Wednesday, April 25, 2018

From Ian:

Can We Talk About Rape In The Holocaust Yet?
They used to tell young Orthodox Jewish girls a story – they may still – about 93 Bais Yaakov girls who were selected by the Nazis to be their sex slaves and put in an apartment full of beds. And when the Nazis arrived to claim their plunder, they found 93 corpses. 93 Bais Yaakov girls had chosen death rather than sexual violation; their teacher had provided them with cyanide.

The story isn’t true; some enterprising academics cast doubt on the letter on which it’s based. And yet this macabre myth, which so eloquently clothed the Holocaust in a “seductive aura of female martyrdom,” as Berkeley professor of Jewish culture Naomi Seidman put it, is the closest anyone ever came to speaking of rape in the Holocaust when I was growing up.

It wasn’t just me. Women’s experiences have been never been part of the Holocaust narrative. Rape during the Holocaust in particular has had about it the flavor of a taboo. And it’s this state of affairs that a revolutionary, international art exhibition called “VIOLATED: Women in Holocaust and Genocide” at the Ronald Feldman Galley seeks to ameliorate.
Tenage girls from Sosnowiec, Poland, before they were rounded up and sent to women’s camps.

VIOLATED contains 47 pieces of art from 30 different artists, all depicting sexual violence during the Holocaust or in later genocides and ethnic cleansings in Bosnia, Darfur, Eritrea, Guatemala, Iraq, Nigeria, and Rwanda. The exhibit also includes two works of art created in Nazi concentration camps during the war.

The first, by Zeev Porath, was drawn secretly while he was a slave laborer. His workshop overlooked a women’s camp, and the ink on paper drawing depicts the women he observed there in three stages: lined up, naked; in a pile, dead; and, in relief in the front, one woman is being tortured by a Nazi guard.
Michael Lumish: Why are we so accepting of Islamic Jew-Hatred in the West?
The way that I have it figured is that the western-left generally views Arabs and Muslims as mere victims who have little in the way of actual agency and, thus, little in the way of actual responsibility for their words or behavior.

This despite the fact that they represent 1.5 billion people.

Western champaign socialists consider Arabs and Muslims pastoral victims of the violent, militaristic, "white" western, industrial techno-patriarchy.

And what that means in the fragile and guilt-ridden Euro imagination, is that any infraction of normal human decency - even when it is directed a sub-minority like Kurds or Yazidis or Copts or Jews - is to be indulged.

Islam represents the most succesful and vicious imperial exercise in human history, yet pussitudenous people of Euro descent have to scratch their navels and ponder their sins as Yazidis are buried alive in mass graves and Coptic churches are burned to the ground in Egypt and the Jews are under never-ending harassment by their malicious neighbors.
IsraellyCool: Experts Weigh In: Why Is Israel Losing The PR War And How Can We Save Ourselves?
[note there are 13 pages to the article]
It dawned on me that Israeli PR caters to the lowest common denominator. It tries to cater to everybody to such an extent that it dilutes its message and turns out superficial and flimsy. It also completely avoids the more difficult issues, causing them to appear as if they have something to hide.

I realized that we can complain about Israeli PR all we want, that won’t fix it. Offering solutions will.

I decided to go on a hunt for solutions, to ask all kinds of experts – politicians, authors, thought leaders, marketing executives, journalists, and more – across the political spectrum, encompassing Jews, non-Jews, not only what they think is dafka wrong with our PR (if anything) but how they feel we can best fix it. Some said things similar to me, others were a direct contradiction. Could all of us be right, or none of us, or is the truth somewhere in the middle?
11 Elder of Ziyon, blogger, Elder of Ziyon Blog

“The main problem with hasbara is that it is not personal. We defend Israel with facts and figures, but what sways opinions is stories, with people that they can relate to. We of course must back up what we say with facts, but we need to emphasize the human aspect of Israel’s story, and how much Israelis have in common with (say) Americans or Europeans. The other side is doing this very well.”
So what can we conclude from all this? There appear to be a few common threads:
1. Be pro-active instead of reactive.
2. We should put on a united front against the haters and curb the infighting.
3. We need to stop apologizing being polite and start exposing the BS that is in BDS and stop giving their narrative any legitimacy.
4. Go beyond the Jewish tent and seek out non-Jewish audiences.
5. Be strong in your convictions, and confident instead of apologetic, even if you do feel bad about the innocent Palestinians in the middle of all this.
6. Don’t sink to their level.

According to journalist Yanki Farber, Christian missionary Hananya Naftali has just been appointed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new deputy media advisor. This presumably means that Naftali will be managing or directing the prime minister’s social media accounts. As the Israeli PM has a significant online presence, this would seem to be a position of some consequence.

I’ve been aware of Naftali since at least 2015. Naftali previously served in the IDF Armored Corps, and used the close quarters of a tank to spread the word of Jesus (Y”Sh) to Jewish soldiers. He also made pro-Israel videos while wearing his IDF uniform. No one seemed to question his intent. People kept sending me his videos. “Isn’t he wonderful?” they’d gush.

