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Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas is the Time to Bash Israel

An example of using traditional Christmas themes to bash Israel is a Christmas card circulated by the Canadian NGO Palestine House showing Santa Claus denied entry into Bethlehem by the security barrier.

On the barrier is written the inscription, “This thing was not mentioned on the map. Is there another way to enter Bethlehem?” And Ireland’s Palestinian Solidarity Campaign is selling a Christmas card featuring a drawing of the three wise men denied entry into Bethlehem by the security barrier, while another features a redesign of the Madonna and child wrapped in a Palestinian flag.

Now of course, the Madonna was not a Palestinian Terrorist, and like Jesus, She was a Jew.

None of this, of course, is new.
And there will always be those who have their minds made up.
Israel however, is the only free nation in the Middle East...

God bless Israel!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Jimmy Carter, anti-Jew

by Lee Green

Jimmy Carter Distorts Facts, Demonizes Israel in Book

Former President Jimmy Carter has written an egregiously biased book called Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid and is currently doing numerous interviews to sell the book and its ideas. Carter is attempting to rewrite history, and in his alternate universe, Arabs parties are blameless and Israel is at fault for almost all the conflicts in the world. One gets the feeling after reading just a few pages that if he could have blamed Hurricane Katrina on Israel, he would have. His main messages are that Israel is badly mistreating the Palestinians and that the cause of the conflict is Israel's refusal to return to what he calls its "legal borders" (sic), the pre-67 armistice lines.

Because the Palestinian Arabs have been offered a viable state of their own numerous times, including with the same borders that Carter desires, but turned it down since it meant recognizing Israel's legitimacy and permanence and ending the conflict, Carter either ignores or mischaracterizes the offers. He never lets the facts get in the way of his "must blame Israel" theories. In Carter's twisted universe, it is the Arabs who have always been eager for peace, with Israel opposing it at every turn.

Almost every page of Carter's book contains errors, distortions or glaring omissions. The following list is just a small portion of the many problems in the book:

• Carter claims Israel has been the primary obstacle to peace, that Arab leaders have long sought peace while Israel preferred holding on to "Palestinian land" over peace, and that if only Israel would "[withdraw] to the 1967 border as specified in the U.N. Resolution 242...", there would be peace.

Aside from his obviously questionable opinions, Carter is factually wrong when he asserts that U.N. Resolution 242 requires Israel to withdraw to the 1949 armistice line that was in place until 1967. He has repeated this serious falsehood in many interviews, such as on the November 28 PBS NewsHour:

"The demand is for them to give back all the land. The United Nations resolutions that apply, the agreements that have been made at Camp David under me and later at Oslo for which the Israeli leaders received the Nobel Peace Prizes, was [sic] based on Israel's withdrawal from occupied territories."

He mischaracterizes UN resolutions and apparently has forgotten what he himself signed as a witness to the 1978 Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt, which states in Section A1c: "The negotiations [concerning the West Bank and Gaza] shall be based on all the provisions and principles of UN Security Council Resolution 242. The negotiations will resolve, among other matters, the location of the boundaries and the nature of the security arrangements."

To claim now that the very agreement he witnessed and signed specifies withdrawal to the 1949 armistice lines is outrageous. [While the 1979 Camp David document again mentions UN Resolution 242, it makes no further mention of the West Bank or Gaza Strip. It instead deals with Israeli-Egyptian relations, and includes a map of the Israel-Egypt International Boundary (Annex II). Tellingly, no maps demarcating any boundary between Israel and the Palestinians are appended to the Camp David documents, Resolution 242, the Oslo Accords, or the "road map".]

UN Resolution 242 does not require Israel to withdraw from all the land to the "1967 border", since there is no such border. The "green line" is merely the 1949 armistice line and the drafters of 242 explicitly stated that this line was not a "secure border" -- which 242 calls for.

The British UN Ambassador at the time, Lord Caradon, who introduced the resolution to the Council, has stated that, "It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967, because those positions were undesirable and artificial."

The American UN Ambassador at the time, former Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, has stated that, "The notable omissions - which were not accidental - in regard to withdrawal are the words 'the' or 'all' and the 'June 5, 1967 lines' ... the resolution speaks of withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal." This would encompass "less than a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from occupied territory, inasmuch as Israel's prior frontiers had proved to be notably insecure."

The reasoning of the United States and its allies at the time was clear: Any resolution which, in the face of the aggressive war launched in 1967 against Israel, required complete Israeli withdrawal, would have been seen as a reward for aggression and an invitation to future aggression. This is assuredly not what the UN voted for, or had in mind, when it passed Resolution 242.

Read more:
  
http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=118&x_article=1238

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Mandela was pro Israel


by JOEL B. POLLAK 23 Jun 2013

Don’t fall for the false claim that Nelson Mandela was anti-Israel! It is based on a hoax--a letter written by anti-Israel activist Arjan El Fassed more than a decade ago in the style of New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s made-up letters from world leaders. The letter, purportedly from Mandela to Friedman, compares Israel to apartheid South Africa and has been quoted widely, including by Jimmy Carter. But it is a fraud.

Irshad Manji and I busted the fake "Mandela letter" in 2007. When the hoax was exposed, the perpetrator--"an Arab living in The Netherlands," Manji noted--admitted making up the letter for rhetorical purposes:

"There is no possible basis for Pollak to say I intended people to believe the memo was written by anyone other than myself. At the time, Friedman, a staunch defender of Israel, was famous for writing mock memos in the voice of the US president. In a clearly labelled spoof, under my byline, I published a mock memo from Mandela to Friedman on March 28 2001. Unfortunately, someone forwarded it on the internet without my byline, as I explained to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz."

In El Fassed's view, the analogy was nonetheless valid. But despite owning up to the "unfortunate" fact that the letter was made up, I suspect he was actually rather pleased at the extent to which it was taken seriously.

In truth, Mandela was pro-Israel throughout his life. As he revealed in his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom,in the early 1960s Mandela studied the life of Menachem Begin and enlisted the aid of artist Arthur Goldreich, who had fought in the Palmach, Israel’s pre-independence army. In later years, Mandela continued to support Israel’s right to exist and never endorsed the false claim that Israel resembled South Africa in any way.

Mandela’s support for Israel was complicated by his party’s alliance with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and with its chairman, Yasser Arafat. The PLO had lent the African National Congress (ANC) a hand during its long years of exile, at a time that Israel entered an alliance of convenience with the South African regime (though Israel voted to condemn apartheid at the UN and later joined sanctions against South Africa.)

Therefore Mandela supported Palestinian statehood, and a two-state solution roughly along the 1967 boundaries. That position corresponds roughly to the left-wing outlook in Israel--and, indeed, Mandela enjoyed good relations with Israeli leaders during the era of the Oslo Peace Process in the 1990s.
He was never anti-Israel !

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Now here's a Cutie....

A woman on a train walked up to a man across the table. "Excuse me," she said, "but are you Jewish?" "No," replied the man. A few minutes later the woman returned. "Excuse me," she said again, "are you sure you're not Jewish?"
"I'm sure," said the man. But the woman was not convinced, and a few minutes later she approached him a third time. "Are you absolutely sure you're not Jewish?" she asked? "All right, all right," the man said. "You win. I'm Jewish." "That's funny," said the woman." You don't look Jewish."

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Shanda Factor, What Makes Jewish Sex Scandals Different?

