Spineless in the UK

H/T Elder of Ziyon

This story is infuriating.

According to The JC:

The UK branch of Israeli cosmetics store, Ahava, is moving from its central London shop after years of pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

The owner of the shop, currently in Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, is looking for other sites after owners of neighbouring stores complained to the landlord following protests.

Protesters claim that the products sold in the store are manufactured in a factory in Israeli settlement, Mitzpe Shalom in the West Bank but are “misleadingly” labelled as produced in Israel.

A spokeswoman for Shaftesbury PLC, which owns the property as well as several others in the Seven Dials area, said: “When Ahava’s lease expires in September, we will not offer them a new one.”

Pro-Palestinian protesters have been demonstrating fortnightly outside the shop, which opened in April 2007, for more than two years.

Colin George, manager of clothes shop The Loft, next door to Ahava, said: “I’m pleased Ahava is leaving. It’s brought the street down…Everyone would like them to leave. I wish they had left two years ago….Maybe they should be an online business instead.”

While those brave few who have shown up at the Ahava store to counter-protest deserve respect and admiration, the cowardly acquiescence by those who have remained silent in the face of a coordinated campaign to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state is shameful.

That ordinary non-Jews (and even many Jews) in the UK can’t summon the courage, the will, and the moral clarity to defend this Jewish democracy under siege is a sad and ominous commentary on the political climate in their nation.

Israelis aren’t asking the civilized world to lay down their lives in her defense but, merely, that they stand up and be counted in the battle against those intent on convincing the world that she is an ogre, a nation beyond the pale.

Yes, some things really are that simple.

Facebook and the “Third Intifada”: The Aftermath

This is cross posted by Dr. Andre Oboler, who is the Zionist Federation of Australia’s Community Internet Engagement Director on technology, digital diplomacy and anti-Semitism 2.0.  This essay originally appeared in the Jerusalem Post.

In the last week the Facebook group for the Third Intifada made headlines around the world. First in the Arabic language press, advertising and supporting it, then in the Jewish and Israeli press condemning it, and finally in the mainstream media always thirsty for more stories of ‘cycles of violence’ in the Middle East and perhaps sensing a bloodletting was in the pipeline. Real world events, in the form of unrelated Palestinian terror attacks, provided a backdrop.

The Third Intifada page has now been taken down, yet others are rapidly springing up in its place. A leading member of Fatah, Demetri Deliani, told the official Palestinian news agency Wafa that “Minister Yuli Edelstein needs lessons in human rights and freedom of expression as he is not aware of the world’s respect for individual opinion”. Edelstein is of course not only Israel’s Minister for Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, he is also a human rights hero. Born in the Soviet Union, in what is today Ukraine, Edelstein spent his twenties illegally teaching Hebrew and promoting aliyah. The authorities eventually caught up with him and he spent three years in a soviet labor camp.

It is his personal experience that gives Edelstein an insight into the balance between the human right of freedom of expression, and the responsibility to protect other human rights, like life and physical safety. Yuli holds not only a mandate to tackle antisemitism as part of his ministerial portfolio, he was also made chair of the Working Group on online hate of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism, a group of Parliamentarians and experts from over 40 countries. It was Yuli, in his personal capacity, and not in his official capacity as Minister Edelstein, who wrote to Facebook.

Perhaps Facebook initially failed to appreciate the significance of that.

Demetri Deliani is assuming people everywhere will value freedom of expression so highly they that they will allow its use for any purpose. Perhaps he is right, and this is how people at Facebook, in their naivety, would like to see it. After all, it suits their business purpose, they more content they can publish, without having to implement safe guards, or take any responsibility for the deaths, violence, suicides and mental harm that can result, the higher their profit margins. Imagine the cost to Facebook if they had liability in the same way the owner of a hall has when they rented it out for a gathering they know may be unsafe and might turn to violence. Perhaps it is self-interest and not naivety that drives Facebook to keep the standards low and the intervention slow.

The official explanation from Facebook has been that the group became a problem only very recently. As Andrew Noyes, Facebook’s public policy communications manager, tells it, “after the publicity of the page, more comments deteriorated to direct calls for violence”, he added that the page admin then made calls for violence too. This is nothing but spin. The calls for violence were there from the start. The administrators actions were consistent throughout. Those of us who were watching it for weeks and months can testify to this. What changed for Facebook was the public outcry. This is the same pattern we saw in 2008 with the group declaring Israel was not a country, the first documented case of antisemitism 2.0. Facebook cares not for values, but for business interests, and enough public outcry and negative press becomes a business liability.

