Monday, February 22, 2010
Israel's place in the hearts of Americans may have deteriorated slightly, but remains high. According to a new Gallup poll released over the weekend, Israel ranks fifth among the countries viewed most favorably by Americans, behind Canada, Great Britain, Germany and Japan. 67% of Americans have a favorable view of Israel. India got a slighly less favorable rating of 66%.
A similar poll in 2008 gave Israel a 71% approval rating, somewhat higher than the present results, but in that poll all the high ranking countries had more favorable scores than they did in the current poll. In any case, friction with the Obama administration and the Gaza war have not really affected American sympathies for Israel, according to these results. As might be expected, Gallup polls taken in other contexts seem to yield somewhat different results. When asked whether they favor Israel or the Arabs, only about 59% of Americans say they favor Israel. However, this percentage has increased over the years since 1967.
Only 10% of American respondents had a faborable view of Iran in the current poll, 20% had a favorable view of the Palestinian Authority. Republicans like Israel somewhat more than Democrats.
Israel does not seem to have a real "image problem" in the United States. European perceptions of Israel are a different matter.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Protesters led by the New Israel Fund supported group, Adalah, struck their version of a blow for "human rights" and "justice" by disrupting a performance of the Israel ballet in Vermont. According to Ynet news, the self-proclaimed forces of justice and freedom under Adalah claimed that "anyone who watched the performance was "supporting Israel's apartheid policy."'
Contributors to the New Israel Fund can be proud that they are getting their money's worth, as the Israel Ballet is certain a bastion of apartheid Zionism. Apologists for the New Israel Fund, who defend it against charges that it is funding anti-Israel organizations can point out that this noble operation of the Palestinians was aimed not only at Zionism, but at degenerate Western culture. In the secular democratic utopia promoted by Adalah, there will be no need for a ballet troop. Belly dancers and whirling Sufi dervishes will be characteristic of the New Israel created with the aid of New Israel Fund funding.
Optimistic Israeli reports about Russian re-evalutation of their commitment to supply the S-300 defense system to Iran may well have been wishful thinking. According to a Reuters report:
How could sale of the S-300 not be a political issue? In fact, how could any arms exports to a country like Iran not be "politicized?"
Friday, February 19, 2010
The J Street lobby has managed to generate a lot of publicity for itself. Most of those who praise it however, are anti-Israel and most of those who are critical are pro-Israel. That suggests that J Street may be the enemy. J Street's Jeremy Ben Ami told Haa'aretz:
A part of the Jewish community in the United States and some people here are intolerant of people who disagree with them or criticize them.
"And that intolerance immediately flips to 'you are anti-Israel - you're a Muslim lover or you're Muslim,'" ... "These are things that they call me, and this is what some of them call the president. It has to change both in the politics here and in the right wing of the American Jewish community."
Ben-Ami's rant sounds a bit like "Not all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism." That's true. But some criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic, and J Street is not only engaged in criticism of Israel.
Criticism of Israel is not what makes J Street the enemy. Signing a letter calling on President Obama to loosen the Israeli blockade of the genocidal Hamas organization might make J Street the enemy. Initiating action in Congress against Iran sanctions might make J Street the enemy. Having Congressman Brian Baird as an honorary host of a J Street gala dinner, might make J Street the enemy, since he told students in Gaza that the US should forcefully break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, as it did the Berlin airlift. His views about the "Jewish problem" could hardly have been a surprise to J Street when they invited him. Taking money from Muslims and Muslim groups doesn't make an organization or its members into Muslims. Muslims are not necessarily anti-Israel either. But when the money comes from the American Iranian Council and similar groups, t it does raise the suspiscion that they are working to serve the interests of Muslims who are inimical to Israeli and Jewish interests. The Iranian regime after all, is not a great friend of Israel or the Jewish people.
None of these things that J Street did are criticisms of Israel. All of them are inimical actions - attempts to influence a foreign government to take action against Israel, honoring anti-Israel politicians and funding some of them, getting support from anti-Israel groups. Groups that carry out inimical actions are usually known as enemies.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
NGO Monitor has compiled an even more extensive file on New Israel Fund-supported anti-Zionist NGOs than Im Tirtzu, and they had these data for years. Yet they have been ignored and ridiculed and slandered by the NIF.
