Thursday, May 25, 2017

A proposal: how Bibi should speak to Trump and Abbas

We know how US Presidents behave when they come to the Middle East. They 'talk nice' in public. They talk tough in private.

We saw this double-behavior in the visit by US President Donald Trump just ended. In public, he gave optimistic, even for some, uplifting speeches. But in private, he pressured both Abbas and Netanyahu to start talking peace, now (Nitzan Kedar, "Tillerson: Trump placed heavy pressure during Israel visit", arutzsheva, May 24, 2017).

US Presidents come to Israel and do what in America used to be called 'jaw-boning'. This word, 'jaw-boning' has, if I recall correctly, two primary meanings. First,  it means, simply, using speech in both public and private discourse to persuade another. But it also means, 'using some kind of verbal or personal force'. A favorite synonym is, 'arm-twisting'.

Trump was no different from any other visiting President. He 'jawboned' both Netanyahu and Abbas.

In fact, Trump may have twisted Netanyahu's arm more than anyone realizes (David Israel, "It's starting: Trump demands Israel transfer land to Arabs BEFORE deal", jewishpress, may 25, 2017). If this report is true, Netanyahu faces a kind of pressure he might not have expected from Trump. How should our Prime Minister respond?

Here is a modest proposal. It suggests how our Netanyahu should speak to both Trump and Abbas. 

Of course, Mr Netanyahu doesn't need any advice from anyone. In Israel, it's probably fair to say there is no one better equipped to respond to Trump and Abbas than Benjamin Netanyahu. He has, arguably, more experience than anyone here dealing with such men. Nevertheless, here's my proposal. 

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin ('Bibi) Netanyahu should remind Trump that Abbas and all his predecessors never won a war against Israel. They've lost every war, every time. 

Therefore, Abbas is a supplicant. He is not a victor who has earned the right to set the agenda for negotiations. He does not get to make demands; neither does anyone else. 

The victor in the Arab-Israel war is Israel--and this victor will be the one to set the agenda. Abbas is the loser. He should remember that. So should the US.

For peace, it will not be for Israel to make the first move. It will be Abbas, the loser, to do--to prove he wants peace more than war.

Netanyahu should insist that, if Abbas wants to talk to Netanyahu about peace, he must first demonstrate peace is important. Netanyahu should repeat what Trump has already said: for there to be peace, Abbas must first stop incitement against Israel. He must delete all anti-Israel content from PA and Hamas school curricula. All anti-Israel content of after-school programs must be dropped as well

Netanyahu should insist that Abbas stop honoring those who kill and attempt to kill Jews--as Trump said should happen. Abbas must stop naming streets, schools, sports tournaments and community buildings after such individuals. This action must include all who are themselves killed in the attempt to kill Jews even if, in those attacks, the only one killed is the attacker.

Abbas must stop handing out lifetime monthly incomes for murdering Jews. This is what Trump said. Netanyahu should repeat it endlessly.

Netanyahu should remind Trump that Abbas comes to the negotiation table with a weak position. He is a supplicant. He must speak of what he seeks as one who petitions, not as one who demands.

Abbas says he's ready for peace. That's great. Everyone wants to hear that. But for Israel, Netanyahu should say, Abbas has to prove, with actions, that's what he wants.  

Until Abbas offers that proof, Netanyahu should tell Trump, Abbas will get nothing. For peace, it must be Abbas to make to first move, not Israel.

Netanyahu should address these remarks to Trump. But of course, he's free to speak this way--politely--to Abbas as well.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Yom Yerushalaiyim, 2017

On the 28th day of the Hebrew month of Iyyar in the year 1967, Jerusalem fell in combat (in the six-day war) to the Jews of Israel. This year, 2017, the 28th day of Iyyar falls on May 24th. That's why the State of Israel has declared Wednesday, May 24, 2017 as Yom Yerushalaiyim, the 'Day of Jerusalem'. 

It's a day of national rejoicing. It's a moment to celebrate the fact that Jerusalem has once again become 'Jewish'. 

2017, however, is different. It's special. It's the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem's reunification.  

Perhaps you've noticed that Jerusalem has been in the news. It's become the epicenter of a war against the Jews.  

The Palestinian Authority wants this city. Already, it's gotten the UN to declare that Jerusalem's Temple Mount--the holiest site in Judaism in the world--is to be Islamic, not Jewish. It's gotten the the UN also to declare that the Jewish Israel has no sovereign rights to Jerusalem at all.