A system where companies, like Facebook, can facilitate human rights violations when it is in their business interest is a system that needs fixing. Companies must be accountable. Human rights do not only apply when they are popular and can garner public outrage and media attention. Facebook’s responsibility to close a group advocating violence arose when the first complaint was made. The number of complaints should not matter, only the fact that the clock has started and Facebook should respond in reasonable time. I still believe we need legislation to make this the law.

In the mean time, there are new pages and groups carrying forward the third intifada message. Some of these are new replacement groups and pages, others are older groups and pages that have adopted this popular call for violence as a way of increasing their membership. One page I saw had over a million members. It’s up to Facebook to set the standard and remove all these groups the minute their administrators turn to advocating violence, or fail to properly administer the flow of comments.

A cynic might draw comparison between the battle to remove the pages of hate, as more continually spring up, and the myth of Sisyphus, who was punished by the gods to spend all eternity pushing a rock up a hill, watching it roll down, and then starting again. The first lesson is from the myth itself, some say Sisyphus beat the gods by taking joy from ownership of the rock. We too can take joy, or at least pride, for standing up against hate in all its forms. A more practical lesson is one I adapt from lecture Dr Boaz Ganor gave. He was speaking on counter terrorism strategies and said there were only two: either you decrease the desire for terrorism, or you decrease the capacity to deliver. In our context, each time a group or page is removed, that community must rebuild from scratch. It’s a setback, it disrupts communication, and it stops the growth of hate. Ultimately they may get tired of it and take their hate to another platform, but even if they don’t, the response it helpful. It outlines what is right and what is wrong, and it inhibits those seeking to use the power of social media for ill.

Ultimately the causes of hate need to be addressed, but that does not mean removing hate groups and pages is a futile task. Meantime, at least down here in Australia at the Community Internet Engagement Project, we continue to work on more long-term solutions.

The limiting factor is not the need for change, or the lack of a plan, its dollars. I’m told once you reduce the problem to that, solutions are possible. As the number of hate groups grow, I can only hope that prediction holds true, if it does a year from now our plans will have been implemented and we will all be living in a very different reality.

“Orwellian” list of journalists nominated for 2011 Orwell Prize includes Guardian’s Rachel Shabi

H/T Judy

“From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:

George Orwell, prolific writer and a staunch opponent of totalitarianism (including communism), writing in the spring of 1945, in a long essay titled “Antisemitism in Britain“, for the Contemporary Jewish Record, stated that anti-Semitism was on the increase in Britain, and that it was “irrational and will not yield to arguments.”

He argued that it would be useful to discover why anti-Semites could “swallow such absurdities on one particular subject while remaining sane on others.”

Anti-Zionists today, those who are opposed to the Jewish state’s very existence and engage in demonization beyond any limits of reason, as those active in the fight for the state’s survival are acutely aware, is often equally irrational and unable to yield to even the most lucid arguments.

Indeed, the quote I cited above from 1984 reflects one of the common understandings the word “Orwellian” – the capacity to hold inherently irreconcilable, hypocritical, and/or irrational political views without the slightest cognitive dissonance.

The Orwell Prize for Journalism is characterized, on their website, as:

“Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing. Every year, we award prizes for the work – the book, the blog which comes closest to George Orwell’s ambition ‘to make political writing into an art’.”

The 2011 list includes prolific Israel haters such as Robert Fisk (See here,  here, and here), the man with the proud distinction of engaging in journalistic bias so egregious as to inspire the word Fisking) and Guardian contributor, Rachel Shabi.

In discussing a review of “Not the Enemy: Israel’s Jews from Arab Lands”, the New Centrist succinctly sums up Shabi as follows:

“Shabi is part of small group of post-Zionist Mizrahi intellectuals who want to reclaim the non-European aspect their identity. I think this is a positive thing. But some of these post-Zionists have a tendency to borrow analytical frameworks from Marxists and others who view Ashkenazim and Zionists as imperialists and colonialists. In this narrative, the Mizrahim are indigenous people who have been victimized by Zionism, just like the Palestinians. In other words, Mizrahi Jews and Palestinians are people of color and Ashkenazis are whitey. Shabi and her political allies, in turn, are part pf the global resistance against the forces of global empire.

