Sunday, June 25, 2017

You just missed the real book of Palestinian history


Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Palestinian Authority (PA), has claimed that the 'Palestinian people' are 6,000 years old (Itamar Marcus, "Abbas falsely claims 6,000 year-old Palestinian nation", palwatch, June 6, 2016). He's also claimed the Palestinian people are 7,000 years old (David Bukay, "Founding national myths: fabricating Palestinian history", meforum, Summer 2012, volume 19, number 3, pp. 23-30).

Of course, we know these claims are false. In Israel, there is no archaeological record of any ancient (or medieval or 19th century)  Palestinian people. There is no evidence of any ancient Palestinian language, culture or currency. There are no records of any ancient Palestinian rulers, potentates, princes or queens. There is no ancient Palestinian literature, poetry or philosophy. There are no records of ancient Palestinian wars, triumphs, battles, defeats or political struggles. 

In the Islamic holy text, the Quran, there is no mention of any Palestinian people. There is no mention of any nation called, Palestine. But in that same holy Islamic text, there is mention of the Jewish people, Jews and the Jewish Israel.

That tells you something about 'the Palestinian people', doesn't it?

If you've read about Israel, the Jews and these so-called 'Palestinians', you know all of this. But did you know that someone has written a book about the history of the Palestinians? It's titled, A history of the Palestinian people, from ancient times to the modern era. It's just been published. The author is Assaf Voll. 

The book appears to have sold well.  For awhile, it almost flew off the shelves at Amazon. It  became a bestseller on Amazon's "Israel and Palestine history" list (Joy Bernard, "The secret behind bestseller on Palestinian history", jerusalempost, June 21, 2017). At one point, the book held second place on that Amazon book category (ibid).

According to a review of the book, parts of which appear at israelmatzav ("Amazon's new best seller: 'A History of the Palestinian People from Ancient Times to the Modern Era'", June 22, 2017), this book "is the fruit of many years of research, during which thousands of sources have been meticulously reviewed in libraries and archives worldwide. It is no doubt the most comprehensive and extensive review of some 3,000 years of Palestinian history, with emphasis on the Palestinian people’s unique contribution to the world and to humanity" (ibid).

The book isn't long--and the big lesson you learn from this text isn't complicated at all. 

This history book may shock. When you open it, you discover that all the pages here specifically dedicated to the 'history of the Palestinian people', are....blank. That's right, blank.

The pages are blank because there has never been an ancient 'Palestinian people'. With no history, there's nothing to write about. 

While the world gets to contemplate that fact, israelmatzav suggests that Amazon has dropped the book from its book list ("Amazon removes its #1 Middle East best seller", June 25, 2017). Indeed, when you go to Amazon-books-history-Middle East-Israel and Palestine-new releases-Last 60 days (and also Last 90 days), the book is nowhere to be found (as of June 25, 2017 at 1000 ET). 

If it's true Amazon has dropped this book from its sales list, that's too bad. Even if Amazon clearly identified this book as a 'blank' book, it would sell. 

This blank book should remain on the Amazon sales list--with, of course, a full disclosure about its 'content'.  Amazon should keep this book because it graphically illustrates a truth that needs to be told. 

The world could use a dose of truth these days, don't you think?







Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday cartoon from Israel: school's out!


For most Israeli school-children (including High Schoolers), summer has begun. Most schools in Israel ended their school year this week. I understand other schools will end soon, too.  

For most families, this means only one thing: the challenge of keeping children safe and busy all day long during their vacation. It's a challenge that begins now and extends to the beginning of September, when school begins once again.

Many cities in Israel run some form of publicly-sponsored day camps which replicate normal school hours. This keeps our children and grandchildren busy, on vacation and within structured environments. But these local camps aren't free. Some parents (many parents?) cannot afford the cost of these camps. That means our children and grandchildren often become home-alone children for all or part of a day--every day for the next ten weeks.

Today's cartoon is a social comment about summer school-vacation--and how parents handle the challenges that vacation creates. I don't believe these challenges are unique to Israel. I believe every parent with children has the same problem each summer. 

If a family has the money to send children to summer camps, many problems are resolved. But then, how do parents without that money cope? This cartoon suggests an insight.

The cartoon comes from the jewishpress. It's dated June 21, 2017 which, for many, was the last day of school/beginning of summer vacation.The cartoonist is Asher Schwartz:










If a picture is worth 1,000 words, this picture speaks volumes. Here's how I read this cartoon: parents who don't have the money to fund activities and camps for their children over the next ten weeks will wear blinders and put on a happy face. The home-bound children, meanwhile, will dedicate themselves to what one might call, sibling rivalry. 

Sound familiar?



Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Biblical rebellion, the news industry and Hamas



The Torah portion Jews around the world will read this week (on Shabbat, June 24, 2017) is called, Korach (Bamidbar, 16:1-18:32). It tells the story of a rebellious leader who accuses Moshe, the G-d-appointed leader of the Jewish people, of a variety of offenses. According to Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888), this is a rebellion against Moshe's leadership (Hirsch commentary on the Torah, translated by Isaac Levy, Judaica Press, 1966, Bamidbar, p. 270). As a result, Korach-the-rebel, along with 250 men who have joined him, perish: the earth opens and swallows them.  

