Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Who Might Ask Whether It's Misguided to Fight for Jewish Rights?

...Indeed, who is the only source Rudoren can produce to justify the headline about the Law Center’s efforts being “misguided?” The Israeli attorney who had been defending the Palestinian Authority in cases relating to its financial support for terrorists described her as a “nuisance.” I’m sure his clients and others who believe those who commit terrorism against Jewish Americans and Israelis feel the same way. But it’s hard to see why anyone else would view her activities in that same light.

Jonathan S. Tobin..
Commentary Magazine..
25 January '15..

Lawfare is the term for the practice of employing legal proceedings to wage a kind of war on a country or cause. For the most part, the State of Israel has been on the receiving end of this effort as non-governmental organizations and others purporting to support the cause of human rights have attempted to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist and to self-defense with specious efforts to arraign before the bar of justice. But not everybody in Israel believes the best way to counter these attacks is to play defense or simply ignore it. Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner founded Shurat HaDin—the Israel Law Center in 2004 to use the law to not only work for the rights of Jewish victims of terrorism but also to make the terrorists, state sponsors, and enablers in the business world pay for their crimes. For this she was rewarded with an article profiling her activities in yesterday’s New York Times that posed the question in its headline as to whether her work was “misguided,” a clear indication of the opinion of the paper’s editors. But that verdict can only be sustained if you believe those who support terrorism deserve legal impunity.

The piece by Jodi Rudoren does provide us with yet another tortured food metaphor from the paper’s Jerusalem bureau chief. In describing her relentless efforts to keep probing legal foes for weaknesses and to adopt the best strategies, Darshan-Leitner made an analogy to baking challah for the Sabbath. Rudoren uses that one line to attempt to gain some insight on her subject’s career but it doesn’t work.

Even less convincing is Rudoren’s effort to put down Darshan-Leitner as either a worthless publicity hound/profiteer or an impediment to the peace process. Indeed, who is the only source Rudoren can produce to justify the headline about the Law Center’s efforts being “misguided?” The Israeli attorney who had been defending the Palestinian Authority in cases relating to its financial support for terrorists described her as a “nuisance.” I’m sure his clients and others who believe those who commit terrorism against Jewish Americans and Israelis feel the same way. But it’s hard to see why anyone else would view her activities in that same light.

Reporting on the ‘Ordinary Life’ of a Palestinian Terrorist at the NY Times

...It seemed so obvious, especially to a Times reporter in Jerusalem, when she explained: “All the Palestinian people are following what’s happening in Al Aqsa and Gaza, and he is one of the Palestinian people.” Ms. Kershner did not care to note that nothing is happening in Al Aqsa, except for Muslim prayer. And Gaza has been quiet for months, while Hamas doubtlessly prepares to dig more tunnels and rebuild its rocket supply. Matrouk was “said to be pious” and “prayed regularly at mosques.” And, his mother reported, “from a young age, we have always said we should do good things in order to go to paradise. In his opinion, this was a good thing.” Strange how paradise for Muslims is filled with murdered Jews.

Jerold Auerbach..
The Algemeiner..
26 January '15..

Even when New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Jodi Rudoren is otherwise occupied, its coverage of Israel is worse than dismal; it is palpably distorted, if politely biased. Case in point: Isabel Kershner’s report (January 22) on the 23-year-old Palestinian whose knifing rampage on a Tel Aviv bus resulted in the stabbing of a dozen Israelis, several of whom are still hospitalized with serious wounds.

Terrorist assailant Hamza Matrouk, readers were informed, lived an “ordinary life” in a simple farming village in “the Israeli-occupied West Bank” (also known as biblical Judea and Samaria). Residents indicated that he was “quiet and introspective.” Yet “for young people and others in the village,” who were “angered by the war in Gaza” (now months ago) and by “recent tensions over the revered Aqsa Mosque” (tensions fomented by Palestinians on the Temple Mount, the holiest Jewish site), the knife-crazed assailant had become, predictably, “an instant hero.” As a neighbor declared: “We are proud of him. . . . Every Palestinian should be proud of him.”