Here’s a sampling of Shabi’s offerings on the evils of Zionism and the moral sins of Israeli Jews:

“Most Israelis, in other words, seem to have convinced themselves that their own moral superiority somehow sanctions and justifies their own acts of moral repugnance. As a line of defence, it’s hard to see how this will stand up in court.” The self-defence defence January 23, 2009

But Palestinian analyst Ghassan Khatib says there is another factor at play in the overall media skew. “Even if the Palestinian side came up with proper messages, Hamas has been successfully labelled by Israel as a terrorist group and is portrayed in the western media in a manner similar to al-Qaida,” he says. As a result, western audiences are more prepared to sympathise with Israel – because it fits the “us or them” binary to which post 9/11 ears are attuned.” Winning the media warJanuary 10, 2009

“Kfir Brigade’s own former members describe its role in enforcing the Israeli occupation as having turned them into “monsters”. This brigade is the nightmare of bed-wetting Palestinian children and its deeds should be the nightmare of any Israeli who seeks peace, rather than perpetual loathing, between the Jewish and Palestinian peoples of the region.” Bruiting about brutes November 29, 2008

In the mind of Shabi, every Israeli act, her every fear and concern, can be contorted in a way to suggest the state’s inherent and immutable bigotry.

Indeed, her capacity to twist and turn prose in a way which assigns maximum malice to the Jewish state seems to have no limits as, more recently, she penned a piece for the Guardian which managed to spin Israeli concerns over the potential rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt as evidence of Israeli racism.

The Muslim Brotherhood, as we noted previously, is a viciously anti-Semitic movement, which openly calls the destruction of Israel and whose spiritual leader, Yusef al-Qaradawi has endorsed the Holocaust as divinely inspired just punishment of the Jews.

The capacity to engage in such a profound moral inversion – accusing Jews of racism for expressing their concern over a movement inspired by a man who endorsed the Holocaust – represents the dangerous doublethink so eloquently illustrated in the totalitarian dystopia of Orwell’s novel and seems, at the very least, inconsistent with the moral parameters of the prize which bears his name.

British, Muslim, and pro-Israel!

H/T Melanie Phillips

We recently posted on the creation of an important new organization in the UK, British Muslims for Israel (BMI) – a project of Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy- and its courageous director, Hasan Afzal.

As Phillips astutely noted:

“[BMI] was set up  to counter the dangerous notion which is gaining ground that Israel should cease to exist at all; that Muslims get a better deal if they live in Israel rather than  Saudi Arabia; and even that he [Afzal] would happily volunteer to be involved in Israeli hasbara – or public relations — in the face of the ‘sophisticated internet campaign to delegitimise Israel’.

If they go on in this vein, not only will these Muslims show they are very much more enlightened, decent and rational than so many others in the British intelligentsia – they will be doing rather better at hasbara and show rather more courage in openly saying what so desperately needs to be said than the Jewish community itself.

Here is Afzal’s recent interview on Israeli television (Channel 10).

(Though it begins in Hebrew for the first 30 seconds, the interview is in English)

Guardian Readers’ IOCD (Israel Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) in One Image

The essay by Daniel Machover, chair of Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights, titled Arrest warrant plans make a mockery of universal jurisdiction” March 30, about changes to the UK’s laws regarding the issuing of arrest warrants for world leaders guilty of crimes against humanity, elicited Guardian reader comments reflecting upon the consequences of this law on the most notorious human rights violators, right? (Libya? The Congo? North Korea? China? Sudan? Iran?)  Nope.

While Machover’s narrative did certainly lead his readers in a very clear direction by citing the arrest warrant against Israel’s former FM, Tzipi Livni, early in the essay, he also noted other nations whose leaders would be protected, such as Israel, America, China, and Saudi Arabia.

The beauty of the website Wordle, when reviewing comments following a piece at CiF, is that it allows you to quantify the degree to which such comments beneath the line stray off topic, or slant in one particular egregiously skewed direction.

It allows you to engage in a mass political Rorschach Test of sorts for Guardian readers.

Wordle was fed every word in each of the reader comments posted after Machover’s piece and, excluding commonly used words like “the”, churned out the following graphic of the most used words – represented in a size proportional to the frequency of their usage:


A case study in anti-Semitism within British academia

Here at CiF Watch we, like many others, have for some time been following the very worrying events taking place with alarming regularity in too many British universities.

