‘Elder of Ziyon’ responds to the Guardian’s Ben White on BDS.

The article published on CiF Watch yesterday concerning the Co-operative Group’s decision to upgrade its boycott policies towards Israeli firms was, of course, just one of many. Among those also tackling the subject was Elder of Ziyon, who – along with Harry’s Place – then became the subject of an article on ‘electronic Intifada’ by BDS groupie and Guardian writer Ben White. 

‘The Elder’ responded: 

Ben White, who is apparently a writer specializing in hating Israel, wrote an article in Electronic Intifada criticizing my post pointing out the hypocrisy of the British Co-op boycott of Agrexco, which I noted also effectively hurts the livelihood of most Palestinian Arab farmers. In his critique, White unwittingly shows exactly the hypocrisy that I am talking about.”

Read the rest here

This is an article I wrote last year about the BDS movement’s targeting of Agrexco and the reality of cooperation between that agricultural export company and Palestinian and Arab Israeli farmers. 

In 2010 the government of the Netherlands donated 6 million Euros to two projects designed to “address food security concerns, high unemployment rates as well as to maintain and develop the full economic potential of the Gaza agricultural sector”. However, the Dutch government’s partner in these projects – an NGO known as the Palestinian Agricultural Development Association (PARC) – turns out to be active in the BDS campaign. In January 2011 it issued a press release which included the following statements:

“The last attempt by Agrexco to export to Europe limited quantities of strawberries and flowers from the Gaza Strip, exploiting the illegal Israeli siege of Gaza and the inability of Palestinian farmers there to export except through Agrexco, was aimed at beautifying the image of the Israeli occupation and covering up all its ugly crimes against the Palestinian people, and especially through the ongoing Israeli siege of the steadfasting Gaza Strip.

On this occasion, PARC salutes all activists and international supporters for the BDS campaign and especially our French friends and partners who were able to frustrate the Agrexco attempt to conduct a joint press conference with a few exploited Palestinian producers.”

(Coincidentally, it just so happens that another recipient of funding from the government of the Netherlands is none other than ‘electronic Intifada’.) 

As ‘Elder of Ziyon’ correctly points out:

“To see what real Palestinian Arabs want, look at their companies who attend Israeli trade shows  and fairs to increase their market. Look at those who visit the ports at Ashdod and Haifa to better understand import/export procedures.”

Hamas Hagaddah? Jewish Voice for Peace & great achievements in Jewish far left self parodies

H/T Elder of Ziyon

I was sharing with a fellow blogger recently that I occasionally read something by far left Jewish critics of Israel that is beyond merely risible, but, rather, so beyond the pale, so unhinged and full of self-hatred (those Jews who are ‘proud to be ashamed to be Jewish’) that its almost as if we’re being set up: that such commentary is the work not of Jews, but of trolls trying to provoke us.  

While working on several Guardian related posts, I took a short break and came across commentary from the group Jewish Voice for Peace about Passover so inane that I can barely wrap my mind around the thought process involved in its conception.  But, it should provide context the next time the far left Jewish group weighs in on the Israeli Palestinian Conflict.

(The Guardian causes me enough Tsoris that I occasionally allow myself a bit of blogging comic relief, and a sincere H/T to JVP for the low hanging fruit).

While I’m all too familiar with the Jewish far left in Philadelphia (where I lived most of my life), and have seen “alternative” Passover Haggadot (Jewish texts that set forth the order of the Passover Seder), before, this one by JVP truly jumps the shark.

As Elder of Ziyon noted: The Jewish Voice for Peace “Haggadah” could have easily been written by Hamas in its attempt to portray Jews as the evil protagonists.

Here are excerpts from the JVP document. (Emphases mine, unintentional comedy courtesy of JVP)

In the wake of the revolutions throughout the Arab World, and particularly in Egypt, we want to acknowledge the distinction between “mitzrayim” — the narrow place, where the story we tell at Passover takes place — and Egypt, the modern-day nation-state. We are not conflating contemporary Egyptians with the pharaoh and taskmasters that appear in the Passover story.In the U.S., and worldwide, anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia saturate our media and our culture, and we must be vigilant to oppose it and interrupt it at every turn.

