Archive for Israel

Gaga Over Israel

When you’ve got Gaga, you’ve got the world:

Pop star Lady Gaga says the world’s image of Israel is inaccurate, calling the country “a beautiful place.”

“Oh it was fantastic!” said Lady Gaga in an interview published Friday by The Independent, talking about her September 13 performance in Tel Aviv. “Tel Aviv was magnificent. The world view of Israel is just not reality. It’s in a beautiful place, the people are in good spirits.”

“I had a very emotional show with those fans. It was wonderful,” she said.

Who needs the United Nations, any of them? And Roger Waters can eat Israel’s shorts.

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We Get Results

Sound like anyone you know?

In response to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ threat to unilaterally seek UN Security Council approval for statehood, Likud MK Danny Danon urged the government to annex the Jewish settlements of Judea and Samaria.

“A unilateral step should be met with a unilateral step,” Danon said. “Every unilateral declaration by Abu Mazen needs to be answered by the application of sovereignty over the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.”

Okay, it sounds like Moshe Feiglin. And Naftali Bennett. And Caroline Glick. And more than a few others. But it also sounds like us because we print their opinions all the time. Build, baby, build, and annex, baby, annex.

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He Said What???

“Too many Israelis are ready to abandon peace”, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday, as he addressed the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

Wha? What is he talking about? I had to find the text in the news media, as it was curiously absent from the White House’s own version of the text.

Leadership will also be necessary to address the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. As bleak as the landscape appears, America will never give up the pursuit of peace. The situation in Iraq, Syria and Libya should cure anyone of the illusion that this conflict is the main source of problems in the region; for far too long, it has been used in part as a way to distract people from problems at home. And the violence engulfing the region today has made too many Israelis ready to abandon the hard work of peace.

Yeah, violence will do that to a person. Or a people.

But he’s wrong, of course. Again. Still. As ever. Most Israelis still want peace with the Arabs. They just disagree on how. Some want to sit down and talk with avowed ethnic haters and religious bigots to sort out an equitable deal fair for all. The way Sharon Tate tried to reason with the Manson “Family”. Others—my people—say, that’s it, time’s up. Sixty-six years is long enough trying to make peace with you (invented) people. We’ll take Judea and Samaria, thank you very much, and we’ll keep Golan, just because, and if it wouldn’t be too much trouble, can you be out of Gaza by next Tuesday, because we’re taking that too. Buh-bye. Enjoy Sinai. Or Jordan. Or Outer Mongolia.

But back to Butt-head Barack. How do you blame the victim of violence for wariness toward peace? Especially when they’ve been down this road so often before? The only time Israel is at peace with the so-called Palestinians is when they’ve just kicked their ass. Peace talks with the Arabs ALWAYS end in bloodshed—look at the record—as they did this summer.

This crew likes to think they’re so smart, but they couldn’t be any dumber if they tried (harder than they already seemingly do).

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Istanbull

Aggie linked yesterday to Bret Stephens’s brilliant column on what Obama got wrong (world’s longest book), which I read on my phone in the pre-dawn hours from the road, trying not to shout “[bleep] yeah!” at every irrefutable point.

I want to highlight one of them:

Next example: Turkey. In 2009 Mr. Obama decided to elevate Turkey and its prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as his core partner in the Middle East. “On issue after issue we share common goals,” he told the Turkish parliament in April 2009. In 2012 he said that he and Mr. Erdogan had developed “bonds of trust.”

Yet in 2009 it was already clear that Mr. Erdogan was orchestrating huge show trials against his political opponents based on outlandish charges. By 2010 it was clear that he was an avowed supporter of Hamas, not to mention a vocal anti-Semite. In 2012 the Committee to Protect Journalists noted that Turkey had more journalists in prison than China and Iran put together.

Bet you didn’t know that.

And I bet you didn’t know this:

Three leading free speech groups have today sent an open letter to President Erdogan on the eve of his first address to the UN General Assembly as head of state, raising their concerns about the protection of freedom of expression in Turkey.