From the cancellation of lectures by some pro-Israeli speakers, through the heckling and intimidation of others, to the despicable attacks upon Talya Lador-Fresher (Israel Deputy Ambassador to the UK) last year in Manchester and a protester outside SOAS just recently, these events indicate beyond all doubt that something is seriously amiss in the higher education system of Great Britain. Ambassador Ron Prosor apparently thinks so too.

“Speaking at a conference on British-Israeli diplomatic relations at the think-tank Chatham House, he said there had “never been so much hatred and hypocrisy towards the state of Israel in British universities.”

Just as there seems to be very little enthusiasm in those same establishments to face up to the issue of Islamist radicalization within the confines of their protected walls, or the long-since known (but recently further publicized) subject of the funding of some of those institutions by human-rights abusing regimes and dictatorships, nothing very effective appears to be being done to counter the virulently anti-Israel (and sometimes anti-Semitic) atmosphere in what are supposed to be bastions of free debate and liberal enlightenment.

A post (which recently generated some renewed interest) on the Daphne Anson blog regarding the Leicester University lecturer Dr. Claudia Prestel raises some questions as to just how committed the management of British universities are in combating extremism in their institutions. As pointed out in the post, Dr. Prestel has links with the Leicester branch of ‘Friends of Al Aqsa’. She has written for their magazine and spoken together with the chair of that organization, Ismail Patel, at an event organized by the Leicester University Palestine Support Group. She is also a supporter of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

Some might say that what Dr. Prestel or any other university lecturer chooses to do with his or her free time is nobody’s business. Others might raise reasonable concerns that perhaps the political opinions of such lecturers do not always remain outside the lecture hall.  What I found particularly interesting about this specific case is that Leicester University runs a centre for the study of the Holocaust, of which Dr. Prestel is also a member. And yet nobody in that institution seems to think it inappropriate that she should maintain connections with an organization which has quoted Holocaust deniers on its website, headed by a man who supports a terrorist organization with genocidal aspirations of its own.

‘Friends of Al Aqsa’ is one of the more extremist Islamist organizations at work in Britain today. It supports the Muslim Brotherhood-linked charity ‘Interpal’ (proscribed by the US Treasury) and advertises it on its website. It collaborates with the Khomenist Iranian-funded faux human rights organization known as the Islamic Human Rights Commission in organizing events such as Al Quds day at which public support is expressed for the Iranian proxy militia Hizbollah.

Advert for Friends of Al Aqsa sponsored event

Ismail Patel himself is a member of the red-green ‘Stop the War coalition’ and has represented that body at a Hizbollah conference. He is a spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated ‘British Muslim Initiative, has been involved in the organization of the annual ‘Islam Expo’ hate-fest, is a member of ‘Conflicts Forum’ which advocates engaging with terrorists and was a passenger aboard the ‘Mavi Marmara’ which tried to break the Israeli naval blockade on Gaza last May. The voyage was co-sponsored by the Turkish organization the IHH which is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘Union of Good’. Patel’s recommended reading list includes the work of Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy who does not believe that there was a Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe or that there were gas chambers.

One wonders if those attending last year’s conference on the subject of Holocaust Denial at Leicester University’s Centre for Holocaust Studies were aware that one of the associate members of that centre rubs shoulders with Islamist extremists who are not averse to a little denial of the Nazi Holocaust themselves and support both Hamas – with its genocidal charter – and the Iranian regime infamous for the Holocaust denial of its president.

One especially wonders whether the management of the Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust Studies and Leicester University as a whole consider Dr Prestel’s extra-curricular associations appropriate under the circumstances and whether or not they have given any thought whatsoever to the fact that allowing people such as Ismail Patel to speak on their campus is precisely the sort of supine approach which is contributing to the spread of increasingly violent extremism in universities throughout the British Isles.

As people who study racial hatred as a profession, one would hope that they would be able to make that rather obvious connection.

Israeli Druze Diarist

The Druze religion is a monotheistic faith which emerged during the 11th century from Islam and incorporated several elements of Gnosticism, Greek Philosophies and other ideologies present in that era.

Worldwide there are about one million Druze – who live mainly in Syria and Lebanon – with roughly 113,00 in Israel (a steep increase from the 14,000 Druze who were living in the state in 1948).