As his social media presence grew, some pro-Israel organizations shared Hananya Naftali’s videos in support of Israel and wrote articles about him, too. In each video and article, I recognized certain code words suggesting Naftali’s true motive was to gain the trust of the Jewish people for the purpose of drawing them away from Judaism and persuading them to become Christians.

Because Naftali was a social media star whose videos were shared by pro-Israel organizations, in some ways, he was untouchable. I couldn’t write to expose him because it would be smearing pro-Israel organizations. It would be undiplomatic.

Writing to the pro-Israel organizations seemed to get me nowhere. I got the brush-off: “Nah. He’s not a missionary,” they swore.

But he was. Is.

The only thing I lacked was a big ole smoking gun, where Naftali would actually come right out and say: “I’m all about converting the Jews.”

In June 2017, I interviewed my friend Shannon Nuszen, a blogger at Jewish Israel. As a former Christian missionary (now Orthodox Jew), Shannon knew the lingo. She’d been following Naftali’s antics for some time. With Shannon’s help, I laid out my case that Naftali’s seeming support for Israel in his popular videos serves as cover for his missionary work.

But we still hoped for that smoking gun, Shannon and I.
Some months later, Aussie Dave of Israellycool found it: the smoking gun we’d been seeking. A video in which Naftali came right out and said that, “God put him in the army precisely to share Jesus with Jews, to be ‘a light among Jews.’”
The video also had Naftali saying, “It is not easy to be the light in the dark,” which Aussie Dave credibly suggests is the missionary’s way of implying that “the dark” is Jewish belief.
You cannot see the video anymore, since Naftali took steps to remove the video from circulation after the blog came out. (Apparently. Because when I went to see it at Israellycool, it was marked “unavailable.”)
But it was out there long enough to document. And I thank Aussie Dave for exposing the little creep. We did not survive the Holocaust and create the State of Israel in order to let some sneaky dweeb kill our connection to our Jewishness; our connection to God and His Holy Torah.
On the other hand, people are STILL NOW sending me Naftali’s videos. Each time, I explain it to them: He’s a MISSIONARY.
Some believe me, some don’t.
And now I discover that Bibi has hired this missionary to handle his social media. Think of it! The prime minister of the Jewish State becomes the vessel through which a Christian missionary, Hananya Naftali, gets easy access to millions of Jewish Israelis with his message about Jesus (Y”Sh). Appointing Naftali to a position of influence, moreover, tends to whitewash his missionary activities, gives him an imprimatur: makes him seem clean. I can just hear people saying, "He can't be a missionary if the prime minister of Israel hired him!"

As I was writing this piece, in fact, my attention was drawn to this article in the Jerusalem Post, which suggests that Naftali's missionary work is a figment of the imagination, and that the "accusations" are merely a part of his "colorful past."
It’s unconscionable.

So I did what I could. I wrote to Bibi and explained the situation to him. I tweeted to him. But the thought occurs that considering Naftali being Bibi’s deputy new media advisor and all, it may be Naftali who intercepts and reads my tweets and emails.
I have not yet had a reply from the prime minister or his deputy, the missionary Hananya Naftali. If I do, I will update this space.

Don't hold your breath.
h/t Rivkah Lambert Adler

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The 1967 Lines Are Sacrosanct Unless Palestinians Violate Them

By Stan Dartkafuhl, legal scholar
Groucho ArafatThe position of the international community on the subject of the 1949 armistice lines between Israel and Jordan, and between Israel and Egypt, has long been clear: Israeli control of any territories beyond those lines constitutes an illegal occupation, and Israel's permanent border must follow the lines on the armistice map that determined boundaries until the Six-Day War of 1967. Any Israeli activity beyond that frontier violates international law. When Palestinians do it in the other direction, however, as with the Great Return March in Gaza, that's fine.

Under normal circumstances international law does not distinguish between an armed invasion or one that features no weapons; an organized crossing of an internationally recognized border without the consent of the government on the other side of that border constitutes a bona fide invasion. That much was established regarding Morocco's annexation of Western Sahara. Masses of unarmed Moroccans simply marched across the border, set up settlements, and there we stand today, with the official position of international legal experts characterizing the influx of Moroccans as an invasion, the repulsion of which justified the use of lethal force. Sovereignty has value in international law.

But not for Israel, which is barred from preventing thousands of Gazans from destroying the border fence and entering pre-1967 Israel. In international law as practiced in modern times, Jewish sovereignty is not like other sovereignty. Other sovereign entities are entitled to protect their sovereignty, by lethal force if necessary, under all circumstances; the Jewish State, on the other hand, must bow to the will of genocidal hordes who have been taught from birth that Jews are inherently evil and must be destroyed. It's the law.
Others may quibble about the current status of those lines given the possibility of a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians that might involve adjustment of the border, but the principle remains operative regardless of the final boundaries under any agreement. Case in point: the armistice was signed with Jordan, which has since renounced any claims to territory west of the Jordan River - and Israeli agreements with the Palestinians at Oslo only grant Palestinians self-rule in specific population centers of that territory. Nevertheless, the international community automatically sees Israeli control of the balance of the territory as a violation, because Jews. You know how it is.

One day a case might come before the World Court or the International Criminal Court that will formalize this principle and enshrine it in case law, but until then, it will have to be maintained through repetition: only Israeli actions have legal significance.