By Ron KampeasJuly 23, 2013 2:49pm From left, Anthony Weiner, Eliot Spitzer and Bob Filner, three Jewish politicians seeking to move on after misdeeds. (United States Congress/Getty Images/City of San Diego)WASHINGTON (JTA) — The guy with the socks up. The guy with the pants down. The guy with the headlocks. The guy who tweets and deletes. What is it with these male politicos? And why are they all Jewish? The cloistered community that is Washington’s Jewish elite collectively choked a little Saturday morning as it progressed through a column in which Gail Collins of The New York Times named the protagonists of what she dubbed the “Weiner Spitzer summer.” “Ever since the Clinton impeachment crisis, we’ve been discovering how much personal misbehavior we’re prepared to ignore in elected officials,” Collins wrote. “Hypocrisy, for sure. Adultery, definitely. Chronic lying, maybe. Financial skullduggery, possibly.” Those seeking absolution this month for past misdeeds include Anthony Weiner, now running for New York mayor, who quit Congress in 2011 after he was caught saluting a female Twitter fan in his boxer briefs; Eliot Spitzer, now in a bid to be Gotham’s comptroller, who quit as the state’s governor in 2008 after the revelation that he patronized high-priced call girls — and allegedly kept his knee-highs on while doing so; and Bob Filner, who quit Congress last year to become San Diego’s first Democratic mayor in 20 years and is now facing a welter of sexual harassment claims, including allegations involving something called the “Filner headlock.” Collins also bewilderingly brought in the bewildering case of Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), who was caught tweeting and deleting messages to a bikini model during the State of the Union address in February. Turns out she was his recently discovered love child. Then it was discovered she wasn’t. Then he commented on the looks of a reporter who asked him about the situation. In her column, Collins did not identify the protagonists as Jewish, but their collective appearance in print unsettled Jewish political players who were whispering their names at social gatherings over the weekend. “If we need a reminder of how Jews are like everyone else, this is a useful one,” said Ann Lewis, who as White House communications director managed the fallout from President Bill Clinton’s sex scandal and whose brother, former Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank, was caught up in a scandal in the 1980s involving a gay escort. “It does help bring us down to earth.” Unlike other lawmakers caught in scandal, Lewis said, Jewish politicos are less likely to face the charges of hypocrisy that have afflicted others caught with their pants down. “Jewish politicians by and large have not been huge advocates of patrolling other people’s sex lives,” Lewis said. The cases all have their own particularities. Spitzer’s lapses were crimes, though he was never prosecuted for them. Filner’s might yet land him in court; his former communications director said this week that she was suing the mayor for sexual harassment. Weiner’s is just bizarre, though no one has suggested it is criminal. And Cohen’s appears to be the rare case of smoke being just smoke, sans fire. Filner thus far has rejected calls for his resignation, while Spitzer and Weiner are both trying to rehabilitate their political careers after retreating from the spotlight in the wake of the scandals. On Monday, however, Weiner acknowledged that he had sent more explicit photos and texts to a woman after he resigned from Congress in 2011. Steve Cohen, a Tennessee congressman, believed bikini model Victoria Brink was his daughter, but it turned out not to be the case. (United States Congress/Facebook)The Cohen saga began in February, when reporters noticed his tweet to bikini model Victoria Brink, who had told Cohen via Twitter that she had seen him on TV. “pleased u r watching, ilu,” he replied, using the shorthand for “I love you.” The unmarried Cohen had a relationship with Brink’s mother, who had told the congressman that the model was his daughter. CNN reported last week, however, that a DNA test showed Cohen and Brink are not related. Asked about the situation by a young female reporter, Cohen said, “You’re very attractive, but I’m not talking about it.” Cohen almost immediately sought out the reporter to apologize, saying he had not meant anything untoward. “Been tough week, then this,” Cohen said in a tweet. “Sad 2 say I’m not perfect.” Political observers attribute the various scandals to the same factors that have led other politicians into the halls of shame: arrogance, insularity and just plain loneliness. “Anyone who wants to run for Congress has to be a little bit crazy, and that includes Jewish members of Congress,” said a longtime Capitol Hill staffer who has worked for a number of Jewish lawmakers — none tinged by scandal. The perpetual fundraising, unfettered accolades from supporters and the rarity of staffers who push back when a boss crosses the line insulate lawmakers from reality checks, according to a number of Hill staffers. The rigors of living one’s life under the constant glare of media scrutiny may also be a factor. “When people are separated from their families for a long period of time, things occur that wouldn’t necessarily occur if your family was there,” said Robert Wexler, a former congressman who described his first months in Washington as hellish, eventually leading to his decision to move his family north so he could spend more time with them. The move was not without a price. In 2008, Wexler came under fire when it was revealed he no longer maintained a residence in his Florida constituency. “Eventually, your political opponent will claim you are of Washington,” he said. Sex scandals have not always sounded the death knell for political careers. New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner and wife Huma Abedin at a news conference in New York City at which Weiner acknowledged that he engaged in lewd online conversations with a woman after his resignation from Congress, July 23, 2013. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)Frank continued to serve in Congress for more than two decades after revelations that he patronized a male escort and then hired him as a personal aide. Weiner is leading in several recent polls, and has never polled lower than second since declaring his candidacy in May. And Spitzer enjoys a commanding lead over his Democratic primary opponent, Scott Stringer, the Jewish Manhattan borough president. “It’s not the end of the world,” Lewis said. “They have a lot of work to do, but if I go back and think about Jewish tradition, you are encouraged to give people another chance.” But the scandals have certainly exacted a price. Barbara Goldberg Goldman, a leading Democratic fundraiser, said the Weiner scandal was a factor in her decision to fundraise for one of his opponents, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. “Because I am Jewish, because I am a Democrat and I am active in that arena, I see it as a tragedy” that Weiner and Spitzer are running again, Goldman said. “There are many fine qualified candidates out there who do not come with the baggage,” she said. “Find another day job. "

Monday, July 15, 2013

Americans Shocked By Zimmerman Verdict

Americans are expressing shock and dismay at the outrageous verdict in the Zimmerman murder case.
Trayvon Martin committed no crime,  he was stalked by a racist who gunned him down like a mad dog.
Before he murdered the youth, he told the PD dispatcher, "These f**king punks always get away with it."
Zimmerman made up his mind that this particular "punk" was not "going to get away with it".
He ignored the police order not to follow the youngster, he stalked him, suprised him in the dark, knocked the phone from his hand and, from what we can reasonably conjecture, attacked the youngster, who began screaming for help.
The screaming stopped the moment Zimmerman shot him to death.
This horrible miscarriage of justice must not be allowed to stand, and hopefully a civil suit, and federal charges will bring some fairness to the victim of this unprovoked murder.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Arab leaders happy to see Morsi gone

Arab leaders happy to see Morsi gone

http://m.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/arab-leaders-happy-to-see-morsi-gone/2013/07/04/3878cede-e4d8-11e2-bffd-37a36ddab820_story.html

Sent from Pocket.

Outlaw Muslim Brotherhood

This is the sensible course of action. Islamists have done NOTHING positive, they have only brought death and hatred. Ban them!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Pee-wee Herman’s Crazy Dad

Pee-wee Herman's Crazy Dad

by Zachary Solomon,

Those antics had to come from somewhere.

Hours after Ben-Gurion announced Israeli independence, Arab forces launched a massive ground invasion. Days later, the American pilot Milton Rubenfeld volunteered for the brand new Israeli Air Force. The young man from Peekskill, New York, his recruitment officer later told an historian, was "so cocky he seemed to swagger even while sitting down."

But Rubenfeld was more than just swagger. He quickly proved himself a skilled pilot, though he was no match for the Arab missiles that shot down his Avia S-199 and forced him to bail over the Mediterranean. As he swam to shore, Israeli farmers began to shoot, thinking him an Arab pilot. As the story goes, Rubenfeld knew no Hebrew to prove himself a compatriot. So he improvised, shouting, "Shabbos, gefilte fish! Shabbos, gefilte fish!"

Rubenfeld's storied life continued after the war. He returned to America and had 3 children, one of whom was Paul Reubens, i.e. Pee-wee Herman. Reubens even cast his father as an extra, earning Rubenfeld, along with his military accolades, his very own IMDB page.

Original Page: http://thejewniverse.com/2013/pee-wee-hermans-crazy-dad/

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Prof. Hawking, a boycott is a black hole too


Dear Prof. Hawking:

When I was a boy in ninth grade, I received a book as a birthday present. It was your successful work, A Brief History of Time. At that time, we did not yet have the internet, so I scoured the papers and the news on radio and television for any scrap of information about you. I was incredulous: "How is it possible that a man in a wheelchair who can barely speak has made such important discoveries about space?", I asked my father. Since then, 25 years after your book was published, my ears have been listening out for the sound of your name - for a return to those moments of my youth, to the sense of wonder at someone - you - who had proven that it is possible to do the impossible. That is, until Wednesday. Because Wednesday you announced that you were canceling your participation in the Israeli Presidential Conference. The reason was that you feel obligated to respect the academic boycott against Israel because of its treatment of the Palestinians. Your announcement was endorsed by spokespeople of a body called: "The British Committee for Universities in Palestine", another in a long list of organizations that are instigated by Palestinian elements and their partners in the cheap propaganda campaign known as BDS (Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions against Israel). Boycotts are flawed in principle. But there is something even more outrageous when intellectuals, scientists and cultural leaders in particular boycott an entire people, any people. Because if there is one field in which there must be room for dialogue, for a cultural bridge, for moral change, it is precisely here, on the same platform on which you and your colleagues stand. If I had to define this in your scientific language, I would say that the boycott creates reverse, negative energy, a vacuum. In my words - it leads to extremism, a hardening of positions, and deterioration. Yes, a boycott leads to a void that does not allow for dialogue, persuasion or discussion. Not with the boycotted people and certainly not with your colleagues, Israel's scientists, researchers, artists and writers. How often it happens that we find a song that has made us think differently about something, about somebody, about a particular people? How often we realize that the discovery of a foreign scientist, whose name we can barely pronounce, has changed our lives forever? How often it is that the director of a political film has caused us to say to someone next to us: "You know, apparently it really isn't ok." Professor Hawking, if you wanted to have an influence on the future of the Palestinians and on what you claim is Israel's problematic treatment of them, then it would be important for you to be here, in Jerusalem, Israel's capital, to say those things. Say them so that they resonate, provoke debate, make headlines. Say them so that we will listen, so that we nod our heads, so that we go back to our loved ones and say, "You know, I heard Prof. Hawking today and there's something in what he says..." Because as hard as it is for us to hear what you have to say, Israel is still a vibrant and lively democracy, one with freedom of speech that is unparalleled, not only in the Middle East but also in the Western world from which you come. Because it is permissible and appropriate to expect that an intellectual of your stature would face the questions, would try to understand that there is a grey area of reality between the Israelis and the Palestinians. I, Professor Hawking, have grown up. I am no longer a boy. I have come to understand that reality is generally not simple. It is not black or white, but mostly gray. It is a pity that you of all people, the object of my admiration, should have chosen to boycott me, the same child with a dream. It saddens me that you have chosen the black option, the option of boycott - the one that creates black holes in the relations between people's and countries, the same black holes that swallow up all that crosses their path. It is just this that I learned from the book that I got as a present, A Brief History of Time. And what will be with the next young reader who gets your book for his birthday? Will he or she also learn the same important life lesson that I was privileged to receive in my youth? Sadly, your support for the boycott passes down to the next generation the failure of the culture of dialogue and the betrayal of all that is right and good in our millennia-old basic values: the values of science, culture and art. Attorney Tzahi Gavrieli has served as an advisor to Prime Ministers Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Olmert

Original Page: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4378746,00.html

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Israel detains ex-prisoner freed in Shalit deal

NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Sunday morning detained a former prisoner who was released from jail in a prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas in 2011, locals said.