The Druze community in Israel is officially recognized as a separate religious entity with its own courts (with jurisdiction in matters of marriage, divorce, etc.), and spiritual leadership.  Their culture is Arab and their language Arabic but they opted against mainstream Arab nationalism in 1948 and have served at high levels in the IDF and national office. (Druze MK, Majalli Wahabi, briefly served as acting President of Israel during Moshe Katzav’s trial.)

Earlier in the day our group met with Wajih Kayouf, head of the council in the city of Isfiya, on Mt. Carmel in northern Israel, a city of 9,000 which is made up of 72% Druze, 18% Christians, 8 % Muslims, and 2% Jews.

Kayouf spoke briefly about the fires that raged through the Carmel region in December and the support the Druze received from Israeli citizens of all backgrounds and remembered fondly the solidarity of a Jewish neighbor, Rachel, who insisted upon staying in the town to help with relief efforts instead of taking temporary refuge with relatives in the south.  The fire, he noted wryly, didn’t seem to respect national, ethnic, or religious boundaries.

Kayouf was quite emphatic in his view that Israel hasn’t yet found the right balance in supporting the rights of minorities in the context of a Jewish and democratic state – a conversation which was frank, passionate, but always respectful – but also was clear that he is a loyal citizen who, like most Druze, served in the IDF, and that most Druze unambiguously consider themselves Israeli.

The unique identity of the Druze – monotheistic but religiously unique,  linguistically and ethnically Arab, and yet clearly Israeli – is, as with most religious and ethnic minorities throughout the world, layered and nuanced, and I’ve clearly only begun to understand their unique culture and political identity.

As Israel is often defined by the mainstream media through the prism of the conflict with the Palestinians, it’s easy to lose site of the fact that non-Jews make up 25% of the state’s population, and that the richer tale of the nation’s broader ethnic, racial, and religious diversity escapes their narrow lens.

Moreover, when you consider that the state’s majority Jewish population has come to modern Israel from over 100 countries, representing a staggering linguistic diversity (70 different languages have been spoken by those arriving on her shores), it’s difficult not to view the enormous media coverage our nation receives and lament at the human drama not represented, the stories which are never told.

The flag of Druze Battalion 299, a regular army infantry battalion, which was founded in 1974


Isfiya's spiritual leaders treated us to traditional Druze coffee and a brief introduction to the origins of their faith.


Isfiya's old city

A Rare Glimpse of Reality in the Guardian

An obituary about a gentleman named John Watson –written by one of his former commanders and appearing in the Guardian on March 29th – contains an interesting paragraph.

“His battalion was posted to Palestine in 1948, as the British Mandate came to an end. Watson was appalled by the imminent destruction of the new state of Israel – attacked as it was on four fronts and wholly undefended by the British army. He thought it morally wrong that Jews, who had experienced so much already, should be slaughtered, again. Rifle in hand, he went over the wall to volunteer with Haganah and take part in front-line combat. In the siege of Jerusalem he was wounded. After the conflict he worked on a collective farm, where he met Ora, the woman he married. They went on to farm for four years.”

This account reminded me of the experiences recounted by a now deceased great-uncle of mine who also served with the British army in what was then Palestine during the British Mandate and which has been on my mind quite a bit recently since the screening of Peter Kominsky’sThe Promise’ on British television.

Kominsky’s selective view of events during the Mandate years, supposedly based on interviews with former British servicemen, did not reflect my uncle’s accounts of pretending not to notice Jewish refugees trudging up the beaches along Israel’s coast or the effort he and other low-rank soldiers apparently put into not discovering weapons caches on the kibbutzim he was sent to search. He also told me of friends who, unlike himself, did not return with their battalion to the UK, but deserted and stayed in the emerging Jewish state, some to fight with the Israeli forces and some because of love for a local girl.  Although they did not serve in the same battalion, I now wonder whether my uncle and Mr. Watson ever met.

As anyone familiar with Israel knows, six degrees of separation are usually a few more than necessary here, and seeing that it is possible that Mr. Watson served with ‘Machal – the unit of foreign volunteers which still exists today but is best known for the vital part it played in Israel’s War of Independence,  I also wonder if he ever met a young Jewish American volunteer who arrived here to fight in that war and later married my father-in-law’s sister.