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From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Europe Wants Unity on Iran but Undermines Trump on Jerusalem
While there is nothing new today about the EU’s practice of using the unchecked power of Israel’s Supreme Court, it is remarkable that they are exploiting it to try to subvert U.S. foreign policy.

As Prof. Eugene Kontorvich from Northwestern University, who directs the International Law Department at Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem, explains, “In this absurd lawsuit, an EU-funded organization is trying to use Israeli courts to block the U.S.’s exercise of its core sovereign prerogatives. In essense, EU agents are using the imperiousness of the Israeli judicial system to block U.S. foreign policy with which it happens to disagree.”

Kontorovich noted that “Ir Amin is almost certain to lose even in Israeli courts.” But as Steinberg points out, the purpose of the petition isn’t to block the embassy move, per se.

It is to embarrass the U.S.

“Let’s assume that the Court is wise enough to dismiss their petition, Steinberg begins, “Ir Amim still gets the publicity.

“This is about controlling the discourse about Jerusalem. Ir Amim gets publicity that presents it as an Israeli NGO whose positions are more legitimate than those of the Israeli government and, in this case, more legitimate than the U.S. government,” he explains.

On Tuesday it was reported that European pressure on the Trump administration to suffice with symbolic changes to the nuclear deal with Iran while keeping the substance of the agreement unchanged is making headway. President Trump is now weighing good relations with Europe over the need to block Iran from acquiring the means to wage nuclear war.

As he does so, the president should bear in mind that the same European leaders that are calling for “unity” on Iran are carrying out a multilayered campaign across several continents to undermine his most significant foreign policy achievement since entering office. They are seeking to undermine President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
BESA: Transfer UNRWA’s Responsibilities to Whom?
The PA [should] be responsible for the Palestinians within its own territories as well as those who reside in other Arab states. It would [thus] be forced to act like a state and defend the rights and interests of its own citizens. Externally, foreign aid to a state can also—in theory—be subject to more rigorous donor oversight. Unlike UNRWA’s internal assessments, which rarely find problems except in the allegedly inadequate scale of aid and programs, external review by donor countries would examine metrics and efficiencies, spot corruption, determine the success or failure of programs, and assess the overall level of need. External review is designed to encourage self-sufficiency, not dependency. . . .

UNRWA is an iconic and sacrosanct entity. Without it, aid to the Palestinians would no longer be a sacralized demonstration of support for their narratives of displacement and return, or of support for the international system itself and for the UN. The Palestinian issue would be put into proportion while other needs and issues, like the genuine refugee crises in Syria and Yemen, would receive proper attention and resources.

Finally, by transferring responsibility, two cultural-political requirements would be addressed. First, a final-status issue would be at least partially taken off the table [of Israel-Palestinian negotiations]: that of who bears responsibilities for Palestinian “refugees.” It is the PA. Even without formally repudiating the “right of return,” which UNRWA supports and the PA cannot at this point conceivably abandon, the issue would be incrementally quashed in theoretical and practical terms.

The PA’s taking responsibility, and the end of UNRWA, would also go a long way toward forcing Palestinians to give up the centrality of refugee-ness in their own culture. They are not refugees, much less internationally supported ones. They are a people with their own nascent state.
Isi Leibler: Storm clouds threaten the region
Early this month, Hamas initiated a campaign in which it enlisted thousands of Gaza residents to breach the Israeli border. Hamas gunmen and fighters hurling Molotov cocktails were interspersed among the demonstrators. The IDF took defensive action, using live gunfire only where necessary. Thousands were injured and dozens, primarily of identifiable Hamas terrorists, were killed.

The atmosphere is extremely tense and Israel is girding itself for the possibility that war could erupt at any moment.

We are fortunate that Netanyahu heads the nation at this crucial time. But he faces three major challenges:
1. Preparing for war, if necessary, to prevent the Iranians from setting up bases in Syria that threaten Israel.
2. Confronting attempts by Hamas to breach Gaza's borders while limiting the casualties.
3. Employing his diplomatic talents both to maintaining the alliance with Trump and retaining the fragile relationship with Putin.

To deal with these challenges and avoid being dragged into the U.S.-Russia conflict is an extremely tough balancing act. Despite Russian reprimands and warnings that it intends to provide the Syrians with more sophisticated air defenses, Israel's lines of communication with the Kremlin, though fragile, are still open. Efforts are being made to retain maximum coordination, but Netanyahu must exert all his diplomatic skills to achieve this.

Even though Israel is stronger and more independent than ever before, there are clear storm clouds on the horizon. Keeping the 1973 Yom Kippur War in mind, we should never be overconfident.

  • Wednesday, April 25, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

Haaretz reports that Joe Biden will be the featured speaker at a fundraiser for coexistence program "Seeds of Peace":

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will speak next month at a gala dinner for Seeds of Peace, an international educational organization famous for promoting co-existence between Israeli and Palestinian teenagers. The organization will be celebrating 25 years to its foundation in early May, and Biden will give a keynote speech at a New York City event celebrating the occasion. The speech will be his first public appearance at an event related to Israel since leaving the White House last January.
Every once in a while there will be a feel-good article about an initiative like Seeds of Peace. But the news story that you will almost never see is how the Palestinians are so dead-set against these programs.

