Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Question for Ban Ki-moon

Arlene Kushner
American Thinker
31 March '11

The question is why?

And it is posed in response to a statement made on behalf of the secretary-general of the UN this week:

"A way must be found for Jerusalem to emerge as a capital of two states."

It is, of course, important to keep in mind that Ban Ki-moon represents one of the most morally deficient of international agencies, an agency that is blatantly and unabashedly anti-Israel.

And yet... and yet... there is a perversity to Ban's logic - or absence thereof - that is greatly troubling.

Every single resolution of the UN Security Council pertinent to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has said that the issues must be resolved via negotiations between the parties. And here comes the head of the UN, with a statement that directly undermines that principle: He is prepared to state before the fact of final negotiations what the outcome "must" be.

And why "must" it be? Apparently because he sees the formation of a Palestinian state as a "moral" imperative, and the Palestinian Arabs have said they will not accept any state that does not have Jerusalem as its capital. (Please note, even though the pretense is that they want to divide Jerusalem and are seeking only eastern Jerusalem as their capital, in most instances they call for Jerusalem to be their capital.)

That's it, then? The Arabs say they want Jerusalem, and so the Jews must give it to them, or the eastern portion at any rate.

In insisting that this must be the case, Ban is ignoring a host of factors, including historical context and the several rights of the Jewish people.

When the Palestinian Arabs demand "East" Jerusalem, they are actually referring to the portion of Jerusalem that is beyond what is known as the Green Line. "East" Jerusalem runs east, north and south of "West" Jerusalem.

The suggested apportionment of the city predicated on this "East-West" division perpetuates a myth: the ubiquitously promulgated fiction that there was something sacrosanct about the Green Line.

In point of fact, however, it was nothing more than a temporary armistice line-a ceasefire line, agreed upon by Israel and Jordan as part of the armistice agreement signed in 1949 at the end of the War of Independence. This was the war initiated by the Arab League immediately following Israel's establishment, in an attempt to destroy the new state.

The armistice agreement itself specified that the armistice line would not prejudice future negotiations on a permanent border. And yet, a good portion of the world today believes that this Green Line was once the "true" eastern border of Israel.

Alex Joffe: The Archeology War

Alex Joffe
Jewish Ideas Daily
31 March '11

The Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) was founded in 1979 by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). It has three basic goals. The first is to spread a Saudi version of Koranic education throughout the Islamic world. The second is to publicize Islam to the non-Islamic world, both positively by touting Islamic civilization and its accomplishments—this it dubs "Dialogue among Civilizations"—and negatively, by protesting what it calls the "anti-Islamic campaign."

The third goal is to oppose the "Judaization of Al-Quds"—i.e., Jerusalem. To that end, a recent ISESCO meeting in Amman has bitterly attacked archeological projects in the Holy City conducted by "the Israeli occupation authorities . . . in full breach of the relevant international laws and conventions." Citing supposedly "objective and well-documented information on the alteration of the Sacred City's character and obliteration of its Arab and Islamic identity," ISESCO vigorously denounced all such "attempts to Judaize Al-Quds Al-Sharif."

Of course, Muslim claims that Jews are threatening Jerusalem have a long pedigree. So, in particular, do attacks on Israeli archeological practice there. In 1974, UNESCO—the international organization that ISESCO nominally apes—was forced by the Arab states to vote sanctions against Israeli digs in Jerusalem and to deny Israel membership in the organization's European regional group. Although Israel was readmitted in 1977, UNESCO's bias continued to be so blatant that in 1984 the U.S., UK, and others temporarily left the organization. Such a principled act is difficult to imagine today, even after UNESCO has declared Rachel's Tomb to be a mosque and has condemned Israel for putting West Bank archeological sites on its list of National Heritage sites.

(Read full "The Archeology War")

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The Failure Of The U.N. In Lebanon

Jonathon Narvey
The Propagandist
31 March '11

The United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL) has failed spectactularly in its mandate, namely:

Assist the LAF in taking steps towards the establishment between the Blue Line and the Litani river of an free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL deployed in this area.

Without actually naming the predicted troublemaker, the United Nations had committed to preventing a buildup of Hezbollah bunkers and munitions dumps throughout civilian areas of southern Lebanon.