English PEN, ARTICLE 19 and Reporters Without Borders have called on President Erdogan to promote a culture that is favourable to freedom of expression.

23 September 2014

Dear President Erdo?an

We are writing to express our concerns about the threats and intimidation towards the journalist Ceylan Ye?insu. As you will be aware, Ms Ye?insu is a reporter for the New York Times based in Turkey and wrote an article about the recruitment of Turkish citizens by the Islamic State (ISIS) on 15 September. This was an important article in the public interest, an example of high quality and responsible investigative journalism that offers insight into ISIS at a critical time.

We were therefore dismayed to learn that following the article’s publication, Ceylan Ye?insu has been personally targeted by elements of the media sympathetic to the ruling AKP and on social media, with threats that pose a serious risk to her own safety. We were also gravely concerned to read reports that you yourself denounced the article as ‘shameless, immoral, treason’.

This is not an isolated incident. There is now a worrying trend of publicly smearing the reputation of journalists in Turkey, including threats to their lives.

Is this one of the “common goals” Obama says we share? Considering the way Obama treats any journalist with an independent mind (or how he would if there were such a creature), perhaps so. We’re hardly more supportive of Israel than Islamist Turkey.

More on those “bonds of trust”:

After years of publicly restraining himself regarding Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told US Secretary of State John Kerry that the words of the leader of Washington’s close NATO ally were anti-Semitic.

According to the paper, the crowd frequently interrupted Erdogan’s speech by chanting “Down with Israel.”

“They always curse at Hitler, but they now even exceed him in barbarism. Some Americans ask why Mr. Prime Minister [Erdogan] makes such comparisons with Hitler. What’s that to you? You’re America, what’s Hitler got to do with you,” he said.

We killed his mother[bleeping] ass, Dogorgan, that’s what. Ignorant sheisskopf. More on the subject if you have the stomach.

Back to the human rights crowd:

The right to freedom of expression is enshrined in the 1982 Turkish Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as in a number of international treaties to which Turkey is a state party, including Article 19 of the ICCPR and Article 10 of the ECHR.

We ask you to use your influence as President of Turkey to foster a culture where freedom of expression can flourish and where Turkey’s talented community of writers, journalists and publishers can exercise their right to freedom of expression freely and without fear of intimidation.

Blah, blah, blah. Shut up. Appealing to fascists like Dogorgan and Putin (and I could go on) is a waste of time. Waste yours if you like. Include me out.

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The Casual Antisemitism Of The Vice President Of The United States

Shylocks, anyone?

Vice President Joe Biden “should have been more careful” in a speech when he used a term that some consider anti-Semitic, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League said Tuesday.
At a conference marking the 40th anniversary of the Legal Services Corporation, Biden recalled anecdotes from his son’s experience serving in Iraq and meeting members of the military who were in need of legal help because of problems back at home.

“That’s one of the things that he finds was most in need when he was over there in Iraq for a year,” Biden said, “that people would come to him and talk about what was happening to them at home in terms of foreclosures, in terms of bad loans that were being...I mean these Shylocks who took advantage of, um, these women and men while overseas.”

ADL National Director Abraham Foxman issued a mild reprimand later Tuesday.
“When someone as friendly to the Jewish community and open and tolerant an individual as is Vice President Joe Biden, uses the term ‘Shylocked’ to describe unscrupulous moneylenders dealing with service men and women, we see once again how deeply embedded this stereotype about Jews is in society,” Foxman said in a statement, first reported by Yahoo News.

Who is Shylock?:

The name “Shylock” derives from the name of the antagonist in Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice.” Shylock, a Jew, was a ruthless moneylender in the play, and he’s remembered for demanding a “pound of flesh” from the merchant Antonio if he failed to repay a loan.
“Shylock represents the medieval stereotype about Jews and remains an offensive characterization to this day,” Foxman said. “The vice president should have been more careful.”