And so is UNRWA!

The best synopsis of the problems that Seeds of Peace and similar programs have in the territories comes buried in the middle of this 2014 Haaretz article on the group:

The idea of bringing together ordinary Israelis, Palestinians and others from conflict zones in a neutral setting so they can meet and get to know each other across the sectarian divide is such an obviously good idea that few in Israel have dared to challenge its basic assumptions.

Not so on the Palestinian side, where any hint of “normalization” with the Israeli occupier has become a crippling curse. The Seeds of Peace center in Jerusalem was closed at the start of the Second Intifada after Palestinian schools, including those operated by UNRWA, refused to endorse their pupils participating in its activities.
UNRWA is against Palestinian and Israeli children becoming friends! 
The Canadian Foreign Ministry was shocked to discover several years ago that many of the Palestinian groups receiving funds from foreign donors to operate people-to-people programs were refusing to publicize them on their own websites because of the “normalization” stigma.
Palestinian groups are happy to take Western money for these programs, but actively try to quash any such activities.
The results of the first quantitative survey of Palestinian participants in such programs in 2008 were so shocking they were suppressed by the donor government that commissioned it.

91% of Palestinian youths who responded said they were no longer in contact with any Israelis that they had met through the program. 93% said there was no follow-up to initial activity that they had participated in. Only 5% agreed that their program had helped "promote peace culture and dialogue between participants" and a mere 11% came away believing that "there is something that unites us with the other party."
Seeds of Peace is a failure in its goal of creating a new generation of leaders who care about peace, and it doesn't take much research to conclude that the entire reason for its failure is because Palestinian society is overwhelmingly against anything that smacks of "normalization."

But that isn't the message that Joe Biden or the New York Times wants people to hear. They want to pretend that both Israelis and Palestinian leaders want peace. The want to pretend that this program actually does something useful.

But thanks to Palestinian hate, Seeds of Peace is a failure in its original goals.

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  • Wednesday, April 25, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

Jordan Times reports:
 The Jordanian Construction Contractors Association (JCCA) will not compete for any tenders floated by the government to build a gas pipeline to bring gas from Israel into the Kingdom, Ahmad Yacoub, the syndicate’s president, said on Tuesday.

The association, which groups some 3,000 construction contractors firms, sent letters to its members stating its position on the project and demanding them not to participate in any tenders to build the pipeline, he said on Tuesday.

"We consider taking part in building the gas pipeline as betrayal to all those who died defending Palestine…. We will not support or be part of any project that supports the Zionist entity," Yacoub said in a phone interview with The Jordan Times.

In September 2016, the National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) signed a 15-year agreement with Noble Energy, a Houston-based company that holds the largest share in the Israeli Leviathan Gas Field, to purchase $10 billion worth of natural gas supplies.

The government then said it would import 250-300 million cubic feet of natural gas per day from Noble Energy, which is expected to save around JD700 million annually of the country’s energy bill.
I don't know how much control this association has over its members.

Historically, Arabs who dared to violate boycotts of Israel/Jewish businesses were in danger of being attacked themselves.

Obviously, the Jordanian government needs this natural gas and will not just give up because of this statement.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The pipeline will be laid in the end but it will be interesting to see exactly who does it.

But there is one easy way to make sure that lots of Jordanian companies bid on this lucrative job despite the demand of the JCCA: Have Israeli construction firms bid for the job!

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  • Wednesday, April 25, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

Last week, a petition was started in France, signed by major personalities like  Philippe Val , the former director of "Charlie Hebdo",  the former President of the Republic Nicolas Sarkozy, three former prime ministers, the former mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoe,  Gerard Depardieu, Charles Aznavour, Bernard-Henri Lévy and many other famous personalities.

In a statement published in Le Figaro newspaper, signatories highlight the “quiet ethnic purging” driven by rising Islamist radicalism, especially in working class neighbourhoods.
“In our recent history, 11 Jews have been murdered – and some tortured – because they were Jews, by radical Islamists.” This refers to the assassination of Ilan Halimi in 2006, the killing of Jewish schoolchildren and their teachers in Toulouse in 2012, the attack on Hyper Cacher in 2015, Sarah Halimi’s death in Paris in 2017, and, most recently, the murder of Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll in Paris.
Ms Knoll, 85, was stabbed 11 times by the perpetrators before setting her body on fire. Her murder prompted shock and outrage and 30,000 people joined a march in her memory.
“French Jews are 25 times more likely to be attacked by Muslims than their fellow Frenchmen,” the petition points out. “Ten per cent of the Jewish citizens of Ile de France [Metropolitan Paris] – that is, about 50,000 people – were recently forced to move because they were no longer safe in some towns and because their children could not frequent the public school of the Republic any longer.”
Signatories demand "that the fight against this democratic bankruptcy of antisemitism become a national cause before it is too late. Before France is no longer France.”

Even Muslim imams signed the petition, and a separate strongly worded letter from 30 additional imams made it very clear that some Muslims find this Islamic antisemitism to be abhorrent.

Now mainstream Muslim leaders have responded, and they are adamant that this campaign is simply an Islamophobic with hunt.