He could even have met my father-in-law himself, as he too served in Jerusalem during the siege in 1948. Or perhaps Mr Watson was one of those who used to enjoy a hearty meal provided by my father-in-law’s mother from one of her famous ‘bottomless cooking pots’ (there was always enough for everyone) to the people about to set off from their street corner on the convoys taking supplies to besieged Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Siege Convoy (Photo: Palmach Museum)


Jerusalem under siege by Jordanian shells, 1948

The Guardian allotted quite a bit of column space to ‘The Promise’ which, despite being no more than a drama, seems to be regarded by some (including its creator) as an accurate account of history because it taps into their own prejudices and political bias.

But as Mr. Watson’s life story shows, there is another side to Kominsky’s subject matter which is too often brushed aside or contorted because it does not fit in with the accepted narratives of the type promoted by Kominsky, the Guardian and many others.

John Watson – may he rest in peace – is no longer with us to give a first-hand account of the turbulent birth of Israel. Neither is my great-uncle, my father-in-law’s sister’s husband nor his mother. My father-in-law himself, however, is now 83 and I have been thinking for some time that I must take him and a video camera to Jerusalem whilst he is still amazingly lucid and fit in order to record his memories of those years.

Such documentation may well be all we have in future years with which to refute the kind of politically motivated ‘historical’ fictions proffered by those intent upon rewriting Israeli history in order to try to dictate the future.

What the Guardian’s Michael Tomasky won’t report: New study debunks myth of American Islamophobia

H/T Elder of Ziyon

Of course, those who believe, with an almost religious intensity, that the United States is a hotbed of anti-Muslim bigotry won’t be moved by this study.

However, anyone with even the faintest interest in an empirical analysis of this issue might be interested in a new 40 page report by the Center For Security Policy which not only debunks the claim that Muslim Americans are disproportionately victimized by religiously inspired bias crimes, but clearly demonstrates Jewish victims are, in fact, far more likely to be the target of such crimes.

As such figures don’t affirm (CiF America blogger) Michael Tomasky‘s preconceived conclusions, we can expect him to ignore these findings.


Facebook shuts down “Third Intifada” page

This is cross posted from Backspin, the blog of Honest Reporting (See original CiF Watch post on the issue, here.)

Despite previous statements saying they would monitor but not remove the controversial Facebook group calling for a Third Intifada, Facebook administrators shut down the group early Tuesday morning in response to enormous pressure from pro-Israel activists. All links to the group now go to users personal Facebook profile.

The group had been calling for a march on Israel to “liberate” Palestine beginning on May 15. It remains to be seen how Facebook will respond if similar groups emerge with similar message of a Third Intifada.

New media expert Andre Oboler, one of the first to discover the group was down, told HonestReporting that Facebook made the correct decision shutting down the group.  “It’s about time,” he said. “Facebook needs to learn to distinguish between the right to ‘attack’ conceptual ideas, and the ‘wrong’ of attacking people be it because of their race, religion, nationality or political view. When they start to understand that, perhaps they will stop making so many mistakes.”

See our previous post on the issue for background on the issue.

Hamas’s Karma

Karma Nabulsi has a lively imagination.

While this imagination is most haunted by a crude, ugly caricature of Israelis – who she has literally accused (in a CiF entry from 2006) of blowing Palestinian schoolchildren to bits while they play – it is also informed by a romanticized and sanitized vision of Palestinian “resistance“.

Nabulsi believes that current Palestinian divisions are “not political” but, merely, “geographic”.

Indeed, Karma Nabulsis latest plea for Palestinian elections seeks to include not only the several million living in Gaza and the West Bank, but the millions more living elsewhere in the Arab world. (The single demand that can unite the Palestinian people, CiF, March 29).

If this is indeed the case,  if the estimated 9 million Palestinians (included in Nabulsi’s expansive definition of this “community”), are an ideologically homogeneous bunch, then recent history would suggest that the likely results of such an election would likely move this greater Palestinian Moshav in a decidedly more illiberal direction – a scenario which is unlikely to trouble the former PLO representative and Oxford academic.

Of course, the reactionary forces which have previously served to sooth the Palestinian political soul is the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas).

In the January 25, 2006, not long after Israel withdrew every last remaining Jew from Gaza, Palestinians held parliamentary elections and, in a fair and free election which garnered a 77.7% voter turnout, a plurality of Palestinians voted for Hamas, the Iranian backed terrorist group dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

After a brief period of a Hamas-Fatah unity government, Hamas, between June 7 -15 2007, launched a bloody purge of Fatah officials, killing scores of political opponents, and which resulted in Hamas’ complete control of Gaza.