Israeli forces took Tahrir Sati al-Qinna, 35, and her brother Saddam, 25, to jail after raiding their village, Kafr Qalil, south of Nablus in the northern West Bank. Soldiers raided the village at 3 a.m., locals said.

The brother and sister are affiliated to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said she was looking into the report.

Israel has re-arrested over a dozen former prisoners it released under the terms of a deal to free captured soldier Gilad Shalit in October 2011 because of the ex-prisoner's acts of terrorism.

Separately, Israeli forces raided the Rafedia neighborhood west of Nablus and detained 42-year-old Omar Abdul-Rahim al-Hanbali.

A relative told the Tadamun (Solidarity) Foundation for Human Rights that large numbers of Israeli troops entered al-Hanbali's house late Saturday and took him to Huwwara detention center.

Al-Hanbali is a pharmacist, according to Ahmad al-Bitawi of Tadamun.

He said that al-Hanbali's brother Muhammad, an engineer and prominent leader within Hamas' military wing, was killed by Israeli forces in 2003.

Original Page: http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=594657

Sunday, April 14, 2013

ADL Survey In Ten European Countries Finds Anti-Semitism At Disturbingly High Levels

michaelblackburnsr.blogspot.com | Apr 14th 2013

Anti-Semitism is a symptom of something very flawed in those who propagate it.
Michael.

New York, NY, March 20, 2012 � Anti-Semitic attitudes in ten European countries remain at "disturbingly high levels," according to a new poll from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released today, with large swaths of the population subscribing to classical anti-Semitic notions such as Jews having too much power in business, being more loyal to Israel than their own country, or "talking too much" about what happened during the Holocaust.

Attitudes Toward Jews in Ten European Countries (.pdf), an ADL opinion survey of 5,000 adults � 500 in each of ten European countries � revealed that pernicious anti-Semitic beliefs continue to be held by nearly one-third of those surveyed.

The poll was conducted between Jan. 2-31, 2012 in Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom. The survey has a margin of error of between +/- 4.43 and +/- 4.85, depending on the specific country.

"The survey is disturbing by the fact that anti-Semitism remains at high levels across the continent and infects many Europeans at a much higher level than we see here in the United States," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "In Hungary, Spain and Poland the numbers for anti-Semitic attitudes are literally off-the-charts and demand a serious response from political, civic and religious leaders."

In France, where a shooting at a Jewish school in Toulouse yesterday claimed the lives of three small children and a teacher, the overall level of anti-Semitism increased to 24 percent of the population, an increase from 20 percent in a previous ADL poll conducted in 2009. In France, 45 percent of respondents attributed the violence against European Jews to anti-Jewish feelings, an increase from 39 percent in 2009.

Other findings for France include: 45 percent of the population responded "probably true" to the statement "Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country; 35 percent agreed that "Jews have too much power in the business world; and 35 percent believe that "Jews still talk too much about what happened to them during the Holocaust.

When asked for their opinion about anti-Semitic violence directed against Jews, and whether that violence is the result of anti-Jewish feelings as opposed to anti-Israel sentiment, overall, 39 percent of Europeans responded that it was the result of anti-Jewish sentiments. "In France, you have a volatile mix," Mr. Foxman said. "France has seen an increase in the level of anti-Semitism. At the same time, more people today believe that violence directed against European Jews is fueled by anti-Jewish attitudes as opposed to anti-Israel sentiment. "Those increases are all the more disturbing in light of the shooting attack at the Jewish school in Toulouse."

In comparison with a similar ADL poll conducted in 2009, several of the countries showed dangerously high levels in the overall level of anti-Semitism, while other countries experienced more modest increases.

The overall findings among the countries for which comparison data is available:

Austria experienced a slight decrease, to 28 percent from 30 percent in 2009.

France: The overall level of anti-Semitism increased to 24 percent of the population, up from to 20 percent in 2009.

Germany: Anti-Semitism increased by one percentage point, to 21 percent of the population.

Hungary: The level rose to 63 percent of the population, compared with 47 percent in 2009;

Poland: The number remained unchanged, with 48 percent of the population showing deep-seated anti-Semitic attitudes.

Spain: Fifty-three percent (53%) percent of the population, compared to 48 percent in 2009.

United Kingdom: Anti-Semitic attitudes jumped to 17 percent of the population, compared to 10 percent in 2009.

Country-by-Country Findings on Anti-Semitic Attitudes

In responding "probably true" to the statement, "Jews are more loyal to Israel" than their own country, the 2012 survey found:

Austria � 47%, unchanged from 2009

France � 45%, up from 38% in 2009

Germany � 52%, down from 53% in 2009

Hungary � 55%, up from 40% in 2009

Italy � 61% in 2012

Netherlands � 47% in 2012

Norway � 58% in 2012

Poland � 61%, down from 63% in 2009

Spain � 72%, up from 64% in 2009

The United Kingdom � 48%, up from 37% in 2009

In responding "probably true" to the statement, "Jews have too much power in the business world," the 2012 survey found:

Austria � 30%, down from 36% in 2009

France � 35%, up from 33% in 2009

Germany � 22%, up from 21% in 2009

Hungary � 73%, up from 67% in 2009

Italy � 39% in 2012

The Netherlands � 10% in 2012

Norway � 21% in 2012

Poland � 54%, down from 55% in 2009

Spain � 60%, up from 56% in 2009

The United Kingdom � 20%, up from 15% in 2009

In responding "probably true" to the statement "Jews have too much power in international financial markets," the 2012 survey found:

Austria � 38%, up from 37% in 2009

France � 29%, up from 27% in 2009

Germany � 24%, up from 22% in 2009

Hungary � 75%, up from 59% in 2009

Italy � 43% in 2012

The Netherlands � 17% in 2012

Norway -- 23% in 2012

Poland � 54%, unchanged from 2009

Spain � 67%, down from 74% in 2009

The United Kingdom � 22%, up from 15% in 2009

In responding "probably true" to the statement, "Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust," the 2012 survey found:

Austria � 45%, down from 55% in 2009

France � 35%, up from 33% in 2009

Germany � 43%, down from 45% in 2009

Hungary � 63%, up from 56% in 2009

Italy � 48% in 2012

The Netherlands � 31% in 2012

Norway � 25% in 2012

Poland � 53%, down from 55% in 2009

Spain � 47%, up from 42% in 2009

The United Kingdom � 24%, up from 20% in 2009

ADL commissioned First International Resources to conduct the survey. Fielded in Europe by Ipsos-Reid Public Affairs, it was conducted in the national language of each country. The margin of error is +/- 4.43 to +/- 4.85, depending on the specific country, at 95% level of confidence.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

Original Page: http://michaelblackburnsr.blogspot.com/2013/04/adl-survey-in-ten-european-countries.html

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Biased, Prejudiced, and Unprofessional: The UN Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Mission Report on Israeli Settlements

On 31 January 2013 the "International Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory" published its findings on the implications of Israeli settlements on the human rights of the Palestinian people. 

1. The enabling resolution of the Human Rights Council, the composition of the mission, its mandate, mode of operation, and substantive content are, from the outset, based on a premise that considers Israel's settlement policy to be illegal. This premise dictates the one-sided and prejudiced nature of the mission and its report. The accepted usage in UN and other international bodies of the term "occupied Palestinian territories" (OPT) is legally flawed and indicative of the inherent bias accompanying this entire exercise. There has never been any determination that the West Bank territories are in fact "Palestinian territories." The use of the expression "OPT" constitutes a politically biased and unjustified prejudgment as to the legal status of the territories, which remain "disputed territories" pending agreement between the parties. The report is based entirely on material submitted by a small number of Israeli, Palestinian, and international non-governmental organizations known for their anti-Israel agenda, residents of the territories, a left-wing-oriented Israeli newspaper (while ignoring other newspapers that take a different stand), UN bodies, and even the Jordanian foreign ministry. The following critique of this inherently one-sided report by the fact-finding mission outlines some examples of the blatant bias, lack of objectivity and unprofessional conduct of the mission, calling upon the UN Secretary General to reject the report in its entirety.

