Saturday, April 30, 2011

New Palileaks Reading Confirms Israeli Narrative of Olmert-Abbas Negotiations

According to the new reading of the Palestine Papers,
Erekat made the Jerusalem remakrs, 'in his private capacity.'

You would be hard pressed to find much mention in the MSM of the Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East (Fair Witness) analysis of Al Jazeera's Palestine Papers -- Palileaks -- that show that the received wisdom circulating about Palestinian readiness to concede on the major obstacles were exaggerated, to say the least. With the Palestinians lobbying the universe for acceptance of a self-declared state on the basis that reaching an agreement with Israel is impossible and pointing to how close they were to reaching an agreement with Ehud Olmert, it is crucial that this report makes its way into the mainstream.

Have a look at the Fair Witness website for a detailed analysis of the Palileaks docs. This organization is a welcome liberal counterweight to the generally hostile mainstream Protestant and Catholic churches and I hope they will be gaining notice, especially as annual conferences assemble with the usual Israel-boycotters hijacking agendas.

As summarized in the Jerusalem Post, the Fair Witness report contends that, especially on land swaps, Jerusalem and the Right of Return, Mahmood Abbas etal weren't really all that agreeable:

“The key concession that the Palestinians were reported to have made was control over Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem. Al Jazeera broadcast that the Palestinians had offered to “let Israel keep all but one of the Jewish enclaves it built in East Jerusalem,” referring to Har Homa, and settlements over the Green Line amounting to some 2 percent of the land controlled by Jordan between 1948 and 1967.

But Christians for Fair Witness found that the Palestine Papers did not indicate that Abbas made a counter- offer to Olmert’s August 31 proposal. They revealed documents indicating that the Palestinians had decided ahead of the final Olmert-Abbas meeting on September 16 not to issue a counter-offer at that meeting and that Abbas had been advised by his team to wait to respond until George W. Bush was out of the White House.

A December 2, 2008, memo indicated that in response to Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs David Welch’s question about Olmert’s offer, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told Welch that “We offered a 2% swap that would allow 70% of the settlers to remain.”

But the 2% figure is not mentioned at all in either a September 16, 2008, memo of “talking points” for Abbas at his final meeting with Olmert, or a September 22, 2008, memo of “Palestinian Talking Points Regarding Israeli Proposal.” Therefore, it appears that the 2% figure did not play a part in the Palestinian thinking about possible responses to Olmert’s package offer. Moreover, there is no indication whatsoever of this figure having been presented to Olmert post-September 16, 2008.

“Nowhere in the Palestine Papers is there any indication that Abbas ever communicated this ‘counter-offer’ of a ‘2% swap’ – or any other – to Olmert,” the organization wrote.

“And while the Palestinians had memos and maps outlining the Israeli offer in detail, there is no documentation in the Palestine Papers of the parameters of a counter-offer designed to respond to this offer.”

THE SECOND concession the Palestinians reportedly made in the talks with Olmert involved the fate of the Temple Mount and the Holy Basin.

“The [PA] proposed international control of the key Jerusalem holy site,” the reports said.

But the documents revealed by Christians for Fair Witness found that Al Jazeera had wrongly portrayed the international control over the Holy Basin as an official PA proposal. In the document, Erekat told American diplomats – and not Olmert – that he was speaking in his private capacity “That was not an offer, it was just talk,” the organization said.

Finally, on the refugee issue, Al Jazeera reported that the Palestinians had agreed that Israel would only take in 10,000 refugees a year for 10 years for a total of 100,000, giving up their demand that all refugees from 1948 and their descendants – amounting to several million people – enter Israel.

But the documents highlighted by Christians for Fair Witness report a conversation between Abbas and Olmert that Erekat recounted, in which Abbas said, “Are you joking?” to Olmert’s figure of 10,000 over 10 years. In a September 22, 2008, internal memo drafted in response to Olmert’s offer, it states that “while we agree to negotiate the number of returnees in consideration of Israel’s capacity of absorption, this particular offer cannot be taken seriously.”

The Palestinians estimated Israel’s absorption capacity at slightly more than a million people over a 10-year period. That’s the only concession the Palestinians were willing to make on the issue. And even that would be only temporary.

They expected additional “returns” later on.”
Read the whole article here.


Jimmy Carter's Credibility: Finally Lost in North Korea?