Since 1989 Hamas has carried out over 100 terrorist attacks, killing over 500, and has launched over 12,000 rockets and mortars into Israel since 2001.

The Hamas Charter includes:

  • Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).
  • “The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. “
  • “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”
  • “After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.”

One of the most ominous aspects of the Charter however, is this Hadith:

Moreover, if the links have been distant from each other and if obstacles, placed by those who are the lackeys of Zionism in the way of the fighters obstructed the continuation of the struggle, the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:

“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.”

The implication is that Allah promised that the Jews will be murdered, and Hamas “aspires to the realisation of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take.”

While anyone with a grasp of the history of anti-Semitism shouldn’t be surprised by the continued existence of movements who hate Jews and openly seek their destruction, the tendency of supposed progressive voices to legitimize, excuse and sanitize such naked malice towards such a historically persecuted religious minority is a more recent and uniquely dangerous political dynamic – one which this blog is dedicated to exposing.

Karma Nabulsi, much like the publication which grants her license, seems to possess an insatiable desire to glorify even the most explicitly reactionary and malicious Palestinian liberation movements and, in so doing, provides Hamas with their only source of true strength – soft power not deriving from their military might, or even the zealotry of the group’s adherents, but rather the moral legitimacy provided to them by a Western world increasingly rendered mute in the face of pure political malevolence.

This profound moral abdication is the gift to Hamas which the likes of Karma Nabulsi will likely continue to exploit.

Norway Socialist Left’s moral tradeoff for bombing Libya: Use armed force against Israel

This is cross posted by Prof. M. McGonagall at the blog: Norway, Israel, and the Jews

The SV [Norway Socialist Left Party] annual convention goes to vote. The deranged junior partner in the current government coalition will among other proposals vote on a motion to use armed force against Israel should it attack Gaza.

The motion is the blood money required to pay off SV card-carrying members who find it hard to accept that they have taken the nation to war, again.

Last time it did so was back in 1999, when the party backed the NATO bombing of Serbia. As a result, we got ourselves involved in a war crimes probe because of  high number of civilian casualties and bombing illegal targets.

Therefore, the only way it can be palatable to bomb Libya for these morally deranged people is if Israel can be bombed too.

Here is the less than lucid reasoning behind the motion:

- The credibility of the world community in its confrontation with the Gadafi regime is undermined when there is no reaction against other states in the region who commit injustices against civil population. The greater world community must therefore also react against Israeli air attacks on the Gaza strip.

Wow, a declaration of war from the governments very junior partner!

And not to mention that thus Israel has become the only country in the world who will be denied the right to defend itself in the face of constant terrorism, rocket attacks against its own population. With a stroke of the pen, the entire body of  international Law must be changed to accommodate for this perverse view, and taken to its logical conclusion, Norway would be unable to defend itself from attacks. Or maybe, we ought to bomb ourselves for bombing the Libyans?

But at least now we don’t have to deal with the lies and hypocrisy of this lunatic fringe group, at least they have come clean and admit that they hate the guts of every living Jew to the extent that they would gladly help to blow the country to pieces.

Roll over Ahmadinejad, even your antics look comical in comparison.

I wonder if this kind of extreme agitation and war mongering is even legal?

Please somebody, come and help us, we are in the hands of very evil people.

Reductio ad Jew: CiF contributor engages in thinly veiled anti-Semitic attack

Cengiz Çandar’s defense of Turkey’s increasingly illiberal prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (CiF, March 28), included – for anyone possessing even a modicum of understanding regarding the popular tropes and lexicon employed by modern anti-Semites – a thinly veiled, but unmistakable, attack on Jews.

The Guardian approved polemic by Candar condemned those “pro-Israel” “hawkish” “neocons” engaged in a “dangerous alliance” attempting to smear the Turkish government – such as Commentary Magazine’s Michael Rubin.

Naturally, the piece elicited the following reader comment, which stated a bit more explicitly who the culprits truly are – a comment which still has not been deleted.

For those who want to know what’s really going on in Turkey, and why criticisms of the regime in Ankara aren’t merely a neocon conspiracy,  I’d suggest reading the blog of one of the most informed writers on the Middle East, Barry Rubin.