The Muslim Post (French) reports:

If there is a positive consequence that can be granted to the manifesto "against the new anti-Semitism" published by Le Parisien and signed by three hundred artistic, political and intellectual personalities, it is to have managed to temporarily unite the Muslim community.
In a statement, Abdallah Zekri, president of the National Observatory against Islamophobia and also general delegate of the CFCM, writes that "politicians on the decline and in need of media recognition found in Islam and Muslims in France their new scapegoat."  He denounced a debate as "nauseating and fatal" and believes that "it is time they (the signatories) pull themselves  together and stop ascribing all evil to Islam and Muslims."
Rector of the Great Mosque of Bordeaux, Tareq Oubrou believes that "to attribute anti-Semitism to Islam is almost a blasphemy, since two-thirds of the prophets of the Koran are Jews. When, in the petition, Philippe Val assures that the Koran "calls for the murder of Jews and Christians," it is according to Rector Gironde "a monumental error, and of an incredible violence." For him, he explains on Franceinfo , "attributing antisemitism to any 'Quranic genetics' is a monumental intellectual error. "
Abdallah Zekri indicates that it is "time for the politicians to respect the law of 1905 establishing the separation between the State and the Cults and do not interfere in any way in the management of the Muslim religion. "
On the side of the French Council of Muslim worship, President Ahmet Ogras says that "this platform is nonsense, an off-topic. He insists that "no one has the monopoly of being the oppressed or the victim" and denounces the use of the term "ethnic cleansing" by Philippe Val. 
Here's what the petition said about ethnic cleansing:

. In our recent history, eleven Jews have been murdered - and some tortured - because they are Jews, by radical Islamists.
However, the denunciation of Islamophobia - which is not anti-Arab racism to fight - conceals the figures of the Ministry of the Interior: the French Jews are 25 times more likely to be attacked than their fellow Muslims. 10% of the Jewish citizens of Ile-de-France - that is to say about 50,000 people - were recently forced to move because they were no longer safe in some cities and because their children could no longer attend the school of the Republic more. This is a low-level ethnic cleansing in the country of Emile Zola and Clemenceau.
Why this silence ? Because Islamist radicalization - and the anti-Semitism it conveys - is considered exclusively by some of the French elites as the expression of a social revolt..... Because the old anti-Semitism of the far right, adds the anti-Semitism of a part of the radical left that found in anti-Zionism the alibi to transform the executioners of the Jews as victims of society. Because electoral baseness calculates that the Muslim vote is ten times higher than the Jewish vote .

Zekri's statement denying Muslim antisemitism would be comical if it wasn't so serious.

"Jews are our cousins, we are also Semites," says Abdallah Zekri, Secretary General French Council of Muslim Worship (CFCM). "I strongly condemn this platform," says the one who is also president of the National Observatory against Islamophobia: "Making the connection between Muslims and anti-Semitism is unacceptable."
"The Muslim signatories who signed are self-proclaimed imams! They are not recognized by the Muslim community, they do not have a mosque, they do not preach. [...] They are what I call, and I will be strong in my terms, 'service Arabs' to please their masters.

Muslims are especially upset at part of the petition that calls to have Muslim leaders distance themselves from certain antisemitic and anti-Christian verses as "obsolete." However,

Mohamed Guerroumi, a practicing Muslim and leader of interreligious dialogue in Nantes, who signed the manifesto, explains in Le Figaro that "we must set the record straight and review the exegesis of the Qur'an, because it is a question of an interpretation dating back to the 9th century ". "Surat 9 is very violent, Jews or unbelievers being considered enemies of Muslims. This is what is taught at the moment to young Muslims in France. "

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

From Ian:

How Israel Won Over The Syrian People
In a popular Syrian news group on Facebook, a Syrian activist recently shared a video of Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager in jail for slapping an Israeli soldier. Across the world, Tamimi has become a cause celebré, a symbol of the Palestinian resistance to Israel’s occupation. But when the activist posted the Amnesty International video about Israel’s policy of detaining children and Tamimi in particular, most of the group’s members — all of them Syrian — reacted dismissively.

“They are better off than us by far, and prisoners are better off compared to how they are treated by Assad’s army and even the revolutionary factions [rebels],” wrote one Syrian from Lattakia.

“If the Syrian army was like the Israeli army, no one would have been displaced from their home,” another commentator, from Daraa, wrote. “If [Tamimi] had raised her head in front of a Syrian soldier, he would have field executed her.”

Far from outliers, these comments exemplify a changing reality among Syrians. The extreme levels of brutality meted out by the Assad regime and its allies against civilians in Syria have improved the image of the IDF by comparison across the Arab world.

On April 17, 2018, when Palestinians mark Prisoner’s Day, a popular Syrian opposition website decided to mark the occasion by posting an infographic comparing Israeli prisons and those of the Assad regime.

The infographic shows that while 7,000 Palestinians are incarcerated in Israel, 220,000 Syrians are held in regime detention facilities. According to the infographic, 210 Palestinians have died in Israeli prisons since 1967, while 65,000 Syrians have died in regime detention over the past seven years.

