Archive for July, 2009

US Jews: it’s 11 PM, do you know where your dollars are?

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Recently, criticism has fallen on the New Israel Fund (NIF), a US-based Jewish organization that has funded such groups as Breaking the Silence [BTS], the Mossawa Centre, Adalah, etc.

Everyone knows how BTS has made unverifiable claims that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza and broadcast them to the media. But the Israeli Arab (or as they now prefer to be called, ‘Palestinian Arab in Israel’) organizations that the NIF funds are perhaps not so familiar.

NIF President Larry Garber says

We are also proud of the support we provide to Israeli Arab groups that advance civil rights in the courts and in the Knesset, and through grass-roots action. These groups, working with partner civil rights organizations that have emerged within Israel’s Jewish majority, continually advance the cause of equality on behalf of a minority that the Israeli government itself admits faces serious discrimination.

If in fact these groups actually were concerned with civil rights as we understand them — voting rights, allocation of public funds, discrimination in housing and employment, etc. — then there would be no basis for criticism.

But in fact the ‘Palestinian Israeli’ interpretation of ‘civil rights’ goes far beyond this.  Mossawa articulated it clearly in “The Future Vision of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel” (2006) in which it called for the replacement of the Jewish state with a ‘state of its citizens’, elimination of the Law of Return for Jews and addition of one for Palestinian Arabs, the creation of a ‘consensual system’ of government in which the Jewish majority and Arab minority would have equal power, the assumption of full responsibility by the state for the ‘nakba’ [catastrophe of 1948] and compensation of Arab victims thereof, changing the flag and the national anthem, recognition of Arabs as an ‘indigenous cultural group’ with full rights of citizenship but also ‘international care, protection, and support’, etc.

In simple terms, Mossawa calls for the replacement of the Jewish state of Israel with — something else, something that would shortly become yet another Arab state in the Mideast. Should Jews support this?

Another group supported by NIF is Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel. In 2007, Adalah presented its version of a “Democratic Constitution” for Israel. In the intoduction, Adalah begins by demanding that

The state of Israel must recognize, therefore, its responsibility for the injustices of the Nakba and the Occupation; recognize the right of return of the Palestinian refugees based on UN Resolution 194 [understood by Arabs as return of any ‘refugees’ who choose to do so — ed]; recognize the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination; and withdraw from all of the territories occupied in 1967.

They also present several options for providing the Arab minority with a veto over all decisions of the Knesset. There is lots more, but the adoption of this constitution would clearly mean the end of the Jewish state.

I previously wrote about the youth organization “Baladna” [our land!]  which teaches Palestinian nationalism to young Arab citizens of Israel.  They too are supported by NIF.

I can’t end this piece without mentioning another Jewish organization that the NIF funds, Machsom Watch. Here is some of what NGO Monitor said about this group:

The Israel-based Machsom Watch monitors and disseminates reports on Israeli soldiers at checkpoints, with the ultimate aim of “ending the occupation.” Machsom Watch publications regularly omit the context of terror and employ human rights terminology, “apartheid” rhetoric and emotive and politically charged language that contribute to the demonization of Israel.  In many cases, their allegations are either inaccurate or unverifiable….

Machsom Watch reports often deviate away from describing events at the checkpoints. Through omission of context, use of pseudo-legal terminology and emotive language, many reports become a platform for the author’s radical political views…

Machsom Watch reports regularly omit the context of terror and claim that the presence of checkpoints is arbitrary, unrelated to the security situation and created solely to disrupt the Palestinians’ daily lives, hinder their business and humiliate them.

I’ve only touched on a few examples. There are more. Although not all of NIF’s grants are to groups and projects which are inimical to the Jewish state, enough of them are that this agency must be considered hostile to it.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Zionophobia is racism

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Prof. Judea PearlProfessor Judea Pearl, the father of murdered journalist Daniel Pearl, invented the word ‘Zionophobia’:

Pearl blames “classical anti-Semitism” for fueling the men who killed his son, but also sees “Zionophobia,” a term he coined. Zionophobia is different from anti-Semitism, and he feels the organized Jewish community has been slow and incompetent in fighting it.

