Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Los Angeles Times
Israel's settlements are on shaky ground
[NO, THIS WOMAN’S ARGUMENTS ARE ON SHAKY GROUND. ACTUALLY THERE IS A CAVERN BETWEEN HER “FACTS” AND THE TRUTH. LLM]
International law mandates that they must be removed and that the Palestinians should be compensated for their losses.
By Sarah Leah Whitson
June 28, 2009
The debate over Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories is often framed in terms of whether they should be "frozen" or allowed to grow "naturally." But that is akin to asking whether a thief should be allowed merely to keep his ill-gotten gains or steal some more. It misses the most fundamental point: Under international law, all settlements on occupied territory are unlawful. And there is only one remedy: Israel should dismantle them, relocate the settlers within its recognized 1967 borders and compensate Palestinians for the losses the settlements have caused. [OKAY, SO HERE’S THE FALSE BASIS FOR HER ENTIRE SCREED. SHE’S WRONG ON THE LEGAL POINT AND HER ANALOGY IS GROTESQUE. READ ON IF YOU CAN STOMACH YET ANOTHER SOURCE OF WHERE SO MANY PEOPLE GET SO MUCH INCORRECT INFORMATION. LLM]
Removing the settlements is mandated by the laws of the Geneva Convention, which state that military occupations are to be a temporary state of affairs and prohibit occupying powers from moving their populations into conquered territory. The intent is to foreclose an occupying power from later citing its population as "facts on the ground" to claim the territory, something Israel has done in East Jerusalem and appears to want to do with much of the West Bank. [HOW MANY TIMES CAN PEOPLE STATE AND RESTATE A FALSEHOOD - I SUPPOSE THEY TOOK TO HEART LENIN’S MAXIM THAT IF YOU REPEAT A LIE OFTEN ENOUGH IT BECOMES THE TRUTH. YISRAEL MEDAD, IN THE OPPOSING OPINION PIECE, ALREADY EXPLAINED WHY THE GENEVA CONVENTION DOES NOT APPLY HERE, AND I TRIED TO FURTHER EXPLAIN IT IN MY COMMENTARY TO THAT PIECE. LLM]
The legal principles were reaffirmed in 2004 by the International Court of Justice, which cited a U.N. Security Council statement that the settlements were "a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention." The International Committee of the Red Cross and an overwhelming number of institutions concerned with the enforcement of international humanitarian law have concurred in that view. THE QUESTION BEFORE THAT CT CONCERNED ISRAEL’S SECURITY FENCE AND ISRAEL DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE KANGAROO COURT BECAUSE THE CT LACKED JURSIDICTION. BUT EVEN ASSUMING THE ICOJ HAD JURISDICTION OVER THE SECURITY FENCE ISSUE, ITS RULING IS BINDING ONLY WITH RESPECT TO THE QUESTION AT HAND AND EVERYTHING ELSE IS DICTA (I.E. NOT BINDING AND DOES NOT SERVE AS PRECEDENT.) LLM]
The economic and social cost of Israeli settlements to the Palestinian population, stemming in part from Israel's need to protect them, are enormous. The 634 (at last count) roadblocks, barriers and checkpoints erected to control the movement of lawful residents of the territory make travel an ordeal. Sometimes even getting to work, school or the home of a relative is impossible for Palestinians. Every day, they must wait in line for hours to show their IDs, and some days they are randomly rerouted, told to go home or, worse, detained for questioning. [FOR DEFINITIVE ANSWERS TO THIS PATHETIC ARGUMENT, SEE EPHRAIM KARSH’S 2002 COMMENTARY ARTICLE: “WHAT OCCUPATION?” IT WILL TELL YOU EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO COMPLETELY EVISCERATE THIS “WOE TO THE POOR PALESTINIANS WHO ARE DESTITUTE BECAUSE OF THE OCCUPATION” CRAP. LLM]