What the Guardian won’t report: Palestinian PM Honors terrorist bombers, then condemns terror bombing

This report, by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik at Palestinian Media Watch, about a Palestinian leadership which often condemns attacks on Israelis while speaking in English to the Western media, but routinely glorifies such terrorist violence when speaking to their own citizens in Arabic, is among the most important political dynamics feeding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, yet is virtually ignored by The Guardian and most of the MSM.

Palestinians in Al-Bireh, abutting Ramallah, decorating a town square with a poster depicting terrorist Dalal al-Mughrabi, March 13, 2011.

On Wednesday afternoon, Palestinian Authority Prime Minster Salam Fayyad condemned as “terror” the bomb at a Jerusalem bus stop that killed one woman.

On Wednesday morning, Fayyad honored Palestinian women terrorists, including two who drove suicide bombers to terror attacks killing five. He also honored a terrorist who placed a bomb in a bus station, an action identical to the one he condemned just a few hours later.

Fayyad condemned Jerusalem bombing Wednesday afternoon:

“I condemn this terror operation in the harshest terms, no matter who stands behind it.”

Fayyad praised Palestinian terrorists Wednesday morning:

“I will not fail to mention with honor and admiration the resolve of the female prisoners, the fighters, and of all the prisoners of freedom who are imprisoned in the Israeli prisons, experiencing indescribable suffering. This requires that all of us intensify the effort to ensure their liberation from the occupation’s chains and from the abuse of its [Israel’s] executioners.”

In a radio speech, Fayyad then specifically named the following terrorists:

  • Qahira Al-Sa’adi, who drove suicide bomber to attack killing 3 in Jerusalem in 2002.
  • Irena Sarahneh, who drove suicide bomber to attack killing 2 and injuring dozens, in Israeli city Rishon LeZion in 2002.
  • Iman Ghazawi, who in 2001 placed a bomb at the central bus station in Tel Aviv that was discovered before it exploded.
  • Latifa Abu Zara’a, who in 2003 smuggled a bomb into Israel for suicide terror attack that was uncovered before it was implemented.

Read the full post, here.

UN Human Rights Council Invents Some Human Rights Abuses, Ignores Real Ones

This essay was written by Hadar Sela, and published at The Propagandist

Image courtesy of NewsRealBlog

The United Nations Human Rights Council addressed the subject of the dire state of the human rights of Syrian citizens this week. The discussion did not, however, relate to the Syrians being shot at , murdered or imprisoned by their own regime in the town of Dara’a in southern Syria even whilst the council session took place. The resolution – proposed by Cuba, North Korea, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Venezuela – related solely to the human rights of “Syrian citizens” of the Golan Heights.

Whilst we are by now regrettably familiar with the UNHRC’s practice of sidestepping the issue of the human rights of millions of people who live under some of the oppressive regimes which also hold seats in that institution,  here we have an instance in which what should be an internationally respected body is fabricating supposed abuses for purely political ends. Sadly, some nations on the council which should know better – including the UK, France and Belgium – chose to abstain from the vote rather than opposing it. Only the US voted against the resolution.

In the wording of the resolution the Human Rights Council declared itself to be:

“Deeply concerned at the suffering of the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan due to the systematic and continuous violation of their fundamental and human rights by Israel since the Israeli military occupation of 1967.”

This statement of course refers to the 20,000 or so Druze citizens of the four villages in the north of the Golan; Ein Kinya, Majdel Shams, Bukata and Massade, as well as around 2,000 Alawite citizens of Ghajar.  In December 1981, with Israel’s enactment of the Golan Heights Law, all these people were offered Israeli citizenship. The residents of Ghajar took up the offer en masse whilst in the Druze villages, some 10% of the residents opted to take Israeli citizenship.

Those who chose not to accept Israeli citizenship have the status of residents, and whilst having rejected the offer of an Israeli passport (they travel on a Laissez Passer document) or the right to vote in national Israeli elections, they otherwise have rights equal to those of other Israeli citizens including education, healthcare and social services. They also elect and run their own local councils and enjoy freedom of expression and assembly.

In recent years Israel has helped the Druze of the Golan to export some of their agricultural produce to Syria: the only trade which exists between the two countries which are technically at war. Druze elders are also allowed to visit their religious sites in Syria on holy days: they are the only residents of Israel who can travel between the two countries.  Whilst the Druze of the Golan are entitled to study in Israeli universities just like all other residents, and often do, they also received financial aid from Syria for many years and a high proportion studied abroad, making them one of the better educated groups within Israel.

Read the rest of the essay, here.