Thursday, January 31, 2013

And More Misleading, Mismatched Photos Miss Mark

Pesach Benson..
Honest Reporting Backspin..
31 January '13..

While Israeli jets were on target hitting a Syrian arms convoy, The Scotsman and Daily Telegraph badly missed the mark with their choice of photos. The Irish Independent also flunked.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think those nasty Israelis killed the kids.

Arlene Kushner From Israel: Hurray for Us

Arlene Kushner..
31 January '13..

Officially, Israel isn't talking. But in this case there is no mystery as to "who done it." Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, the Israeli Air Force struck twice.

First, it hit a convey headed for Lebanon that carried anti-aircraft missiles. This highly sophisticated and portable weaponry was something that Nasrallah of Hezbollah had coveted; it would have changed the equation with regard to Israel's freedom of movement in the area -- as when we eventually do go to war with Hezbollah.

So, hurray for us. We must not, we cannot, sit still as the threats to us multiply. While the Syrian weapons of mass destruction (gas, chemical) are of major concern, there is more going on. As Assad tumbles towards collapse, he's become more inclined to turn weapons from his arsenal over to Hezbollah. The Syrian border has essentially been quiet since 1973 -- Assad has not utilized his weaponry against Israel directly. But Hezbollah -- an Iranian/Syrian proxy -- has and will undoubtedly attempt to do so again.


According to foreign press reports, the convoy had left from the Syrian town of Zabadani and was headed to the Lebanese village of An Nabi Shit; it was attacked from Syrian air space, before it crossed the border.

The weaponry was identified as Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles (pictured).

Credit: YNet

Tzachi Hanegbi, former chair of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, had this to say about the situation, on Army Radio:

"Israel has always said that if sophisticated weapons coming from Iran, North Korea and Russia fell into the hands of Hezbollah, it would cross a red line.

"Israel's preference would be if a Western entity would control these weapons systems, But because it appears the world is not prepared to do what was done in Libya or other places, then Israel finds itself like it has many times in the past facing a dilemma that only it knows how to respond to. Even if there are reports about pinpoint operations, these are not significant solutions to the threat itself because we are talking about very substantial capabilities that could reach Hezbollah." (Emphasis added)

Jews Are the Indigenous People of Israel. Where's the Coverage?

CAMERA Snapshots..
31 January '13

There is a growing protest movement among the indigenous peoples in Canada, including the so-called First Nations, the Arctic-dwelling Inuit, and a group called the Métis. They are demanding a greater share of natural-resource royalties and more input on environmental issues. The story has made it into the U.S. press with stories on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and in The Wall Street Journal, which wrote:

On a recent day, several members of the tribe gathered around a fire in a teepee to mark a hunger strike by the chief of another indigenous group. They pointed at the smoking chimneys of local refineries as a symbol of the land they believe Canada has taken from them and the economic benefits they say it has promised but not delivered.

Of course, the usual suspects have been quick to link the Canadian protests, known as Idle No More, to the Palestinian cause, Ha’aretz running an article under the headline “Lessons of a 'Canadian intifada'”. The Electronic Intifada reported on a statement of solidarity signed by Palestinian activists:

As Palestinians, who struggle against settler colonialism, occupation and apartheid in our homeland and for the right of Palestinian refugees – the majority of our people – to return to our homeland, we stand in solidarity with the Idle No More movement of Indigenous peoples and its call for justice, dignity, decolonization and protection of the land, waters and resources.

We recognize the deep connections and similarities between the experiences of our peoples – settler colonialism, destruction and exploitation of our land and resources, denial of our identity and rights, genocide and attempted genocide.

The truth is quite different, naturally. Last week, Ryan Bellerose, the son of a Métis leader wrote an article in The Metropolitain:

World’s democratic and nondemocratic countries converge as Israel stands up for itself

P. David Hornik..
31 January '13..

In Geneva on Tuesday, the UN Human Rights Council convened to examine Israel’s human rights record. It did so under a mechanism called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), supposed to apply to all UN member states. One country, though, failed to show up for the proceedings—Israel (reports here, here, and here; op-ed by Anne Bayefsky here). It thereby became the first country ever to boycott its UPR.

As a result, the countries present agreed to postpone Israel’s review to November, with council president Remigiusz Henczel of Poland darkly warning that “if Israel failed to participate by the set deadline, the council would weigh steps against it.”

Israel has cut off cooperation with the UNHRC since last May, when it announced a new fact-finding commission on Israeli settlements. Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated at the time that “this fact-finding mission will find no cooperation in Israel and its members will not be allowed to enter Israel and the territories.”

Israel’s previous experience with the council’s “fact-finding” commissions was not propitious, including the defamatory Goldstone Report on the 2008-2009 Gaza War, a piece of Hamas propaganda eventually retracted by its main author; and a report on the 2010 flotilla incident that, as Anne Bayefsky notes, claimed that the Turkish terrorists on the ship who attacked Israeli soldiers with clubs and knives were “humanitarians.”

There is, of course, no particular reason to expect moral probity from the UNHRC. Its current membership includes human rights paladins like Saudi Arabia, China, Congo, Cuba, and Qatar, with a preponderance of nondemocratic countries—despite the Obama administration having insisted on U.S. membership since 2009 after the Bush administration had withdrawn from the body.

The Czechs have apparently understood the realities of Middle East politics

Michael Curtis..
Gatestone Institute..
31 January '13..

A vote in the United Nations General Assembly is often the consequence of a complicated assessment of national interests and a response to international pressures, rather than of actual convictions on a particular issue. The Czech Republic was the only country in the European Union to vote against the resolution that Palestine be granted the status of a non-member observer state at the United Nations on November 29, 2012. Fourteen members of the EU, including France, voted for the resolution, and 12, including Germany, abstained.

