Saturday, June 10th
A few days before the recent meeting of the quartest, media abounded with stories of the dire medical crisis in Gaza in the West Bank. Hopitals would have to close, patients were not getting dialysis and needed medicine. This terrible public health crisis seems to have evaporated after having the desired effect of pressuring the quartet and Israel to relax sanctions on the Palestinians.
At least, it seems the Hamas led Palestinian government sees no urgent health crisis. Palestinians refused to accept $11 million in frozen funds offered by Israel as medicines.
"In Allah we trust. All others pay cash."
Ami Isseroff on 06.10.06 @ 06:25 PM CST [link]
According to Jihadist clerics, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is now celebrating his wedding with the virgins in heaven. Of course, if the people running heaven for Muslims happen to be of the Shi'a persuasion, the Zarqawi is busy shoveling sulfur in another region of the afterlife. In any case, Muslims who complain about Danish cartoons should remember this statement by Jihadist Sheikh Omar Bakri. With Muslims like him, who needs Islamophobic neocon "Zionists" in Denmark to insult religion?
Ami Isseroff on 06.10.06 @ 06:19 PM CST [link]
I don't always agree with Dennis Prager, but this time he got it right. Explaining why anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism he wrote:
Imagine someone saying that he seeks the destruction of Italy because he regards Italian national identity as racist. Further, imagine that this person constantly denies being anti-Italian, because he does not hate all Italians, only Italy and all those who believe Italy should exist.
Now substitute "Jewish" for "Italian" and "Israel" for "Italy" and you understand the absurdity of the argument that one can be anti-Zionist but not anti-Jewish.
Ami Isseroff on 06.10.06 @ 06:11 PM CST [link]
"How much longer do you think the German people have to accept being taken hostage by the Zionists?"
No, this is not a paraphrase of a 1938 speech by Adolph Hitler about the "international finance Jewry." It is a question asked by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, right now, in the spring of 2006. Someone is trying to kindle the glowing embers of the old fire that once consumed Europe.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was interviewed recently by Der Spiegel. The interview is entertaining, fascinating and important for several reasons. It is entertaining, ironic and heartening to see a German defending the Jews against anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. It is fascinating and important because Ahmajdinejad clearly exposes the major thesis behind his Holocaust denial campaign. His idea, popular among anti-Zionists and in the Arab world, is that the state of Israel was created because of the Holocaust. Presumably, the British mandate that promised a national home for the Jews doesn't have any legitimacy or importance, nor does the fact that most of the Jews living in under the Mandate in 1948 were not Holocaust survivors. It is an ignorant and simplistic view of Zionism and Israel that rests on shakey historical assumptions (see Was Israel created because of the Holocaust?) . Unfortunately, it is tacitly accepted by the German interviewer:
Ami Isseroff on 06.10.06 @ 12:51 PM CST [link]
It is always disconcerting, at least to me, when I realize that many -- and I mean a lot of -- people still have no idea what happened to Jews from Arab countries before as well as after the establishment of the State of Israel.
Myself, (I am a Jew who was born in Egypt) as well as a lot of other Jews from Arab countries, we have found our voices, and we started to describe our own refugee plight to others, be it individually or in internet forums and lists.
Once in a while we come across a few who ask probing questions and who genuinely want to know about our experiences, while others only seek to dismantle whatever factual stories we bring to the discussions.
Of the questions that seem to pop up most often, two questions are most important to this discussion; because they are invariably asked to challenge and not to learn, to tear apart a conciliatory point of view or to simply present an in- your-face argument that purports to negate anything of value we may have contributed to the discussion thus far.