Judging from her reporting, Ms. Kershner may also be proud of him. Matrouk must now be included among those individuals whose “spontaneity” is unencumbered by any organizational backing – as though Hamas, Hezbollah, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Al-Aqsa Brigade, among others, provide insufficient inspiration for terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. He “was not considered an extremist” nor, Kirshner was informed, was he “known to be affiliated with any Palestinian political or militant faction.” He was just an ordinary 23-year-old, she reported, who found electrical work where he could and considerately helped his mother in her Ramallah clothing store.

Under arrest for his terrorist rampage, Matrouk cited the Gaza fighting, Al-Aqsa tensions, and “radical Islamic content on the Internet” as inspiration for his knife-slashing assault on innocent Israelis. To Ms. Kershner, however, his “story” has nothing to do with Palestinian or Islamic incitement and Hamas rocket attacks against Israelis: “it is one of dislocation in a conservative society.” But that may say more about her than about him. To be sure, his parents are divorced; his mother and children lived in a refugee camp for six years before moving to the simple village of Al Jib, which Ms. Kershner takes pains to point out is within view of “the high-rises of a nearby Jewish settlement.”

Ms. Kershner compares Matrouk to another “recent assailant” (a.k.a attempted assassin), who tried to kill Rabbi Yehuda Glick for his temerity in advocating Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount. Muataz Hijazi by name, he “also experienced a form of dislocation” after his family returned to Jerusalem from the United Arab Emirates. She concedes, however, that other Palestinian terrorists “had lived in the same houses since birth.” Unwittingly, she undercuts her own empathy for “dislocated” Palestinian assailants by including them with comfortably rooted terrorists.

Monday, January 26, 2015

“Gentleman’s Agreement”? Not for Jews in Sweden

...Incidents such as these explain why Israel is preparing for a significant increase in immigration of European Jews who no longer feel secure in their home countries. In Europe, the problem for many Jews isn’t “Gentleman’s Agreements” keeping them out of select country clubs or restricted neighborhoods. The problem is that they cannot assure their children’s safety.

Elliott Abrams..
Pressure Points..
25 January '15..

The book “Gentleman’s Agreement,” by Laura Z. Hobson, appeared in 1947, followed by the film of the same name starring Gregory Peck (and winning three Oscars).

The plot is simple: a journalist assigned to write about anti-Semitism in the post-war United States decides to pose as a Jew and see what happens. He encounters a good deal of social anti-Semitism: country clubs, “restricted” neighborhoods, jobs that somehow are off-limits. He is not beaten or assaulted, nor does he face physical danger. Instead he faces quiet, unwritten “Gentleman’s Agreements” that exclude Jews.

Recently, a television reporter in Malmo, Sweden tried the same approach to discover what it is like to live as a Jew in Malmo. The entire hour-long show, in Swedish with subtitles, can be found here. Tom Gross, at his web site covering stories related to the Middle East and Jewish affairs, describes it this way:

Swedish TV on Wednesday showed footage of a non-Jewish reporter who walked around Malmo wearing a kippah to test attitudes toward Jews. He was punched in the arm and cursed at by passers-by before cutting short his journalistic experiment out of fear he would be subjected to more serious injury. Sveriges Television also showed footage of the journalist sitting at a café in central Malmo reading a newspaper, while passersby hurled anti-Semitic abuse at him.

The Derangement and Delirium of Anti-Zionism

...This malady has an unending appeal because of the way it always promises to liberate mankind, in one way or another, by “solving” the Jews. It was with great optimism that a former minister of the Dutch government recently expressed the opinion that transferring all the Jews from Israel to the United States would herald a new era of world peace. Of course, by the same logic it is the selfish Jews clinging to their state who bear ultimate responsibility for entrapping mankind in the ongoing horrors of war.

Tom Wilson..
Commentary Magazine..
25 January '15..

