Tuesday, February 21, 2017

  • Tuesday, February 21, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
Human Rights Watch is not known for praising the human rights of any country. Which makes this tweet and article on their site all the more jarring:

The more you read in the article, the worse it gets:

 The apparent decision by Iranian authorities to allow women to attend the Kish Island Open volleyball tournament is a positive, if small, step in the right direction, Human Rights Watch said today. Recent media reports said that female spectators will be allowed to attend the four-day beach volleyball competition, from February 15 through 18, 2017. Women had been barred from attending volleyball tournaments under a 2012 decree, in violation of international rules.

“From now on women can watch beach volleyball matches in Kish if they observe Islamic rules,” said Kasra Ghafouri, acting director of Iran’s Beach Volleyball Organization.
 The Kish Island Open is a premier international men’s tournament organized by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) as part of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. Women were not allowed to attend the first Kish Island Open, in February 2016, in spite of previous assurances to the FIVB by Iranian officials, prompting renewed calls for reform and a reversal of the discriminatory 2012 ban.
HRW has no idea what specific restrictions the women must be under to "observe Islamic rules." No cheering? No standing? Watching the game on an old black and white TV in the bowels of the stadium? We don't know, and neither does HRW, even as it is lavish in its praise.

Worse, this policy is one time for one tournament in one sport. Iran didn't suddenly say that women can attend sporting events; it was responding to pressure for one event only. There has been no change in Iran's no-women policy altogether; this is the exception, not the rule.

And HRW celebrates.

The reason that HRW chooses to compliment Iran for its ultra-progressive position of possibly allowing women to attend a single tournament in a single sport  one time is because HRW believes that, unlike Western countries, Iran will be more amenable to human rights issues if they are treated with kid gloves. After all,  it was reported this weekend:
"Iran doesn't respond well to threats," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of top diplomats and defense officials. "We don't respond well to coercion. We don't respond well to sanctions, but we respond very well to mutual respect. We respond very well to arrangements to reach mutually acceptable scenarios."
HRW is afraid that Iran might give back this huge concession if they criticize the country for doing too little, too late.

But the fact is that the only reason Iran did as little as it did in allowing women to attend this tournament is exactly because of pressure and threats - the FIVB threatened to drop the tournament altogether days before it was to start unless Iran followed its rules.

HRW has the calculus exactly backwards. Iran is susceptible to pressure because Iran is sensitive to being shamed. Iran cares more about how it appears than how it acts. This is honor/shame in action. The ones who scream the most about how awful it is if they are humiliated are the ones who are the most frightened of being humiliated - and the ones who respond to pressure. The shame culture only pretends to accept others' ideas of what is right and wrong when it is forced to.

Human Rights Watch learned the exact wrong lesson from this volleyball incident. Instead of using the same tactics to build on to the next win, it caved and pretended that it can lay off the pressure for now because Iran is showing signs of acting 0.01% normally.

Which is, when you think of it, the exact same logic that drove the P5+1 to give in to Iranian demands as well.

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  • Tuesday, February 21, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

Palestinian civil society leaders are lamenting the fact that their "popular resistance" movements are not attracting much support within Palestinian society.

According to a new article in Ma'an, the number of participants in the weekly protests in Bil'in have gone down. Also, foreign activists are having a harder time coming to the area because of Israeli restrictions.

Palestinian National Initiative leader Mustafa Barghouti says, "Popular Resistance needs a strong push to awaken again, Recently, its weakness is evident in recent activities, and we need to find how viable it is to awaken this option.

Barghouti noted that the amount of money pouring in to help the "popular resistance" in a way weakens and spoils it,  saying that they do not need material support, but the active participation of people.

Walid Assaf, head of a group that opposed the security barrier, acknowledged that everyone is falling short in supporting the popular resistance.

Observers believe that the "knife intifada" that erupted in late 2015 also hurt the "popular resistance" movement because Palestinians were more enthusiastic over using more violent options.

The photos accompanying the article show the more entertaining "popular resistance" activities, which make it fairly obvious that most Palestinians don't want to look like clowns just to get some extra media exposure.

The weekly Bil'in protests definitely seem to have lost their steam. While last Friday's attracted hundreds as the 12th anniversary of the protests, in recent months the weekly events have been attracting only a couple dozen lethargic people (and some enthusiastic fire-burners and slingshotters) as this video from January shows.

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Monday, February 20, 2017

From Ian:

NGO Monitor: The need to regulate the lucrative ‘war crimes’ industry
Israeli military and political officials are also subject to campaigns seeking to criminalize counter-terrorism. In 2010, Judge Richard Goldstone acknowledged that an inquiry into the 2008-2009 Gaza conflict that he chaired under the auspices of the United Nations Human Rights Council, was based on invented allegations. After putting his name on a 500-page report that recycled rumors and unverified “testimony,” Goldstone wrote that there was no evidence to support claims of deliberate killing. His reputation and career were destroyed.
Goldstone’s bogus report, like the UK scandal, was the product of the lucrative and well-funded “war crimes” industry, led by dozens of powerful non-governmental organizations (NGOs) claiming to promote human rights. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) are among the main culprits. Founded to campaign for political prisoners, neither had any knowledge of the complexities of counter-terrorism when they reinvented themselves as experts on war crimes and interpreters of the law of armed conflict.
This agenda is the basis for large grants from government officials and private foundations, and also fits the radical anti-Western and anti-democratic ideologies of NGO leaders. The ranks of Amnesty, HRW and the numerous local groups that focus on the Arab-Israel conflict are filled with individuals who fervently believe that the world is divided automatically into colonialists and “victims,” with the democratic West as the former, and everyone else as the latter. NGO “research reports,” often based on rumors or lies, as in the case of the UK soldiers in Iraq, are taken at face value. Since few journalists and government officials understand international humanitarian law, and even fewer are able to verify any of the “war crimes” claims related to anti-terror operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, and elsewhere, the NGO version of events is generally repeated without challenge.
In order to prevent abuses, the leaders of the “war crimes” industry, and government funds they receive, must be subject to much closer regulation and oversight. Journalists have the professional obligation to independently examine evidence before giving the allegations and reports credence. Similarly, diplomats and members of parliaments would be well advised to examine the accusations closely, and ensure that international legal structures, created for exceptional cases of bringing murderous dictators to justice, are not exploited and trivialized.
New wave of bomb threats at Jewish centers across US
At least 10 Jewish community centers across the United States were targeted with bomb threats on Monday, for the fourth time in five weeks.
The threats have been called in to JCCs across the country, according to Paul Goldenberg, the director of Secure Community Network — an affiliate of the Jewish Federations of North America that advises Jewish groups and institutions on security.
News reports indicated that threats were received by JCCs in St. Paul, Minnesota; Houston, Texas; Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Birmingham, Alabama.
The threats were called in on Monday morning. It is not known if they were live calls or recorded.
Israel's Public Relations: The Problem and the Solution
It is worth noting that the Jewish State was effectively created through the efforts of the countries of the world in San Remo and Geneva years prior to the Holocaust.
Jerusalem, except for fewer than 200 years in the 11th and 12th Centuries, when it was the capital of a short-lived Crusader State, has only been a capital city under Jewish rule. At other times since the Roman conquest it was not even considered by Muslims, or anyone else, a provincial city of consequence.
In the War of 1948-49, Jordan illegally seized Jerusalem, ethnically cleansed its Jewish inhabitants, destroyed all the synagogues and on top of the ancient sacred Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, after taking ancient Jewish headstones to use as the floor of latrines, Jordan built a hotel.
The aggression by Egypt, Syria and Jordan in June 1967 was overturned by Israel. Israel liberated Jerusalem, took control of the Golan Heights, from which Syrians had been shooting down at Israeli farmers, and entered the West Bank, which was under illegal Jordanian occupation.
Anti-Apartheid movements in South Africa wanted equal political and other democratic rights for all -- irrespective of race -- but never advocated the destruction of South Africa.

  • Monday, February 20, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
Residents of Israeli Arab towns like Umm al-Fahm and Tira are upset.

Israeli police acted like police do in every democracy and visited the schools to tell the children about their jobs and foster understanding.

They even handed out coloring books with friendly police officers:

Parents of the students are complaining, according to Arab Israeli news site Arab48.

The distribution of the coloring books "sparked outrage among parents," where they said they would refuse acceding to these "twisted methods carried out by the police to spruce up their image among students in primary schools specifically targeted to attract students to the profession of the police."

Principals are banding together to repulse what they are calling, seriously, "militarization of schools."

The article notes that this is also an attempt to impose "Israelization" on the younger generations, with the police claiming that they serve the people.

One parent leader complained that he felt that Israel, which recently decided to allocated 15 billion shekels to Arab education, is insisting that some of this money goes towards normalization projects like these - to make Arabs feel more Israeli. Which, of course, they are. He wants the billions of shekels with no strings as to how to spend them.

People claim - with some justification, unfortunately - that Israel treats its Arabs like second-class citizens. Yet here is an example of what happens when Israel tries to treat Arab students exactly the same as Jewish students.

You can't have it both ways. Any Arabs who want to be accepted as equals in Israeli society need to accept  that they have responsibilities as well. And if they refuse the responsibilities, they cannot claim the benefits.

I believe that there are plenty of Israeli Arabs who understand this, but their voices are muted by the ones who scream about how awful it is that Israelis try to improve rocky relations between Arab youth and police.

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The pro-Israel community has long struggled against media coverage that distorts or misrepresents facts. While these efforts are often dismissed as partisan “hasbara” designed to make Israel look better than it deserves, fact-checking has become rather fashionable during the divisive US election campaign that ended – to the surprise and shock of the unsuspecting mainstream media – with Donald Trump’s victory. Yet, in these times of Trump, fact-checking is usually employed to discredit the new US administration and its supporters. I don’t really have a problem with this, but at the same time, I can’t help noticing that what is now widely called “the resistance” to the Trump administration is hardly ever thought worthy of fact-checking, no matter how bizarre the claims and “narratives” are that emanate from associated groups or individuals.