Introduction

Any normal observer genuinely seeking to better understand the issue of Israel's settlement activity and its implications for the Palestinian residents of the territories might view with some anticipation a report, ostensibly by an "independent international fact-finding mission," that presumes, by its own admission, to be impartial, objective, transparent and professional.

Regrettably, upon perusing the mission's report it becomes immediately evident that any such expectation and anticipation of impartiality, objectivity, transparency, and professionalism is immediately and blatantly false.

Title, Mandate, and Composition of the Mission

The title and mandate of the mission established by Human Rights Council Resolution 19/17 of 22 March 20122 "to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem," as well as the extremely partisan preambular and substantive provisions of that enabling resolution that determined in advance the illegality of Israel's settlement activity, both underwrite from the start the tenor and orientation of the mission.

The fact that this exercise emanates from, and is directed by, the UN Human Rights Council, the questionable integrity and politically-biased orientation of which is a sad but universally recognized fact, only adds to the questionable nature of the mission's report and retracts from any semblance of credibility and reliability.

The biased nature of this report is perhaps evident first and foremost from the curious composition of the fact-finding team appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council.3 The team included a representative of Pakistan, a country openly hostile to Israel, which maintains no relations whatsoever and refuses to recognize the country. Pakistan was in fact the co-sponsor and introducer, on behalf of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, of the Human Rights Council Resolution 19/17 establishing the fact-finding mission, as well as a gallery of other resolutions directed against Israel.4

One might have assumed that in composing any such "independent" mission, some discretion and due regard would have been given by the President of the Human Rights Council to the political implications inherently obvious in choosing such a member of the mission.

"Occupied Palestinian Territories"

What has generally come to be accepted usage in the UN and other international bodies of the term "occupied Palestinian territories" (OPT), and specifically in the title to the report of the fact-finding mission and in the resolution of the Human Rights Council setting out the mandate of the mission, is, in and of itself, politically and legally flawed, slanted, and indicative of the biased and selective character of the UN Human Rights Council, as well as of the inherent bias accompanying this entire exercise.

There has never been any determination, whether by treaty, by any binding UN resolution, or by any of the agreements dealing with the Middle East peace negotiation process, that the West Bank territories are in fact "Palestinian territories." Similarly, there has never been any Palestinian sovereign entity that has governed the territories and to which they belong.

Even the UN itself, in welcoming and supporting the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,5 inherently acknowledged thereby that the status of the territories and the final determination of their sovereign character are, as set out in that agreement, subject to negotiation between the parties in a permanent status agreement. This is further emphasized by the co-signing as witnesses of the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement by the EU, the U.S., Russia, Jordan, Egypt, and Norway.

Accordingly, the use of the expression "OPT" by the Human Rights Council and its fact-finding mission runs counter to determinations both of the UN itself as well as agreements between the Palestinians and Israel. It constitutes a politically biased and unjustified prejudgment as to the legal status of the territories, which remain "disputed territories" pending agreement between the parties. As such it undermines the Oslo Accords and prejudices the obligations set out in those accords.

Impartiality and Objectivity of the Mission's Mode of Operation

One may in fact wonder, in this context, what substantive standing and relevance could have been attributed by the mission to representatives of the Jordanian Foreign Ministry, with a view to their inclusion in the report as authorities on the subject matter?

In its media statement dated 31 January 2013 issued upon publication of the fact-finding mission's report, "NGO Monitor" observed as follows:8

Of 133 footnotes, 31 cite NGOs, and an additional 12 cite the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which generally also relies on NGOs for its claims. Many of these NGOs are funded by European governments and the New Israel Fund (NIF). 

The document also cites a single media source, Ha'aretz, which in turn often quotes NGOs. The reference to an opinion article from the paper's editors also demonstrates the lack of substantive research. Many other references are to other UNHRC documents, which are also heavily reliant on NGOs and newspaper articles.

In these respects, the latest UNHRC fact-finding report again blatantly violated best practices in human rights investigations, such as the Lund-London guidelines that mandate reports be "clearly objective and properly sourced."9 

But above all, what stands out is the utter lack of any information other than one-sided accusations and allegations by those sources listed, and the impression that such sources were chosen due to their compatibility with the mission's aims rather than their validity or professionalism.

Having relied so entirely on one-sided findings, one may wonder how the mission could logically claim to have been guided by "the principles of 'do no harm,' independence, impartiality, objectivity, discretion, transparency, confidentiality, integrity and professionalism."10

Had the members of the mission been truly guided by the above principles, and had they been genuinely impartial, objective, discrete, transparent, professional and with integrity, as they presume to be, then in light of the one-sided nature of the mission's mandate and terms of reference, not to mention the source material presented to them, they clearly should have recused themselves once it became evident that the mission could not meet the very standards of impartiality that it imposed on itself.

Even without the cooperation of the government of Israel (quite understandable in light of the biased mandate and composition of the mission), one might have expected, if only out of concern for its credibility, impartiality and objectivity, and when faced with the barrage of one-sided and partisan accusations and allegations against Israel, that the mission would, at the minimum, have consulted material openly available in the media and on the internet in order to verify the one-sided allegations and accusations.

An example of this might be the determination in paragraph 24 of the report that the first settlement established by Israel was Kefar Ezyon. Had they thought of checking the most simple and available websites on the subject such as Wikipedia, they would have discovered that Kfar Etzion had existed since 1927 as a Jewish farming community, on land legally purchased for that purpose. They would have discovered that the Jewish residents had been brutally massacred and exiled during the Arab uprising of 1936, later returning in 1943, only to be massacred once again and taken prisoner in 1948 by the Jordanian Arab Legion and irregular forces.11 The re-establishment of the village by the offspring of those same massacred Jews, and their re-entry into the same homes owned by them for decades prior to 1967, was ignored by the fact-finding mission, which ironically preferred to adopt the viewpoint of those who had carried out the massacres and to call for the removal of Kfar Etzion.

"Military Occupation"

The underlying assumption upon which the entire report is premised and guided is that a situation of "military occupation" prevails in the territory, and that Israel's policies regarding settlements and its treatment of the local Palestinian population are in violation of the international humanitarian law and various human rights treaties relevant to such a situation of military occupation.

This assumption is based on a long-standing political position repeated consistently in countless UN resolutions since Israel's assumption of control over the territories following its defensive war of 1967, and even repeated by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in a non-binding 2004 Advisory Opinion on Israel's security fence.

None of the above instruments indicate or base themselves on any genuine, objective legal analysis of the sui generis situation in the territories since 1967. They are based, inter alia, on a selective interpretation of provisions of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, but disregarding significant references in the official International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Commentary on the convention, in its traveaux preparatoires and by prominent jurists, as to the background of, and intention behind, its provisions.12

This position also disregards the factual circumstances leading to Israel's presence in the territories, and totally ignores the unique historical and legal background, including the long, deeply-rooted, historic and indigenous rights of Jews in these territories. In this context, the UN Human Rights Council and its fact-finding mission actually undermine the UN's own Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007)13 which recognizes the historic rights of an indigenous people to land and territory. They also disregard and seek to undermine those historic rights guaranteed to the Jewish people in such documents as the 1917 Balfour Declaration14 and the 1920 San Remo Declaration,15 the continued validity of which is reaffirmed in Article 80 of the UN Charter.

No less surprising is the fact that the report of the fact-finding mission selectively chooses to disregard as applicable law, central provisions of the agreements between Israel and the PLO regarding the status of the territory and their mutual rights and responsibilities pending the outcome of permanent status negotiations.16

"Israeli Settlements"

The definition of Israeli settlements proffered by the fact-finding mission "for the purpose of its work"17 is a further indication of the biased nature of the mission's mandate.

In Annex I to the report setting out in a timeline a listing of Israeli settlements, the mission opens its list with the 1948 Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, stressing the differentiation between this declaration and the 1947 General Assembly Partition Resolution 181,18 as if to stress that the State of Israel itself is a settlement in derogation from Resolution 181.

Similarly, Israeli legislative instruments adopted in the 1950s and 1960s prior to the 1967 entry by Israel into the territories are also listed as "Israeli settlements."

One might assume from this that the "impartial," independent fact-finding mission views the very existence of the State of Israel as an "Israeli settlement," with all the pejorative meaning attributed by the report to this term.

Applicable Law

While viewing international human rights law and international humanitarian law, as well as other international law frameworks and principles, as its guiding factors in considering the applicable law for purposes of its mission,19 the fact-finding mission seems to have completely overlooked the legal framework directly and formally applicable to the situation in the territories as agreed-upon by the interested parties themselves, Israel and the PLO, in the 1993-5 Oslo Accords,20 witnessed by the international community and supported by the UN, which, as lex specialis, governs the legal relationship between the two sides as well as the issues of mutual jurisdiction and status of the territory.

Thus, in accusing Israel of maintaining distinct legal systems and separate application of the law for Palestinians and Israelis, the mission was either unaware of, or seems again to have deliberately chosen to ignore, the readily available information as to the legal relationship between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, set out in Article XVII of the 1995 Interim Agreement, detailing the agreed-upon fields of respective jurisdiction of the two sides. Similarly, the mission ignores the fourth Annex to the interim agreement entitled "Protocol Concerning Legal Matters," readily available to the members of the mission on the web with the press of a button, had they chosen to consult it.21 This Annex covers in detail such fields as criminal and civil jurisdiction and legal assistance in criminal and civil matters.