“Denying Jewish people the right for nationhood is straight racism, not anti-Semitism. Jews fight Zionophobia by labeling it anti-Semitism, which is a mistake. It is so easily deflected by saying ‘My best friends are Jewish’ or ‘I’ll go to prison to defend a Jew’s right to wear a yarmulke or eat kosher food’ but still want Israel to be abolished,” argues Pearl. — JWeekly

I have been looking for this word for some time, but I want to add to Pearl’s definition a little. In part it’s anti-Zionism and denial of Jewish nationhood, but it’s also something else:

Zionophobia  is an extreme and irrational fear and hatred of the state of Israel.

  • It’s the force behind the propensity of so many journalists to apply a double standard to the conduct of Israel and its army, in a way that other nations are never judged.
  • It’s the force behind the apparent need to focus so closely on the Israeli-Arab conflict when far more bloody conflicts — like the recent events in Sri Lanka or the continuing saga of Darfur — receive only passing mention.
  • It’s the force behind so many academic conferences, Mideast Studies departments, human rights groups, and even ‘social action’ projects which do nothing but bash Israel.
  • It’s the reason that there can be groups like ‘Queers for Palestine’ when homosexuals in Gaza would be murdered if they came out.
  • Its concrete realization is the United Nations, with its resolutions, committees, rapporteurs and even divisions devoted to trying to damage the Jewish state.

It is related to antisemitism but not identical to it. Golda Meir touched on it when she said that “Israel is the Jew among nations”, and most antisemites are also Zionophobes. But a Zionophobe does not have to be antisemitic.

In fact, as Pearl pointed out, it is counterproductive to ask this question: it is no less reprehensible. Zionophobia is racism, and just as white racism gave rise to the horrific phenomenon of lynching in recent American history, Zionophobia has as its aim the destruction of a nation, Israel.

For some reason, some of the worst Zionophobes are Jews: Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Ilan Pappé, Philip Weiss and others proudly proclaim their Zionophobia before the world. Others claim to be ‘pro-Israel’ but their public positions are in fact Zionophobic: organizations like J Street, and Jewish Voice for Peace come to mind.

There is no more reason to accept Zionophobia as a legitimate position than antisemitism or any form of racism.

It’s time for those who like to say that they are only engaging in ‘criticism of Israel’s policies’ to ask themselves if they have taken ‘criticism’ a bit far and slid into a racist extreme and irrational hatred.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

A vision of stupidity

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

The Fist of Death (courtesy, Dilbert)You know, maybe it’s because today is tisha b’Av and I’m not dealing too well with the fast or maybe it’s something else, but it’s probably a good thing that I do not personally possess deliverable nuclear weapons or a Fist of Death.

For example, take this item:

Israel ranked one of world’s least peaceful states

For the third year in a row, Israel fared very poorly in the Global Peace Index, being placed just 141 out of 144 countries, and ranked more peaceful than only Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia.

Published by the “Vision of Humanity” organization, the index has a stated aim of measuring peace through the “absence of violence.” To do this, the group employs 23 different indicators which are then modified by various variables to produce a final score.

In a breakdown of the Israeli score, which is based on the indicator results from the past five years, Israel is seen to maintain a very high level of “organized conflict,” and a very low respect for “human rights.” In addition, the Jewish state is deemed to have very poor relations with its regional neighbors…

Countries which were considered more peaceful than Israel in 2009 included Sudan (140), Pakistan (137), Lebanon (132), North Korea (131), and Iran (99).

Let me also mention Syria, which, despite arming Hezbollah and supporting insurgents in Iraq, still earned a  92. Of course, Hamastan and the Palestinian Authority (PA) aren’t countries yet, so they don’t appear.