Let me give you a quick timeline of Shylock. In 1290, all of the Jews of England were expelled. Why? Due to Medieval Christian laws, they were not permitted to own property or to farm; instead they were required to loan money with interest, so that the King could take whatever he wanted (or felt he needed) from the interest charged. Christians were not allowed to loan money, only Jews. So, prior to the expulsion, the Jews were necessary to running the economy, but eventually the Kind needed everything that they had, and so they were expelled. (This dynamic occurred in the Hitler era. See Gotz Aly’s great study: Hitler’s Beneficiaries.) For a good overview of the economy surrounding the expulsion, check out the wiki link.

In 1657, 350 years later, Oliver Cromwell allowed the Jews to return to England.

Think about the years the Jews were absent from England – 1290 to 1657. And when, Gentle Readers, was the Merchant of Venice written? Scholars date it to 1596-1598. This means, of course, that neither Shakespeare nor anyone living during his time had ever met a Jew. They just hated because that’s what Christians did, that’s what Brits did, think about it as you will.

And today we read about our deeply ignorant and cynical Vice President blaming the housing crisis on Jews.

– Aggie

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Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach laments his dissolving friendship with Naomi Wolf:

This Thursday, September 11, Naomi Wolf and I will be debating the question, “Is Israel guilty of genocide in its war against Hamas?” at the Manhattan Jewish Experience on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Naomi is a friend of mine. We both have history at Oxford. She earned her degree as a Rhodes scholar and I served as rabbi to the students for 11 years. Naomi reached out to me for a book she was writing and having been a fan of her work I greatly enjoyed making her acquaintance. She subsequently attended Shabbat dinner with my family. Naomi’s books have raised important issues, particularly in the realm of women’s rights and social justice, which is why I was shocked when I learned that Naomi was involved in a blood libel against the State of Israel with false and shocking allegations of a Palestinian genocide.

I, in turn, responded that in all her condemnations of Israel Naomi manages to virtually omit all mention of the brutal attacks and true genocidal ambitions that Hamas has toward the Jewish state and the Jews. Naomi in an interview later said that she never meant by her words that the Jews didn’t need a Jewish state. I challenged her to a public debate and she graciously accepted.

We’re all free to choose our own friends, but let’s brief the good rabbi on the Rhodes Scholar with whom he broke bread.

Most recently, Ms. Wolf publicly sided with that pestilence known as Occupy Wall Street:

Oops! Wrong movement, wrong picture.

Could they be more smug? Wolf has speculated that the long overdue crackdown on the Occupy movement was a government conspiracy, and on this I think she’s right: a conspiracy of the government to do its job and uphold law and order. The Occupy camps were incubators of disease, crime, filth. Never mind their symbolism (empty and bogus to my way of thinking), their dismantling and sterilization was way, way, way past time.

Wolf also once described Al Gore as an alpha male, but I think this is a misunderstanding: he’d ballooned up to the size of Alpha Centauri was her point (as has she, it might be noted, as have many of us).

I’ll leave aside her feminist views. I am generally favorable toward feminism in the abstract, less so toward today’s feminists and its modern practice. Too often the only issue is abortion, which we have repeatedly shown is harmful to women and minorities.

No, if Rabbi Boteach is not familiar with Naomi Wolf’s politics, we’ll leave him one more example, which should clear up the matter:

In The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, Wolf takes a historical look at the rise of fascism, outlining 10 steps necessary for a fascist group (or government) to destroy the democratic character of a nation-state and subvert the social/political liberty previously exercised by its citizens:

Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
Create secret prisons where torture takes place
Develop a thug caste or paramilitary force not answerable to citizens
Set up an internal surveillance system
Harass citizens’ groups
Engage in arbitrary detention and release
Target key individuals
Control the press
Treat all political dissidents as traitors
Suspend the rule of law

The book details how this pattern was implemented in Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and elsewhere, and analyzes its emergence and application of all the 10 steps in American political affairs since the September 11 attacks.

Right practices, wrong presidential administration. Let’s take a look:

Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy: The Tea Party.

Create secret prisons where torture takes place: Every day Gitmo stays open is a betrayal of his promise to close it.

