Archive for Antisemitism

Strike While the Irony’s Hot

Scorching!

The director of BBC Television said rising anti-Semitism has made him question the long-term future for Jews in the UK.

Speaking at a conference in Jerusalem on Sunday, Danny Cohen said the past year had been the most difficult for him as a Jew living in the United Kingdom.

“I’ve never felt so uncomfortable being a Jew in the UK as I’ve felt in the last 12 months. And it’s made me think about, you know, is it our long-term home, actually. Because you feel it. I’ve felt it in a way I’ve never felt before actually,” he said in a conversation with Channel 2’s anchor Yonit Levi.

Cheer up, things could be worse. You could be French.

Cohen went on: “And you’ve seen the number of attacks rise. You’ve seen murders in France. You’ve seen murders in Belgium. It’s been pretty grim actually. And having lived all my life in the UK, I’ve never felt as I do now about anti-Semitism in Europe.”

Cohen, who grew up and went to school in London — including to a Jewish elementary school — is a TV whiz kid. Still only 40, he was previously the controller of BBC1 TV, the youngest appointee to that post, before taking over a director of BBC Television last year.

Last month, Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, who is also Jewish, decried the rise of anti-Semitism in Great Britain and called for “a zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitism in the UK.”

Miliband, the son of Holocaust refugees, cited figures from the Jewish Community Security Trust that indicate a sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents. He praised Britain’s tradition of tolerance but warned that “the recent spate of incidents should serve as a wake-up call for anyone who thought the scourge of anti-Semitism had been defeated and that the idea of Jewish families fearful of living here in Britain was unthinkable.”

The summer’s Israel-Hamas war saw a striking increase in anti-Semitic incidents, with more than 100 hate crimes reported in July alone — more than double the usual number. Among the reported incidents were the physical assault of a rabbi in Gateshead, attacks on synagogues and an attack by an Arab woman wearing a niqab on a Jewish boy riding his bicycle in northern London.

The irony? Read for yourself:

CAMERA: BBC.

Why do people associate antisemitism solely with the far right when the left, near and far, is absolutely awash in the muck? Jew-hatred is interwoven in their socio-political DNA.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

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Apartheid State Update

Not the apartheid state you were expecting….

But then, it never is:

The deputy speaker of the Swedish parliament caused an outrage by suggesting that Jews living in Sweden should ditch their identity if they wish to be considered Swedes.

The claim by Bjorn Soder, of the Sweden Democrats party, was made in an interview with a Swedish newspaper, according to the International Business Times.

In the interview, Soder said that “most Jewish people in Sweden left behind” their racial identity in order to assimilate.

He further said that it would be a problem if there were too many people in Sweden “who belong to other nations” and had non-Swedish identities. Paying immigrants to go home would also help to avoid “foreign enclaves” and instead “create a society with a common identity”, he said, according to remarks quoted by The Guardian.

Those of us familiar with the, ahem, social unrest, in Malmo might not disagree with him. Except he’s got the wrong Great World Religion. Estimates of 500,000 Muslims in Sweden date from 2009.

More recent counts (given the refugees from Islam’s many uncivil wars) put the number at 700,000.

There are 20,000 Jews.

That’s 2.8% the number of Muslims, 0.2% of the Swedish population overall.

And Jews are Sweden’s problem.

The leader of Sweden’s Jewish community condemned the remarks as “good old rightwing anti-Semitism”, saying that the comments conveyed a message that Jews were untrustworthy and could not be considered real Swedes, “exactly like in 1930s Germany” from which her grandfather had fled.

Lena Posner Körösi, president of the Official Council of Jewish Communities in Sweden, was quoted by The Guardian as having said the remarks showed “the mask is slipping” from the face of Sweden Democrats to reveal the essence of what they stand for.

“I am appalled that Sweden’s third largest party can express itself in this way about Jews and other minorities,” she said. “We have to take them really seriously. This not a small group of fanatics you can dismiss.”

Soder claimed in response the remarks were taken out of context.

Fair enough. Perhaps we should be more understanding. Look how his mother dresses him:

As people who believe in Israel as a Jewish state, we don’t object to Sweden as a Swedish state. But we would ask Sweden to be a little more discriminating (if that’s the word) toward whomever it is that threatens their Swedosity. In the Swedish body politic Jews are an earlobe or an eye brow. They’re not your problem. They never are.

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Europe is as Europe Does

I’m still trying to understand the story Aggie broke below.

But I’m not getting very far:

The European Union’s second highest court annulled on Wednesday the bloc’s decision to keep Hamas on a list of terrorist organizations, but temporarily maintained the measures for a period of three months or until an appeal was closed.