The Czech vote at the UNGA reflects both a fresh assessment of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, as well as a bond based on historical and personal factors. The Czech Republic does support the creation of a Palestinian state in a two state solution, but insists that it can only be established as a result of an Israeli-Palestinian negotiated process, as agreed to by both the Palestinians and the Israelis -- not only in both UN Security Council Resolutions 242, 338, and 1850, but also in countless bilateral agreements -- in particular the Oslo II agreements of September 28, 1995, Article 31, that "neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the final status negotiations. The Czech Republic seems to have regarded the Palestinian request to attain non-member status not only as a unilateral act that is detrimental to the peace process, but as a totally illegal one under the UN's own system of jurisprudence.

For Czechs, the memory of their betrayal by the appeasement policy of the Western powers in the 1930s remains potent. At the Munich Conference on September 30, 1938, Britain and France, wishing to avoid confrontation with Germany, allowed Adolf Hitler to control the Czech Sudetenland. The following year, Nazi Germany took control over the whole country. As a result of this Western failure to control Nazi aggression, "appeasement" has become a synonym for weakness and cowardice.

Today's winner of journalistic bias at its worst? Yahoo!

CAMERA Snapshots..
31 January '13..

A Reuters article was posted today on,with the headline"Israel Hits Target in Syria Border Area: Sources" under which was posted a large photo of children carrying a dead body. The Israeli strike was on a Syrian convoy transferring weapons to the Hezbollah terrorist group in Lebanon. And the photo, in fact, had no connection whatsoever to the article about the Israeli strike.

We traced the origin of the photo. It was taken by a Reuters stringer on Jan. 25, 2012 and it showed children carrying the body of a friend that was killed by shelling during heavy fighting between the Free Syrian Army and the forces of Syrian President Bashar al Assad in Jobar district of Damascus. Here is the screen capture of the article, as it appeared around noon, Jan. 30, 2013 on Yahoo's news site.

Is this a farewell to the Negev?

Indeed, for decades, the Negev has been under assault, as Bedouin have been plunking themselves down along the length and breadth of the area with no regard for such mundane matters as property rights or building permits. Nonetheless, rather than enforcing the rule of law and preventing encroachment on state-owned lands, the government shamefully capitulated to law-breakers.

Michael Freund..
Fundamentally Freund/JPost..
30 January '13..

This past Sunday, the largest act of organized theft in the Jewish state’s history took place.

And the perpetrator was none other than the government of Israel.

At its first session since last week’s elections, the outgoing cabinet convened to approve a plan ostensibly aimed at settling the long-standing issue of illegal Beduin settlements in the Negev.

As anyone who has driven through the desert east or south of Beersheba can attest, the landscape is overrun with illicit Beduin dwellings, many of which have mushroomed into full-fledged unlawful communities. Some even sit adjacent to the Nevatim Air Base, a strategically vital military site, hugging its outer perimeter on all four sides. Just take a quick tour of the area on Google Earth, and you will see the extent to which unauthorized Beduin housing dots the terrain.

Indeed, for decades, the Negev has been under assault, as Beduin have been plunking themselves down along the length and breadth of the area with no regard for such mundane matters as property rights or building permits. Nonetheless, rather than enforcing the rule of law and preventing encroachment on state-owned lands, the government shamefully capitulated to law-breakers.

IN ITS decision, the cabinet approved a proposal put together by Minister Bennie Begin which would legalize the majority of the Beduin communities that have been set up over the years, in effect rewarding land-grabbers with most of the land they sought to grab.

For Targeting Hamas Israel is Punished in Survey of Press Freedom

Muhammed Shamalah, senior Islamic Jihad
operative was targeted while driving a press vehicle.
Seth Mandel..
30 January '13..

In November, New York Times media reporter David Carr wrote about the deaths of three alleged “journalists” in Gaza during Israel’s counteroffensive there. Alana Goodman pointed out here that two of the three were “cameramen” working for a television station owned by Hamas. Both Hamas and the television station itself are designated terrorist organizations. Alana then pointed to stories identifying one of the men as a Hamas military commander and another as an officer in Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Blogger Elder of Ziyon wrote that the whole episode was “not just an indictment of Carr. This is a systemic problem in the entire profession. The smugness that they are infallible, and the group-think that they can rely on others’ work without double-checking it, all indicate that there is some significant daylight between how many journalists do their work and what the truth really is.” Carr had defended himself by saying other organizations referred to those killed as journalists. One of the organizations Carr mentioned was Reporters Without Borders, which, having duped Carr into treating terrorists as journalists has just released its rankings of press freedom worldwide–and it has dropped Israel 20 places for killing those terrorists that the organization convinced news outlets to treat as innocent journalists:

Journalists in Israel (112th, -20) enjoy real freedom of expression despite the existence of military censorship but the country fell in the index because of the Israeli military’s targeting of journalists in the Palestinian Territories.

Israel was of course not targeting journalists; Israel was targeting terrorists aided by gullible and biased journalists. But since Hamas started the fighting with rocket attacks, fired at Israeli residential areas, and dressed up terrorists as journalists to attract Israeli fire, surely the Palestinian territories were punished by Reporters Without Borders as well? Nope: the Palestinians’ ranking  jumps ahead seven spots.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Is it the bogeyman? Who's afraid of the big bad ICC?

Elder of Ziyon..
30 January '13..

Today, in the New York Times, George Bisharat says that "Palestine" should take Israel to the International Criminal Court in the Hague:

LAST week, the Palestinian foreign minister, Riad Malki, declared that if Israel persisted in its plans to build settlements in the currently vacant area known as E-1, which lies between Palestinian East Jerusalem and the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, “we will be going to the I.C.C.,” referring to the International Criminal Court. “We have no choice,” he added.

No doubt, Israel is most worried about the possibility of criminal prosecutions for its settlements policy. Israeli bluster notwithstanding, there is no doubt that Jewish settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are illegal. Israeli officials have known this since 1967, when Theodor Meron, then legal counsel to the Israeli Foreign Ministry and later president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, wrote to one of Prime Minister Levi Eshkol’s aides: “My conclusion is that civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

Under the founding statute of the I.C.C., grave violations of the Geneva Conventions, including civilian settlements in occupied territories, are considered war crimes.