Jimmy Carter loves to make friends with despots: above,
dancing with Hamas' Ismael Haniyah and
below, chatting with  Kim Yong Nam, N. Korea's No. 2 

After reading the following statement on Jimmy Carter's blog on his latest 'elder' trip to North Korea, can anyone, anywhere, ever take anything he says -- especially about Israel -- seriously? Remember, it was on this trip that he accused the US and South Korea of human rights violations for withdrawing food aid from North Korea:

"My country, the United States, is South Korea’s guarantor, which creates enormous anxiety among the North Korean people and drains their political energy and resources." 

The state department's director of policy planning, Jacob Sullivan reminded Carter of what really happened:
"As you know well, the North Koreans were the ones who abruptly suspended the aid program in 2009, ordering our humanitarian personnel to leave the country and leave behind 20,000 metric tons of US food. Everyone should remember who is responsible for the plight of the North Korean people, and that is the North Korean government itself."
Some background reading, keeping in mind how difficult it is to get news from North Korea:

Friday, April 29, 2011

Benny Morris: Palestinians Will Get Their Cake and Eat it Too

Haniya and Abbas play Let's Make a Deal

I'm sorry to say that I agree with just about everything Benny Morris says in his article about the strategy behind the Palestinians' pursuit of a UN declaration of an independent state along the '1967' bordersPalestinians Dupe West . This, particularly, is what the realists should be realizing:

"Palestinian strategy is rather simple (and not particularly clever, though it does manage to take in a surprising number of Westerners): Because of the demographic threat (an Arab majority in a Jewish state) and because of international pressure for self-determination for the Palestinians and an end to Israel's military occupation, Israelis will eventually accept, however reluctantly, a Palestinian state encompassing the Palestinian-majority territories of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Israel will eventually unilaterally withdraw (as it has already done from the Gaza Strip). So why offer or give the Israelis recognition and peace in exchange?
"Rather, once this mini-state is achieved, unfettered by any international obligations like a peace treaty—and having promised nothing in exchange for their statehood—the Palestinians will be free to continue their struggle against Israel, its complete demise being their ultimate target. Inevitably, the armed struggle—call it guerrilla warfare, call it terrorism—will then be resumed. And, alongside it, so will the political warfare—the delegitimization of the Jewish state and, most centrally, the demand for the refugees of 1948/1967 to be allowed to return to their homes and lands (what the Palestinians define as the "Right of Return"). The refugee issue plays well with public opinion in the West, which somehow fails to notice that such a return will mean that Israel proper will become an Arab-majority territory, i.e., no more Jewish state. In democracies, what publics accept or support eventually becomes what leaders advocate.
"And, on the military and political levels, no one will be able to fault the Palestinians. They will have broken no treaty and violated no solemn agreement. They won't have signed a "no further claims" clause or a "no more war" commitment, as Barak, Clinton and Olmert had demanded as essential components of a two-state peace settlement. They will have received their mini-state, a launching pad for further assault on Israel, without giving anything in return."
I don't fully agree with his final paragraph, but it doesn't make a difference. Israel is stuck with a multi-pronged attack on its legitimacy and, now that there may be a Fatah/Hamas unity 'government' with almost no interest in negotiations, it is difficult to imagine how Netanyahu can get around a UN Declaration of a Palestinian state.
H/T: Yaacov Lozowick, whose Peace Impossible; Progress Needed you should read.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Here's an Idea: Goldstone Should Spearhead Gilad Shalit Freedom Campaign

Almost all protests for Gilad Shalit have pointed at the
Israeli government. What about a new crusade to "humiliate Hamas
for refusing to obtain the release of its own Palestinian brothers?
 "


In the Jewish Journal, David Suissa, before the money quote suggested in my headline, castigates the Jews for our propensity to blame everything on ourselves. Think anti-Zionist Jews for example. He calls it 'ifonlyitis': "The belief that everything is on our shoulders. It’s all about us. We can achieve anything. If only we would release a few hundred more terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands, we might finally free Gilad Shalit."

"If we didn’t have this obsession with blaming ourselves for everything, we might focus more of our energies against the real bad guys — and maybe even come up with some imaginative ways of getting what we want.

"For example, instead of pressuring the Israeli government over Gilad Shalit, why not transfer some of that pressure to the Palestinians?

"A Syrian Jew who sat next to me at the first Seder this year had this idea: Take the names of the hundreds of Palestinian prisoners whom Israel has already offered to release and promote those throughout the Palestinian territories. Drop millions of leaflets with their names and pictures. Promote them on the Internet and social networks. Buy ads in Palestinian newspapers. Film some prisoners pleading for their freedom and run the clips on Al Jazeera.