Here, now, is a fake news story about that rebellion-and-punishment. With so much fake (anti-Israel) news these days, it seems appropriate to offer fake news of a different kind.

This fakery comes from a site called, PreOccupied Territory. This is a fake news story about Korach, Hamas tunnels and, of course, fake accusations against Israel. It's print date is June 20, 2017. It suggests what a news report might look like if a miracle such as this would occur today. Here's an excerpt:








Earth Opens To Swallow Korah, Revealing Hamas Tunnel Network


“The earth opening up and swallowing might violate international law,” asserted Ken ben-Roth of Arab Rights Watch.


Wilderness of Zin, June 20 – The rebellion of a tribal chieftain among the Israelites resulted in the ground devouring him, his sons, and other ringleaders of the insurrection this morning, briefly exposing the subterranean network of passages used by the Islamist group that runs the Gaza Strip.

Korach, son of Yitzhar, of the tribe of Levi, challenged the legitimacy of Moses’s leadership and the authority of the laws he transmitted, and rebuffed the latter’s efforts to reach an amicable conciliation. The Almighty then caused the Earth to open and swallow the men, their families, and their possessions. As fire consumed the other 250 rebels, the Israelites observing the miraculous event reported that they could see the Hamas tunnels while the Earth was open.
“I saw steel-reinforced concrete passages with ventilation systems and pumps to combat flooding,” attested a man from the tribe of Benjamin. “They’ve really invested in those tunnels. You could drive a car through some of them – and who knows how many weapons you could smuggle through a space like that. Hamas must make a mint on import duties through those things”...
Some observers took a dim view of the phenomenon. “The earth opening up and swallowing might violate international law,” asserted Ken ben-Roth of Arab Rights Watch. “It needlessly endangered the lives of civilians inside the tunnels, and threatened the livelihoods of the Palestinians who depend on those tunnels for vital civilian goods such as grenade launchers, Fajr-5 missiles, mortar rounds, and, uh, penicillin.”
“But certainly the flames consuming the 250 casualties raises serious humanitarian concerns,” he continued. “There are allegations that the fire resulted from the deployment of white phosphorus, the use of which is restricted.” He declined to specify what international statute bars the use of the substance, or what credible source made the allegations.
Ben-Roth added that the prior use of incense in the ritual to demonstrate which leader could lay legitimate claim to the high priesthood might constitute a war crime, as it runs afoul of laws banning chemical weapons.
--
If the rebellion of Korach were to occur today, you might indeed see such nonsense from the world's mainstream media. Of course, a story like this--about a Biblical figure and Hamas--would never be written because Hamas isn't, like the Jews, more than 3,300 years old. Hamas isn't 100 years old. It isn't even 80 years old.

Nevertheless, The Guardian--or the BBC--might ignore the rebelliousness of Korach in this Biblical story and simply run a headline like, "G-d kills Jewish leader after incense incident". You'd also surely see the obligatory anti-Israel angle--perhaps an accusation that Israel is such a criminal oppressor it even murders its own leaders. 
But those headlines would be wrong. Man--or the Guardian or the BBC--doesn't set moral standards for G-d. G-d sets the standards for man. 
Besides, Israel is no rogue nation. It's the nation of miracles. 

For example, water is rare in this desert region. Nations bordering Israel are slowly turning into desert in a process called, desertification. This process, however, doesn't affect Israel. In Israel, water is abundant.
Then there's Israel's economy. It's strong. It's vibrant. But the economies of Israel's neighbors range from borderline-weak to non-existent. 
Israel is a free country where Jews and non-Jews have equal rights. Israel's neighbors are run by despots. Not even Arabs have equal rights in those places.
Yes, Israel is a land of miracle. But these miracles are surrounded by hate, not admiration. Jew-hate denies Israel its miracles. It denies Israel it's right to exist. For every miracle you see in Israel, Jew-hate proclaims that miracle to be just another way to oppress innocent 'Palestinians'.
This story of Korach may be a story of rebellion and punishment. But it's also a story of miracle. Our G-d protects what and who He treasures.
Jew-hate is not a story of G-dly miracles. It's a story of the rejection of G-d. But then, that story, too, will become a story of miracles. Those miracles will make the Jewish people great. 
Stay tuned.

PS. If you don't believe this, read your Tanach. It's all there.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Strange story: Trump, Bibi, the IDF and 14,000 homes?

(Last update: June 19, 2017)


When US President Donald Trump left Israel after his first official visit, May 22-23, 2017, most observers came to roughly six conclusions. 