Bisharat doesn't know what he is talking about.


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Human Rights Watch Continuing Distorted Priorities in 2012

NGO Monitor..
30 January '13..

Human Rights Watch (HRW) epitomizes the ongoing crisis and moral failure of powerful non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that claim to promote the universal principles of human rights. NGO Monitor's review of HRW's 2012 activities, particularly in the Middle East, demonstrates that little has changed compared to previous years, and that the same individuals continue to control the organization's agenda and activities.

NGO Monitor's analysis shows:

- Rights violations and armed conflicts that are out of the media focus continue to receive little to no attention from HRW.

- HRW issued fewer condemnations of Israel in 2012 in comparison to previous years, but HRW's emphasis on Israel continues to reflect the ideology of the leaders of the organization and the Middle East division.

And if this cartoon been published on any other day?

Of course Scarfe’s cartoon, published on a day when the world remembers the victims of the Holocaust, quite rightly touched a collective raw nerve. But should the timing of its publication have been the overriding factor in the level of response?

Simon Plosker..
Times of Israel..
30 January '13..

With a tweeted apology from Rupert Murdoch himself and the eventual penance of The Sunday Times, what more could we ask for in the wake of Gerald Scarfe’s shocking and offensive cartoon?

Unlike certain other cartoons that have resulted in street riots, fatwas and death threats, the wholly more moderate model of protest adopted by Israel and the global Jewish community appears to have paid some dividends.

Even the Israeli government, so often unwilling or incapable of mounting any substantial counter-offensive has hit back at The Sunday Times through Israel’s Ambassador to London, Daniel Taub and a terse letter from Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin to his UK Parliamentary counterpart.

In addition, over 20 British parliamentarians signed a letter of protest to The Sunday Times. Of course, one cannot understate the effect of thousands of outraged members of the public who took their own action on the urging of grassroots organizations such as HonestReporting.

But what would have happened had this same cartoon, portraying a crude caricature of Israeli PM Netanyahu building a wall using blood for mortar while crushing Palestinians, been published on any other day than International Holocaust Remembrance Day?

Over the years, those of us involved in media monitoring have seen countless cartoons that have been deemed offensive, inaccurate, libelous, and sometimes arguably anti-Semitic. Yet the reaction to these has been muted in comparison to the outpouring of anger that greeted Scarfe’s Sunday Times penmanship.

Of course Scarfe’s cartoon, published on a day when the world remembers the victims of the Holocaust, quite rightly touched a collective raw nerve. But should the timing of its publication have been the overriding factor in the level of response?

A movie that could only have been made in Israel

The film uses allegedly “first time ever” interviews to push the same points that were pushed back in 2003 by the same people, which produced disastrous results. A better film would have explored why things failed then, and why they have failed since, rather than simply push the same points again as if they had not already been given a real-life test.

Rick Richman..
25 January '13..

The Gatekeepers — currently Oscar-nominated for Best Documentary, opening February 1 in New York and Los Angeles — is a movie that could only have been made in Israel.

Six former heads of Shin Bet, the Israeli agency dealing with domestic terrorism, each spent 12-15 hours in filmed conversations with Israeli filmmaker Dror Moreh, who spliced excerpts into a 97-minute film dramatized with archival footage and animated recreations. At the end, Moreh shows some of the “gatekeepers” saying Israel is winning battles but losing the war; that the use of force can never be wholly successful and eventually degrades those who use it; and that Israel is in danger of becoming “a Shin Bet state.”

It is a well-made, thought-provoking film, but the conclusions in the last two minutes are not entirely supported by the 95 minutes that precede them. In significant ways, they are in fact contradicted by at least one of the “gatekeepers” — Avi Dichter, who served under Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon from 2000 to 2005. Dichter summarizes Moreh’s apparent position: if we use force against the Palestinians, they will use force against us; and if we stop using force, they will stop using force. Dichter tells him the first part of the equation is true, but that the second is not.

In another exchange, recounted by Moreh at a recent screening, Dichter recalled receiving a 5 a.m. call with intelligence that a terrorist would bomb a bus later that morning, while Israelis were commuting; someone was found who fit the description of an alleged accomplice, but he was unwilling to talk; you have two hours, Dichter said, to find a person on his way to perpetrate a mass murder. So what do you do? At the screening, Moreh did not hazard an answer; and the non-response reflects the lack of easy answers to the issues in the film.

Hezbollah is not the Party of God; it is the Party of Terror.

José María Aznar/David Trimble..
Originally published by 'The Times'..
29 January '13..

Jihadi terrorism is still alive and, as events in Mali and Algeria show us, poses a direct threat to us. The turmoil in North Africa reminds us that jihadism has no boundaries and that when confronting terrorism it is always better to prevent it rather than deal with its consequences. The EU, however, sometimes refuses to face the reality of terrorism. One strong case in point is Hezbollah.

In July last year a bus full of Israeli tourists was blown to pieces by a young suicide bomber in Burgas, Bulgaria — five Israelis and the Bulgarian bus driver were killed. All the evidence points to it being a plot conceived and executed by Hezbollah.

Yet despite this atrocity some European governments are not willing to declare Hezbollah a security threat and put it on the EU terrorist list. This refusal is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of the group. Hezbollah is not just a Lebanese militia group and political party. It is the long arm of Iran. From its conception by Tehran in 1982, it has been committed to the revolutionary goals of the international expansion of Shia Islam, as dreamt of by the Ayatollah Khomeini.

The fact that it holds seats in the Lebanese Parliament and posts in the Cabinet does not mean that its leaders see themselves as just another Lebanese faction — albeit one that murders its political opponents (a UN tribunal found that the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri, the Lebanese prime minister was a Hezbollah plot).