Such irreverence of Palestinian suffering by an Arab media outlet would have been unimaginable a few years ago.
Carter Center Sued for Providing Support to Terrorists, Defrauding Taxpayers
The Trump administration is seeking the dismissal of a suit alleging the nonprofit helmed by former president Jimmy Carter has used taxpayer funding to provide material support to international terrorist groups, including Hamas.

The Zionist Advocacy Center, which filed the recently unsealed suit in 2015, alleges the Carter Center received more than $30 million in taxpayer grants while violating federal statutes barring it from using the cash to provide material support to terror groups.

The plaintiffs maintain the Carter Center has violated the law by hosting designated terrorists at is facilities, as well as by providing various forms of assistance to the Palestinian terror group Hamas and other known terror entities, according to recently unsealed court documents.

The Department of Justice surprised pro-Israel insiders recently when it moved to have the case dismissed on the grounds it is too expensive to prosecute, according to court filings the administration had requested remain secret.

A hearing on the dismissal motion will occur on April 25, though legal experts handling the case are hoping to convince the DOJ to reverse its opinion beforehand, according to those familiar with the proceedings.

Evidence presented in the case purports to show the Carter Center accepted millions in government grants while falsely certifying it was not violating prohibitions on providing material support to terror groups, which include a broad range of factors including lodgings, expert advice, and other types of support.

Former President Carter's ongoing and well-documented interactions with Hamas and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) are tantamount to material support for terror groups, the suit alleges citing evidence Carter hosted these officials at his Center's offices.

  • Tuesday, April 24, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

NBC reports:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has denounced a “different type of anti-Semitism” that has taken root in her country.

She also vowed to do everything possible to ensure the safety of Jews in Germany.

“We have refugees now, for example, or people of Arab origin, who bring a different type of anti-Semitism into the country,” Merkel said in an interview with Israel’s Channel 10. “But unfortunately, anti-Semitism existed before this.”

Her comments follow an attack targeting two men wearing kippahs that made headlines across Germany last week.

One of the victims, a 21-year-old Israeli, was hit with a belt, police say. A video of the incident was posted on Facebook showed the attacker repeatedly shouting “Yahudi,” the Arabic word for “Jew.”

A suspect turned himself in to police on Friday. A spokesperson for Berlin Police told NBC News that he is a 19-year-old Syrian refugee.
(The victim of the beating turns out to have been an Israeli Arab, wanting to find out if Jews really are in danger walking around the streets of German cities.)

Arabic media reported this story pretty straight. But the headline in several newspapers was bizarre. "Merkel flirts with German Jews at the expense of Arabs "

The headline, copied from site to site, reveals a lot. It shows that mainstream Arabs will be on the side of the Arab attackers of Jews rather than the victims. It shows that Arabs still have the zero-sum mentality that says that if something is good for the Jews, then it must be bad for them. And the corollary to that is that Arab do not distinguish between Jews and Israelis. It also seems to indicate the idea that a politician would only pretend to be against antisemitism in order to pander to Jews.

You can learn a lot from a headline...

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  • Tuesday, April 24, 2018
  • Elder of Ziyon

The editor of Ma'an, Dr. Nasser al Laham, considered a moderate, independent publication, has gone completely off the rails in his editorial about Israel's 70th birthday.

Just the first paragraph could keep psychiatrists busy for months:

Thousands of statements made by the leaders of the Zionist movements these days can be summed up in one sentence: "Israel will not collapse and the Jews will not flee to Europe again)." In fact, this denial confirms to the world that Israel is still liable to collapse and that its Jews will flee to their hometowns in Europe again eventually.
Al-Laham is exposing his own wishful thinking, that the Jews will for some reason flee to Europe. (One wonders what will happen to all the Sephardic Jews, American Jews and Ethiopian Jews.)

The rest of the column is even more unhinged and reveals even more about where al-Laham's mind is:

In the speeches and statements of the leaders of the Zionist parties, they came to enumerate the "achievements" of Israel and their superiority over the Arab countries; as Israel depends on marketing  methods to talk about its goods. Those who see the picture from afar do not see in the celebrations of the occupation the 70th anniversary as a celebration of independence. It looks like marketing a condom, a new washing detergent, or a Viagra pill.
Why exactly do two of his examples of Israel's marketing have to do with penises? Calling Dr. Freud!

The editor then goes on to list some insane lies that he says Israel has accomplished over 70 years, like killing hundreds of thousands of people, displacing millions of refugees, the destruction of entire countries, and causing losses of $70 trillion.

Yes, $70 trillion. 

In his list of Zionist crimes, he includes this beauty:
- The destruction of the Palestinian society through a geopolitical division, which made it turn from being one of the most important Arab countries in terms of progress, science and civilization to a people of refugees.
Yes, the fictional nation of Palestine was one of the most important Arab nations, contributing so much to culture and science and civilization, until Israel destroyed it.

Perhaps the world should outlaw whatever medication he is taking.

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From Ian:

Israel Survives Because of an Iron Will and an Iron Wall
In the run-up to this week’s 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence, Israeli Defense Forces chief of Staff General Gabi Eisenkot pronounced the country “invincible.”

This was a bold statement. The country faces a growing threat from Iran and its puppets in Lebanon and Gaza, and the possibility of a clash with Russia over Syria. And yet, few Israelis have disagreed with this assessment.