"In other words, put the real pressure on Hamas, not on Bibi. Humiliate Hamas for refusing to obtain the release of its own Palestinian brothers. Have them answer to the hundreds of Palestinian families who would love nothing more than to see their own Gilad Shalits returned home. Expose Hamas for turning its back on its own people.

"Think that wouldn’t be more effective than starting a “personal war” against the Israeli prime minister?

"It’s ridiculous to keep beating Bibi up over Gilad Shalit. His offer to release hundreds of prisoners is already risky — going beyond it would be reckless and irresponsible. He’s done his part. Now we must do ours.

"Just like the global movement to free Natan Sharansky focused on pressuring the Soviet Union, the global movement to free Gilad Shalit must focus on pressuring the Palestinians. Ideally, we ought to find someone with international credibility who could spearhead this effort — someone highly motivated to do something special for Israel and the Jewish people.

"In fact, I have a name in mind: Richard Goldstone.

"Now 'if only' I can convince him to go after the bad guys."

Interesting isn't it? Goldstone is ready to move onto something new, surely this idea would feed right into his hubris. Read it all here, another example of how in the parallel universe Hamas is hardly held responsible for Shalit's imprisonment.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Josef Joffe: The Shoddy Fixation on Israel/Palestine of the Brent Scowcroft School of Realism

I am specifically linking to the Now Lebanon cross post of this Josef Joffe article that appeared in today's Wall Street Journal. After reading it, take a look at the rest of the site to get a mix of views from Lebanon, including, lo and behold, Michael Oren's Foreign Policy article about Israel, The Ultimate Ally.


Josef Joffe and Brent Scowcroft


Joffe's main point: Washington's realists can't let go of the hackneyed 'the Israel/Palestine conflict is the 'root' cause of the region's problems' theory: "Writing in the Financial Times, former U.S. National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft intoned: 'The nature of the new Middle East cannot be known until the festering sore of the occupied territories is removed.' Read: The fate of democracy hinges on Palestine.

"So do 'Iran's hegemonic ambitions,' he insinuated. This is why Tehran reaches for the bomb? Syria, too, will remain a threat 'as long as there is no regional peace agreement.' The Assad regime is slaughtering its own people for the sake of Palestine? And unless Riyadh 'saw the U.S. as moving in a serious manner' on Palestine, Mr. Scowcroft warned, the Saudis might really sour on their great protector from across the sea. So when they sent troops into Bahrain, were they heading for Jerusalem by way of Manama?

"Shoddy political theories—ideologies, really—never die because they are immune to the facts. The most glaring is this: These revolutions have unfolded without the usual anti-American and anti-Israeli screaming. It's not that the demonstrators had run out of Stars and Stripes to trample, or were too concerned about the environment to burn Benjamin Netanyahu in effigy. It's that their targets were Hosni Mubarak, Zine el Abidine Ben-Ali, Moammar Gadhafi and the others—no stooges of Zionism they. In Benghazi, the slogan was: "America is our friend!"



Read the whole article here


One thing I finally and belatedly understand from reading Joffe's piece: the reason we don't see any of the usual peace/human rights demonstrations against, say, Syria's or Libya's or Bahrain's, ferocious brutality against democracy protesters is: these protesters are resistance fighters but not against the usual enemies, Israel and the US. The Peace and Justice crowd simply do not know how to incorporate this type of resistance into a very fixed ideology and the idea that the Arab Street-fighters are really fighting their own regimes rather than the 'world-wide-imperialist enterprise' just doesn't compute.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Howard Jacobson: For Anti-Zionists, Israel is Proof Jews Didn't Learn Lessons of The Holocaust

The Promise depicts 'soft-eyed Palestinians'
victimized by 'hard-faced Jews'. 

"...the Holocaust becomes an educational experience from which Jews were ethically obliged to graduate summa cum laude, Israel being the proof that they didn't." 

Once again Howard Jacobson puts it like no other: "Anti-Zionists can assure me all they like that their position entails no harm to Jews – only witness how many Jews are themselves anti-Zionist, they say – I no longer believe them. Individually, it is of course possible to care little for Israel and to care a great deal for Jews. But in the movement of events individuals lose their voice. What carries the day is consensus, and consensus is of necessity unsubtle. By brute consensus, now, Israel is the proof that Jews did not adequately learn the lesson of the Holocaust."