In ignoring this important component of applicable law, the fact-finding mission is, in fact, both acting contrary to the UN's own acknowledgment of the validity and relevance of the Oslo Accords, as well as presenting an inaccurate and incomplete picture of the applicable law.

In listing as part of applicable law the humanitarian obligations incumbent upon Israel vis-à-vis Palestinians as "protected persons,"22 the mission would appear to mislead readers of its report into thinking that Israel still controls all the territories and is responsible for the human rights and welfare of the residents, whose rights, according to the report, Israel is allegedly violating. 

However, the mission seems to have overlooked the fact that since Israel withdrew from Areas A and B in the West Bank pursuant to the 1995 Interim Agreement, the major portion of the Palestinian residents of the territory is under the administration of the Palestinian Authority which is obligated, pursuant to a very significant clause of the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement, "to exercise their powers and responsibilities pursuant to this agreement with due regard to internationally accepted norms and principles of human rights and the rule of law."23 If, indeed, residents of the areas under Palestinian Authority jurisdiction (as well as residents of the Gaza Strip under the jurisdiction of the Hamas terror organization) suffer violations of their humanitarian rights, it would be appropriate for the Human Rights Council to refer its fact-finding mission to those Palestinian authorities responsible rather than to unjustly blame Israel.

Use of Slanted Terminology

In a pejorative and biased manner, the mission appears to have developed a unique form of terminology intended to indicate a new and different standard of "settler violence," "settler attacks," "settler communities," "settler roads," etc.

The usage by the mission's report of such terms as "settler violence" implies a double standard applied vis-à-vis Israel only, and as such belies the impartial and objective nature claimed by the mission.

One may wonder how this novel term "settler violence" differs from any other form of violence, whether this be violence against Israeli citizens by foreign visitors freely entering Israel to demonstrate against Israel's policies, violence including indiscriminate rocket fire by Palestinian terrorist elements (or, as termed by the mission, "armed elements") against Israeli towns, villages, settlements and people, stone-throwing and other acts of violence by Palestinians demonstrating in what the fact-finding mission describes as "a non-violent manner"24 against Israel's security barrier, or violence by residents of Israeli settlements against Palestinians.

Violence is violence, wherever it takes place and however termed, and in all circumstances should be dealt with in accordance with the law by the responsible authorities.

Curiously, it would appear that only in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict does a "peaceful non-violent demonstration" include stone-throwing and "Molotov cocktails." This has come to be a given, understandable, and acceptable course of action, and the international community and UN organs, including the Human Rights Council, are willing to accept such Palestinian violence as legitimate and non-violent, and condemn measures by Israel to prevent it.

In a similar vein, the arbitrary use in the concluding paragraph 101 of the term "creeping annexation," to describe the establishment of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem, is nothing more than a political judgment and indicates acute lack of professionalism by the mission as well as an utter ignorance and lack of understanding of the framework of mutual commitments by Israel and the PLO in the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement. Both sides agreed that settlements (as well as other issues) would be dealt with in the permanent status negotiations and, as such, undertook to avoid changing the status of the territory pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.25 Israel has consistently reaffirmed its position that the settlements issue remains an issue for negotiation, and hence any allegation that Israel's settlements constitute "creeping annexation" is nothing less than demagogy.

The evidently deliberate and nuanced use in the fact-finding mission's report of such terms as "total segregation," "institutionalized discrimination," and "separate/distinct legal systems" further indicate a lack of professional integrity by the mission members in conducting their research, as well as in the evidently deliberate use of terminology that is ominously reminiscent of apartheid or Nazi terminology or even the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion, with all that that is intended to imply.

Archeological Excavations

The repetition by the fact-finding mission of unfounded and absurd allegations that archeological excavations conducted by Israel in Jerusalem's Old City "are intended to emphasize Jewish cultural heritage while disregarding – or worse undermining – the rich heritage of other cultures that have contributed to the millenary history of the city"26 is both gratuitous and intellectually insulting, both to Israel but no less to the members of the mission themselves, and would appear to be totally irrelevant to the mandate or subject matter of the fact-finding mission. This one-sided approach by the fact-finding mission negates thousands of years of Jewish history, backed up by archeology.

The historic and cultural heritage of all religions in and under Jerusalem – whether Muslim, Jewish, Ottoman, Hellenic, or any other – is strictly and duly respected by Israel without distinction. All archeological excavations are carried out according to the highest international standards and are usually accompanied by external observers. All such excavations are documented and findings are available via the web and shared with the international community.

Had the members of the fact-finding mission been genuinely impartial and objective, they would have proceeded to authenticate such wild allegations rather than merely repeat them in their report.

In this context, one cannot but recall the crude and unprofessional excavations carried out by the Muslim Waqf authority in 1996-2007 at the "Solomon's Stables" holy site and other sites on the Temple Mount – using bulldozers, thereby destroying countless historical artifacts.27 While archeologists from around the world voiced their outrage, it is noteworthy that the UN, including its Human Rights Council, remained silent.

A similarly absurd, gratuitous, insulting and irrelevant allegation by the fact-finding mission appears in paragraph 79 of the report, in which: "Israeli politicians, academics and civil society actors voicing criticism of the settlements are discredited in public discourse."

Repetition of such an allegation belies the intellect, integrity, and professionalism of the members of the mission. Israel is an open and free society in which freedom of speech is maintained at the highest cost. Politicians, academics, former combatants, and journalists (including the renowned Ha'aretz newspaper quoted as a reference in the mission's report) are free to voice their opinions, without fear of retribution.

The International Criminal Court

In its conclusion, the fact-finding mission accuses Israel inter alia of "gross violations of human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law."28 It foresees a scenario in which the Palestinians would ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and thereby invoke the court's jurisdiction against Israel's leaders.

Such a scenario might perhaps be wishful thinking by the members of the fact-finding mission, but in practice is highly unlikely.

Unlike the highly politicized and partisan Human Rights Council, the ICC is neither a UN Organ nor a Specialized Agency, and is not obliged, as are the specialized agencies and other bodies within the UN system, to follow the recommendations of the UN General Assembly or Human Rights Council. It is an "independent, permanent judicial institution" as determined in its relationship agreement with the UN.29

The 1998 ICC Statute provides that the court's jurisdiction may be activated only by states, and that a state party to the ICC Statute may initiate charges.30

In the Palestinian 2009 attempt to invoke ICC jurisdiction against Israel,31 the ICC Prosecutor determined that he did not have the competence to determine whether the term "state" could be applied to the Palestinian Authority, and referred the issue to the UN Secretary General who, in case of doubt, will defer to the guidance of the General Assembly.

In considering whether the Palestinian Authority could, following the 2013 General Assembly upgrade resolution,32 be considered a state for the purposes of approaching the ICC, the fact nevertheless remains that it is no more a state following the resolution than it was before adoption of the resolution. Legally, the upgrade resolution neither created a Palestinian state, nor did it grant any kind of statehood to the Palestinians.

The UN General Assembly does not have the legal and political power to establish states. It merely upgraded the observer status of the PLO's UN representation to that of a non-member-state observer for internal purposes within the UN and its constituent organs and agencies.

It remains highly unlikely that the ICC or the UN Secretary General, if functioning properly and legally and without political manipulation, would be able to accede to a further Palestinian attempt to invoke the court's jurisdiction. As an independent juridical institution, in keeping with the purposes for which it was established, and with a view to protecting its absolute objectivity, the ICC has attempted, up to the present, to avoid having its independent juridical character politicized or otherwise compromised.

The scenario foreseen by the members of the Human Rights Council's fact-finding mission, in which the Palestinian Authority, with the encouragement of the Human Rights Council, would attempt to manipulate the ICC and turn it into a "whipping-body" against Israel, similar to the way in which the Human Rights Council is being so manipulated, would doubtless cause considerable damage to the court and prejudice its continued credibility and viability.

Conclusion

This critique of the fact-finding mission's report points to some basic flaws both in the modus operandi of the mission as well as in its mandate. These flaws reflect on the credibility, intellectual honesty, professionalism, and impartiality of the members of the mission, as well as of the UN Human Rights Council itself.

Issuing such a slanted and biased report implants within the international community an incorrect and inaccurate view of a complex reality, in a manner that inevitably steers the debate away from practical or fruitful directions and in fact assists in entrenching the beliefs of the more extreme elements on all sides. It serves to mobilize the international community in a manner prejudicial to any future prospect of agreement and settlement of the dispute.

In short, this report is nothing more than an insult to the UN as a whole and to its Human Rights Council, as well as an insult to the intellect of all those who read it in the false expectation that it is authoritative and credible.

The UN Secretary General and the President of the Human Rights Council are therefore urged to have this disgraceful report withdrawn, rejected, and permanently shelved.