The word Yisrael (Israel) when found in the liturgy (religious text) does not refer to the modern nation/state of Israel, rather it derives from the blessing given to Ya’akov (Jacob) by a stranger with whom he wrestles all night. When the stranger is finally pinned, Ya’akov asks him for a blessing. The stranger says,“Your name will no longer be Ya’akov but Yisrael for you have wrestled with G-d and triumphed.” Therefore when we say “Yisrael” in prayer we are referring to being G-d-wrestlers, not Israelis.

Here is JVP’s addition to the Seder plate:

Olive – Symbolizing the self-determination of the Palestinian people and an invitation to Jewish communities to become allies to Palestinian liberation struggles.

JVP on the symbolism of breaking the middle matzoh: 

As we break the middle matzoh we acknowledge the break that occurred in Palestinian life and culture with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 when hundreds of villages were destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people displaced. This damage cannot be undone — but repair and return are possible.

General JVP guilt on the offense of Israel’s existence.

How will we, as Jews, bear witness to the unjust actions committed in our name?

Our freedom was bought with the suffering of others. As we packed our bags that last night in Egypt, the darkness was pierced with screams. May the next sea-opening not also be a drowning; may our singing never again be their wailing. We shall all be free, or none of us shall be free because our liberations are intertwined.

This is a  JVP version of the part of the Seder where Jews dip wine onto their plate to symbolize the plagues on Egypt by God as punishment for enslaving the Jews.  Here’s what they think we should be thinking about, regarding Israeli villainy and Palestinian suffering, when dipping the wine.

  1. Poverty
  2. Restrictions on movement
  3. Water shortage
  4. Destruction of Olive Trees
  5. Home demolitions
  6. Settlements
  7. Political prisoners
  8. Profiteering
  9. Denial of the Right of Return
  10. Erasing histories
JVP version of Dayanu (If God had bestowed to the Jews even one of the many miracles enumerated in the Haggadah, it would have been enough)

When soldiers rounded up Palestinian men and massacred them collectively – we should have said enough.

When Palestinian men were forced into labor camps, where their labor included destroying Palestinian homes – we should have said enough.

When the on the Eve of Passover, in an operation called, “Cleaning Out Chametz” the Haganah shelled the Palestinian residential quarters of Haifa, forcing 70,000, 90% of the city’s Palestinian residents, to flee – we should have said enough.

JVP, on the bitter herb on the Seder plate, traditionally meant to symbolize the bitterness of slavery under Pharaoh:

We taste a bit of maror, the bitter herb, as it calls to mind the bitterness of slavery, the bitterness of life under occupation.

On the meaning of the Hillel sandwich 

We prepare to eat the Hillel sandwich with the sweetness of haroset and the bitterness of maror, highlighting the challenge to us to taste freedom in the midst of oppression, to be aware of oppression even as we are free, we hold the contradictions of bitter and sweet.

I truly don’t know where to begin, and fisking their version is almost too easy, so I decided to provide an addition to their text: My version of Guardian Left/Seumas Milne/JVP friendly “Why is this night different from all other nights?”

What makes this night different from all [other] nights?

On all nights we eat sitting upright or reclining, and on this night we all recline!

The tray is restored to its place with the matzoh (organic, and made with union, and non-exploitative, labor) partly uncovered. Now we say “We were slaves. . .”

We were slaves to Pharaoh rightwing Jewish thought in Egypt, and the L-rd, our G-d young progressive Jewish community took us out from there with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm. If the Holy One, blessed be He the anti-imperialists had not taken our fathers out of Egypt, then we, our children and our children’s children would have remained enslaved to Pharaoh Zionism, the Jewish lobbyneocons, militarism, & capitalism in Egypt. Even if all of us were wise, all of us understanding, all of us knowing the Torah the Israel section of the Guardian, we would still be obligated to discuss the exodus from Egypt; and everyone who discusses the exodus from Egypt at length is praiseworthy.

Hey, its only a draft.