Similarly, the fact that Israel is building 87% of its projected 450-mile "security barrier" on Palestinian territory has less to do with protecting Israel from suicide bombers -- which could have been accomplished by erecting a wall on the Green Line -- than it does with putting 10% of West Bank territory, including most settlers, on the Israeli side. And while Israeli troops protect the settlers from armed Palestinian groups, there is little protection for Palestinians from the settlers' marauding militias and gangs, which have terrorized the local population, destroying their crops, uprooting their trees and throwing stones at their houses and schools. [IT IS NOT THEIR TERRITORY, IT NEVER WAS THEIR TERRITORY AND AT BEST IT IS DISPUTED LAND BUT ONLY BECAUSE ISRAEL NEVER ANNEXED IT AFTER SHE GAINED CONTROL OVER IT DUE TO A WAR IN WHICH ISRAEL WAS NOT THE AGGRESSOR AND AGAINST A COUNTRY (JORDAN) THAT DID NOT HAVE LEGAL SOVEREIGNTY OVER IT ANYWAY. LLM][AH, YES, IT IS THE SETTLERS WHO ARE THE TERRORISTS AND NOT THE PEOPLE WHO BLOW UP PEOPLE ON BUSES AND WHO POINT THE MUZZLE OF THEIR GUNS TO THE HEADS OF SLEEPING 7 MONTH OLD BABIES AND THEN PULL THE TRIGGER, OR WHO MOW DOWN YOUNG BOYS STUDYING, ETC. ETC. THIS WOMAN IS DERANGED, JUST LIKE SO MANY OF HER KIND. THE SETTLEMENT MILITIAS ARE ENTIRELY STATIONED WITHIN THE “SETTLEMENTS” AND ARE ENTIRELY DEFENSIVE. I DARE HER TO GIVE ONE EXAMPLE OF ANYTHING TO THE CONTRARY. LLM]
Too little attention is given to the pervasive system of government-sponsored discrimination against Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, where Israel has constructed roads exclusively for settlers and established vastly unequal access to water, fuel, education, healthcare, transportation, infrastructure and virtually every other social service. Israeli authorities readily grant settlers building permits that they deny to Palestinians, whose "illegal" homes they often demolish at short notice. [THIS IS ENTIRELY MADE UP. ALL CITIZENS HAVE THE SAME ACCESS TO SERVICES, AND ISRAELIS ARE DENIED HOUSING PERMITS ALL THE TIME AND THE “PALESTINIANS” BUILD ILLEGAL HOMES ALL THE TIME. LLM] [ALSO, MANY ARAB ISRAELIS REFUSE TO VOTE IN ISRAELI ELECTIONS BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE ACKNOWLEDGING ISRAEL’S EXISTENCE AND AS A CONSEQUENCE THEIR VOICE IS DIMINISHED WHEN POLITICIANS TAKE CARE OF THEIR CONSTITUENTS - THAT IS THE SAME ALL OVER THE WORLD. LLM] The glaring discrepancy in Israel's treatment of two populations living on the same land has taken a significant moral toll on Israel, as well as a political one, with wide coverage of humiliation and abuse at the hands of its security forces. [THOSE ROADS ARE FOR ISRAELIS, NOT JUST JEWS AND NOT JUST “SETTLERS.” THE ONLY ONES FOR WHOM THEY ARE NOT AVAILABLE ARE TERRORISTS OR POTENTIAL TERRORIST-ENABLERS. THIS HAS BEEN REPUDIATED OVER AND OVER AGAIN, EVEN BY THE EDITOR OF HAARETZ WHICH IS WHERE THE LIE BEGAN - I PERSONALLY INTERVIEWED THAT EDITOR AND HE ADMITTED IT WAS FALSE DESPITE HIS PAPER RUNNING THE LIE REPEATEDLY. LLM]
The common refrain of Israeli and even American politicians who recognize that the settlements must go is that it would be politically difficult to dismantle them, in part because it would stir the ire of the settlers and their supporters, an important voting bloc in Israel. Instead, politicians argue that settlements must be a part of future negotiations and a possible land swap. [THE PEOPLE WHO “RECOGNIZE” THE “SETTLEMENTS” MUST GO ARE THOSE WHO ARE PROMOTING APARTHEID. HOW DARE THEY SAY THERE ARE AREAS WHERE JEWS AREN’T ALLOWED TO LIVE? AND HOW DARE SHE SAY THAT IT IS POLITICAL BLACKMAIL BY THE "SETTLERS" THAT PREVENTS WHAT SHE SAYS IS THE RIGHT THING TO HAPPEN - IT IS POLITICAL COWARDICE, EVEN WORSE, BY THOSE WHO PROMOTE THIS IDIOTIC ARGUMENT OF SETTLEMENT DISMANTLEMENT. LLM]
But this only serves as further incentive to expand settlements and makes a political resolution even more difficult. It also condones in the interim Israel's continuing human rights abuses in the name of settler security, leaving respect for Palestinians' rights a second-tier consideration that must await the conclusion of peace talks that have already gone on for decades. [JUST SHUT UP. LLM]
Israel has a duty to protect its citizens, but not in a way that violates the rights of Palestinians. The lawful, rights-respecting way to protect the security of settlers is to move them back to Israel. That should be the starting point of any discussion on settlements. [NAH, LET’S HAVE TRUTH AS THE STARTING POINT. BUT THEN THIS OPINION PIECE WOULD BE EMPTY. LLM]
Sarah Leah Whitson is Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. She’s also full of shit.