A recent Washington Post article on Linda Sarsour is a good case in point: it’s an amazing puff piece that presents Sarsour as “one of the highest-profile Muslim American activists in the country” who is bravely enduring “an onslaught of personal attacks through social media and conservative news outlets.” According to the paper’s “reporter” Michael Alison Chandler, the ambitious Sarsour – who once wanted to become “the first hijabi mayor of New York City” and who now plans to write a book and is even contemplating “a possible bid for Congress” –  is being smeared by “critics [who] have attempted to tie her to terrorist groups, called her anti-Semitic and accused her of infiltrating the liberal movement.”

Needless to say, the people who vilify poor Linda Sarsour so unfairly in turn richly deserve to be vilified by Sarsour and her supporters. Thus, Chandler allows Sarsour to airily dismiss a vile tweet she posted in 2011 fantasizing about Brigitte Gabriel and Ayaan Hirsi Ali “asking 4 an a$$ whippin’” and expressing the “wish” to “take their vaginas away” because “they don’t deserve to be women.” All Sarsour has to do now is to shrug off her vicious outburst as “stupid” and to dismiss it as simply a reflection of her being “a brash New Yorker.” An open threat against Brigitte Gabriel also posted by Sarsour remained unmentioned; likewise, her declaration that “White women” were regrettably slow to understand “that we do not need to be saved by them” was politely ignored now that Sarsour so obviously enjoys the fawning praise heaped on her by a whole lot of “White women.” And it is surely safer to admire Sarsour, given that she recently asked her fans to pray in support of her and then re-tweeted one of the heartfelt prayers: “#IPrayForLinda May God fortify her and strike down her enemies where they stand.”

While Washington Post readers weren’t told anything about fervent prayers to “strike down” Linda Sarsour’s “enemies,” they did learn that Sarsour regards Gabriel and Hirsi Ali as “notorious Islamophobes who are working for the right wing” and that the Southern Poverty Law Center largely agrees with Sarsour’s views, considering her a victim of bigoted efforts to vilify American Muslims.
Since obviously only truly terrible people would criticize Sarsour, the Washington Post’s Chandler apparently saw no reason to explain that “many” of Sarsour’s “accusers” suspect her of advocating Sharia because she posted several tweets extolling the supposed virtues of Islamic Sharia law. And even though a Snopes article published almost two weeks before Chandler’s piece shows that Sarsour avoided a direct answer to the question if she would ever “vote for Sharia Law in the United States,” Sarsour is simply allowed to claim that “she does not think sharia law should supplant American laws.” Washington Post readers are assured that just “like many other U.S. Muslims,” Sarsour supposedly regards Sharia only “as a guide” for her “private religious practice:” “I don’t eat pork […] “I don’t drink alcohol. I pray five times a day.” Later on Sarsour acknowledges that “[t]here are Muslims and regimes that oppress women,” but she immediately adds: “I believe that my religion is an empowering religion […] I wear hijab by choice.”

Of course, Sarsour can wear her hijab by choice only because she is living in a country that is not governed by Sharia law. In countries where Sharia law is enforced, not even feminist Swedish politicians dare to choose not to wear a hijab. And in countries where Sharia law is enforced, even non-Muslims don’t have necessarily the choice to eat pork, while Muslims who might fancy a drink risk heavy lashing or even a death sentence.

Sarsour may regard Sharia law only “as a guide” for her “private religious practice,” but she knows full well that in countries where it is enforced, it results in horrendous oppression and human rights violations. So why not hold Sarsour to her own standards: since she believes that “silence makes you complicit,” she should be expected to speak out about the enforced social conformity and the cruelty that result when Sharia is actually the law of the land.

Yet, Sarsour has even claimed that “shariah law is reasonable and once u read into the details it makes a lot of sense.”

Since Sarsour often emphasizes her Palestinian identity, it is noteworthy that the Palestinians are also very positive about Sharia. The graphic below, based on surveys by Pew, illustrates what Sharia means for Palestinians – maybe the next “reporter” tempted to write a puff piece on Sarsour can ask her if she considers this “reasonable”?

I could also think of several questions that reporters who are eager to show a skeptical public that the media can be trusted to report impartially could ask Linda Sarsour.
Sarsour has suggested that America is a nation built on “Genocide & slavery,” a comment she later claimed was “in response to a bigot who told me Islam is evil.” So what does Sarsour think about the countless horrors perpetrated in the wars of conquest that spread Islam far beyond its birthplace on the Arabian Peninsula? And what about the fact that Sharia law justifies slavery, in particular the enslavement of prisoners taken in jihad?

Sarsour has also opined that “Nothing is creepier than Zionism.” In other words, as far as Sarsour is concerned, nothing is creepier than the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. Given Sarsours’s frequent emphasis on her Palestinians identity and the fact that she has relatives and family friends who were (or still are) serving lengthy prison sentences in Israel – likely for involvement in terrorist activity –, and given that her brother-in-law was reportedly serving a 12-year sentence because he was “accused of being an activist in the Hamas,” it would be interesting to know how Sarsour feels about Hamas: is the Islamist terror group, with its notorious genocidal fascist charter, a lot less “creepy” than Zionism?

There also has been some speculation about Sarsour’s potential family connections to the known Hamas supporters Salah and Jamil Sarsour – perhaps an enterprising reporter could clear up if there is anything to these speculations?

