Sunday, May 31, 2015

In Israel, do secular draft-dodgers get a free pass?

If you live in Israel, you probably know the answer to the question, ‘who won’t serve in the IDF (Israel Defense Force)?’ The answer we’ve all been told is, ‘the Charedi’ (ultra-orthodox).
In Israel, the secular elite have duped us. They sell a bogus product: Charedi won’t serve in the army. They’re draft-dodgers. Only the secular carry the responsibility for protecting Israel.
That’s the conventional wisdom: the secular protect us (Nathan Hersh, “Ultra-Orthodox Jews in the IDF would be a disaster for Israel”, Haaretz, March 12, 2012).
But is that really true? Could the secular be draft-dodgers, too?
Nobody’s saying. To find some kind of insight into this question, you’ve got to dig very long and hard. That such difficulty exists suggests immediately that something’s fishy. Is it?
The most complete enlistment information I could find about overall IDF enlistment numbers comes from 2010-2015. From these scattered reports, we learn several things.
First, only 50% of eligible Israeli youth serve in the IDF (Yaakov Katz, “60 percent of Israelis won't serve in IDF by 2020”, Jerusalem Post, Nov 18, 2011).
Second, Charedi represent 13 per cent of ‘draft-dodgers’ (ibid).
That’s an interesting number. It’s of interest because we’re never told draft-dodger numbers for any other group (secular, Zionist, or ‘settler’). That suggests a question: if 13 per cent of ‘dodgers’ are Charedi, what per cent of ‘dodgers’ are secular? There’s no comment.  
There should be some comment about that because that same 2011 report revealed that only 42.5 per cent of male youth in Tel Aviv (Israel’s most secular city) do IDF service.  That suggests that 57.5 per cent do not.
How many of those 57.5 per cent are seculars? No comment.
Are those 57.5 per cent counted as ‘draft-dodgers’?  No comment.
Does the IDF know what per cent of seculars dodge the draft? No comment.
Does the IDF track only Charedi ‘dodgers’? No comment. 
Of course, if the IDF reports the per cent of Charedi who dodge the draft, shouldn’t it report the per cent of seculars who dodge the draft? No comment.
If the IDF doesn’t report the per cent of secular draft dodgers, should we conclude that it knows the per cent of seculars who dodge the draft and, because it doesn’t like that number, chooses to hide it? No comment.
In 2012, Haaretz wrote that it’s the seculars who carry the responsibility for protecting Israel (above). But if it’s combat duty that says, ‘I’m protecting Israel’, the 2011 story (above)—written the year before—suggested that that wasn’t true: only 36 per cent of soldiers from the Gush Dan (the secular Tel Aviv)  region volunteer for combat duty versus 61 per cent of soldiers from the more Zionistic Judea-Samaria (Katz, ibid).
In fact, the more secular Tel Aviv region had the lowest per cent of soldiers in Israel (36%) who volunteered for combat duty (Yoav Zitun, “IDF: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem last in enlistment”, YNET, November 17, 2015). How do seculars protect us when they won’t show up for combat?
In 2013, one essayist suggested that the reason for the seculars’ lack of interest to do combat duty is that there was a “a strong current of pacifism and left-wing activism among Israeli youth” (Samira Shakle, “IDF faces a recruitment crisis despite conscription”, Middle East Monitor, December 6, 2013). But that mind-set is not characteristic of Zionist and ‘settler’ youth; it’s far more applicable to secular youth who so clearly prefer Western culture (ibid).
In 2010, another report suggested that the Tel Aviv draft-dodger speculation you’ve just seen above isn’t fiction (Ariella Ringel-Hoffman, “Tel Aviv shirking its duties”, YNET, November 24, 2010). The Tel Aviv enlistment rate was so low, it was lower than the Bedouin town Rahat.
That’s pathetic.
This issue of secular-Charedi enlistment comes up because of a new story about Charedi enlistment (Tova Dvorin, “Yeshiva Student Combat Draft Rates 6 Times Higher Since 2007”, Arutz Sheva, May 29, 2015). It seems that, while secular enlistments stumble, Charedi enlistments climb—up by a factor of 6 since 2008. Yes, the total number for Charedi enlistment is still small. But at least the number is climbing.
It seems the same can’t be said for the secular. Enlistment rates for Charedi and secular go in opposite directions.
Here’s a piece of advice: don’t believe the secular argument  that Charedi aren’t enlisting.
 Look instead at the enlistment curves for secular and Charedi. That’ll tell the real story. The seculars are, in increasing numbers, divorcing themselves from the State of Israel. But the Charedi are, in increasing numbers, committing to Israel.
When it comes to enlistment numbers for the IDF, the seculars are getting a free pass. They don’t deserve it.
When it comes to enlistment numbers for the IDF, the Charedi are being demonized. They don’t deserve that.

FIFA, EU, UN and the next Holocaust

FIFA, the international soccer organization (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) sags under a corruption scandal (“Fifa corruption crisis: Sepp Blatter downplays US indictment”, BBC, May 30, 2015). The charges against at least seven FIFA officials include bribery, money-laundering and racketeering (ibid). The bribery charges alone amount to at least $100 million USD.

There’s another set of allegations. These focus on Russia and Qatar. These FIFA members may have used bribes to win their bids to be the host city for the 2018 (Russia) and 2022 (Qatar) World Cup Games.  

The scandal has become so severe that the head of the US Internal Revenue Service has called FIFA the ‘wold cup of fraud” (Eliott C. McLaughlin and Greg Botelho, “FIFA corruption probe targets 'World Cup of fraud,' IRS chief says” CNN, May 28, 2015).

At least one news outlet has stated that corruption at FIFA goes deep (Libby Nelson, “Let's count all the ways FIFA is corrupt”, Vox, May 28, 2015). Corruption and human rights violations associated with FIFA seem to go back to the 1970’s (ibid).

This year, the FIFA Congress meeting (which just ended), was marred not only by arrests for corruption, but also by an  incident involving Israel. The ‘Palestinian’ delegation moved to have Israel kicked out of FIFA. The ‘Palestinians’ claimed Israel restricts the free movement of ‘Palestinian’ players and refs. For that, Israel should be expelled. Israeli officials said  they have no problem with 95 per cent of ‘Palestinian’ players. But they do have security concerns for the remaining 5 per cent—and Israel has the right to defend itself.

The ‘Palestinians’ disagree. They said, essentially, Israel doesn’t have that right.

‘Palestinians’ behave this way at the UN. They behave this way with the EU. Now they’ve done it at FIFA.  All three international organizations have had the same reaction: they  accept ‘Palestinian’ claims without question.

Accordingly, they clearly believe Israel has no right to defend itself. That’s wrong.  It’s immoral. A sovereign state always has the right to defend itself.

The ‘Palestinian’ claim had nothing to do with soccer. FIFA should have rejected it. It didn’t.

In the end, after furious negotiations, the ‘Palestinians’ agreed to take the vote request off the agenda. In its place, it agreed to let the UN decide the matter.

Israel agreed. I have no idea why. By the time the compromise was discussed, there were rumours that the ‘Palestinian’ vote wouldn’t pass anyway. Why go for a tainted compromise (the UN is no friend to Israel)?

What makes the effort to expel Israel for the ‘sin’ of restricting travel movements of ‘Palestinians’ so outrageous is a different allegation against someone else which wasn’t made. This allegation wasn’t about ‘travel rights’. It was about the potential deaths of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of foreign workers brought into Qatar to build the stadium to be used in the 2022 World Cup Games.

Remember, Qatar already stands accused of using illegal bribes to get to be the host for those Games. Now, there could serious human rights violations against Qatar.

Both the Washington Post and Mother Jones reported on these ‘death’ allegations. They wrote that, since 2008, the death numbers for construction workers on the Qatar project far exceed the death numbers connected to stadium building projects for other, similar events.

For example, for the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, 6 construction workers died; 2010 Vancouver Olympics: 1 death; 2010 South African World Cup: 2 deaths; 2014 Sochi Olympics: 60 deaths; Brazil 2014 World Cup: 10 deaths; Qatar 2022 World Cup: so far, 1,200 deaths. Estimates say the final tally could be 4,000 deaths (ibid).

To be fair to Qatar, we don’t know if these numbers apply to the Qatar World Cup stadium project alone or to all construction deaths in Qatar. It’s unclear what the numbers refer to—or if they’re accurate.

Nevertheless, FIFA should investigate. Its name is associated with that stadium. It won’t investigate.

That’s playing with fire.

We see the same behaviour in the UN and the EU. All three entities—FIFA, UN, EU--allow ‘Palestinians’ to use misrepresentations and sometimes outright lies to delegitimize Israel. Each ignores horrific human rights violations in other places. Each fails to understand what happens when you combine such blatant anti-Zionism with such an utter disregard for real human rights horrors.

Each of these international entities has chosen a very clear, unambiguous path. Each will enable often scurrilous attacks on the world’s only Jewish state while at the same time each abandons human rights protections for the truly at-risk. None of these organizations understands that such a cruel combination—promoting anti-Zionism while abandoning the at-risk--sows the seeds of a new Holocaust.

Holocausts don’t appear out of thin air. They appear because good men choose to ignore hate and hateful national behaviours. This is exactly the behaviour we see in the UN, the EU and FIFA.

We’ve already seen one Holocaust. We all know what it means for humanity.

This new Holocaust won’t be any different. But it’ll be different on one point: it won’t destroy Jews. Instead, this new Holocaust will destroy everything the EU, UN and FIFA cherish.



Friday, May 29, 2015

Has FIFA just decided not to expel Israel?

This story is just breaking now, close to the time I am to shut down to prepare for Shabbat. The story appears to be favourable to Israel.

As you may know, the biggest sports association on the planet, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), has been pressured by the ‘Palestinian’ delegation to expel Israel by vote at the 2015 FIFA Conference, being held as I write in Zurich, Switzerland.  The drive to expel Israel from the world’s largest stage is part of the ‘Palestinian’ effort to ‘internationalize’ its war against Israel, to destroy Israel through isolation and expulsion instead of on the battlefield.

Earlier today, as the vote was to be placed on the agenda, the ‘Palestinians’ were once again asked to remove it. They said no.

Now, it appears that there will not be a vote (Tova Dvorin, “PA Drops Proposal to Ban Israel from FIFA”, Arutz Sheva, May 29, 2015). I can’t tell what happened. Details seem confused. As of 1033 (am) ET,  Israel National News is the only outlet I can find that’s reporting on this turn of events. The only news others report on focuses on the current President’s attempt to win re-election amid a massive corruption scandal that broke at the very hotel the Conference is being help. That vote seems to be unfolding now.

If you want the rest of the FIFA story, there are four postings below beginning May 26th.

Talk to you Sunday.

Shabbat Shalom.


The predator called, BDS

The Washington State Supreme Court made the news yesterday. It ruled on a case involving the boycott of Israeli-made product in an Olympia, Washington co-op supermarket.

That case reveals some dirty laundry about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. It reveals how BDS preys on that portion of the public called, sincere-and-humanitarian. It also reveals that BDS may not be as humanitarian as you think; your sincere-but-innocent embrace of BDS can land you at the wrong end of a court case.

BDS began in 2005. It was organized by ‘Palestinian activists’ (Homepage, (bdsmovement. Net). Its public face is to achieve freedom, justice and equality for the ’Palestinian’ people (ibid). It wants Israel to ‘obey the law’ [comply with international law] (ibid).

On the surface, there appears to be nothing wrong with such goals. They seem noble: protect the weak against the oppressor.

There’s just one problem: BDS’ goal has nothing to do with freedom, justice or the law. Its goal is to destroy Israel (see “BDS leaders: The only solution is violence”, Israel Matzav, June 12, 2013 and David Lev, “Paul McCartney: They [BDS] Threatened to Kill Me if I Played in Israel”, Arutz Sheva, July 10, 2013).

In 2012, anti-Israel poster-boy Norman Finkelstein shocked the world when he declared that it’s no accident that BDS doesn’t mention Israel’s right to exist (Rachel Hirshfield, “Finkelstein:  BDS Movement is a 'Cult'” Arutz Sheva, February 15, 2012). It fails to do that, he said, because its goal is to eliminate Israel (ibid). He said, BDS thinks it’s very clever to call itself ‘rights based’ and fighting for ‘the law’. But BDS knows “that the end result [of its activities] is that there is no Israel” (ibid).

That, he suggested, wasn’t noble. It was illegal [against international law] (ibid).

Shortly after Finkelstein made these comments, essayist Adam Shay suggested that BDS wasn’t humanitarian. It was a weapon. Its specific purpose is to delegitimize Israel in the international community (“Manipulation and Deception: The Anti-Israel “BDS” Campaign (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions)”, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, March 19, 2012, vol 12, no. 2). It targets the general public at the grass-roots level to instil the desire to act against Israel (ibid). It specifically aims to manipulate academe, the commercial marketplace and the social-cultural arena (ibid).

Shay argued that BDS uses a number of political slogans to generate support for an anti-Israel campaign. These slogans are reminiscent of language used by earlier activists fighting the apartheid regime of South Africa (ibid). These slogans include, “Israel is an ‘apartheid and colonizing state,’ a ‘discriminatory occupation regime’, a ‘violator of international law’, and a ‘repressive occupier’ (ibid).

This language similarity isn’t an accident. By comparing Israel to South Africa, BDS aims to undermine Israel’s legitimacy by using the same slogans, language and tactics originally (and successfully) used to undermine South Africa (Luke Akehurst, “Getting Boycott Ethics Right”, Progress, August 21, 2012).

BDS’ allure is that it appeals to sincere humanitarian feelings generally felt by specific groups (Shay, ibid). These groups include students on college campuses, members of the general public frequenting certain types of stores and supermarkets, attendees at cultural events, performers, and commercial entities trading with Israel (ibid). The BDS aim is to manipulate these specific groups (ibid), for two reasons: (1), the people in these groups genuinely identify themselves with and support any movement that says it opposes apartheid, discrimination, inequality, and colonialism (ibid); and, (2), these same people tend to be unfamiliar with the intricate details and history of the issues in the Middle East (ibid).

In other words, BDS is a predator. It preys on these specific groups because it knows these groups can be manipulated .

Take the case of the Olympia Food Cooperative of Olympia, Washington (“In the Supreme Court of the State of Washington; Kent L and Linda Davis, Jeffrey and Susan Trinin, and Susan Mayer derivatively on behalf of Olympia Food Cooperative, Petitioners No. 90233-0”, Dated May 28, 2015, p. 6). This market is a non-profit corporation grocery store. It emphasizes an egalitarian philosophy that requires consensus in decision-making (ibid).

Perhaps you have a similar co-op in your city. Perhaps you shop there. If you do, you know the kind of kindly-but-innocent people who run it. They’re the kind of people who actively engage in various forms of public policy such as boycotts of certain goods for a humanitarian reason. 

The Olympia co-op has such a policy (Akehurst, ibid). In this Olympia case, the Cooperative's board of directors adopted a boycott of goods produced by Israel-based companies. True humanitarians, their goal was to protest Israel's perceived human rights violations. The board adopted this boycott without staff consensus on whether it should be adopted.

The decision not to seek staff consensus violated explicit co-op rules.

As a result, five members of the Cooperative (plaintiffs) brought a derivative action against 16 current or former members of its board (defendants). The complaint alleged the board had breached its own written rules regarding boycotts (ibid, pp. 6-7).

That policy, adopted by the board in 1993, provided that the Cooperative "will honor nationally recognized boycotts" when the staff "decide[ s] by consensus" to do so.

The Board, no doubt because of its genuine and sincere desire to be as humanitarian as possible, adopted the boycott of Israel-based companies without staff consensus. Therefore, the complaint sought a declaratory judgment that the boycott was void, a permanent injunction of the boycott, and an "award of damages in an amount to be proved at trial" (ibid. p.7).

The Board, in its no doubt honest desire to be as humanitarian as possible, sued the suers (if that’s clear). The Board said, essentially, in Washington State, you can’t sue us. That’s against the law: the law says suing us is trying to squelch our right to have a free and open public discourse.

Not all states have this law. Washington state does. It exists to curtail ‘Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation’ (“Justices toss Washington law countering bad-faith lawsuits”, The News Tribune, May 28, 2015). It’s called, an anti-SLAPP law.

The Washington State Supreme Court has just ruled that the state’s anti-SLAPP law is unconstitutional. If you will, the co-op got ‘SLAPPED’ by its own ‘anti-SLAPP’ lawsuit.

Ahh, yes. The sweetly innocent humanitarians of Olympia are  true BDSers. They’re so eager to act out against the Jewish state (for humanity, of course), they’ll ignore their own written policies. They’ll turn against their own members. They’ll even sue those who oppose them.

I guess that’s what ‘cooperatives’ are all about these days: when it comes to delegitimizing Israel, nothing is illegitimate—until the courts tell you otherwise.

BDS preys on the right people.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

This is the real Hamas

On May 27, 2015, the Human Rights NGO (non-government organization) Amnesty International (AI) published a report titled, “‘Strangling Necks’: Abduction, torture and summary killings of Palestinians by Hamas forces during the 2014 Gaza/Israel conflict” (“Gaza: Palestinians tortured, summarily killed by Hamas forces during 2014 conflict”, Amnesty International .org). AI published this report to accuse Hamas of committing war crimes against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip during its 2014 war with Israel (Ori Lewis, “Amnesty International: Hamas committed war crimes against Gaza civilians”, Reuters, May 26, 2015). The report made several accusations.
First, “Hamas forces carried out a brutal campaign of abductions, torture and unlawful killings against Palestinians accused of 'collaborating' with Israel” (ibid). Second, some of these killing were particularly brutal, even ‘spine chilling’ (ibid). Third, Hamas granted “its security forces free rein to carry out horrific abuses against people in its custody. These ‘spine-chilling’ actions…were designed to exact revenge and spread fear across…Gaza” (ibid). Fourth, this Hamas effort was coordinated. It was codenamed, ‘Strangling necks’ (ibid). Fifth, in the nine months since that July-August war ended, no one in Gaza has been held accountable for crimes committed by Hamas forces against Palestinians (ibid). AI deduces from this last fact that these crimes were either ordered or condoned by Hamas (ibid).
AI concluded that, while the Hamas leadership repeatedly calls for rights and justice for Palestinians in Gaza, it doesn’t use justice or the rule of law towards its own people. Hamas, AI declared, displays a disregard for the most fundamental rules of international humanitarian law. Torture and cruel treatment of detainees in an armed conflict is a war crime. Extrajudicial executions are also war crimes (ibid).
On May 28, Hamas responded to these accusations (Khaled Abu Toameh, “Hamas attacks ‘unfair’ Amnesty report alleging war crimes in Gaza”, as reprinted in albawaba news from the Jerusalem Post). This is how Hamas responded:
First, it condemned the report (ibid). The report was unprofessional (ibid). It was sensationalism because it had exaggerated “a few incidents” (ibid).
Note that these ‘incidents’ included murder, torture and beatings. Note also that Hamas doesn’t deny the ‘incidents’ took place. It simply says the report ‘exaggerated’ what happened. Hamas doesn’t explain what those ‘exaggerations’ were.
Hamas described the report as “unlawful and biased in favor of Israeli occupation” (ibid). The report lacks objectivity, Hamas said, because it “blames…the ‘Palestinians’” (ibid).
This is the ‘Palestinian’ way. They are never wrong. They never accept responsibility. It’s always Israel’s fault.
In response to AI’s accusations, Hamas declared that Israel alone bears responsibility for the killing of ‘collaborators’ because it launched airstrikes on security installations where they were being held (ibid). Hamas fails to note that the AI report doesn’t say these victims died from bombs. They died because they were taken out into the street and murdered (AI report, ibid)—or murdered in their cells by gunshots.
Hamas accused the report of bias because it ignored “the systematic crimes perpetrated by the occupation against the Palestinian people” (ibid). This is also the ‘Palestinian’ way. They never commit war crimes; those crimes are always Israel’s fault.
Apparently, Hamas never learned that the general behaviour of a second party (Israel) never gives one the legal right to murder a third party.
Hamas said it would cooperate with local and international human rights organizations to do a proper investigation. For now, however, it drew its own conclusions: it bore no responsibility, it said, for the executions that took place in the Gaza Strip during the conflict. Israel bore sole responsibility—because, Hamas said, Israel had ‘recruited’ these victims in the first place (ibid).
Hamas failed to add that none of these victims had received a fair trial in open court with adequate representation. Instead, many had been sentenced to death before a ‘revolutionary court’ (AI report, ibid). Others were tortured. Others were ‘summarily’ killed (without any kind of formal trial or representation).
Hamas also ignored the fact that as many as 1/3rd of these victims were, according to AI, taken out to a mosque where, in front of hundreds of spectators—including children--they were murdered. According to eyewitness accounts, the victims were hooded and dragged along the floor to kneel by a wall facing the crowd. Each of the men was shot in the head individually. Then, all the corpses were sprayed with bullets fired from an AK-47 (ibid).
According to Hamas, that’s Israel’s fault.
You know, the next time you hear ‘Palestinians’ complain about ‘justice’ for ‘Palestinians’, you might want to think about how these ‘Palestinian’ victims got their ‘justice’. You might not like Israel. But you should remember that Israel never treats ‘Palestinians’ like this. But Hamas does.
You want Hamas and its unity- government partner the Palestinian Authority to triumph over the Israelis you love to hate? Be careful what you wish for.ow Hamas defends itself

Will ‘Palestinian’ soccer Lawfare backfire?

i24News reported on May 28, 2015 that it looks increasingly likely that the international soccer Federation FIFA will somehow not carry through on a ‘Palestinian’ demand that Israel be expelled from the Federation (“FIFA 'won't accept' Palestinian bid to suspend Israel, says Euro football chief Platini”).

If you’ve been following this story, you know that the ‘Palestinian’ Football [soccer] Association (PFA) wants the Israel Football [soccer] Association (IFA) expelled from all future international soccer tournaments. Israel’s offense, the PFA alleges, is that it restricts ‘Palestinian’ player movement into and through Israel (ibid).

The vote to expel Israel is scheduled to take place tomorrow, Friday, May 29, 2015. But on the way to that vote, FIFA has been ambushed by US and Swiss Federal authorities.

On Wednesday, May 28, 2015, Swiss police swept into the hotel where FIFA was gathering to hold its most important International conference and arrested several high-ranking FIFA officials for corruption, money laundering and bribery. The US is involved because it alleges that these crimes took place in the US and/or used US banks.

As you might expect, the arrests have plunged FIFA into turmoil (ibid). With the governing body embroiled in a massive graft scandal, few seem interested in focusing on a vote to ban Israel. In fact, such a vote looks “increasingly tenuous” (ibid). Apparently, few, except perhaps the ‘Palestinians’ and their Arab friends, are focusing on Israel.

The European branch of FIFA, the UEFA, has held emergency talks with FIFA executives over this vote. UEFA President Michel Platini has announced that he believes FIFA will now “not accept" the ‘Palestinian’ bid to ban Israel (ibid).

There’s even a chance that the vote won’t even make the agenda, even though the PFA soccer President has refused all requests to back down. The scandal may push the Israel vote off everyone’s ‘radar’.

The ‘Palestinians’ won’t remove the demand. They’re not backing down. They aren’t making friends right now at FIFA. Their lawfare war against Israel looks more and more like an insane obsession. FIFA is a sports Federation, not an international political organization. Israel hasn’t broken any FIFA rules; there appear to be no grounds to expel it.

‘Palestinians’ don’t care. They want to ‘internationalize’ their war against Israel through something called, ‘lawfare’—the use of law (and international organizations’ rules)—to isolate and delegitimize Israel.

They want to use the soccer world to kick Israel out of the family of Man because FIFA, the international soccer Federation, is the largest non-government arena in the world. As Kevin Connolly wrote May 28, 2015 for BBC News, when it comes to arenas, it doesn’t get any bigger than FIFA (“Fifa crisis: Palestinians press to show Israel red card”).

The ‘Palestinians’ seem completely obsessed. They don’t seem to give a damn about FIFA’s crisis. They seem to care only about their own—non-sports—political issues. They want FIFA to forget about sports and ‘go political’.

FIFA may not be interested.

This Arab obsession, occurring right in the middle of a FIFA organization crisis, isn’t winning friends or influencing people. This Arab lawfare war to delegitimize, isolate and expel Israel from ‘proper company’ looks like it could backfire on one of the world’s largest stages. Will that happen?

The big vote on Israel is scheduled for Friday, May 29, 2015—tomorrow. Stay tuned.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

News views of the soccer fight over Israel

Here’s a look at an American newspaper editorial on the attempt to get Israel kicked out of the International soccer Federation FIFA. The editorial comes from The New York Post. It’s dated May 25, 2015. It’s titled, “The disgraceful drive to kick Israel out of FIFA”. It might fill in some details for you about the Israel soccer uproar you'll read about in the essay immediately below. It’s unedited.

 “Nothing makes the world stop like the World Cup. Soccer brings people around the globe together more than any other cultural force. Not bad for jocks in shorts kicking around a black-and-white ball.
But some would use it to divide. The Palestine Football Association is pushing to kick Israel out of FIFA, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association.
The proposal’s on the agenda for the organization’s May 29 congress in Zurich. Passage would ban Israel from all international matches, including the World Cup.
Allegations of bribery and corruption surround nearly every FIFA decision, including the siting of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. But at least it’s kept out of world politics.
The only exceptions: It suspended South Africa when the white minority there systematically denied equal rights to the black majority, and Yugoslavia when its government was doing “ethnic cleansing” massacres.
Israel grants full rights to its Arab citizens — indeed, they have more rights than Arabs anywhere else in the Middle East. The Palestinian grievance: Israel won’t join a “peace settlement” that would spell its doom.
Any FIFA vote to bar Israel would be a statement of power and prejudice, not justice — and would leave the sport open to endless “grudge” resolutions.
FIFA chief Sepp Blatter wants the Palestinians to drop the proposal and instead play a peace match with the Israeli team.
FIFA might do better to just vote down the Palestinian proposal and tell the world to leave diplomacy to the diplomats and sports to the athletes”.

Shurat HaDin, soccer, ‘Palestinian’ Lawfare and Israel

Soccer is big. It’s bigger than baseball. It’s bigger than basketball. It’s bigger than American football.

Soccer is so big, it’s bigger than the United Nations (UN). The UN has 193 Member States. But the international soccer association—the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)—has 209 members.

The president of FIFA is one Joseph Blatter. He’s been called the most powerful man in sports (“FIFA officials arrested over corruption charges, face U.S. extradition”, ESPN and E:60 video, May 27, 2015). He appears to be a very nice man (ibid). But he’s also a man who, according to some, rules over a culture of corruption (ibid).

On May 29, 2015, Mr Blatter faces an election vote during a FIFA Congress meeting which has gathered in Zurich, Switzerland. He wants to be re-elected President.

He’s got some problems. First, On May 27, 2015, Swiss authorities arrested six senior FIFA officials on charges of corruption. The good news is, Mr Blatter wasn’t one of them (“Update: Sepp Blatter Not Among Arrested FIFA Officials”, Arutz Sheva, May 27, 2015). The bad news is, the US apparently wants all those arrested to be extradited to the US because, it’s alleged, their crimes were carried out in the US--using US banks (ESPN, ibid).

The US can be aggressive about these types of crimes. If you’re going to get arrested for these crimes, I’d say one of the last places you’d want to be shipped off to for prosecution would be the US. At last report, the US wants these guys.

The charges include wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering (ESPN, ibid). In addition, Swiss officials have announced other charges against these officials, including the exchange of bribes adding up to $100 million (ibid). These bribes were used to affect FIFA actions (ESPN, ibid).

Hours after those arrests, Swiss officials opened criminal “proceedings” into how the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournament choices (Russia and Qatar) were made (Graham Dunbar, “Swiss open criminal proceedings in 2018, '22 World Cup votes”, Associated Press, May 27, 2015).

The BBC has reported that FIFA headquarters in Zurich “have been raided” (“Fifa corruption probe: Officials arrested in Zurich”, May 27, 2015).

The second problem Mr Blatter has is that the ‘Palestinian’ Football (soccer) Association (PFA) has demanded that Israel’s soccer association (IFA) be expelled from FIFA. The charge is that Israel somehow ‘discriminates’ against ‘Palestinian’ players and restricts their free travel (Eldad Benari, “FIFA President Asks Israel to Make Concession in Dispute with PA”, Arutz Sheva, May 16, 2015).

Mr Blatter has already been quoted as saying that the only way a FIFA member can be expelled is for violations of FIFA rules—and Israel hasn’t violated any such rules (David Gerstman, “The Palestinians Continue Their War Against Israel in Soccer”, Legal Insurrection, May 22, 2015).

Mr Blatter has asked the head of the PFA, Jibril Rajoub, to withdraw his request. Rajoub has, so far, said no.

Rajoub has been insistent (remember this point). For example, he’s said he won’t drop the request (Eldad Benari, “Rajoub: We Won't Drop Bid to Have Israel Suspended from FIFA”, Arutz Sheva, May 21, 2015). He’s said he ““will not withdraw the motion and will not accept any compromise and any side deals” (Eldad Benari, “PA's Rajoub Rules Out Compromise on Israel Bid at FIFA”, Arutz Sheva, May 26, 2015).

Mr Blatter has been trying to resolve this demand. He doesn’t know if he can.

The third problem Mr Blatter faces comes from the pro-Israel NGO Shurat HaDin. Shurat HaDin has a reputation. It takes terrorist organizations to court—and wins. No one else in the world has done that.

It’s won billions in judgment against Iran for terror acts committed against Jews. This year, it won $400 million against the Palestinian Authority for acts of terror. It’s not a frivolous organization. It carries a very, very big stick.

On May 25, 2015, Shurat HaDin submitted to FIFA a formal petition “to expel the President of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA), senior PA official Jibril Rajoub” (Ari Soffer, “Israeli NGO Seeks Expulsion of PA Official from FIFA”, Arutz Sheva, May 26, 2015). This wasn’t just a counter-demand. It packed a punch.

Unlike Rajoub, who simply demanded Israel be expelled because of ‘discrimination’, Shurat HaDin based its petition on what it calls “gross violations of FIFA's code of conduct, including advocating the killing of Israeli civilians living in Judea and Samaria and [advocating] the use of nuclear weapons against the State of Israel” (ibid).

It seems that, while Israel hasn’t violated FIFA rules, the PFA President might have. Shurat HaDin alleges that Rajoub’s public comments about Israel “constitute grave breaches of his obligation to comply with FIFA's statutes and rules prohibiting discrimination, intimidation and violence against individuals and groups” (ibid). Shurat HaDin also alleged that Rajoub “promoted, supervised and glorified a number of attacks by Fatah and by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades against Israel…Rajoub has said that the armed conflict between Israel and Palestinian terrorist organizations should be fought by all means, and…if we had nuclear weapons, we’d be using them" (ibid).

All Mr Blatter wants to do is get re-elected. But now, some of his top officials are under arrest for, among other things, accepting bribes. If bribes are important ($100 million) to FIFA decision-making, could they be playing a role in the scheduled May 29th vote to expel Israel from FIFA? Is that why Rajoub so adamantly refuses to compromise on his demand? He knows something the rest of us don’t?

Swiss authorities have begun to arrest FIFA officials for corruption and bribery. Could a successful vote to expel Israel raise eyebrows? If Israel were expelled, might US and Swiss authorities suspect that bribery was involved to buy the needed votes? Would these authorities want to look at Members’ electronic data and documents posted during the weeks leading up to that vote? Are FIFA Members clean enough to withstand prying eyes?

Of course, this is speculation. But then, how deep and wide does FIFA corruption run?  Could it affect a FIFA vote to expel Israel?

Will there actually be a vote against Israel? No one knows. But the script you’re looking at so far approaches the unbelievable: in a single two-day news cycle we’ve seen ‘Palestinians’ wage uncompromising lawfare to get its hated enemy Israel expelled from the world’s largest Sports Federation; major corruption arrests shatter the peace of soccer’s most important conference; and a heavy-weight pro-Israel anti-terror legal powerhouse demands that the ‘Palestinian’ trouble-maker be the one to be expelled from the Federation, not Israel.

Want to know where all this is going? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Soccer: where the Arab war against Israel heats up

In the war to have Israel expelled from the family of Man, the Palestinian Authority (PA) uses its Football Association (PFA) against Israel (‘football’ means ‘soccer’). In the essay below, you’ll see two things: first, what the PA is trying to do to Israel; and, second, who in the PA is leading this effort.

Within the next two days, you’ll read why this second point is so important to this battlefront against Israel. This essay is by Aaron Klein. Its title is, “Terrorist presses to boot Israel's soccer team”. It’s from WND. It was published May 12, 2015.

Please note that this particular anti-Israel fight is scheduled to come to a vote on May 29, 2015.

I’ve done some editing:

“A Palestinian previously convicted of multiple terrorism charges is the official currently leading the dialogue with a prestigious international soccer federation from which the Palestinian Authority is seeking to get Israel expelled.

If the Fédération Internationale de Football Association ( FIFA) suspends or boots the Jewish state, the move would have a dramatic impact on Israel’s ability to compete in international soccer competitions.

As part of a larger boycott movement against Israel, the PA’s Palestinian Football Association (PFA) has filed a formal complaint with FIFA to have Israel’s membership suspended.

The PA’s main complaint is that Israel does not allow freedom of movement for Palestinian soccer players to travel from the West Bank to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip through Israel.

The Israeli government says it would be a security risk to allow any Palestinian soccer player to travel freely from the West Bank or Gaza within Israel, explaining terrorists could easily take advantage of any such accommodation.

The PA further wants FIFA to suspend five Israeli soccer clubs located in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which the Palestinians claim for a future state. The five clubs play in the third and fourth FIFA divisions.

The PFA wants the matter put to a vote during FIFA’s next annual congress (May 29, 2015), where three-quarters of the 209 member federations would have to vote to expel Israel.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has been leading the talks on the matter with both the PA and Israel. Blatter has repeatedly held dialogue with the heads of the Palestinian and Israeli soccer associations.

The PA’s PFA chairman is Jibril Rajoub, a former top aide to the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat and the past leader of several major Palestinian militias. Rajoub has been serving as the point man between the PA and FIFA.

In 1970, Rajoub was sentenced by Israel to life in prison after he was arrested and convicted of throwing a grenade at an Israeli army bus near Hebron. Part of his conviction was because of his membership in a Fatah-associated terrorist organization.

He was released from incarceration in 1985 as part of a prisoner exchange with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which had kidnapped three Israelis.

Less than two years after his release, Rajoub was arrested and convicted two more times on terrorism-related charges, including membership in Fatah terrorist cells and planning attacks.

He was deported to Lebanon in 1998, where he quickly became a top adviser to Fatah deputy leader Khalil al-Wazir, who at the time was coordinating an anti-Israel intifada.

After Wazir’s death, Rajoub became a close associate and adviser to Arafat. Rajoub returned with Arafat to the West Bank after the signing of the 1994 Oslo Accords, which established cantons of territory to be governed by Arafat’s PLO.

Rajoub became head of Arafat’s Preventive Security Force, which was repeatedly implicated in attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers. Many members of the Preventive group doubled as members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Fatah’s so-called military wing.

The brigade is a terrorist organization responsible for scores of suicide bombings, shootings, stabbings and other deadly attacks on Jews.

Aside from his soccer duties, Rajoub heads the Palestine Olympic Committee. In June 2012, he protested a request for a moment of silence to remember the 11 Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Munich Olympics, calling the request “racist”.

Rajoub said in a statement it is “clear that the Israeli Soccer Association is not willing to recognize the PFA as a federation with equal rights and obligations, just as they continue to violate their commitments made before FIFA.”

“We are therefore determined to continue our path to suspend the Israeli Soccer Association during the next FIFA Congress,” he said.

Israeli Soccer Association Chief Ofer Eini called the Palestinian request to suspend Israel “an attempt to mix politics and sport, and there is no place for this within FIFA.”

“It is clear to me that most FIFA members understand very well the intention behind this Palestinian move and the destructive impact it would have on the agency,” Eini said.


My comment: wait until you hear the rest of this story. I’ll write about this before the vote and—if there is a vote—afterwards.



On Israel and Ramallah, Obama gets it all wrong

US President Barack Obama gave a speech on May 22, 2015 in Washington, DC (Adam Kredo, “Obama Denies Animus Toward Israel During Speech at D.C. Synagogue”, Washington Free Beacon, May 22, 2015). He spoke to a gathering of Jews. He spoke of Israel, Ramallah and Iran.
In his speech, he rejected claims that he was hostile towards Israel. He rejected claims that his administration had been unsupportive of Israel. He said he objected to such claims, then repeated, ‘I object forcefully” (ibid).
He wants to see the two-state solution in place. He explained that by saying, “Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people on their land as well” (ibid).
That’s wrong. Yes, Israel has its own homeland. That homeland dates back more than 3,000 years. That homeland is Israel, including Judea-Samaria. That homeland includes the Temple Mount, which is in East Jerusalem.
The ‘Palestinians’ claim East Jerusalem as their land. They claim to for their capital.
But where is the ‘Palestinian’ homeland? ‘Palestinians’ claim Israel is their homeland. They claim the Temple Mount as theirs.
But how can ‘Palestinians’ claim the Temple Mount as ‘Palestinian’ land? President Obama has said he’s a Christian. He should know that when the Christian New Testament was written, part of its founding story takes place on the Jewish Temple Mount—not the ‘Palestinian’ Temple Mount. Part of the story of Christianity takes place in Jewish cities, not ‘Palestinian’ cities.
The US President should know there are no ‘Palestinian’ cities in the New Testament. There are, however, Jews and Jewish cities.
Barack Obama has it all wrong. The so-called ‘Palestinians’ may have a ‘homeland’. But that ‘homeland’ is not Israel.
The second thing this President got wrong in his speech to these Jews in Washington, DC has to do with children in Ramallah. About those children, he said, “The rights of the Jewish people then compel me to think about a Palestinian child in Ramallah that feels trapped without opportunity” (ibid). With these words, he suggests that Israel is the force that keeps that child trapped—or contributes substantially to his feeling trapped.
Here’s a news flash: no child needs to feel trapped in Ramallah. It’s not a concentration camp. As capital of the Palestinian Authority, hundreds of millions of dollars flows annually into Ramallah (Edward Sayre and Navtej Dhillon, “West Bank and Gaza Economy: Before and After the Crisis”, Brookings .edu, January 14, 20009). It may have the best economy in all the PA (ibid).
Ramallah is not a hovel. It’s a destination city (Michael T. Luongo, “Ramallah Attracts a Cosmopolitan Crowd”, New York Times, June 3, 2010).
With so much money flowing into Ramallah, there’s certainly funds for schools, social, welfare and training programs for children and youth. If these children don’t get these services, it isn’t Israel’s fault. It’s the fault of local Arab politicians who have their hands on the money but won’t use it for their children.
Ramallah isn’t a war zone or a refugee camp. It’s a vibrant business hub with a highly competitive job market (Ramallah Travel Guide, wikitravel). There are “major working opportunities in Ramallah [that] include information technology, pharmaceuticals, development cooperation, and the public sector(ibid).
That doesn’t sound like a city a child would feel trapped in. Instead, it’s a city with a café culture, night life, music, dance and arts festivals (New York Times, ibid).
It isn’t a city under seige, either. Alcohol flows freely and movie theaters are well attended (Ramallah Travel Guide, ibid). According to its travel site, Ramallah is “without question, the cultural capital of the West Bank, with a highly educated and fashionable population. It is also the hub of Palestinian feminist activity; the city’s women frequently attend university” (ibid).
There are many places for tourists to shop (ibid). “The 'hisbeh' produce market is also a great place to visit, where fresh fruits and vegetables can be found at reasonable prices” (ibid).
Do you sense from these descriptions that people feel trapped, poor, oppressed and desperate in Ramallah?
Ramallah has two Friends School campuses (ibid). It has a number of public and private schools that serve “a good number of the West Bank youth population” (ibid). It’s got private schools with specific religious affiliations (ibid). There are branches in Ramallah for Al-Quds Open University and a number of vocational training centers (ibid).
In Ramallah’s twin city of El-Bireh, there’s a school for the blind that also serves as a vocational center (ibid). In the neighboring town of Birzeit, there’s Birzeit University, “one of the PA’s leading educational institutions” (ibid).
If they are trapped or desperate in Ramallah, it’s not Israel’s fault. It’s the local community’s fault. The city is, by its own self-description, vibrant and wealthy enough to care properly for its children.
The US President has it all wrong. What he says is untrue. Why does he pass on lies as truth?
What’s going on here?

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Gaza war update

One Friday last August, in the middle of the 2014 Gaza-Israel war, I wrote a war essay titled, “Another war story: the wheat harvest”. You can find it below dated Friday, August 1, 2014.

In that essay, I retold a story a reader had sent to me. He’d found it on another site. I thought it was worth your while to read it.

Reposting an essay found elsewhere is a risk. One never knows if someone else’s work presents truth or fiction-as-truth or just wishful thinking. The story of a wheat harvest that ‘saved the day’ was such a story: was it true?

I didn’t know. But I wrote about it because it seemed to give an insight into how people in Israel sometimes see G-d’s protection in everyday events—or think they do.

There now exists some evidence to suggest that, yes, that particular wheat harvest story may well have been true. If you go to the website Israel Matzav for Friday May 22, 2015, you’ll find an entry titled, “The wheat field miracle”. It was posted there at 5:59 pm on May 22nd.

I’d like to give you the link to go there directly (you know, provide you with a ‘click here’, or ‘here’ in light blue). But I don’t know how to do that. Can anyone instruct me how to do that? I’m told it’s pretty simple. I just don’t know how.

You can contact me by clicking on ‘comment’ below, and writing to me about it.

I’d appreciate that.

The post at Israel Matzav presents a video (that’s something else I’d like to be able to do—give you the opportunity to open a video that I’ve uploaded onto my site. But I don’t know how to do that, either. Can you instruct me?)

In the video, a uniformed IDF (Israel Defense Force) soldier retells this “wheat harvest” story in his own words. I don’t know who is the soldier in the video, but he gives the impression of being more senior in rank than not. Yes, his uniform looks extremely ‘informal’ and wrinkled. But that’s how many soldiers, including those of higher rank, dress here.

This soldier’s account of the wheat harvest ‘miracle’ seems to buttress the veracity of the original story from last summer. Take a look at it. It’s pretty much the same story I told you. It’s quite a story.

Is he telling us about another Israel miracle? You’ll have to decide for yourself.

The Pope, ‘Palestine’, the Bible and Israel

A reader has sent an essay to me from the Jerusalem Post (Michael Freund, “Pope Francis is aligning himself against Israel”, May 19, 2015). Even if you saw it, it's worth a second look. 

I’ve edited the essay. See my comment below:

“In a treaty that was finalized in Rome May 13-16, 2015, the Catholic Church fired the latest salvo in its 2,000-year-old struggle to disenfranchise the Jewish people. Meeting with Palestinian officials at the Vatican, church officials agreed to recognize the "State of Palestine".

And just in case anyone failed to get the memo, Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi went to the trouble of going on record as saying, "Yes, it's a recognition that the state exists."

This outrageous step is a severe blow to Catholic- Jewish relations. It cannot go unanswered.

Israel and the Jewish people should protest this measure in the strongest possible terms. It should make sure Pope Francis realizes the damage he has done.

In biblical terms, by recognizing a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, the Vatican is effectively seeking to deny the eternal covenant between God and the Jewish people, to whom this land was promised long ago. This is not only offensive and disrespectful, but disingenuous too. Indeed, one cannot help but wonder: what Bible is the Vatican reading? Whichever one it is, it must be missing some pages, as even a cursory glance at the Scriptures makes clear that God promised to give the Land of Israel to the Jewish people and nobody else. In fact, there are over 150 biblical verses ranging from Genesis to Joshua to Chronicles which state this and reaffirm that Israel would return from Exile to this holy soil.

Take, for example, Isaiah 14:1-2: "The Lord will have compassion on Jacob; once again He will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land." Or how about Jeremiah 31:4, where God says: "You shall again plant vineyards upon the mountains of Samaria." And there's Genesis 48:3-4. And Judges 2:1, and Ezekiel 34: 11-13. And Hosea 3:4-5. And Amos 9:14-15. And Obadiah 1:17, Zephaniah 3:19-20 and Zechariah 8:7-8.

Moreover, the Bible stresses that these were not merely assurances, but a Divine oath, one that would never be broken.

"He remembers His covenant forever," says 1 Chronicles 16:15-18, "the word He commanded for a thousand generations, the covenant He made with Abraham, the oath He swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: 'To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.'" You get the point. But it seems that the Vatican does not.

In fact, my Christian friends tell me that the words "Palestine" and "Palestinians" do not appear anywhere in the New Testament. Hence, one could argue that Jesus himself would be mystified by the pope's position.

After all, according to Christian belief, Jesus the Jew was born and raised in Bethlehem, which means there was a Jewish community there, with synagogues, ritual baths, rabbis and perhaps a kosher deli too, centuries before Islam was even founded.

So would the Catholic Church now deem Jesus to have been a "settler" or "occupier" of Palestinian land? For an institution that bills itself as "the Holy See" and which claims to uphold sacred values, the Vatican's profane involvement in Middle Eastern politics is simply unbecoming.

And given its sordid history of anti-Semitism, book-burnings, forced conversions and Inquisitions, the Catholic Church should think a hundred times over before daring to step on Israel's toes.

If anything, the pope should be down on his knees pleading for forgiveness from the Jewish people and atonement from the Creator for what the Vatican has wrought over the centuries.

The current attempt to undermine and deny Israel's right to Judea and Samaria by recognizing Palestinian statehood smacks of "supersessionism," or replacement theology. This doctrine posits that  the Church replaced Israel as God's chosen instrument nearly two millennia ago.

Over the past 50 years, since the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church had slowly begun to acknowledge that the Jewish people are "a covenanted people," thereby shifting away ever slightly from supersessionism.

But conferring legitimacy on a Palestinian state is akin to suggesting that the Palestinians have replaced Israel as the rightful owners of the land, a position that flies in the face of history, theology and common sense.

It is nothing less than supersessionism via diplomatic means. It’s a cruel insult to the generations of Jews who longed for Zion while enduring Catholic oppression and persecution.

Israel needs to respond to this affront forcefully. We cannot stand by and watch as our national integrity is called into question. A good place to start would be to withdraw our ambassador to the Holy See, curtail the number of visas granted to Vatican officials, and rule out any possibility of giving the Church the foothold it so sorely wants at the Tomb of King David on Mount Zion.

What a shame it is that after so much progress in Catholic- Jewish relations over the past few decades the Vatican would now betray all the headway that has been made.

Pope Francis needs to realize that by recognizing the fictitious "State of Palestine" he is aligning himself against Israel, the Jewish people and the Bible itself.


My comment: by recognizing ‘Palestine’, the Pope automatically recognizes the ‘Palestinian’ narrative. That narrative says ‘Palestine’ preceded Israel as a Homeland. It didn’t, which is why I think Michael Freund is correct in his assessment. As Mr Freund so aptly suggests, nowhere in the New Testament does it say that the early Christians lived on ‘Palestinian’ land. They lived in the Jewish Israel.

I’ll have more to say about the Pope’s endorsement of ‘Palestine’ in an upcoming essay.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Israel vs the PA: who wants peace, who doesn’t

Arabs (the ‘Palestinian’ Authority (PA)) and Jews (Israel) are in conflict. The US and the European Union (EU) worry about this conflict. The US and EU want peace. They tell Israel that the Palestinian Authority and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, are ready, willing and able to create that peace. The US and EU tell Israel that Abbas is Israel’s truest and best peace partner.

Since that’s the case, the US and EU believe, there’s only one possible reason to explain why there’s no peace: Israel doesn’t want it.

Before you see how Israel ‘doesn’t want peace—and how the Palestinian Authority ‘does’ want peace, take a look at the definition of ‘peace’. That definition will tell you two things: first, peace can happen only when people cannot just live together side-by-side, but live well together cooperatively, such that both parties seek to help each other, and neither seeks to harm the other; and second, peace requires the absence of violence.

Violence means more than physical harm against another. It also means verbal violence in the form of incitement, glorifying the murder of the ‘other’, demonization and dehumanization.

It’s a simple recipe with two obvious ingredients. To create peace, you need to have the presence of ‘harmony’ and the absence of both physical and verbal violence.   

Now, with that recipe in mind, let’s look at how Israel ‘rejects’ peace and how the PA ‘seeks’ peace.

During the week May 14-21, 2015, Israeli leaders made two statements. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the EU’s new high representative of the EU for foreign affairs he believes in the concept of having two states (Tovah Lazaroff, “Netanyahu to EU foreign minister: I support the vision of two states for two peoples”, Jerusalem Post, May 20, 2015). The next day, Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin reinforced Netanyahu’s statement when he told the same high representative for foreign affairs how important Netanyahu’s ‘vision’ was (Greer Fay Cashman, “Rivlin: The whole world heard Netanyahu's commitment to two-state solution”, Jerusalem Post, May 21, 2015).

