Saturday, June 24, 2017

  • Saturday, June 24, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
Matti Friedman in the Washington Post has a blistering takedown of the recent book about how awful Israel is by Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman called " “Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation."

Last year, the American novelists Michael Chabon, Ayelet Waldman and Dave Eggers led a group of writers to “bear witness” to the crisis in Iraq, confronting the fate of that country during and since the American occupation — the hundreds of thousands of dead, the vanished minorities, the chaos spreading across the region. The resulting anthology adds up to a piercing, introspective look at what it means to be American in the 21st century.

I’m kidding! Reporting on Iraq is bothersome, and so is introspection. Instead, they came to “bear witness” to the crisis in the West Bank and Gaza, where thousands of reporters, nongovernmental organization staffers, activists and diplomats hover around a conflict with a death toll last year that was about a third of the homicide number in Baltimore. It’s the kind of Mideast conflagration where writers can sally forth in an air-conditioned bus, safely observe the natives for a few hours and make it back to a nice hotel for drinks.

The resulting anthology, “Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation,” includes essays by American and international authors such as Eggers, Mario Vargas Llosa, Colum McCann and Colm Toibin — an impressive list — with a few locals thrown in. The visitors were shown around by anti-occupation activists and wrote up their experiences. Edited by Chabon and Waldman, the 26 essays here constitute a chorus of condemnation of Israel.

Chabon and Waldman tell us on the very first page of a visit to Israel in 1992, which they remember vividly as a time of optimism, when the “Oslo accords were fresh and untested.” But their memory must be playing tricks, because the Oslo accords happened in the fall of 1993. ...

The essays vary in tone and quality, but experienced journalists covering the Israel/Palestine story will recognize the usual impressions of reporters fresh from the airport. Cute Palestinian kids touched my hair! Beautiful tea glasses! I saw a gun! I lost my luggage, and that seems symbolic! Arabs do hip-hop! The soldiers are so young and rude! The writers interview the same people who are always interviewed in the West Bank, thinking it’s all new, and believe what they’re told. Chabon, for example, waxes sarcastic that in the West Bank you can spend months in administrative detention if you forget your ID card at home. But that isn’t true.

.... The hosts’ choreography becomes evident the more you read, because the writers keep going back to the same street in Hebron, the same village near the same settlement, the same checkpoint activist. They avoid Palestinian extremists and average Israelis, so it looks like all Palestinians are reasonable and all Israelis aren’t.

I know space in these projects is limited, especially with all the love that needs to fit, but the Syrian catastrophe unfolding a 90-minute drive from the West Bank could have used a few more words — half a million people are dead, and millions of others have been displaced. Does this affect the thinking of the Israelis and Palestinians next door? Are Israeli decisions influenced by the bloody outcomes of power vacuums in Sinai, Iraq and Libya? What will replace the occupation? In Gaza, it was Hamas — will it be Hamas in the West Bank? If Israel’s police leave East Jerusalem, could the city become Aleppo? These are some of the big questions of 2017.

But the writers here aren’t addressing them, which raises another question: What is this book about?

What it’s really about is the writers. Most of the essays aren’t journalism but a kind of selfie in which the author poses in front of the symbolic moral issue of the time: Here I am at an Israeli checkpoint! Here I am with a shepherd! That’s why the very first page of the book finds Chabon and Waldman talking not about the occupation, but about Chabon and Waldman. After a while I felt trapped in a wordy kind of Kardashian Instagram feed, without the self-awareness.

Whatever this anthology set out to be, “Kingdom of Olives and Ash” is an unintentional group portrait of a certain set of intellectuals. Would they like a curated trip to a foreign country? Sign them up! Do they think a few days is enough to pass judgment on the participants in a century-old conflict? They do! These people are taken somewhere, and they go. Someone points, and they look. They can be trusted not to ask who’s pointing, who’s with them on the bus or who’s paying for the gas.

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From Ian:

David Collier: Fighting through law, fighting in the streets. Both may fail the Jews
From songs that ridicule the Holocaust to blaming Jews for the Grenfell fire on Al Quds Day. From a battle in law to a wider societal struggle. It would be foolish to understate or ignore the signals we are receiving from the current UK landscape.
23rd June 2017. I have just left the Marylebone Magistrates Court, where the Alison Chabloz case has just had another sitting. For background, Chabloz produced and uploaded some truly vile videos, poking fun, belittling and denying the Holocaust. Arguing her actions were against the law, a private prosecution was brought. The CPS eventually picked up the case. She has now become a ‘darling’ of hate groups. Chabloz was recently a guest of such a group in Canada. Chabloz was also the ‘entertainment’ at a gathering at a secret meeting of the “neo-Nazi, white supremacist” London Forum. David Irving was also there.
The case itself is laden with cumbersome legal arguments. An original charge was dropped earlier this year, because Chabloz had uploaded the video to YouTube whilst in Switzerland, rendering the action ‘outside of UK jurisdiction’. Today, as the ‘banter’ went on between defence and prosecution, it became apparent how archaic the law remains when discussing online communications. As with most of English law, precedent is key, and the argument centered around case law examples about posting letters. Using the delivery of a letter through the Royal Mail system to argue a point over a hyperlink. As truly awe-inspiring as our legal system is at times, it can also be frustratingly stupid.
Chabloz arrived with a few supporters. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling. Sitting in a court room in central London in 2017, only to be outnumbered by Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis. This as legal minds, clearly challenged by the concepts of virtual exchanges, argue procedural legalities over a song ridiculing a genocide of Jews.
Conrad Black: Palestinian terror and Israel boycotts aren't a form of 'dissent.' They're just evil and stupid
Up to this point, this is a pretty good book, but here William Kaplan grafts onto his narrative a wildly Israelophobic and unrigorously bowdlerized version of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The terrorists and Jew-hating leaders of the ostensible Palestinians are incongruously dusted off as dissenters in the same pristine virtuosity as the enemies of thalidomide and ecological pollution and unjust conviction of the innocent and hair-trigger war-making. It is a set-up; the narrative has built up a solid bank of appreciation of the positive role of those who dissent by nature (apart from the light-hearted apologia for the Occupy Wall Street foolishness). But suddenly the tenor and tempo change, and the horribly complicated problem of Jews and Arabs in Israel is rendered as apartheid, oppression, and the whitewashing of Palestinian terrorism and of their claim to a right to swamp the Jews demographically and reduce them, once again, to a minority, sure to be oppressed yet again, and this time in the country the world gave them as a Jewish homeland. It need hardly be emphasized that it is a complicated issue. The British sold the same real estate to both sides in 1917; the United Nations made Israel a Jewish state, and the Israelis have successfully defended and expanded it after Arab-initiated wars in 1948, 1967 and 1973.
The answer is not to give knee-jerk adherence to a campaign of boycott and disinvestment against Israel in favour of an Arab population that will not leave because it is better treated and more prosperous than in Arab countries, and that shelters suicide bombers, knife-assailants of the innocent, and other terrorists. The Palestinians could have their state next week if they acknowledged Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. The one good result of the escalated Islamist terror attacks against the West and the less fervent Islamists is that they have disabused almost everyone except Kaplan from extending any more moral or tangible support to the blood-stained charlatans of Palestinian terrorism. An economic boycott of Israel is an evil and stupid enterprise, and those otherwise respectable people who promote it, such as the United Church of Canada and Kaplan, should be ashamed of themselves, and eventually will be.
Joel B Pollak: The Palestinians Are Missing Another Opportunity
Abbas apparently fails to understand that he can no longer encourage and reward the murder of innocent people as a form of “social aid” or political patronage. Perhaps he is taking advice from the U.S. media, who suggest daily that President Trump may not be around for long. Abbas may hope that by stalling on this issue, he may find a more pliable U.S. administration, as the Obama administration was.
He is mistaken. The Trump administration is not going to disappear, and it is not going to drop the issue of stopping payments to terrorists. Trump’s own supporters, and the sponsors of the Taylor Force Act, are holding him accountable on that issue.
If the Palestinians persist in their refusal, the entire peace process will fall apart — and it should, to be replaced by steps that allow Israel to act unilaterally, with U.S. backing, to secure its citizens and its interests.
The Palestinian leadership does not seem to understand that risk — or the opportunity Trump has given them. When he took office, they panicked: they did not even know anyone in the incoming administration. They were given a reprieve when the president committed himself to reaching a peace agreement between Israel and the PA. It was, frankly, an opportunity the Palestinians did not deserve.
Trump is earnest about wanting to make “one of the toughest deals of all.” But the Palestinian leadership is wasting that chance for the sake of paying terrorists, proving the truth of Abba Eban’s observation that the Palestinians “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”
With President Trump in office, it may be the last opportunity the Palestinians ever have to miss.
UN Watch: Why Democracies Snubbed U.N. Anti-Israel Debate