Moreover, since Linda Sarsour has skillfully used her family to shape her public image, it is certainly legitimate to ask some related questions. So we know that her brother-in-law was sentenced to prison in Israel as a Hamas member or supporter; we also know that in 2004, “her Palestinian husband, after seven years in America, faced deportation proceedings.” Was her husband also suspected of being a Hamas supporter or member, and was he actually deported from the US?

If Sarsour’s husband had spent seven years in America by 2004, he arrived there in 1997. Sarsour, who was born in 1980, was then 17 years old, and we know from an Al Jazeera profile of her that, “At 17, still in high school, she had an arranged marriage and began wearing hijab.” This means that she “had” – or perhaps was forced into – an arranged marriage with a Palestinian who had just arrived in the US. We also know from a 2005 article (archived here) that Sarsour “met her future husband when he paid her family a visit with his extended family in tow and a $10,000 dowry.” The article identifies Sarsour’s husband as Maher Judh from the West Bank town of El-bireh and says that he works in a grocery store in Brooklyn, indicating that he was apparently not deported in 2004.

In the 2005 article, Sarsour describes her family as a “traditional Muslim family whose conservative ways were less a result of religion, but more about maintaining a good standing in the community.” She also seems to see nothing wrong with her arranged marriage at 17, telling the reporter back then: “I am 25 years old, married with three kids, and I was married in an arranged marriage, and that happened right here in Brooklyn […] People always say, ‘What! Most people don’t get married until they are 30,’ and I say ‘not my people.’”

So apparently, Sarsour felt at the time that it re-affirmed her Palestinian identity to get married so young in an arranged marriage. She also seems to have no misgivings about the fact – which she relates in the Al Jazeera profile – that her parents sent her to a terrible high school and deprived her of the chance to attend a program for gifted students because she “was the first [child of seven] in the family” and for her parents, “it wasn’t about better. It was about proximity to the house.” However, as noted in a glowing New York Times profile from 2015, Sarsour “grew up helping her mother babysit and shop.”

A girl growing up in America at the end of the 20th century being denied educational advancement by her parents, who instead use her as a babysitter for her six siblings and then marry her off at the earliest possible time would presumably be regarded by most of Sarsour’s feminist admirers as a very tragic case. As much as I disagree with Sarsour’s politics, I think one can only admire her for the tenaciousness with which she avoided her apparent destiny of a life restricted to being an obedient wife who would bear her husband children and perhaps eventually find some sort of low-level job. At the same time, I think Sarsour has good reason to “sometimes … feel duplicitous” because of what she reportedly called “her internal quest to prove she can be both progressive and traditional.”

The Washington Post identifies the author of the puff piece on Sarsour as a “reporter” who “writes about families, gender and religion.” Sarsour is certainly a fascinating person to write about for someone focusing on these issues – pity that Michael Alison Chandler took the easy way out and chose to simply add to the growing list of tributes that are ultimately only slightly more sophisticated versions of the “prayer” Sarsour liked so much: “#IPrayForLinda May God fortify her and strike down her enemies where they stand.”  

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From Ian:

PMW: PA wipes Israel off the map PA and Fatah leaders disseminate map of "Palestine" denying Israel's existence.(19/02/2017)
At his joint press conference with President Trump last Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated:
"The Palestinians must recognize the Jewish state. They have to stop calling for Israel's destruction. They have to stop educating their people for Israel's destruction." [White House website]
Indeed, far from educating its people towards a two-state solution, the Palestinian Authority leadership encourages its people to anticipate a future in which Israel no longer exists. In every context, the PA's map of "Palestine" completely erases Israel from the map.
Palestinian Media Watch has found maps of "Palestine" in school books, on honorary plaques, in ministerial offices and on sculptures in public places.
Below are several recent examples of PA leaders with such plaques:
Melanie Phillips: Hope for a real solution No wonder Europe's dismayed
The Palestinians’ strategy therefore lies in ruins. In Gaza, an even harder Hamas hard man has now come to power who doubtless will redouble efforts to rain down missiles upon Israeli citizens. Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority thought it was so clever in pretending, by contrast, to have clean hands by adopting the diplomatic route to destroy Israel – courtesy of the UN and with a nod and a wink from the Obama administration. Now they are staring at a UN which itself is suddenly all too aware that its own hate-mongering, extermination-conniving party may finally be over.
Moreover, developments in the region mean that the Palestinians suddenly find themselves friendless in the Arab world. Their usefulness as the devilish threat to be cynically brandished in order to protect Arab rulers against the fury of their own enslaved populations has come to an abrupt end. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, now engaged in a fight to the death against Iran, are building an alliance with none other than the State of Israel; and now also with America.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Adel al Jubeir, today accused Iran of being ”the single main sponsor of terrorism in the world”. He went on: “We look forward to working with the Trump administration on all issues. I believe progress can be made in the Arab Israel conflict, if there is a will to do so. We know what the settlement looks like, if there is just the political will to do so. And my country stands ready with other Arab countries to work to see how we can promote that.”
Of course there can be no illusions about Saudi Arabia, the primary source of Sunni Islamic radicalisation and the principal exporter of jihadi Islamism around the world. And the previous Saudi peace initiative was an elephant trap. Nevertheless, between these tectonic regional shifts and the hurricane in the White House, the Middle East log-jam has been smashed. There is accordingly now more hope for a just and realistic solution to the Arab war against Israel than there has ever been.
No wonder Europe is so dismayed.
IsraellyCool: Private Palestinian Land #FakeNews
If Hitler gave the Eiffel Tower to Eichmann and his son showed up claiming it, would you call it “Private German Land”?
It seems the combined might of all the anti-Israel NGOs financed by such bodies as J-Street, the New Israel Fund (NIF) and the various anti-Israel arms of the European Union and the UN have all got one central talking point to delegitimise the perfectly natural building of Jewish homes, schools, businesses and other signs of progress in the Jewish heartlands of Judea and Samaria.
Their favourite term is “private Palestinian land”.
Most of what the radical left and the left wing Israeli Courts call “Private Palestinian Land” comes from deeds handed out by the King of Jordan during his illegal occupation from 1949 to 1967. He would gift parcels of land to anyone who’d take it and then demand land taxes! Most never walked on or developed their land and few paid the taxes. It is land claims like these that form the bedrock of the lawfare efforts by anti-Israel NGOs such as the one which resulted in the residents of Amona being thrown out of their homes.
It’s not a perfect analogy, none is, but if Hitler had handed out bits of Paris to his friends and their children showed up today and claimed them, calling them “private German land” would make just as much sense.