Look at these two Israeli comments. What do they tell you? They tell the US and EU that Israel doesn’t want peace. Can you see their reasoning? I can’t.

US President Barack Obama ignored this ‘vision’ and has threatened Netanyahu instead over a comment Netanyahu made more than two months ago in the heat of an election. Obama has also chosen to reject Netanyahu’s subsequent retraction of his election comment (Rebecca Shimoni Stoil, “Obama administration rejects Netanyahu backtrack on two-states”, Times of Israel, March 19, 2015). After the Netanyahu ‘vision’ statement, Obama didn’t express hope for a ‘newer vision’. He didn’t complement Netanyahu for his ‘vision’. He threatened Israel (Zalman Ahnsaf, “Obama Warns Israel of Consequences”, Hamodia, May 21, 2015).

Israel is threatened for not speaking of peace. It’s threatened when it does speak of peace.

Now look at how the Palestinian Authority ‘seeks’ harmony, cooperation and peace with Israel. For harmony, the PA can’t wait to charge Israel with war crimes in the International Criminal Court (Khaled Abu Toameh, Tovah Lazaroff and Yonah Jeremy Bob, “Palestinian Authority advances bid to file lawsuits against Israel at ICC “, Jerusalem Post, May 18, 2015). For cooperation, the PA can’t wait to get Israel kicked out of the Federation Internationale Football Association—the international soccer association that’s much larger than but similar to America’s National Football League (“PA Insists on Its Campaign to Kick Israel out of FIFA”, Arutz Sheva, May 21, 2015). To express its commitment to a two-state solution, Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas’ ruling Party in the PA, has just declared (for the umpteenth time) that the new state of ‘Palestine’ won’t be situated side-by-side with Israel, but in place of Israel (Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, “Fatah leaves no room for a two-state solution: ‘From its Sea to its River... it is ours’”, Palestine Media Watch, May 18, 2015).  

The truth is, Arab leaders regularly incite Arabs to cause harm to Israel. Arab leaders glorify—not condemn---those who kill Jews.

In addition, Arab leaders pass laws making it illegal to do business with or work for Jews. Arab organizations and Parties incite against all cooperation with Israel.

That’s how Israel’s ‘truest and best peace partner’ behaves.  The PA is no peace partner. It behaves instead like Israel’s truest enemy.

For their part, both the US and EU ignore such obvious hate-based behaviour. They rarely—if ever—call Abbas and his top officials for their anti-Israel rhetoric. But they never miss an opportunity to criticize or threaten Israel.

Why do the EU and US so stubbornly criticize Israel so much, even as the PA uses war-like language against Israel? The answer is simple: with each passing month, the US and EU prove that they agree with the PA Mission Statement to destroy Israel.

The Jewish Redemption and the year 2015

The idea of a future Final Redemption for the Jewish nation is linked to Judaism. It’s so important, two of Judaism’s “Thirteen Principles of Faith” focus on the issue of  Redemption.

Our Jewish Heritage reminds us repeatedly about Redemption. It appears in our Tanach, our written Torah. It’s explained and explored in our Talmud, our Oral Torah. It’s studied and discussed by our Sages and their successors throughout the generations, to this day (if you know the writings of Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook, zt”l, you will notice that this essay relies heavily on—and in many instances, comes directly from--Rav Kook’s “The Redemptive Vision”, reprinted in The Koren Mahzor for Yom HaAtzma’ut and Yom Yerushalim, Nusach Ashkenaz, Koren publishers, Jerusalem, 2015, pp 3-15; any misstatements about Redemption are mine, not his).

Paradoxically, Redemption begins with exile. Exile includes the conquest of the homeland of the Jewish people, the destruction of the life of the Jewish nation and the removal of the Jewish nation from its rightful place.

Exile scatters the Jewish nation.  It turns the land of Israel into copper. It renders the land barren.

Exile devours the hearts and souls of Jews. It diminishes Torah. It banishes Torah.

Redemption is the reverse of exile. It’s the process of nullifying the exilic experience.

Redemption is rejuvenation. It rejuvenates the life of the Jewish nation.

It brings the return of the Jewish nation to Israel--its rightful place. It uplifts the Jewish spirit. It empowers Israel’s greatness.

Today, the Jewish nation has been restored, reconstituted. Jewish sovereignty in Israel has been rejuvenated. Jewish hearts and souls have been rejuvenated. Torah has been rejuvenated.

Torah no longer diminishes. It increases. It grows stronger.

The land of Israel is no longer copper. It’s no longer barren. It blossoms with world-class agriculture advances, medical technology and high-tech creativity.

Some say that this rejuvenation and empowerment are sure signs Redemption has begun. Others aren’t so certain. Yes, in 1947, the United Nations passed Res. 181 to create the modern state of Israel. That triggered a process of return to Israel that runs concurrently with an equally great return to Judaism and Torah. But what does it all mean?

In 2015, where do we stand relative to Redemption?  Are we still far away from it or close to its threshold? Are we at the beginning of Redemption, the end of the beginning of Redemption or the beginning of the end of the entire Redemptive process (Rabbi Jacob Schacter, “The Beginning of the Flowering of our Redemption,” reprinted in the Koren Mahzor (above), pp93-100)?

Personally, I believe that history tells us two things about Redemption: first, it tells us that Redemption will be a process, not a single one-moment event. Look at what’s happened to the Jewish people in the last 100 years: the Balfour agreement in 1917; the founding of the state of Israel in 1948; the increase of the Jewish population of Israel from perhaps 83,000 total (in 1915) to more than 6 million (in 2015) (“Demographics of Israel:  Population of Israel/Palestine (1553 – Present, jewishvirtuallibrary); the absolute explosion of Torah-study in Israel; the increase of Torah-observance in Israel as a percent of population.

The Jewish nation rejuvenates. The Jewish religion rejuvenates. The Jewish land of Israel rejuvenates.

The second thing history tells us about Redemption is that our Tanach’s descriptions of the Final Days before Redemption reappear almost every month—sometimes every day—in our news headlines.

The nations turn against Israel (Yechezkiel). Jerusalem is under ‘attack’ (Zechariah). The presumed most powerful leader in the world plots evil designs against Israel (Yechezkiel). Edom (the Christianized West) and Yishmael (essentially, the Muslim word) lead a ‘counsel’ (the United Nations?) against Israel (Tehillim).

The foes of Israel are in an uproar (Tehillim). They seek to cut off Israel from its nationhood (ibid). Their goal is that Israel’s name will be remembered no longer (ibid).

‘Palestinians’ aim to conquer Israel. They want to rename Israel, ‘Palestine’. The creation of this ‘Palestine’ requires that the state of Israel be destroyed (see maps of ‘Palestine’ produced by the Palestinian Authority).

The Catholic Pope has endorsed this ‘state’. The European Union threatens Israel if Israel refuses to empower this ‘state’. The US threatens that Israel will suffer ‘consequences’ if it refuses to midwife this ‘state’.

In 2015, the gentile nations inch closer and closer to war against Israel. That movement towards war is the Redemptive echo of our Tanach.

If you want to see how this story ends, don’t wait for the movie. Read the Book.