There’ a lot to digest right there—starting with the existence of EU courts apart from British courts and French courts, etc. If I read this right, the EU itself (the bloc-heads mentioned above) wanted to keep Hamass on the terrorist list, but the court (the JV court, as Obama would say) overruled, at least temporarily.

Very well. How and why did the court make this decision?

The General Court of the European Union said the contested measures were not based on an examination of Hamas’s “acts examined and confirmed in decisions of competent authorities” but on imputations derived from the media and the Internet.

The EU court did not consider the merits of whether Hamas should be classified as a terror group, but reviewed the original decision-making process. This, it said, did not include the considered opinion of competent authorities, but rather relied on press and Internet reports.

“The court stresses that those annulments, on fundamental procedural grounds, do not imply any substantive assessment of the question of the classification of Hamas as a terrorist group,” the court said in a statement.

Hamas’s military wing was added to the European Union’s first-ever terrorism blacklist drawn up in December 2001 in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States.

Hamas’s political wing was added to the EU’s list of terror organizations in 2003 after a diplomatic effort led by Israel and the US.

So, Hamass has been designated a terrorist organization for well over a decade, but now isn’t because the original determination wasn’t informed by “competent authorities”.

I got one for you:

On December 8, 2006, several months after becoming Hamas’ leader, Haniyeh spoke to thousands of worshipers at Tehran University in Iran, calling for the next intifada against Israel.

“We will never recognize the usurper Zionist government and will continue our jihad-like movement until the liberation of Jerusalem.”

“The Hamas movement will lead Intifada after Intifada until we liberate Palestine – all of Palestine, Allah willing.”

“The gun is our only response to [the] Zionist regime. In time we have come to understand that we can obtain our goals only through fighting and armed resistance and no compromise should be made with the enemy.”

“Thousands of fighters above ground and thousands of fighters underground have been preparing in silence for the campaign to liberate Palestine.”

On January 13th, 2014, the Hamas’ government celebrated 13,000 graduates from the Hamas youth paramilitary camps, designed to encourage Gazan teens “to follow in the footsteps of the suicide martyrs.” Haniyeh congratulated the participants at the graduation ceremony.

“This is a generation which knows no fear. It is the generation of the missile, the tunnel and suicide operations.”

Just one guy, a hot-head, you say?

Dr. Issam Adwan, a leading Hamas official, recently declared that the terrorist organization has the right to attack Israeli embassies and officials across the globe. His comments appeared in an article published last week on a Hamas-affiliated website.

In his recent comments, Adwan declared his support for expanding Hamas’ use of violence, stating that the terror organization must “pursue the agents of the occupation wherever they may be” and that “leaving them in peace damages the Palestinian cause.”

Adwan issued more specific threats against Israeli officials. Hamas, he said, “may find itself forced to attack the enemy’s interests and senior officials” outside of Israel. He pointed to “the enemy’s embassies worldwide” as targets for a potential strike.

Two’s company, three’s a crowd:

On December 05, 2012, Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hamad called on all Gazans to vow to remain on the path of sacrifice and be “creative about the ways to get rid of this entity (Israel), to get rid of of this cancer, God willing.” The minister was speaking in a ceremony for Interior Ministry workers following Operation “Pillar of Defense”.

He promised that the Interior Ministry will continue to “sacrifice martyr after martyr”, while admitting that the ministry cooperates with other military factions in the Gaza Strip.

Additionally, Hamad called on all Arab countries to release funds kept in European and American banks, and transfer them to “the Jihad warriors, for them to buy with it all the weapons, with which we’ll humiliate the enemies of Allah”.

Can we get a fourth for bridge?

A Hamas MP recently called on all Palestinian factions to attack Israel, especially Jerusalem, in response to what he called the “war crimes perpetrated…in the Al-Aqsa mosque” by the “Zionists”.

“I use this opportunity to demand of the Palestinian factions, and of the Palestinian National and Islamic Forces, to urge their military wings to execute Jihad operation, in the depth of the Zionists, and especially in the city of Jerusalem in response to the Zionists war crimes perpetrated in this holy city and in the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque.”

One more and we can put together a basketball team:

The organization has a disciplined hierarchy with Mr. Meshaal at the top.

“He is the leader,” Mr. Al Hroub said. “He is not a nominal figure.”

What most observers agree on is Mr. Meshaal’s ability to bring in cash. Though he has been forced to switch patrons every few years — he has been based in Kuwait, Jordan, Syria and Qatar — he has always been adept at raising money, said Alon Ben-Meir, a fellow at the New York University Centre for Global Affairs.