BY THE WAY - THERE IS A SEPARATE VOTE HERE ABOUT WHETHER TO DISMANTLE THE SETTLEMENTS, SO VOTE THERE ALSO. NOT SURPRISINGLY, THE VOTE IS VERY LOPSIDED FAVORING DISMANTLING THE “SETTLEMENTS” BY THOSE WHO READ WHITSON’S LIES, SO YOUR VOTE IS NEEDED.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Jews take to the streets of Paris after the murder of Ilan Halimi
In February 2007, a naked, emaciated, mutilated, charred and stabbed man is discovered near railway tracks in the Parisian suburb of Sainte Geneviève-des-Bois. He is taken to hospital where he is pronounced dead just before noon. Two days later, the victim is identified as Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old Jew who was abducted while working in a cell phone shop. He was held hostage and tortured for three weeks by a group calling itself the Gang of Barbarians in a housing estate in Bagneux, a suburb south of Paris. Within days, dozens of arrests are made. Gang leader Youssouf Fofana, who had fled to Ivory Coast, is quickly extradited and imprisoned.
The kidnap, torture and murder of Ilan Halimi vividly illustrates French society's ills in the first decade of the 21st century. The unrepentant gang leader, Fofana, who called himself (in English) the "Brain of the Barbarians", is the French-born son of immigrants from the Ivory Coast. He is a small-time thug driven by Islamic Jew-hatred. Asocial and amoral, tyrannical and seductive, cruel and clumsy, he thrives on delusions of grandeur drawn from the jihadist playbook. Having botched dozens of other attempts at extortion, he finally succeeded in committing an atrocious murder. Since 27 April, his case has been heard behind closed doors.
The 27 defendants, accused of direct or indirect involvement in Halimi's kidnap and torture, are not all Muslim. But they all allegedly participated in a crime inspired by Islamist anti-Semitism. The police were clearly determined to return Ilan to his family safe and sound. However, they worked with an outdated protocol for dealing with ransom demands, refused to accept that the gang had anti-Semitic motives, never understood their psychology and as a result failed miserably.
It was virtually impossible to verify what little information was made available when the crime was discovered, because reporting restrictions were imposed during the long inquest. Nothing filtered out, except for the occasional story of Fofana's outrageous threats against judges, the courts and anyone else who angered him. He accused them all of being Jewish. Disingenuous ambiguity clouded the issues — was it really an anti-Semitic crime? Did it have anything to do with Islam? Today there is barely any coverage of the case because of the reporting restrictions. However, there is aNouvel Observateur blog, run by Elsa Vigoreux, who publishes information from anonymous sources.
The case is being heard in juvenile court because two of the defendants, including Yalda, an Iranian girl who was sent to lure Ilan, were just under 18 when the crime was committed. They could have waived their rights to a trial in camera. They didn't. They could have saved Ilan's life with an anonymous tip-off to the police. They didn't.
Fofana had sent Yalda and another girl to lure Jewish victims in cell phone shops near the Place de la République. Jews had money, he told Yalda, and they stuck together. If the family can't pay the ransom, the community will pitch in. Jews, he told her, lived like kings in France while we lived in misery.
After the crime was uncovered, commentators gave an economic narrative that would hide the truth of murderous Jew-hatred flourishing in a Parisianbanlieue. It wasn't really anti-Semitism, they claimed. It was simply that Fofana thought Jews were rich. The police, too, stubbornly clung to the kidnap-for-ransom scenario. What did they make of the photo the Barbarians sent the family the day after Ilan disappeared?