“Modern” Turkey: Where using Hitler to promote a men’s shampoo is considered “edgy”

Per Elder of Ziyon:

Biomen is a Turkish cosmetics company trying to make a splash in the local market. They hired M.A.R.K.A., an advertising agency known for its “edgy” ads.

The resulting ad( (aired on March 21) shows footage of Adolf Hitler, dubbed and subtitled as if he is speaking about men’s shampoo.

What the Guardian won’t report: Moderate Kuwaiti cleric calls Jews “scum of mankind”, “apes & pigs”

H/T Elder of Ziyon

The degree and volume of Judeophobic commentary emanating from the Arab/Muslim world is, according to the most prolific scholar on antisemitism today, Professor Robert Wistrich, comparable to that of Nazi Germany at its worst.

Polls consistently demonstrates that antisemitism is morally normative in the Arab/Muslim world, and represents one of the most under-criticized racist phenomena of our day.  

If we lived in a world where anti-racists were true to their cause, the culture, nation, and region where such insidious narratives about Jews (seen below) escaped public opprobrium would be held accountable, named and shamed.

However, we clearly don’t live in such a world. 

As MEMRI noted:

When moderate Arabs in moderate Kuwait sat to relax and watch their moderate TV stations last Friday, they got to watch this moderate cleric.

Gaza “Humanitarian Crisis” Update: Another Mall opens in Gaza City with boutique stores, restaurants and a cinema

One of the reasons why Elder of Ziyon is my favorite pro-Israel blogger is his capacity to dish out well-deserved mockery to Israel’s critics, many of whom are often self-caricatures of the anti-Zionist Guardian-style Left – people beyond satire, who we’d have to invent if they didn’t actually exist.

His post today, The humiliation in Gaza continues: The Andaluseyya Mall” is classic Elder, and puts in proper perspective the utter lunacy of those who continue to claim – be they flotilla-ists, flytilla-ists, or merely those duped by their political theatrics – that, despite abundant evidence to the contrary, there’s anything even resembling a “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza.

You can see the full post here, but here’s a photo of one of the new stores in the mall, which should at least give you a taste of Gaza’s unimaginable misery.

The abused Gazans put up a brave front as they browse the men's suits, suits that they will be forced to eat because of their crushing poverty from the illegal Zionist siege.

All Dutch reporters have now quit the flotilla. Additional terrorist affiliations of flotilla organizers revealed

Medusa just commented on a Radio Netherlands reporter describing why he could not go on the flotilla voyage and now, from Elder of Ziyon:

“Every Dutch reporter on the flotilla has bailed out for the same reasons. And they are also upset over how the flotilla is hiding the involvement of at least one known Hamas leader.”

Elder quotes From De Telegraaf:

Enraged at the paranoia, the dictatorial atmosphere, mutual distrust and outright opposition on board, all Dutch journalists to leave the ship which the Dutch activists seek confrontation with Israeli marines in the Gaza Strip.

According to the four reporters who left, they were censored by the activists, who did not respond to any critical questions, such as the financing of the ship. The money was scraped together by collections in Dutch mosques, as this newspaper revealed earlier.

The Dutch report, which Elder quotes, also notes the radical affiliation of the Netherlands Gaza group behind the flotilla:

Now it appears that the infamous Dutch Hamas leader Amin Abou Rashed was also present in recent days in the training of the crew in Greece…The foundation was forced to admit that Rashed was present in Greece, because of his involvement in the purchase of the ship.

Now emerges a unique picture, when the Dutch Hamas leader Sheikh Amin Abou Rashed supports Yusuf al Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. This Al Qaradawi is hoping to transform Egypt into a fundamentalist dictatorship. The Sheikh, a fierce anti-Semite and notorious for his inflammatory speeches, lived in exile in Qatar. After the revolt against Egyptian President Mubarak returned to Cairo. Al Qaradawi wants to stone gays and adulterers, would “dismantle” Israel, encourages suicide attacks inside Israel and believes that men should strike “rebellious” women.

Elder closed by noting “Amin Rashed was on last year’s flotilla and has been linked with Hamas and the Holy Land Foundation.