This seems a fair enough assessment:
Unlike Im Tirtzu, NGO Monitor has not engaged in personalities or exaggerations. Yet NIF chose to stonewall and start a slander campaign rather than replying to the issues they raise.
Is it too much to ask of New Israel Fund and its supporters to stick to the issues. Can they explain why they continue to support Adalah, and organization that calls for right of return of Palestinian refugees? Can they explain why they continue to support Machsomwatch, Mossawa and other groups that called on Norway to boycott Israel? Can they explain why they collect donor-advised contributions for the divestment campaign run by Coalition of Women for Peace? Or will we only get from them more and more of the same old litany about McCarthyism and free speach. In Israel, Israeli citizens can say what they please. But the Israeli government doesn't have to cooperate with foreign lobbies that are encouraging destruction of the state.
NGO Monitor has called on the New Israel Fund (NIF) to implement clear "red lines" regarding the activities and rhetoric of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that it funds. This initiative comes in the wake of wide criticism of NIF for supporting advocacy groups that centrally contribute to demonization of Israel through allegations of "war crimes" and intense lobbying for the Goldstone Report.
These guidelines should prevent NIF funding for organizations that support "Durban strategy" activities such as:
These activities, which promote the isolation of Israel internationally, are entirely inconsistent with NIF claims that "our supporters love Israel."
NGO Monitor has raised these topics in reports and correspondence with NIF officials on several occasions, but NIF has been unwilling to engage in substantive debate. Instead, NIF and its supporters have smeared NGO Monitor as "silenc[ing] expression," and being "extremist," "incendiary," the "rotten fruit of Israeli democracy," "McCarthyite," and "right-wing." The aim of these responses is to avoid substantive debate.
For more details, see NGO Monitor's report, NIF-Funded NGOs: Goldstone's Building Blocks, February 9, 2010.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
New Israel Fund insists that the charges against it (see Funding Anti-Zionism - Adalah, NIF and the "New Israel" New Israel Fund supports anti-Zionist Propaganda and NIF Funds anti-Zionists Take II ) made by Im Tirzu and others are all bogus McCarthyism:
The New Israel Fund, in its defense, says it does not support those who demonize Israel or call for divestment or boycott of Israel, and that it will not assist those who advocate the "right of return" for Palestinians to reclaim land lost to them in 1948.
But the truth is that New Israel Fund funds Adalah, a group that wrote a proposed Israeli constitution calling for Right of Return. (see Funding Anti-Zionism - Adalah, NIF and the "New Israel" ). NIF also supports Mossawa and Machsomwatch, both of which called on the Norwegian government to support a boycott of Israel, and NIF collects "donor advised" donations for Whoprofits. Click this link and see for yourself: http://whoprofits.org/Donations.php. You can see there that the instructions state: "Make out a check to "New Israel Fund", write in the memo line "for the Coalition of Women for Peace – Who Profits Project." This was not invented by Im Tirtzu or by me. Who Profits is a project of the Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP). Despite express denials, it seems that NIF supported CWP in 2008, with a grant that channeled money from the Ford Foundation, and they continue to support Coalition of Women for Peace though donor-advised channeling.
Why does the Ford Foundation find it convenient to channel grants through NIF, and why does NIF act as a conduit for the Ford Foundation? Any organization that was once funded by NIF is allowed to use NIF as a donor-advised contribution channel unless a decision is made to the contrary. New Israel Fund knows that CWP supports divestment, but did not cancel its donor-advised status.
The "donor-advised" status actually means that money contributed to them is tax-deductible in the United States as if it had been donated to NIF. Formally, it means that the money was donated to NIF for the express purpose of funding CWP, and NIF used it to fund CWP. If it was not formally recognized as a donation to NIF, it would not be tax deductible, as CWP has no 501c(3) tax deductible status in the United States. So NIF is supporting CWP at least formally. If NIF claims they are not supporting CWP and divestment, then the tax shelter given to these donations is a fraud.
It is beyond my understanding how people can claim that telling potential donors to New Israel Fund that it supports CWP and denies that it does so, that it supports Adalah and other organizations that call for divestment and right of return is not "democratic" or why it is "McCarthyism" to ask the Israeli government to investigate its ties with a group that is funding delegitimation of Israel. Don't NIF donors have rights? Doesn't the Israeli government and the Israeli taxpayer have rights? Don't we have the right to know how our money is being spent, and to donate to causes we believe in? Isn't it wrong to collect money for "democracy" and use it to support groups that are trying to destroy Israel?
Monday, February 15, 2010
Last update - 09:20 15/02/2010
'Livni may cause own arrest to shame U.K. into changing law'
By Haaretz Service
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni reportedly indicated on Sunday that she would be willing to travel to the U.K. in order to provoke her own arrest, hoping thus to move London into changing a controversial law enabling the arrest of visiting politicians, the London Times reported on Monday.
"Britain has obligated itself to me personally that this subject will be taken care of and fixed," she said. "Now is the time."
Livni reportedly added that getting herself arrested was the only way to "shame" the British government into changing the law giving judges the power to arrest visiting Israeli politicians and generals.
Israel's government confirmed late last year that Livni canceled a planned London trip after her office received news of a secretly issued arrest warrant awaiting her arrival.
Foreign Secretary David Miliband later announced that Britain would no longer tolerate legal harassment of Israeli officials in this fashion.
But the Times report said Monday that the promised swift change could be delayed by the country's upcoming elections, citing a cabinet split over timing issues which may postpone any alteration of the rules until after the vote.
The report added that Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, was privately warning against remaking the law over such a fundamental issue in haste, saying that it ought to be explored by a body such as the Justice Select Committee, a move which would further delay any new law until the next Parliament.
Foreign Ministry spokesman, Yigal Oalmor, told the Times "If Israeli dignitaries cannot travel unhindered to Britain, than they will not travel. Automatically the political dialogue between the two countries will be reduced. This is not something that London or Jerusalem wants."
Representative Brian Baird (Washington Democrat) a protege of the J Street Lobby, is on a solidarity visit to Gaza, to show his support for the genocidal, racist, religious fanatic reactionary Hamas regime there. Baird told Gaza students that the United States should break the Israeli blockade of Gaza:
"We ought to bring roll-on, roll-off ships and roll them right to the beach and bring the relief supplies in, in our version of the Berlin airlift,"
So much for the "unbreakable bond" between Israel and the United States. So much for J Street's "pro-Israel" politics. Baird was an honorary host of the J Street Gala dinner. Baird and about 50 other congresspersons, along with J Street, were signatories of a recent letter calling on President Obama to life the Gaza siege and let Hamas have the materials it so desperately needs to rebuild its terror capabilities, as well as to ensure that a satisfied population will support the Hamas regime. The supposed rationale of the policy was that improving the lot of the population would make them more likely to support compromise and peace proposals. This is analogous to claiming that the allies should have lifted the blockade of Nazi Germany in order to put the Germans in a friendlier mood. The Democratic party got a gift from the Republican Jewish Coalition, which made out that the letter is even worse than it is, and circulated inaccurate information about it. This allowed apologists for the letter to blunt criticisms by shifting the issue to the RJC's misrepresentations.
But the letter was not enough for Baird, since he is evidently an all-out open Hamas supporter, and insists that the US must show solidarity with the Hamas in the same way it showed solidarity with blockaded Berlin in 1948.
If you live in Washington State, please write to Congressman Baird, though he has announced his retirement. Every US citizen, especially Democratic Party supporters, can and should write to these contacts to protest support for Hamas by J Street and by Democrat law makers:
National Jewish Democratic Council, Marc Stanley Chairman - http://www.njdc.org/forms/sign/contact (fill out the form to contact the Washington office); By phone in Washington DC; 202-216-9060; New York: firstname.lastname@example.org; Addditional phone, fax and email contacts at the above Web site
Democratic National Party: http://my.democrats.org/page/s/contactissues
Be respectful of persons and institutions and constructive. Focus on issues. Do not confuse partisan political pleading with Israel advocacy - and remember - the Gaza agitation is the work of a handful of senators, it is not policy of the Obama administration and should not be blamed on Barack Obama or any administration personnel.
Pass it on to friends and fellow Democrats.