There is mood of confidence here, and its origin lies in a doctrine of strategic defense that has proven itself over nearly a century of intermittent warfare.

That doctrine was first enunciated in an article in 1923 entitled “The Iron Wall.” Its author was Ze’ev Jabotinsky, a visionary Zionist leader and the ideological father of the Likud.

At the time of its publication, the Jews of Palestine were a small, embattled minority. Only three years had passed since the first Arab riots in Jerusalem against them. The Jewish community’s socialist leaders hoped they could appease Arab enmity by offering economic cooperation, progress and prosperity.

Jabotinsky derided this as childish, and insulting to the Arabs, who would not barter away their homeland for more bread or modern railroads. They would, he said, resist while they had a spark of hope of preventing a Jewish state.

“There is only one thing the Zionists want, and that is the one thing the Arabs do not want,” he wrote. Nothing short of abandoning the Zionist project would placate Arab hostility and violence. If the Jews wanted to remain, they would have to come to terms with a harsh reality: This was a zero-sum game. There could be no peace until the Arabs accepted Israel’s right to exist.

Jabotinsky saw that the Arabs (in Palestine and beyond) were far too numerous to be defeated in a single decisive war. The Jews needed to erect an iron wall of self-defense and deterrence -- a metaphorical wall built of Jewish determination, immigration, material progress, strong democratic institutions and a willingness to fight. Gradually, the enemy would be forced to conclude that this wall could not be breached.
PMW: Fatah names camp for kids after arch-terrorist responsible for murder of 125 Israelis
The Palestinian Authority and Abbas' Fatah continue their terror role modeling, presenting terrorist murderers as heroes to Palestinian youth. This month, 600 high school students belonging to Fatah's Shabiba youth movement in Jenin are participating in the "Martyr Abu Jihad Camp." The camp is held at a facility of the PA National Security Forces:

"The Fatah Movement's Jenin branch, in cooperation with [Fatah's] Jenin region leadership, held the third coexistence camp under the title Martyr Abu Jihad Camp, and this was at the [PA] National Security [Forces] camp Horsh Al-Saada. The camp will last for an entire month, three days a week, and 600 students from the [Fatah] High School Shabiba will participate in it." [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 7, 2018]

The PA Ministry of Education emphasized the importance of the terrorist's heritage to students in all PA schools via school radio:

"Director-General of Student Activities and Spokesman of the [PA] Ministry [of Education] Sadeq Al-Khadour said that as part of the activities in the schools, broadcasts of the radio stations in the schools were dedicated to talking about the prisoners in the occupation's prisons and the life of Martyr Khalil Al-Wazir." [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 18, 2018]

Abu Jihad (Khalil Al-Wazir) was a founder of Fatah and deputy to Yasser Arafat. He headed the PLO terror organization's military wing and also planned many deadly Fatah terror attacks in the 1960's - 1980's. These attacks, in which a total of 125 Israelis were murdered, included the most lethal in Israeli history - the hijacking of a bus and murder of 37 civilians, 12 of them children.

On the occasion of the anniversary of Abu Jihad's so-called "Martyrdom," the PA, Fatah, and Fatah's Bethlehem branch in particular made a point of glorifying the arch-terrorist as a great heroic Palestinian leader, vowing to remain "loyal" to his "path."
Im Tirtzu: New Israel Fund: “Subversive Political Organization Operating as Opposition in Israel”
A new campaign launched by the Zionist organization Im Tirtzu is calling on the Israeli government to end all cooperation with the New Israel Fund.

The campaign will see billboards titled “Ridding Israel of the NIF” displayed throughout the country, the first of which, a 100-foot sign, was displayed this morning on Tel-Aviv’s Ayalon Highway.

The billboard depicts NIF President Talia Sasson as harming IDF soldiers, and states that the NIF has transferred over 310 million NIS ($87 million) to “activities against IDF soldiers and the State of Israel.”

According to Im Tirtzu, the campaign’s goal is to expose the NIF as a foreign political organization operating as a political opposition within Israel against the government and IDF, while engaging in anti-Israel lawfare by means of its grantees in the Supreme Court.

At the same time, Im Tirtzu published a new position paper detailing what it dubs the NIF’s M.O. in wiping Israel of the map. The position paper, titled “The Roadmap to Israel’s Destruction,” comes in the form of an Israeli map and accuses the NIF and its grantees of exploiting various issues in the country in order to accuse Israel of perpetrating war crimes, ethnic cleansing, apartheid and other crimes against humanity.

The report also notes how many NIF grantees receive extensive funding from European governments, the European Union and United Nations.

Someone limited to just the media coverage of the "Gaza March," could be forgiven for thinking that the issue of the IDF's Rules of Engagement (RoI) during those riots is e a simple matter of math - most of the Gazans rioting at Israel's border are civilians, so that should be the guiding rule for Israel's response.

But it is not that simple.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has a report that illustrates that point. In 2012, the ICRC convened a meeting of experts on The Use of Force in Armed Conflicts: Interplay Between The Conduct of Hostilities and Law Enforcement Paradigms. It examines the connection between the "conduct of hostilities paradigm" for dealing with fighters and the "law enforcement paradigm" for dealing with civilians during an armed conflict.