On the contrary Hezbollah has a global vision and reach. It has perpetrated attacks in places as distant as Argentina, Georgia, Israel, Thailand, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, as well as Lebanon. It has been involved in illegal but very lucrative activities in Latin America and West Africa. For instance, it has run drug-trafficking and money-laundering operations in the jungle of Colombia under the control of the FARC. According to US officials, Hezbollah is heavily involved in smuggling drugs into Europe.

Spinning the Israeli Elections? Par for the Course at the NYT

Ari Lieberman..
29 January '13..

It is now beyond dispute that when it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the New York Times is not interested in the facts or the truth, but is rather invested in propagating fiction bordering on the absurd. The TimesJanuary 24 screed on the results of the recently concluded Israeli elections leaves no room for doubt on the veracity of the above-stated truism.

It begins with a quote lifted from the radical leftist Israeli daily Ha’aretz, a paper in near bankruptcy for lack of readership, which exudes a sort of giddiness over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party’s loss of parliamentary seats. It then launches into its usual one-sided “blame the Jews” narrative for the stalled “peace talks,” and coddles “Palestinians who rejected violence and recognized Israel’s right to exist as part of the 1993 Oslo Accords.” I’ll get to these and other fictions featured in the editorial momentarily but there’s something worth noting from the get-go.

In a region plagued by sectarian violence and internecine warfare, where change is effectuated through the barrel of an AK-47 (and in the age of Obama, an M-16) and xenophobic Islamo-fascism is the norm rather than the fringe, Israel stands out as a beacon of democracy and a shining example of the democratic process at its finest. Elections came off without a hitch. No protests. No guns. No violence of any sort was recorded. That is the norm for Israel. Indeed, Freedom House recently conducted a study concluding that Israel was the only truly free country in the entire region. Islamist Turkey, under the thuggish Erdogan, was rated only “partly free.”

(Video) The Humiliation of Palestinian Refugees That the UN Human Rights Council Ignores

The story that UNRWA hides and the UNHRC ignores

29 January '13..

Palestinian refugees in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria suffer a daily humiliation at the hands of their Arab brothers. It is way past time that they were given dignity, equality before the law and Iraqi, Jordanian, Lebanese or Syrian citizenship.

Since the Naqba, Palestinian Refugees mainly settled in Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

Over the decades we have been denied citizenship of our host countries, we have been denied the ability to own property and work in numerous professions. This channel is dedicated to our silent human rights crisis - perpetrated by our own brothers.


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Another Shameful Attack on Israel from Amnesty International

Seth Mandel..
29 January '13..

One of the hallmarks of Israel’s international critics is their tendency to blame Israel for all the bad things that happen when the Jewish state’s enemies try–and fail–to destroy it. Yet it is rarely so perfectly distilled with such righteous indignation as the statement offered by the NGO Amnesty International today. Amnesty International should be thanked for its honesty, but its behavior represents yet another new low for the human rights community. Reacting to the news that Israel would not participate in the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of all member states’ human rights records, Amnesty released a statement that began:

If the Israeli government is not careful, it will ruin an important global human rights process for everybody.

Yes, you read that right. The Israel-obsessed behavior of a corrupt UN body that exists solely to scapegoat the Jewish state while having counted as members Qatar, China, Russia, Libya, and Cuba is not ruining an important human rights process. What is ruining the process is Israel’s unwillingness to participate in its own rigged show trial. But all that is nothing compared to the way Amnesty closes its statement:

If Israel fails to fully engage in its examination under the Universal Periodic Review during 2013 as required, will the victims of human rights violations, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, thank the Israeli government?

Amnesty wants Israel to take its beating or it will not-so-subtly suggest to the victims of the Taliban that they can blame the Jewish state. It would certainly be convenient for Amnesty to do so, since the organization could simply stop putting researchers at risk in dangerous countries and just consolidate its branches in its office in Tel Aviv, where its staffers can unironically fault Israel for every human rights violation unharassed by the democratically-elected Israeli government it is scapegoating.

Washington Post Tars the IDF

Leo Rennert..
American Thinker..
29 January '13..

In his latest hit on Israel, Joel Greenberg, the Washington Post's Jerusalem correspondent, gins up a report from B'Tselem, a self-described "human rights" group with an anti-Israel agenda, which accuses the IDF of using live fire to kill Palestinian protesters. ("Concerns arise about Israeli use of force -- 5 unarmed Palestinians fatally shot by troops since start of year" Jan. 29, page A9)

Here's how Greenberg puts it in his lead paragraph:

"A spate of fatal shootings of unarmed Palestinians by Israeli soldiers this month has raised concerns about the use of live fire by troops facing protesters and guarding Israel's separation barrier in the West Bank."

Citing B'tselem as his source, Greenberg writes that a report by this "Israeli human rights group" accuses the IDF of "extensively and systematically" violating their own rules of engagement.

The only direct Israeli rebuttal in Greenberg's piece is that the army called B'Tselem's report a "biased narrative" and said the incidents were exceptions.

However, while uncritically taking B'Tselem's findings and conclusions as gospel, Greenberg gives short shrift to the army's actual response.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

(Video) Caroline Glick - The presence of Jews on the West Bank

Video of Intelligence Squared debate in London

Caroline Glick..
29 January '13..

Since I came home from London, subsequent events have borne out my dim assessment of England, and done so at break-neck pace. As one of Britain's great righteous gentiles Douglas Murray wrote in an essay published yesterday by the Gatestone Institute, England is no longer even trying to hide its anti-Semitism. At this point, to live well in the kingdom, Jews are required to accept or at least express minimal objection to the dominant narrative that Israel is the current Nazi Germany.

Back in 2005, I felt it was a mistake for Israel to push for the UN to establish an international Holocaust remembrance day. What did we need it for?

The UN emerged at the 2001 Durban conference as the epicenter of global anti-Semitism. Why should we give it an out for its hostility towards live Jews by letting it pretend it isn't a anti-Semitic institution because it mourns dead Jews?

At any rate, it took no time at all for the UN and its member states to use the new International Holocaust Remembrance Day as a means of defaming Israel and so gunning for a new Holocaust of Jewry.