So, when you add to the recent revelations about the radical terrorist affiliations of the flotillas’ sponsors to this latest development – of an increasing number of Liberal European journalists, and participants, being disenchanted with the flotilla and its mission – what you’re left with is a story about a an anti-Israel publicity stunt that seems to be failing miserably. 

The Guardian’s bias in covering Sheikh Raed Salah

This is cross posted by Elder of Ziyon

From The Guardian:

Sheikh Raed Salah, a leading Palestinian activist, has been detained in London after he entered the UK while banned from the country.

Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, was detained on Tuesday night by police.

The home secretary, Theresa May, said officials from the UK Border Agency were taking steps to remove Salah from the country. She said an investigation had been launched into how he managed to get into the UK.

…Sarah Colborne, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), insisted that Salah was the leader of a legitimate political organisation. He rejected all forms of racism, including anti-semitism, she said.

“Sheikh Raed Salah is the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, the largest movement for Palestinians in Israel,” Colborne said.

“This is a legitimate organisation which Israel has never moved to ban.

“Raed Saleh regularly speaks at venues across Israel where he has considerable support amongst the Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up a fifth of the population.

“Sheikh Raed has been elected as mayor of his home town, Um al-Fahm, three times. He has never been convicted of anti-semitism in Israel.
“Before coming to Britain, he faced horrific allegations of anti-semitism, which he completely refuted.”

This article is a perfect example of media bias. 

The entire article is 13 paragraphs long – and of those 13, fully 6 are given to someone defending Raed Salah. 

There is nothing in the article that mentions any possible reason why Salah might be considered undesirable. It doesn’t mention why he has been arrested and imprisoned in Israel, or his ties to Hamas, or his regular incitement against Jews (every week or so he confidently declares that Israel plans to demolish the Al Aqsa Mosque, trying as hard as he can to inflame Muslim passions and start a new intifada.) To the Guardian, he is simply a “Palestinian activist.”

Even worse, the Guardian allows an apologist for Salah to assert that he is not anti-semitic.

Just one problem:


He is.

And it doesn’t take too much effort to prove that.

From Ha’aretz, January 29, 2008:

The head of the Islamic Movement in Israel’s Northern Branch, Ra’ad Salah, was charged Tuesday in Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court with incitement to violence and racism, over a fiery speech he gave a year ago in which he invoked the blood libel.

During the speech at the February 16, 2007 protest in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz, Salah accused Jews of using children’s blood to bake bread.

“We have never allowed ourselves to knead [the dough for] the bread that breaks the fast in the holy month of Ramadan with children’s blood,” he said. “Whoever wants a more thorough explanation, let him ask what used to happen to some children in Europe, whose blood was mixed in with the dough of the [Jewish] holy bread.”

Great God, is this a religion?” he asked. “Is this what God would want? God will deal with you yet for what you are doing.”

The rally was called to protest the planned Mughrabi bridge construction in Jerusalem’s Old City. Addressing the 1,000-strong crowd and assembled press, Salah accused Israel of attempting to rebuild the Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount while drenched in Arab blood.

“Whoever wants to build a house of God should not do so while our blood is still on his clothes, on his doorposts, in his food, in his drink, being passed along from one terrorist general to the next terrorist general,” he said.

Following the speech and Friday prayers, the crowd began rioting and throwing stones at police. According to the prosecution, Salah’s speech constituted a “call to commit acts of violence and encouragement of acts of violence, which given the content and context, there was a real possibility that it could lead to acts of violence.”

The prosecution said Salah made the remarks “with the objective of inciting racism.”

In an interview with Ashams radio, Salah said in response that, “I am willing to repeat before the court all the things I said at the Friday sermon in Wadi Joz or any other meeting with journalists.

“Our statements are the products of conviction, and I will not recant,” he continued.

Salah was released from prison in 2005 after serving some two years for having contact with a foreign agent, as well as financial crimes related to the Islamic Movement.

This is not only a problem with the Guardian. No other newspaper coverage of Salah regularly mentions his blood libel, which is a piece of information that should be attached to his name every single time it is mentioned in a news report.