(Read full "The Failure Of The U.N. In Lebanon")

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Israel Straight Talk: What is Zionism?

Avi Abelow
Israel Straight Talk
IST #39
31 March '11

Although Zionism is best known as the Jewish nationalist movement, it is much more than that. Zionism is the term that reflects the eternal connection between the Jewish people and their homeland, Israel. Watch now to finally understand.

Visit us on and let us know what you think. All comments and questions are welcome.

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The UN hatefest coming to New York

NGO Monitor
31 March '11

At the UN's 2001 Durban Conference, NGOs formulated a strategy of BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions), legal action ("lawfare"), and other attacks against Israel. Despite the exploitation of universal human rights values at that event and since, the UN has scheduled "Durban 3" for September 2011 in New York, to commemorate the ten-year anniversary of Durban (also the ten-year anniversary of 9/11).

The New York Post op-ed (see below) presents analysis of the damage caused by NGOs since Durban I, and NGO Monitor's successful initiative to prevent a repeat of the NGO Forum disaster at the April 2009 Durban II Conference in Geneva. The op-ed also outlines the dangers and benefits of holding a Durban event in New York


Jason Edelstein
March 29, 2011
New York Post

Will this September's UN anti-racism conference in New York be yet another anti-Semitic, anti-Israel hatefest -- or will it actually work to forward human rights?

Known as Durban III, the confab comes 10 years after the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa.

At Durban I, nearly 1,500 "nongovernmental organizations" -- NGOs, the term in UN-speak for activist groups of all kinds -- hijacked the language and values of human rights to turn the conference's NGO Forum into a prolonged Israel-bash, with huge dollops of anti-Semitism. The forum "declare[d] Israel as a racist, apartheid state," and "Israel's brand of apartheid" to be "a crime against humanity" and "call[ed] upon the international community to impose a policy of complete and total isolation of Israel as an apartheid state."

Real international human-rights issues -- from the many African civil wars to the lack of women's and minority rights in large parts of Asia -- went largely ignored.

The NGO activists (including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International) left the conference with a "Durban strategy" -- coordinated plans to isolate and delegitimize Israel, using multiple international venues. More, they'd formed a strong and lasting network to do it.

In the years since, NGOs have methodically implemented their political war against Israel, questioning Israel's right to exist and invoking the rhetoric of "apartheid" at every turn. The strategy includes "lawfare" -- legal cases brought against Israeli officials in every conceivable forum -- as well as "BDS" campaigns, which promote boycotts of Israel, di vestment from Israel by foreign investors (especially such institutions as universities) and sanctions against the Jewish state for its supposed human-rights violations.

The groups work with institutions like the UN Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court to further isolate Israel. Typically, as the UN's embrace of the inflammatory and false Goldstone Report shows, most international bodies are willing to treat even wild NGO allegations as serious analysis.

The good news is that the 2009 Durban Review Conference, or Durban II, was not a repeat of Durban I. There was no official NGO Forum, and NGO events were mainly held in small rooms on the margins of the conference. Anti-Israel activists had to conduct their "Israel Review" the weekend before the official conference, at a venue far away from the UN complex in Geneva, Switzerland.

Most important, the virulent anti-Israel and anti-Semitic voices in Geneva were drowned out by a well-coordinated effort by Jewish groups from across the world. Activists on the ground held public rallies, participated in relevant sessions in the UN building and monitored NGO activities surrounding the conference.

Yet the "Durban process" continues. NGOs press the anti-Israel agenda at "mini-Durbans" -- UN-sponsored conferences and at sessions before the UN Human Rights Council -- and through lawfare campaigning.

New York City, the site of Durban III, is more accessible and visible than Geneva -- allowing radical activists, even those without official accreditation, to get media attention. Groups such as Adalah-NY, CodePink and Jewish Voices for Peace have already conducted BDS demonstrations in the New York area, and may exploit Durban III for further campaigns.

Happily, New York is also home to many pro-Israel organizations, capable of a strong and coordinated impact at the conference.

The most important step in avoiding a hatefest is for the UN to again forego an NGO Forum at Durban III. That raises the likelihood that real human-rights abuses will get the attention they deserve.