*     *     *

1. A/HRC/22/63 dated 7 February 2013, pursuant to UNHRC Resolution 19/17 dated 22 March 2012.
2. Ibid. at p. 48.
3. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session19/Pages/IsraeliSettlementsInTheOPT.aspx
4. http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session19/A-HRC-19-2_en.pdf. See resolutions 19/14 "Human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan," 19/15 "Right of the Palestinian people to self-determination," 19/16 "Human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem," 19/17 "Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan," 19/18 "Follow-up to the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict."
5. UN General Assembly Resolution A/50/21 of 12 December 1995, http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/50/21⟪=E
6. Paragraph 8 of the report.
7. Stated by Mme. Justice Unity Dow, member of the mission from Botswana. See UNHRC press release dated 31 January 2013.
8. http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/un_human_rights_council_and_ngo_allies_produce_another_politicized_report
9. http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/best_practices_for_human_rights_and_humanitarian_ngo_fact_finding
10. Ibid.
11. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kfar_Etzion
12. See ICRC, Commentary to the Fourth Geneva Convention, edited by Jean S. Pictet (1958), in its Forward and at pp.3-9, for an extensive summary of the reasoning behind the drafting of the convention. See also Eugene V. Rostow, American Journal of International Law, Vol. 84, 1990, p. 719, and Julius Stone, "The Illegal Settlements Myth," Commentary, Dec. 2009.14. http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace%20Process/Guide%20to%20the%20Peace%20Process/The%20Balfour%20Declaration
15. http://www.cfr.org/israel/san-remo-resolution/p15248
16. See the section on "applicable law" below.
17. Report, paragraph 4.
18. A/RES/181(II)[A-B].
19. Mission report, paragraphs 10-17.
20. See the 1993 Declaration of Principles (Oslo I), http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace+Process/Guide+to+the+Peace+Process/Declaration+of+Principles.htm; the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement (Oslo II), http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace+Process/Guide+to+the+Peace+Process/THE+ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN+INTERIM+AGREEMENT.htm; the Hebron Protocol, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace+Process/Guide+to+the+Peace+Process/Protocol+Concerning+the+Redeployment+in+Hebron.htm; the Wye River Memorandum, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace+Process/Reference+Documents/The+Wye+River+Memorandum-full.htm; and Sharm el Shiekh Memorandum, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/1990_1999/1999/9/Sharm+el-Sheikh+Memorandum+on+Implementation+Timel.htm
21. http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace+Process/Guide+to+the+Peace+Process/THE+ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN+INTERIM+AGREEMENT+-+Annex+IV.htm
22. Paragraph 15 of the report.
23. 1995 Interim Agreement, op. cit., Article XIX.
24. Paragraph 77 of the report.
25. Interim Agreement, op. cit., Article XXXI(7).
26. Paragraph 59 of the report.
27. Israel Finkelstein, "In the Eye of Jerusalem's Archaeological Storm," Jewish Daily Forward, 26 April 2011, http://forward.com/articles/137273/in-the-eye-of-jerusalem-s-archaeological-storm/. See also Etgar Lefkovits, "Temple Mount Relics Saved from Garbage," Jerusalem Post, 14 April 2005.
28. Paragraph 104 of the report.
29. http://www.icc-cpi.int/nr/rdonlyres/916fc6a2-7846-4177-a5ea-5aa9b6d1e96c/0/iccasp3res1_english.pdf
30. Articles 12-14 of the Statute of the ICC, http://untreaty.un.org/cod/icc/statute/romefra.htm
31. http://www.icc-cpi.int/NR/rdonlyres/C6162BBF-FEB9-4FAF-AFA9-836106D2694A/284387/SituationinPalestine030412ENG.pdf
32. A/Res/67/19, 26 November 2012, http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/0080ef30efce525585256c38006eacae/181c72112f4d0e0685257ac500515c6c?OpenDocument

http://jcpa.org/article/biased-prejudiced-and-unprofessional-the-un-human-rights-council-fact-finding-mission-report-on-israeli-settlements/

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Hugo Chavez, anti-Israel president of Venezuela and Iran ally, dies

NEW YORK (JTA) -- Hugo Chavez, the longtime president of Venezuela who spouted anti-Israel rhetoric and befriended Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has died.

Chavez, who ruled the South American country for 14 years, died Tuesday following a long battle with cancer, Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro said in a televised speech. Chavez was 58.

An anti-capitalist, Chavez took office in 1999, rising to power with the massive support of the country's poor. Despite battling cancer, Chavez was reelected last year. He underwent four surgeries in Cuba, his last one on Dec. 11.

The Jewish community of Venezuela has had strained relationships with the government following a flood of attacks against Jewish houses of worship in 2009. Venezuelan police officers were among those implicated in the attacks.

Venezuela severed ties with Israel following Israel's three-week Gaza operation Cast Lead launched in December 2008, expelling the Israeli ambassador and staff.

In May 2010, following Israeli Navy clashes with a flotilla trying to evade the country's blockade that resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish activists, Chavez called Israel a "genocidal state" in a national broadcast and said the Mossad was trying to kill him.

"Israel is financing the Venezuelan opposition. There are even groups of Israeli terrorists, of the Mossad, who are after me trying to kill me," he said.

Along with befriending Ahmadinejad, Chavez also was an ally of the former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Chavez, who was anti-American, was a socialist leader who was credited with reducing poverty and expanding access to health care, food and education to Venezuela's poor while undermining the democratic country's system of checks and balances and repressing its media.

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http://www.jta.org/news/article/2013/03/05/3121241/hugo-chavez-president-of-venezuela-dies-of-cancer

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Belmokhtar, Mastermind of Algerian Gas Plant Attack, Killed in Mali

Another mass murderer bites the dust....MFBSR

The Al Qaeda-affiliated leader of the Signed in Blood battalion was killed by Chadian forces in Mali, reports Jamie Dettmer.

TRIPOLI—The veteran jihadist leader who masterminded the seizing in January by Al Qaeda-linked militants of an Algerian natural gas plant that left more than 30 hostages dead has been killed in northern Mali, according to Chad's armed forces.

French military officials in Mali said they could not confirm the death, but Libyan intelligence sources say the claim by Chadian army chiefs is accurate.

The death was announced first on Chad's state television by General Zacharia Gobongue, who said that Chadian armed forces killed Mokhtar Belmokhtar while attacking a terrorist base in the Adrar de Ifhogas mountains in northern Mali. Several other jihadists were also killed in the assault, which was carried out by Chadian soldiers experienced in desert fighting.

His death is seen by analysts as a severe blow for Islamist rebels in Mali, who have retreated to mountain redoubts in the face of a fierce French-led intervention that was launched last year.

On Friday, Mali-based Islamists suffered another setback when Al Qaeda commander Adelhamid Abou Zeid was killed. His death was announced by Chad's President Idriss Deby, whose soldiers are among the African forces supporting the French in Mali.

This is a very heavy blow to Al Qaeda and the Jihad movement in the Sahel," says Abdel Bari Atwani, the editor-in-chief of Al Quds Al Arabi newspaper, who has followed for years Belmokhtar's jihadist career.

"He was the fox of the desert and had huge experience and was the link between the older and younger generations of jihadists. To have him killed at this crucial time will hurt Al Qaeda. But as we have learned in Afghanistan and Iraq, Al Qaeda will bounce back."

President Deby also cautioned against assuming the fight was all but finished in northern Mali. "The war is not over, even if the enemy have been put to flight," he said.

Belmokhtar was part pirate and part jihadist. He made a name for himself as far back as the 1990s as a successful cigarette smuggler in the Sahel, earning him the nickname "Marlboro Man." He was also dubbed "The Uncatchable One.

An Algerian native with a storied two-decade history of armed militancy, Belmokhtar was one of the leading figures of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and commanded a highly effective cell of fighters in north Mali until October, when Yahya Abou El Hamame was appointed over him as AQIM's "Emir of the Sahel."

He broke away from the Al Qaeda franchise and formed a new jihadist group called the "Signed in Blood" battalion. Even so, the Algerian-born Belmokhtar remained a steadfast supporter of Al Qaeda, according to Andrew Black, who wrote a study on Belmokhtar for the Jamestown Foundation, a Washington DC-based think-tank.

"He was the fox of the desert and had huge experience and was the link between the older and younger generations of jihadists."

"In the Sahel the jihadist groups are very fissiparous," notes Stephen Ellis of the African Studies Center at the University of Leiden in The Netherlands. "They split and re-form regularly only to split again."

Terrorism analysts believed that Belmokhtar had more than one objective in mind when he ordered his fighters to seize the gas facility in Algeria in January. They think he was trying to boost his own standing among jihadists after his organizational break with Al Qaeda, hoping that eventually he would be rewarded with the leadership of AQIM.

One of his associates, Oumar Ould Hamaha, told the Associated Press in the autumn that Belmokhtar wanted to "enlarge his zone of operation throughout the entire Sahara, going from Niger through to Chad and Burkina Faso."

Born in Ghardaia, Algeria, in 1972, Belmokhtar traveled to Afghanistan as a 19-year-old to join training camps run by jihadists, returning in 1992 to his homeland, where he helped to set up the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) that subsequently merged with al-Qaeda.

Jamestown Foundation's Black says above all Belmokhtar was a shrewd operator who earned his reputation as one of the most daring jihadist-gangster leaders in the Sahara desert.