I’m sure that the 1939 Global Peace Index put Poland near the bottom for “poor relations with its regional neighbors”, and downrated Czechoslovakia for its low respect for the human rights of those Sudeten Germans.

I could say that Israel should certainly be credited for withdrawing from Gaza and for making concession after concession to the PA which doesn’t even recognize its right to exist.

I could say that judging the ‘peacefulness’ of a nation without taking into account who precipitated the wars that it has been engaged in is a little misleading.

I could say that counting military expenditures as a percentage of GDP without considering external threats is pointless.

But why bother? You already knew that anybody calling themselves “Vision of Humanity” had to be a bunch of idiots.

Must… control… Fist… of… Death.

Technorati Tags: , ,

A vast conspiracy

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

News item:

British spokesman Martin Day said in an interview in Dubai with Al-Arabiya television last week that the British government was “taking practical steps towards freezing settlement activities.”

“For instance,” Day said, “we finance projects aimed at halting settlement activities. One of these projects seeks to build new Palestinian neighborhoods in east Jerusalem and save Palestinian houses from demolition.”

In addition, Day said in an Arabic interview, “we also finance organizations that monitor settlement activities.”

He further stated that “products from the settlements do not enjoy preferential custom duties that we offer to products coming from Israel. In light of this, we can say that we are taking effective and practical steps against settlement activities…”

Karen Kaufman, the British Embassy’s spokesman in Tel Aviv, said … that the British government was “not involved in the actual construction of new Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.”

“The UK is spending £450,000 over 4 years to support projects in east Jerusalem and the West Bank that help Palestinians better understand and effectively use the Israeli planning laws to gain permission both retrospectively for existing homes, and prospectively for new homes on their side of the Green Line,” she said.

Of course interference in internal affairs of sovereign states is an everyday thing on the part of ‘great powers’ and even formerly great ones like the UK, but what is surprising is the way they openly admit it.

The point is obviously to show contempt for the sovereignty of the Jewish state built on land that they once controlled. The Brits never did get over the way those uppity Jews didn’t allow them to hand it all over to the Arabs that they so admired, after they’d gotten tired of the idea of the Jewish National Home that foolish old Balfour had gotten them into.

They did their best by lopping off some 80% of the mandate and giving it to the Arabs in the form of Transjordan, and then they tried to finish the job by equipping, training and leading the Arab Legion during the War of Independence. If it hadn’t been for the Legion the Jews certainly would have been able to hold the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and Gush Etzion in 1948.

But the British aren’t the only Europeans that are paying to subvert the state of Israel. As everyone knows, there are a multiplicty of non-profit organizations that seem to live only to bash Israel and collect ‘evidence’ for ‘lawfare‘ — the use of the mechanisms of international law to harass a nation as part of a wider assault which may also have diplomatic and military components.

Recently, the Israeli group “Breaking the Silence” has been in the news for presenting ‘testimony’ from IDF soldiers of Israeli ‘war crimes’. Such ‘testimony’ has so far been presented in anonymous form to the media, so that it cannot be checked but do damage nevertheless. Legal claims will undoubtedly follow. Guess who funds “Breaking the Silence?”

On Wednesday, Breaking the Silence released a report including testimonies from 26 unnamed soldiers who participated in the campaign and which claimed that the IDF used Gazans as human shields, improperly fired incendiary white phosphorous shells over civilian areas and used overwhelming firepower that caused needless deaths and destruction.

On Thursday, military sources and NGO Monitor – a Jerusalem-based research organization – raised suspicions regarding Breaking the Silence’s setup as a nonprofit limited company and not an amuta, or nonprofit organization. The difference is that an amuta is required by law to publicly declare the identity of its donors. A limited company is not always required to do so…

In response to the claims, Breaking the Silence presented the Post with its donor list for 2008. The British Embassy in Tel Aviv gave the organization NIS 226,589; the Dutch Embassy donated €19,999; and the European Union gave Breaking the Silence €43,514.Jerusalem Post [my emphasis]

Of course this is only the tip of the iceberg. Another recent example is the fund-raising done by Human Rights Watch in Saudi Arabia, where it received funds from individuals connected with the regime. There are many such organizations, each with their  own specialty, and each receiving funds directly or indirectly from governments who wish to delegitimize Israel and in particular, hamstring her ability to defend herself.