Durban III also is a chance for UN agencies to examine their own processes, and revamp their agendas and members as needed. If the United Nations addresses its own internal issues, NGOs and their funders will be marginalized.

The 10-year anniversary of Durban I should be marked with a conference that, in contrast to the earlier efforts, avoids the anti-Israel obsession and actually takes significant steps to end racism and human-rights abuses.

Jason Edelstein is communications director of NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institution that promotes account ability among NGOs that claim to protect human rights in the Middle East.

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Dame Kiri Te Kanawa's Planned Israel Visit Attacked by BDSers

Daphne Anson
31 March '11

Another country heard from in the ongoing crusade by leftist fanatics to delegitimise Israel. This time it's New Zealand - you know, the country composed of two antipodean islands that Europeans with no previous claim or title to the land or links to it whatsoever snatched from its owners, the Maori people?

Yeah, that one.

A group of anti-Israel New Zealanders suffering from Boycott Derangement Syndrome and calling themselves Global Peace and Justice Auckland made a nuisance of itself noisily and noisomely protesting the presence of Israeli tennis star Shahar Peer when she played at the ASB Classic in Auckland in 2009 and 2010.

Now this group is badgering the renowned opera star Dame Kiri Te Kanawa to cancel plans to perform at the Israel Festival towards the end of May.

Says spokesperson John Minto (who was one of those arrested by police in the video): "By going to Israel in the face of a call by Palestinians for a comprehensive boycott Kiri Te Kanawa would be turning her back on the Palestinian struggle while giving comfort to Israeli apartheid and its brutal military occupation of Palestinian land."

Dame Kiri has yet to respond to a letter to that effect that Minto sent her in February.

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Fresnozionism: Hamas Covenant Excerpts

(Fresnozionism has a significant amount of material worth visiting in his archives. Here is one selection. YH)

The full version of the Hamas Covenant (The Avalon Project, Yale Law School  YH) is also available. I’ve boldfaced some portions of the excerpts below for emphasis.

Article Seven:

Moreover, if the links have been distant from each other and if obstacles, placed by those who are the lackeys of Zionism in the way of the fighters obstructed the continuation of the struggle, the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:

The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).

Article Eleven:

The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any king or president, nor all the kings and presidents, neither any organization nor all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the right to do that. Palestine is an Islamic Waqf land consecrated for Moslem generations until Judgement Day.

Article Thirteen:

There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with.

Article Fifteen:

The day that enemies usurp part of Moslem land, Jihad becomes the individual duty of every Moslem. In face of the Jews’ usurpation of Palestine, it is compulsory that the banner of Jihad be raised. To do this requires the diffusion of Islamic consciousness among the masses, both on the regional, Arab and Islamic levels. It is necessary to instill the spirit of Jihad in the heart of the nation so that they would confront the enemies and join the ranks of the fighters.

It is necessary that scientists, educators and teachers, information and media people, as well as the educated masses, especially the youth and sheikhs of the Islamic movements, should take part in the operation of awakening (the masses). It is important that basic changes be made in the school curriculum, to cleanse it of the traces of ideological invasion that affected it as a result of the orientalists and missionaries who infiltrated the region following the defeat of the Crusaders at the hands of Salah el-Din (Saladin).

Within British academia: A case study in anti-Semitism

CiF Watch
30 March '11

Here at CiF Watch we, like many others, have for some time been following the very worrying events taking place with alarming regularity in too many British universities.

From the cancellation of lectures by some pro-Israeli speakers, through the heckling and intimidation of others, to the despicable attacks upon Talya Lador-Fresher (Israel Deputy Ambassador to the UK) last year in Manchester and a protester outside SOAS just recently, these events indicate beyond all doubt that something is seriously amiss in the higher education system of Great Britain. Ambassador Ron Prosor apparently thinks so too.

“Speaking at a conference on British-Israeli diplomatic relations at the think-tank Chatham House, he said there had “never been so much hatred and hypocrisy towards the state of Israel in British universities.”

Just as there seems to be very little enthusiasm in those same establishments to face up to the issue of Islamist radicalization within the confines of their protected walls, or the long-since known (but recently further publicized) subject of the funding of some of those institutions by human-rights abusing regimes and dictatorships, nothing very effective appears to be being done to counter the virulently anti-Israel (and sometimes anti-Semitic) atmosphere in what are supposed to be bastions of free debate and liberal enlightenment.

