The Middle East is full of contradictions. It’s hard to know what’s real and what’s bluff. If you call the wrong bluff, you can end up blown to pieces. And if you miss a real opportunity, you can end up a real sucker.
“Peace activists” attack with knives and rocks. “Human Rights” groups willfully ignore the persecution of Christians. “War crimes” are attributed to self defense, but not to shooting children or pregnant mothers at point blank range. Judges condemn protection of civilian populations while ignoring the use of private homes, mosques, schools and hospitals as shields for military operations. Israel is accused of being an apartheid state, even though its minorities can live anywhere, are entitled to all the rights of the mainstream population, and are represented in parliament, in the judiciary and all walks of life. But when Palestinian President Abbas territories says "I will never allow a single Israeli to live among us on Palestinian land" and when selling land to a Jew is punishable by death, no-one even blinks.
But what about the hypocrisy of the tidal wave of delegitimization tactics aimed at Israel, by people who want to fully exploit the benefit of their contact with the Jewish state?
We are asked to shun Israeli academics and universities by a boycott movement headed by Omar Barghouti - who studies for his doctorate at Tel Aviv University. The same Palestinian Authority that asks the world not to buy produce from "settlements" approves tens of thousands of its citizens to work in those communities. Building them is an obstruction to the peace process - while the PA sends the construction workers to do the work.
So while you are being asked to deprive yourself of the unique know-how and innovation that has brought so many Israeli inventions in every field to the world, and won Israelis and Jews such a disproportionate number of Nobel and other prizes, consider the following.
In March of this year, the hugely innovative Israeli agricultural industry will hold its annual showcase event - the AgroMashov - at which hundreds of Israeli companies will present their unique achievements. Israel has long been known as an agricultural innovator. A well known example is drip irrigation systems, which were developed here, and are now exported everywhere. The organizers invited me to join a preview tour to some of the exhibitors, where I saw
- a farm which had developed a unique strain of pitaya fruit,
- leading edge bull sperm collection techniques (did you know that 98% of cattle were born via artificial insemination?),
- the way the Hebrew University researches the best vegetation to plant in hot climate with little water,
- a bee farm developing new (and surprisingly tasty!) health products,
- a nursery applying modern inventory management techniques to factories around the globe supplying fresh spices, flowers and other plants to supermarkets and other outlets,
- new packaging techniques for vegetables,
- and more.
From this little taste, I could understand why visitors would come from all around the globe to learn, to share, to form relationships and to shop. But farmers are not the only ones who ignore anti-Israel boycott attempts. The Palestinians won't deprive themselves of the opportunity. As in every year, Palestinian farmers and industry representatives will be there in force. Around 200 have already registered. Not only that, but a large pavilion will hold exhibits specifically of Palestinian produce and farm machinery produced in the West Bank. And the delegation will be led by Palestinian Agriculture Minister, Dr. Ismail Daak.
This spirit of mutual dialogue, cooperation and trade, which is so essential if we are ever to see peace, is happening outside the spotlight of politics, and without the destructive grandstanding and double-talk of the boycott nonsense. It is not just happening in agriculture. The jewelry industry is another example of co-existence. In July, the annual Jovella jewelery exhibition will be held in Tel Aviv. For the last four years, the Peres Center for Peace has organized delegations from the West Bank to come and visit Jovella. Last year they brought 44 delegates - and another 20 Palestinians just turned up under their own steam.
So is it a bluff? And if you are a farmer or in the jewelery industry, will you lose out by listening to the anti-Israel "human rights activists" who urge you to boycott Israeli products and exhibitions, while the Palestinians are attending? Confused? Welcome to the Middle East, where real life is rarely as reported in the main stream media.
Itamar Marcus and his relentless team at Palestinian Media Watch have been given the strangest of back-handed compliments. In exposing the anti-Semitic hate messages broadcast by the Palestinians - especially by Palestinian Authority television and Hamas. PMW uses YouTube as a medium to "name and shame", throwing a light on Palestinian Authority funded ads, jingles, childrens' shows, musicals, sermons, quizzes, and other entertainment where Palestinians (especially children) are educated and encouraged to hate, extol violence and terror and to steer them away from any possibility of peace. These shows are intended for the Arabic speaking audience in the Palestinian territories. But PMW shows them in all their glory, translated and with commentary, so that the world can see how much pressure they will need to bring to bear to effect real change in the Palestinians if peace is ever to be a possibility.