The report presents scenarios, along with the differing opinions of experts on how force should be used. The expert opinions are presented anonymously.

Flag of the ICRC

One of the case studies presented is "Riots in armed conflict situations":
In the context of a non-international armed conflict, a demonstration to protest against the governments’ repression of the insurgency takes place. More than a hundred people gather on the main street of the capital, where government troop are based. Initially, the protest is peaceful. After some attempts by the government army to disperse the crowd (e.g. with a loudspeaker), the crowd becomes more aggressive and starts to throw rocks at the soldiers. At the same time, fighters take advantage of the riot and attack the soldiers with rifles. Some contend that fighters instrumentalized the population and incited it to demonstrate in order to hide in the crowd and to conduct an attack.
This roughly corresponds to the situation Israel is facing now.

According to the report, as long as the actions of the civilians do not cross the required threshold of harm, the "law enforcement" paradigm applies as opposed to "conduct of hostilities." The vast majorities of experts believed that it was best to combine the two paradigms into a parallel approach: apply law enforcement to the civilians and conduct of hostilities to the fighters.

Sounds so simple - even a journalist could have come up with it.

But keep in mind that according to those ICRC experts, incidental damage among the civilians would not be prohibited -- as long as the force used is not excessive in relation to the direct military advantage that is anticipated. In other words, as long as disproportionate force is not used.

And we already know what a simple issue that is.

Outside of that, rioting civilians, unlike fighters, cannot be considered to be directly participating in hostilities. Therefore the rioting civilians cannot be targeted using the "conduct of hostilities" paradigm and under International Humanitarian Law, the presence of fighters does not change the overall civilian nature of the group. Again, it sounds straightforward.

However, according to footnote 70 of the report:
One expert expressed the view however that, in some wholly exceptional cases, rioting civilians can be considered as directly participating in hostilities if they are performing acts of violence which are specifically designed to harm directly the State having to face the riot in support of its enemy. This would be the case, for example, if a riot is led by the enemy in order to destroy the military equipment of the State’s armed forces or in order to divert attention of the armed forces and conduct a military operation in a nearby village. In this exceptional situation, the rioters are actually civilians directly participating in hostilities and become targetable under a conduct of hostilities paradigm.
According to this opinion, the rioting civilians can be considered to be directly participating in hostilities:
  • if it is determined that a riot has as its goal to conduct a military operation in a nearby village
  • if the violence is designed to harm the State facing the riots.
The first case arguably is the current case of the Gaza riots, where one of the clear goals is to infiltrate the border fence...

...and if possible reach the Israeli communities nearby.

Source: IDF on Twitter

The second case describes the latest attempts to use kites to carry Molotov cocktails across the border and set fires in Israel.

snapshot of Youtube video
Kite with Molotov cocktail being flown from Gaza into Israel

In such a situation, according to this opinion, because the civilians are directly participating in hostilities, the paradigm of "conduct of hostilities" and not law enforcement applies - and those civilians taking those steps can be targeted.

Another wrinkle is that according to International Law, as quoted in the report, the presence of civilians does not provide carte blanche for the entire group to act with impunity: “[t]he presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favour or impede military operations.”

Instead, if rioting civilians commit acts of violence, then force may be used under "law enforcement" paradigm, which would allow an escalation of force.

On top of all that, the experts who preferred to combine both paradigms -- applying the rules of law enforcement to civilians and of war to fighters -- found their own solution to be impractical:
  • How could soldiers distinguish between fighters (who might not distinguish themselves), civilians directly participating in hostilities and rioters who are not directly participating in hostilities?
  • How could soldiers be expected to apply two different paradigms at the same time and place?
  • Moreover, in most situations of armed conflicts, belligerents may not have snipers able to target surgically fighters among the crowd and thus targeting them may cause excessive incidental civilian losses in violation of IHL.
  • Also, situations of civilian unrest in the context of an armed conflict can be highly volatile and can turn into actual armed clashes amounting to hostilities. 
And then there is the issue of self-defense.
Thus, even if a fighter not using lethal force could be identified and targeted, armed forces would be instructed not to do so because of the risk to cause excessive incidental civilian losses. Instead, if the fighter is using force, he might be targeted under self-defence rules, by a sniper for example
These are just a few of the variables involved, according to the ICRC report.

In writing about The Blurred Distinction Between Armed Conflict and Civil Unrest: Recent Events in Gaza, Liron Libman, former Chief Military Prosecutor and Head of the International Law Department in the IDF notes:
"The purpose of IHL is to strike a balance between military necessity and humanitarian concerns during an armed conflict. Rules that ignore legitimate military needs are not likely to be sustainable."
The idea that International Law looks out for military necessity, and not only humanitarian rights, is lost on journalists and those who freely volunteer their personal opinion of international law as a club to beat the IDF whenever a military situation arises.

In any case, it has been reported that the IDF Chief of staff has ordered a probe will address the issue of civilian casualties.

The ICRC report illustrates that the issues are not nearly as simple and straightforward as the media has been presenting it. Maybe the proposed probe will help to further clarification of the issues involved.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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