Actually, Iran already was a military dictatorship and has been one almost since the beginning of Khomeini rule. Anyone who read "Reading Lolita in Tehran" and followed the history of repression in Iran can see all the tell-tale symptoms: arbitrary arrests for dissent, direction of policy by the Iranian National Guard Corps, mass executions. The only difference is that of late, the even more militant Basij have achieved more power.
Iran has a democratic facade of "elections" that should not have fooled anyone. Apparently, it has fooled people in the US State Department for quite a long time.
Clinton: Iran is turning into military dictatorship
By Amos Harel and Haaretz Service
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday the Obama administration believes Iran is becoming a military dictatorship.
In remarks to Arab students at Carnegie Mellon's campus in Qatar, Clinton said the Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran appears to have gained so much power, saying "the Revolutionary Guard ... we believe is, in effect, supplanting the government of Iran."
"That is how we see it. We see that the government of Iran, the supreme leader, the president, the parliament, is being supplanted and that Iran is moving toward a military dictatorship. That is our view."
Clinton's comments came after it was announced earlier Monday that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will be arriving in Israel within weeks on an official visit, amid growing regional tensions over Iran's controversial nuclear program.
Referring to U.S.-led effort to force new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, Biden told Meet the Press on Sunday that he hoped to recruit China's support to the campaign.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will be arriving in Israel within weeks on an official visit, Haaretz learned on Monday, amid growing regional tensions over Iran's controversial nuclear program.
Referring to U.S.-led effort to force new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, Biden told Meet the Press on Sunday that he hoped to recruit China's support to the campaign.
"We already have the support of everyone from Russia to Europe, and I believe we could also garner China's support so to isolate [Iran]," Biden said, adding that the world had "to make it clear to them that we can't go on like this."
On Sunday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen appeared keen to relay a public message to Israel: The U.S. is leading the international effort to levy harsh sanctions on Tehran, so Israel must exercise complete restraint.
Mullen told reporters he was concerned about the unintended consequences of a military strike on Iran's nuclear program.
The U.S. army chief said after arriving in Israel on Sunday that American policy on the matter is clear: "Iran must not acquire nuclear capability."
However, Mullen also said that if a regional confrontation were to break out following a strike on Iran, it "will be a big, big, big problem for all of us, and I worry a great deal about the unintended consequences of a strike."
In a fairly unusual step, Mullen held a short press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. He then met with the Israel's military leadership, including Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi.
In June 2008, when Mullen was last here, circumstances were similar: Then-president George Bush and his administration also interpreted Israeli statements as meaning that the country intended to attack Iran. Mullen was dispatched by the Bush administration in order to clarify that Israel cannot do this.
Mullen was asked Sunday about the red lines the Obama administration set for Iran's nuclear program. He refused to offer a detailed response, but said, "President Barack Obama was very clear that from a policy standpoint, Iran cannot have nuclear weapons."
He added that he still hoped a solution could be found through diplomacy and sanctions, and that there would not be a regional war.
"We haven't taken off any option from the table," he said. While the military option had not been discounted, "it's pretty hard to be specific."
He reiterated the assessment that unless Iran's nuclear program was halted, Tehran could have its first nuclear bomb within one to three years.
Mullen expressed concern at the behavior of the Iranian leadership and said it had a destabilizing influence on the region. He cited as cause for concern Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent statement that Iran could step up uranium enrichment, and added that the country was linked to Hezbollah, Hamas and the instability in Yemen, and played a role in Afghanistan.
Stressing America was committed to Israel's security, he commended the countries' close defense and security ties, and their stabilizing effect on the region.
The admiral also noted that the U.S. has taken steps to protect several countries in the region from Iranian threats, and mentioned that Patriot air defense missiles had been deployed in the United Arab Emirates. Mullen added that all measures are defensive.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Qatar that Iran is leaving the international community little choice but to exact a heavy price from Tehran over its provocative actions.
The expose of New Israel Fund funding of anti-Zionist groups by Im Tirtzu (see New Israel Fund supports anti-Zionist Propaganda and NIF Funds anti-Zionists Take II ) drew fire from people who insist that New Israel Fund is pure as the driven snow, well-intentioned liberal Zionists, and that Im Tirtzu is a "right-wing" organization intent on stifling free speech. Im Tirtzu admittedly is a right wing group, but you can and should judge for yourself about the organizations that New Israel fund is funding.
Adalah is one of the organizations funded by New Israel Fund, as you can verify here. According to the statement of NIF:
That sounds wonderful. What does it mean in practice? In 2007, Adalah proposed a new constitution for Israel. It is posted on the Web at the Adalah Web site here.
Here are some features of this proposed constitution:
From the introduction:
"Adalah is issuing "The Democratic Constitution," as a constitutional proposal for the state of Israel, based on the concept of a democratic, bilingual, multicultural state."
No more Jewish state. Halas! Mafeesh! This is indeed a "New Israel."
Chapter 1 Article 4: " The State of Israel must recognize, therefore, its responsibility for the injustices of the Nakba and the Occupation; recognize the right of return of the Palestinian refugees based on UN Resolution 194..."
Chapter 2 Article 15 implies repeal of the law of return: Israel will no longer be a country for Jews seeking to live as part of a sovereign nation:
"The laws of citizenship and immigration will be established on the basis of the principle of anti-discrimination and will define the arrangements by which the State of Israel will grant citizenship to:
A. Anyone who was born within the territory of the State of Israel and whose parent was also born within the territory of the State of Israel;
B. Anyone who was born to a parent who is a citizen of the state;
C, The spouse of a citizen of the state;
D. Those who arrive or remain in the state due to humanitarian reasons, including those who are persecuted on the basis of political background."
Chapter 2 Article 20 is the foundation essentially of a binational state, but one that guarantees only Arab rights. It proposes one of two models. In the first model, every law will need to be approved by a committee composed of at least 50% representatives of Arab parties. Model II states:
"No bill will be approved by the plenum of the Knesset if 75% of the members of the Knesset who belong to parties which by their definition or character are Arab parties or Arab-Jewish parties vote against it under the reasoning that the bill violates the fundamental rights of the Arab minority."
Jews do not get this right. It won't be needed anyhow, since following exercise of the "right" of return, the Arabs will soon be a majority.
Chapter 3, Articles 29 and following supposedly guarantee civil rights - freedom of religion, information, privacy, etc. But contrary to Western constitutions, and like the Palestinian and other Arab country constitutions, they each include a provision that the right can be limited or nullified by a special law, in this language:
"...these liberties shall not be restricted except by a law enacted for a necessary purpose which is in accordance with the basic principles of a bilingual and multicultural democratic society, and to an extent that is no greater than is required.:"
That is an anti-constitutional provision that makes a joke of rights. Essentially, it states that people have rights unless the government decides to take them away. It means the government can enact any law it likes to abridge civil rights. Who decides what is in accordance with the principles? Who decides what extent is no greater than required? What is a "necessary purpose?"
Chapter 3: Article 39 - Restitution of all the property of all Arabs taken in 1948, and compensation for all the time they were denied use of their property:
" Every person whose land has been expropriated or whose right to property has been violated arbitrarily or because of his or her Arab nationality under the following laws is entitled to have his or her property restored and to receive compensation for the period during which his or her right to property was denied: the Land Ordinance (Acquisition for Public Purposes) of 1943, and/or the Land Acquisition (Validation of Acts and Compensation) Law of 1953, and/or the Absentee Property Law of 1950, and/or article 22 of the Statute of Limitations of 1958, and/or Regulation 125 of the Emergency (Defense) Regulations of 1945."
Since the constitution also calls for right of return, that means giving up all the land of all the Arabs who ran away or were expelled in 1948
The constitution is alluded to euphemistially in the NIF page about Adalah as the following goal:
Drafting and proposing a Charter of Human Rights as an alternative document to the various proposals for constitution in Israel .
The actual proposed constitution, which is not a charter of human rights, is published at Adalah's Web site. It has been public knowledge since 2007, but NIF does not tell their donors about it at all. NIF continued to fund Adalah after they published their proposed constitution.
Nobody disputes that Adalah has a right to their opinions. They have the right to free speech and freedom of the press and assembly. Not even Im Tirtzu disputes that. But the constitution they propose puts an end to the right of the Jewish people to self-determination under the pretense of ensuring minority rights. It calls for "right" of return, return of refugee property, Arab veto over legislation, arbitrary abridgement of civil rights, abolition of the Law of return and abolition of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people. Is Adalah an organization that is worthy of the support of a Zionist fund?
While Adalah has a right to have and express their opinions, some people seem to dispute the right of NIF donors to know that that is what they are funding, and some people insist, for reasons I can't understand, that the Israeli government and Jewish Agency must continue blindly cooperating with NIF, which funds Adalah, and financing their birthright trips, which no doubt inculcate more of the same philosophy.
As with Adalah, we can go through the list of organizations funded by NIF - Mossawa, Birthright, Betselem.... Is it "McCarthyism" to ensure that NIF donors know what they are actually funding, as opposed to the euphemistic account given by NIF at their Web site? Is it "McCarthyism" to investigate whether the Israeli government should or should not cooperate with Adalah? Decide for yourself.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren's talk at the University of California at Irvine was aborted because of heckling by a small group of unruly extremists. A number of the students face disciplinary action.
The students are part of a group that has terrorized UC Irvine political gatherings for years, screaming "one state, one state" and preventing opponents from speaking.
The other side is running a write-in campaign to block disciplinary action against the students, so it is important to send as many letters as possible in support of disciplinary action.
Please pass the word to ask UC Irvine officials to expel these people and put an end to the "one state" groupies at Irvine.
Use the addresses/ telephone numbers to support prosecution of the offenders.
Ask to speak with Chancellor Drake or leave a message at: (949) 824 - 5011
and email him at: email@example.com
Speak to the Dean of Students office, who are determining the punishment at: (949) 824-5181 and email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
UpdateSince this group of extremists has flourished for many years and has been tolerated, at least, by UC Irvine administrators, you can and should, in addition to the above, contact the Governor of the State of California and the regents of the University of California:
Friday, February 12, 2010
The original reports about New Israel Fund (see New Israel Fund supports anti-Zionists ) by Maariv journalists Ben-Dror Yemini and Ben Caspit, and the Im Tirtzu report on which they were based were not accurate. Im Tirtzu's advertisement claimed that without the New Israel Fund and Naomi Chazan there would not not have been a Goldstone report condemning Israel. This was prima facie nonsense, and some of the statistics on which this claim was based turn out to be dubious as well. Moreover, it seems that New Israel Fund never funded Zochrot (though they did support them evidently, both directly and indirectly) or New Profile, the draft-dodger group. They did fund Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) but stopped funding them after 2006 (see here, here and here and NIF's own rejoinder here ).
Im Tirtzu violated an important rule of Israel Advocacy - always be sure of the facts and tell the truth as precisely as possible. They created a sensation for a few days, but now the legitimate part of their claim, and there is a legitimate part, is endangered by their exaggerations and "Public Relations."
There should, however, be no cause for gloating and celebration among supporters of the New Israel Fund. The New Israel Fund is pictured as an innocent victim since they stopped funding Coalition of Women for Peace in 2006, and only support Zochrot but don't fund it. On that basis, American Jews who support Israel are asked to donate to New Israel Fund. Suppose an organization came to you soliciting funds, and their representative said, "We stopped funding the Ku Klux Klan in 2006, and we never funded the American National Socialist Workers Party. We only support them." Do you think you would or should give money to that organization?
Here is a listing of previous (last year's) NIF grantees. Some are innocent projects working for good causes - or so they seem. But some are not necessarily so innocent. The NIF supports Adalah and Breaking the Silence among others. They were sources of materials used in the Goldstone report, and unfailing sources of disinformation designed to blacken Israel's image. Or consider the Al Yater association, which "Promotes the rights of the Palestinian population in Acre." Acre is in Israel. The people in question are Israeli Arabs. Only those who do not recognize the legitimacy of the state of Israel call these people "Palestinians." Or consider Phsyicians for Human Rights. This organization became famous when it popularized the case of a poor Palestinian who died, according to them, because the evil Zionists would not let him get treated for cancer. But the Palestinian never died and the story was a lie. That's the sort of thing NIF is proud to support.
Many of us, myself included, who felt that the Goldstone report was unfair called for a thorough civilian investigation of the IDF, a position that I am sure NIF would support. But the same logic must work for NIF supporters. Im Tirtzu may have gotten many facts wrong, but there are certainly problems with some of the organizations that NIF funds and has funded in the past. But NIF is stonewalling. Just as the Hamas is unwilling to launch an investigation of any kind into the Goldstone allegations, the NIF is unwilling to clean house. Instead, they rant about McCarthyite tactics and suppression of dissent. If the NIF has nothing to hide, why are they hiding it?
Who's demonizing who?
BY BEN-DROR YEMINI
The NIF thinks it's ok to take part in the campaign against Israel.
The New Israel Fund is angry. It thinks that it is okay to cooperate with the Goldstone commission, even though it was formed by an automatic majority of the benighted countries that control the UN Human Rights Council. The NIF thinks it is okay that Israel cooperate with the commission, even though there is no country in the free world that supported its formation. It thinks it is ok to disseminate unsubstantial accusations against Israel. It thinks it is okay to take part in the demonization campaign being staged by certain NGOs. And it is absolutely legitimate, in a democratic country, to do all these things.
But there is something else that is also legitimate: To reveal the truth about the fund and the groups that falsely claim to be "human rights" organizations. If some of the political organizations supported by the fund do not recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state – don't cry human rights.
Tell the truth: the denial of rights is to Jews only. The Palestinians have a right to a state of their own, as do the Croats, the Hungarians, the Czechs, the Slovaks and other nations – but not the Jews.
Related opinion: We are with you Naomi Chazan
The New Israel Fund provides support (though not funding – editor, JPost), for example, the Zochrot organization. This is a nonprofit organization that openly strives to destroy Israel by means of the "right of return." Not that there is any such right, and not that there ever was another precedent for a mass "return" after a population swap in the wake of war – but this does not bother the New Israel Fund. It will always jump in under the slogan of "human rights."
All this doesn't mean Israel is exempt from criticism. After all, out of the hundreds of allegations, there are a few of substance. But if many sane people loathe the human rights organizations, it's not because they loathe human rights. Just the opposite. It's because the sane majority is fed up with 'human rights' becoming the weapon of benighted forces.
There are a million and one offenses to human lives and human rights in the world. Israel, as a state in conflict, offends less than all others. This has been checked. This is backed up in numbers. Yet Israel is the one taking the brunt of the criticism. This is called demonization, delegitimization and obsession. This is not defense of human rights, but rather an orchestrated campaign in the service of Iran and Hamas.
HOW IS it that many, mainly Jews, support the New Israel Fund? How is it that they enable this systematic campaign that pretends to be humane? They are not anti-Semites. They are people with good intentions. After all, the rhetoric is about human rights and minorities. Jews are sensitive to that. And it's good that they are. Most of them simply don't know. Most of them sincerely and truly want for Israel to be more enlightened and advanced, while being stricter about human lives and human rights.
But they do not know that some of the money goes to other goals.
Prof. Naomi Chazan, who heads the NIF, is not a hater of Israel. But what happened to the fund is exactly what has happened to innumerable organizations that deal with the "discourse of rights."
Human rights organizations can earn back our trust. They must genuinely support human rights, not organizations that work to deny Israel's right to exist.
The writer is an Israeli journalist and a regular columnist at Maariv, where an earlier version of this article originally appeared.
How a coalition was formed around the goal of destroying Israel.
An uneasy UK political alliance threatens both peace and Israel's existence
By Eran Shayshon, January 7, 2010
In recent years, Israel has faced a dramatic assault on the very legitimacy of its existence as a Jewish and democratic state. In this regard, the UK — and especially London — acts as a prominent "hub" in moves to delegitimise Israel. This is due in part to London's position as a media, cultural and academic centre and the UK's impact as an English-speaking nation.
I recently led a group of four analysts from the Reut Institute — an Israeli policy group designed to provide strategic support to Israeli leaders and decision-makers — on a 10-day visit to London to assess developments in this area. We met leading journalists, experts in international law, human rights activists, diplomats, and representatives of Jewish and Muslim organisations.