Develop a thug caste or paramilitary force not answerable to citizens: The IRS.

Set up an internal surveillance system: The NSA.

Harass citizens’ groups: The IRS and the FEC.

Engage in arbitrary detention and release: The FBI’s treatment of James Rosen.

Target key individuals: See most of above.

Control the press: When not with the press’ own complicity, by stealth and by force.

Treat all political dissidents as traitors: See IRS above.

Suspend the rule of law: Making and amending law without Congress.

Hope this helps, Shmuley. Wolf’s adoption of Hamass is part of a pattern, not an aberration.

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Les Juifs Son Faits

Way to go, France! After Jean Marie Le Pen and andouillette sausage, you’ve finally given Israel something it can use.

France for the first time has become the country with the highest numbers of aliyah (immigration to Israel), according to the French office of the Jewish Agency for Israel on Friday.

“France is today the leading country for Jewish emigration to Israel. It has never been before,” said Ariel Kandel, who heads the French office of the agency.

Kandel cited figures from the Israeli Ministry of Immigrant Absorption showing that, as of August 31, a total of 4,566 Jews had left France for Israel this year.

The figure well outpaced Ukraine, which came in at second with 3,252 immigrants. Ukraine has been the site of great unrest since tensions flared in May, with violence often targeting the local Jewish community.

Ukraine is in the midst of a Russian invasion, peppered with civil war. And things are still worse in France.

Respect, mes amis.

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Hah! Israel Less Worried About ISIS Than Hamas

Former intel chief blasé about ISIS

Yadlin appeared to try to quell heightened concern following the gruesome murder of the journalist Steven Sotloff, who held dual American-Israeli citizenship.

“There is no real reason to be afraid. ISIS is an expert at PR and intimidation. They murder their prisoners in a shocking way and thereby gain media attention,” Yadlin said at an event held by the Ashkelon Academic College.

While the insurgent terrorists have captured territory in nearby Syria and Iraq as part of their stated objective to reinstate an Islamic caliphate, Yadlin stated that “they only succeed in areas that no one wants to go to – the neglected Sunni areas of northeastern Syria and the deprived areas of Iraq.”

According to the former military intelligence chief, Islamic State insurgents will face superior armed forces if they reach Shi’ite-majority cities that are motivated to protect main population centers like Baghdad and Karbala.

Yadlin claimed that the Islamic State would be easier for the IDF to eliminate than Hamas terrorists who he said were hiding in hospitals in Gaza.

However, Britain is freaking out. This tells us that the British jihadis are a real threat to their country, just as Hamas and Fatah threaten Israel. Hmm. Perhaps we need to show restraint, talk to these guys, see if we can give them what they want in return for peace?

There Will Be Peace In Our Time.

– Aggie

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Two-Fer

Some days, the sun shines on you:

Yesterday, was such a day for Jihadi John—or Head-Hacking Harry, or whatever his name is.

American journalist Steven Sotloff, who was brutally beheaded by the Islamic State terrorist group, took great risks to keep his Jewish faith in captivity, a former fellow-captive of the murdered journalist told Yediot Aharonoth.

However, it turns out that Sotloff was in fact Israeli.

A media gag order on the issue was released on Wednesday, allowing publication of the fact that Sotloff made aliyah (immigration) to Israel in 2005 by himself, and studied at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya.

Sotloff reportedly made sure to fast in secret during Yom Kippur and even prayed in the direction of Jerusalem, as is customary in Jewish prayers, despite the risk he faced if his Islamist captors ever found out he was Jewish.

One head, two nationalities, both Satanic. I hope ISIS bought a lottery ticket that day.

One of Sotloff’s fellow captives, who was subsequently released, told the paper that he feigned illness in order to escape his captors’ suspicions.

“He told them he was ill and didn’t want to eat, even though they brought us eggs that day,” the witness told Yediot Aharonoth, “It looked like he was praying in a hidden way towards Jerusalem. He noted what way the Muslims were praying in and changed his direction slightly.”