This has made him personally wealthy, according to reports in the Israeli press. These include claims he has diverted billions of dollars from Hamas, amassing a fortune of up to $5-billion.

It’s difficult to judge the accuracy of the reports, but Mr. Ben-Meir believes they have at least some truth.

“He raises money for the organization,” he said. “I’m not going to tell you he steals half of it or part of it, but there’s no question when you have a lot of money, you can live a more comfortable life. Over the years, he’s definitely accumulated a significant amount of money. He definitely can be considered very, very rich.”

Mr. Al Hroub, in contrast, dismisses such suggestions as “silly.”

What is clear is the contrast between Mr Meshaal’s privileged lifestyle and that of his people in Gaza will grow ever more stark as the war drags on.

“The Palestinians voted for Hamas because they promised them change and reform,” said Mr. Eldar.

“They didn’t build any schools. They just built tunnels. And he is living in Qatar in very good condition.”

How about asking Hamass itself?

In 1988, Hamas issued its infamous charter: an ugly admission of their racism and fundamentalism. Today, the grotesque values defined in Hamas’ charter continue to be the broken moral compass of the terror group.

It is suggested that the entire charter (especially articles 8, 9,13 & 32) be read. However, a few articles of the charter will suffice to represent its malevolence.

Article 6: An example of Religious fundamentalism

The Islamic Resistance Unit is a unique Palestinian movement. It owes it’s loyalty to Allah, derives from Islam its way of life, and strives to raise the Banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine.

Article 7: An example of Islamic anti-Semitism

The Islamic resistance movement has been looking forward to fulfilling the promise of Allah [IE the destruction of the Jews], no matter how long that might take.

[The article continues with this Quranic quote] “The Last Hour would not come until the Muslims fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them, and until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim or Servant of Allah there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree of the Gharwad would not say it, for it is the tree of the Jews.”

Okay, we’ve made our point. What’s disgraceful is that we had to.

Ball’s in your court, Europe. What will your court decide?

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BTL Going on the Lam

You’ll never take me alive, coppers!

A group of Americans academics issued a call for the US and Europe to impose personal sanctions on Israeli politicians who promote the Israeli annexation of the West Bank and further settlement activity.

Scholars for Israel and Palestine (SIP) published a call, on the website of the anti-BDS organization, The Third Narrative, for punitive measures “on a cluster of Israeli political leaders and public figures who lead efforts to insure [sic] permanent Israeli occupation of the West Bank and to annex all or parts of it unilaterally in violation of international law.”

SIP points to four prominent Israeli figures who fit this description: Economy Minister and head of the Jewish Home party Naftali Bennett, Minister of Construction and Housing Uri Ariel from Jewish Home, Likud MK Moshe Feiglin, and the head of the settler movement of Gush Emunin “Amana” and former Jewish Underground member, Zeev (Zambish) Hever.

The four are singled out by SIP for pursuing “unjust, unlawful, and destructive policies in their most extreme and dangerous form.”

Those are some bad hombres, all right. A real pack of desperados—among whom I would be proud to count myself.

Our crime?

“Annexationist policies pursued by these four individuals, and others like them… slam the door not only on peacemaking at present but for the foreseeable future. It is not sufficient to reiterate calls for negotiations. It is equally and urgently imperative to oppose the occupation itself, and especially those policies that seek to make it permanent and irreversible. It is necessary for the U S and the EU to go beyond verbal protest… [and] take active measures to penalize lawbreakers,” the call read.

The real crime is in the writing. These guys are academics? That paragraph would get an F in Freshman Comp. “Annexationist”? Call it a word if you like; I call it the hideous spawn of Satan. “Foreseeable future” is a hackneyed phrase (and I know hackneyed phrases). The linking of “not sufficient” and “equally and urgently imperative” is illogical: how can something that is not enough be a rallying cry for action? And can they lose the passive voice—“it is” this and “it is” that? You got something to say, say it. Oh yeah, saying something is “permanent” pretty much covers “irreversible”; and “taking measures” doesn’t need “active” to modify it. I can’t imagine an inactive measure taken.

Who are these nincompoops?

The 20 signatories of the petition include distinguished professors from UCLA, Columbia, Syracuse, Stanford and Princeton. Among the mainly Jewish academics is the renowned political theorist Michael Walzer.

Columbia. Figures.

Now that we’ve discredited these academic jackals, let’s read the lurid crimes of which they accuse Moshe “The Masher” Feiglin et al of committing.

Bennett is cited for continuing to “press strongly for a policy of creeping annexation” and leading the struggle against the 2010 10-month settlement freeze when he was head of the Yesha Council. The freeze was called by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as an incentive to the Palestinians to negotiate. It failed.

Ariel is criticized for promoting a one-state solution, also known as a binational state, being a “consistent advocate of accelerated settlement building,” announcing construction tenders at inopportune times and calling for the building of the Third Temple on the Temple Mount.

Feiglin is blasted for his “straightforward and undisguised extremism” and for an “annexationist program [that] goes beyond Bennett’s,” while Hever is described as “one of the most persistent and influential organizers of settlement construction,” and is accused of building homes in outposts even the Israeli government considers illegal.

Our academic friends want to throw us in jail for the crime of housing starts. Which changes this scene from Witness to R-rated, if not X.

That’s me, the third Amish from the left, hiding out from the authorities for pursuing “unjust, unlawful, and destructive policies in their most extreme and dangerous form.” Approach with caution.

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Do Not Feed the Animals!

This ought to work out well:

“Israel should insist that we discriminate, that we apply double standards, this is because you are one of us,” [Danish Ambassador Jesper] Vahr said during a panel discussion on relations between Israel and Europe.

Israelis sometimes ask why Europe applies a different standard to its neighboring countries, such as Syria, Vahr said. “Those are not the standards that you are being judged by. It is not the standards that Israel would want to be judged by,” he said.

Israel should want to be held to European standards, not Middle Eastern ones, he said.

My answer would have started by asking the Danish Ambassador how they’re handling the incessant rocket fire from Norway. I would praise their “restraint” and “proportionality” in the face of that Swedish intifada. I would criticize in the harshest terms the anti-Danish incitement they suffer from the Baltics.

Dumbass.

It was his bad fortune that he was not talking to me:

Vahr’s comments angered Caroline B. Glick, the Post’s senior contributing editor, who retorted that they were a “statement of contempt for our intelligence.”

“I consider Europe’s keen interest in the Middle East, specifically Israel, to be an obsession,” she said. “It is an obsession that Jews have seen from Europeans from the time of Jesus.”

Glick was particularly struck by Vahr’s reference to a common culture between Israel and Europe.

“We have this whole common culture, I mean really? We respect international law. You guys make it up,” she said.

In 2001, the United Nations Security Council approved a binding resolution that bars UN member states from funding or supporting terrorist organizations, Glick said.

That resolution, she said, has not stopped Europe from “funneling billions of euros into rebuilding terrorist-controlled Gaza.

“This is in contravention of binding international law that you signed onto,” she charged.

But when it comes to Israel, Europe simply invents international law, Glick said. Europe acts as if it is required by law to sanction Israel for activity over the pre-1967 lines in West Bank settlements and Jerusalem, even though there is no such binding international legislation, she said.

“There is no such binding law. You guys are funding settlements in Western Sahara.

You are funding them directly,” she said. “This is not a double standard. This is a singular standard for Israel. This is not about international law. It is about an obsessive, compulsive need to constantly pick at the Jewish state,” she said.

After receiving applause from the audience, Glick continued: “No, I do not want to be proud that you are looking at us in a different standard from our neighbors because you are not looking at our neighbors as human beings.

“What you are saying is that they are objects. The only actor in this entire region are the people they are trying to annihilate.

“The only people who are supposed to be judged for our actions, and always poorly, are the people who are doing everything possible – more than Europe, more than the US, more than anyone – in order to protect the lives of the Palestinians,” she said.

Hands off, she’s mine.

PS: Talk about disproportionate use of force! Lack of restraint! They shoulda stopped the fight after “I consider Europe’s keen interest in the Middle East, specifically Israel, to be an obsession.” He was a dead man right then.

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He Can’t Breathe Either

The starter:

Two Palestinians, one of them armed with a knife, were detained by security forces as they approached a settlement south of Jerusalem on Tuesday.

The men were apprehended near Tekoa, in the southern West Bank, by the settlement’s security coordinator and a group of IDF soldiers who were called to the scene.

During initial questioning the men confessed to planning an attack on the community, according to reports.

The Palestinians were identified as two Hebron-area residents who had been sought by Israeli security forces since Friday, after the army received information of a possible planned terror attack.

One of the detained men was identified as Hebronite Muhammad Abu Aysha, 34, a relative of Amer Abu Aysha, one of the two men who kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teenagers in June, according to the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency.

Murdering Jews is the family business, you might say.

The main course:

The attacker, a black male, entered the Hasidic movement’s headquarters in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood and stabbed the 22-year-old several times in the upper body.

The victim, an ultra-Orthodox Israeli, was lightly to moderately injured in the attack. The Yeshiva World News website reported that he was conscious and had spoken to a relative on the phone.

The attacker, who appears in a video speaking English with a heavy accent, was shot by police who arrived at the scene, after he refused to put down his weapon.

He was evacuated to a hospital under arrest, and was pronounced dead at Kings County Hospital, police told local New York media.

A witness told the New York Daily News that the suspect entered the complex screaming: “I will kill the Jew, I want to kill the Jew.”

A Chabad spokesperson said the attack was most likely not terror-related.

“There is a 98% chance that this wasn’t a hate incident or a nationalistically motivated incident,” he told Army Radio.

No, course not! Hardly worth mentioning.

Except that:

“I will kill the Jew! I want to kill the Jew!” a witness heard the attacker yelling as he entered the 24-hour religious center.

After the apparently random attack, the student was on the ground and begging for help.

“I went over to the floor, I saw the teenager on the floor, his hair was blood. He was saying ‘save me,’ ” he said.

A 25-year-old Israeli who was in the synagogue said he saw Peters enter and leave the building an hour before the attack.

“He was looking around, He asked for a book,” that witness said. “He looked not so much crazy, but different.”

When the man returned, he was armed with a knife in his hand and anger in his voice.

There’s a video of the confrontation with the police. They give him multiple minutes to comply. He puts the knife down at one point, and the cop holsters his gun and reaches for his handcuff. At which point, the perp lunges for the knife again and starts swinging it wildly. Bad move on his part.

First point: this proves the cops’ contention that their first effort (and second and third) is to take their suspect alive. It also proves that even a surrendering suspect is dangerous.

Larger point: why deny that the attack was a hate crime? It wasn’t random, as the attacker revealed with his hateful comments. Even if we learn that he had none of the expected traits—Arab or Muslim background—does that excuse what he did? It’s even worse if it wasn’t a hate crime. Where would a random guy learn to “want to kill the Jew”? From Al Sharpton? From Jesse Jackson? Jeremiah Wright? Louis Wolcott? From the news? From John Kerry and Barack Obama? From Jen Psaki?

Jews live in numbers in Israel and in Crown Heights. They are safe in neither.

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Department of Clarification

“Let me be clear,” as Obama likes to say:

The United States is not considering sanctions against Israel in response to its construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki clarified on Monday.

“I can set the record straight and be clear that reports that we might be contemplating sanctions against Israel are completely unfounded and without merit,” She told reporters, according to The Blaze.

Psaki was asked if perhaps the Obama administration had been considering sanctions against Israel and now is not, adding she thinks her statement “has been consistently true” over time.

However, she indicated that the government may in fact have been mulling sanctions against Israel at some point. For example, she was asked explicitly if sanctions were ever under consideration, and refused to say more, “I just am not going to have any more for you on it.”

Moments later, she said sanctions against Israel are nothing something that will be “moving forward,” a possible indication that the option did exist. She then quickly corrected herself to say they were never being contemplated.

“We put sanctions in place around the world for a variety of reasons,” she said. “This isn’t a situation where obviously moving forward with that, or were contemplating that, as my comments made clear.”

They did? I mean, they did!

Late last week, dozens of Republicans demanded that President Barack Obama answer clearly whether he is considering sanctions against Israel, a move that the GOP would have hotly opposed.

The letter, published Friday, further warned that “Israel is one of our strongest allies, and the mere notion that the Administration would unilaterally impose sanctions against Israel is not only unwise, but is extremely worrisome. Such reports send a clear message to our friends and enemies alike that such alliances with the United States government can no longer be unquestionably trusted.”

If you have to ask, don’t you already have your answer?

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No Wonder Obama Wants Sanctions Against Israel!

It’s filled with…Jews!

A preacher at the Al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem – Judaism’s holiest site – engaged in blatant incitement against Jews and Israel in an impromptu speech two weeks ago, in remarks translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

“Let me start by saying that talking about the traits of the Jews requires one to get into a special mode, because when talking about the Jews, we are talking about a people to whom every single vile trait has been attributed,” the preacher, named as Sheikh Omar Abu Sara, begins. “They were the masters of these vile traits and they taught their secrets to others.”

“These traits were registered in the Quran, which depicted all aspects of the lives of the Jews in the most abominable images,” he continued. “These traits are the same today as they were in the days of yore.”

The preacher then continues to slam Jews, calling them the “most evil of Allah’s creations,” claiming that they “kill prophets,” and saying “it was Jews whom Allah turned into apes and pigs.”

Tens of Arabs can be seen sitting or standing, watching the preacher.

“I say to the Jews: the time for your slaughter has come,” he added. “The time to fight you has come, the time to kill you has come.”

I’m sure Obama is unaware of this sort of talk (at Islam’s third holiest site—and Israel’s most). He never heard Jeremiah Wright’s rants either.

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Random Thoughts While Waiting for Obama to Bring Down the Hebrew Hammer on Israel

So, The US is considering sanctions against Israel.

I think. Sort of.

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS: There were reports that the administration is considering sanctioning Israel over the settlements issue. I wonder if you could say true or false.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE: Well, uh, I’ve been informed of some of these reports. What I can tell you is that I’m not going to talk about any sort of internal deliberations inside the administration and certainly not inside the White House. But I will say something that I have said many times before, which is that Israel is a close and strategic partner of the United States. And I don’t need to remind you…zzzzzzz

What? Huh? Sorry, where was he?

That being said, we have also been crystal clear about our view of settlement activity. That view has not changed. We believe that settlements are illegitimate, and we have deep concerns about highly contentious planning and construction activities that the Israeli government is…

And if you order now, you’ll get a second Swiffer at no extra cost!

Again, sorry. Just wanted to see what else was on.

HENRY: So very clearly you are not denying that sanctions are on the table against even an ally?

EARNEST: I am very clearly not denying we have strong concerns about that settlement activity that’s underway in Israel. But it has not and will not affect the…

Rondo to Olynik for three…got it!

Just checking the Celtics. Where were we?

HENRY: But how can you be telling Congress don’t issue more sanctions against Iran at the same time you’re considering sanctions against an ally in Israel?

EARNEST: Again, I’m not going to comment on those reports about our discussions as it relates to Israel.

HENRY: But you are talking about sanctions. You’re leaving that door wide open here.

EARNEST: I’m not saying I’m not willing to talk about those conversations.

HENRY: So you’re not considering sanctions?

EARNEST: I’m not saying I’m not willing to talk about those kinds of conversations. But what I am saying is that we have been clear about what our strategy is against Iran….

Oy. Can we just bail now?

Anyway, while we’re talking about illegitimate activities in Middle Eastern countries, perhaps we can start here:

Two Saudi women activists have been detained for nearly a week for defying the kingdom’s ban on women driving, family members and an activist said Sunday.

The kingdom’s hard-line interpretation of Islam, known as Wahabbism, holds that allowing women to drive encourages licentiousness. No such ban exists in the rest of the Muslim world, including Saudi Arabia’s conservative Gulf neighbors.

That sure sounds like a War on Women to me. What are we, Switzerland?

How about another country that has Obama’s ear (for which they need both hands!):

In March, King Abdullah II reappointed Abdullah Ensour as prime minister. Authorities stepped up attacks on independent media, censoring over 260 websites that refused to comply with new government registration requirements.

Freedom of Expression and Belief

Jordanian law criminalizes speech deemed critical of the king, government officials, and institutions, as well as Islam and speech considered defamatory of others. In 2013, the authorities failed to amend the penal code to bring it into compliance with constitutional free speech guarantees strengthened in 2011, and continued to prosecute individuals on charges such as “insulting an official body,” using vaguely worded penal code articles that place impermissible restrictions on free expression.

On September 17, police arrested Nidhal al-Fara`nah and Amjad Mu`ala, respectively publisher and editor of the Jafra News website, after it posted a third-party YouTube video that authorities deemed insulting to the brother of Qatar’s ruler. Prosecutors charged both men with “disturbing relations with a foreign state” before the State Security Court, whose judges include serving military officers.

Jordan, a Palestinian state in all but name, is significantly more repressive than Israel. But do we hear about sanctions?

Oh yeah, what about Qatar?

Migrants continue to experience serious rights violations, including forced labor and arbitrary restrictions on the right to leave Qatar, which expose them to exploitation and abuse by employers.

Forced labor: does that mean slavery?

Workers typically pay exorbitant recruitment fees and employers regularly take control of their passports when they arrive in Qatar. The kafala (sponsorship) system ties a migrant worker’s legal residence to his or her employer, or sponsor. Migrant workers commonly complain that employers fail to pay their wages on time if at all, but are barred from changing jobs without their sponsoring employer’s consent other than in exceptional cases and with express permission of the Interior Ministry. Adding to their vulnerability, they must obtain an exit visa from their sponsor in order to leave Qatar. Migrant workers are prohibited from unionizing or engaging in strikes, although they make up 99 percent of the private sector workforce.

Sounds like it.

In February, an appeal court reduced to 15 years the life imprisonment sentence imposed on poet Mohammed Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami, a Qatari national, in November 2012, by a court in Doha. The court convicted him of incitement to overthrow the regime after he recited poems critical of Qatar’s then-emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. In June 2013, the emir abdicated, handing power to his son, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

Who’s a hell of a guy, I hear. Speaking of guys:

Provisions of Law No. 22 of 2006, Qatar’s first codified law to address issues of family and personal status law, discriminate against women. Article 36 states that two men must witness marital contracts, which are concluded by male matrimonial guardians. Article 57 prevents husbands from hurting their wives physically or morally, but article 58 states that it is a wife’s responsibility to look after the household and to obey her husband. Marital rape is not a crime.

So far, we’re not sanctioning Iran for trying to build an A-bomb; we’re not sanctioning Jordan for rampant censorship and repression; and we’re not sanctioning Qatar for slavery and the decriminalization of marital rape.

But we are sanctioning Israel.

This is fun!

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) continues to crack down on freedom of expression and association. The authorities are arbitrarily detaining scores of individuals they suspect of links to domestic and international Islamist groups. A court convicted 69 dissidents in July after a manifestly unfair trial, in which evidence emerged of systematic torture at state security facilities. The UAE made no reforms to a system that facilitates the forced labor of migrant workers.

More slavery!

Saud Kulaib, an Emirati national, spent five months in incommunicado detention between December 29 and May 27. In addition to enduring solitary confinement, extremes of temperature, and sleep deprivation, he told family members and other inmates that officers beat him, sliced his hand open with a razor blade, threatened to pull out his fingernails, and told him that his wife was in detention and on hunger strike.

Who else has been a bad boy?

Borders controlled by Iraq’s central government remained closed to Syrians fleeing civil war, while as of November, nearly 206,600 Syrians fled to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)-controlled area.

In December 2012, thousands of Iraqis took part in demonstrations in mostly Sunni areas, demanding reform of the Anti-Terrorism Law and the release of illegally held detainees. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced in January 2013 that he had created special committees to oversee reforms, including freeing prisoners and limiting courts’ use of secret informant testimony. At time of writing, there was little indication that the government had implemented reforms. Security forces instead used violence against protesters, culminating in an attack on a demonstration in Hawija in April, which killed 51 protesters. Authorities failed to hold anyone accountable.

I’d like to see Israel get away with that! Not really, just a figure of speech.

Are we done? Not hardly:

Kuwait continues to exclude thousands of stateless people, known as Bidun, from full citizenship, despite their longstanding roots in Kuwaiti territory.

The government has aggressively cracked down on free speech, often resorting to a law forbidding any offense to the ruler (emir).

Kuwait has no laws prohibiting domestic violence, sexual harassment, or marital rape. In addition, Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaiti men cannot give their spouses or children Kuwaiti citizenship. Kuwaiti law does not let women marry a partner of their choice if their father will not grant permission.

In May, the Kuwaiti authorities announced that Saudi Arabian women would not be provided with drivers’ licenses while in Kuwait without the permission of their male guardians.

The United States, in its 2013 US State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons report, classified Kuwait as Tier 3—among the most problematic countries—for the seventh year in a row. The report cited Kuwait’s failure to report any arrests, prosecutions, convictions, or sentences of traffickers for either forced labor or sex trafficking, and weak victim protection measures.

Even more slavery—and sex trafficking! Do Kuwaitis know how to party, or what? No wonder Saddam wanted a piece of the…action. (What did you think I was going to write?)

We haven’t exhausted the region, but it’s doubtful we’ll be able to top that. And I’m sure we’ll get around to tsk-tsking them as soon as we ding Israel for putting a spare bedroom over the garage.

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Judged By One’s Enemies

Israel looks pretty good:

In response to the Presbyterian Church USA’s (PCUSA) decision to divest from American companies doing business with Israel, Shurat Hadin (Israel Law Center) filed a whistleblower action against the organization with the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) over meetings PCUSA held with Hezbollah terrorists.

Documentary and video evidence was sent to the IRS showing PCUSA delegates meeting with members of Hezbollah – which is designated by the US as a terrorist organization – as well as publishing anti-Semitic materials and passing around political advocacy materials in violation of its status.

“There is no mention in PCUSA organizing documents that it perceives fulfilling Christ’s work by meeting with and endorsing statements of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization found to be responsible for the death of United States civilians and marines. In fact, PCUSA has taken numerous, extensive, and costly efforts to engage in political anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic acts,” added the group.

I thank the Presbyterians for living by the words of Christ, Matthew 7:20: “By their fruits shall ye know them.”

Uglifruit.

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Lifting the Veil on Media Bias

If it’s the right guy, it takes only one:

During the Gaza war this summer, it became clear that one of the most important aspects of the media-saturated conflict between Jews and Arabs is also the least covered: the press itself. The Western press has become less an observer of this conflict than an actor in it, a role with consequences for the millions of people trying to comprehend current events, including policymakers who depend on journalistic accounts to understand a region where they consistently seek, and fail, to productively intervene.

Using staffing numbers, I illustrated the disproportionate media attention devoted to this conflict relative to other stories, and gave examples of editorial decisions that appeared to be driven by ideological considerations rather than journalistic ones. I suggested that the cumulative effect has been to create a grossly oversimplified story—a kind of modern morality play in which the Jews of Israel are displayed more than any other people on earth as examples of moral failure. This is a thought pattern with deep roots in Western civilization.

BOOM!

I should highlight every word. In the media, “the Jews of Israel are displayed more than any other people on earth as examples of moral failure.” Absolute killer.

Here’s one example he gives:

A rally in support of Islamic Jihad at Al-Quds University in East Jerusalem, in November 2013 (Courtesy of Matti Friedman)

The images from the demonstration were, as photo editors like to say, “strong.” The rally had, in other words, all the necessary elements of a powerful news story.

The event took place a short drive from the homes and offices of the hundreds of international journalists who are based in Jerusalem. Journalists were aware of it: The sizable Jerusalem bureau of the Associated Press, for example, which can produce several stories on an average day, was in possession of photos of the event, including the one above, a day later. (The photographs were taken by someone I know who was on campus that day, and I sent them to the bureau myself.) Jerusalem editors decided that the images, and the rally, were not newsworthy, and the demonstration was only mentioned by the AP weeks later when the organization’s Boston bureau reported that Brandeis University had cut ties with Al-Quds over the incident. On the day that the AP decided to ignore the rally, November 6, 2013, the same bureau published a report about a pledge from the U.S. State Department to provide a minor funding increase for the Palestinian Authority; that was newsworthy. This is standard. To offer another illustration, the construction of 100 apartments in a Jewish settlement is always news; the smuggling of 100 rockets into Gaza by Hamas is, with rare exceptions, not news at all.

It’s a long piece—one I haven’t finished myself—but let me leave you with one more taste:

There are banal explanations for problems with coverage—reporters are in a hurry, editors are overloaded and distracted. These are realities, and can explain small errors and mishaps like ill-conceived headlines, which is why such details don’t typically strike me as important or worth much analysis. Some say inflations and omissions are the inevitable results of an honest attempt to cover events in a challenging and occasionally dangerous reporting environment, which is what I initially believed myself. A few years on the job changed my mind. Such excuses can’t explain why the same inflations and omissions recur again and again, why they are common to so many news outlets, and why the simple “Israel story” of the international media is so foreign to people aware of the historical and regional context of events in this place. The explanation lies elsewhere.

Aggie and I have covered this ourselves. We’ve highlighted “Pallywood”, the tendency of Arabs to stage scenes of carnage with healthy people walking around in other images; with people who died elsewhere, their corpses transported for the photo op; even with shots of other victims of other wars relabeled as victims of the Israeli military.

But even we let the press off the hook as merely ignorant and lazy. Complicity in a conspiracy to slander and libel a nation and its people was something we suspected, but lacked the hard evidence to prove.

Not anymore.

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Hating on the Hebrew: High School Edition

Hamass a terrorist organization? Tish-tosh, what piffle. They’re the Elks, the Lions, the Hyenas:

Parents groups are up in arms after a recent report found public schools in Newton, Massachusetts presented whitewashed versions of Hamas and Palestinian Authority (PA) charters, as well as other materials posing the destruction of Israel as acceptable.

The findings were made through an investigation of classroom materials by the independent watchdog group Verity Educate, which discovered “repeated instances of bias against Israel, bias against the US and its actions in the Middle East, and bias that sanitizes the ideology and actions of terrorists.”

Parents groups are up in arms after a recent report found public schools in Newton, Massachusetts presented whitewashed versions of Hamas and Palestinian Authority (PA) charters, as well as other materials posing the destruction of Israel as acceptable.

The findings were made through an investigation of classroom materials by the independent watchdog group Verity Educate, which discovered “repeated instances of bias against Israel, bias against the US and its actions in the Middle East, and bias that sanitizes the ideology and actions of terrorists.”

“The use of anti-Israel material in this affluent suburb, which prides itself on the quality of it’s self-proclaimed ‘world-class’ schools, has been a controversial issue for the past three years, ever since a fourteen-year-old student found a false, anti-Israel passage in required reading for a high school World History class,” notes PENS.

The group adds that while that text three years ago was removed, the recent report shows the anti-Israel bias is alive and well in Newton.

What the article neglects to mention is that Newton has a fairly large Jewish population. I would say that this makes the story even more offensive, but for all I know the idiot liberal Jews in Newton either support this hatred, or at least feel too shamed to stop it.

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