Here is Jacobson in a scathing rebuttal to the British independent broadcasting watchdog, Ofcom's, refusal to countenance complaints by viewers of the heavy-handed bias of a recent TV docudrama, The Promise, in which Israel is portrayed as doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to them:

“Forget Holocaust denial. Holocaust denial is old hat. The new strategy – it showed its hand in Caryl Churchill's Seven Jewish Children, and surfaced again in Channel 4's recent series The Promise – is to depict the Holocaust in all its horror in order that Jews can be charged ("You, of all people") with failing to live up to it. By this logic the Holocaust becomes an educational experience from which Jews were ethically obliged to graduate summa cum laude, Israel being the proof that they didn't. "Jews know more than anyone that killing civilians is wrong," resounds an unmistakably authorial voice in The Promise. Thus are Jews doubly damned: to the Holocaust itself and to the moral wasteland of having found no humanising redemption in its horrors.
“It matters not a jot to me that the writer/director of The Promise is a Jew. Jews succumbing to the age-old view of them and reviling what's Jewish in themselves has a long history. Peter Kosminsky would have it that his series is about Israel, not Jews, but in The Promise Israel becomes paradigmatic of the Jews' refusal to be improved by affliction.
“In a morally intelligent world – that's to say one in which, for starters, Jews are not judged more harshly than their fellows for having been despatched to concentration camps – The Promise would be seen for the ludicrous piece of brainwashed prejudice it is. Ofcom's rejection of complaints about the drama's partiality and inaccuracy was to be expected. You can't expect a body as intellectually unsophisticated as Ofcom to adjudicate between claims of dramatic truth and truth of any other sort. And for that reason it should never have been appealed to. That said, its finding that The Promise was "serious television drama, not presented as a historical and faithful re-creation", is a poor shot at making sense of anything. You can't brush aside historical re-creation in a work of historical re-creation, nor can you assert a thing is "serious television" when its seriousness is what's in question. A work isn't serious by virtue of its thinking it is. Wherein lies the seriousness, one is entitled to ask, when the drama creaks with the bad faith of a made-up mind.”
Read the whole thing here.
Read a critical review of The Promise in CIFWatch

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gaza: Humanitarian Crisis in the Eyes of the Beholder

The Jerusalem Post today offers two contradictory stories related to Gaza, confirming that parallel universes do, indeed, exist -- depending on how you view Israel's right to defend itself will determine which one you prefer to live in:

Recent grand opening of luxury shopping mall in Gaza.
1Red Cross: There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza: "The Gaza Strip is not suffering from a humanitarian crisis, the deputy head of the Red Cross in Gaza said this week."

"Mathilde Redmatn, who had been assigned to Congo and Colombia in the past, said that the “fabric of life” in the region was problematic. 'There are two peoples, one living under closure and one living under daily rocket fire, which violates international law. There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. If you go to the supermarket, there are products. There are restaurants and a nice beach. The problem is mainly in maintenance of infrastructure and in access to goods, concrete for example. Israel has the legitimate right to protect the civilian population; this right should be balanced with the rights of 1.5 million people living in the Gaza Strip,' she said."


IHH President Yildrim enlisting potential
flotilla martyrs?

2. Fatah officials to board upcoming Gaza flotilla"Senior Fatah officials will be allowed to take part in the aid flotilla, Nabil Shaath -- Senior Fatah Central Committee member -- told Radio A-Shams, because it is a humanitarian effort meant to lift the blockade on Gaza." 

"The flotilla is planning to set sail at the end of May, marking the one-year anniversary to the Mavi Marmara incident – the first Gaza flotilla where nine Turks were killed when they attacked IDF commandos trying to keep their from reaching Gaza’s shores.

"Earlier this month, IHH President Bulent Yildrim said that his organization and the Mavi Marmara ship would participate in the flotilla.


"This is not Israel's Mediterranean Sea," Yildrim said, according to Turkish newspaper Zaman. "We are not afraid to become martyrs."

If there is no humanitarian crisis, and which organization better to monitor this than the Red Cross, doesn't it follow that all the proposed 'humanitarian' flotillas are really just provocations looking for a fight? Who better to believe than the IHH's Yildrim when he says, "We are not afraid to become martyrs"? It is also rather amusing that Fatah wants to get in on the act so it can share in the limelight especially if there is bloodshed. I just hope Israel grants neither IHH nor Fatah its wish. 

Nadia Abu El-Haj is Back Questioning Jewish Link to Israel

Another gem from Columbia's Center for Palestine Studies efforts to de-link Israel from Jewish history. This time in conjunction with NYU's Kevorkian Center for Near East Studies. If you recall, Nadia Abu El-Haj made news when Columbia students, alumni and faculty contested her right to tenure. This was the result of her book, Facts on the Ground:Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society, which proposed that Jewish archeological connection to the land of Israel was a political construction not based on archeological evidence. More recently she has been mining research to deconstruct efforts to prove genetic links among groups of the Jewish diaspora to each other and to Israel.