  • Monday, February 20, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
The latest statistics from the Action Group for Palestinians from Syria say:

- At least 3,443 Palestinians, including 455 women, were killed in war-torn Syria.
- 1,164 Palestinian refugees, including 83 women, are incarcerated in Syrian government lock-ups.
- Yarmouk refugee camp has been blockaded by the Syrian regime army and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC) for 1,339 days in a row.
- 190 Palestinians died of undernourishment and medical neglect in the blockaded Yarmouk Camp.
- Over 79,000 Palestinian Syrian refugees fled to Europe until mid 2016.
- 31,000 Palestinians from Syria are housed in Lebanon.
- 17,000 Palestinians from Syria are taking refuge in Jordan.
- 6,000 Palestinian-Syrian refugees are sheltered in Egypt.
- 8,000 Palestinian-Syrian refugees are taking shelter in Turkey.
- 1,000 Palestinian-Syrian refugees are sheltered in the blockaded Gaza Strip. 

Of course, the media (as well as Arab media) reports very little about Palestinian victims in Syria. One of the reasons is that a Palestinian group, the PFLP-GC, is actively starving the Palestinians in Yarmouk! In fact they have fought anti-Assad Palestinian forces over the years

Of the 79,000 Syrians of Palestinian descent who have made it to Europe, I'm nearly certain that none of them have been taken off the UNRWA rolls. We already know that about 200,000 Palestinians from Lebanon have left, many to Europe, and UNRWA still counts them as "registered refugees."

I have seen a few articles about Syrian Palestinians fleeing to Gaza, but I am still not sure how they got in. A few smuggled themselves in through tunnels during Morsi's reign in Egypt, but certainly not a thousand. Perhaps when Egypt briefly opened the Rafah crossing in those days they came in from Egypt.

The numbers of Palestinians who fled to Jordan have stayed pretty static for the past couple of years. Apparently Jordan is not accepting more Palestinians from Syria.

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  • Monday, February 20, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
Suzanne Schneider, a historian, writes in the Forward that there is a history of Zionists cooperating with Nazis and that today's pro-Israel, pro-Trump people are in that same mold.

I've seen articles like this before, but usually in Arab media, modern antisemitic sites like Mondoweiss or in the doctoral thesis of Mahmoud Abbas. 

But when the Jewish Daily Forward publishes this, it takes on an entirely new dimension of disgust.

Though the scope of destruction was not yet known in the 1930’s and early 1940’s, many nevertheless find it astounding that there were attempts by right-wing Zionists during these years to establish ties with Nazi Germany. Numerous scholars have noted the fascist sympathies of certain members of the Revisionist Zionist camp, who bitterly feuded with mainstream Zionists and denounced them as Bolsheviks. The antipathy was apparently mutual, as David Ben-Gurion in 1933 published a work that described Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the founder of the Revisionist movement, as treading in the footsteps of Hitler. The Zionist Right’s flirtation with fascism reached its tragic peak in 1941 when Lehi, Avraham Stern’s paramilitary splinter group, approached Otto Von Hentig, a German diplomat, to propose cooperation between the nationally rooted Hebraic movement in Palestine and the German state. Nazi Germany declined his generous offer, having stumbled across quite a different “solution” to the question of Jewish existence.
That first phrase is Schneider's "get out of jail free card" to avoid directly calling Zionists Nazi-sympathizers. Because that is the entire point: there was huge controversy among Zionists, both in the right and the left,  in the early days of Nazi Germany, when everyone knew that Hitler was an antisemite but few imagined that he was aiming at murdering millions of Jews. The goal of the Zionists from both the mainstream and the revisionist side was to save Jewish lives, period, and Schneider's ex post facto attempt to link Zionist and Nazi goals is beyond disgusting.