The photo was reproduced on the cover of Choc magazine on 18 May. Withdrawn by a court order, it still circulates on the internet. Ilan's face is completely covered with thick silver duct tape except for his broken, bleeding nose. His hands are bound with the same tape. A newspaper is propped against his chest and he is holding his car keys. ("Key" was the code word Yalda used to signal to the thugs waiting for Ilan behind the bushes.) A black-sleeved hand holds a gun to Ilan's head. Does that look like a kidnapping for ransom? Ilan's eyes and mouth are taped shut. Doesn't that indicate exceptional cruelty and clumsy incompetence? Exaggerated, erratic ransom demands ranged from ¤5,000 to ¤450,000 (£4,250-£380,000). Drop-off appointments were made and cancelled. Koranic verses were read against the background of Ilan's screams.
Although Ilan lived with his mother, the police decided that her ex-husband — and his father — should be the kidnappers' sole contact. He took as many as 50 phone calls in one day, all of them peppered with murderous threats and anti-Semitic insults. And yet the police could never trace them.
Ilan was held in a vacant apartment and then transferred to a basement before workmen came to paint the apartment for the new tenants. The duct tape was never removed from his face, his hands were constantly bound, he was naked under a flimsy robe in the dead of winter. He was fed through a straw. His toilet was a plastic bag.
Some of the gang members are charged as accessories, others with direct participation in kidnapping, illegal confinement and torture, with the aggravating circumstances of anti-Semitism. They guarded the prisoner, beat him, burned him, cut out chunks of his skin, taunted him, threatened him, deprived him of basic human needs and watched him creep slowly to inexorable death. Twenty-four days, 576 hours, 34,560 minutes of agony.
On 13 February, having failed to get the ransom money, Fofana stuffed what was left of Ilan into the boot of a stolen car, drove to a field near a railway line in nearby Sainte Geneviève-des-Bois, doused him with flammable liquid, set fire to him and stabbed him in the neck and hip.
No one knows what would have happened if the police had grasped the nature of the criminals. How many hostages have been beheaded by jihadis in recent years? Governments, armies and investigators have been stumped by this new type of violence. Maybe the Barbarians would have murdered Ilan immediately had they sensed the police hot on their trail. Nevertheless, the failure to understand the anti-Semitism behind the crime, and the inexplicable bungling of repeated opportunities to flush out the criminals, locate their hideout, trace communications and connect Ilan's abduction to previous attempts with the same target — Jews — and the same operating method cannot be dismissed.
In a riveting, heart-rending book published in April, 24 jours, la vérité sur la mort d'Ilan Halimi (24 days, The truth about the death of Ilan Halimi), Ilan's mother, Ruth, recounts her ordeal and explores the larger issues with dignity and fairness. Expressing gratitude and respect for the detectives who stood by her, she nevertheless deplores their failure to trust her intuition about the psychology of the Barbarians who transformed her beloved son into a filthy object to be tormented to death. Unable to understand the Jew-hatred spewing from the mouth of Fofana, says Ruth, agents misled Ilan's father in his communications with the kidnapper.
Shortly after the discovery of the atrocious crime, then President Jacques Chirac dispatched his personal counsel, Maître Francis Szpiner, to represent the Halimi family. But Szpiner is not known as a great friend of the Jews, having been part of the defence team of TV station France 2, which lost an appeal against a libel verdict it had won over a report about the killing of a Palestinian boy, Muhammad al-Dura, in 2000. Al-Dura, who was seen cowering behind his father, became the poster boy of the second intifada.
Media critic Philippe Karsenty had been convicted of libel for writing that France 2's report of the death of al-Dura was a hoax. The Paris court ruled that the extensive evidence produced by Karsenty, including a ballistics report and a detailed analysis of the raw footage, was sufficient cause for suspicion that the scene had been staged.
In his aggressive closing argument, playing on the definition of a Zionist, Szpiner compared Karsenty to "a Jew who pays another Jew to send a third Jew to go to war against the Palestinians."