But The Guardian deserves to be singled out here for an article that is completely void of context and that is nearly 50% apologetics for a terrorist supporter, regular inciter to violence and an unabashed anti-semite.

VJBRHNFNHNS9

Elder of Ziyon’s Twitter thread with professional Israel hater, Ben White

This is cross posted by Elder of Ziyon

It is fun to watch how Israel haters react to my series of posters celebrating Zionism.

One such hater is someone named Ben White, who apparently is one of the leaders of the anti-Israel crowd. He wrote a book called “Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide” and has been praised by the usual crowd of anti-Zionists like Ali Abunimah and Ilan Pappe. 

His reaction to my posters was to put up his own spoof poster on Twitter, replacing “Zionism” with “Hasbara” and tweeting “Israel at 63: This is Hasbara!”:

Not having ever heard of him, I thought this was a compliment, because I think it is a very good example of what hasbara should be. Only when MargieInTelAviv responded 

ah can’t stand the truth can you? Why not check it out?


Did I realize it was meant to be an insult.

responded:

Of course it is #Hasbara. And it is true. Hasbara is no more an insult than #Zionism!


Ben:

#hasbara in 2011 = treating kids in Haiti, evicting kids in #Palestine

He then included a link to “Hasbara Buster” who claims that Israel’s good deeds aren’t good in themselves, but an insidious plot to redirect the world from talking about Israeli crimes. 

Me:

You are a sad man to get so upset over Zionists doing good things.

Ben:

you are a not-so-bright man if u think it’s the “doing good things” bit that’s objectionable

Me:

Ah. One sided propaganda against Israel=good, telling the other side=evil. Got it.


Ben:


No, it’s called using acts of charity in strategy 2 defend apartheid. But nice #projection though

Me:

Even your example disproves your thesis. Org is private. But your hate overrides all. Sad.

He then tried to change the subject, with a photo that I suppose is meant to illustrate Zionist evil. Which is the usual modus operandi of people like him – they need to change the playing field in order to pretend to win.

But think about his main argument: he believes that when Israel – or in this case, ordinary Israelis – do good things, they have an ulterior motive: to cover up crimes. And when people like me publicize how great Israel is, we also have an evil motive: to cover up Israel’s crimes. 

In other words, to these mental midgets, Israel is inherently evil. Everything it does is evil. This is the premise that informs all of their activities. No shades of grey, no nuance, not even the possibility of admitting that things are more complex than they pretend. When Israel does something seemingly bad, it proves it is evil, when it does something good, it’s just more proof that it is evil. 

Logical people, who make up their minds based on evidence, can look at both sides of a story and decide. Haters, however, already know the answer, and any evidence to the contrary they use to “prove” their own point!

Let’s once again look at the oppressed Palestinian Arab cancer patients who enjoyed a day in the snow courtesy of the IDF, the subject of my first poster:

Looking at these photos drives the haters crazy, as we have seen. They cannot reconcile the idea of Israelis – especially Israeli soldiers – actually doing something nice for the people they supposedly despise and who are, they believe, being ethnically cleansed by the very same soldiers. The cognitive dissonance must be painful. They must therefore invent their own elaborate frameworks of bizarre conspiracy theories to reconcile the obvious truth about Israel with their own, twisted, hate.

How can oppressed Palestinian Arab kids allow themselves to be used as pawns by the evil IDF? How dare they laugh and smile and have fun with the symbols of Zionist atrocities? Better that they refuse to go sledding in Mount Hermon, and stay  in their hospitals, than go and have fun when there is a slight chance that someone might photograph them and use them in such a terrible evil hasbaristic way! Don’t they see that they are exactly like the Jews in Theresienstadt before the Red Cross visited it in 1944? Their smiles are lies! Their fun is a lie! The pictures are probably Photoshopped! The IDF was probably mowing them down with machine guns!

There is an entire industry out there, with people who are emotionally – and, in this case, financially – invested in demonizing Israel. Showing the truth is a direct threat to their worldview, and for them, this cannot be allowed. To them, Israel is a uniquely evil entity that must be destroyed, and tons of solid evidence showing that they are completely, irrevocably wrong is simply something else that they must do battle with their only weapon: lies.