Palestinian supporters have tried to censor the exposure of their hate and vitriol, and after many years, have finally succeeded - YouTube has closed Palestinian Media Watch's account, claiming that it has breached YouTube policy by uploading hate speech. To me it seems peculiar that YouTube would censor Palestinian Media Watch in its attempt to eradicate Palestinian hate eduction by "naming and shaming".
Now here's the rub. Everyone (including Palestinian supporters) now agree that PA Television is hate speech & incitement to violence. So much so, that it's been banned from YouTube. That same hate speech is directly paid for and closely controlled out of President Abbas' office, which is in turn largely funded by international donors - with the UK and EU leading the pack.
Aside from letting all our friends know of this preposterous situation, protesting to YouTube, and asking your local media why they don't cover this censorship, I suggest that we should ask our elected representatives why taxpayers money is being poured into violence and corruption - including the corruption of the minds of children. Why are governments propping up a regime that pushes hatred and war instead of peace? When will the world show in action that it understands what REALLY stands in the way of peace in the Arab-Israel conflict?
The best summary I have seen so far of the northern border incident, is by friend Richard Landes, writing at Pajamas Media. (Click on the link below to read it.)
Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010 - by Richard Landes
An Israeli soldier was killed, and another wounded, by Lebanese army forces in an apparently pre-planned provocation.
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Most baffling, and as yet unanswered in military briefings or media coverage is the role of UNIFIL in all of this. UNIFIL has confirmed that the Israeli activity was coordinated with them, that the Lebanese army was aware of the activity, that the IDF was within Israeli territory: there was no reason for the Lebanese to open fire. So from here the questions abound.
It is clear from the photographs and videos issued by international news agencies very quickly after the clash that the incident was prepared for and staged. Photographs and footage was prepared to be sent out within minutes - long before the truth surfaced - leaving an indelible media impression. It is also clear from the photographs that as the scene unfolds, until seconds before the actual firing takes place, the UNIFIL forces were relaxed and at ease with the snipers and RPG gunners taking careful aim at the Israelis. Then something strange happens. A video shown on Israeli TV, taken and directly translated to Hebrew from first footage gives the Lebanese version. From about 5 seconds into the video, UNIFIL soldiers start waving and shouting at the Israelis to “stop”, “stop everything”, “get down” and “go back”. Were they staging a show for the cameras? Given that UNIFIL knew that the IDF was in Israeli territory and that there was no reason for the Lebanese to fire, why did they shout at the Israelis to stop? Wouldn’t it have been their job to uphold UN resolutions and tell the Lebanese to hold their fire?
So once again, we seem to have UN complicity in an attempt to blacken Israel. UNRWA, UNIFIL, the UNHRA, the Goldstone report, the list goes on. Every opportunity and every agency of the UN is complicit in the delegitimization of Israel. One has to wonder whether, in this environment, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will reconsider cooperating with the proposed UN inquiry into the flotilla incident.
British Prime Minister, David Cameron, exploited his visit to Turkey to curry favour with his hosts, using Palestinian propaganda hype, saying that Israel’s blockade turned the Gaza strip into a “prison camp”.
Every last Israeli left Gaza long before Hamas' bloody take-over. Closing the borders and even war has not stopped the incessant rockets and terrorist attacks on Israeli citizens and border checkpoints. More than 30 terrorist attacks come out of Gaza each month.
Applying international law, Israel inspects the constant flow of goods through its borders into Gaza, in an attempt to exclude war material. Propagandists (and it seems European politicians) conveniently ignore the rules of war and international law, and claim these actions to be a form of occupation. They declare that Israel ruthlessly keeps Gazans in poverty.
Visiting international politicians and aid agency representatives are taken to view the deliberately unrepaired damage of the war Hamas provoked. Poverty stricken areas, including families living in plastic tents since their houses were destroyed in the war, are all on the carefully pre-arranged agenda. Israel is obligingly condemned. And more western tax payer money is pledged to the highest ever per capita aid program.
Although of little interest to the mainstream media, Gazan "poverty" is strongly questioned in the blogosphere. No accumulation of facts seems to be able to stop the constant flow of lies, cynically manipulated into very effective anti-Israel (and often anti-Semitic) propaganda.
Even the Palestinian media reports a very different picture. There is an abundance of both basic and luxury goods. It is not clear if it comes via the Egyptian border, underground tunnels, or the thousands of trucks that the Israelis officially allow to stream through their border crossings. But the fact is that there is plenty, and often at very attractive prices.
Ordinary Palestinian citizens say that there is enough to go around - but the Hamas apparatchiks steal it.