She will be presenting a first chapter of her book, The Search for Origins, Again: The Biological Sciences and the Jewish Self, and I recommend that New Yorkers who are able to attend the workshop do so in order to balance out an audience that will undoubtedly be filled with her groupies:

The Search for Origins, Again: The Biological Sciences and the Jewish Self

Nadia Abu El-Haj, Anthropology, Barnard College
Discussant: Michael Ralph, Anthropology, NYU
25 April 2011, 5:00 - 7:00 PM
Hagop Kevorkian Center, 50 Washington Square South (enter at 255 Sullivan Street)


Here is the paper made available by NYU in advance:


And here are some links for background:

More Bad Genetic Scholarship: http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/4235

Nadia Abu El-Haj, Tenured Barnard Professor:

Searching for Facts on the Ground:

Looking Glass Archeology:

Facts on the Ground – Nadia Abu El-Haj’s New Slavo in the Arab Propaganda War Against Israel

Alice Walker's Jewish Problem

Alice Walker (center seated) on a Code Pink 'mission' to Gaza.
Alice Walker, who 28 years ago won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, The Color Purple, has spent much of her creative capital in the last decade in tirades against Israel. Currently attaching herself to the anti-Israel confab, Move Over AIPAC, she has campaigned tirelessly on behalf of BDS and was a signatory to several obnoxious, not to say ignorant, anti-Israel letters and petitions including the boycotting of Toronto's Film Festival for its tribute to Tel Aviv's 100th birthday. That long-ago Pulitzer has insulated her opinions from criticism while at the same time it has helped to confer status upon activities in which she has participated. I think her problem with Israel reflects her problem with Jews.

Here she is on Israel, and tell me that it is only 'criticism' of Israeli policy as opposed to anti-Semitism:

"There are differing opinions about this, of course, but my belief is that when a country primarily instills fear in the minds and hearts of the people of the world, it is no longer useful in joining the dialogue we need for saving the planet."

Walker with ex, Mel Leventhal, and daughter Rebecca.

Here she is about her Jewish ex-husband with whom she has an estranged daughter.

"I gave her [an old Palestinian woman] a gift I had brought, and she thanked me. Looking into my eyes she said: May God protect you from the Jews. When the young Palestinian interpreter told me what she’d said, I responded: It’s too late, I already married one. I said this partly because, like so many Jews in America, my former husband could not tolerate criticism of Israel’s behavior toward the Palestinians. Our very different positions on what is happening now in Palestine/Israel and what has been happening for over fifty years, has been perhaps our most severe disagreement. It is a subject we have never been able to rationally discuss. He does not see the racist treatment of Palestinians as the same racist treatment of blacks and some Jews that he fought against so nobly in Mississippi."  

Here she is comparing Israel to German colonialism:

Q:Is there a sense in your mind of a connection between the colonialism and the horrors in Africa and the bombings and the victims that you witnessed from those bombings in Gaza?:

A: Yes. I see it as the same colonialism. I see it as the same. In fact, I think that one of the things we forget about the settlers in Israel, is that they are just as German as they are Jewish. And so that the German influence that caused so much damage in Rwanda is in some of the behavior of the German Jews in Israel. And that's the part which we need to look at more.

Here she is on a one-state solution. See if you can hear echos of Helen Thomas:

Amy Goodman: You say that the Middle East solution is beyond the two-state solution, and you also talk about restorative justice.
Alice Walker: Yes, I do, because I believe in restorative justice. I think we could use that here. I mean, I don’t feel great about the past leaders here not being brought to trial, actually, you know. But if we can’t have trial, we could at least have council. I mean, but to let people, any people, just go, after they’ve murdered lots of people and destroyed a lot, is not right. It destroys trust. So—what was the rest of the question?


Amy Goodman:  And you believe in a one-state solution
Alice Walker:  Oh, the one-state solution. Yes, I do. I mean, when I think about my tax money, and I think about, well, you know, given that I’ve already given, and we as a country have given over a trillion dollars to Israel in the last—since, I don’t know, ‘48 or something, but a lot of money that we could have used here, where would I be happiest to see, you know, my money spent? Well, I would be happy seeing my money spent for all the people who live in Palestine. And that means that, you know, the Palestinians who are forced out of their houses, forced off of their land, should come back and share the land, all of it, including the settlements. You know, if I am going to be asked to help pay for settlements, I would like to be, you know, permitted to say who gets to live in them. And I would like the women and children, the Palestinian women and children that I saw, I would like to say—take them by hand and say, “You know what? Look at this. We built this for you. You’re home now.” 