Last week many were quick to hail the United Nations conference on anti-Semitism as a hopeful step forward. The fact that just 37 of the 193 UN member states even bothered to send delegates should be demonstration enough of just how little many countries care about the modern-day revival of global Jew hatred. There was, however, one moment in the proceedings that particularly stood out. During his address to the conference, French philosopher Bernard Henri-Levy identified demonization of Israel as key component of contemporary anti-Semitism, referring to what he termed “the delirium of anti-Zionism.” It was a particularly satisfying irony to hear these words spoken in a chamber that has so often played host to the worst trashing of the Jewish state. And yet the international consensus, as well as the consensus in the West, is largely deaf to that irony. Most still fail to see the extent to which anti-Zionism is the primary expression of hostility against Jews today.

That the United Nations has long provided one of the chief forums for castigating Israel can hardly be in doubt. The current General Assembly session (2014-2015) has so far passed 20 resolutions against Israel, and just three against events elsewhere in the world. The unhinged obsession with condemning the Jewish state is plain enough for all to see. And yet what even those world leaders who do speak out against anti-Semitism still often reuse to see is that those 20 UN resolutions against Israel represent the modern expression of an age-old Jew hatred.

Shortly after the Paris attacks, Natan Sharansky was interviewed by the BBC in his capacity as the head of the Jewish Agency. When asked about the rise of anti-Semitism Sharansky attempted to refer to the liberal circles in Europe where Israel receives almost uniform hostility. At that point the BBC anchor interjected, surely Sharansky did not mean to equate those who are “very critical” of Israel with anti-Semites? That would be a “dangerous” comparison the BBC man asserted. When Sharansky then attempted to clarify the distinction between reasonable criticism and the tendency to treat Israel unfairly the BBC presenter dismissively responded that he didn’t want to get into a discussion about Israel.

But for those who still can’t–or won’t–understand this phenomenon for what it is, and who would subsequently find Henri-Levy’s reference to anti-Zionism during a conference about anti-Semitism puzzling, perhaps they might direct their attention to another event that took place in New York last week. Anyone wishing to see the delirium of anti-Zionism in practice need only refer to Thursday’s storming of a New York City Council session by anti-Israel activists during a commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Ensuring that terror will be accounted for, not rewarded

...The continuous security threats here and abroad keep us on high alert, but sadly the main problems are not being dealt with effectively in order to prevent, as opposed to responding to the terror. Response of course is important, but prevention in the long run is ultimately the only way to resolve the problem.

Yehudit Tayar..
Zion's Corner..
25 January '15..


The puffy fluffy white clouds in the blue skies over our Land lend a feeling of tranquility in a time of chaos. Following Shabbat as we begin another week it is a privilege for me to take time out of security and rescue work and gaze up at the sky, down at the beautiful flowers and watch the birds as they soar in the sky and hop on the grass.

The continuous security threats here and abroad keep us on high alert, but sadly the main problems are not being dealt with effectively in order to prevent, as opposed to responding to the terror. Response of course is important, but prevention in the long run is ultimately the only way to resolve the problem.

While we hear of a precedent in the US courts to sue the PA for their encouraging and participating in terror attacks against Israelis, we continue to hear the officials of the PA continuing to do the same incitement, honoring murdering terrorists and teaching that to be a "Shahid", a terrorist who pays with his life for participating in terror is a great honor.

At Palestinian Media Watch we find " A few days ago Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement posted a picture in their official Facebook page demonstrating that violence is still favored by the movement as the way to obtain statehood. A stone, a knife, a Molotov cocktail, a gun, a hand grenade, an assault rifle and an RPG ilustrate Fatah's progress in terms of more and more sophisticated weapons. These are the means with which it works toward its goal- to "finish with a state", as the poster states:

"We started with stones...and we will finish with a state
The Palestinian National LIberation Movement (Fatah)"

For years the Fatah has encouraged, and even participated in violent terror attacks against Jews, such as the massacre in the synagogue in Jerusalem, the attacks in Tel Aviv, Gush Etzion, the fire bomb thrown on the Shapira family car in the Shomron.

The hard truth be told, there is no diplomatic solution

...The time has come for Israel to throw off the constraints of adhering to politically correct policies that are clearly detrimental to its continued existence and start fighting for its survival.

Rabin, Clinton and Arafat. 'Israel needs
to finally declare that the Oslo
process is null and void and that
the concept of land for peace is
 no longer an option' (Photo: Reuters)
Yoel Meltzer..
Israel Opinion/Ynet..
25 January '15..
H/T Lori..

With Israeli elections quickly approaching, it’s a near certainty based upon historical precedents that we’ll soon be hearing assorted domestic and international voices emphasizing the need to restart negotiations with the Arabs as soon as the next government is formed.

Still further and based upon a 20-year old broken record that never seems to stop, we’ll once again be told that in the face of the growing uncertainty in the region a breakthrough in the talks with the Arabs is vital for the continued existence of the Jewish state.

Therefore, in order to prevent needless resources being devoted to yet another attempt at advancing the two-state track, it’s long overdue that the obvious is publicly stated: The king, otherwise known as the two-state solution, has no clothes. In other words, there is no diplomatic solution.

This is not an extremist or right-wing position; it’s just what it is. Similarly it’s not good and it’s not bad; once again it’s just what it is.

Moreover, the reason that there is no diplomatic solution between Jews and Arabs west of the Jordan River is that at its core the more than 100-year conflict is not a land dispute. Although many people cling to the simplified narrative that states the opposite and as a result repeatedly suggest that the land be divided in order to accommodate the two conflicting parties, the truth is that if it were so simple then this thorny issue would have been resolved years ago.

Still further, the problem stems from an inability or unwillingness on the part of many to honestly confront the truth, perhaps out of a fear of looking into the abyss. Nevertheless, for anyone who seriously analyzes the region it should be crystal clear that the larger Arab/Islamic world will never accept a sovereign Jewish state in its midst. To think otherwise is akin to placing one’s head in the sand.

Moreover, if one considers the fact that for several centuries the entire region was under some sort of Islamic control, then it is quite understandable that any non-Islamic sovereign entity will never be accepted in this part of the world. In the words of Mordechai Nisan, a retired lecturer in Middle East Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, "Islam rejects Jewish sovereignty, Arabism rejects Zionism."

This is the truth, no matter how difficult it might sound, that needs to be internalized if Israel wishes to continue to survive. Thus, allowing oneself to be intellectually undressed by the false assumption which posits that the conflict is essentially a land dispute, and this in order to keep on embracing at all costs the strategically flawed paradigm of land for peace, is a dangerous and irrational exercise that will eventually lead to the demise of Israel.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Defeating the terrorists who killed my mother, 13 years on.

...They most likely had no idea that they had killed my mother and a 20-year-old passenger named Esther Alwan, sitting in the back seat. They probably didn’t know they had injured my stepfather and put two bullets through my brother’s shoulder. They were consummate terrorists: trying to instill terror in their enemy by randomly attacking civilians.

Yoni Berg..
Times of Israel..
23 January '15..

Today marks the thirteenth anniversary of the greatest decision of my life. I decided to leave my comfortable, promising, possibly lucrative life in exile and come to my new home in my ancestral homeland.

I had so many reasons to stay in New York. I was young, healthy, and fresh out of college. I had a decent-paying job to fund an active social life while paying no bills thanks to guest rooms and couches of friends and family. I was dating (at one point very seriously) my on-again-off-again girlfriend, I had a cool Jeep, and my father was offering (bribing?) me a number of easy jobs that would guarantee my financial security, if I stayed.

In addition, patriotism was skyrocketing in the US of A. 9/11 was a fresh wound on the nation, and everyone was uniting under the star-spangled banner. President Bush was playing his part of the cowboy perfectly, promising to root out Al Qaida wherever they were hiding. In the still-smoldering New York, Mayor Rudy Giuliani had just rejected a ten million dollar donation from Saudi Arabia, and the city loved him for it. It was a grand time to be an American, and it was even better to be a New Yorker.

On top of all that, Israel was in turmoil at the time. The second Intifada was raging. Dozens of Israelis were killed and hundreds were injured in various terrorist attacks – and that was just in the month before I came. Bus bombings were commonplace, as were indiscriminate terrorist shootings at heavily populated civilian targets.

Was I crazy? Why would I ever leave such a potentially wonderful life in exchange for such a potentially dangerous (and possibly short) one?

I wish I could say it was pure idealism that got me to go. I mean, It was idealism, but it was also more than that.

Six months prior to my Aliya, my mother was murdered in one of those commonplace, indiscriminate shootings.

Her murderers didn’t use a sniper rifle like the one that killed Shalhevet Pass. They didn’t kill her face-to-face like the ones who killed Koby Mandell and Yosef Ishran. No, those deaths were personalized. The men who killed my mother sprayed the car she was in with submachine gun fire. They most likely had no idea that they had killed my mother and a 20-year-old passenger named Esther Alwan, sitting in the back seat. They probably didn’t know they had injured my stepfather and put two bullets through my brother’s shoulder. They were consummate terrorists: trying to instill terror in their enemy by randomly attacking civilians.

Most people would see this as another reason for me not to live here. Why would I willingly go to the very place where my own mother was killed for the simple fact that she was Jewish?

He still doesn't quite understand the hysteria over him

..."He remembers what happened and asks about the passengers and whether anyone was killed, and what happened to the terrorist. He still doesn't quite understand the hysteria over him.

Photo credit: Zuri Magnezi
Yehuda Shlezinger..
Israel Hayom..
25 January '15..

"I had no choice, I had to try to save people," says Herzl Biton, the bus driver who was wounded in the stabbing attack on the No. 40 bus in Tel Aviv last week. Biton spoke to Channel 10 on Saturday.

Biton, who is still hospitalized at Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv, was transferred out of the intensive care ward over the weekend.

Describing the attack, Biton said, "[The terrorist] stabbed me as I was driving 60 kph [37 mph], ran back and started stabbing the passengers. I started to swerve the bus so people would see there was a problem. He went from seat to seat. I swung him to the right and he stabbed the people sitting on the right, and I swung [the bus] left and he stabbed the people there. I had no choice but to bring him to me. I slammed on the brakes and he fell onto me. I got up, started to spray him with [pepper spray.] He gave me a few blows to the face and I punched him. I didn't let go of his hand," Biton said.

The driver said he opened the bus doors. "From the struggle, there was a pool of blood. He got off the bus and started to run away, stabbing people. And I started to chase him."

Biton's family was with him at the hospital throughout the weekend. His son Yaakov told Israel Hayom: "Dad is feeling a little better, but he's still not strong enough."

Iran and the Free World - Again Netanyahu vs. Obama

...The contrast between the historically conscious and responsible leader of the tiny Jewish state and the ignorant, petulant and destructive “leader of the free world” is striking.

Vic Rosenthal..
Abu Yehuda..
24 January '15..
Link: http://abuyehuda.com/2015/01/its-bibi-vs-obama-again/

As you probably know, PM Netanyahu has been invited by the Republican Speaker of the House to speak before both houses of the US Congress on March 3. It is assumed that he is going to talk on the subject of Iran, in particular, the need for real sanctions or the threat thereof, in order to keep the regime from going nuclear.

He is expected to say, among other things, that nuclear weapons in the hands of the greatest supporter of Islamic terrorism in the world, whose tentacles stretch throughout the Middle East and Europe, reach South America, Mexico and probably even into the US, would be a disaster for the West. He will certainly say that this is not only an Israeli problem, although the danger for Israel is more imminent.

He might imply that if the West doesn’t prevent this by diplomatic/economic pressure, then Israel will have no choice but to do so by military means, which would almost certainly result in a war with Iran and its proxies in which Israelis, Iranians, Lebanese and others would die.

Personally, I doubt that Iran can be deterred by sanctions of any kind, and think that only a credible military threat can stop the regime. But Obama’s present policy, which is wholly lacking in teeth, actually aids Iran in its nuclear program by freeing it to pursue development despite claims that the program has been ‘frozen’.

The Obama Administration opposes any involvement of Congress in its negotiations with Iran, even the Kirk-Menendez bill which would call for sanctions only if Iran failed to live up to its agreement, or the Corker bill which calls for congressional review of any such agreement.

The Administration is (as usual) furious with Netanyahu for ‘interfering’ in US affairs, and the feral pack of “unnamed officials” that scuttle about the White House has let us know it yet again:

“We thought we’ve seen everything,” [Ha’aretz] quoted an unnamed senior US official as saying. “But Bibi managed to surprise even us.

“There are things you simply don’t do. He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price,” he said.

Officials in Washington said that the “chickenshit” epithet — with which an anonymous administration official branded Netanyahu several months ago — was mild compared to the language used in the White House when news of Netanyahu’s planned speech came in.

Neither Obama nor Kerry will meet with Netanyahu when he is in the US, and have threatened to withdraw diplomatic support for Israel at the UN if he won’t stop telling members of Congress to vote for additional sanctions on Iran.

The Israeli Left, in its myopically egocentric belief that everything is is about them, is claiming that Netanyahu has accepted the invitation in order to boost his popularity immediately before the Israeli election, and have even petitioned the judge that oversees the election to forbid the broadcast of his speech in Israel. They are accusing Netanyahu of damaging the the relationship with the US for domestic political reasons.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Israel's Quneitra Attack in Context: Game Not Over

...The Iran/Hizballah/Assad side has long threatened to develop the Golan as a front for possible 'jihad duties' against Israel. Both Syrian President Bashar Assad and Nasrallah made unambiguous public statements in 2014 threatening the opening of military activity against Israel in this area. Israel, in turn, has made clear that such a move would constitute a violation of the status quo . The strike on Sunday constituted a very kinetic further Israeli message intended to drive home this point.

Thousands of Iranians gather in Tehran
for the funeral of Revolutionary Guard
Commander Gen. Mohammad Ali Allahdadi
Jonathan Spyer..
22 January '15..

In analyzing the significance of, and likely fallout from ,the Israeli killing of a number of senior Hizballah and IRGC personnel close to the Golan border this week, a number of things should be borne in mind:

Firstly, the killings were a response to a clear attempt by the Iranians/Hizballah to violate the very fragile status quo that pertains between these elements and Israel in Lebanon and Syria. in his interview to the al-Mayadeen network three days before the attack, Hizballah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah explicitly claimed that his organization was not engaged in 'resistance work' on the Golan. The Israeli strike showed that this statement was a lie.

Some analysis of the strike has suggested that the men killed in the attack were engaged in preparation for the placing of sophisticated Iranian missile systems on the Syrian part of the Golan. Other accounts suggested that their mission was part of preparing this area for the launch of ground attacks across the border against Israeli targets, perhaps using proxies. In either case, the mission was a clear attempt to change the arrangement of forces in the north, in such a way that could be expected to ensure an Israeli response.

Secondly, in the past, Hizballah has reacted differently to Israeli strikes on it or its Syrian allies within Syria, compared to strikes on Lebanese soil. The difference again relates to the unstated but clear 'rules of the game' between the organization and the Jewish state. Israeli strikes on materiel making its way to the organization from Syrian soil have elicited no response from the movement.

By contrast, an Israeli attack on a weapons convoy just across the border on Lebanese soil near the village of Janta on February 24, 2014 provoked a Hizballah response . On March 18th, an IED was exploded just south of the border fence in the Majdal Shams area on the Golan Heights, wounding four IDF soldiers.

The rules of the game in question do not indicate a lessening of warlike intentions or a growing affection on the part of Hizballah toward Israel. Rather, they reflect the acute need that this organization and its Iranian masters currently have to not be drawn into conflict with Israel unless this becomes unavoidable.

Hizballah is overstretched at the moment. It has between 5000-10,000 men engaged in Syria. It is engaged in a determined and fraying attempt to prevent Sunni jihadi incursions across the border into Lebanon from Syria, and bomb attacks by the Sunni groups further into Lebanon.

Hizballah is also an integral part of the Iranian outreach effort in Iraq, where members of the organization are engaged in training Shia fighters.

Even as far afield as Yemen, where the Iran-backed Houthi militia is engaged in a push for power, the movement's fingerprints have been found.

All this reflects Hizballah's nature as Iran's primary agent in the Arab world. Given all this activity, the last thing that the IRGC and Hizballah need is to be drawn into a premature conflagration with Israel.