In England in the space of a week, a British parliament member from the Liberal-Democrat Pary named David Ward said that Israel is perpetrating a Holocaust on the Palestinians Arabs, and the Sunday Times published the above anti-Semitic, Nazi-styled cartoon. The cartoon came out on the ill-conceived International Holocaust Memorial Day.

So I am sad to say, I am right.

Britain is no place for Jews.

Anyway, here are my opening remarks at the debate.

And here's the link to the entire debate.


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Israel Stands Up to the UN "Human Rights" Council

Israel has taken a stand against suffering through a review by a council that commends Syria and demonizes its southern neighbor.

Anne Bayefsky..
29 January '13..

Just days after the UN put on a show about Holocaust remembrance, it is business as usual in terms of demonizing and encouraging hatred of Jews in the present. In Geneva, the UN’s top human rights body, the Human Rights Council, is conducting its so-called “Universal Periodic Review” (UPR), and Israel was supposed to arrive before the firing squad on January 29 to listen to Iran itemize the failings of "the Zionist entity." The greater tragedy of modern anti-Semitism, however, is that the United States and almost every other Western government pressured Israel to participate too – for the sake of the reputation of the UN and the appearance of universality. These goals were considered to be the greater good.

In the world of international human rights, the standard-bearer is the universal application of human rights principles. “We the peoples of the United Nations,” says the UN Charter, “reaffirm faith…in the equal rights…of nations large and small.” Hence, the UN Human Rights “Council,” desperate to repair the UN’s human rights credibility after Libya was elected President of the Human Rights “Commission,” created the much-trumpeted UPR. All 193 UN members undergo the same procedure – states like Syria and the United States, for example.

During the UPR, country representatives turn up in Geneva while diplomats from other states proceed to make comments and recommendations on improving the country's human rights record. Since the country can “accept” or “reject” those recommendations, it is in its interest to line up friendly participants, a disingenuous role willingly played only by rogue states. At the end, the President of the Council thanks the country concerned, regardless of the statements made by its representatives, the recommendations it has rejected, or its actual human rights record.

So here’s how the UPR rubber hit the road of crimes against humanity in Syria. On October 7, 2011, the Syrian vice-minister of foreign affairs and his entourage took their places in the Council chamber. And then the Cubans said: “the Syrian government is working for the human rights of its people.” The North Koreans said: “we commend Syria on its efforts taken to maintain security and stability.” The Iranians said: “we appreciate the efforts of the government of Syria to promote and protect human rights.” Ditto Sudan, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Algeria, Lebanon, China, Zimbabwe, Burma/Myanmar, and so on.

Europe's counter-terrorism strategy? What their view on Hezbollah tells us.

The Hezbullah terrorists' familiar form of salute evidently will be
familiar to some Europeans, even if the lesson has been forgotten
Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
29 January '13..

Watching the self-damaging way politicians and law enforcement officials view terrorism is, for the most part, an immensely frustrating thing.

Hezbollah, as we have noted here numerous times, is banned as a terrorist organization in major countries of the world but not in Europe. See for instance "26-Jan-13: Assessing the threat of Hezbullah's terrorism in North America, and doing something about it", "13-Jan-13: A French contribution to stopping the terrorists", 26-May-11: "Lebanon's terrorist forces have more missiles than most sovereign states"

Now today we the EU's principal counter-terrorism official telling us that Hezbollah might not be banned even if it is proven - as appears to be the case, that it stands behind the terrorist bombing of a busload of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria last summer.


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The mainstream British press - Eh tu, Britain?

David M. Weinberg..
A Citadel defending Zion..
29 January '13..

Gerald Scarfe’s blood-curdling anti-Israel cartoon in the London Sunday Times this week is a proverbial canary in the coalmine. It should sound a piercing alarm about the breakdown of all limits on reasonable discourse when it comes to Israel.

The editorial cartoon depicts the newly-reelected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu building a wall with the blood of Palestinians for cement, and trapping writhing Palestinian skulls among the bricks. “Israeli elections – Will cementing peace continue?” reads the caustic caption.

It’s clear that the image is meant not only to express criticism of Israeli diplomacy (say, the building of the security fence, the denial of Palestinian independence, and the suffering of Palestinians under Israeli occupation).

It’s clear that the imagery is meant also to evoke Biblical imagery of Pharaoh burying alive Israelites in the walls of the palaces and pyramids of Egypt – a Biblical tale that every young Christian and Jewish youngster is familiar with.

It’s clear that the cartoon not only criticizes Israel, but demonizes it.

It says: Israel’s Netanyahu is a callous, bloodthirsty, out-of-control maniac who eats Palestinians for breakfast, grinds their bones for lunch, mixes their blood for mortar before afternoon tea, and uses their skulls as building blocks before sitting down to dinner.

It says that Israel’s security fence is a Pol Pot-like construct of horrors, with stacked rows of skulls locked into place by a murderous dictator.

And when published on International Holocaust Memorial Day, it says: Israelis are the new Nazis. Thus, Europe no longer has to feel so guilty for what was done to the Jews sixty years ago. After all, the Jews of Israel are no more moral than the Nazis were.

The cartoon can definitely be labeled anti-Semitic because it crosses the line between legitimate criticism of Israel and “new” anti-Semitism, which aims to emasculate the Jewish People by whittling away at the Jewish State.

This line was clearly defined by Natan Sharansky more than a decade ago when he was Minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs and founder of the Global Forum against Anti-Semitism. He developed a simple test – he called it the “3D” test – to distinguish legitimate criticism of Israel from anti-Semitism. Sharansky’s test scrutinizes criticism of Israel for demonization, double standards and delegitimization of Israel – which devolve into the dark zone of anti-Semitic expression and intent.

Gerald Scarfe’s London Sunday Times cartoon flagrantly fails Sharansky’s first two tests.

Golani Brigade's tree - The legend

Matan Galin..
26 January '13..

Has the Golani Brigade unofficially settled on the true historical location of the "Golani tree", and in doing so brought an end to one of the longest arguments in the IDF's history?