Nothing seems quite so ironic as Israel’s enemies talking about Israel Lobbies and Zionist conspiracies, while in fact — to borrow a turn of phrase used by Hillary Clinton during her husband’s presidency — there is a vast anti-Israel conspiracy targeting the Jewish state.

Technorati Tags: ,

Mass PTSD afflicts Jews

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Today’s featured Jewish anti-Israel group is Americans for Peace Now (APN), doing their best to screw the state of Israel from their comfortable homes in the US, far from the front line that is Israel:

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Americans for Peace Now is urging U.S. senators not to sign a letter encouraging the Arab world to normalize ties with Israel because it does not mention efforts to halt Israeli settlements.

The bipartisan letter to President Obama, circulated by Sens. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and James Risch (R-Idaho) and backed by the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, is “unhelpful” because it “seems to make a straightforward and reasonable demand for the Arab world to normalize relations with Israel,” but “the subtext of the letter directly contradicts and undermines the efforts” of the Obama administration “to promote Middle East peace.”

The Senate letter notes that “over the past few months Israel has taken concrete measures to reaffirm its commitment to advancing the peace process,” and notes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s backing of the two-state solution and the removal of roadblocks and other measures to “improve the daily lives of Palestinians.”

But “the Bayh/Risch letter conspicuously ignores Israel’s continued refusal to stop settlement activity” and “never even once mentions the word ‘settlements,’ ” states the Americans for Peace Now letter. “It sends a message that signers consider settlements more important than peace.”

APN’s message, on the other hand, is that kicking Jews out of Jerusalem, for example, is more important than … well, than anything else.

It goes without saying that APN’s position is not shared by the Israeli government but in addition it is opposed by the great majority of Israelis and even by Aluf Benn, Editor at Large of the left-wing Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz:

…in the past decade, repeated peace negotiations and diplomatic statements have indicated that larger, closer-to-home settlements (the “settlement blocs”) will remain in Israeli hands under any two-state solution. Why, then, insist on a total freeze everywhere? And why deny with such force — as the administration did — the existence of previous understandings between the United States and Israel over limited settlement construction? There is simply too much evidence proving that such an understanding existed.

APN is a primarily Jewish organization, as is J Street, as is the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and Jewish Voice for Peace, which brought Cindy Corrie to testify against Israel at the festival. And we mustn’t forget Breaking the Silence, an Israeli group funded by anti-Zionist European sources, which presented unverified and unverifiable accounts of IDF ‘war crimes’ in Gaza to the international media. Then there’s B’tselem, the Israeli ‘human rights’ group which only reports on violations of Arab rights.

But wait: in addition to these and countless other Jewish organizations that I haven’t mentioned, there are also the individual Jews that do so much in the struggle against Zionism. There are the obvious ones like well-known academics Noam Chomsky and  Norman Finklestein, and the less-well known but equally vicious ones like Lawrence Davidson. We can’t forget hack journalists and bloggers like Max Blumenthal and Philip Weiss, or even those who are competent writers like Roger Cohen. Israel haters all.

I could go on: Tali Fahima, Jeff Halper, Ilan Pappé, Neturei Karta — they never end. Oh yes, one more, the anarchist vegan collective I wrote about yesterday.

A friend of mine once said that he seriously believed that Jewish history — ghettoization, persecution, expulsions, pogroms, the Holocaust — had  somehow damaged the Jewish people, a kind of mass post-traumatic stress disorder.

How else can you explain it?

Member of Neturei Karta with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Member of Neturei Karta with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Technorati Tags: