Friday, March 24, 2017

Today's Friday cartoon

This week saw another attack of Israel at the UN. Last week, it was the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA) publishing a Report that labeled Israel as an Apartheid State. Within hours, the UN forced the Commission to remove the Report from its website, effectively cancelling the Report.

This week, Israel took another hit from the UN, this time from the UN's Human Rights Council (UNHRC). At this week's scheduled meeting, the UNHRC has 41 resolutions to discuss. Of these 41, 12 deal with human rights in individual countries (Tovah Lazaroff, "UNHRC debates boycotting Israeli settlements", jerusalempost, March 20,2017). 

Eight countries will be criticized at this meeting--Israel, plus 7 others: Syria, Iran, Libya, Sri Lanka, North Korea, Myanmar and South Sudan. Each of the 7 just listed has one resolution against it. In all probability, each will be criticized--once. 

Israel is the target of five resolutions. It is therefore scheduled to be criticized five times--more than any other country. No one will be criticized more than once--except Israel which, we infer, must therefore be a five times worse human rights violator than the other 7. 

Today's cartoon refers to the ESCWA Report noted above. It highlights UN hypocrisy. It  notes that the ESCWA committee's 18 Apartheid-run Arab-Muslim nations have decided (by an 18-0 vote) that Israel is Apartheid.

The cartoon may need an explanation. Take a look at it. Then. I'll offer my explanation:

from: arutzsheva, by d'rooj

In this cartoon, you see on the left perimeter the ESCWA name. That identifies the ESCWA as the topic of the cartoon.

In the middle of the cartoon, you have a face on a globe. You also have some blue which, I would say, represents the geography of the Muslim world. It's extensive. 

In that blue area you see a sign: No Jews allowed.

In the  middle of it all, you see a second sign sticking, I would guess, into the map where Israel sits. That sign accuses Israel--which allows Arabs to live freely--of being the Apartheid regime in their midst.

Of course, I do recognize that if a cartoon has to be explained, it might not be such a good cartoon. But I think this one, flaws and all, still tells a story: those who commit an evil blame Jews of being that evil.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Why did Israel publicize last Friday’s missile attack?

For years, Israel has been concerned about Syrian weapons getting into the hands of the terrorist group, Hezbollah (“Israel Steps up Shadow War with Hezbollah”, middle-east-online, January 16, 2017). Hezbollah is based in Lebanon. It is virulently anti-Israel. 

Israel’s Air Force (IAF) has been flying sorties into Syria to keep those weapons from reaching Lebanon. Typically, Israel doesn’t publicize these IAF missions. But Syria’s efforts to trans-ship weapons to Hezbollah has changed. So has Israel’s response (Ed Blanche, “Israel steps up shadow war with Hezbollah“, upi, January 17, 2017). Now, there’s been yet another change.

Early morning, Friday, March 17, 2017, three things happened to highlight these changes.  First, the IAF attacked a truck convoy in Syria (David Israel, “IAF Overnight Mission in Syria, ‘Arrow’ Used in Real Battle Conditions”, jewishpress, March 17, 2017). The attack was some 200+ km north of the Israel-Syria border. It was in Syria, East of Baalbek, Lebanon and north of Damascus (ibid)—possibly near Palmyra, Syria. According to a map-check, the attack took place some 350+ kilometers north-northeast from my home—and the missiles could have been fired at IAF planes at 200-300 kilometers from my home (as the Israeli planes approached their target).

Israel media sources said the target was a shipment of Syrian weapons being sent by Syria westward into Lebanon, for Hezbollah (ibid).  But Arab sources claimed this shipment was ‘special’. It contained advanced North Korean missiles (“PM Netanyahu Explains Reason for the Airstrike on Syria”, jewishpress, March 18, 2017).

For Israel, that’s a serious change. Hezbollah has more than 100,000 rockets already aimed at Israel (Avi Issacharoff, “Israel raises Hezbollah rocket estimate to 150,000”, timesofisrael, November 12, 2015). The introduction of ‘advanced’ missiles, if true, would represent a qualitative strengthening of Hezbollah’s rocket arsenal.

While we don’t know if this convoy was carrying ordinary weapons for Hezbollah or advanced weapons, we do know this: whatever that convoy was carrying, there’s no source anywhere reporting how the Israeli government found out about the convoy’s existence, its travel schedule and its location. Thankfully for us, no one’s talking about that.

The second thing that happened was that the IAF actually made this attack public. That’s a change  (“IAF overnight mission…”, ibid). Why did it publicize this particular attack? 

One possible explanation has to do with that ‘Arrow’ missile Israel used against the Syria anti-aircraft missile (Ahronheim, ibid). This was the first time the ‘Arrow’ system was used in combat. Did Israel want the world to know it had upgraded its missile defense system? We don’t know.

The third thing that happened affected my family. While this last item has no direct bearing on the Israel-Syria conflict, it does lead to a reason why the IDF publicized the attack.

When this attack occurred (between 0240-0250 hours), my family was awakened by two loud BOOMs east of our home.  Everyone in our area who heard the two BOOMs understood immediately they were explosions.  They were loud enough to be rocket attacks from Gaza. Were they? No one knew.

After daybreak Friday morning, news stories revealed that the explosions were impact BOOMs from the two Syrian missiles which had missed the IAF jets. One rocket fell in Jordan (BOOM). The second fell just a few miles from us (BOOM). Neither missile caused damage.

The attack had been 300+ kilometres away. From reading about the 2014 Gaza war, I knew Gazan rockets had a range of up to 160-170 kilometers. Were we now being informed that Syria had missiles that could travel 300+ kilometres? No one knew.

Later in the day, a picture appeared from Jordan, due-east of our home. It showed a missile resting against a low wall in what looks like a residential area. The tip of the missile had been crushed, presumably from impact with the ground. The caption identified the missile as one shot at Israeli planes by Syrians earlier that morning.

The missile was quickly identified as a Russian S-200 surface-to-air missile (“Report: Syrian Army Fired S-200 Missiles at Israeli Jets”, russiainsider, March 17, 2017). The S-200 carries a warhead of up-to-217 kilograms (“SA-5 Gammon [Russian name:] S-200 Angara Vega Dubna Ground-to-air missile system”, armyrecognition, 2017).  Its published range is up to 300 km (ibid).

One inference from that picture is that those two Syrian missiles, failing to hit a plane, had continued to fly upward, pointing southward from their point-of-origin. When the missiles flamed out, they turned downward, heading south until impact. Both fell in “civilian areas”--one in Jordan, one in Israel close enough to my home to rattle windows.

Perhaps the picture from Jordan explains why the IAF went public: to tell Jordanian civilians—and Jordan’s ruler--that the missile they’d ‘received’ hadn’t come from Israel, but from Syrians.  

Is this why the IAF publicized the attack—to calm Jordanian nerves? No one knows. But then, this is Israel—where little is known and much is understood.  

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Feminists won’t protect Zionists--or Palestinians

Feminists are supposed to fight for gender equality. They’re supposed to fight for women’s rights (Landon Montgomery, “The true definition of feminism”, theodysseyonline, March 8, 2016). They’re supposed to fight to end “the sexual, physical and economic exploitation of women” (Emily Shire, “Does Feminism Have Room for Zionists?” newyorktimes, March 7, 2017).

They’re supposed to be for all women everywhere. But they’re not.

They ignore Palestinian women. They reject Jewish women in Israel.

Unfortunately, Feminism is no longer led by women who fight for women. It’s led by radicals who fight against Israel (Jon Levine, “Today in Stupid: Feminism is Intersectional Enough to Include Convicted Terrorists but Not Zionists?”, mediaite, March 14, 2015).

This Feminist fight against Israel creates a dilemma. To remain pure in their war against Israel, radical Feminists won’t accuse the Palestinian Authority of oppressing women. That would make Palestinians look bad.  It could undercut the Palestinian Cause.

The dilemma is, Palestinian women need help. They lack basic protection (see below).

The radical Feminist solution to this dilemna is, fighting Israel is more important than Palestinian women (Dr Manfred  Gerstenfeld, “Anti-racists and feminists demonize only Israel”, arutzsheva, May 14, 2016). 

Feminist Phyllis Chesler found out about this solution in 2003. After giving a lecture to an African-American feminist audience, she was asked, completely off-topic, where she stood on the issue of the women of ‘Palestine’ (ibid). She responded: ‘I think you are asking me where I stand on the issue of apartheid and I oppose it. Islam is the largest practitioner of gender and religious apartheid in the world.’ To explain what she meant, she referenced forced veiling, arranged marriage, polygamy, honor-based violence and honor killing. A near-riot broke out (ibid). Apparently, that feminist audience didn’t care about protecting ‘Palestinian’ women. They cared about demonizing Israel.

That was 2003. 2017 is worse.

When Feminist Emily Shire asked if Feminism had room for Zionists (above, ibid), the answer she got was, no, there isn’t. 
As Radical Feminist Linda Sarsour (who is Palestinian) put it:
“I would say that anyone who wants to call themselves an activist cannot be selective…You can’t be a feminist in the United States and stand up for the rights of the American woman and then say that you don’t want to stand up for the rights of Palestinian women in Palestine. It’s all connected” (Levine, ibid).

According to one observer, some of the most prominent US Feminists today are Palestinian (ibid).  They’ve hijacked US Feminism to empower their personal war against Israel; but by doing that, they absolutely “do not stand up for the rights of Palestinian women”.

You don’t have look far to see this betrayal in action. Here’s just a glimpse of how that betrayal works:

-Lena Odgaard, “Upsurge in Palestinian 'honour killings'”, aljazeera, March 26, 2014. In 2014, Palestinian rights groups (and no one else) demanded new laws to protect women from family violence.

-Khaled Abu Toameh, “What the Palestinian Authority Did Not Tell the UN Security Council”, gatestoneinstitute, December 29, 2014…This essay begins with, “Palestinian women have become the latest victims of the Palestinian Authority's assault on freedom of expression in the West Bank. In the male-dominated Arab culture, an insult from a woman is considered far more offensive than one that comes from a man. That is the main reason why the Palestinian Authority [PA] has been quick to take action against women who dare to speak out or make critical remarks”.

-Robert Fulford, “Robert Fulford: The plight of Palestinian women”, nationalpost, April 10, 2015. This essay includes, “Their many admirers in the West like to depict Palestinians as innocent victims of imperialism, anxious to live free under their own state but tragically locked within boundaries imposed by Israel. The myth of the virtuous Palestinian flourishes especially on North American campuses…But that sentimental notion collapses under scrutiny…About half of Palestinian women have been exposed to domestic violence…In 2014, a senior official in the PA Ministry of Women’s Affairs reported a 100 percent recent increase in “family honour” killings… this is a product of the entire society’s culture”.

-Catherine Anderson, “Palestinian women's rights overlooked in favour of national liberation”, middleeasteye, November 3, 2015. Yes, fighting Israel is more important than protecting Palestinian women ('national liberation' is a code phrase for, 'fight Israel').

-Khaled Abu Toameh, “Palestinians: "Women are Witches"”, gatestoneinstitute, September 8, 2016: This essay includes, “offensive references to women, who are depicted as witches and demons in Palestinian school textbooks, should not come as a surprise…This [offensive stuff] is fed to Palestinian schoolchildren:  lies about history, lies about geography, and now lies about Palestinian women…Palestinian schoolchildren who returned to their schools last week are being taught that women are witches and Tel Aviv is an Arab city”.

Israel does not label Arab women ‘witches’. Israelis don’t commit honor-killings. Palestinians do both. Yet it is Israel Feminists attack.

Gender equality is a fundamental human right (“Goal 5: achieve gender equality…”, United Nations: Gender equality and women's empowerment, no date). But radical Feminists ignore the human rights needs of Palestinian women. They also reject human rights for women who are Zionists.

Such radicals are vicious. They are vile. They have no right to say they represent women because, in fact, they don’t.

Monday, March 20, 2017

New mid-week political cartoon

(Last updated: March 20, 2017)

A reader has sent me a picture. He suggests this picture is really a political cartoon. Is it?

Take a look at it. Read the caption. Then tell me if it--or the man in it--qualifies as a 'political cartoon'.

Please page down.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
  Iran’s Khamenei calls Western view of women a ‘Zionists’ plot’
from: jerusalempost
Of course, this picture, by itself, is no cartoon. It isn't political. It's just a picture of a man sitting on a platform above an audience. The man appears to be, perhaps, a religious leader or, at the very least, a religious man about to give a speech (or having just finished a speech)--notice his notes and the microphone. 

It's the caption containing his words that sets the picture apart. Together, this picture-with-caption makes a statement that isn't funny at all. 

It changes the picture from neutral to vicious. It transforms the picture from 'interesting' to ugly.

Perhaps that's why a reader saw this as a 'political cartoon'; that is, a pictorial representation with an ideological message. 

It's a message of demonization. It's a message of hate.

Does it qualify as a political cartoon? Or, is it too vicious to be called such?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Floating on air in Israel?

Take a look at the picture below. It's an Israeli entry in an international photo contest. It was taken with a mobile phone by Israeli photographer Dina Alfasi (Abigail Klein Leichman, "Israeli photos shortlisted in global  Sony competition", israel21c, March 1, 2017). It placed among the top 10 in that competition. The photo is called 'air' for a reason. 

It's about a bus ride in Israel. Take a look at the picture and wonder, is this what it's like to ride a bus in Israel? 

Page down. But before you do that, lean back, away from your computer screen. Push your chair back, away from the computer. Then look at the photo.

from: israel21c

Floating on air on a bus in Israel, right?

Winning photos will be announced March 28, 2017

Friday, March 17, 2017

Today's Friday cartoon

When Donald Trump won the presidential election in the US this past November, many felt he would change the course of US -Israel relations. By the time he was sworn into office some 10 weeks later, hope for a better US-Israel future seemed to turn to 'done deed'.

Trump didn't change his attitudes towards Israel. He looked as if he'd actually do what he told us he'd do. 

He'd move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He would start pressuring the Palestinian Authority's Mahmoud Abbas 'for peace' instead of pressuring only Israel. He would end a long-standing US hostility to Israeli 'settlements' in Judea-Samaria.

Now, we're some 8 weeks into his administration. We've seen some of his actions regarding Israel. Some of us aren't too happy with what we see.

Suddenly, Trump doesn't look like the saviour some called him just 76 days ago, at the beginning of 2017. Suddenly, he's begun to sound like the voice of administrations past. 

He's pushed moving the US embassy to a back burner. He's telling Israel to cool it on settlements. He's courting Mahmoud Abbas.

Has Trump been co-opted by an anti-Israel State department? Is he moving closer to Barack Obama's beliefs than towards his pre-election promises? 

We don't know. All we have to go on is what we see; and what we see looks distressingly familiar.

Today's cartoon is by Asher Schwartz. it comes from arutzsheva. It seems to capture the questions some have begun to ask about America's new leader:

The Peace Process Rehash:

Asher Schwartz, jewishpress, March 16, 2017

Stay tuned, readers. This story has just begun.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Why the UN now declares Israel an 'Apartheid regime'

On Wednesday, March 15, 2017 the United Nations issued a new report on Israel. This report accused Israel of imposing an "Apartheid regime" of racial discrimination that "oppresses and dominates the Palestinian people" (aljazeera, below). 

The report used the word, 'Apartheid' to describe Israel's behavior. This was a first: no other UN body has made such an accusation ("Israel imposes apartheid regime on Palestinians: UN report", reuters, March 15, 2017).

Headlines around the world captured the propaganda significance of this report:

-"UN report says Israel a racist state and apartheid regime", irishtimes, March 15, 2017;

-Ben White, "UN report: Israel has established an Apartheid regime", aljazeera, March 15, 2017;

-Rick Gladstone, "Tempest at UN over report saying Israel practices Apartheid", nytimes, March 15, 2017; 

-"Israel has established apartheid regime, says report", tribuneindia, March 16, 2017;

-Tareq Haddad, "United Nations report condemns Israel as apartheid state for first time", internationalbusinesstimes, March 16, 2017; 

-"UN agency report brands Israel an apartheid regime", dailystar (Lebanon), March 16, 2017.

This report could change everything for the Palestinian Authority (PA). The UN's 1973 Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid declares Apartheid to be a crime against humanity (Steven Ratner, "Apartheid", crimesofwar, 2011). If this report makes Israel officially 'Apartheid', Israel could become an easy target for the International Criminal Court. 

For the PA, this opportunity could be the breakthrough it needs to conquer Israel. For Israel, becoming 'Apartheid' could mean the end of its legitimacy. 

Anti-Israel forces at the UN would like to see that happen. But it might not happen. 

This report has too many flaws. These flaws are so significant that, the day the report was released, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres immediately distanced himself from it. 

He had good reason to do that.

First of all, the report was published without any prior consultation with the secretariat ("Israel imposes apartheid regime on Palestinians: UN report", reuters, March 15, 2017). A spokesman for the Secretary-General also suggested that the report doesn't reflect the position of the UN itself--but reflects only the views of its authors (ibid). This statement could delegitimize the report.

Indeed, a spokesman for the group that wrote the report has already demeaned it. He suggested that this report was written only because the members of the group--the UN's Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)--requested it.

This last statement suggests two questions: who were the members of this group--and why would they request such a report? The answers to these question tell you all you need to know to understand why this report is trash. 

There are 18 members in the ESCWA. They are: Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. 

This group is a monolithic bloc. It entertains only two points of view: to do what's best for Islamic nations--and to help the Palestinian Cause (see below). 

Each member state is Islamic. Each member belongs to the OIC--the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

The OIC is an organization dedicated to—and exclusively for—the world’s 57 Muslim states (it counts ‘Palestine’ as a state). Its homepage says, “It endeavors to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world…[Its fundamental purpose is] to strengthen the solidarity and cooperation among the Member States” (OIC Homepage, About).

The OIC is about Islamic interests. It isn't interested in balance or fairness or world freedom. It's interested in Islam.

One of those Islamic interests is the Palestinian Cause. That interest is so important, it's built into the OIC Charter.

That Charter states that the OIC exists partly “to support the struggle of the Palestinian people, who are presently under foreign occupation, and to empower them to attain their inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination, and to establish their sovereign state with Al-Quds Al-Sharif [the Jewish Jerusalem] as its capital” (OIC Homepage, documents, charter)”. 

The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, containing only an Islamic-centric and Palestinian-centered point of view, recently met in Beirut. There, with no input from the UN secretariat, its members created a one-sided, OIC-correct, pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel document. 

These Islamic states concocted a political 'blood libel' against the Jewish state. Like the original blood libel, this political analog accuses Jews (Israel) of causing grievous harm to non-Jews (Muslim Palestinians) who live beside them. 

The purpose of a blood libel never changes. It's to destroy what's Jewish--in this case, Israel.

The Muslim-packed ESCWA served as judge and jury against the Jewish Israel. Its conclusion (Israel-is-Apartheid) was no different from those seen in whites-only kangaroo courts of the Deep South of the 1920's. There, Blacks couldn't win. The court was stacked against them. Here, Jews couldn't win, either--because the ESCWA was stacked against them. 

That's not moral behavior. It's bigotry. 

The US Ambassador to the UN was correct to demand it be withdrawn.