This month, the newest soldiers of the Golani Brigade – recruits from the November 2012 enlistment – received the unit's coveted shoulder tag which displays the famous Golani insignia: a green tree on a yellow background. The symbolic act welcomed the new recruits into the Golani fold, one of the oldest and proudest in the ranks of the IDF. However, no less old is the following question: Which is the original tree represented on the Brigade shoulder tag, and more importantly, where is it located?

New Golani Recruits at induction ceremony. Photo: Tal Manor, IDF Spokesperson's Unit

The botanical argument as to the specific species of tree was recently settled and veterans of the brigade are now less occupied with the question of whether it is an olive tree or an oak. Recently the argument has focused on the location of the tree itself, with a number of locations in the north providing possible answers. Is it on Kibbutz Beit Keshet, at the Golani Brigade Museum site at the Golani Junction, Kiriat Bialik or perhaps Yavniel – the area south west of the Kinneret where the Brigade's Staff was first stationed? Until now the ceremony granting newly inducted soldiers the Golani shoulder tag has been conducted at the Golani Ascent trail, as an inseparable part of the connection between the fighters and Mount Hermon and the alpine combat with which they are associated.

Now, for the first time, the ceremony has been conducted at Yavniel, the Brigade Staff's first home. The day of the ceremony began with a tour in the footsteps of the Brigade's fighters from the 1948 War of Independence – replete with stories of the combat tradition – at whose end, after a short march carrying stretchers, the 600 recruits arrived at the site of the moving ceremony, facing the view of Yavniel and the mighty oak tree – one of the possible original Golani trees.

Protecting Israel's real security interests -- Rudoren and the NY Times notwithstanding.

In Rudoren's weird world -- and one assumes also of the filmmakers -- Gaza withdrawal serves as a model for pulling out from East Jerusalem and the West Bank, not as a cautionary nightmarish reality at Israel's southern doorstep resulting from Ariel Sharon's ill-fated decision to leave Gaza.

Leo Rennert..
American Thinker..
28 January '13..

Sunday's New York Times carried a lengthy, laudatory piece about an Israeli documentary nominated for an Oscar. It's The Gatekeepers, consisting of interviews with six former Shin Beth internal security chiefs who are squarely at odds with the security policies of their government.

Jodi Rudoren, the Times' Jerusalem bureau chief, calls the film about the former Shin Beth chiefs a "disturbing narrative of their country's occupation of the Palestinian territories since 1967." Which immediately explains why she admires the film, since it assumes, as she seems to, that East Jerusalem, including the Jewish section of the Old City, the Western Wall, and the entire West Bank, are all stolen Palestinian property -- not, mind you, if one were objective, actually "disputed" territory awaiting a negotiated final peace settlement.

The message of the film, Rudoren writes, is that the "occupation is immoral and, perhaps more important, ineffective and that Israel should withdraw from the West Bank as it did from the Gaza Strip in 2005." The film also warns that the prospect of a two-state solution diminishes daily, "threatening the future of Israel as a Jewish democracy."

Which is why it tallies nicely with Rudoren's personal views.

First, because it matches her own didactic insistence on "occupation" -- as if Israel has no business being on previously sovereign Palestinian land. Except that there never existed a Palestinian state that subsequently was deprived of its sovereign rights.

Second, even more telling is a total absence in Rudoren's article of what happened after Israel withdrew completely from the Gaza Strip in 2005: the advent of Hamas "occupation," with its attendant thousands of rockets launched against civilian populations in Israel. Yet, in the face of this history, she and the filmmakers still tout Gaza as a worthy precedent for further peace initiatives, when Gaza actually teaches the opposite.

In Rudoren's weird world -- and one assumes also of the filmmakers -- Gaza withdrawal serves as a model for pulling out from East Jerusalem and the West Bank, not as a cautionary nightmarish reality at Israel's southern doorstep resulting from Ariel Sharon's ill-fated decision to leave Gaza.

Timely IDF intercept of mayhem-minded terrorists - Again

Frimet/Arnold Roth..
This Ongoing War..
28 January '13..

Seems like yesterday that we were saying how critically important is the ongoing vigilance of the IDF in protecting Israeli civil society from the non-stop assault of jihad-minded Palestinian Arab terrorists with innocent Israeli civilians on their minds.

Actually it was just yesterday: see "27-Jan-13: Terrorists stopped before they can do more serious damage" in which we wrote about an IDF intercept of Fatah terrorists heading for the community of Elon Moreh in the Samarian hills, northeast of Nablus.

Now we hear of another successful IDF intercept. This one happened last night (Sunday). Ben Hartman, writing in the Jerusalem Post, says Border Police prevented a terror attack when they stopped three men from the Balata refugee camp who were traveling through Tapuah Junction, not so far from the scene of yesterday's arrests. Something about these men aroused the suspicion of the service personnel, prompting them to carry out a search of the men and their car.

Fordow Blast? Temper the Optimism.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
28 January '13..

Iran’s official denial of reports of a major explosion at its underground nuclear facility in Fordow is heartening for those who are hoping that the rumors about a setback for the Islamist regime are true. The optimistic scenario would be based on the notion that if Iran is bothering to deny the stories of something bad happening, then something must have happened. But the unconfirmed rumors with details about hundreds of workers being trapped in the underground facility may also be a matter of hope being father to the wish, as many in the West would like to believe that some sort of covert intelligence activity or computer virus will be so successful as to relieve either the United States or Israel of the need to take overt military action to neutralize the Iranian threat.

If there is one place in Iran that Western observers would like to see spontaneously explode it is Fordow, where hardened bunkers built into the side of a mountain house Iran’s nuclear centrifuges. As the International Atomic Energy Agency reported last fall, it is there that the Iranians have stepped up their activity, enriching uranium at a rate that might soon accumulate enough material to allow Tehran to begin amassing their own nuclear arsenal. But even if the reports about an explosion are true, it is: a) by no means certain that the event was not an accident rather than part of a daring operation conducted by American and/or Israeli intelligence forces, and b) no guarantee that the Iranian program has been dealt anything more than an insignificant setback.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A moral inversion that conveniently ignores legacy of Nazi past

Point of No Return..
28 January '13..