I wrote about this last year when I noted that anti-Israel writers were cherry-picking articles about Zionist-Nazi cooperation without noting that in some cases, the lives of tens of thousands of Jews were saved because of it.

For many centrists and liberals, the idea of Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon working together causes endless confusion: How could the descendent of Holocaust survivors find common cause with the ideological leader of the alt-right?
... It has been with this history in mind that I approach contemporary debates about Donald Trump’s presidency and the alliance it fosters between members of the white nationalist “alt-right” on one hand, and a certain segment of American Jews, on the other. The argument that the latter should work with the former because they all share a commitment to “Greater Israel” belies the fact that not all allies, or alliances, are created equal. When Richard Spencer voices his admiration of Zionism (because, in his understanding, the movement stands first and foremost for racial homogeneity), we should realize that this is not incidental to his suggestion that America might be better off with a peaceful ethnic cleansing of those population segments that are not of white, European descent. Do American Jews really believe that they will pass muster within such a state? And are the swastikas and other acts of intimidation that have been so abundant since Trump’s victory really just peaceful incentives to realize that our true home is in a land far, far away?
Bannon is certainly controversial, but I have searched through the Breitbart archives when he was editor and have not seen a single piece of evidence that he harbors any antisemitic feelings. Neither has Alan Dershowitz. His own Jewish coworkers have hotly disputed that idea as well. Bannon certainly has problems with liberal Jews who attack Israel from that perspective, as do I, but to conflate him with unapologetic antisemites like Richard Spencer as this article does is simply slander. No one in the Trump administration supports Richard Spencer and to pretend that they do is another manifestation of what Schneider does with history: libel by analogy rather than considered disagreement based on facts.

There is plenty of room to disagree with the Trump administration based on its actual words and actions. But people like Schneider, and by extension the Forward, prefer to attack  a segment of Jewry by creating smarmy associations between the people they have political disagreements with and Nazis.

I don't like throwing around the term antisemitism loosely, but is it any less antisemitic to falsely associate right-wing Zionist Jews with Nazis than it is for more modern antisemites associate Israeli policies with Nazi Germany? Both of them revel in the false irony of Jews supposedly acting like their persecutors.

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

  • Sunday, February 19, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
Haaretz has a piece about how a large number of artists are coming to perform in Israel this year despite the BDS movement:
It’s been years since music lovers in Israel have had the opportunity to enjoy so many performers from overseas. A partial list of artists scheduled to perform here this summer includes Radiohead, the Pixies, Justin Bieber, Aerosmith, Guns and Roses, Rod Stewart, Nick Cave, Tears for Fears, Grandaddy, Jose Gonzalez, Fatboy Slim, Jean-Michel Jarre, Paul Young, Vanessa Mae, Emir Kusturica and Ace of Base. The list could include other top performers who have had good runs in Israel in recent years, including the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Alice Cooper, Rihanna, Sia and Elton John.
Most Israeli producers say that the boycotters like Roger Waters have failed:
 Guy Besser, one of the owners of Blue Stone Productions, the company bringing over Guns and Roses and Aerosmith, says, “The boycott has only marginal influence on artists, and the ones who do come here leave as goodwill ambassadors. After their performance they realize that there is a huge gap between what they were told as part of the pressure they were subjected to and the local reality. We notice the weakening of the boycott from year to year, with Israel becoming a legitimate venue for performances. Ultimately, music vanquishes politics.”
But Haaretz also had to interview BDSers as well. Like Ronnie Barkan:
Ronnie Barkan, one of the prominent BDS activists in Israel, is certain that the boycott movement has great impact on Israel’s cultural agenda. “The success of the BDS campaign – a Palestinian campaign that became a guideline for activity promoting justice, liberty and equality across the world – far exceeds what we envisaged at the outset."
What noble goals! How is he measuring success?
“One can note a significant change in the way the world perceives Israel. It’s now seen as a leper state maintaining a cruel occupation, apartheid and a colonial enterprise. This is what is believed on all campuses in the United States and even in some Jewish communities there. Communities are becoming increasingly critical of Israel’s crimes, with the fastest-growing organization being the Jewish Voice for Peace...
Here he admits the entire point of BDS is to portray Israel as a "leper state maintaining a cruel occupation, apartheid and a colonial enterprise."

That, in the sick mind of the haters of BDS, is "success."

Unlike most boycotts, the boycott isn't the point. They aren't trying to hurt Israel economically. The demonization of Israel as a whole is the point.

They don't care about helping Palestinians. They only want the world to associate Israel reflexively with unrelenting evil.

This is why they hate news stories that show Israeli Jews as anything other than greedy, land-grabbing, cruel warmongers. Anything that makes Israeli Jews seem human must be countered with their hate.

It is very simple. BDS is about crazed, irrational hate, that has far more in common with antisemitism than with human rights. And Ronnie Barkan shows this perfectly.

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  • Sunday, February 19, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

A new antisemitic Syrian TV series is in production.

The 30-episode series, "Warda Shamiyya", features famous actor Muhammad Kheir Al-Jarrah portraying a Shylock-type Jew in Damascus.