Belmokhtar was linked to a string of kidnappings of foreigners in North Africa, including the 2003 kidnapping of 32 European tourists. In 2008 he was behind the kidnapping of two Canadians, one of whom was the former U.N. Niger envoy Robert Fowler.

Belmokhtar's Saharan activities were helped by his strong links with local Tuaregs—at least two of his four wives are believed to be Tuareg. The kinship connections were useful also for AQIM. His death could well contribute greatly to a further unraveling of the AQIM-Tuareg pact, already under strain from the French intervention.

A wily fighter, earlier this year he was thought to have ordered his men to light cooking fires inside empty houses to trick French warplane pilots into believing they had found his hideout. After striking the pretend camp, French ground forces stormed the houses only to find no sign of Belmokhtar.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/03/02/belmokhtar-mastermind-of-algerian-gas-plant-attack-killed-in-mali.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Cheat%20Sheet&utm_campaign=cheatsheet_morning&cid=newsletter%3Bemail%3Bcheatsheet_morning

By Jamie Dettmer

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Syrian Revolution Is A Movement To Kill Christians

Assad is a bad man, but the "rebels" are far worse.
MFBSR

The Syrian Revolution is for the establishing of an Islamic state, and in so doing, Christians are being killed by the Islamist. But I fear the future, knowing that the time is coming in which a full out massacre will be implemented by the Islamist in Syria. The fall of Assad will mean a mass cleansing of anybody who believes in the Bible, since the Assad regime protects the Christian population.

Just in late November, two car bombs went off in a Christian and Druze suburb of Damascus killing forty-five and injuring 120. In a recent report by the UK's Independent, one Syrian said that the rebels "wanted to kill us because we were Christians. They were calling us Kaffirs [infidels], even little children saying these things. Those who were our neighbours turned against us".

Archbishop Issam John Darwish said that there has been "an influx of jihadists in the rebels in the last six, seven months".

On November 8th of this year Agenzia Fides reported that the Catholic Church was trying to rescue ten Christians who were abducted by Islamists as they were traveling from Aleppo to Beirut.

According to an article written by Beatriz Schiava

Christian neighborhoods like Bab Touma, Qatana, the Christian Quarters of Damascus, Hamidiye, and neighborhoods of Aleppo such as Sulaymaniya, AL Jarbiriya, Al Tilal, Villas, and many others have been targeted with bomb attacks and snipers that kill and injure hundreds of innocent bystanders.

On September 25, the Vatican News stated that 150 Greek Catholics, working in their apple fields near the village of Rableh between the Lebanese border and the city of Qusayr, were kidnapped. The next day, another 130 Christians from Rableh were kidnapped by armed thugs. The perpetrators behind this was a Sunni Islamist group from Lebanon called Ahmad Ammoun.

Though Ahmad Ammoun was said to have no known connection with the Free Syrian Army (FSA), it turns out that they do have a relation. As I reported on the event , both Ahmad Ammoun and the FSA are Salafist, and both have waged attacks on Christians and Alawite Muslims.

Attacks on churches, looting, the seizing of private property, and murder, are now common crimes done against Christians.

Christians who are not wealthy enough to leave Syria have stayed behind, becoming an easy target for rebels, who have blocked there homes.

In September, it was reported that 150 Christians took up arms to prevent rebels from entering major areas of Aleppo. In the Christian quarter of Jdeidah, Christian militia, with Syrian military assistance took out Free Syrian Army thugs who were hiding in the Ferhat Square of the area. The reason? FSA members were hiding in buildings killing random Christians. According to one Christian witness named John,

FSA snipers were on the rooftops and they were attacking the Maronite church and Armenian residents there

Manaf Tlass, a very famous rebel in Syria, has a cousin named Abdul Razzak, who commands the notorious al-Farouq brigade of the opposition, which was responsible for the forced exile of 80,000 Christians out of Homs.

In Aleppo, about 100 rebels invaded a Christian area of the city. One report on Syria had this to say:

The violent situation deeply hurts the entire Syrian population, the Christian community as well as other people groups. But about two or three weeks ago we observed an increase of violence that specifically is targeting Christians or Christian neighborhoods. Bombs now are placed in Christian areas where there is no strategic or military target at all.

Also in Aleppo, in November, a bomb went off near a Syriac Orthodox Church leaving between 20 and 80 people dead. An Armenian church was also bombed after being raided and vandalized by rebels.

One Christian named Michel said that the persecution toward Christians began after the first protest against the Assad regime. He continued to say:

Then suddenly arms were being used and there were Arabs from different countries," he said. "They broke into Christian houses and accused them of blasphemy. …

Michel also recounted a horrific event which happened to his family while he was gone from his home:

It was indescribable fear. They burned tyres in front of the house and wanted to burn the house," he said. [My wife] took the children and was jumping over walls from one street to another until they managed to escape.

The St. Gevorg Church in Aleppo's Armenian Nor Kyugh district was put to flames by rebels, being almost put to ashes, while the Mesrobian Armenian school next to the church was also attacked. Moreover, in the Armenian district of Damascus a bomb went off which killed 10 people, and wounded another 50.

Agnes Mariam, the Mother Superior of the Melkite Greek Catholic monastery of St James the Mutilated in Qara, said that while the Assad regime does "not favour Christians", "The social fabric of Syria is very diverse, so Christians live in peace."

Right when Assad's regime topples, the Christians will be amongst the greatest victims.

While Israel has not gotten involved in the revolution, it is not optimistic either. Syrian rebels have taken almost all of the villages near the frontier with the Golan Heights. Ehud Barak said:

Almost all of the villages, from the foot of this ridge to the very top, are already in the hands of the Syrian rebels

One rebel named Mateen said that the rebellion has

a big fight against the Jews ahead of us. We will take that up, God willing.

Pope Benedict XVI has in fact objected to any giving of arms into Syria, where they will be given into the hands of the rebels:

The import of weapons has to finally stop, …Without the import of arms the war cannot continue. Instead of importing weapons, which is a grave sin, we have to import ideas of peace and creativity.

Where are the voices from major contemporary churches? Where is Rick Warren, Joel Olsteen? America and Europe have not offered any help for the Christians, and while mainstream churches stay silent, the U.S. government and Western allies are making matters worse. Within hours of Obama's second victory, Western allies had already designed a development for Syria, expecting a much more aggressive approach to Syria by the president. England and Turkey have been discussing the use of NATO against Bashar al-Assad, expecting more support from Obama.

Lets not forget that Obama last month recognized the official Syrian opposition as a legitimate group, saying

I'm encouraged to see that the Syrian opposition created an umbrella group that may have more cohesion than they've had in the past, …We consider them a legitimate representative of the aspirations of the Syrian people. We're not yet prepared to recognize them as some sort of government in exile, but we do think that it is a broad-based representative group.

What will this do? Remember Egypt. What caused the Muslim Brotherhood in the Egyptian revolution to be so confident? They got Obama's approval in his famous "New Beginning" speech of 2009 which he did in Cairo (a speech which, I believe, will be judged by history as one of the most destructive acts of a U.S. president).

While Obama has been vocal on his support for the Syrian revolution and the toppling of Assad, his administration is now considering giving weapons to help the rebels. The New York Times reported in November:

While no decisions have been made, the administration is considering several alternatives, including directly providing arms to some opposition fighters.

Turkey wants NATO to provide them with surface-to-air missiles to supposedly protect the country from the Syrian military, and State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland said that the Patriot missile system would not be "for use beyond the Turkish border."

But I fear that the Obama administration's and NATO's involvement will go beyond just talk, and enter into them working with terrorist groups, just as they did when they worked to oust out Gaddafi, as Walid Shoebat reported:

Appointing Libyan fighters to oust Qaddafi was akin to appointing the same individuals with the same ideology as Al-Qaeda. That ideology was established by the fighting groups that were involved in the Afghan-Russian war. It was these groups that were aided by NATO forces and supported by the Obama administration, which wanted the removal of the Gaddafi regime.

From what I have heard, the reasons why America is in support of toppling Assad is because they see him as a brutal tyrant who needs to be removed. Also, because America sees the Shiites as the major threat, and believe that by removing Assad, Iran will then be weakened significantly. But what America and the rest of the West needs to realize, that that by getting rid of Assad, this will pave the way for Turkey to invade Syria, and begin to arise as a major superpower in the Middle East.

With all of this said, the point is clear. Islam is anti-Christian ideology, and by allowing its fundamentalist followers to take Syria, the Christians living under it will live the lives of slaves and victims of genocide.

Theodore Shoebat is the author of the book, For God or For Tyranny.

http://shoebat.com

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Analysis: Arab daily praises Israel, gets bashed

The popular Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat published two articles recently that presented a relatively positive view of Israel compared to the usual strongly negative image of the country in the Arab media.

Dr. Amal al-Hazzani, an assistant professor at King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, wrote an article about a week ago titled "The Israel we do not know " – and received a flood of hate mail. He went on to write another article, published Thursday, responding to the harsh reaction.

A look at the two articles, as well as the public response, is telling of where the acceptable boundaries in Arab culture lie when it comes to discussion of Israel.