I don’t suppose ISIS could fall lower in my esteem just by beheading an Israeli and/or American. They’ve done the same to hundreds. So, I’ll just congratulate them on a lucky, uh, stroke. We’ll get you next time.

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A Thousand Acres Here, a Thousand Acres There, It Adds Up to… Not Much

A parallel point to Aggie’s post below about Obama’s rage.

Over what?

Israel designated a thousand acres of the Judea and Samaria (the West Bank, for those who deny Israel’s history and sovereignty) as “state land”, with the ultimate goal of housing its burgeoning population.

How big is a thousand acres, anyway? My first comparison was to New York’s Central Park, which is only 843 acres. That makes 1,000 acres sound big. But when you look at Central Park in context, not so much:

And I love Central Park!

Then I wondered how big a thousand acres is in Judea and Samaria. One thousand acres is about 1.5 square miles. Judea and Samaria is about 2,200 square miles, only 20% of which is populated. That makes Israel’s declaration of 1.5 square miles of “disputed” territory (as even the UN designates it) as state land a “seizure” of 0.085% of all unoccupied land.

For this he feels rage?

Then I wondered if transfers of 1,000 acres are rare occurrences. But I happened to find one pretty easily:

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to own a NAPA WINERY on over 1000 acres on three contiguous parcels. This historical winery property includes 100 acres of vineyard, additional plantable acreage, a 23,000+ sq. ft. winery building with tasting room, barrel storage room (cooled) huge tank farm and all equipment. The winery overlooks a 12+ acre lake which compliments this incredible Napa setting. Steps from the winery is a 16,000 sq. ft. cave. The property also includes many houses, a barn and other outbuildings. RARE OFFERING

It’ll cost ya most of $20 million, but it’s pretty nice. As compared to what Israel is “seizing”:

No offense, but that’s not exactly Eden. You could have it, I’d say.

Again, for this Obama feels “rage”? What is his problem? (Where do we start?)

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On Obama’s Rage

The Wall Street Journal has an article this morning, reprinted here which touches on a question I have: Why are people so incensed with Israel when in fact almost all of the troubles in our world are coming from various branches of Islam? Why can’t Israel defend herself against Hamas and other terrorist groups? Why is Israeli uppityness so much more offensive to powerful people than say ISIS beheadings, Putin’s aggressions, 170,000 plus dead Syrians, etc? How powerful is Jew hatred, really?

Barack Obama “has become ‘enraged’ at the Israeli government, both for its actions and for its treatment of his chief diplomat, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. ” So reports the Jerusalem Post, based on the testimony of Martin Indyk, until recently a special Middle East envoy for the president. The war in Gaza, Mr. Indyk adds, has had “a very negative impact” on Jerusalem’s relations with Washington.

Think about this. Enraged. Not “alarmed” or “concerned” or “irritated” or even “angered.” Anger is a feeling. Rage is a frenzy. Anger passes. Rage feeds on itself. Anger is specific. Rage is obsessional, neurotic.

Well, exactly. What has Israel ever done to harm him? It is just ridiculous.

And Mr. Obama—No Drama Obama, the president who prides himself on his cool, a man whose emotional detachment is said to explain his intellectual strength—is enraged. With Israel. Which has just been hit by several thousand unguided rockets and 30-odd terror tunnels, a 50-day war, the forced closure of its one major airport, accusations of “genocide” by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, anti-Semitic protests throughout Europe, general condemnation across the world. This is the country that is the object of the president’s rage.

The president in Bethesda, Md., July 29. Ron Sachs/Cnp/Zuma Press
Think about this some more. In the summer in which Mr. Obama became “enraged” with Israel, Islamic State terrorists seized Mosul and massacred Shiite soldiers in open pits, Russian separatists shot down a civilian jetliner, Hamas executed 18 “collaborators” in broad daylight, Bashar Assad’s forces in Syria came close to encircling Aleppo with the aim of starving the city into submission, a brave American journalist had his throat slit on YouTube by a British jihadist, Russian troops openly invaded Ukraine, and Chinese jets harassed U.S. surveillance planes over international waters.