One, “…. Of course you have the right to return to Egypt, but do you want to? The Palestinians who lived in refugee camps since 1948 do! …”
The second, a bit more cynical than the first; “… Out of curiosity, where was your loyalty? To Egypt? To Israel? What about the Lavon affair? …”
Israel Bonan on 06.10.06 @ 11:36 AM CST [link]
Jonathan Spyer is clearly a fellow who was taught to see the silver lining in everything, and he found one in the boycott movement: Not everyone is anti-Israel, and he claims, the forces of light are growing. Spyer offers this insight:
In order to understand the passions raised in Europe by the Israel-Palestinian conflict, it is thus crucial to grasp that our dispute is no longer merely another item on the long list of foreign issues that occasionally trouble European political discussion. Rather, it has become to all intents and purposes part of the domestic debate. In the shrill, discordant attempt to single out the Jewish state as a uniquely nefarious presence in world affairs, whose rightful fate is dissolution - one sees into the heart of that alliance of far left and radical Islam that seeks appeasement and accommodation in the face of the Islamist challenge. And in the responses to the demonization of Israel may be glimpsed those forces coalescing to confront this challenge.
However, Israel has never been "just another foreign policy issue." Palestine, Jerusalem, Jews, and the Holy Land have occupied a special place in Europeans culture and in European history for the last 2000 years. Special doesn't always mean "good."
Ami Isseroff on 06.10.06 @ 04:03 AM CST [link]
Israeli PM Ehud Olmert has given an interview to the Financial Times and Independent Newspapers in which he defends his convergence plan as the only way forward to peace, and denigrates the Palestinian prisoners' document as an internal Palestinian affair. The document does not satisfy the internationally recognized requirements for a peace plan, he notes:
It’s the basic principles that were accepted by the international community, that your country and the United States and the UN defined. It’s not the ones that I would have defined. The Quartet principles is not – maybe I would have defined things that are entirely different. They defined it and I said fine, I am ready to abide by these principles. Stop and disarm the terrorist organisations. Do they talk about it in the letter of the prisoners? Not in the remotest.
So, what am I going to be: recklessly irresponsible for the future of my country and accept negotiations where every day there can be a bus exploding in the middle of Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. So, what will I say then to the public opinion? I am negotiating with Abu Mazen and it’s not Abu Mazen who is exploding the buses, it’s someone else among the Palestinians? So, I mean what is it all about?
Ami Isseroff on 06.10.06 @ 03:54 AM CST [link]
This pretty much speaks for itself. The Arab rulers of Sudan perpetrated genocide in Darfur. They have managed to hide behind a defensive shield provided by the Arab League, which blocks effective active action to end the conflict. Of course, the conflict is blamed on the Jews...
Sudanese tribal leader blames Jews
A Sudanese tribal leader blamed Jews for the conflict in Darfur.
Mowadh Jalaladin, a representative of the Barty tribe, said his people would wage a “jihad” against any U.N. peacekeeping force.
“The root causes of the Darfur conflict are the doing of the Jewish organizations who financed this armed rebellion," he told representatives of the U.N. Security Council touring the region this week. "We don´t want the Security Council to be an instrument of the ugly undertakings of the United States of America."
Ami Isseroff on 06.10.06 @ 03:42 AM CST [link]
Friday, June 9th
The Presbyterian church is set to reconsider divestment resolutions passed two years ago. The move is the result of grass roots initiatives of Presbyterian activists such as those we have reported previously (see here and here). The feeling among many is that the "boycott Israel" movement reflects minority views of extremist Presbyterian leaders such as those who met with the Hizbulla, and results from concerted efforts at PSM.
Whether they succeed or not, we owe a debt of gratitude to these activists for their sincere efforts to right a wrong and to ensure that Israel gets fair witness.
Ami Isseroff on 06.09.06 @ 10:07 PM CST [link]
Hamas denied that it issued a statement mourning the death of terrorist thug Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, (see the previous article about Hamas support for Zarqawi) but then they went on to say that yes, they support Zarqawi. You don't believe me? According to Reuters:
Sami Abu-Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said on Friday that "Hamas did not issue any statement in this regard."
He also said that Hamas "reiterates its supportive position to all liberation movements and foremost the Iraqi liberation movement, for which Zarqawi was one of the symbols in the face of the American occupation."
Ami Isseroff on 06.09.06 @ 05:10 PM CST [link]
AIPAC is the "Israel Lobby" in the flesh, and therefore it is very vulnerable. This week, a new chapter unfolded in the investigation of AIPAC....