His greedy Jewish character, named "Shalit," is a miser who makes his money with fraud, deceit and usury.

But don't call them antisemitic.

(h/t Ibn Boutros)

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From Ian:

The case of disappearing support
This is precisely why the Arab world downplayed the meeting and its results, as if Trump's new approach to regional issues had nothing to do with the Arab nations and perhaps even served their purposes. A new approach to regional issues, one that differs from that of President Barack Obama, would most likely be in line with Egypt's interests, as Cairo has had enough of the criticism Washington has leveled at it since President Mohammed Morsi's ouster, as well as with Saudi Arabia's interests, as Riyadh had demanded a tougher American stance against Iran.
The Arab world has apparently turned its back on the Palestinian issue, which nevertheless still preoccupies the Arab public and could always be used as a means to blow off the steam of criticism usually aimed at Arab regimes or the West. However, the days when Arab countries were willing to indiscriminately sacrifice their interests for the Palestinian cause are gone. Moreover, the Palestinians themselves are divided between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, and the latter is reluctant to embrace a realistic approach that could promote its interests.
In the absence of support from Arab nations, Europe has stepped up to criticize Trump's actions, as they stand to undermine the European endeavor to play any role in Middle East politics. Nevertheless, with the European Union fraying at the seams, Europe is not a significant factor.
Thus, the Palestinians must now re-evaluate their policy. Hamas has already chosen its path by electing hard-liner Yahya Sinwar, a senior member of Hamas' military wing in Gaza, as its leader in the enclave. The Palestinian Authority, on the other hand, could take its chances and resume the peace talks with Israel, as such steps have proven as the best way to move forward. However, if its leaders continue to idle, they may find the have missed their chance.
Haley’s Comet
"A star is born is our reaction to the first press briefing by President Trump's new ambassador at the United Nations...
The ambassador had just come from the regular monthly Security Council on Middle East issues. She said it was her first such meeting, and 'it was a bit strange.' The Security Council, she said, is supposed to discuss how to maintain international peace and security. But the meeting, she said, was not about Hezbollah's illegal buildup of rockets in Lebanon, it was not about the money and weapons Iran provides to terrorists, it was not how we defeat ISIS, it was not how we hold Beshar al-Assad accountable for the slaughter of thousands of civilians.
'No,' she said, 'instead the meeting focused on criticizing Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East. I am new around here, but I understand that's how the Council has operated month after month for decades. I am here to say the United States will not turn a blind eye to this anymore. I am here to underscore to the ironclad support of the United States for Israel. I am here to emphasize that the United States is determined to stand up to the U.N.'s anti-Israel bias.'
The ambassador made clear that the Trump administration will not support the kind of resolution from which the Obama administration's ambassador - Samantha Power - shamefully abstained, though Mrs. Haley was too polite to name the humiliated Ms. Power...
The ambassador warned that it is 'the U.N.'s anti-Israel bias that is long overdue for change,' and said America will not hesitate to speak out in defense of its friend in Israel...She has the principles of a Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the grit of a John Bolton, and the star power of a Jeane Kirkpatrick, and in her first press briefing she certainly made her point."
Rubio questions David Friedman at ambassador to Israel hearing

"He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche 
"In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming." - H.P. Lovecraft

Welcome to the new American moment of rising white nationalism, anarchist violence in the streets, and an irate progressive-left that refuses to reconcile itself to the fact of a Donald Trump presidency.

It is not merely that the Left disagrees with Trump on policy issues, it is that they have aggregated that hatred into the core of the sun for the purpose of creating nuclear fusion.

This is a level of domestic collective political hostility that no living American has seen before and nobody knows what it will produce beyond getting an autistic white kid tortured in Chicago, among other such imbecilic acts of identity politics-based violence and cruelty.

One would have to travel back to early 1860s Savannah, Georgia to gloriously revel in this degree of rancor for the President of the United States and for people of the wrong color.

When I was a kid the Left despised Richard Nixon and when he died in 1994 Hunter S. Thompson wrote an obituary for The Atlantic that twisted the knife even in death. In "He Was a Crook," Thompson wrote:
I have had my own bloody relationship with Nixon for many years, but I am not worried about it landing me in hell with him. I have already been there with that bastard, and I am a better person for it. Nixon had the unique ability to make his enemies seem honorable, and we developed a keen sense of fraternity. Some of my best friends have hated Nixon all their lives. My mother hates Nixon, my son hates Nixon, I hate Nixon, and this hatred has brought us together.
But even Nixon, despite the secret bombing of Cambodia, was not as reviled as Donald J. Trump is today.

In college many of my friends did not much like Ronald Reagan, either, but we did not dress head-to-toe in black - almost like tight-fitting burkas, if you think about it - and then form ourselves into "black blocs" for the purpose of beating the holy hell out of perfectly innocent people in the streets.

And that is precisely what we saw when Milo Yiannapolous dropped by UC Berkeley on his "Dangerous Faggot Tour."

And then, of course, there was George W. Bush, the "Cowboy President" who allegedly robbed Al Gore of his rightful ascension and who followed in George Sr.'s footsteps by dragging the United States into more pointless warring in the Middle East. So we bitched and we moaned and we cried and we marched and some of us even went to Midland, Texas to say hello to Cindy Sheehan at "Camp Casey" not far from W.'s ranch.