Friday, June 23, 2017

From Ian:

The suppressed Arte antisemitism documentary in historic perspective
The initial suppression by the public and EU-subsidized French-German Arte TV station of a documentary about European antisemitism fits well into a lengthy history of hiding information about Jew-hatred and its perpetrators in Europe. Three extreme such cases since the beginning of this century that are discussed below illustrate a far more general phenomenon.
After the beginning of the Second Intifada in autumn 2000, there was a major outbreak of antisemitism in Western Europe. The first country where this manifested itself was France. Many of the violent antisemitic incidents were caused by Muslims. The then-Socialist government of prime minister Lionel Jospin did not want to admit the facts, let alone identify the community of the main perpetrators.
French sociologist Shmuel Trigano related that antisemitic violence went largely unreported by both the press and public authorities for several months. The police categorized many of the incidents as “hooliganism.” We now understand that in those years the mental infrastructure for the sizable emigration of French Jews in recent years was created.
Another important case which elucidates the same “hiding truth policy’” occurred when the European Monitoring Center for Racism and Xenophobia – an EU agency since replaced by the Fundamental Rights Agency – asked the then 15 EU member states to report on antisemitic violence and viewpoints in 2002. The information the European Monitoring Center obtained was passed on to ZfA, the Center for Research on Antisemitism at the Technical University in Berlin, with the request to analyze the data.
An American scholar, Amy Elman, analyzed how this issue developed in her 2015 book, The European Union, Anti-Semitism, and the Politics of Denial. She said in an interview: “The Zfa completed its document in October 2003. It found that violent attacks against Jews often rose from virulent anti-Zionism across the political spectrum. Moreover, it specifically identified young Muslims of Arab descent as the main perpetrators of physical attacks against Jews and the desecration and destruction of synagogues. Many were victims of racism and social exclusion themselves.”
The European Monitoring Center decided not to publish the Zfa report, claiming that it was not meant for publication. Zfa responded that the frequent mention of Muslim perpetrators of antisemitism and anti-Zionist attacks was what had put off the European Monitoring Center. The Zfa also made public that the European Monitoring Center repeatedly asked it to change its findings, which it refused to do.
This shelving of the report and the reaction of the Zfa led to a scandal. The World Jewish Congress then published the Zfa’s unchanged report on the Internet.
Commentary on anti-Semitism film offends German Jews
A documentary on modern-day anti-Semitism in Europe, which public television stations in Germany originally refused to broadcast, continued to generate controversy even after German networks yielded to public pressure and broadcast the film on Wednesday evening.
After the German daily Bild posted the documentary "Chosen and Excluded -- The Hate for Jews in Europe" on its website for 24 hours, the German ARD network decided to broadcast the film, but only after making the filmmaker promise to include "corrections" and appear on air for a discussion after it was screened.
Most of the participants in the post-broadcast panel characterized the documentary as "pro-Israel propaganda" and as a distorted view of reality.
The film was broadcast with a ticker running across the bottom of the screen that directed viewers to the TV station's website, where they could review "comments" about its content.
The Jewish community in Germany was outraged on Thursday at how the documentary had been presented.
"This is a complete scandal," one leading figure in the community told Israel Hayom.
"The message that accompanied the film, and in the discussion that followed, was 'don't believe what you see,'" the community leader said. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Hypocrisy: Amazon Removes ‘Palestinian History’ Book, Keeps Selling ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’
There’s no shortage of hypocrisy coming out of Amazon right now.
The book, “A History of the Palestinian People: From Ancient Times to the Modern Era,” by Assaf A. Voll, that quite accurately described the ancient history of the “Palestinian” people with 132 blank pages, has been removed from Amazon.
It reached a remarkable ranking of 341 in the All Books category, a ranking of 49 in History, and was #1 in Middle East History.
Hundreds of copies were sold over the past few days, and it had hundreds of positive comments. Readers knew exactly what they were buying.
But anti-Zionist readers began posting comments demanding the book be removed, and clearly Amazon listened.
On Amazon’s “CreateSpace” it says “the title has been retired and is no longer for sale.”
In the meantime, Amazon continues to sell T-Shirts that erase the Jewish State and replace it with “Palestine”. Now that’s a call for genocide.
You can also buy the anti-Semitic classic “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” on Amazon. (h/t Elder of Lobby)

  • Friday, June 23, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
Every week or two, Iran trots out another official to say the exact same thing.

Israel as about 1/10th the population of Iran, but Israel's GDP is about 70% as large as Iran's.

But I'm sure that this official has some good facts to back his statements up:

“It has been 80 years since Palestine was occupied and separated from Muslim lands through the plots hatched by the US, Britain, and Zionists,” Ramezan Sharif said in a press conference in Tehran on Tuesday.
He further emphasized that the Israeli regime is currently in the worst conditions it has ever been during the past 80 years.
Today, the Zionists not only have forgotten their expansionist plans but also have been forced to build walls around the occupied lands, the Iranian official said, adding that “their fate would be nothing but collapse.”
There ya go. Everyone knows that the two blue lines on the Israeli flag are meant to be the Euphrates and the Nile, symbolizing Israel's expansionist plans to take over the Middle East.

But now - those plans seem to be abandoned!

Proof positive!

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From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Israel, American Jewry and Trump’s GOP
Earlier this month Norway, Denmark and Switzerland did something surprising.
Norway announced that it was demanding the return of its money from the Palestinian Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Secretariat, for the latter’s funding of a Palestinian women’s group that built a youth center near Nablus named for PLO mass murderer Dalal Mughrabi.
Denmark followed, announcing it was cutting off all funding to the group.
And last week, the Swiss parliament passed a resolution directing the government to amend Swiss law to block funding of NGOs “involved in racist, antisemitic or hate incitement actions.”
For years, the Israeli government has been urging these and other European governments to stop funding such groups, to no avail. What explains their abrupt change of heart? In two words: Donald Trump.
For years, the Obama administration quietly encouraged the Europeans to fund these groups and to ratchet up their anti-Israel positions. Doing so, the former administration believed, would coerce Israel to make concessions to the PLO.
But now, Trump and his advisers are delivering the opposite message. And, as the actions by Denmark, Norway and Switzerland show, the new message is beginning to be received.
If the US administration keeps moving forward on this trajectory, it can do far more than suspend funding for one terrorism-supporting Palestinian NGO. It can shut down the entire BDS industry before Trump finishes his current term in office.
To understand what can and ought to be done, it is first important to understand the nature of the BDS movement. Under the catchphrase BDS, two separate campaigns against Israel and against Jews are being carried out.
Melanie Phillips: The fight to the death in Britain and America
Yet after Finsbury Park the media, Muslims and political establishment rushed to denounce the real villains: those who had incited the perpetrator through their “Islamophobic” views.
Instead of communal harmony, hatred was unleashed – against those who campaign against Islamist extremism.
The attack was seized upon as supposed proof that the terrorist urge was a universal and culturally unspecific affliction, like influenza.
Thus the global Islamic jihad which has claimed tens of thousands of lives was equated with a minute number of retaliatory acts by a few fringe groups or truly random individuals.
Such lethal moral equivalence amounts to political depravity. This was also on display last Sunday when Muslims and their hard-left allies massed on the streets of London for the Iran-backed al-Quds Day rally.
Marching behind the flags of Hezbollah, people screamed anti-Jewish incitement.
They not only equated “Zionists” with ISIS but even insanely blamed such “Zionists” for the tragic fire which last week consumed an entire west London apartment block, apparently through a combination of accident and negligence.
The terrifying reality is that many on the Left connive at or even support such deranged incitement. There is an ugly revolutionary mood currently in the air in Britain which is causing many to shiver in alarm.
People around the world were shocked when the Labour Party did so well in Britain’s general election earlier this month, despite the extremist sympathies and hardleft views of its leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The disturbing reality is that millions of mainly young Brits don’t care that he calls Hezbollah and Hamas his “friends.”
Such young people are either ignorant and ill-educated – or they too believe such terrorists are legitimate resistance fighters.
Palestine Elected To UN Panel On 'Racial Discrimination' Because Apparently Vicious Anti-Semitism Is Enlightened.
The United Nations’ devolution into a pantomime of moral degeneracy is all but complete. After Saudi Arabia’s appointment to the Human Rights Council, we shouldn’t be all that surprised by the UN’s latest ploy to delegitimize its own supposed ideals.
This week, Palestine was elected as the vice-chair of the UN Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This is the same unofficial polity that routinely calls for a land without any Jews, praises Islamist terrorists for slaughtering innocents, pays jihadist families, and calls for the annihilation of the Jewish State.
The term “anti-Semitism” doesn’t adequately capture the full scale of blood libels propagated by Palestinian officials against Jews.
By electing Palestine to a leadership role designed to combat “racial discrimination,” the UN has signaled to the world that not only does it not care about racism but it awards violent racists as long as they keep their seething hatred directed at Jews.

  • Friday, June 23, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
This week, Palestinian Media Watch reported:

The Palestinian Authority has named yet another square after a terrorist. The newly inaugurated "Martyr Khaled Nazzal Square," is named after the terror leader who planned the attack that led to the murder of 22 children and 4 adults in the Ma'alot Massacre on May 15, 1974. This is just the latest example of the PA's relentless glorification of terrorists.
This new square in Jenin is named after terrorist Khaled Nazzal, the Secretary of the Central Committee of the Democratic Front for Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), and commander of its military branch. He was responsible for the Ma'alot Massacre, during which terrorists took school children and their teachers as hostages, and eventually murdered 22 children and 4 adults. Terrorist Nazzal also planned an attack which resulted in the murder of 4 hostages in an apartment in Beit Shean (Nov. 11, 1974), and a shooting and grenade attack in central Jerusalem in which 1 was murdered and 47 others were wounded (April 2, 1984).
The "Martyr Khaled Nazzal Square" was inaugurated at a rally with PA officials, "under the auspices of the Jenin District and the [Jenin] municipality." Participants included the Deputy District Governor of the Jenin District, and the DFLP in Jenin. 

Monument to terrorist Nazzal, "Martyr Khaled Nazzal Square,” in Jenin

Text on monument: "Martyr Khaled Nazzal Square
We must guard the flowers of the Martyrs (quote from song by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish)
1948-1986, for free Palestine"
[Jeningate, independent Palestinian news website, June 15, 2017]

Deputy Mayor of Jenin Mahmoud Abu Mweis spoke at the event and "emphasized that our leadership and our people will continue on the path of the Martyrs."
This sort of story has repeated dozens of times.

But this time, the pressure worked.

Safa reports that this monument was dismantled last night after Netanyahu complained.

I have never heard of the PA taking one of these down before. And they wouldn't do it if the pressure wasn't being felt.

The DFLP protested the dismantling.

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  • Friday, June 23, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
From the summary page of the annual UNHCR Global Trends report released for World Refugee Day this week:

Note how UNHCR must include UNRWA's fake "refugees" among its statistics, inflating the number of refugees in the world from 17.2 million to 22.5 million - an inflation of 31% just to accommodate the bizarre UNRWA "working definition" of "refugee.

But this goes beyond that. UNHCR is careful to distinguish between refugees, internally displaced people and asylum seekers, all who have different legal statuses under international law.

UNRWA makes no such distinctions, and grotesquely goes beyond it.

Here is a graphic from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, also released on World Refugee Day:

They are claiming that 42% of the people who live in the "Palestine" are refugees from - Palestine. Under the normal definition of refugee, this is literally impossible - one cannot be a refugee while living in the country that you came from. At worst, you can be called "internally displaced."

But UNRWA's definition of refugee is even more fluid that UNHCR's definition of "internally displaced people." Because the vast majority of UNRWA's "refugees" in the territories are third or fourth generation descendants of alleged "internally displaced people."

Do people whose families have lived in their own country for decades - who are citizens of the "State of Palestine" - qualify to be called refugees? According to UNRWA, yes - and therefore the UNHCR, no doubt holding their noses, must put these completely bogus statistics on their own otherwise well-researched and important report.

If one would apply that logic to other peoples, the vast majority of Israelis would be considered "refugees" even more than Palestinians, because most Israelis are descended from either Holocaust survivors, people who fled persecution in Russia (both in the late 19th century and more recently), or those who were expelled from Arab countries. Those Israelis aren't in their countries of origin, unlike Palestinian "refugees."

The Palestinian fake refugees water down and ruin the vital work of UNHCR by inflating the numbers and inevitably making the world more cynical about the plight of real refugees and displaced persons.

And it will only get worse, because UNHCR tries to erase the refugee status of these people by finding places for them to live in either their original country or elsewhere. UNRWA does not have a way, except for death, to remove any Palestinian from "refugee" status. So in ten years UNHCR will be claiming that perhaps 35% of all "refugees" are Palestinian - even if they live in "Palestine," even if they are citizens of Jordan, it doesn't matter.