Ami Isseroff on 06.09.06 @ 05:04 PM CST [link]
Christian Zionism has been, according to many Christians who are pro - Zionist, intentionally misrepresented. Opponents of Israel, particularly people like the British Reverend Stephen Sizer, have marketed a nightmare version of Christian Zionism that paints all Christian supporters of Israel as reactionary and dangerous fundamentalist fanatics intent on bringing on Armageddon and converting Jews to Christianity. Many Christians who support Zionism and Israel insist that it is not so. They would claim that most Christian Americans and Europeans who support Israel do so because they feel it is logical to support a democracy, and for other secular motives. Religious considerations are secondary. As a complete outsider, I would have to say that this argument is convincing. In the United States, a largely Christian country, certainly not more than a quarter of the people are Evangelical Christians, yet well over half the people support Israel. Most American supporters of Israel are not Evangelical Christians.
Perhaps the key issue which separates Christians who are pro-Israel from those like Stephen Sizer, who are actively anti-Zionist, is the doctrine of replacement theology. That is the doctrine that the Christian Church replaced the Jews as "the Chosen" of God, and that therefore all the Old Testament promises to the Jews must be viewed as promises to the Christian Church.
A mainstay of replacement theology, as I understand it, was that God had punished the Jews permanently because they would not accept Jesus as the Messiah. This outlook was a major ideological underpinning of anti-Semitism in the Middle Ages. A corollary of this doctrine was the curse of Eusebius, which stated that the Jews would never be allowed to rebuild Jerusalem because of their sins. Replacement theology lost its popularity with the reformation, chiefly because translations of the Bible into the vulgate made it clear that the position was very questionable based on either Old Testament and New Testament texts, except by the most tortuous and a-historical processes of exegesis. Corresponding to this change in outlook, the restoration of the Jews became a popular theme of Protestant theology.
Nonetheless, Stephen Sizer and others like him hold to replacement theology, either despite its obvious connection with anti-Semitism or because of it. Sizer uses sophist wizardry to market replacement theology, a bigoted doctrine of the medieval church, as liberal and desirable as opposed to those who support restoration of the Jews. He labels the latter as "fundamentalist" because they believe in a literal interpretation of the bible.
On the other hand, David Brog has written a book about Evangelical Christians and Christian Zionism, in which he is quite happy to accept the stereotype of Christian Zionism presented by the opposition, and to insist nonetheless that there should be an alliance between liberal Jews and conservative Christian Zionists. In the interview below, Brog cites the example of the Dutch heroine of the Holocaust, Corrie Ten Boom. Corrie Ten Boom however, does not seem to have been a "reactionary religious fanatic" in the image projected by some evangelical Christians. Rather, it seems she was an extremely complex and courageous person, whose faith enabled her to save Jews and to survive in a Nazi concentration camp. Unlike the stereotype of Evangelical Christians, Ten Boom did not believe in rapture. (see Corrie Ten Boom.) European Protestant faith, unlike the Christianity represented by Pat Robertson for example in the USA, tends more to private piety and individual moral action, rather than to social activism and attempts to influence government policy. Corrie Ten Boom's act in saving Jews in World War II should probably be viewed as the moral testimony of an individual that has implications for society, rather than a political act.
A part of the Jewish community has rejected Evangelical Christianity either because they are genuinely fearful that Evangelical Christians are out to convert Jews, or because they differ with Evangelical Christians over separation of church and state or because they differ over other specific political issues such as abortion and gay marriage. Their fears are voiced by David Saperstein and others.
Ami Isseroff on 06.09.06 @ 01:45 PM CST [link]
Thursday, June 8th
The respected London Arab newspaper Asharq al Awsat predicted that Abu Musab Al Zarqawi was so depraved that nobody would turn him into a martyr:
Experts say that because al-Zarqawi was such a thug, he does not seem likely to now become a widely respected martyr for Islamic militants. He was not respected as an ideologist or as a thinker, having made his name through brutality.
Manifestly, they reckoned without the Hamas. Zarqawi was a thug after their own hearts. According to a Reuters article, Hamas issued this statement:
"With hearts full of faith, Hamas commends brother-fighter Abu Musab ... who was martyred at the hands of the savage crusade campaign which targets the Arab homeland, starting in Iraq
We hope all the loyal Hamas supporters in the NATFHE union are listening.
Hamas was not alone. Abu Majed, spokesman for the Palestinian movement Popular Resistance Committees, said, "Whether the fighter leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was martyred or not, resistance will continue in all Islamic lands as long as occupation exists."
Zarqawi killed Muslims - Shi'a Muslims. He wasn't fighting any occupation. He was fighting the Iraqi people. It is hard to believe that supposedly civilized and "progressive" people can support thuggery and murder for the sake of murder, but apparently it is a fact. We must have no illusions. People like Mr. Mackney and his friends in the NATFHE union and other unions will continue to support the enemies of humanity. That is the way the world is made apparently.
Ami Isseroff on 06.08.06 @ 11:06 PM CST [link]
Jews love to argue. We are a Mediterranean people, and we argue with gusto and enthusiasm. There is nothing wrong with differences of opinion, as long as they are expressed with a modicum of politeness and civility. There is a lot wrong when people become confused about who is the real enemy and who is not. When Zionist "patriots" (living in the USA of course) post lists of "self-hating Jews" and hint strongly that Israel would be better off with these people dead, is it done out of love of Israel or hatred of other Jews? When people like Norman Finkelstein go about ranting about the "Holocaust Industry," do they do it out of love of Israel, love of truth or love of themselves?
Not many months ago, a friend and I managed to dissuade a blogger from hinting that he hoped God would strike down Ariel Sharon for initiating disengagement. I am sure this man would have been very sorry if his post had remained on the Web after Sharon's stroke. Leave it to Pat Robertson to say things like that.
Ami Isseroff on 06.08.06 @ 05:35 PM CST [link]
It is now abundantly clear that the US government and the World Trade Organization are engaged in a deliberate effort to subvert their own laws and regulations. In earlier articles we reported that Saudi Arabia is continuing the boycott against Israel despite promises to the contrary when it joined the WTO. Now it is "discovered" that another Arab country, Oman, also observes the Arab boycott. Oman is awaiting congressional approval for a Free Trade Status deal, which officially requires that it end the boycott, but US officials are ignoring reality.
Ami Isseroff on 06.08.06 @ 04:35 PM CST [link]
Wednesday, June 7th
Al Qaeda or the International Jihad is operating in the Palestinian territories, according to a Ha'aretz article. Israel's Shin Bet chief Yuval Dichter told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Israeli security forces have arrested terrorists belonging to World Jihad with general plans for terrorist activities.
The infiltration of the Palestinian areas by these groups, following their establishment in Sinai, should come as no surprise.
Al Hayat had reported in April about the spread of the World Jihad movement to the West Bank and Gaza. They noted that diaspora Palestinians had first joined such groups, and that the move to the West Bank and Gaza was part of the picture emerging with the election of the Hamas. The Dar Al Hayat articles provide fascinating insights into the origins and dynamics of Jihadist extremism in Palestinian society, and its "epidemiology" (that seems like the most appropriate word) in the Middle East. In its first article, Al-Hayat reported:
In Amman there is much talk about the impending arrival of al-Qaida to the West Bank.
However, the Palestinians have a long story with al-Qaida or groups espousing "salafi jihadism" [Salafi means fundamentalist in that it glorifies the early practitioners of Islam]. The experience has taken place since the beginning of the Arab Afghans struggle, although unlike other Arab societies, Palestinians in the territories were somewhat "late" in seeing the phenomenon among them.
The al-Qaida Organization (Tanzim al-Qaida) almost constitutes an exception regarding the "absence of the nation" in its exhortations. It is an idea (that has become degraded) without a nation, an action stripped of any tangible claim. For the Palestinians of the Diaspora, Palestine is more than a nation and less than territory. In one sense, it is an idea that accompanies Palestinians as they cross the Hindu Kush. There is no land for them to remember; no village, no city.
This description of Palestinian terrorist movements as a-national is in sharp contrast to the image of the Palestinian struggle against Israel as a "National Liberation movement."
The revelations by Diskin are hardly new. In fact, Dar Al Hayat had reported in April that Israeli and Jordanian authorities had already seen signs of Al-Qaeda activity two months previously:
Only two months ago, the Israeli police intercepted a telephone call between a Palestinian from the West Bank and a resident of a refugee camp in Jordan; the police realized that someone was preparing to establish an al-Qaida cell in the West Bank. The Jordanian authorities were informed of the name of the caller in the refugee camp and other names that were mentioned in the conversation, while the West Bank Palestinian and another man with him were arrested. In the Jordanians' investigation, it turned out that the matter was no more than a declaration of intentions and did not involve operational planning. These are the kind of things that Jordanian security observes and anticipates, but doesn't take action against. The Israeli authorities announced a short time later that it had detained activists in a cell affiliated with al-Qaida in the West Bank.
In a second article, Al-Hayat explained that the politicization and moderation of the Hamas would inevitably cause it to splinter, and that the militant factions or military wing, dissatisfied with moderation, would turn to Al-Qaeda type operations and ideology, "internationalizing" the struggle. In other words, it is important for them to blow things up. It doesn't matter if it is for the cause of Palestinian nationalism or international Jihad, as long as they are blowing things up:
Ami Isseroff on 06.07.06 @ 12:22 AM CST [link]
Tuesday, June 6th
There is a concerted and disconcerting effort to delegitimize the state of Israel, and the status of Zionism as a legitimate national movement. The movement picked up steam with the start of the so-called "Second intifada." Palestinian advocacy groups openly stated that their goal was to use "the occupation" as an excuse to demand liquidation of Israel as a Jewish state, using boycotts and divestment initiatives as a front for the real goal.
The slogans and issues of this movement include:
Use of the "apartheid state" slogan to delegitimize Israel. - The "apartheid state" slogan and the claims upon which it is based carry within them the notion that the Jews are not entitled to a separate country, and that the Arabs of Palestine living in the West Bank and Gaza somehow have a legitimate right to demand citizenship and the right to travel, vote, work and live in Israel. The Guardian recently ran a series asking "Is Israel an Apartheid State?" It is the sort of question that implies its own positive answer, like "How often do you beat your wife?" That the question was asked at all is indicative of the extent to which acceptance of Israel as a legitimate state has eroded.
Use of the "Zionism is Racism" slogan. - This vile invention first saw the light of day in 1975, and was revived in the UN Durban conference of NGOs, which was turned into a UN financed racist lynch mob, with the participation and acquiescence of supposedly legitimate NGOs.
Ami Isseroff on 06.06.06 @ 12:54 AM CST [link]
Sunday, June 4th
Ha’aretz recently reported on a decision by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Ontario, to boycott Israel. Unfortunately, the CUPE decision is actually worse than outlined in Ha’aretz.
Ami Isseroff on 06.04.06 @ 08:41 PM CST [link]
The news that Saudi Arabia is continuing to boycott Israel in violation of WTO rules, and that the US is continuing to make believe it isn't happening (See Are Saudis violating the WTO ban on boycotting Israel?), is finally beginning to make some impression. A congressman has called for action. I think he will get it when the price of oil drops to $20 a barrel. New Jersey Representative Mike Ferguson, a prominent Republican (and up for reelection in November no doubt) stated "It is unacceptable... Now that the Saudis have joined the WTO, what we are finding is that they are not following the rules."
Countries that export 8 or 10 million barrels of oil a day follow different rules.
Ami Isseroff on 06.04.06 @ 07:15 PM CST [link]
Though the British NATFHE boycott of Israel was expected to be killed when the union merged with the AUT in the University and College Union, it may linger on and be transmuted into a different form of joint action in the UCU, as was indicated by earlier statements by the AUT and by NATFHE General Secretary Mackney. Meanwhile, the governing council of the British National Academy of Sciences (NAS) issued a statement opposing boycotts.
The battle is not over!
Ami Isseroff on 06.04.06 @ 06:53 PM CST [link]
A new study claims that European support for the Palestinian cause has fallen dramatically. Attitudes in France changed most dramatically:
Three years ago, 60 percent of French respondents said they took a side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and of that 60%, four out of five backed the Palestinians. Today, by contrast, 60% of French respondents did not take a side in the conflict, and support for the Palestinians had dropped by half among those who did express a preference.
Ami Isseroff on 06.04.06 @ 11:07 AM CST [link]
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