And here is 'Rabbi' Michael Lerner, who preposterously invited her to give the sermon at his temple on Yom Kippur. As an hysterical Israel basher himself, even Lerner had trouble with her presentation in which she charged Israeli soldiers with systematically raping Palestinian women and accused American Jews of dual loyalty:

"...I was shocked and disappointed that Alice Walker, whose book The Color Purple won a Pulitzer Prize, would give a talk so lacking in nuance and filled more with attitude than facts or analysis. I had framed her talk by presenting my own brief summary of the history which had led Israeli and Palestinians into this 120 year old conflict, explaining how both sides bore responsibility for the conflict, even though Israel's far greater power in the past sixty years has given Israel far greater moral responsibility to take definitive action to end the Occupation, end the human rights abuses, and provide reparations to the Palestinian people--as part of a peace agreement that would provide security for both Israel and Palestine.  Instead of picking up on that attempt at even-handedness, Ms. Walker's first comments dismissed the history as largely irrelevant. I wonder how she would react if someone were to make that same comment about the past history of slavery and segregation when discussing contemporary levels of crime in the Black community, or even about the past history of women's oppression through ten thousand years of patriarchy.

"...there are at the moment  no credible reports of Israeli soldiers raping Palestinian women, as Ms. Walker alleges. I did my own post-Yom Kippur web search on this, and remain very doubtful that these charges have been substantiated. It seems possible to me that there may have been some isolated instances of rape--but I have no reason to believe that that "possibility" ever turned into an actuality. It's not the case that rape is beyond the capacity of Jewish men--in Israel there have been numerous cases of Jewish men raping Jewish women. But the variety of human rights organizations seeking to shed light on Israeli offenses have not made the charge of rape, even as they do make the subtantiated charges of torture, murder, etc. against Israeli settlers and soldiers. So I remain deeply skeptical about this charge." 

Many members of his congregation, also far to the left of most affiliated Jews were outraged by her allegations and felt she was racist and anti-Semitic. For example:

"As you may have noticed (or not), I walked out toward the end of Alice Walker's speech.  It is the first time I have ever done such a thing.  Icompletely support Tikkun's position on the Israeli/Palestinian issue.  And,I thought your introduction of Alice Walker presented a balanced and compassionate historical synopsis of anti-Semitism and the
Israeli/Palestinian conflict.  I experienced Alice Walker's words and thetone of her speech as being hateful and frankly blatantly anti-Semitic.  I was offended and veryuncomfortable staying in the room.  I had to leave.

"To me, Walker unfortunately invalidated a lot of good points by her approach, especially by 1) dismissing your intro as irrelevant 2) bringing up Jewish "dual loyalty," telling us we owed America more commitment and 3) telling us Israel, because of the human rights abuses, should not exist as an actual land for the Jewish people, but should be theoretical "in our minds" (like we haven't tried that for a couple thousand years!)".

And here is Phyllis Chesler, the disillusioned ex-leftist-feminist who is disgusted with Walker's lies about what happened on the Mavi Marmara: "How can Walker compare these known Turkish and Palestinian terrorists and racists to non-violent civil rights activists? Why does Walker hate Jews? But that can’t be true. She’s an anti-racist. She once married a Jewish man, a fellow civil rights worker with whom she had a half-Jewish daughter. So many Jews were part of that very hallowed civil rights movement, and supported the creation of the NAACP; so many Jews were and are feminists; what has gone wrong here? I mean: Why does Walker condemn, even abhor, the Jewish state and idolize the tyrants and Islamists who hold Palestinians hostage in Gaza? Why does she identify the haters and aggressors as the pure and innocent victims? Why is she a member of CodePink? She is smarter than that–or so I once thought."
Finally, here is Walker on what it takes to be good Jews:

"This is one reason I understand the courage it takes for some Jews to speak out against Israeli brutality and against what they know are crimes against humanity. Most Jews who know their own history see how relentlessly the Israeli government is attempting to turn Palestinians into the “new Jews,” patterned on Jews of the holocaust era, as if someone must hold that place, in order for Jews to avoid it."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

It's Osem to Buy Israeli Products for Passover

... and Yehuda matzot are a family favorite: thin, crisp and slightly overbaked. I wonder what our Jewish anti-Zionist friends do this time of year. Do they buy products from Jewish-American  companies such as Manischewitz, Streits and Breakstones, thinking that they're avoiding spending money on Israeli goods? Well, they need to think again because all of these brands have philanthropic foundations that send money to Israeli organizations and institutions. You simply cannot escape the deep connection to Israel that the vast majority of Jewish people, institutions and businesses have and continue to cherish. The only way to avoid them is by boycotting all things Jewish and I wouldn't be surprised if some rabid anti-Zionist Jews do just that. But that's anti-Semitism, isn't it? 


