Nothing to see here folks, move on.

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