Two events shook Jews the world over on or around Holocaust Memorial Day: The pronouncements of a British MP, David Ward, accusing the Israelis of failing to learn the lesson of the Holocaust by committing atrocities against the Palestinians'. The other was an antisemitic cartoon (above) in the Sunday Times by the controversial Gerald Scarfe showing Benjamin Netanyahu building a wall with the blood of crushed Palestinians. But for all the furore and the condemnations, critics have been guilty of moral inversion, failing to see in Palestinian and Arab exterminationist intentions the legacy of a pro-Nazi past.

*Take Matt Hill, who rightly condemned David Ward in his Telegraph Blog. But he also had harsh words for 'paranoid' Israelis (to use Amos Oz's words): "half-hysterical refugees and survivors, haunted by dreadful nightmares”, who see in the Arabs a reflection of their former oppressors."

But the Arabs are their former oppressors, not a reflection thereof, Matt! The Palestinian Mufti of Jerusalem was an active collaborator in Hitler's Holocaust, and was responsible for causing the deaths of tens of thousands of Jews in Europe. In the Middle East too, he incited riots in Palestine and Iraq which cost hundreds of Jewish lives. He had a plan to deport Iraqi Jews to camps in the desert and planned death camps for the Jews of Palestine near Nablus. After the war, the Arab states colluded in Nuremberg-style laws to engineer the ethnic cleansing of their Jews.

Today's Palestinians nurse the same genocidal intentions as the Mufti, try as they might to cloak their aims in language acceptable to western ears. Just read the Hamas charter. The difference between then and now, is that today's Jews have the means to defend themselves.

To target Israel and bash democracies

NGO Monitor..
27 January '13..

Jerusalem – Due to rampant double standards and bias, Israel reportedly will not participate this week in the UN Human Rights Council’s quadrennial Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Despite the ostensible “universality” of UPR, this forum has been exploited by the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and politicized NGOs to target Israel and bash democracies like Canada, rather than to work for improved human rights around the world, said Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor.

“UN officials and their NGO allies are very worried about Israel’s boycott, and for good reason,” said NGO Monitor Legal Advisor Anne Herzberg. “Israel’s non-participation in UPR will expose the façade of a ‘reformed’ UNHRC and will force the UN to implement long overdue reforms.”

UPR was created as a quadrennial peer review of the human rights records of every UN member state. It was instituted in 2007 as part of the “reformed” Human Rights Council (HRC), to correct the anti-Israel politicization and selectivity plaguing UN human rights frameworks. However, the reform failed, and resolutions against Israel at the HRC have far outnumbered those issued against other countries, with 5 of the first 9 special sessions targeting Israel. The Council maintains the notorious Agenda Item 7, meaning that Israel is the only country singled out at every session. Further, as with other UN human rights mechanisms, UPR meetings have often consisted of dictatorships celebrating their “stellar” human rights records while bashing Israel and other democracies.

“Biased NGOs, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have worked together with the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to exploit the UNHRC to single out Israel,” continued Herzberg. “They have teamed up to create four separate ‘fact-finding’ missions, including the notorious Goldstone Report. NGOs keep Israel on the agenda, while abusive regimes are generally ignored.”

"Palestine" is where the dysfunction begins.

Malcolm Lowe..
Gatestone Institute..
28 January '13..

The phenomenon of "Palestine" is becoming a misfortune for any international institution in which it crops up. This is because those institutions are governed by councils whose members are states. Whenever "Palestine" is on the agenda, these states vote according to the policies of their respective governments, regardless of any principles that are supposed to guide the institution in question.

The oldest example is of course UNWRA. Whereas all other refugee problems in the world are dealt with by UNHCR, which seeks to reduce the numbers of refugees, Palestinian refugees are in the hands of UNWRA, whose function is to multiply their numbers.

The most recent example is the recognition of "Palestine" as a non-member state by the General Assembly of the United Nations. In reality, there is an independent state of Hamasistan in Gaza and a semi-independent fiefdom of Abbasistan (aka the Palestinian Authority, PA) in the West Bank. For years they have had nothing in common, apart from the distant aspiration of destroying Israel.

According to Palestinian reports, the latest attempted reconciliation between the respective leaders was also ineffective: "Each side… is happy with the status quo." To call Gaza and the West Bank collectively "Palestine" is an anachronism. This is why "Palestine" will be written here in inverted commas.

Yes, both Gaza and the West Bank contain people who call themselves "Palestinians," but by "Palestine" they mean the whole area, including Israel. So the continuing babble about a "two-state solution," Israel and Palestine, when the three-state solution has already arrived, is simply befuddling minds worldwide.

(Video) Another Palestinian Authority TV classic

Itamar Marcus/Nan Jacques Zilberdik..
Palestinian Media Watch..
27 January '13..

Earlier this month, on Fatah's 48th anniversary, PA TV broadcast a new film about the history of the Fatah movement: "Fatah: Revolution until Victory." The filmmakers chose to open the film by expressing classic antisemitic demonization of Jews, stating that Europe "suffered a tragedy by providing refuge for the Jews." Having Jews living among them placed a great burden on Europeans:

"Faced with the Jews' schemes, Europe could not bear their character traits, monopolies, corruption, and their control and climbing up positions in government."

[PA TV, Jan. 1, 2013]

Palestinian Media Watch has documented that the PA for years has explained Zionism as a European plot to be rid of its Jews.

The film explains that this eventually led to the expulsion of the Jews from England, France, Germany, Austria, Holland, Czechoslovakia, Spain and Italy, because of European suffering from the Jews' presence. Finally, when the Balfour Declaration facilitated the establishment of "a national homeland" for the Jews, Europe supported it because it "saw it as an ideal solution to get rid of them."