And what of building materials to house those wretched families? Somehow, they don't seem to rank in the Hamas list of priorities. A brand new shopping mall replete with luxury goods, a luxury hotel, a fancy restaurant, an olympic size pool and a fancy jail to lock up prisoners accused of crimes such as "passing information to the Palestinian Authority" all make it into the list of latest completed projects, though.
Electricity shortages? Also an internal problem. Seems that Hamas collects electricity bills from the end user & then steals the money - expecting the Palestinian Authority and international donors to pay the Israeli suppliers. When the suppliers want their overdue money before providing more goods, who do you guess is blamed?
But those wretched Palestinians are suffering. Then again, life expectancy, infant mortality, and even cell phone penetration statistics show Gaza to be better off than other Muslim countries – and in many cases better than most places on earth!
Forgotten is the Economist report of 2004 that the West Bank and Gaza rank amongst the most obese populations in the world.
Clicking on the links embedded above will bring you to lots of reports and pictures showing the truth.
But what about the charge that Israel has turned Gaza into a large open-air jail? We all value freedom of movement. We want to be able to leave our country of residence either permanently or temporarily for vacation, to receive better medical care, to advance our education or business. But of course, we all know that no-one can get in or out. Don't we?
Israel can be forgiven for being very cautious about allowing enemy aliens through its territory - after all Hamas has officially and openly declared its intent to wipe Israel off the map and sends regular rockets across the border to remind us all. Nevertheless, many people do cross the border - usually for humanitarian reasons, often to receive medical treatment in Israeli hospitals.
But what everyone seems to forget is that Israel is not Gaza's only border. Fellow Arab country Egypt, which has supported the Palestinian cause since it was first invented, is linked to Gaza with a little more than 11 km of border, and an official crossing at Rafah.
So why an open air prison? The Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) regularly exposes the real problem in its monthly reports. Here it is from this month's bulletin:
Violations of the Right to Travel and Movement International travel, even via Egypt, requires a passport. The PA won't issue Gazans with passports. Gazans can't travel. That's Israel's fault. Clear?
Gaza residents are still suffering from the unavailability of passport books since November 2008 until the end of this current month. According to ICHR information obtained from officials from the Ministry of Interior of the Deposed Government, the MOI in the West Bank does not send passport books for citizens in Gaza Strip which entails depriving them from the right to travel and movement. In addition, it affects most of those in urgent need for traveling abroad for seeking medical care, university education, students and thousands of expatriates whose passports have expired and require renewal.
The BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement is becoming increasingly strident, using every conceivable tactic to delegitimise Israel in every forum. Academic, trade and industrial boycotts are called - often using tricks and lies that we are all sick of hearing. Generally, the impact in economic terms is small. But often, the campaigns and counter-campaigns surrounding each proposed boycott generates so much publicity, that even unsuccessful campaigns generate significant damage to Israel's standing in the world court of public opinion.
Letters to the editor, to academic institutions or shop owners targeted, and all the "usual" activities are important. But friends around the globe who have been faced with boycotts in their local communities have told me from personal experience that there is one tactic that has consistently proved a winner. A Buycott.
Wherever a boycott is announced or threatened, local supporters go out and BUY the product involved. They let their friends know and ask them to help. And then they let the store owners know how pleased you were with the purchase. And after the boycott has failed, go back and buy again. Make the boycott a long term a bonus for the store and for Israel!
Faced with failure, Palestinians have resorted to exaggeration and barefaced lies to encourage their activists around the world to keep up the program.
Here's the latest example from the Palestinian Maan News Agency, which reports a claim by the Palestinian responsible , Omer Qabaha, that one such success of his BDS activities is that the Israeli dairy Tara has moved its manufacturing plant from "occupied" Katzrin in the Golan Heights.
So I checked, and got the following reply:
Tara has no factory on the Golan Heights and there were never any products marketed under the name Tara processed at the dairy processing plant on the Golan
Israel Dairy Board
Join in a successful campaign for Israel! Ask your stores to stock Israeli products, look for them, buy them, talk about them and encourage your friends to buy them. If you are in business, look for ways to promote Israeli products in your product range or include them in your manufacturing processes. If you need a starting point, I would be pleased to help you source Israeli inputs. Then, if you are really lucky, someone will declare a boycott and help promote your business.
The Red Cross has always been grudging in its attitude to Israel. Its decades of reluctance to accept Israel's Magen David Adom into its fold until the US Red Cross withdrew funding was a prime example. For many years, the Red Cross had pretended that its hands were tied, as Israel's Star of David emblem did not conform to its standards (while the Palestinian Red Crescent was fine).