Unless, for example, Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for 'Peace' bakes her own Matzot and grinds her own gefilte fish. Read this Forward article wherein she laments that, "It is troubling that Judaism and support for Israel have become so inextricably linked," and minces words on the group's refusal to take a stand on a one-state or a two-state solution. As Ben Cohen makes clear, “JVP is characteristically slippery on the question of one state or two states. But it is clear that many of their members dream about one state, and for those of us under the communal tent, one state is a code word for genocide.” 


Read also about their slippery position in regards to boycotting Israel -- right now they attempt to target 'only companies that are directly involved in the occupation': "In fact, JVP’s “strategic” BDS position might not last very long. Rosen, the Reconstructionist rabbi, who heads the group’s rabbinical council, said: “Sooner or later we are going to stop the fancy footwork and say we fully endorse the Palestinian call. At our last members’ meeting in Philadelphia, that was the central question. We talk about it all the time.”


Helen Thomas to Receive Award at Anti-Israel Convention


From Haaretz today: Helen Thomas to address anti-Israel protests during Netanyahu's visit to U.S

A convention of American Israel-bashing organizations, including Jewish anti-Zionist groups, will be held during Netanyahu's May visit to AIPAC's annual meeting in Washington. Led by the so-called, anti-war, 'feminist' group, Code Pink, the Move Over AIPAC convo will bestow an award to Helen Thomas who will give the keynote speech. I assume she will have learned by that time not to tell Jews to go back to Poland and Germany. Assuming that one of the main hyperboles uttered at this gathering will be how closely Israel resembles Nazi Germany, she may have to resist this call. Among the other speakers will be John Mearsheimer and Steve Walt who will no doubt reprise their Israel Lobby assertions to a salivating audience.


To get a look at the movers and shakers to be gathered to demonize Israel and spread their viciousness and support for the Middle East's Islamofascists, see here. I will have more to say on this in the next few days.

Friday, April 15, 2011

How Long Did it Take Hamas to Blame Israel for Vittorio Arrigoni's Death?

... less than 24 hours?


Vittorio Arrigoni abducted and shown-off to the world
by his friends in Gaza. A text accompanying their video says: 
“The Italian hostage entered our land only to spread corruption.”


From the Jerusalem Post, some predictable stuff: Radical Islamic terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip distanced themselves from the kidnapping and murder of Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni, who was found dead early Friday morning in the Strip.

"Among the groups who disclaimed the attack was Tawhid wal-Jihad, the al-Qaida-linked group that had initially said it was holding the Italian national and conditioned said they would only release him if their own leader, recently arrested by Hamas, was released, Gaza-based newspaper Palestine Today reported.


"He added that the kidnapping and murder of Arrigoni was intended to prevent the next flotilla headed to the Gaza Strip, expected to depart next month. Barhoum explained that he believed the murder was meant to dissuade other foreign activists from arriving in the Strip.

"Accordingly, Hamas accused Israel of being behind the attack, noting that Arrigoni had often spoken out against Israeli policies in Gaza, going so far as to compare what he called "Israeli crimes against Palestinians" to Nazi crimes. Additionally, he was twice arrested by Israeli authorities." 



If Israel killed every European activist who compared Israelis to Nazis...


As the Elder of Ziyon says, he did not deserve to die, but you might be interested to read the Elder's blog for a brief summary of Vittorio's version of 'peace and human rights activism'.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hamas Shows Off Videos of Rockets Fired From Civilian Centers


Rocket fired from inside a dense civilian neighborhood in Gaza.

Daily provocations from Gaza are preparing the world for a confrontation with Israel. 120 rockets fired into Israel over the weekend and at the same the wise men of the Arab League, who habitually ignore the brutality in their own backyard, are calling for a no-fly zone over Gaza. We know who will be blamed for civilian casualties. When does this nightmare end? 