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Welcome to Hamastan

Khaled Abu Toameh..
Gatestone Institute..
28 January '13..

Those who thought that Hamas would ever establish a modern and liberal regime in the Gaza Strip received another reminder this week of how the radical Islamist movement is pursuing its effort to create a Taliban-style entity in the territory that has been under its control since 2007.

The reminder came in the form of a decision taken by the Al-Aqsa University administration in the Gaza Strip to force female students to dress in accordance with Islamic teachings. This means that all female students would be required to wear the hijab or niqab which cover their heads and faces.

This latest measure is part of a Hamas campaign aimed at "inculcating [Islamic] values and virtues" in the Gaza Strip, Hamas officials explained.

As part of this campaign, Hamas last week imposed a ban on low-waist trousers, Western-style haircuts and tight gowns. The decision to ban low-waist trousers and Western-style haircuts is directed against young Palestinian men in the Gaza Strip, who have apparently been exposed to Western fashions thanks to television and the Internet.

Adel al-Hour, a senior Hamas official, said that his movement was concerned over the spread of low-waist trousers among both men and women in the Gaza Strip. "This phenomenon is alien to the values and traditions of Palestinian society," he explained.

Haven’t heard much lately about Palestinian terrorism? It’s not for lack of trying.

P. David Hornik..
28 January '13..

Except for rockets from Gaza—which, meanwhile, have stopped since Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense in November—you haven’t been hearing much about Palestinian terrorism. But it’s not for lack of trying.

Israel’s Shin Bet (domestic security agency) has released its figures for 2012. It says it thwarted 100 “serious” terror attacks over the year, a third of them planned kidnappings, four of them attempted suicide bombings. The Shin Bet also arrested 2,300 terror suspects in 2012, leading to 2,170 indictments.

For the first time in four decades, no Israelis were killed in terror attacks in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) in 2012. But the number of attacks there rose sharply, from 320 in 2011 to 578 in 2012. That included a steep, 68% rise in Molotov cocktail attacks, which are intended to burn victims to death.

These are big numbers—100 attempted serious attacks, over 2,000 suspects arrested, 578 attacks in one year in the West Bank. Considering that perhaps two million (the figure is disputed) Palestinians live in the West Bank, it would justify calling it a terror entity. As for Gaza, it numbers about 1.5 million Palestinians and fired 2,327 rockets into Israel during the year, finally necessitating Pillar of Defense.

Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism - Illustrating the Link

Jonathan S. Tobin..
27 January '13..

The Commentator draws our attention today to the fact that Britain’s Sunday Times celebrated the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz—the date that is observed outside of Israel and the United States as Holocaust Memorial Day—by publishing a cartoon depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a hook-nosed thug cementing helpless Arab victims into a wall whose bricks are lined with blood rather than mortar. This is an apt reminder of just how low Europe’s intellectual elites have sunk and how deep the taint of anti-Semitism is baked into the political culture of the West these days. As the Commentator’s Raheem Kassam points out, in Britain as in many other places, the Holocaust is not a historical lesson of the product of 2,000 years of anti-Semitism and Jewish powerlessness as it is an excuse to depict Israel as a Nazi-like entity.

The cartoon will be defended as fair comment about Israel’s security fence that the Palestinians and their foreign cheerleaders depict as a war crime. That this strictly defensive measure was made necessary by the Palestinians’ campaign of suicide bombings that cost the lives of a thousand Jews in the last decade goes unmentioned. The willingness of Israel-bashers to appropriate the Holocaust to promote a new generation of anti-Semitic imagery is rooted in a worldview in which the actions of the Palestinians, or their consistent refusal to make peace, are irrelevant. If even a fence to keep out suicide bombers can be seen as criminal then it is obvious that no terrorist outrage or act of hateful incitement (such as the Egyptian president’s belief that Israelis are the “descendants of apes and pigs”) is worthy of censure so long as Israelis are standing up for themselves and refusing to be slaughtered as the Jews of Europe were 70 years ago.

Arlene Kushner From Israel - Doing Positive

Arlene Kushner..
27 January '13..

Haven't started with an upbeat message in a posting for a while, and I think it's time. Especially is this the case as yesterday was Tu BeSh'vat. In Jewish law this marks the cycle of trees (call it the birthday of the trees), but in popular culture it is a time for celebrating trees and their fruit -- with dried fruits and nuts popular.

And it is a time of hope. Now is when the first blossoms -- those of the almond tree -- appear, marking the promise of a new season. The almond tree grows wild in Israel, and at its peak, is ubiquitous along roadsides and hillsides.

Credit: greenprophet


Now that the election is over, Our government is focusing once again on security issues, which is as it should be:

On Friday, PM Netanyahu met with a bipartisan five-person delegation from the House Appropriations Committee, headed by Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA).

Addressing expectations in the US (or certainly on the part of the Obama administration) that with the upcoming entry into the government of Yair Lapid, who is for a two-state solution, Israel would be rushing to resume negotiations, the prime minister told them that there are no "quick fix solutions."

He would like to resume negotiations, he said, but since withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, which resulted in a disastrous situation, it has become obvious that movement forward must take place in a "measured and cautious" manner.

Don't expect too much, he was warning them. I do not believe there will be problems with Lapid on this score, as he has said Israeli security issues have to be factored into negotiations.

As to Iran, Netanyahu said that "sanctions alone will not be enough" to stop Tehran's nuclear program. Those sanctions need to be backed up by a credible military threat. ("Credible" is the key word here. It has to be a threat that the Iranians take seriously.) He referred again to the "red line" that Iran must not be permitted to pass.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

(Video) Israel is over the Rainbow

24 January '13..

The latest from FirstOneThrough, part of their ongoing series of Israel themed short videos built around a particular song or music title. The subject of this one is Israel's Hula Valley, one of the great rest stops for birds in their migration from northern Europe and Asia to Africa and back again. The song is "Over the Rainbow" as presented by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. Enjoy!

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