UNRWA is screwing up the entire UN system with its fake statistics and real refugees will suffer as a result as UNRWA continues to devour an outsized amount of refugee aid, providing services way beyond what UNHCR does for people who do not deserve it.

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  • Friday, June 23, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

Dr. Nabil Shaath spoke at the Herzliya Conference on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas.

Here's what he said about the issue of the PA paying terrorists and their families:
On social aid provided to families of Palestinian political prisoners and martyrs:  800,000 Palestinians have been detained in Israeli prisons since the occupation of 1967 and close to 1 million since 1948. One out of every three Palestinian males have spent time in an Israeli prison. Is any rational human being going to claim that these 1 million people are terrorists? That one third of the Palestinians are terrorists because they have been through Israeli jail? It's really quite frankly a racist rhetoric too to really call all our political prisoners terrorists.
There you go! Choose a completely arbitrary and made up statistic to prove your point!

There have not been a million Palestinians in prison. Not even close. It is complete fiction.

Since the second intifada, there have been several thousand arrests a year. In 2002, probably the highest year ever, there were a reported 11,000 arrests according to PCHR.. Even that year the number of people in prison didn't get close to 10,000 at any point in time.

Yet during that time period the number of "prisoners" (or "detainees" or "those arrested") reported by Palestinian NGOs has grown from 600,000 in 2004 to 650,000 in 2006, 750,000 in 2009, 800,000 in 2014, 850,000 in 2015 and (for some NGOs) a million in 2016. However,  no one can point to a year since 2004 with more than a few thousand arrests.

The best I can determine is that the "one third of all Palestinians have been arrested" meme is so powerful that they inflate the number of supposed prisoners as the population grows to keep that ratio consistent.

Abbas and Shaath know they are lying, because they certainly aren't paying stipends to million families or even a million people!. There  aren't a million families under PA rule altogether! They pay to the roughly 6000 people who have been in prison at any time, most for multi-year terms, and their families, and the several thousand who have been released, and the families of "martyrs" who are almost invariably terrorists who were killed while attacking Israelis.

This one section of one speech given on behalf of the president of the Palestinian Authority is all the proof you need that you cannot trust the Palestinian leadership about literally anything.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

From Ian:

Honest Reporting: How Reporting From Israel Changed My Worldview Forever
I was content to tell this story for my first few months in Israel, because I, too, believed it. As I wrote recently in The Jerusalem Report magazine, I had a deeply negative view of the Jewish state until I moved there. I grew up in a WASPy New England town where everyone is a liberal Democrat. For some reason, hostility towards Israel is a knee-jerk liberal opinion in the U.S. (and in much of Europe). As a product of my environment, I believed that Israel was a bully and the primary obstacle to peace in the Middle East.
But foreign affairs always look different when they become local, and nowhere is that more true than in Israel. I began to see that one sunny afternoon not long after I moved to Jerusalem. On that day, I went to cover a Palestinian protest at an Israeli-run prison near Ramallah. A reporter for The Independent and I drove out there and fell in with a group of about 100 Palestinian demonstrators as they marched towards the prison.
When they arrived, about a half dozen Israeli soldiers came out to meet them. The Palestinians quickly set up a roadblock of burning tires to prevent the Israelis from escaping. More and more protesters arrived – I don’t know from where – but I soon saw them swarming over the hills above the prison, clad in face masks and keffiyehs. It was like a scene from Game of Thrones. Some had knives in their belts. Others had brought ingredients for Molotov cocktails. They took up positions on the hills above the prison and began using powerful slingshots to hurl rocks and chunks of concrete at the six or so Israeli soldiers down below. The Israelis were so outnumbered that I couldn’t help but question the narrative that Israel was Goliath and the Palestinians were David, because here in front of me it looked like the exact opposite.
When I visited the Gaza Strip a few months later, I again saw the difference between how journalists portray a place and reality. Reading about Gaza in the news, you’d think the whole place was rubble, that it looks more or less like Homs or Aleppo. In fact Gaza is no different in appearance from anywhere else in the Arab World. During eight days in the Strip, I didn’t see a single war-damaged building until I specifically asked my fixer to show me one. In response, she drove me to Shujaya, a neighborhood of Gaza City that’s a known Hamas stronghold and is still visibly damaged from the 2014 war.
Was the destruction in Shujaya shocking? Yes. But it was very localized, and not at all indicative of the rest of Gaza. The rest of Gaza is not so different from many developing countries: people are poor but they manage to provide for themselves, and even to dress well and be happy most of the time. Actually, there are parts of the Strip that are quite nice. I went out to eat at restaurants where the tables are made from marble and the waiters wear vests and ties. I saw huge villas on the beach that wouldn’t be out of place in Malibu, and – right across the street from those villas – I visited a new, $4 million mosque.
BBC Discovers WWII Headlines In Archives (satire)
Richard Westin, a BBC reporter and historical archivist from West Hampstead recently discovered a slew of old headlines from WWII and onwards. What was thought to have been lost when the company began switching many of its historical news pieces to a digital format, Westin felt lucky to have stumbled onto the prized pieces of history.
“I was doing some research on how Israel withholds air from Palestinian areas and was lucky enough to stumble onto a great historical find.” Many of the headlines included classics like, “German Officer Catches Cold at Auschwitz” and “Twenty Year Old German Boy Killed By Jews In Warsaw Uprising.”
Speaking from West Hampstead, Mr. Westin also said he was fascinated how the BBC has historically been credible with its news and always concentrated just on the facts. “Upon further investigation, it was concluded that not only one, but many German officers caught colds at Auschwitz, as did many Ukrainian Guard. The BBC definitely had it right. Also, we contacted the family of the twenty-year-old boy who was killed in Warsaw, Hanz Baur, and the now elderly family speaking from Germany said Hanz’s death has left a huge hole difficult to fill for them. From photos, we can clearly see how Hanz was a strapping good looking blonde bo,y and who knows what he would have become had he not been killed?”
Other headlines dating back some years were also discovered. From 1973 a headline of “Secular Jews In Israel forego Services On Yom Kippur To Fire Guns” as well as a 1948 Headline, “Jews Abandon Western Wall”. While most of the authors who penned the headlines are no longer living, Mr. Westin feels that through this rare archival document find, he can remain connected to those BBC reporters who came before him.
HR's Daniel Pomerantz, BBC Headlines on i24

 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column

I have always thought that curiosity about oneself is self-indulgent. Nothing bored me more than people that wanted to tell me what they had discovered about themselves in psychotherapy. Just get on with it, was my motto. I don’t care about your childhood, and you shouldn’t either.

The same went for Jews who are always picking at the Holocaust. I didn’t want to hear about it. They tried to kill us, they only partially succeeded, let’s eat. I never visited Yad Vashem; I skipped the trip provided by the absorption center in 1979. I don’t go to Holocaust movies, and the last book I read about it was André Schwarz-Bart’s The Last of the Just, which I read in the early 1960s. Who needs this stuff, I thought? I had contempt for those who were seeking emotional titillation at a safe distance from the horrors of 75 years ago, while ignoring the Arabs and Iranians that want to murder us today.

I thought I was a “new Jew” that had dumped all of that baggage.

But there seems to be something about the aging process that compels reflection. There are things that you did that you wish you had done differently, and things that you wish you hadn’t done at all. And I think I’m beginning to understand why people investigate their genealogy, or take trips to the places their grandparents lived. What was it like to live under the Czar? My grandfather could have told me, but it’s almost 50 years too late to ask him. I didn’t care then, but today I want to know.

I was born in 1942 and I grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust. My parents were born in America and were invested in being Americans. They weren’t interested in religion, in speaking the Yiddish they understood from their childhoods, or in joining Jewish or Zionist organizations. None of that had anything for them. They understood that they were Jewish, almost all of their friends were Jewish too, but when they looked for a house in the suburbs in 1950, they chose a non-Jewish neighborhood. They never talked about the Holocaust, at least not that I heard. In 1948 I asked my father about disturbing things I was hearing on the radio. He explained that there was a war going on “between the Jews and the Arabs.” But they were different Jews, far away and not connected to us. 

My maternal grandparents, with whom we lived, were another story. They had emigrated (from here) in what is now Ukraine, before the revolution. They had relatives who had stayed behind in Europe, whom they kept in touch with until the war. Toward the end of it, they somehow found out that none of them had survived. I overheard conversations that I only partly understood, but I was aware that something terrible had happened.

My grandmother was one of the toughest and hardest-working women I’ve known, although she had a soft spot in her heart for her (then) only grandchild. She came to America at the age of 17 not knowing how to read or write, but already a dressmaker by profession. My grandparents both worked as sewing machine operators in the Manhattan garment district; someone told me that my grandfather, who was blind in one eye, had a job because they had to hire him to get her. I inherited my cynical, even slightly paranoid, attitude from her.

Their approach to life, far different from my “American” parents, was that of Jews who were always looking over their shoulders. The Holocaust was always present, as well as the pogroms of pre-revolutionary Russia. They were the kind of Jews that, at least figuratively, always had their suitcases packed. At one point when I was in college in the 1960s, I told my grandfather that I was thinking about making aliyah. He smiled and patted me on the back, and said “to help the Jewish people.” I was surprised. I doubt that my parents would have used the expression “the Jewish people” in any context.

I didn’t make aliyah until much later, but there’s no doubt that my connection to the Jewish people goes through my grandparents (but probably not my Judaism: the constitution of the Landsmannschaft to which he belonged contains a note that “the question of affiliation with a synagogue is never to be raised.” Not my conservatism either: he was a regular reader of the Yiddish Daily Forward and once even elected Secretary of his ILGWU local).

The Holocaust, the pogroms of Europe, and the anti-Jewish riots and massacres in the Middle East and North Africa are unfortunately part of the Jewish people’s collective soul. So are the thousands of years of discrimination and ghettoization. There’s no escaping them, even if we pretend to be “new Jews” for whom history started in the 19th century here in Israel with the arrival of the first Zionists.

And that’s not bad. My grandmother could spot a con a mile away. She was suspicious, but in her world, you had to be. She wouldn’t trust Mahmoud Abbas or Tzipi Livni as far as she could throw them. She understood that the world was a dangerous place for Jews, and you had to always watch your back. I completely understand her. I still look over my shoulder. It’s in my DNA. But there are some ways in which things have finally changed.

In Israel today, we face some very serious threats. We need to look over our shoulders, to Tehran, Gaza, Damascus, Beirut and Ramallah. But after several thousand years, our suitcases are finally unpacked.

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From Ian:

The Ongoing Drama of Palestinian Lies
The current policy of the PA leadership is to avoid alienating the Trump administration by continuing to pretend that Abbas and his cronies are serious about achieving peace with Israel. This is why Abbas's representatives are careful not to criticize Trump or his envoys.
When Israel does not comply with their list of demands, the Palestinians will accuse it of "destroying" the peace process. Worse still, the Palestinians will use this charge as an excuse to redouble their terror against Israelis. The Palestinian claim, as always, will be that they are being forced to resort to terrorism in light of the failure of yet another US-sponsored peace process.
No doubt, Abbas cannot find it within himself to clarify to the American envoys that he lacks a mandate from his people to make any step toward peace with Israel. Abbas knows, even if the American representatives do not, that any move in that direction would end his career, and very possibly his life. Abbas also does not wish to go down in Palestinian history as the treacherous leader who "sold out to the Jews." Moreover, someone can come along later and say, quite correctly, that as Abbas has exceeded his legitimate term in office, any deal he makes is illegal and illegitimate.
Saudi power realignment may favor Israel
Riyadh and Jerusalem were reported last year as having effectively worked together - despite officially having no diplomatic ties - to try to stop the US agreeing a nuclear deal with Iran.
Representatives of the two countries have shared public platforms, such as at the Council on Foreign Relations in June 2015, when retired Saudi general Anwar Eshki spoke alongside Israeli official Dore Gold.
Saudi-Israeli relations are a sensitive topic due to overwhelmingly sympathetic public opinion in the kingdom on the Palestinian cause for statehood.
Christopher Davidson, author of After the Sheikhs: The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies, said, "Traditionally, Arab clients of the United States have often tried to curry favour with the Americans by being seen to at least cosy up to the state that they feel is America’s number one friend in the region – Israel”.
One of the Saudi sources said Washington could be swayed into supporting Bin Salman's bid to be king if he could achieve good communication with Israel, even if the Americans like Bin Nayef.
David Hearst, editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye, sums up: "The Arab people from the Atlantic to the Gulf have changed. They have shed blood, lost homes, families, jobs, and their liberty. Thousands are in jail. Thousands more have drowned in the Mediterranean. Millions have been displaced. They are no longer awe struck by their absolute rulers with their absolute privilege and absolute wealth. And they are prepared to fight for basic human rights.
"The House of Saud with all its court intrigues, with Abdullah merging into Salman and then Mohammed, has not changed. Access to power depends on the family tree. It makes a difference whether you are a brother or half-brother.
"Ministerial portfolios are still handed down from father to son like goods and chattel. Professionals are still replaced with placemen. The family puts enormous power in the hands of one man. It makes gigantic mistakes in Yemen and Syria. And it is still, with its unimaginable wealth, a house of cards."
Unlikely allies: Israel and the Saudis
Israel’s Channel 2 news station improbably made history last week by airing a brief interview with an obscure policy wonk named Abed al-Hamid Hakim. The subject was the blockade of Qatar imposed by the Saudis and a couple of other despotic Sunni Arab rulers to punish the country for its ties to Iran, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. It obviously wasn’t what Hakim had to say — religion should not be used to justify violence and extremism; we should all try to live in peace and harmony — that aroused interest. Rather, it was where he was sitting when he said it: Jeddah, the commercial capital of Saudi Arabia. For the first time ever, here was a Saudi national being interviewed live on Israeli TV, complete with Hebrew subtitles. Perhaps more extraordinary, though, was that after word got out in Saudi Arabia about their little chit-chat there was no serious backlash.
Having worked for a number of years in the heart of the government-controlled media in Jeddah, I know that such an interview could never have taken place without the go-ahead from the very highest levels of the Saudi regime. A few days later, in fact, it appeared to have been just the opening salvo of an orchestrated, pro-Israel propaganda campaign. An equally unprecedented column about the Jewish state duly appeared in the widely read Saudi daily Al Riyadh, which, like all newspapers in the kingdom, is closely guided and monitored by the government. Written by a certain Musaid al-Asimi, it hardly heaped praise on Israel; but it did emphasise that — in odd phrasing that perhaps reflected the awkwardness of the moment — there was no reason for Arabs to ‘unjustifiably demonise’ the country. After praising the peace accords Israel has signed with Egypt and Jordan (another break with protocol), al-Asimi left his readers in no doubt about what his princely overlords want them to believe. Iran, not Israel, he boldly concluded, must henceforth be considered Saudi Arabia’s regional enemy.
Neither the TV pundit nor the newspaper columnist have been censured by the Saudi regime, which imposes a decade-long sentence for the flimsiest criticism of government policy. Compare their happy lot with that of Jamal Khashoggi, among the kingdom’s most famous and prolific journalists. The world hasn’t heard a tweet from him since last year. His crime? In a speech at a pro-Israel think tank in Washington in the run-up to the US Presidential elections, he suggested that the next incumbent in the White House might not see eye-to-eye with Saudi Arabia about how a potentially nuclear-armed Iran may be contained. For that, Khashoggi has been indefinitely banned from writing on, or commenting about, anything, either in Saudi Arabia or the outside world. By promoting some voices while preventing others from being heard, the royal court is testing the Saudi public’s reaction to a possible future announcement that the enemy (Israel) of my enemy (Iran) is my friend (Wahhabi-Zionist alliance). (h/t Zvi)

  • Thursday, June 22, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
In the past 24 hours, according to Arab media, 38 Jews visited the Temple Mount.

This is, of course, terrible. How can Jews peacefully visit their holiest site? Clearly it is a violation of Muslim rights.

Also in the past 24 hours, according to the same Islamic Waqf that zealously counts every Jew, some 300,000 Muslims visited the same site.

Yet the Muslims complain about restrictions to their freedom of religion.

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  • Thursday, June 22, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
David Hazony wrote an excellent and in-depth essay for The Tower called "Israeli Identity and the Future of American Jewry."

Please read the whole thing, I would not do it justice in this brief summary.

Hazony's thesis is that the best way to counter rampant assimilation of American Jews is to introduce them to Judaism through the prism of Israeliness.

Israeliness is now a “thing,” as the kids say. More precisely, it is its own culture, its own way of approaching the world, its own habits of eating and socializing and innovating and building and raising children. It is distinctly Jewish, having been forged in a collective Hebrew experience, drawing from millennia of Jewish texts and experience, and clearly delineated from the American forms of Judaism, and it now has a century of development behind it and many millions engaged in it. It has its own powerful engines of capital. In some industries and arts, Israelis are among the dominant players—from defense and cyber to agriculture and water tech and autonomous vehicles to electronic music and original TV dramas and jazz and culinary arts. As Israel’s economy and population grow, its influence will only increase—not because every growing economy is culturally influential, but because of the unfathomable creative-intellectual disquiet that has always burned hard in the Jewish soul and continues to drive Israeli creativity.
The point of my whole argument, however, is not about how cool Israel is, because how cool it is has already begun to be discovered by an America forever looking for cool things. The point is that American Jews as a community risk missing a tremendous opportunity to fend off oblivion if they cannot see that Israeliness is not just interesting in its own right but specifically as a form of Jewish identity, exactly when a new form of Jewish identity is the only thing that can save them.

Hazony is saying that Israeliness is Jewish-infused culture that is bold, cool, unapologetic and that can be made attractive to American Jews, which could in turn help stem the tide of assimilation (as well as help Israel's reputation, especially among young people.)

Hazony makes a strong case, but I'm not so certain that it is a long-term solution. It might be good for a number of decades, which means it is worth pursuing, but I don't think it is a strategy for a religion that spans millennia. 

Hazony makes the very valid point that Judaism is more than a religion - it is a culture, a peoplehood and more. But his proofs of that, I think, undermine his argument for Israeliness being a long-term solution:

Can “Israeliness” really be considered a form of Judaism? 
It can, if we properly understand the forms Judaism has taken in the past. While in America we speak in terms of religion, religion itself is a category that has been imposed from without: Whenever we see a combination of theology, ritual, and houses of worship, we call it a religion.
Judaism never really saw itself this way, however. It had these, but it also had other things—a collective narrative and sense of “peoplehood”; an ethnic component; a metaphysical, spiritual path; a textual tradition and the practice of study; “secular” communal institutions alongside and intertwined with “religious” ones; a political worldview. It was a comprehensive way of life, centered not just in the synagogue but, no less so, in the home and the study house; and not just for the individual but for a self-defining collective, a “people,” as well. In biblical times, it included prophets and kings as well as the priests of the Temple. Throughout centuries of exile, a concept of halacha, the “way,” included not only ritual practice but everything from civil and criminal law to cosmology to medical advice. In most times and places across history, “Judaism” comprised many of the core institutions of government.
Fast forward to the nineteenth century. Enlightenment and Reform combined with rise of democratic nations to offer Jews of central and western Europe new ways of being Jewish that turned less on ritual, authority and faith, and more on autonomy and citizenship. To the East, socialism and Marxism offered a secular universal struggle, yet Jewish socialists continued to write and create in Yiddish, live as communities, and form their own labor unions—a culture that would later thrive for decades in the United States after waves of immigrants arrived in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Jewish publications like Forward and Algemeiner Journal were secular-facing, Yiddish-language newspapers for decades before launching English-language and online editions. (You can still read Forward online in Yiddish here.) Alongside Reform and Conservative Judaism, religious movements built around rabbis and congregations, a secular Jewish culture emerged that for many decades was thick with its own habits, food, music, and modes of living that mixed political activism (think workers’ rights, racial equality, Soviet Jewry) with a strong sense of “being Jewish” and, for a time, continued teaching its kids in Yiddish-language schools. Another stream, Reconstructionism, was promulgated by the thinker Mordecai Kaplan who envisioned Judaism not so much as observance and worship but as a “civilization,” a modern comprehensive approach to life. Communal institutions like the YMHA/YWHA (which lives on today, for example, in New York’s 92d Street Y) and Jewish Community Centers emerged to add further angles on delivering identity to the next generation of Jews in frameworks separate from religion.
In other words, the division of American Judaism into denominations, and the use of the word “Judaism” to describe only religious streams, has always been incomplete and even misleading. Judaism has many forms, and only some of them have anything to do with Sabbath or kashrut or prayer.
But what has happened to Yiddish culture in America? What has happened to Reform Judaism, and what is happening now to Conservative Judaism? What happened to the delis and the bialys and the labor unions? Why are the JCCs opening up to non-Jews in order to stay in business?

The Jewish culture that Hazony describes is a mere, fading shadow of Judaism.

Whether we like it or not, Jewish culture is not what keeps Judaism alive. Each example of Jewish culture Hazony mentions lasts a couple of generations and then disappears.

And, unfortunately, so would Israeliness.

There is value in Jewish culture, don't get me wrong. And there is great value in changing diaspora Jewish culture to be more in line with Israeli culture. But it is not the key to Jewish survival.

What is?

Hazony notes:
Oblivion knocks. The two obvious alternatives—aliya and Orthodoxy—require so radical a change in one’s lifestyle that they’re non-starters for most American Jews. If those were the only options, most would choose oblivion.
But I think that there is a possibility for the future of non-Orthodox to not only survive but to thrive. And a facet of that can be seen from Hazony's own brother Yoram, who wrote The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture. I haven't read it yet (should arrive by Shabbat) , but it is an examination of the Tanach from the prism of philosophy - and from a secular perspective.

Judaism is a culture, sure. But since the destruction of the Temple,  the culture has been based on the twin pillars of ritual and the study of Jewish texts above all.

These are not the exclusive domain of the Orthodox. The vast corpus of Jewish literature - that spans law, history, parables, philosophy, poetry, ethics - is available to all. And any Jew can participate in Jewish rituals.

The reason non-Orthodox American Jews are disappearing is because they have abandoned these two basic tenets. How many Reform Jews build a sukkah every fall? What kind of impact would eating and camping out in a sukkah have on their children? Especially if they explain it in terms of Jewish texts, not watered-down "universal" values.

Yiddish culture in America was not a means to preserve Judaism, but a waystation towards abandoning it. Studying Yiddish culture today may be interesting but it has little to do with Judaism, no matter how much it is infused with Jewish ideas.

Israeliness would be the same thing. There is value in Israeli culture, and Israeliness can provide a welcome sense of pride and self-confidence that non-Orthodox American Jews lack. But the values of Israeliness are second-hand compared to the original values of Judaism, and the embrace of it as means of protecting Jewish culture is not hitting the bullseye. We should unapologetically push Jewish ideas and rituals as the means to preserve Judaism.

However, there is one very important lesson that American Jews do need to learn from Israel.

Practically all of the innovations in Jewish learning over the past few decades have come from Israel. Religious education in America has not fundamentally changed in a century - Israel is where the interesting and modern twists on Jewish learning are happening.

Non-religious Israelis (not enough, but a core) get together to study the ancient texts and to find modern meanings in them. Within and without the haredi and dati communities are multiple streams of educational theories and practices that are different than in the past. There are secular "yeshivas." David Hazony's own The Tower has covered the renaissance of Jewish study among secular Israelis.

Yoram Hazony has gone beyond the book I mentioned and has been championing work on a Jewish counterpart to the analytical (Christian) theology being taught in universities today. Why should St Thomas of Aquinas be studied but not Maimonides? This is the sort of innovation than needs to be done to revolutionize Jewish studies in America.

Jews have a hunger to learn. But they don't always have the appropriate tools. Israel is where these tools are being built, and those tools need to come to America and the rest of the Diaspora, along with the Hebrew knowledge that Hazony rightly advocates as a cornerstone of a revival of American Judaism.

I am not an expert on all the new streams of study happening in Israel but I know they are there. Israeliness as a culture will not be a long-term solution for American Jews, but Israel can lead the way in new methods of study and practice, way beyond the meaningless two-word mantra "Tikun Olam" that secular American Jews believe encompasses all of Judaism.

Every important ethical or moral issue of the day can be viewed through the lens of Jewish texts and thought and ritual. This is what young Jews must be taught. You can be liberal or you can be conservative - but derive your worldview based on your own people's rich heritage of ethics and study and practice, rather than shoe-horn your Judaism into a preconceived political or social consciousness bucket.

Jews who work at studying Judaism, who can appreciate the richness in real Jewish source texts, and especially who experience Judaism firsthand, are the ones whose children have the best chance to remain Jewish. "Israeliness" won't solve the problem - but Israeli genius at revamping how to teach Judaism can.

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  • Thursday, June 22, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
He's smiling! That means he's moderate!

"Today, the Zionists' overt and covert intervention can be seen in nearly every dispute among countries of the region", the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said ahead of al-Quds Day, the fake holiday Iran created in the 1970s.

"Today, roots of troubles, violence and insecurities in the Muslim world, as well as the whole world, can be traced in the fake and brutal Zionist regime and the United States as its main sponsor," the allegedly moderate Iranian leader said.


Iran's Foreign Ministry, under another "moderate" Iranian leader Mohammad Javad Zarif, said:

The International Quds Day reminds us of this undeniable historical fact that the occupying regime of Israel is the main cause behind the current crises and tensions in the West Asian region.
Today, the Muslim and Arab nations of the west Asia need to preserve their unity against the anti-human regime of Israel and discern their common enemy with profound insight. On the other hand, they have to stay extremely vigilant against any plots hatched by the Zionists and their international sponsors to deviate them from the path of resistance and restoration of the rights of the oppressed Palestinians. The Zionists make divisions in the Muslim world to achieve their goals.
Well, that's what the Protocols instruct us to do, isn't it?

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

From Ian:

Richard Millett: Physically attacked at SOAS after anti-Israel event with Roger Waters.
Jonathan Hoffman asked a question and he also interjected when SOAS lecturer Matar claimed outrageously that “anyone who is pro-Palestinian is instantly labelled anti-Semitic”.
When the event finished I met up with Jonathan inside the auditorium and he was being quickly surrounded by those wanting to speak to him. I jokingly castigated him for asking an “unbiased question”.
A male next to Jonathan then turned to me and asked if I was with him (Jonathan) and I said “yes” presuming he wanted to chat about the film. But he was immediately face-to-face with me and I noticed he was totally drunk. He was a white male, much taller than me and much younger, probably in his mid to late twenties.
I tried to get away but had nowhere to go as the room was very crowded. There was no security around whatsoever. He was facing me very close telling me I was going to be “f#*king mugged off”. I asked him to calm down and back off or I’d call the police and that I just wanted a relaxing evening to which he responded (here’s the audio):
“I’ll give you a relaxing exit. Would you like a relaxing exit? I’ll tell you what, you’ll get a f#*king pasting. You’ll get a f#*king pasting.”
I dialled 999 but he had walked away so I stopped. However, he then immediately returned, tried to slam my phone out of my hand and also punched me on the side of my head.
I had never seen the attacker before at any event. All he knew about me was that I was connected to Jonathan who had, during the Q&A, tried to put forward Israel’s narrative. This attacker, who had just watched a film with multiple scenes of dead and mutilated men, women and children wanted to find someone to take it out on.
Why Have Jewish Organizations Been Silent About Otto Warmbier’s Death?
Otto Warmbier, an American student at the University of Virginia—who was active in Hillel and who went on Birthright, where he received a Hebrew name—died yesterday after being arrested and tortured by North Korea. You’d think that the cluster of handsomely funded Jewish organizations that fly the banner of promoting and protecting Jewish life in America and abroad would notice and acknowledge Warmbier’s murder. So far, though, American Jewish officialdom has been deafeningly silent.
The odious Anne Frank Center, whose disingenuous mission statement blathers on about a kinder and fairer world where Jewish children are safe from the death camps of tyrannical regimes, didn’t bother taking a break from bashing Donald Trump to lament a young Jew put to death by the world’s worst offender of human rights. Nor did the ADL, an organization quick to stand up with Linda Sarsour as she denied Jews their right to self-determination but not so swift when the victim was a young Jewish man whose crime was pulling a silly prank at his hotel while on a college tour of a nation that routinely starves, imprisons, and executes hundreds of thousands of its own citizens. Everywhere you turn today, you hear no one demanding justice for Otto Warmbier.
What you do hear are the howls of the social justice brigades, for whom Warmbier, being white and a man, is mostly to blame for his own murder. When the young college student was arrested last year, the regressive left’s flagships, from Salon to the blessedly defunct Nightly Show, gleefully mocked Warmbier, arguing that white privilege was the real reason for his predicament and suggesting that when it came to oppression, there was really no difference between Portland and Pyongyang. “The hopeless fear Warmbier is now experiencing,” opined a young blogger on the Huffington Post, “is my daily reality living in a country where white men like him are willfully oblivious to my suffering even as they are complicit in maintaining the power structures which ensure their supremacy at my expense.”
This sort of bigoted nonsense is toxic to all Americans, but it’s particularly hazardous to Jews, whose suffering is too often explained away these days as an acceptable byproduct of excessive power and influence. It’s precisely the kind of anti-Semitic bile Jewish organizations were founded to combat. Their silence throughout Warmbier’s ordeal and murder is shameful.
The West should listen to musical giant Yevgeny Kissin
But Kissin is different from other contemporary musicians, musical giants but moral dwarves, like Daniel Barenboim and Gustavo Dudamel. Kissin is publishing a book this week, “Memoirs and Reflections”, edited by Marina Arshinova. “I am a stunch supporter of Western values”, he told the Spectator, “but in recent years I have realized that the Western establishment has often betrayed those same values. And one of the manifestations of this betrayal is the stance against Israel."
This is the diametric opposite of what another music virtuoso has done, Daniel Barenboim, who, in the newspaper Haaretz has just explained that Israel was “given” to the Jewish people by a world with the sense of guilt after the Holocaust, making the Palestinian Arabs pay the price. “Memoirs and reflections” is an act of love for the third country adopted by Kissin, who defines himself as “a citizen of Russia, the West and Israel”. He writes of feeling “like an Israeli soldier in the international arena.”
Never mention Jeremy Corbyn's name in Kissin's presence. “My late uncle, Lord Kissin, must be turning in his grave.” He is referring to his uncle Harry Kissin, a Labout militant who fled Nazism.
Words no less harsh are those Kissin reserves for the European Union. “I certainly don’t like what has become of it,’ he says. ‘Having grown up in the former Soviet Union I am for the independence of states. A common market is one thing but political centralisation is something completely different which I do not like.”
When in London, at the Royal Albert Hall, when anti-Zionists interrupted Zubin Mehta's conducting of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, Kissin told them: “When Israel’s enemies try to disrupt concerts of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra or the Jerusalem Quartet, I want them to come and make trouble at my concerts, too, because Israel’s case is my case, Israel’s enemies are my enemies, and I do not want to be spared the troubles which Israeli musicians encounter when they represent the Jewish state beyond its borders.”
Kissin attacked “the anti-Israel hysteria.” Bis, maestro! The Western establishment should go to his concerts and learn how to speak the truth.

The other day a friend posted a Hananya Naftali video on her Facebook page. Knowing she'd never knowingly post anything from a Messianic Christian missionary, I sent her a message telling her my suspicions about Naftali. But I didn't want to be spreading false rumors, so I decided to check with my new friend Shannon Nuszen to make sure I was being accurate.

Why Shannon? Because Shannon, once upon a time, was an evangelical missionary. Now she is 100% Orthodox Jewish, and living in Gush Etzion, not far from where I live. A board member of JewishIsrael, Shannon's about page says she "has spent her entire life studying and analyzing Christian scriptural arguments."

The page continues: "Shannon was immersed into the field of religious apologetics as a child by her father, a former 'Assemblies of God' minister. Traveling as an evangelist with her father, she learned the inner workings of the evangelical movement, and was exposed to the behind the scenes manipulation and many money making stage-show tactics. In the year 2000, Shannon engrossed herself into studying the Christian messianic movement, and was affiliated with some of the most deceptive missionary organizations that have unfortunately penetrated the Jewish world. Her background and history provide Shannon with an intimate knowledge of the Christian missionary agenda and the dangers it poses to the Jewish communities in Israel and the Diaspora."

Yup. Shannon was definitely the one to ask. And so I asked her, "Shannon, have you heard of Hananya Naftali? I'm fairly certain he's an undercover Christian missionary."

Shannon corrected me: "He's not undercover. He flat out admits as much," she said.

Oh, wow! I thanked her and rushed to tell my friend. She said, "Oy vey!" and hastened to remove the video from her Facebook page.

She sent me a report she'd written on Hananya Naftali and a video he created that leaves no doubt about his intentions. Featuring this clip on the JewishIsrael site led to Hananya Naftali reporting the organization for copyright violation to YouTube. Happily, Shannon and JewishIsrael won.

The original clip had a banner splashed across the screen which said: "IDF VS Christians."

Here's the description accompanying the clip: "Messianic Israeli YouTuber Hananya Naftali explores opposition and attitudes to jesus among his Jewish comrades in the IDF, and seeks the best way to share jesus with fellow soldiers."

I was really irked that I'd had suspicions about the guy for two years now and here people are still treating him as though he were a legit Jewish Israeli Zionist. People are still sharing his darned videos. They have no clue.

Why are they sharing his stuff? Because Hananya Naftali masquerades as a loyal Zionist Christian serving in the IDF. Which he is not. He's a missionary serving in the IDF, poisoning the minds of the Israeli youth stuck in tanks with the guy.

His fake out clips and blogs are all over the place. Like this one, that doesn't mention Jesus at all.

Sneaky. Which is what people have to do to trick you into joining their cults.

But his stuff is everywhere. While researching the topic to gather info for this column, in fact, I found a blog of Naftali's on the website of a pro-Israel foundation where I myself have blogged from time to time. I have a relationship with the founder of the organization so I asked her if she knew that Hananya Naftali is a missionary. She wrote back to thank me. She knew. She thought she'd removed every trace of his work from the website but had apparently missed that one.

Hananya Naftali: Raising Awareness

Raising awareness of this issue seems crucial

 Shannon said, "I tell every leader dealing with missionaries who say 'they're ok,' it should be a concern that their fundamental belief that Jews must be converted to Christianity (and by that, I mean accept Jesus as messiah—because they play with words on this subject). Any Christian who states they do not believe in proselytizing, should be required to publicly state that and vow not to do it. Seems simple, but the Christian generally will not do it, and if they do, they will quickly apologize, retract, and explain to their Christian supporters that they did not mean it."

Israel Today, a website geared to Christian missionaries didn't mince words in explaining that IDF vs. Christians video: "Naftali repeatedly uses the word 'Christian' for what most of our readers might consider a 'Messianic Jew,' but the fact is that the words are interchangeable linguistically, especially to a Hebrew-speaking audience.

"One solid point made by Naftali is that in Israel it is often best to be a witness first in deed, and only then in word. Most Jews have already been told about Jesus, but very few have actually seen his love demonstrated in the actions of the Church."

Um, yeah. We were too busy burying our dead. Like during the Crusades. Not to mention the pogroms.

The Church is, historically, the gift that keeps on giving it to the Jews.

Beware of Hananya Naftali. Tell everyone you know. See a clip of his on social media? Put a link to this blog piece in the comments.

He's as much a threat to our people as Arab terror.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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