And today, the Red Cross says it is pressuring Hamas to allow access to captured soldier Gilad Shalit. Somehow, in a perverted way, the Red Cross claims some sort of victory in its activities in the region:
"One of our main achievements is that we have been able to visit nearly everyone detained in connection to this conflict, with the exception of Gilad Shalit," Pierre Dorbes, deputy head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Israel and the Occupied Territories, told Haaretz on Tuesday.
Dorbes conveniently forgets Ron Arad, or in fact any Israeli who has been captured in the past by Arab armies or militias. Of course the Red Cross has had access to all prisoners held by Israel. Israel acts within the norms of international law and morality even toward terrorists. And the Red Cross claims the credit!
Of course, the Red Cross is powerless against rogue regimes, like Hamas - isn't it? Academic Israel hater Noam Chomsky tells us in "Turning the Tide: US intervention in Central America and the struggle for peace" that the Red Cross "in July 1982... threatened to leave El Salvador because of human rights abuses by the armed forces...".
So in Gaza, has the Red Cross ever taken such a strong stand - if not for Gilad Shalit, then for the citizens of southern Israel who were subjected to barrages of rockets and missiles? For the daily abuses of human rights in Gaza as Hamas attacks its own citizens, steals their aid, uses them as human shields, implements kangaroo court death penalties, and much more?
How does the Red Cross pressure Hamas?
In East Jerusalem, the answer is clear - although the only media to have carried the story so far is the print edition of Israel's Hebrew language Yediot Aharonot and the website of the Muslim Brotherhood. (I leave you to ask your local media why this story is of no general interest.)
To quote Yediot Aharonot "Hamas does not allow Red Cross representatives to visit captive Gilad Shalit, but it doesn't stop the international organisation from granting asylum in its East Jerusalem offices to Hamas leaders." Israel has issued deportation orders for subversive activity against four Hamas leaders. One is in an Israeli jail, waiting the outcome of a high court appeal against the order. The others are photographed being served drinks by a Red Cross employee at a table laden with refreshments in the Red Cross East Jerusalem offices, which has granted them asylum and advised the Israeli authorities that they are under Red Cross protection.
Israel has warned that they are not protected there...but if they are arrested, I can just imagine the sudden media interest and outcry.
“Obama calls for new approach on Gaza blockade”
I think most Israelis agree with him. New rules need to be formulated, which are simple, straightforward and easy to understand.
Here’s a suggestion:
Whatever Gilad Shalit has free access to is allowed into Gaza. Whatever he is denied will also be denied. That includes visiting Red Cross staff. And access to medical care in Israel. And guns. And bullets…. Let Hamas draw up the list.
Yesterday evening (Sunday), the IDF issued the following press release in Hebrew on its website at http://dover.idf.il/IDF/News_Channels/today/10/06/0631.htm
I have translated it for you here, transliterating the names as best I can.Cleared for publication: Terrorists on board the Mavi Marmara
Sunday, 6 June 2010, 20:33Now released for publication: Terrorists working for organizations such as Hamas and al - Qaeda were on board the Mavi Marmara, which was stopped by the IDF on her way the Gaza strip. One of the terrorists tried to enter Gaza in order to establish and train a Hamas commando unit.
IDF website Released this evening (Sunday) for publication: Among the passengers who were on board the ship Mavi Marmara were some directly related to terrorist activity.
Prominent among the terrorists are:
American and British citizen and Hamas activist Ken O'Keefe, born in 1969. His objective was to reach the Gaza Strip in order to establish and train a Hamas commando unit.
Moroccan born French citizen and Hamas activist Ahmad Umimon, born in 1959.
Fatima Mahmadi, born in 1979 of Iranian descent, lives in the United States and is active in the “Viva Palestine” organization. She tried to bring prohibited ielectronic components into the Gaza strip.
Turkish citizen Hassan Iynasi, born in 1982, member of a Turkish charity trust, regularly transfered financial aid to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad;
Turkish citizen Hussein Urosh, assistant to the IHH organisation, who was supposed to arrive in the Gaza Strip to assist the transfer of members of Al Qaeda via Turkey.
Hamas cleverly created a win-win situaton for itself in manipulating "peace activists" into creating an armada against the Gaza blockade, and injecting a group of IHH Jihadists onto one of the boats. If Israel had let the armada through, Hamas would have an effective military win, with a new open arms channel via the Mediterranean. Just a matter of time till another war - although this time with rockets that reach Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and even Cairo.
Israel chose the option of allowing Hamas a public relations win instead. I guess we are better at war than we are at PR. Instead of managing the collateral damage, we created a complete disaster.