Nazis, Klansmen, and Fascists

So, why does the disdain for Trump seem so much more angry and intense than these other examples of famous American presidential loathing? It is in part because while those who dislike Trump are loudly spreading their hatred, the rest of the country is quietly going about its daily business. Recent polling shows that something close to 50 percent of Americans actually favor the temporary ban from the countries of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, and Libya. My assumption is that, like all rational westerners, these people take the rise of political Islam seriously. Some of them follow the news of the immigration crisis in Europe. 

One would not get this sense from the overall mainstream media, nor the alternative media, because the drumbeat of fear and loathing is so relentless one would surely think that almost every ethically-decent American considers the temporary ban as on some moral par with the unjust internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II.

So, why have so many Americans gone stone-cold crazy? Why are so many otherwise normal and intelligent people bursting with horror at this particular political moment?

The reason has to do with Nazis, Klansmen, and fascists.

Homophobes, Islamophobes, and Antisemites.

Sexists, Transphobes, and all other manner of benighted Arkansas pig farmers.

That's why.

When The Enemy - as embodied by the hideous yammering visage of Donald Trump - represents the very worst that unearthly existence can manifest then there are no ethical limits on behavior in beating back the terrible cosmic menace. A righteous moral stance cannot include mere disapproval or protest, but full on resistance by any means necessary... however bloody, hypocritical, or devoid of simple human decency.

And if Democrats and progressives prefer not to get their hands dirty, that's what the Boys in Black are for. Perhaps if they curb-stomp enough Trumpeteers it will serve as notice to the rest to stay out of sight and keep their white-bread, humanist-individualist, Judeo-Christian yaps shut.

And make no mistake, Trump did not magically transform into Zombie Hitler - or the monster of your choice - through his own behavior.

He was transmogrified into Zombie Hitler by a Democratic Party leadership that had grown so confident, fat, and self-satisfied that only a spectral fascist could possibly stall their well-meaning efforts to change America into a semi-socialist enclave of sneauxflakes and drones. If the Democrats decided that they are "the good people" and the Republicans are "the bad people" then they decided that Donald Trump is Cthulhu, a multi-tentacled, insatiable, monstrosity from the Deep... or a Zombie Nazi... choose whichever you like.

And this is why the self-righteous Idiots in Black took to the streets of UC Berkeley to beat the holy hell out of Trump supporters at the Milo event.

What else can you do to a supporter of fascism other than kick its head in in an anti-free-speech riot in the place most famous as home of the Free Speech Movement?

Race, Gender, Class

In the years between the end of the Vietnam War and the present, the progressive-left (or what political youtube icon Dave Rubin refers to as the "regressive-left") took the best ideas that American politics has to offer and turned them into mierda.

Questions of racial, gendered, and economic-class injustices go directly to the heart of the western political experience. From a liberal humanist perspective there is nothing more important than treating human beings as individuals with rights rather than as some annoying or frightening member of an othered group to be treated like dirt.

The fundamental purpose of movements for ethnic and gendered freedom was to relieve all of us of the burden of never-ending bigoted and unjust animosities. In Martin Luther King's iconic "I Have a Dream" speech, that was the dream.

But no sooner had this dream approached reality than the Left turned it into a weapon and betrayed its core values in doing so.

And this is where Hillary Clinton, her "basket of deplorables," and some ridiculous grinning green frog named Pepe, comes into the story.

During the campaign, and much to Bernie Sanders' ongoing annoyance, the drums of race and gender beat considerably harder and louder than those of economic class. Activists in the Democratic Party and the progressive-left who wanted to challenge the allegedly brutal, racist, white, patriarchal, imperialist, rape-culture of America were torn between Hillary's neo-liberalism and Sanders' anti-capitalism.

So, when Hillary, who we all knew was going to get the nomination despite Sanders' admirable challenge, decided to smack Trump around with Breitbart and white nationalism she unleashed The Fear into the American population on a national scale. The next thing that we knew Facebook and Twitter and God-Knows-What-All overflowed with rumors of gun-toting, Republican-voting, Nazi-sympathizing, angry, white guys prowling the streets of America as swastikas popped up all over the media like psilocybin mushrooms after a good rain.

The fact that there are no actual Nazis, Klansmen or fascists within the ranks of American power was not about to stop a good case of mass hysteria, however, so Team Hillary dug up Richard Spencer, tied Spencer to Breitbart, and threw both into the face of Donald Trump.

And they did so even as Milo darted between American university campuses humiliating idiots and referring to Trump as "Daddy." It is thus not difficult to see just why they would despise the guy and thereby smear him as a Nazi.

The truth, however, is that this sort of manichean, black-and-white, Good versus Evil, partisan politics is ripping this country to pieces. It's harming families and friendships.

Of course, if it makes people happy, they should continue spitting the hate.

I may find it interesting in a perverse and twisted kind of way, but it's certainly not doing the country any good.

Michael Lumish is a blogger at the Israel Thrives blog as well as a regular contributor/blogger at Times of Israel and Jews Down Under.

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