Now from Ynet.news,com: Hamas is actually showing off: "Videos uploaded to the World Wide Web by members of Izz al-Din al-Qassam, Hamas' military wing, show the firing of rockets from civilian centers in the Gaza Strip thereby confirming IDF claims. 

"The videos clearly show Qassam rockets being fired from civilian centers such as mosques and near civilian vehicles. Gaza terror cells choose to fire from urban areas knowing that the Israel Defense 

"Forces refrain from intercepting them for fear of hurting civilians. The killing of civilians in Gaza also serves the terrorists' purposes who claim Israel is committing war crimes in Gaza.

"The terror groups have for the large part refrained from presenting documentation of firing carried out from urban areas so as not to play into the hands of Israeli PR.

"Criticism against attacks from residential areas has been heard inside Gaza as well. Gaza police spokesman Aiman Batnigi warned the firing squads last weekend against operating inside or near to civilian centers after one attack left several Palestinians dead." 

Read the rest and view the videos here.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Hamas: Oh Dear, We Didn't Mean to Target School Children

... but it would've been ok if the bus had carried adult civilians. 


No doubt there would've been dancing in the streets of Gaza if the
rocket fired into the school bus had been successful in killing adult civilians.

I am suffering from a sense of utter futility as the news media, once again, describes the situation as a 'cycle of violence.' They're just not getting it. Hamas is deliberately provoking Israel into responding to its attacks as any nation would be obliged to do. And they're still not getting this: Hamas deliberately targets civilians while Israel deliberately targets the 'militants' who target civilians and, unfortunately, sometimes kills civilians because Hamas' military infrastructure is deliberately woven into crowded civilian neighborhoods. That should have been the guiding principle of The Goldstone Report. Nuff said.

Haaretz: Hamas says didn't mean to target Israeli school bus

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

NY Times Rejected Goldstone's Mea Culpa Op-ed

If you were wondering why Judge Richard Goldstone published his re-think op-ed of his original report in the Washington Post rather than the more influential New York Times, here is the answer: according to Yedioth Ahronot, "...a source close to Goldstone stated that in the past few days the judge had approached the editor of the New York Times opinion pages requesting to post the article he wrote in the paper – and was told his article was rejected.


The editor gave no explanation as to why the article was rejected, but the source believes this was due to the newspaper's political agenda." Read the rest here.

Also...according to the Jerusalem Post, "The British government has said that it does not support a call for a retraction of the Goldstone Report. The comments followed Judge Richard Goldstone's opinion piece in Friday's Washington Post in which he indicated that Israel had not deliberately targeted civilians or committed war crimes during Operation Cast Lead.

"Justice Goldstone has not made such a call, and he has not elaborated on his views surrounding the various other allegations contained in the report, allegations which we firmly believe require serious follow-up by the parties to the conflict," a Foreign Office spokesman told The Jerusalem Post on Monday night."
Read the rest here.



For an excellent analysis of the report's anti-Israel reverberations, read Goldstone's mea culpa has come too late by Michael Weiss in the Daily Telegraph.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Goldstone's 'Reconsideration': Too Little, Too Late?


Goldstone on Al Jazeera: "We took every precaution to check and double check every allegation..."


Judge Richard Goldstone today published a reconsideration of his report in the Washington Post and while it may have an impact on reasonable people, it will probably not make a dent in other's beliefs -- the so-called solidarity organizations and NGO's. One looks forward to a JStreet response, an organization that should have known better yet peddled it to American lawmakers.

As Jeffrey Goldberg says in his blog today, it's all well and good that Goldstone has now reconsidered the more libelous aspects of his report on the Gaza war, but it is now impossible to put the genie back in the bottle. The Goldstone Report has been the cornerstone of the delegitimization campaign by Israel-haters and we know darn well that it will be ignored if not vilified by them. Much of the world now believes that Israel deliberately killed civilians. 

Here is one the most telling lines: "The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion." But we drew it anyway.

And: "Our report found evidence of potential war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” by both Israel and Hamas. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets." While the world ignored the Hamas portion of the report and focused almost exclusively on Israel.

And: "Israel’s lack of cooperation with our investigation meant that we were not able to corroborate how many Gazans killed were civilians and how many were combatants. The Israeli military’s numbers have turned out to be similar to those recently furnished by Hamas (although Hamas may have reason to inflate the number of its combatants)." But we took Hamas' word for it anyway and so did most everybody else.

Read the rest here.


*Update: Ehud Barak said today, "...that in order to repair the damage done by the Goldstone Report, the judge should present his current conclusions before all of the international bodies who were presented the original report and not merely give his opinion in an opinion article." I agree.