Mr. Obama or his administration responded to these events with varying degrees of concern, censure and indignation. But rage?

Here, for instance, is the president in early August, talking to the New York Times’s Tom Friedman about Russia and Ukraine:

“Finding an off-ramp for [ Vladimir Putin ] becomes more challenging. Having said that I think it is still possible for us, because of the effective organization that we have done with the Europeans around Ukraine, and the genuine bite that the sanctions have had on the Russian economy, for us to arrive at a fair accommodation in which Ukrainian sovereignty and independence is still recognized but there is also recognition that Ukraine does have historic ties to Russia, the majority of their trade goes to Russia, huge portions of the population are Russian speaking, and so they are not going to be severed from Russia. And if we do that a deal should be possible.”

This isn’t even condemnation. It’s an apology. For Mr. Putin. Benjamin Netanyahu should be so lucky.

Now think about what, specifically, has enraged the president about Israel’s behavior. “Its actions and its treatment of his chief diplomat.”

Actions? Hamas began firing rockets at Israel in June, thereby breaking the cease-fire it had agreed to at the end of the last war, in November 2012. The latest war began in earnest on July 7 when Hamas fired some 80 rockets at Israel. “No country can accept rocket fire aimed at civilians,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the next day, “and we support Israel’s right to defend itself against these vicious attacks.”

On July 15 Israel accepted the terms of a cease-fire crafted by Egypt. Hamas violated it by firing 50 rockets at Israel. On July 17 Israel accepted a five-hour humanitarian cease-fire. Hamas violated it again. On July 20 Israel allowed a two-hour medical window in the neighborhood of Shujaiyeh. Hamas violated it. On July 26 Hamas announced a daylong cease-fire. It then broke its own cease-fire. On July 28 Israel agreed to a cease-fire for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr. The rocket attacks continued. On Aug. 1 Israel accepted a 72-hour cease-fire proposed by the U.S. Hamasviolated it within 90 minutes. On Aug. 5 Israel agreed to Egypt’s terms for another three-day cease-fire. Hamas violated it several hours before it was set to expire, after Israel announced it would agree to an extension.

If Hamas had honored any of these cease-fires it could have saved Palestinian lives. It didn’t. Mr. Obama is enraged—but not with Hamas.

Read the rest if you can stomach it. I can’t. I’ve just returned from a lovely trip abroad, punctuated with horrific English speaking crowds chanting: Kill the Jews! I think that the western world has a lot to offer – medicine, clean environment, good enough economies to avoid hunger, kind and entertaining people in the countryside – but at the same time they are thinly veiled barbarians. Under the expensive British soaps is a god-awful stink.

Oh, and fear is not improving the stink much, is it? Because they are now well and truly terrified of their own citizens.

– Aggie

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Adele Biton Could Not Be Reached for Comment

Where have we heard this before?

A three-year-old toddler was lightly wounded on Monday night by Arab terrorists that hurled rocks through the window of the bus she was riding in, as it passed through Uzi Narkis Street in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat.

Just shortly afterwards a bus driver was also lightly wounded on the road between Migdalim and Kfar Tapuah in Samaria, after Arab terrorists threw two molotov cocktails at him.

One of the firebombs struck the bus’s windshield, shattering the glass and wounding the driver who was treated on the scene and did not require further medical attention.

There has been a noted rise in rock and firebomb terror attacks in recent weeks.

Wanna know why that is?

The rise in attacks comes as senior officials in Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction have recently said they reached a “political decision” to support Arab terrorists “slaughtering” Jews living in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.

They likewise have called for a full return to terrorism, declaring “open war” on the Jewish state.

I’m not in a good mood right now, so I’d just better shut up. Maybe Adele has something to contribute:

Adele…? Adele?

PS: To be fair to Israel-bashers, it’s hard to stay informed on such complex issues. You have to read, for one thing.

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