Two members of Fofana's defence team — Maître Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, the wife of Carlos "the Jackal", the Venezuelan-born pro-jihadi serving a life sentence for multiple terror attacks, and Maître Emmanuel Ludot, who represented Saddam Hussein — were interviewed on an Agence France Press video on the opening day of the trial. Angered by hecklers shouting at defendants and lawyers outside the court, they denounced political and media pressure against their client, claiming that President Nicolas Sarkozy was using the case for ignoble electoral reasons. They also claimed that some of the plaintiffs were backed by a "certain lobby", and that blacks had been
attacked by thugs from the right-wing Zionist Betar and the Jewish Defence League groups "when the Halimi family organised a demonstration". Maître Coutant-Peyre declares in the video: "Fofana is a scapegoat." A young lawyer joins them. They discuss the case. He thinks they'll be able to get the court to drop the aggravating circumstances of anti-Semitism. They joke about Maître Szpiner. Is the Elysée (the presidency) paying his fees? The young lawyer guffaws. "It's the Crif [the umbrella body of French Jewry]!" he says, provoking derisive laughter, "and the Elysée is funding the Crif." According to leaked information, Fofana subsequently dismissed Coutant-Peyre in an outburst of paranoid anti-Semitic rage, shouting, "Peyre, that's a Jewish name, isn't it?"
In the absence of reliable information about the trial, which is scheduled to run until, how can one predict the verdict? The death penalty was abolished in 1981. Life imprisonment is a relative concept. Prisons are overcrowded and dangerous criminals are often released early. Confidential sources have told me that Fofana could be "rubbed out" in prison.
Journalists who were present at the start of the trial, until a motion brought by the Halimi family to hear the case in an open court was defeated, reported that Fofana entered shouting "Allahu Akhbar" ("Allah is Great"). Asked to identify himself, he replied in mangled French, "Arabs, African armed revolt, Salafist barbarian." He gave the day of Ilan's death as his date of birth.
Will lawyers, if any are left to defend him, use Fofana's megalomaniac defiance as an argument for diminished responsibility? In 2003 a Muslim neighbour lured a Jewish DJ, Sebastien Selam, into the underground garage of their building, slit his throat, gouged out his eyes with a carving fork, went home and told his mother: "I killed my Jew, I'll go to paradise." He was released after spending a few years in a mental hospital and will apparently never be tried. The anti-Semitic motivation in that case was so thoroughly denied that commentators systematically referred to Halimi's killing as the first anti-Semitic murder in France.
Whenever immigrant youths from the banlieue are concerned, French authorities walk on eggshells for fear of igniting mass revolt. Which brings us back to Eva Vigoreux's Nouvel Observateur blog. We discern a defence strategy aimed at portraying the 26 accomplices as bit players roped in, manipulated and intimidated by Fofana. They took no pleasure in tormenting Ilan and actually tried to alleviate the cruel punishment he imposed.
Michaël Doueib, an earlier Jewish victim of the Gang of Barbarians, is disgusted by their feigned innocence. "They didn't lift a hand to save him," he says. "An anonymous phone call, that's all they had to do." Lured to the same Bagneux neighborhood where Ilan would be jailed two weeks later, tied up and mercilessly beaten, Doueib escaped because residents who heard his screams called the police.
He claims police investigators rejected his offer of information, phone numbers, descriptions and other evidence that could have led them to the gang.
Whatever the verdict, we will be left with the troubling impression that the more this evil of Jew-hatred eats into the tissue of French society, the more it will be shrouded in artificial doubts and fabricated subtleties. This secret trial leaves Ilan Halimi once again illegally confined, isolated, bound and gagged, helpless to awaken dead hearts and warn potential victims.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Last update - 23:58 23/06/2009
Netanyahu: Settlements debate is a waste of time
By Haaretz Service
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that international "arguing" over Israel's stance on settlements was impeding progress on the Middle East peace progress.
In an interview with Italy's RAI TV, Netanyahu insisted that settlement activity in East Jerusalem and the West Bank must be viewed as separate issues, as Jerusalem is an inseparable part of Israel.
He also said that Israel has been forthcoming with its intentions to halt construction while still allowing for natural growth in existing communities, which he called "an equitable position which reflexes our willingness to enter immediately in peace negotiations and get on with peace."
"I think that the more we spend time arguing about this, the more we waste time instead of moving towards peace," he said.
Netanyahu called his endorsement of a Palestinian state without military capabilities, which he presented in a policy speech at Bar Ilan University earlier this month, a "winning formula for peace."