(Read full "A case study in anti-Semitism within British academia")

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The Smithsonian Does The Temple Mount

Yisrael Medad
My Right Word
29 March '11

The Smithsonian Magazine includes this month a great article on the current situation regarding the Temple Mount.

What is Beneath the Temple Mount?

As Israeli archaeologists recover artifacts from the religious site, ancient history inflames modern-day political tensions

By Joshua Hammer
Photographs by Kate Brooks
Smithsonian magazine, April 2011

I already have a comment there (with corrrected spelling errors):

The statement of Natsheh, the Waqf’s chief archaeologist, who dismisses Barkay’s finds because they were not found in situ, in their original archaeological layers in the ground is a bit odd. After all, it was the Waqf that (a) removed the soil from the compound; (b) did so without any pretense at preserving the value of the site; (c) prohibits any archaeological digs; and (d) himself part of the "Temple-Denial" approach of all official Palestinian Authority bodies, which would make him an involved subjective participant. 
Would that be tolerated anywhere else?

An excerpt:

Until recently, Palestinians generally acknowledged that the Beit Hamikdash existed. A 1929 publication, A Brief Guide to the Haram al-Sharif, written by Waqf historian Aref al Aref, declares that the Mount’s “identity with the site of Solomon’s temple is beyond dispute. This too is the spot, according to universal belief, on which David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt and peace offerings.” But in recent decades, amid the intensifying quarrel over the sovereignty of East Jerusalem, a growing number of Palestinian officials and academics have voiced doubts. “I will not allow it to be written of me that I have...confirmed the existence of the so-called Temple beneath the Mount,” Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat told President Bill Clinton at the Camp David peace talks in 2000. Arafat suggested the site of the Temple Mount might have been in the West Bank town of Nablus, known as Shechem in ancient times.

Five years after the Camp David talks, Barkay’s sifting project turned up a lump of black clay with a seal impression inscribed with the name, in ancient Hebrew, “[Gea]lyahu [son of] Immer.” In the Book of Jeremiah, a son of Immer—Pashur—is identified as chief administrator of the First Temple. Barkay suggests that the seal’s owner could have been Pashur’s brother. If so, it’s a “significant find,” he says—the first Hebrew inscription from the First Temple period to be found on the Mount itself.

But Natsheh—sipping Arabic coffee in his office at Waqf headquarters, a 700-year-old former Sufi monastery in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City—is dubious. He says he’s also frustrated by Israeli dismissal of Palestinian claims to the sacred compound where, he says, the Muslim presence—excepting the Crusader period (A.D. 1099-1187)—“extends for 1,400 years.” Natsheh won’t say if he believes in the existence of the First Temple, given the current political climate. “Whether I say ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ it would be misused,” he tells me, fidgeting. “I would not like to answer.”

Read more.

And if you want to sift, go here for info. Photos of finds from the dirt removed can be viewed here.

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Does Israel Really Prefer Assad?

Pesach Benson
Honest Reporting/Backspin

The problem:

You’re an Israeli government official watching the Syrian uprising. Bashar Assad, the devil you know next door, is in big, big, trouble.

And as Syria burns, reporters from the Associated Press or Washington Post want to hear your take.

Sure, you enjoy watching Assad squirm. You might even want to rub it in — after all, you work the Mideast’s only stable democracy. You’re entitled to be a little smug. But you know that perception of Israeli support for the protesters can only discredit the populist uprising.

On the other hand, you don’t know what kind of government might emerge — who does? If you’re not careful, you’ll be perceived as supporting Assad (ugh). Initially supporting Mubarak two months ago only put Israel on the wrong side of history; fortunately, Sharansky came through in the clutch, articulating why opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t anti-democratic.

The solution:

Don’t say any more than necessary, because you’re either too low or too high on the policy-making totem pole to make waves. Then, grit your teeth as you read the unavoidable headlines:

I agree with Michael Totten on regime change, even though Assad’s the devil we’re used to:

Even if, under a worst-case scenario, Damascus under new management continues to support Hamas and Hezbollah, maintains the alliance with Iran’s Islamic Republic, continues oppressing the people of Syria, and keeps “resistance” against Israel the state’s ideological raison d’etre, the situation could not be much worse than it already is. Let us hope, then, that the Syrian people can finally be rid of him.