In the first article, Hazzani analyzed the results of the Israeli elections, noting that the focus had been on internal issues and that politicians had acted with devotion and sincerity to promote the interests of the people as a whole.

This has not been the case in Arab countries since the Arab Spring, he said. There, Arab politicians focus on "their affiliation to a certain group" and "heap insults upon Israel from their luxurious hotel rooms. However, they are still unaware as to where, why and how these feelings of hatred towards Israel came about."

He lamented that Israel's neighboring Arab states "are ignorant of the Hebrew language," noting that in Syria and Lebanon, people preferred to study French rather than the language of the country threatening their national security.

Arab youth know nothing about Israel, he said, claiming that a "generation that harbors dreams and expectations different to those cherished by a leader like Netanyahu" had emerged there.

He called attempts by some analysts to compare young Israelis' social protests with the Arab Spring protests "ridiculous." The Arabs struggled against undemocratic "regimes that were light years away from their citizens," he said, whereas Israel is "truly democratic" and the protests there were over living standards, not "starting from scratch as in the Arab Spring states."

He argued that not all Israelis supported the oppression of the Palestinians, and implied that Arabs were not aware of this, partly because their intelligentsia did not talk about it.

By contrast, he said, there are many opportunities to study Arabic in Israel, and Israelis are fully fluent and absorbed in Arab culture, its strengths and weaknesses. This helps explain why Israelis have become so successful and powerful, he stated.

The article was not entirely positive vis-à-vis Israel, as it still spoke of an "oppressive occupying state," among other things. But the aspects of Israel that it did portray in a positive light were apparently too much for some readers.

Hazzani's second article opens by describing the flood of hate mail he received from people who accused him of "calling for a normalization of relations, promoting the Hebrew language, and glorifying Israeli liberalism."

"This response was to be expected because I breached a taboo," he says, but this "outrage will not change the reality. Israel will remain as it is; a small state but stronger than the rest of the Arab world."

He goes on to defend himself by asserting that he was only trying to say Arabs had to understand their enemy.

Hazzani says Arabs fear that learning about Israel will somehow mean they are recognizing its legitimacy, but that is not necessarily so. This attitude permeates Arab media, which is scared to deal with issues relating to culture, economics, and even some political issues when it comes to Israel, for the fear that it "promotes Zionism," he says.

During the latest wars in Gaza and Lebanon, he notes, Arab TV stations generally refused to invite a guest representing the Israeli side. "Only Al-Arabiya dared to buck the trend, and it was not long before some branded it as Zionist for choosing to do so."

The Arabs, he concludes, "have been preoccupied with [rage] and blind hatred since 1967. During this time, Israel has managed to build eight public universities and 200 museums that receive nearly 4 million tourists a year. It has also become a rival to the US in the programming and software industry."

This episode illustrates that Arabic discourse is still bound by a cultural enmity that refuses to let go of the traditional Arab narrative of the conflict, despite some gestures from time to time.

Hazzani, though critical of Israel, was able to present some positive aspects of Israeli society without being completely blinded by hatred.

The fact that even he could not present these facts without being bombarded shows that Arab society is nowhere close to accepting the legitimacy of, or peace with, Israel.

Yet there is some hope in the fact that Asharq al-Awsat had the courage to publish the article – albeit from its safe headquarters in London.

By Ariel Ben Solomon

www.jpost.com/Features/InThespotlight/Article.aspx?ID=302574&R=R1

Monday, February 04, 2013

Darrell Issa Outs Our Libyan Friends


Any Kosak knows Darrell Issa is not a good American, now he's proved it for the rest. In a politically inspired move this fool has, in my - grandson of a WWI ultimate sacrifice American - son of a WWII veteran - veteran himself's opinion committed treason.

As reported in Foreign Policy Darrell Issa, acting in his usual assholian manner, for his deranged perceived political ideals, has published publicly the names of Libyans who choose democracy over anti-American theology.

As Foreign Policy states Issa felt:

The American people deserve nothing less than a full explanation from this administration about these events, including why the repeated warnings about a worsening security situation appear to have been ignored by this administration. Americans also deserve a complete explanation about your administration's decision to accelerate a normalized presence in Libya at what now appears to be at the cost of endangering American lives

Sounds persuasive, but:

One of the cables released by Issa names a woman human rights activist who was leading a campaign against violence and was detained in Benghazi. She expressed fear for her safety to U.S. officials and criticized the Libyan government.

"This woman is trying to raise an anti-violence campaign on her own and came to the United States for help. She isn't publicly associated with the U.S. in any other way but she's now named in this cable. It's a danger to her life," the administration official said.

Another cable names a Benghazi port manager who is working with the United States on an infrastructure project.

"When you're in a situation where Ansar al-Sharia is a risk to Americans, an individual like this guy, who is an innocent civilian who's trying to reopen the port and is doing so in conjunction with Americans, could be at risk now because he's publicly affiliated with America," the official said, referring to the group thought to have led the Benghazi attack.

One cable names a local militia commander dishing dirt on the inner workings of the Libyan Interior Ministry. Another cable names a militia commander who claims to control a senior official of the Libyan armed forces. Other cables contain details of conversations between third-party governments, such as the British and the Danes, and their private interactions with the U.S., the U.N., and the Libyan governments over security issues.

"It betrays the trust of people we are trying to maintain contact with on a regular basis, including security officials inside militias and civil society people as well," another administration official told The Cable. "It's a serious betrayal of trust for us and it hurts our ability to maintain these contacts going forward. It has the potential to physically endanger these people. They didn't sign up for that. Neither did we."

Darrell Issa has now proven himself treasonous to America.

9:12 PM PT: Let Issa know what you think @ http://issa.house.gov/...

9:39 PM PT: What I told Issa via his house link: (restated from my angry,furious, enraged memory, not verbatim)...

My grandfather died in WWI, father served in WWII, lost an uncle and a cousin because of Nam, I am a Vet, lost a second cousin in Iraq. We renamed a street for the fireman we lost on 9/11, a friend walked over the Brooklyn bridge to get home....

Loose lips sink ships....

You are a traitor....

May Karma visit you....

Peace...

I wish no ill will on anyone....

Enlightenment for all....

9:49 PM PT: Belated thanks to Davidsfr for the link to Issa's house contact site....

http://m.dailykos.com/story/2012/10/19/1147335/-Darrell-Issa-Outs-Our-Libyan-Friends

Monday, January 21, 2013

Fairness Not Given to Israel

When I was in school, we read a novel about love across the barricades, featuring Catholic Kevin and Protestant Sadie and their relationship across the religious and political divide. Great, I thought.
Maybe Trocaire, a document put out by the Catholic clergy recently, will do something similar for today's schoolchildren. Or maybe not. Both of Trocaire's stories turn out to be complaints of Israeli wrong-doing seen through Palestinian eyes. The more I read of the Trocaire pack, the more it seemed to be a case of four legs good, two legs bad. Palestinian victims and Israeli oppressors. Rather puzzled by this, I contacted Trocaire. They told me that this online resource has now been taken off their website in order to review it. They have now decided not to put a revised version up and have decided to focus on the issue of boycotting produce from Israeli settlements. But the real question is how did such a presentation of the conflict get to be written in the first place? The Trocaire document gives a potted history of the conflict which tells us that Israel popped into existence in 1948, with no mention of the Holocaust or the need to have a homeland for the Jewish people. It goes on to say that the blockade of Gaza is designed to "punish Hamas" – no mention of preventing illegal rocket attacks on Israel's civilian population. It's as if Israel decided to attack Gaza just for the sheer hell of it. What gets me about the Middle East is how threatened people seem to be by the only Jewish state in the world. There are 126 states with a Christian majority, 49 with a Muslim majority. Nobody questions their right to be there. Yet there is only one Jewish country, Israel, and a lot of people have a difficulty accepting its right to exist. Why? Trocaire say they have not called for a boycott of Israeli goods as such. They say that their campaign asks the Irish Government and the EU to ban goods from Israeli settlements from entering the EU "because they are illegal" and because these goods are labelled as "produce of Israel". Well I suppose Trocaire's concern for correct consumer labelling is to be commended but it is hardly the key reason for a boycott. You don't need to be much of a lawyer to know that when it comes to political debate, words like "illegal in international law" or "war crimes" are often used as if these were proven matters of fact rather than, as they sometimes are, tendentious and biased opinions. But no matter how questionable you believe Israeli settlements are, the real question is, why should anyone single them out ahead of everywhere else for a boycott campaign? Do Trocaire really believe that Israel is the worst human rights offender on the planet? Think about it for a second. Israel is the only country in the Middle East that fully protects gay rights. Religious freedom. Free political dissent. Equal rights for women. By contrast, the Palestinian regime has somewhat different views on women and gays, as well as, shall we say, a rather old-fashioned attitude when it comes to the death penalty. And the squeeze is now being put on Christians in the Arab world. Maybe you would have thought that persecution of Christians would be a bigger issue for the Catholic bishops and their aid agency, Trocaire. I'm glad that Trocaire's resource will no longer be available to schools – except maybe in a media studies class about balance.

Richard Humphreys

Irv Rubin and Earl Krugel

Never Again!


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