"If we are asked to recognize a Palestinian state as the nation-state of the Palestinian people, then the very least is that the Palestinians should recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people," he told RAI TV.
"What does Palestinian self determination have to do with Qassam rockets or with deadly missiles?" he said, with regard to the notion of demilitarization, which invited a slew of criticism following his address. "The answer is nothing. They should have, the Palestinians, all the powers to govern themselves but not the powers to threaten the State of Israel."
"So a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish State of Israel I think is the winning formula of peace," he said. "I can not understand why anybody who wants peace should reject it."
When asked about the crisis which has erupted in Iran following the contested results of Tehran's presidential election, Netanyahu said he believed "now that the true nature of this regime has been unmasked."
"I think that people now can understand many of the things that we have been talking about all these years," he said. "This is a regime that oppresses its people and this is a regime that threatens everyone with the denial of the Holocaust, the call for the elimination of Israel, with the sponsorship of terrorism throughout the world and with the attempt to develop nuclear weapons, which they can give to terrorists around the world."
He called Iran's nuclear program "an international danger" that "should be dealt with by an international effort led by the United States" and not by Israel alone.
Netanyahu also repeated remarks he made to the German newspaper Bild, in which he declared that peace between Israel and Iran could be possible under a new leadership in Tehran.
"If there will be a change in Iran, this would work in the other direction, and would give peace a tremendous opening, peace between Israel and the Palestinians, peace between Israel and Arab States that share our concerns," he said.
"I think that this is as much a challenge as it is an opportunity. It is as much an opportunity as it is a challenge. I am very hopeful that we can meet the challenge and exploit the opportunity for peace."
Netanyahu's interview took place in Italy, the first stop in his first state visit to Europe during his second term as prime minister.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
The agency said on its website that the US made the announcement Wednesday in Jordan during a meeting of a commission that deals with the group's financial needs.The contribution brings total US assistance to the organization in 2009 to $154.5 million. (AP)
I wrote about the IPF here: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/01/barack_obama_embraces_middle_e.html. They have the ear of this US president. A further reason for us to be outraged by the grotesque suggestion by J Street that it is pro-Israel: it has just launched an initiative to infiltrate college campuses in the guise of "promoting pro-Israel advocacy on college campuses." It will have the imprimatur of the Israel Campus Coalition because it is teaming up with the Union of Progressive Zionists (a misnomer if ever there was one) which overcame objections to its inclusion in the ICC last year, because they carted around the "Breaking the Silence" monsters to campuses last year. Objections were overruled by the uber goal of inclusiveness.
Bogus ‘Zionist’ Israel-bashers
Posted by Isi Leibler on June 10th, 2009
It is ironic that many of the disconcerting themes relating to Israel in US President Barack Obama’s Cairo speech replicated those widely promoted for months by a noisy minority of radical American Jews. These “Israel bashers” now proudly proclaim that the new language being employed by Obama “echoes the vocabulary we use.”
On the eve of Binyamin Netanyahu’s arrival in Washington, a full page advertisement inserted by the Israel Policy Forum (IPF) appeared in The New York Times. Instead of the customary welcome message to a visiting prime minister or expressions of solidarity, it urged Obama to press Israel to make further unilateral concessions to the Palestinians, assuring him that in the event of a confrontation, he would enjoy the backing of most American Jews because “they are not Israelis living in exile.” IPF’s Washington director, M.J Rosenberg, issued a call to neutralize “the minority of Jews falsely” purporting to present the Jewish community as “blind supporters” of the Israeli government.
ISRAEL POLICY FORUM is only one of a cluster of radical left-wing organizations that have the chutzpa to describe themselves as lovers of Israel and even “Zionists,” while actively lobbying the Obama administration to pressure Israel. They deviously sugarcoat their anti-Israeli campaigns by comparing themselves to parents whose children are drug addicts requiring “tough love” to force them to change their dangerous habits.These sentiments were effectively replicated in Obama’s Cairo speech.
They were joined in April last year by J Street, a new group initially funded by the Jewish tycoon George Soros who had achieved notoriety for demonizing successive Israeli governments irrespective of their political leanings.
J Street and another radical group, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, proudly announced that they had succeeded in persuading 11,000 of their members to bombard the White House with e-mails urging Obama to stand firm against Netanyahu.