By now the web is full of explanations of both why Israel was in the right, behaved correctly and legally and how the terrorists disguised as peace activists won the day. I don't like to bore my readers with information available elsewhere, so I simply direct you to a website set up by a collegue - one of the many good sites out there on the subject. http://www.talkgaza.com/flotillafacts/
One item that hasn't yet received much attention is the disposition of the humanitarian aid that the armada had on board. I don't want to labour the point that Israel had from the outset offered to transfer the aid overland through the channels that have seen so many thousands of tonnes of supplies transferred till now, in order to prevent the arms smuggling channel being opened up.
The issue is more interesting. Israel loaded all the expired medicines, children's toys, electric wheelchairs and miscelaneous items into trucks and sent them off to Gaza, to find that Hamas refuses to let the goods into their territory! Either an unsupervised path for goods is opened up or they don't want it! These guys are PR professionals! Once again using the suffering of their own people to create a PR disaster for Israel.
And what will we do? Probably let the goods sit around on the trucks or in a warehouse rotting, losing value, taking up valuable space and requiring resources for supervision, guarding etc. just waiting to become aother expensive PR catasrophe.
Any better ideas?
Hamas should be given a 24 hour ultimatum. If you want the goods, take them immediately. If not, we should distribute anything that meets Israeli standards to the Arabic speaking Druze and Muslim Bedouin communities who have shown their loyalty to the State of Israel over the years. After all, none of Hamas, the donors, nor the Turkish sponsors of the armada would want Jews to benefit from their efforts.
An alternative is to take a major expeditionary force of the army, dirve the goods into Gaza, unload them somewhere convenient for us and leave.
After decades of milking the European public to fund a corrupt and violent Palestinian regime, while deliberately keeping the average Palestinian in poverty, the cycle has started again.
With the Palestinians supposedly " proximal" to the peace table, Abbas has decided to ignore his responsibilities to peace, to his own people and to wise fiscal management. He has also decided to ignore the dire situation of the taxpaying public of his European sponsors - and sidestep the fact that whenever under Israeli " occupation" the Palestinian areas have grown economically, and whenever under Palestinian "resistance" they have declined.
Abbas has declared "voluntary" (under pain of traditional Palestinian punishments) unemployment for the 20,000 or so Palestistians gainfully employed in industries in Israeli communities- at a self estimated cost of $50m which he assumes/demands will be paid for by the European taxpayer.
I would have thought that Europe has enough unemployment problems, without taking on new voluntary or political unemployed.
I would also have thought that the Americans would consider this as deliberate sabotage of the so-called "proximity" peace talks.
I would have also thought that after various "goodwill gestures" by the Israelis at Palestinian and US insistence, the Israeli negotiating team must be wondering if they are just wasting their time - and have once again been tricked by a duplicitous Palestinian leadership.
The Hebrew press this morning (Yediot Aharanot) reported that the UN Secretary General was deeply offended that there was no official reception other than a security detail when he arrived in Israel on Friday night.
He arrives in the Jewish State on Shabbat & expects us to break our religious codes to greet him. According to the UN, it is deeply offensive for us to practice our religion. No surprise that we aren't allowed to defend ourselves against murderers.
I have received a number of letters lately asking about progress in negotiations with the Palestinians – for peace, for settlements, to stop the rockets out of Gaza, for blockades, for recognition, for compensation for Jewish refugees from Arab lands, for resettling Palestinian refugees, for the release of Gilad Shalit.
I think that my approach to that last one (Gilad Shalit) sums up them all.
In my letter Calling the bluff of around a year ago, I advocated severely curtailing specific rights of Palestinian prisoners until our missing soldiers received their rights under international law. Would it work – at least to allow Red Cross access to Gilad Shalit? Consider the following:
On August 25, a few days before Gilad Shalit’s birthday, Israel stopped Palestinian prisoners’ visiting rights. Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reported on the measures, together with accusations that Israel was acting illegally and bending to extremist pressure.
The very same day, a Hamas delegation left for Egypt to meet with a German negotiator to try to make progress on the negotiations for Shalit’s release and Hamas “affiliates” claimed that a deal was days away.
Palestinian prisoners’ rights were immediately restored, and now we hear from Hamas that a deal is “still a long way off”.
Frankly, I am sick of hearing that Israel, after making so much effort and taking so much risk to behave in both an ethical and legal manner, has committed “war crimes”, has acted “disproportionately” or is in breach of some fancifully contorted “international law”, especially redefined to strip Israel of the right and obligation to protect its citizens.