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The Aftermath: Facebook and the Third Intifada

Dr. Andre Oboler
Internet Engagement/JPost
30 March '11

In the last week the Facebook group for the Third Intifada made headlines around the world. First in the Arabic language press, advertising and supporting it, then in the Jewish and Israeli press condemning it, and finally in the mainstream media always thirsty for more stories of ‘cycles of violence’ in the Middle East and perhaps sensing a bloodletting was in the pipeline. Real world events, in the form of unrelated Palestinian terror attacks, provided a backdrop.

The Third Intifada page has now been taken down, yet others are rapidly springing up in its place. A leading member of Fatah, Demetri Deliani, told the official Palestinian news agency Wafa that "Minister Yuli Edelstein needs lessons in human rights and freedom of expression as he is not aware of the world's respect for individual opinion". Edelstein is of course not only Israel’s Minister for Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, he is also a human rights hero. Born in the Soviet Union, in what is today Ukraine, Edelstein spent his twenties illegally teaching Hebrew and promoting aliyah. The authorities eventually caught up with him and he spent three years in a soviet labor camp.

It is his personal experience that gives Edelstein an insight into the balance between the human right of freedom of expression, and the responsibility to protect other human rights, like life and physical safety. Yuli holds not only a mandate to tackle antisemitism as part of his ministerial portfolio, he was also made chair of the Working Group on online hate of the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism, a group of Parliamentarians and experts from over 40 countries. It was Yuli, in his personal capacity, and not in his official capacity as Minister Edelstein, who wrote to Facebook. Perhaps Facebook initially failed to appreciate the significance of that.

Demetri Deliani is assuming people everywhere will value freedom of expression so highly they that they will allow its use for any purpose. Perhaps he is right, and this is how people at Facebook, in their naivety, would like to see it. After all, it suits their business purpose, they more content they can publish, without having to implement safe guards, or take any responsibility for the deaths, violence, suicides and mental harm that can result, the higher their profit margins. Imagine the cost to Facebook if they had liability in the same way the owner of a hall has when they rented it out for a gathering they know may be unsafe and might turn to violence. Perhaps it is self interest and not naivety that drives Facebook to keep the standards low and the intervention slow.

Shock Waves: The renewed violence in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict

The renewed violence in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict may be tied to the wave of unrest in the Arab world—as a distraction meant to lure the U.S. back to a failed peace process

Lee Smith
30 March '11

It’s unclear who is behind the recent bus bombing in Jerusalem and the waves of rockets coming from Gaza. Yet the intent of these attacks is obvious—to change the subject from massive popular discontent with Arab regimes to one that both the region’s endangered rulers and the world’s political and intellectual elite are more comfortable with: the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The fact that a wave of revolutions has shaken the foundations of Arab politics without the slightest apparent connection to popular outrage against Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians should be surprising to most experts and politicians in the West. For over four decades, the driving idea behind the West’s approach to the Middle East has been the supposed centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to Arab popular anger at the West and its key to ensuring the stability of the West’s favored regimes. That the price tag for this American diplomatic instrument has been thousands of dead Jews and several lost generations of Arabs has, in the upside-down world of Mideast policymakers, made the achievement of an ever-elusive peace deal seem all the more important with every passing year.

This idea was a convenient point of agreement between Washington policymakers and Arab regimes. For Washington, the peace process was a good source of photo ops and a chance to show concern for human rights in the region without interfering with the propensity of America’s Arab allies to torture and murder their political opponents. As for the regimes, they were happy to escape criticism of their own failures—rampant corruption, lack of basic human rights and freedoms, and violence against the Arabs they rule—by blaming Israel.

Now the notion that the genie of revolution in the Arab world can be put back in the bottle by blaming Israel is laughable. Even Arab populations with no special love for the Jewish state know that the regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and now Syria were not loved or hated by their people because of their adherence or opposition to the Palestinian cause. In fact, one of the most baffling things about the current wave of Arab revolutions to professional Middle East watchers must be the complete absence of any mention of the Palestinians in popular demonstrations and regime counter-propaganda alike.

(Read full "Shock Waves")

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