The PA has gotten the UN, in other words, to tighten an Islamic noose around the Jewish Jerusalem. It's close to choking off all Jewish connection to Jerusalem, at least on paper.

Most Jews forget that Jerusalem is a holy city. It's the closest place the world has to a true 'Heavenly City'.  

Jerusalem is so holy, nations throughout history have been powerfully attracted to it, to make it their own: according to one source, Jerusalem has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, attacked an additional 52 times and captured and recaptured 44 times (Mandy Katz, "Do we divide the holiest city?", momentmag, March/April, 2008). 


Our Jewish Tanach explains why. Jerusalem is the "city of G-d" (Tehillim, 87: 3). Nations throughout human history have recognized this. The PA recognizes it, too.

Jerusalem is the chosen city. It is the only city chosen specifically by G-d for His Dwelling place (see Divrei HaYamim, 6:5-10). 

Jerusalem is where the Jewish King Solomon built the 'Temple of HaShem' (Divrei HaYamim 2. 3:5)--the Temple of G-d. Today, its footprint still sits atop the Temple Mount.

Jerusalem became the holiest of cities some 3,000+ years ago. That original holiness was a Jewish holiness brought to Jerusalem through the Word of G-d (ibid). 

Now, the PA wants Jerusalem. Its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, stands up for Jerusalem. He declares he will defend it ("Abbas: Palestinians are carrying out Ribat [holy war] and defending Jerusalem and the holy sites", palwatch, June 14-17, 2016). 

Abbas makes his goal very clear: he wants Jerusalem. What do we want? 

Today is Yom Yerushalayim. Stand up for Jerusalem.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

How America's news leaders report Trump in Israel

There are several noteworthy—even historic—elements to US President Donald Trump’s trip to Israel. Here are some of the ‘firsts’ of this trip:

-First time a US president chose the Middle East for his first overseas trip;

-First visit ever to the Western Wall (the Kotel) by a sitting US President;

-First visit to Bethlehem for official US-Palestinian Authority talks by a newly-elected US president;

-First time in history (perhaps) an airliner has flow from Saudi Arabia to Israel (Air Force One with Trump aboard);

-First major Middle East foreign policy speeches by President Trump.

In Israel, Trump’s visit has been big news. Our media has watched his every word. Here’s a list of how many times Israel’s English-language outlets ran a Trump-Israel story as his second and final day here began. This survey was completed on the morning of May 23, 2017:

Jerusalem Post—7 of its top 10 stories were about Trump in Israel; an 8th story was about how Mrs Trump (Melania) seemed to slap away Trump’s hand as they walked together along a red carpet during the official ‘airport welcome’ ceremony yesterday;

Haaretz—7 of its top 10 stories were about Trump in Israel—plus an additional story about the Melania ‘hand-slap’;

Arutz Sheva—5 of its top 10 stories were about Trump in Israel—no Melania ‘hand-slap’ story in the top 10;

YNET news—5 of its top 10 stories were about Trump in Israel—with a 6th story about the Melania ‘hand-slap’;

Times of Israel—5 of its top 10 stories were about Trump in Israel—no Melania ‘hand-slap story’;

Israel Hayom—7 of its top 10 stories were about Trump in Israel—no ‘Melania’ story.

The American coverage of this trip was markedly different. Take a look at the US survey I took of American news the same morning, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, at the same time:

New York Times—two of its top 10 stories were about Trump in Israel;

Chicago Tribune—No Trump in Israel stories appeared in its top 10;

LA Times—only 1 of its 10 top stories was about Trump in Israel;

New York Post—1 of 10;

Wall Street Journal—1 of 10;

USA Today—nothing about Trump in Israel in its top 10 stories;

Washington Post—nothing about Trump in Israel in its top 10 stories.

Online news outlets were just as bad—or worse:

Yahoo—4 of its top ten stories were about Trump in Israel—but of those 4, one was the Melania ‘hand-slap’ story (not exactly a substantial news report) and a second was a story about an alleged Trump gaffe—again, not a substantial news report. That left only 2 authentic news reports within Yahoo’s top 10 stories the morning of May 23, 2017.

Mediate—this is a news site I visit. In my opinion, it’s a left-leaning, anti-Trump outlet. On the morning of May 23, 2017, at the same time I was checking out the other news sites above, this news site has no Trump-in-Israel news stories in its top 10 stories. In fact, it had no Trump-in-Israel stories among its top 30 stories. The first appearance of a Trump-in-Israel story was story number 34. It was about the Melanie ‘hand slap’: “'She Can't Stand Him' The View Deconstructs Melania Trump Refusing to Hold the President's Hand” (by Jon Levine, May 22, 2017).

This doesn’t mean that Trump had disappeared from the American news cycle once he left America. Quite the contrary was true. America’s news was busy even in Trump’s absence. News headlines on Tuesday morning, May 23rd focussed on Trump’s new budget proposal--and his supposed ‘scandals’. 

Of course, none of the supposed ‘scandal-news’ was new. But it was obviously more important than Trump in Israel—where, in fact, some real news was unfolding (see the ‘firsts’ above’).

While Trump made at least two major foreign policy speeches in the Middle East, America’s news outlets focussed on pursuing dirt about Trump and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and former FBI Director James Comey. The stories seemed to push conspiracy theories that, directly or indirectly, involved Trump and Russia.

As MSNBC personality Mika Brzezinski put it, the Trump trip was a distraction (Mark Finkelstein, “Mika: we won’t be distracted by Trump trip, will focus on Russia investigations”, legalinsurrection, May 23, 2017).

Apparently, here's what’s important to America’s leading news sites: conspiracy theories about how incompetent, self-serving, duplicitous –and, therefore, scandalous—Trump is.

Trump in the Middle East? Forget it.

Of course, my survey is based solely on a single snapshot taken at one moment on one day. Other snapshots taken on other occasions could yield a different result.

Still, a question arises. Has journalism in America died?

It might have. The news certainly looks more like propaganda than news.

Where do you think that’s going to lead?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Trump in Israel: Will Abbas laugh at him, too?

Now that US President Donald Trump has arrived in Israel, he should announce the US Embassy will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital. Here’s why:

The Palestinian Authority (PA) acts as if it owns Israel. It demands the US Embassy must remain in Tel Aviv. It expects everyone to comply.

At the UN, 50+ Muslim countries support the PA. They have even ‘kidnapped’ a UN body to pass what amounts to a declaration of war against Israel: Israel must abandon all claims to its ancient-modern capital city, Jerusalem (Joel Gehrke, “UN body demands Israel abandon capital in Jerusalem”, washingtonexaminer, May 2, 2017).

Israel has something called, ‘a basic law’’ (ibid). That law says, in effect, that Jerusalem is complete and united, and is the capital of Israel (ibid). But the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has demanded that Israel essentially rescind that law so Jerusalem can be taken over by the PA (at some future-but-unnamed date) (ibid). Really?

In what was perhaps an attempt to humiliate Israel, UNESCO had the gall to pass this insulting anti-Israel resolution on Israel’s Independence Day—the day Israel celebrates its modern re-creation. On this day, in other words, UNESCO demanded Israel ‘uncreate’ its eternal capital.

Remember now, Jerusalem isn't just a city. it isn't simply a capital. Because of the religious significance of Jerusalem to Judaism itself, Jerusalem is really the heart of the Jewish people ("Jerusalem is the heart of our existence". arutzsheva, May 22, 2017). It beats at the heart of Judaism. 

The point of the joint PA-UN assault on Jerusalem is to cut out that heart. The PA-UN union wants to destroy all that is Jewish in Jerusalem so it can claim all of Jerusalem as purely Islamic--just as it claimed the Temple Mount as Islamic, not Jewish (the October 2016 UNESCO vote). 

This is the background that welcomes US president Donald Trump’s visit to Israel. He comes to Israel at a time when the existential threat to Israel is, arguably, at its greatest. The PA is happy the UN denies all Jewish connection to Judaism’s holiest site on earth, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (the October 2016 UNESCO vote). It’s delighted the UN denies all Jewish historical connection to Jerusalem (the May 2016 UNESCO vote).

This assault on what’s most Jewish about Israel has nothing to do with Palestinian self-determination. It’s about Islamic conquest. It’s part of the drive to obliterate the Jewish Israel forever.

This is why every map published by the PA of the new ‘Palestine’ never shows that ‘Palestine’ next to Israel. It shows that ‘Palestine’ in place of Israel.

President Trump’s visit here is crucial. He can help the isolated Israel by declaring that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East- -and therefore worthy of America's protection. He can announce that Israel is a staunch and dependable ally of the US--and therefore worthy of America's friendship. 

He needs to say more. It’s well-known that Arab leaders respect power—and, most important, respect the clear willingness to use that power (Gideon Israel, “What Trump needs to say to Abbas”, frontpagemag, May 2, 2017).  Arab leaders lose all respect for one who has power but won’t use it (ibid). They see powerful countries which are hesitant to use its power as weak and capable of being manipulated (ibid). This is how Abbas saw US President Barack Obama. In his own way, Abbas laughed at Obama.

If Trump begins to act like Obama, he, too, will lose Abbas’ respect. As a consequence, Israel will suffer just as it did when Obama was president. But if Trump stands strong with Abbas, he’ll win.

So far, Abbas has lied to Trump. He’s rejected—as ‘insane’--a Trump request to stop paying salaries to Arab terrorists in Israel prisons. He’s declared he’s not ‘ready’ to sit face-to-face with Netanyahu to talk peace. In other words, so far, Abbas acts as if he can do anything he wants with Trump, just as he did with Obama.

Trump needs to show that Abbas is the supplicant in these peace talks, not the victor. Trump can do that by moving the US Embassy. But when he moves the Embassy, he needs to get tough with Abbas. He needs to say, if Abbas provokes violence over this move, the US will not support the PA in any way--period.

He’s got the US Congress behind him. All he need do is stand up to Abbas—then follow through. He needs to remind Abbas he is not the victor who gets to define the terms of a peace. He is the supplicant.

Right now, Abbas lies to Trump. He honors Jew-killers at home as he talks to Trump of peace .If Trump wants to have any influence over Abbas, he’s got to show he’s tougher than Abbas.

It’s a harsh truth. But it’s what Arab leaders respect. If Trump wants that respect—and the influence it brings--he’s got to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Otherwise, Abbas will, in his own way, laugh at him, too.

I suspect the Jewish Tanach suggests Trump won't go down this road. But I can't be sure. 

Stay tuned. This movie isn't over.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Trump in Israel: US, Abbas play; Israel numb

US President Donald Trump is scheduled to land in Israel sometime tonight-tomorrow. His arrival has already unleashed a storm of news about Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). What we've been seeing here over the last five days is, in my opinion, unlike anything we've seen here for a long time--if ever.

First, most of the news coming out of Israel is about the excitement that always attends a visiting dignitary; the newest 'best plan for peace'; traffic announcements; and analyses of Trump or Trump/Netanyahu/Abbas. The only politician who appears to have spoken out strongly is the head of the Jewish Home Party, Education Minister Naftali Bennett. He wants Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to tell president Trump that the US Embassy belongs only in Jerusalem. Otherwise, Israel seems muted about Trump's arrival.

Meanwhile, there's a storm of news coming out of the US--and from Ramallah, the power-seat of the PA.

The news from the US is a chorus of not-so-good-news-for-Israel. For example, Trump supposedly will: not invite Netanyahu to go with him to visit Israel's Western Wall; tell Netanyahu he'll have to curb 'settlements'; tell Israel that the White House has made Israeli politician Naftali Bennett a 'marked man' for making 'outrageous' demands about the US Embassy; not move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Because of a series of comments Trump has made both before and after being elected President, many Israelis have come to have high expectations about him. They've believed him to be pro-Israel without reservation, a true pro-Israel supporter. Now, reports from the US make it appear that Trump has a lot of reservations--if all the US stories we've seen are in fact true. 

Nobody knows if not-so-good-for-Israel reports from the US are truth or fakery--or, if fakery, why they've been sent out. At any rate, this flood of non-supportive news from the US might be the reason Israelis have seen this headline: Yossi Verter, "The chaos before Trump: why it's convenient for Netanyahu to play dumb about Trump's plans for Israel", haaretz, May 19, 2017. It looks as if our Prime Minister is as baffled by this sudden coldness from the US as the rest of us.

Right now, the two most appropriate words to describe Israeli feelings about the upcoming Trump visit are, 'perplexed', and 'subdued'. 

This sudden 'quietness' has shown up in the polls. In January, 2017, some 79 percent of Israelis polled felt Trump was more pro-Israel than pro-Palestinian (Jack Moore, "Trump's popularity plummets among Israeli Jews ahead of visit", newsweek, May 19, 2017). Now, that number is 56 percent (ibid).

Israelis aren't just cautious. They're numb. They're perplexed: what 's Trump up to? No one knows.

The PA, however, is definitely not perplexed--or subdued. It's brimming with optimism. Abbas sees Trump bringing peace. Abbas says he's ready for that peace. He's even declared what he wants with this peace: a new airport, a seaport, a new resort at Eilat--all for Palestinian Authority use only. Oh, and he's already made it clear that when it comes to sitting down face-to-face with Israel to negotiate peace, the PA isn't quite ready just yet to do that. 

Israel's perplexity and Abbas' bouyant optimism reminds one of the Purim story. There, too, citizens reacted to current events with a sense of 'perplexity'. At one point in the Purim story, the evil Haman convinces the king to allow Haman to send out letters to all in the empire, to tell them, essentially, it's time to murder Jews. After sending out the letters, the king and Haman sit down 'convivially'--and "the city Shushan (the capital) was perplexed" (Megillat Esther, 3:15). What they had just seen unfold regarding Haman and the king seemed to make no sense.

Trump's behavior--and Abbas' behavior--seem to make no sense to us in Israel.

In the Purim story, the Divine Hand was not visible. HaShem worked behind the scenes. We only saw what He had intended--to save the Jews and punish Haman--after the fact, not before.

Some of us see a similar Divine Hand behind the scene here. If ever there was evidence of a Divine hand behind the stage--setting that stage for something historic--it's with Trump's visit. No one knows what Trump intends, everyone wonders about Abbas' bouyancy. 

Is there a more insightful way to explain the perplexity and suddenly numb caution of the Israelis--and the almost-euphoria of Abbas?

HaShem has a Plan. We, on the other hand, are perplexed. What could He be planning for us?

Stay tuned.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday cartoon: it's that darn Western Wall thing

Today is Friday. it's Cartoon Day here in Israel--just for you.

Some weeks just aren't good weeks for a cartoonist. Sometimes, there's simply not much in the news that lends itself to a cartoon. Other times, there's too much to 'cartoon' about.

This past week in Israel was an incredible week for cartoonists. They didn't have to pull any hair out thinking of what to draw. 

For example:

-There was a huge dust-up over a US official (here at the US Consulate in Jerusalem) announcing that he would not cooperate with Israeli officials over a planned Trump visit to the Western Wall; he said he would not cooperate with Israel because, as he put it, 'the Western Wall wasn't in Israel'. This assertion created outrage in Israel, mostly because the comment took Israelis by surprise: no one in Israel knew the Western Wall had moved. 

Part of that consternation was, in a Muslim Middle East, really now, where exactly does a Jewish religious icon belong? More significant, where would such a massive (hundred-ton+) Jewish icon go to?

Israelis didn't know. The US Consulate here didn't care. Lots of us were ticked off, to say the least.

Cartoonists in Israel could have a proverbial 'field day' with such a dust-up.

-As the week headed to  its close, more and more stories appeared about the impending Trump visit. Everyone here is certainly excited, and for many, that excitement was framed by a simple question: HOW THE H*LL AM I GOING TO GET TO WORK ON MONDAY AND TUESDAY?

I put that statement/question in caps because of how news surfers here have reacted to the list of street closings that will occur in Jerusalem on May 22 and 23, 2017. The list, for Jerusalem, is as long as your arm.

Well, maybe that's not exactly true. That list is as long as a newborn's arm--or something like that. The list includes lots of 'main' routes people take as they drive to work.

Here's a news story about the road situation. I believe the story gives the impression one can make one's way through Jerusalem if one follows the recommendations listed. Then you get to the last paragraph. Take a look. The story is from arutzsheva (some of the highlighting is mine): 

Trump visit:
List of Jerusalem roads to be blocked

US President Donald Trump to visit Israel next week; many roads in nation's capital to close.
Contact Editor
Mordechai Sones, 

Taking it in stride
Taking it in stride
צילום: Nati Shohat/Flash 90

Police today (Thursday) published a list of routes to be blocked next week in Jerusalem on the occasion of US President Donald Trump's visit to Israel.

On Monday:

At 12:00 the following streets will be blocked:

  • Derech Hevron;
  • David Remez;
  • King David;
  • Jabotinsky;
  • HaNasi;
  • HaAri;
  • Gaza;
  • Herzog;
  • Nayot;
  • Bezeq;
  • Baitch;
  • Herzl;
  • Yad Vashem.

Police recommend the following alternative routes:

  • Begin;
  • Herzl Blvd. to Begin south;
  • Haim Barlev to Agron;
  • Ben Zvi to Rabin.

Between 13:00-15:30 the following streets will be blocked:

  • Herzl;
  • Bate;
  • Bezeq;
  • Nayot;
  • Herzog;
  • Gaza;
  • HaAri;
  • HaNasi;
  • Palomar;
  • King David;
  • David Remez;
  • Derech Hevron;
  • Hativat Jerushalayim;
  • Jaffa Gate;
  • Batei Michseh;
  • Ma'aleh HaShalom.

Police recommend the following alternative routes:

  • Begin;
  • Haim Barlev until Yitzhak Kariv;
  • Derech Hevron until Miriam HaHashmonait;
  • Emek Refaim until David HaMelech;
  • To Begin from Ben Zvi and from Herzl Boulevard
  • HaNevi'im.

At 18:30 the following streets will be blocked:

  • Agron;
  • Keren HaYesod;
  • Jabotinsky;
  • Balfour;
  • Smolenskin;
  • Keren Hayesod;
  • Palomar;
  • King David.

Police recommend the following alternative routes:

  • Ramban;
  • King George until Paris;
  • Haim Barlev;
  • Ben Zvi;
  • Nevi'im.

On Tuesday

At 08:30 the following streets will be blocked:

  • King David;
  • David Remez;
  • Derech Hebron;
  • Manachat.

Police recommend the following alternative routes:
  • Agron;
  • Haim Barlev;
  • Jaffa Gate;
  • Derech Hevron until Miriam HaHashmonait;
  • Keren Hayesod;
  • Emek Refaim.

At 11:15 the following streets will be blocked:

  • Derech Hevron;
  • Ma'avar Rachel until Hebron Road.

The police recommend the following alternative routes:

  • Haim Barlev;
  • Begin;
  • Harel route;
  • Derech Betlehem;
  • Emek Refaim;
  • Keren Hayesod;
  • Ramban.

On Monday and Tuesday

Between 8:30-12:00 the following streets will be blocked:
  • Gihon;
  • Tzruya;
  • Ein Rogel towards Derech Hevron;
  • Derech Betlehem from the Paz station northward;
  • Train station towards the north.

As a result, from Derech Betlehem, traffic will be diverted via Carmia and Lloyd George to Emek Refaim. Residents of Abu Tur will be directed to Naomi Street and from there they will head south to Derech Hevron, northward through Givat Hanania to Malach b'Lavan and from there to Cabiya northward.

Smaller local streets in these areas themselves may be open, but access may be impossible... [emphasis  mine].

This news story certainly looks good to me. It's got lots of detailed information for a driver. But I'd also say the key word in this story is 'impossible'.

Can't you see a cartoon about that?

-The very fact of Trump's visit meant a cartoonist would be free to comment on Trump's domestic problems just as he chooses to fly (run away?) to the Middle East.

Given his supposed troubles back home, Trump has got to be a cartoonist's dream subject.

Then, there were stories coming out of Washington about the trip. These stories were almost always from an 'anonymous' Administration source--and they drove Israelis nuts with frustration--against Trump. For example, unnamed sources were quoted as saying:

-Trump will ask Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to implement a 'settlement curb'; 

-The White House was furious at a prominent Israeli politician (Minister Naftali Bennett) after Bennett demanded the US should move the US Embassy to Jerusalem;

-Trump wasn't going to allow Netanyahu go with him on his visit to the Western Wall. 

-A White House video, meant to promote Trump's first official trip abroad, showed a map of Israel--without the Golan Heights or Judea-Samaria. 

-Trump cancelled a visit to an ancient Jewish fortress, Masada.

Any one of these 8 (by my count) items contain an idea for a cartoon.To have 8 such sources for cartoons in a single week must have been either overwhelming--or completely joyous-- for a cartoonist.  What a week!

For today's Friday's cartoon, I choose the first item--the Western Wall dust-up. I think cartoonist Shlomo Cohen of israelhatyom truly captured a real truth concerning that 'not in Israel' comment about our Western Wall. Take a look:

Shlomo Cohen, israelhayom, May 18, 2017

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fake news: Western Wall not in Israel

(Last updated May 19, 2017)

Once again, it's Thursday. In this neighborhood, that can mean only one thing: it's a fake news day.

Today's fake news report comes from the US. It's from that bastion of truth and accuracy, the Associated Press (AP). Here's their fake news headline for this week:

Josh Lederman, "AP Fact Check: Does the US believe Western Wall is in Israel?", May 17, 2017.

This is an extraordinary headline. It doesn't just present a news item. It goes beyond news. It assaults the Jewish homeland with a form of Jew-denial every bit as hair-raising as Holocaust denial. 

The Holocaust tried to obliterate the existence of Jews. This headline tries to obliterate the existence of the Jews' 
homeland. They both come from the same motivation: to obliterate what's Jewish in this world.

The Western Wall is in Jerusalem. it's part of the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest place on earth. By suggesting that the Western Wall is not in Israel, the AP attempts to remove what is holiest in Judaism from the Jewish Israel. By implying that the Wall is not in Israel, the headline obviously denies that Jerusalem--the Wall's location--is in Israel. In other words, the  full ramifications of this extraordinary headline deny the Jewish center-piece Israel--the Western Wall, the Temple Mount atop the Western Wall and Jerusalem, where both are situated. 

In a way, the headline tries to erase three Jewish truths with one fakery: (1) that the Western Wall is in Israel; and (2) that the holiest Jewish site in the world is in Israel; (3) that Jerusalem is in Israel. The headline, with just a few words, creates a self-contained Jew-denying trifecta. It eviscerates what's Jewish about Israel.

On a more literal level, the headline conjures up at least four hostile statements about Israel. Here are four hostile examples embedded in this headline:

-The US was wrong to suggest that the Jewish Western Wall was in the Jewish Israel; 

-The Western Wall--a 2,000+ year old part of the holiest Jewish site on earth--has no connection to Jewish Israel;

-The AP has 'proof' that the 2,000-year old Jewish Western Wall is not in the Jewish Israel; 

-The tone of the headline ("Does the US believe...) suggests that the AP cannot fathom why anyone--particularly the US--would believe the Jewish Western Wall had anything to do with a Jewish Israel. 

These assertions/suggestions are pure fakery. For me, it's fakery with a purpose. It's design is to assert myth as fact--that the Jewish Western Wall--and its location, Jerusalem--have absolutely nothing to do with the most Jewish of all nations, Israel.

It doesn't matter what the AP's supposed 'proof' is. What's relevant here is how the AP joins with the United Nations and the entire Muslim world to deny the Jewishness of Jewish holy sites in the Jewish homeland. With this headline, the AP joins the attempt to erase any Jewish claim to Israel and its capital city, Jerusalem. The AP, like all the enemies of Israel, has the gall to suggest it is unthinkable that anything within Jerusalem--including the Western Wall--has a connection to Jews, Judaism, Jewish history or Israel.

This AP headline is anti-Jew fakery at its vicious best. It not only denies what is Jewish in Israel; it appears to mock anyone who would suggest the presence of anything Jewish in Israel.

The war to erase Israel grows strong--just as the Jewish Tanach suggested long ago (Tehillim, 83:3-8). The battle to erase Israel as a Jewish state spreads like the plague that it is. The AP clearly allies itself with that plague. 

Let the AP try to erase the Western Wall. Let the AP's friends deny the Jewishness  of the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. They will fail. Indeed, it is they who will be erased from human consciousness, not Israel. 

You'll find that, too, in our Tanach (Yeshaiyahu 51:7-8).

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

What will Trump do when Abbas lies?

US president Donald Trump is scheduled to visit Israel next week. He's expected to meet with both Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas. Trump is expected to ask both men to engage in 'peace talks'. 

The first time Trump met with Abbas (May 3, 2017), Abbas lied. He lied when he said Palestinians were the last people still 'occupied' (Tuvia brodie, "Fake news: Abbas in Washington, tuviabrodieblog, May 4, 2017). He lied when he told Mr Trump that he teaches Palestinian children about a 'culture of peace' (Bassam Tawil, "Palestinians: Abbas’ ‘culture of peace’”, gatestoneinstitute, May 8, 2017). Now, he's just said he is "striving to implement the two-state solution within the 1967 borders, that is, an independent sovereign Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital living in peace alongside the State of Israel" (Dalit Halevi, “Abbas: We want a state alongside Israel”, arutzsheva, May 17, 2017).  Is he lying again?

Why should anyone believe Mahmoud Abbas is lying with this statement?  Well, it seems Abbas has a little problem. He's a liar. He's been called a Serial Liar (Benny Morris, “Mahmoud Abbas is peddling lies and distortions. Apparently The New York Times is buying”, nationalinterest, May 19, 2011). He thinks he can fool all in the West all the time, by lying (Bassam Tawil, “Palestinians: A Strategy of Lies and Deception”, gatestoneinstitute, January 13, 2017).

Here’s a sampling of his lies:

-In 1984, Abbas published, The Other Side: the Secret Relations between Nazism and the Leadership of the Zionist Movement. In this text, he claimed that only a “few hundred thousand” Jewish victims were killed during World War Two (“Abbas: Story of 6 million cremated Jews is propaganda”, palwatch, February, 1984).  

-Gas chambers were never used to murder Jews in Nazi Germany (Morris, ibid);

-In an English-language essay, Abbas has written that, as a 13-year old boy in Safat during the 1948-49 Arab-Israel war, he and his family were ”forced” out of their home by Israelis, suggesting that Israel had driven him and his family away (Mahmoud Abbas, “The long overdue Palestinian State”, nytimes, May 16, 2011). This ‘personal account’ supported the ‘Palestinian’ narrative that Jews in 1948-9 had committed ethnic cleansing of ‘Palestinians’. But in truth, Abbas had already (on July 6, 2009) told an interviewer on Falastina TV, in Arabic, that “his family had actually fled Safad voluntarily, fearing Jewish retribution for a massacre the Arabs had committed against the town's Jews two decades before” (Morris, ibid). Jews had not forced him from his home.

-Shortly after the November 1947 UN vote to create both a Jewish and an Arab state, Abbas wrote, “Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened” (Abbas, ibid). This is a five-Pinocchio lie. What actually happened was, “The Arab states and the Palestinian national leadership, headed by Haj Amin al-Husseini, opposed the partition of Palestine, claiming all of Palestine for the Arabs. When the General Assembly voted in favor of partition, on 29 November 1947, the Palestinian leadership rejected the resolution and…Palestinian militias launched hostilities” to destroy the as-yet unborn Israel (Morris, ibid). These attacks against Jews by local Arabs represented a civil war of Arabs against Jews. It lasted until the day Israel declared its independence. The next day, May 15, 1948, as the state of Israel officially ‘began’, the civil war ended—and “the armies of Egypt, Syria, and Iraq invaded Palestine, in defiance of the will of the international community, as embodied in the partition resolution, and attacked the Jewish state” (ibid). 

Jordan then invaded Judea-Samaria and Jerusalem (ibid).

-Jesus was a ‘Palestinian’ (Gil Ronen and Ari Soffer, “Mahmoud Abbas Mocked For Claiming Jesus was a 'Palestinian'”, arutzsheva, December 25, 2013); does anyone need proof this is a lie?

-‘Palestinians’ are descended from Canaanites (“Another Abbas Lie: Palestinians are the Descendants of the Canaanites”, unitedwithisrael, March 27, 2017); to understand the lie of this claim, see, David Bukay, “Founding National Myths: Fabricating Palestinian History” meforum, the Middle East Quarterly, summer 2012, volume 19, no. 3).

-The Palestinian people are 6,000 years old (Itamar Marcus, "Abbas falsely claims 6,000-year old Palestinian nation", palwatch, June 6, 2016).

Abbas has a long history of lying. Some of his lies can take your breath away. Israelis have very good reason to wonder if his 'two-states...peace' announcement is another lie. 

President Trump has announced he wants peace in the Middle East. He wants 'a deal'. Presumably, that's part of why he's coming here next week. 

If he wants that deal, he’ll need to trust Abbas. Can he trust a Serial Liar?

I have an answer to that question: Trump won’t care how much Abbas lies.  

Donald Trump is a deal-maker, not a morality leader. When deal makers look for a deal, they ask only one question: do you have the power to sign off on the deal. Truthfulness isn’t relevant--at least, not to get a signature for a deal. 

I suspect Donald Trump will ignore Abbas’ lying ‘problem’. I suspect he’ll take Abbas’ statement about ‘two-states…side-by-side in peace’ at face value. I suspect he’ll take that declaration to Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu and say, “Look—here’s a peace partner. Make peace”.

How do you think that’s going to work out?