I believe that in every field of our dealings with the Palestinians, the time has come to apply only one buzzword: “reciprocity”. The definition from Wikipedia will do for me:
In international relations and treaties, the principle of reciprocity states that favours, benefits, or penalties that are granted by one state to the citizens or legal entities of another, should be returned in kind.
I am sure that you have been following the war of words between Sweden and Israel. A Swedish newspaper repeated rumor and innuendo that Israeli soldiers were harvesting organs from Palestinians. Sweden (which currently heads the EU) has refused to condemn this blood libel, confusing freedom of speech with hate speech. The Swedish Foreign Ministry even distanced itself from criticism of the article by its own Embassy staff in Israel.
Friend Gerald Steinberg argues that this is consistent with Sweden being a major sponsor of anti-Semitic NGOs which consistently defame Israel with lies, innuendo, propaganda and spin. Gerald expresses the hope that this furore will somehow teach the Swedes a lesson, and that they will stop this destructive funding.
Unfortunately, I am less optimistic. This blood libel is, in fact, consistent with Swedish government policy for over a decade.
In March of 2004, I highlighted reports from Swedish newspapers that showed that Sweden had, from 1997 to 2004, deliberately and consistently classified as secret their own reports that their donations to Arafat’s Palestinian Authority were being diverted to corruption and the creation of a police state. Why? So that they could continue to knowingly channel billions of crowns to Palestinian corruption and violence. Also hidden from view of the Parliament was tens of millions in donations to the Palestinian Negotiations Support Unit. An organization which had stopped negotiating and had become a pure Palestinian propaganda agency. Swedish politicians were “shocked” – but the money kept flowing.
Later that same year, Lisa Abramowicz and I published an article highlighting the fact that the Swedish government was funding a conference in Gothenburg aimed at finding ways to fund Palestinian terrorism.
For well over a decade, Sweden has deliberately and carefully looked for and found ways to secretly and openly fund the Palestinian propaganda and physical war against the Jews. And the Israeli government thinks that they can get the Swedes to change their ways with a bit of diplomatic pressure. They forget that the Swedes may live in a cold country, but they have proved that they can take the heat.
Lots of electrons have been spinning the internet recently scrutinizing the website and email correspondence of the US Consulate in Jerusalem, which provides services to US citizens living in Jerusalem and the West Bank and represents the US to Arabs in those areas and to the Palestinian Authority.
The Jerusalem Consulate was established in 1844. It’s role really changed from servicing to the whole region to a more narrow focus when the US Embassy to Israel was set up in Tel Aviv. Aside from historical reasons for its location, Jerusalem has provided better security and access for staff and "customers" than many alternative places one can think of. Many of the emails that I have received ascribe more sinister reasons for the Consulate not being in Ramallah, pointing to recent changes to the website as “proving” that the US is tacitly recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of “Palestine”.
In 1995, both houses of Congress passed a law instructing the US Embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Subsequent US Presidents have cited "national security" to defer the move. The Obama administration uses every opportunity to emphasize commitment to a two State solution. It is time for the US to demonstrate commitment to the Jewish State in that solution. The US Embassy should be in Israel’s capital - Jerusalem.
The Media often publish and syndicate stories regarding the Middle East which present the Palestinian narrative unchallenged by basic tests of reasonableness and without even considering the Israeli perspective. This “news” is then reproduced almost verbatim by thousands of local, national and international newspapers, radio and television outlets. Complaints of bias are met with a total lack of understanding – after all, these were just reprints of syndicated stories from “reputable” media sources.
Additionally, abuses of the terms “war crimes” and “international law” are unquestioningly quoted and repeated, without any reference to what really happened on the ground, Israel’s right and obligation to protect its citizens from the genuine war crimes perpetrated by the Palestinian terrorist regime in Gaza.
How will the UN investigation headed by Justice Goldstone be treated? It is about to issue its report, which could well lead to legal action against Israel in international courts. The frame of reference of the commission was tainted and biased from the outset, assuming that Israel had committed war crimes and that the Palestinians had not – or if they did, then they were not really worthy of attention. One member of the commission publicly admitted that she had already found Israel guilty before the commission even began, and before a single witness had been called.
It is no wonder that in this environment, Israel refused to give legitimacy to the commission by co-operating with or appearing before it.
Nevertheless, good friend Maurice Ostroff made sure that a great deal of publicly available material which supported Israel’s case was put to the commission. (You can see it at his website, together with a summary questioning the impartiality of the commission.) Gilad’s father, Noam Shalit, also testified as a private citizen. Of course, given the predisposition of the panel to find Israel guilty, it is not clear how much weight will be given to this evidence.
What is needed are facts in anticipation of this report, which will also answer the many NGO “reports” which have simply taken the Palestinian narrative as absolute truth, with no proper investigation, evidence, or consideration of the right and obligation of Israel to defend its citizens. Facts that also show that Israel is a democratic state of law, and if individual soldiers acted against Israeli or international law, that they will be duly answerable.
Most unusually, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a detailed, 164 page report analyzing just these questions. And so that the press could not claim “too long” or “too complex”, the MFA held a pro-active press briefing this week, where it presented the report to the foreign media and answered questions. Unfortunately, it would be naïve to think that the syndicated media (who have proved themselves to be no friends of Israel over the years) will use this material in a manner that will give Israel’s positions a fair reflection.
Can anything be done? And if so by whom? I am not sure you will like my answers here.
YES something can be done; by YOU.
Write to the international media, and especially your local media now. Tell them that you are disappointed in the way that they have treated the topic in the past. Tell them that before they report on the Goldstone commission, you wanted to make sure that they had all the facts in hand so that they could make proper editorial decisions. Send them the above links and information so that they can do the research and balance their reports. Let them know that the public is watching, and after the reports are published, let them know how they went.
I agree with the EU funded, anti-Israel organization MIFTAH.
NGO-monitor reveals that MIFTAH fabricates evidence against Israel. They are “a political lobbying group which … despite claiming to be non-partisan, … is extremely politicized, uses Durban strategy rhetoric, characterizes terrorists as "activists" and "freedom fighters," and promotes political campaigns.”
So how can I agree with them?
They say that “Mideast Peace Can’t Be Built on Stolen Land”.
So with all the racist hoo-hah trying to stop Jews from building on legitimately purchased land in our own capital, let me ask MIFTAH to please start campaigning for the return of ALL the stolen lands over the 1967 armistice lines – starting with Jerusalem and its surrounds.
For example the Palestinian “refugee camp” of Qalandiya, stolen from its legitimate Jewish owners by none other than the venerable UN. Or the other hundreds and hundreds of acres in Jerusalem specifically earmarked for Jewish settlement at the time of its legal and legitimate purchase from its original owners by the Jewish National Fund, permanently usurped by Jordan when they invaded Israel, now closely built with illegal Arab-occupied structures. Read about it here.
Maybe the first “illegal settlement” that the IDF should be called to evacuate is the one first built – the UNRWA office in Qalandiya.
Four items caught my attention in today’s newsbag:
1. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (a.k.a. the terrorist Abu Mazen) accused Israel of trying to “Judaicize” East Jerusalem. Excuse me! Why is it that the PA controlled Waqf won’t let Jews even move their lips in case they might pray at the edge of the Temple Mount? Exactly who is trying to push their religion and wipe out someone else’s? In which cities in the world is it illegal for the adherents of a particular religion to purchase land or live? Friends, the answer is not Israel. I believe that it is only the Arab world (including the Palestinian Authority) that is allowed to practice such racist apartheid practices.
2. And pushing this Palestinian racism with even the most absurd of arguments is the British consulate, which doesn’t seem to have shed its anti-Semitic and pro-Arab tendencies from the days of the British Mandate over Palestine. In objecting to a Jewish owned hotel venture in East Jerusalem, “The U.K. envoys also expressed concern that construction activity so close to the consulate could lead to an intelligence leak.” I guess they are not worried by Arab neighbours – but being close to Jews might make their limited brains fall out.
3. And at last something sensible. No wonder it didn’t make it to the mainstream media.
Israeli officials took a step on behalf of captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, preventing 15 French diplomatic officials accompanied by Jerusalem consular officials from entering Gaza, where they hoped to take part in Bastille Day festivities.
A source stated that Israel cannot permit them to celebrate a day of freedom while Gilad Shalit, who also has French citizenship, remains hostage to Hamas terrorists, now in his fourth year of captivity.
4. Who killed Yasser Arafat? Every good Palestinian can believe his government controlled press. The Israelis are responsible for everything bad in the world, no? Palestinian Media Watch reports that there is new competition for the coveted title of Mr Evil. Seems that PLO leader (and PFLP terrorist) Ahmad Jibril told the secret that everyone has been whispering since Arafat got ill. He claims concrete evidence that jolly Yasser had AIDS, and that’s what killed him. The official PA position is, of course that the “cursed [Jewish] apes and pigs” of Israel poisoned Arafat, with permission of the US together with French medical co-conspirators. Al-Jazeera chimes in with the latest conspiracy theory that Mahmoud Abbas was the perpetrator. Who cares, you ask? The interesting thing is that the PA, which has “no power” to stop the racist anti-Jewish, anti-Israel and pro-terror incitement on its state controlled media, was able to immediately ban Al-Jazeera from the Palestinian Authority airwaves for its incitement against the hard done-by Abu Mazen.