-Trump was optimistic about peace; 

-Trump and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemed to have a genuine 'like' for each other; and that affection would help Israel; 

-The US Embassy was not going to be moved to Jerusalem; 

-Trump seemed outraged at Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority (PA) leader, for lying to Trump when Abbas had visited Washington on May 3, 2017; and that outrage would certainly benefit Israel;  

-Trump had offered no concrete recommendations about how he saw peace negotiations unfolding; and that cautiousness seemed a good sign that Trump wouldn't pressure Israel to surrender land for 'peace' as Obama-Kerry had;

-Trump had said nothing negative about Israel continuing to build Jewish homes in the Jewish-controlled portion of Judea-Samaria  (Area 'C'); that was another good sign for Israel because Obama before Trump seemed always interested in freezing all Jewish building in at least Area 'C'.

Given the pressures and animosity Israel had had to deal with during the Obama administration, this trip by the new President seemed, by and large, a pro-Israel success (despite the disappointment over the failure to get the US Embassy moved to Jerusalem). Most Israelis were pleased, if not ecstatic.

But then, 'troubles' began. Just one day after Trump left Israel, May 24, 2017, a report surfaced in Israel. It suggested the United States had pulled an 'Obama'. That is, the US had told Israel that it should (must?)--as 'a goodwill gesture'--surrender land to the Palestinian Authority (PA) (Alexander Fulbright, "US said pushing Israel to transfer parts of West Bank to PA administrative rule", timesofisrael, May 24, 2017). Moreover, Israel was to do this before any peace negotiations began. According to the same report, the US wanted this done without any concessions asked of the PA. 

With that report, the joy of Trump's visit curdled into something far more sinister: an Obama-style arm-twisting against Israel, as if Israel had sole responsibility for peace, and the PA was so innocent, so needy, it couldn't possibly be asked to make any peace commitments at all. 


Suddenly, this Trump-trip didn't seem like a breathe of fresh air for Israel. It seemed to be Obama redux. This demand sounded familiar--like all the other pressure-Israel tactics used by Obama-Kerry.

Was Trump a neo-Obama in disguise?  

Netanyahu was reported to resist such a demand (ibid). He was said to have no interest in ceding land to the PA (ibid).

That resistance to ceding land seemed to be pure Netanyahu. After all, despite his occasional waffling about 'two-states', he was still the PM who defended the 'settlement enterprise'. 

On May 30, 2017, Netanyahu reinforced that belief. He declared there'll be no peace through the kind of 'land-swap' we'd seen reported (the original report didn't seem to have referred to any 'swap', but an outright transfer; 'land-swap' was the term used by Netanyahu on May 30th) (Ariel Whitman, "Netanyahu: Land swaps with Palestinians won't bring peace, jersualempost, May 30, 2017). That was fine. The unexplained detail about a 'land-swap' was ignored. The point was, the supposed US demand had no legs. It would lead nowhere. 

Two weeks later, Israel walked into an alternative universe, where everything was turned up-side down and nothing made sense. On June 14th, it was announced that the 'Israeli government' would take a unilateral action regarding Palestinians in Area C. In what might well be one of the most unexpected declarations of any recent Israeli government, this announcement said that Israel would build 14,000 homes for Palestinians near a Palestinian-only city called, Qalqilya--which some in Israel call a 'terror' city because of the number of terrorists who've recently come out of Qalqilya to kill Jews (Jacob Magid, et al, "Israeli plan to double size of Qalqilya enrages settler leaders", timesofisrael, June 14, 2017).

This was a stunning announcement. It was a unilateral move by Israel that would double the size of a hostile Palestinian city in Israeli-controlled Area C. It was tantamount to legitimizing a Palestinian presence on Jewish land without any negotiations whatsoever. 

Such a one-sided move reminded many of the Gaza expulsion of 2005 where, in a bid to make a 'gesture' for peace, Israel forcibly removed as many as 10,000 Jews from Gaza, making Gaza Judenrein (Jew-free). 

But Israel didn't get peace. The Palestinian Authority (PA)--and Hamas--didn't see this Jew-expulsion as a peace gesture. They saw is as fear by Israel. They took it to mean that Israel felt weak and vulnerable. They took it to mean more violence would get an even bigger bonus.

That Gaza debacle taught us that a unilateral concession by Israel doesn't make the PA friendlier. For Israel, unilateral  moves have the opposite effect: they give the PA all the proof it needs to see that its intransigence and violence inevitably frightens Israel enough to give the PA something for nothing.

Did this planned 'gift' of 14,000 homes to hostile Palestinians near Qalqilya mean that Israel had learned nothing from the 2005 expulsion?

To astute readers, this seemingly mad decision to build enough homes for perhaps 55,000 Palestinians to move onto Jewish-controlled land wasn't what it seemed. It might be something else: a move by forces within Israel who think Netanyahu's commitment to 'two-states' is weak enough to need some 'extra' help. 

The first hint of this possibility was the observation that the announcement didn't come from Netanyahu. He defended it, yes. But the announcement came from the office of the Defense Minister, Avigdor Liberman (ibid). The Times of Israel reported the story that way. The Jerusalem Post put it slightly differently: it suggested the 14,000 homes was an IDF (Israel Defense Force) plan (Tovah Lazaroff, Daniel Roth, "Israel advancing 14,000 Palestinian homes in Area C", June 14, 2017).

To have the Army and the Defense Minister (who controls the Army) involved in building activity in Judea-Samaria (where Area C sits) is not as strange as it sounds. Judea-Samaria is not governed the way the rest of Israel is governed, with a civilian infrastructure. Judea-Samaria is governed by the top military officer in Israel--the Defense Minister--and the army. No building can be done without the signature of the Defense Minister.

There's a political smell here. It's possible that the Defense Minister and the Army have acted on an independent plan to change the realities on the ground with no input from the Prime Minister. That's not planning. It's a court rebellion in the heart of the palace.

When, on Friday, June 16, 2017, an Israeli police officer was murdered by Palestinians in Jerusalem, this story changed course. Perhaps focusing our attention on such terror attacks, Jewish Home Party leader Naftali Bennett has asked, "In light of Palestinian incitement they should not be given the prize of building 14,000 homes" (Herb Keinon, Tovah Lazaroff, "Security cabinet debates  building 14,000 new Palestinian homes in Area C, jerusalempost, june 18, 2017).  

Around here, people respond to that kind of statement. We've seen a lot of terror attacks in the last 21 months. We don't like them. We don't like that the PA does nothing to stop them. We don't like it that the PA glorifies those who kill us. 

Bennett has a point. Why should we offer free gestures to people like that? 

Finally, we get to the strangest part (to date) of this story. Arutz Sheva reported on June 18 that Netanyahu couldn't even remember approving this move (David Rosenberg, "Is PM giving up on plan to expand PA cities?", June 16, 2017). How curious is that?

It may not be that curious at all. A report now circulates that some unidentified members of Israel's 'Security Cabinet' are opposed to this government's declared policies ("Were building incentives for Qalqilya approved underhandedly?", arutzsheva, June 18, 2017). Apparently, it's being suggested, this group saw a chance to get this plan approved 'under the radar screen'. How exactly they did that, no one's saying. But that's why Netanyahu didn't remember it. He wasn't aware he'd been snookered (ibid).

Netanyahu now plans to reconsider this plan (Jacob Magid, et al, "Cabinet reopens debate on expanding Palestinian city", timesofisrael, June 18, 2017). 

At this point, we really don't know what's going on. Is this plan to build for Palestinians in Area C a reaction to the supposed US demand that Israel transfer Area C land directly to Palestinian control? We don't know. Was the report of a US demand actually real--or fakery, used to prepare the way to this plan instead, which could be presented as something better than transferring land? We don't know.

The IDF has been sounding increasingly Leftist lately (Caroline Glick, "Column One: The IDF's new social contract", jerusalempost, January 6, 2017). Some IDF leaders (and many former IDF leaders) want to see a Palestinian state (Anna Ahronheim, Udi Shaham, "IDF Generals launch Arabic campaign for two states", jerusalempost, January 16, 2017) . Are they now trying to use anti-Netanyahu 'friends' in the government to push a plan for Palestinizing Area C without the Prime  Minister's approval?  

We'd better found out.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The UNHRC is incompetent. It should be shut down


Watching the UN work can be like going to a circus. There are clowns everywhere.

This seems especially true at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). This Council is supposed to protect human rights. But the short video you're about to see may suggest that UNHRC fails to protect anyone from rights abuse. 

For example, in the subject below, instead of addressing a human rights problem, the Council blames Israel for it. That blame assures that the problem will never be fixed--and the women in need will receive no assistance.

The video below is about a report called, 'Report on Violence against Women' in the Palestinian Authority (PA). This Report claims that, because Israel 'occupies' the PA, it alone is responsible for the violence you're about to hear about. 

The only saving grace for this clownish circus is a response to the Report by UN Watch's Hillel Neuer. In a moment, you'll hear him tear into the Report. You'll learn that the Report appears to have no research--no data--at all to support its anti-Israel accusations. 

His questions about the Report suggest that the UNHRC is so incompetent it doesn't understand the meaning of the words, 'professional research standards'. His questions also raise their own question: shouldn't an organization this incompetent be shut down before it really harms people in need? 

Towards the end of this video, you'll hear a rebuttal to Hillel Neuer. The woman doing the rebuttal says that each state is responsible for the human rights issues that affect violence against women--and they must fix those abuses (or, something like that). That's fair enough. But why does Israel have that responsibility for abuses in the PA? 

Despite what the UNHRC claims, Israel doesn't occupy the PA. It plays no role in private family issues within the PA.

The PA governs itself, not Israel (this is how we know Israel doesn't 'occupy' the PA). It's the PA that's responsible for the family issues of PA families--not Israel. 

If the UNHRC is trying to lay PA governance responsibilities on Israel, that's an outrageous suggestion, especially in a political climate where the PA doesn't want anything to do with Israel. Only those who are incompetent would make such a suggestion.

But it's an interesting suggestion nonetheless because it allows those who would demonize Israel the opportunity to service two important purposes: first, to demonize Israel; and second, to absolve the PA from any responsibility for problems it should be addressing, but isn't. 

It's a neat trick. It's great for the PA (when blaming Israel, the PA doesn't have to fix anything). But it's a tactic that perpetuates human rights abuses in the PA.

Of course, that's okay, too. Leaving human rights abuses unaddressed in the PA provides more fodder to continue to blame Israel down the road. 

This video was posted June 12, 2017. It's 3:57 long. I took it from youtube. I believe it's from the pro-Israel NGO, unwatch, with which Hillel Neuer (the English speaker in the video) is associated. This video is about Hillel Neuer at the UN. Watch:





The PA Representative here says that the "colonial Israeli military occupation is the major obstacle for Palestinian women. Only an  end to the occupation will bring a true and lasting empowerment to Palestinian women" (0:20-0:30 in the video). As Neuer suggests, that's an outrageous assertion, not least because the Report provides no data to show this assertion is true. 

Naturally, in the clown-town called the UNHRC, the obvious doesn't exist: Islamic preachers on official Palestinian TV (i.e., officially under the control of the PA) give instructions on how to beat your wife; that televised advice doesn't play any role in PA violence against women? Where's the data to prove that?

The Report provides none.

 As Neuer points out, for these incompetents, religious or cultural influences in the PA play no role the abuse of women in PA homes. The only possible explanation for PA wife beating is 'Israel colonial military occupation'.

The mindlessness of this claim is startling, to say the least. 

When you listen to Hillel Neuer--and those in the video demonizing Israel--you can appreciate three things:

(1) The only voice of reason at the UNHRC is Hillel Neuer; and,

(2) The hatred of Israel at the UN is so irrational it's become 'clownish'; and,

(3) This clownishness is not funny. It means that the suffering of these women will go on. PA men will beat their wives, the PA will feel no need to intervene--and the abuses will continue unabated.

The UNHRC isn't kidding. Demonizing Israel is clearly far more important than fixing human rights abuses. 

That makes the UNHRC worse than incompetent because it abandons its mandate to push a malicious political agenda. That's not just incompetence. It's a betrayal of the women and children it's supposed to protect.

In the name of human rights, the UNHRC should be shut down.

Monday, June 12, 2017

News about the UN, France and England: Israel beware


Three recent news stories don't appear to have much in common. They're about the UN, France and England. The UN story is about Israel. But the other two?

Consider the three stories: 

The first news item comes from the UN, where Israel Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, is working to convince "multiple members" of the UN's Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to walk away from the UNHRC. He's doing this because the UNHRC insists on ignoring human rights violations by dictators around the world while it continuously condemns Israel, a democracy (Shlomo Cesana, "UN budget will suffer unless it stops attacking Israel", israelhayom, June 9, 2017). 

As Danon said, "There are hundreds of thousands of refugees in Syria and human rights are being violated in Iran, Libya, Yemen and North Korea, but the Human Rights Council is obsessed with Israel" (ibid).


Danon has two specific goal for this campaign. First, he wants the UNHRC to cancel its unique-to-Israel annual session that requires UNHRC to find supposed rights violations committed by Israel against 'Palestinians'; and, second, he demands that the UHNRC disband a committee it has formed to create and maintain a database of companies doing business beyond the Green Line--in Jerusalem, Judea-Samaria and the Golan Heights (ibid). 

This database is not benign. It can--and probably will be--used to initiate a boycott campaign against companies doing business in Israel. That boycott isn't human rights. It's economic war against the Jewish Israel. 

Danon wants to persuade certain unnamed UNHRC members to exit the UNHRC if the Council doesn't make these two changes. We'll have to wait to find out how well the UNHRC responds to Danon.

However, the last time someone spoke harshly about how Israel is treated at the UN, the Council attacked Israel (follow US UN Ambassador Nikki Haley's remarks at the UN, and regarding the UNHRC, during the period  February-March, 2017). Will it attack Israel because of Danon's remarks?

The second story is about France. It's about a follow-up election to France's May 7, 2017 presidential election. 

Last month, Emmanuel Macron won the presidency by a 2-to-one margin (66%-33%). Yesterday, in a second election to determine the make-up of France's National Assembly, Macron won again by an even greater margin (Peter Allen, "Macron heading for a landslide as French election polls predict his party will win 445 out of 577 seats - pushing Europe towards a 'hard Brexit'", dailymail, June 11, 2017). 

Macron needed 289 seats to win a majority in the National Assembly. He won 158 seats more than he needed. That means he'll control a whopping 77% of the National Assembly. This suggests that, in theory at least, Macron should be able to pass any legislation he wants. 

That may not turn out well for the Jews of France--or for Israel.

France has a total population of app. 67 million. There are perhaps 460,000 Jews in France. Jews represent some seven-tenths of one-percent of total population.  

It's difficult to say how many Muslims there are in France because, it seems, there's a law that prohibits the official collection of ethnic data (Yves Mamou, "France's Muslim demographic future", gatestoneinstitue, February 20, 2017). (The number of Jews in France comes not from France but from the European Jewish Congress--see "French Jews fear anti-Semitism will destroy community", timesofisrael, January 14, 2013). Nevertheless, estimates for numbers of Muslims in France range from 7-9 percent of total population--between 5-6 million.

It seems safe to say that for every Jew in France, there are at least 10 Muslims. That's an important difference. It tells everyone which population has the greater vote potential. It tells politician which population to curry favor with.

The bottom line for Jews in France--and for Israel--is clear. Jewish and 'Israel' issues won't be a priority for French politicians. That 'favored' position will go to the growing Muslim population. That can mean only one thing: less pro-Israel and more pro-Palestinian votes in national and international venues.

This Muslim-inspired propensity to support 'Palestine' over Israel will not be good for Israel. The Muslim influence on legislating new laws--and on managing law enforcement--in France certainly won't be good for the Jews of France. 

The third story is about the recent election in England. This story is about a potential Jewish fallout from that election, where Prime  Minister Theresa May lost her majority in the Parliament. On one level, this loss is not politically fatal. She's only 8 seats short of the majority she needs to form a government. She's found 10 seats with an Irish Party called, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

That's good, right? Not to many in England, it isn't. Instead, her failure to keep her majority in Parliament is a sign of political incompetence. After all, she was the one to call for elections. She did that because she felt she could win strongly enough to increase her majority in the Parliament, a result that would increase her influence and her hold on power.

She was wrong. She lost power. Now she pays for that error in judgment.

Consequently, her Party, the Conservatives, called for an emergency session. At this meeting, May apologized repeatedly, profusely, for members of her Party losing their seats because of her (Anushka Asthana, "Theresa May tells Tory MP's: I got us into this mess and I'm going to get us out of it", guardian,  June 12, 2017. 

The fallout element of this story comes from Conservative Party Jewish students in England (Rachel Frommer, "Conservative Jewish students disappointed peers voted for Labour in UK elections, fear 'mainstreaming' of Antisemitism", algemeiner, June 9, 2017). These young Jewish Conservatives are concerned. Too many of their Jewish Conservative friends didn't vote Conservative this year. They voted Labour.

The 'Jewish' problem with Labour is its leader, Jeremy Corbyn. You may have heard about Corbyn. He  and some of his advisors have developed reputations for being anti-Israel, pro-Hamas--and anti-Semitic. 

In this election, Corbyn increased his Party's seats in the Parliament from 230 seats before the election to 262 afterwards. His showing was so strong, he claimed 'victory' (Barney Henderson, "Jeremy Corbyn claims election victory: 'we changed the face of British politics", telegraph, June 10, 2017). 

Part of that 'victory' was reported by the BBC to be due to a high youth turnout that voted specifically for Corbyn ("Election results 2017: England winners and losers". June 9, 2017). That Jewish youth should join that rush to Labour when many Jews feel Corbyn is an anti-Semite doesn't appear to be a positive sign for England's Jews. This seems especially worrisome because Corbyn's strong showing means that his hostile anti-Israel (and possibly anti-Semitic) views will stay in the mainstream (Frommer, ibid). 

England has a population of app 53 million. Of that total, some 269,000--or, app one-half of one percent--are Jews. By contrast, England has app 2,660,000 Muslims, or app five percent of total population.

Put another way, on one level, England has the same problem France has: for every Jew, there are perhaps ten Muslims. While England isn't France, the fact remains that in both countries Jews are vastly outnumbered by a population particularly hostile to them and Israel.

In a way, these three stories are about Israel. Each highlights an anti-Israel obsession. The UNHRC is a hotbed for hate of Israel that, so far, proves stubbornly resistant to all criticism about its animus towards Israel. Now, both France and England empower individuals (Corbyn and Macron) who may push their respective nations to be more supportive of the despots who serve on the UNHRC than to Israel.

Will these developments actually affect Israel? Will they bring harm to the Jews of France and England?  

Stay tuned. This movie has just begun.


Friday, June 9, 2017

Cartoon Friday: BDS vs Wonder Woman (the movie)



The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is world-wide movement--at least in the Western world.  It's dedicated to the destruction of Israel. 

BDS Movement personnel don't tell you that. They only say they seek 'justice'. They want you to wage economic war against Israel--you know, 'for justice'. 

But as one leading anti-Israel advocates (Norman Finkelstein) has suggested, 'justice' is not the goal of BDS (Rachel Hirshfeld, "Finkelstein: BDS Movement is a cult", arutzsheva, February 15, 2012). He suggests that we know the real goal of BDS is to destroy Israel because, if  the nations of the world did exactly what BDS wants, the end result would be no more Israel (ibid).

The film, Wonder Woman, is also a world-wide affair. It's just opened in the US, Canada, UK, Brazil, China, Korea and Mexico. It'll open in Germany and Japan later this summer. 

Wonder Woman, is a fictional adventure story. It's also a major blockbuster movie. That means several things:

-it's extremely popular;
-it's made a ton of money quickly;
-it captures the movie-goers' demand for filmed adventure; 
-it's the most 'tweeted' film in 2017 (through June 7-8, 2017).

Wonder Woman opened Friday, June 2, 2017. Through June 7, 2017, the film has grossed over $130 million in the US,  and more than $260 million world-wide. That's the primary reason it's called a 'blockbuster': it's a bona fide moneymaker. 

This movie has been so 'big', it's already captured several 'firsts':

-It had the biggest domestic opening of all-time for a female director;
-it's the biggest DC Comics release without Batman or Superman;
-it's the biggest debut ever for this first weekend-in-June slot; 
-it's the the sixth-biggest non-sequel comic book superhero debut ever;
-its three-day opening made it the biggest-grossing female-led comic book superhero film ever; 
-it's the biggest film set in World War I;
-it's the first female-directed adventure movie with a female Israeli (Gal Gadot) playing the lead role.

For BDS, Wonder Woman is a perfect target for boycott. The feature star is not just Israeli--she's an Israeli who served in the IDF (Israel Defense Force). So far, BDS efforts have convinced Lebanon and--possibly--Tunisia--to  block/ban the film because of its 'Israel' connection ("Wonder Woman", wikipedia).

For today's cartoon, here's one cartoonist's look at how BDS does when it goes up against Wonder Woman:













from: Asher Schwartz, jewishpress, June 1, 2017


Perhaps one morning soon we will read that a BDS picketer outside a theater playing Wonder Woman threw his BDS poster aside and paid to see the movie. That's one news story I'd enjoy.

Do cartoons come true?

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Was Israel the aggressor in the Six-Day war?



This essay is a response to a reader comment to yesterday’s essay, “Israel, The Six-Day War, Rewriting History & Jew-Hate”. The reader asked why people—who were in a position to know what was going on before the six-day war—made certain statements about the war. The statements he quoted—with sources—were made between May 26, 1967 (some 10 days before the war began) and August 1982, some 15 years after the war. He quoted Menachem Begin, former Prime Minister of Israel who was a Minister Without Portfolio in the 1967 Levi Eshkol government; Meir Amit, Chief of Mossad in 1967; Yitzchak Rabin, the IDF Chief of Staff (COS) in 1967; Levi Eshkol, Prime Minister of Israel in 1967; Robert McNamara, US Secretary of Defense in 1967;  Major General Indar Jit Rikhye, Commander of the UN Emergency [peace-keeping] Force (UNEF) in the Sinai in 1967 ; and a published story about a conversation between Israel’s Foreign Minister Abba Eban and US Secretary of Defense McNamara on May 26, 1967.

As you’ll see in a moment, these statements are not as damning as they’ve been made to appear (note: the emphasis you’ll see are all mine). Here are the statements:

-Begin: “The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us”.

-Meir Amit: “Egypt was not ready for a war and Nasser did not want a war”.

-Rabin: “I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions which he sent into SINAI on 14 May would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.”

-Levi Eshkol: “The Egyptian layout in the Sinai and the general military build-up there testified to a military defensive Egyptian set-up south of Israel”.

McNamara: “Three separate intelligence groups had looked carefully into the matter [and] it was our best judgment that a UAR attack was not imminent”.

-The UN head-of-UNEF in the Sinai: a New York Times article written just before the war began stated that this Force Commander had toured the Egyptian front and “confirms that Egyptian troops were not poised for an offensive”.

-McNamara to Abba Eban before the war began: “Egyptian forces were not in an aggressive posture and that Israel was not opening itself to peril by not attacking immediately”.

-Abba Eban to McNamara in this same conversation: “according to Israeli intelligence, ‘an Egyptian and Syrian attack is imminent’.

According to those who revise the history of the six day war, these comments (except for the Abba Eban remarks) completely destroy the Israeli narrative that Israel faced annihilation in 1967, and had no other choice but to attack Egypt. The revisionists use such statements as these (above) to argue that Israel knew it was not threatened but attacked anyway because it wanted to conquer Arab land.

They’re wrong. These statements prove nothing.

Revisionists make much trouble for Israel by taking statements out of context. This includes the Menachem Begin comment (above). His statement appears to support the contention that Egypt in May 1967 was not acting aggressively when Israel attacked pre-emptively on June 5th. But if you look at the full text of that Begin speech, you’ll see that, after making this comment (above), he said something else: “This was a war of self-defense in the noblest [sense]” (Gabriel Glickman, “Rewriting the six-day war”, besacenter, June 7, 2017). Revisionists ignore that second statement.  

Begin’s statement about Egypt is revealing. It suggests a question no revisionist has asked: if Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai did not prove Nasser wanted to attack, what did they prove—or suggest? 

Levi Eshkol’s statement begins the answer to this question.  He says he saw defensive Egyptian positions in the Sinai. 
The inference revisionists take from this is that Israel had no reason to attack—because the Egyptian army wasn’t threatening anyone. But revisionists overlook what Begin’s statement suggests—that Nasser wasn’t planning an offensive war against Israel. He was planning a defensive ambush of Israel’s army  (see below).

Revisionists haven’t considered this. They saw these statements and concluded what they were already predisposed to see—a greedy Israel hungry for conquest.

What revisionists overlook is the fact that “it was common knowledge in 1967 that the Arab wartime strategy was predicated on Israel’s taking the first shot” (besacenter, ibid). This approach to war with Israel suggests that Nasser didn’t need an offensive lay-out in the Sinai to go to war because his plan was to defeat Israel with defense, not offense. As Glickman puts it, “Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser was confident that his forces could take on and outperform the IDF, and his mouthpiece at the Egyptian daily al-Ahram, Muhammad Heikal, openly taunted Israel in widely publicized editorials” (Glickman, ibid).

Revisionists also forget that Nasser closed the Suez Canal in 1956. They forget that Israel attacked Egypt over that closing. They fail to see how, for Nasser, Suez influenced the decision to close the Straits of Tiran.

Nasser understood Israel’s position over open waterways. It needed open waterways to survive. If Nasser closed the Straits of Tiran, Israel would attack, just as it had 11 years earlier over Suez.

Israel would attack because the closing of the Straits was an act of war. Arabs argued it wasn’t, but no Western Power accepted that. Nasser’s closure of the Straits was a legal ‘green light’ for war. It meant Israel was no aggressor. It had the right to fight to keep a major port at Eilat open.

Yes, Nasser had lost the 1956 war. But some of his units performed admirably. He could learn from this performance how to turn an Israeli attack into a trap.

Because of this experience in 1956, it’s entirely reasonable that Nasser’s plan to defeat Israel was to lure the Jewish state to rush into the Sinai on the offensive. If Israel was consistent, it would indeed attack when the Straits were closed, just as it had attacked in 1956. In such a scenario, those pre-set defensive positions in the Sinai could trap and crush the Israeli army.

-This same conclusion applies to Rabin’s observation: that the Egyptian divisions in the Sinai weren’t offensive. If the ‘let’s-provoke-Israel-to-attack-and-defeat-it-with-defense’ was Nasser’s strategy, then Rabin’s comment is neutral. It proves nothing about Israel being land-hungry.  As for Rabin concluding that the defensive nature of Egyptian forces meant Nasser did not want war, well, Rabin did preface that comment with, ‘I do not believe’. This phrase is a disclaimer. It suggests the speaker knows he could be wrong. To ignore this disclaimer in order to suggest that Rabin knew for certain Nasser meant not to attack is disingenuous at best.

-Regarding Mossad Chief Meir Amit’s confidence about Nasser not wanting (or being ready for) war, please remember that this is the same Meir Amit who visited Washington DC and, on June 1, 1967, told McNamara, “I'm personally going to recommend that we take action, because there's no way out” (“124. Memorandum for the Record: Subject--Conversation between Major General Meir Amit and Secretary McNamara—late afternoon, 1 June 1967”, Foreign relations of the United States, 1964-1968, volume XIX, Arab-Israeli crisis and war, 1967, office of the Historian, historystategov).

To what does the phrase, ‘no way out’ refer? It does not refer to some planned Israeli conquest of Arab land. It refers to other comments Amit made in that same conversation: Israel’s mobilization was hurting Israel’s economy (It was strangling the economy); and, Israel could not long sustain its mobilization (ibid).

Nasser—and the Jordanians and Syrians—were putting Israel in an untenable situation. If Israel waited for diplomacy to help it, its economy could collapse. If Israel waited to be attacked, it could be crushed. Either way, waiting was dangerous. Israel had no way out of that danger but to attack.

-McNamara’s supposed confidence that Nasser wasn’t going to war wasn’t so confident. He said it was his best judgment about the matter. The clear inference is, he knew he could be wrong. That’s not a ‘smoking gun’ case that Nasser had no intent to attack. If anything, it was a ‘smoking gun’ that McNamara knew he was guessing.

-The chief of the UN Emergency Force reported that he had toured the Egyptian positions and they were not offensive in nature. Well, if Nasser’s plan was to defeat an attacking Israeli army with that defensive set-up, this observation would be accurate. Such a report proves nothing about Nasser’s intent.

Revisionists aren’t honest. They take statements out of context. They assume those statements mean that Israel was the aggressor looking for more land. They look at the Egyptian set-up in the Sinai. They assume that Nasser had no belligerent intent.

They build an anti-Israel case on assumptions and on statements taken out of context. That’s not historical analysis. It’s more like gossipmongers who take snippets of conversations and make damning assumptions to concoct malicious tales.