During the Gaza offensive, J Street condemned the action against Hamas as “disproportionate.” Refusing to “pick a side” and identify “who was right and who was wrong,” it applied moral equivalency to both parties proclaiming that “we recognize that neither Israelis nor Palestinians have a monopoly on right and wrong… While there is nothing ‘right’ in raining rockets on Israeli families or dispatching suicide bombers, there is nothing ‘right’ in punishing a million and a half already suffering Gazans for the actions of the extremists amongst them.”
J Street also opposes Israel’s efforts to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. Despite the fact that Israelis of all political opinions are united on this issue, J Street members were e-mailed and urged to actively lobby against a bipartisan congressional resolution calling for tougher sanctions to be applied against Iran.
The radical groups also resurrected the bogus anti-Semitic charge of “dual loyalties,” warning Jews that by continued “blind” support of Israel, they risked alienating the American public and would be condemned for displaying greater loyalty toward Israel than the US. They were almost hysterical in their condemnation of Jews who exercised their rights to protest against the proposed appointment of the fiercely anti-Israel Charles Freeman to head the National Security Agency. IPF spokesmen went so far as to explicitly state that being an anti-Israeli fanatic was insufficient grounds for barring a person from assuming a senior administration role.
If there was any doubt about J Street, its endorsement of the British anti-Semitic play Seven Jewish Children, effectively a contemporary blood libel, placed it squarely in the camp of those seeking to demonize the Jewish state. It justified its support on the grounds that the play would promote “rigorous intellectual engagement and civil debate on which our community prides itself.”
J Street and IPF also seek to slander and undermine AIPAC, the highly effective pro-Israel lobby group, depicting it as an extreme right-wing and hawkish body although it has consistently promoted the policies of all Israeli governments, including the dovish administrations preceding Netanyahu.
IN AN ENVIRONMENT in which global anti-Semitism and demonization of Israel are beginning to make inroads into the United States, the potential of such radical groups to destabilize the standing of Israel should not be underestimated.
Never before has the Jewish community faced a situation in which organizations presenting themselves as Zionists shamelessly lobby their president to pressure the democratically elected government of the Jewish state to make concessions which could have life and death implications for its citizens.
Not that anti-Jewish Jews are a new phenomenon. Jewish communists were bitterly opposed to the campaign to liberate Soviet Jewry and defended state-sponsored anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union. But they were marginalized and regarded as pariahs by the Jewish community.
The problem in the US is that the established Jewish leaders decided to ignore these organizations, mistakenly believing that confrontations would be construed as attempts to restrict freedom of expression and would transform the radicals into martyrs.
But the issue of freedom of expression is a red herring. Any Jew is entitled to express his beliefs, no matter how nauseating or deviant such views may appear to the majority. That certainly applies to those arguing in favor or in opposition to settlements. Surely the red lines are being crossed when, as distinct from expressing views, American based organizations claiming to “love” Israel aggressively lobby the US government to pressure it to make concessions that could place lives at risk. To tolerate such groups within the framework of the Jewish community provides them with an aura of respectability to which they are not entitled. Alas, today some of these groups already attend administration briefings on a par with the recognized mainstream organizations.
Furthermore, failure to confront these Israel bashers has already provided the general media with grounds to suggest that American Jewish support of Israel is collapsing. That has certainly encouraged the Obama administration to intensify its pressure on the Netanyahu government. It may also cause some weak-kneed Jews to distance themselves from Israel to avoid confronting a popular American president.
There are even ominous mutterings predicting a possible replay of what transpired during World War II, when fearing a confrontation and bedazzled by president Franklin Roosevelt, Jewish leaders lacked the courage to protest against the indifference of the US government to the Nazi extermination of the Jews.
Now, as never before, when the beleaguered State of Israel confronts Iran, potentially one of the greatest existential threats since its creation, the support of American Jews is crucial.
A united Jewish community should marginalize the anti-Israeli radicals and urge Obama (who received 80 percent of its votes) to stand by commitments made to Israel by previous US administrations in the same manner as the Netanyahu government is obliged to adhere to undertakings made by previous Israeli governments. A strong Jewish stand in this direction could effectively tip the balance in averting a catastrophic major rift between the US and Israel.
This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post