Over the years we have seen Israel on the losing end of an ongoing propaganda war that has increasingly besmirched its image in the media and has increasingly affected the realpolitik of the world in which we live and operate.
Let’s understand how it works. The “big lie” was most famously defined by Hitler – in fact in a “big lie” hidden within a “big lie” – he accused the Jews of using the tactic:
The pattern is consistent. The Palestinian lobby starts with a lie which is so unbelievable that we belittle it – or even ignore it. The lie is repeated often enough until the world believes it – and even our natural supporters in the Jewish Diaspora begin to adopt it, repeat it and reinforce it. It then becomes a reality we have to deal with. Eventually even the Israeli government toes the line. Frankly we are fools. And if we ever thought “never again!”, why don’t we fight back?
“…in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation… would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.” —Adolf Hitler , Mein Kampf, vol. I, ch. X
United States Office of Strategic Services wartime description of Hitler’s Psychological Profile showed how he used the tactic:
His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.”
And the Palestinians adopted Hitler’s ways. Amongst their own public and in the international arena.
Let’s take, as an example, the “illegal” settlements beyond the 1967 armistice line, in what is “rightful Palestinian territory”, that have become in the world’s mind the only “obstacle to peace”. If Israel would only abandon the settlements, the world would support Israel, peace would miraculously descend from heaven resolving the Israeli-Palestinian dispute , magically diffuse over the entire Middle East, and the Messianic era would usher in world peace. Leaving aside whether one thinks that settlements are a good idea, a bad idea, should be dismantled or not, are a blessing or a curse – the fundamental assumptions are simply balderdash.
The Arab world rejected Israel and launched non-stop wars and terrorist campaigns against Israel’s citizens before a single settlement existed beyond the 1967 armistice lines. At least some “post-1967 Settlements” were re-established on Jewish owned lands, where the surrounding Arab neighbours had massacred the inhabitants during one or another of these violent attempts to purge the region of Jews. There are many eminent international lawyers who would contend that the vast majority of the settlements in Judea and Samaria are perfectly acceptable under international law.
Most telling, however, is the experiment which thoroughly tested and disproved the idea that removing settlements or Jews from “Palestine” will somehow magically lead to peace. In September 2005, all the settlements in the Gaza strip were voluntarily abandoned. The Gaza strip was made completely “Judenrein” or Jew-free. We all know the results.
The world “rewarded” Israel by allowing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon address a near-empty plenum of the UN, and then promptly placed all blame for Palestinian failures on Israeli shoulders. Instead of an opportunity for state-building, the Palestinians chose a path of self-destruction and terrorist war against Israel. Rocket attacks, suicide bombings, and internal violence and corruption didn’t let up for a moment. And the infant Gaza economy was deliberately destroyed from the inside.
But, we are told, Hamas did all of this, and that the Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) led Palestinian Authority is “different”, “moderate” and “responsible”. Another big lie.
The very same Abbas led Palestinian Authority was in power in Gaza when Israel left. Hamas didn’t come to power until June 2007 – some twenty months later! And Abbas’ Fatah political party, which also controls the Al Aqsa terrorists, has (in Arabic only, of course) consistently agreed with Hamas. Just last week, a Fatah activist once again declared on PA Television that they don’t want peace. As Fatah strong man Mahmoud Dahlan explained on PA Television in March, the Palestinians will not recognise Israel; any contrary statements are purely designed to obtain international funds and support. Is it any wonder that Abbas refuses Benjamin Netanyahu’s unconditional invitation to meet to discuss peace?
Don’t misunderstand me. I am in favour of anything that has a reasonable chance of bringing peace to our region. But Israel is being pushed to make huge one-sided high-risk concessions, for which it gets little or nothing in return; all on the basis of a web of lies that have been thoroughly disproved, but repeated often enough, loudly enough and from high enough places that the world either pretends to or really does believe.
And this is just one the most recent example of the way the Palestinians and the world have adopted Adolf Hitler’s “big lie” principle to outflank the Jews.
But how to fight back? The only way I can think of is to tell “the big truth”. Start calling out the truth loudly enough, clearly enough, often enough that it begins to stick. Call every bluff in no uncertain terms. Don’t defend. Fight back. But it takes each and every one of us to do it. Loudly. Publicly. Every time.
What truths can we tell? How should we tell them? Please post your ideas and comments at my website for everyone to read.