Though the Israeli-Palestinian issue seems to be very low on the average Londoner's agenda, there are several structural aspects that comprise a convenient platform for anti-Israel sentiment in the UK. One is Britain's post-colonial history --- notably the sense of historical responsibility for the current make-up of the Middle East, including Israel's creation. Another is the UK's historical role as a hospitable base for political radicalism.
But the main engine for delegitimising Israel in the UK is what is known as the "Red-Green Alliance" – an unholy pact between the radical British left and Islamist groups. Theses include Respect, Socialist Action, War on Want, Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Muslim Association of Britain.
Powered by the increasing radicalisation of the UK's Muslim community towards Israel, and the inversion of the left's view of the Zionist project (from once having represented the ultimate socialist model society to today being seen as the ultimate expression of Western imperialism), these groups have made the attack on Israel's legitimacy into a rallying cry.
Although this alliance is far from being a hierarchical, top-down structure, it has become increasingly institutionalised in recent years. The annual "Cairo Conference", for example, is an anti-Zionist event that brings together far leftists from Britain, radical Arab nationalists and militant Islamists — as well as the "BDS" movement, which promotes boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel.
The aims and methods of the Red-Greens are very different from acceptable, "softer" criticism of Israeli policies, mainly on behalf of human-rights groups. This kind of criticism is prevalent in Israel itself — as it is in any open democracy. But, while the Red-Green Alliance is still a marginal phenomenon in British politics, its delegitimisation activity is having a disproportionate impact as a result of the alliance's ability to unite with these "softer" critics of Israeli policies, blurring the line between legitimate criticism of Israel and illegitimate attempts to undermine its right to exist.
Red-Green strategy has several components. One is the creation of an "'all-or-nothing" dynamic against Israel by advocating boycott as the only effective protest option. Another is to make criticism of Israel "trendy'" by framing it in the worthy language of human rights.
In this regard, key institutions such as trade unions, campuses and NGOs are subjected to political campaigns. All of this is underpinned by the demonisation of Israel, portraying it as an "Apartheid" state, and as the principal source of conflict in the Middle East and beyond.
The Red-Greens have enjoyed success as a result of many anti-Israeli protestors believing they are thereby promoting human rights and supporting the Palestinian cause. This is clearly not the case. It is not the Palestinians who are influencing London; it is London that is influencing the Palestinians. At present, only a few key Palestinian individuals or organisations play an active role in the Red-Green Alliance, but radical left-wing ideology is slowly infiltrating and radicalising Palestinian discourse in the West Bank. Increasing calls among traditionally moderate Palestinian leaders to question the two-state solution are certainly buoyed by the increasing attempts among the Western left to undermine Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state.
Challenging the two-state solution on the basis of "liberal" post-modern theories is a recipe for continued violence and insecurity in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Instead of seeking to delegitimise Israel, pro-Palestinian groups should be working for coexistence, peace and good governance within the Palestinian Authority. Moderate Israelis and Palestinians can only hope for the emergence of an anti-radical alliance in support of a two-state solution to counter the dangerous message currently coming out of London.
Eran Shayshon is leader of the political-security team at the Reut Institute
Writing in Haaretz, Reut Institute Founder and President Gidi Grinstein describes an "unholy alliance" aiming to turn Israel into a pariah state and recommends a comprehensive policy approach to address the challenge.
Gidi Grinstein, Haaretz, 01/15/10
A year after Operation Cast Lead, it is increasingly clear: Together with the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the Gaza campaign exposed a dire need for Israel to reform its security and foreign policy doctrine.
This issue of ReViews cites a variety of quotes that demonstrate the Resistance Network's political rationale based on the theory of "Implosion", whereby Israel will not be overthrown militarily, but rather will be pressured on a number of fronts that will ultimately lead to its internal implosion
The recent war in Lebanon has revealed the consolidation of a Resistance Network, in which various political state and non-state actors promote a radical agenda through strategic, cross-boundary collaboration against Israel.
The Resistance Network conducts itself against Israel according to a political logic that is based on a theory of "Implosion", whereby Israel will not be overthrown militarily, but rather will be pressured on a number of fronts that will ultimately lead to its internal implosion as a state. This logic promotes the establishment of one Palestinian / Arab / Islamist state in place of Israel.
This issue of ReViews cites a variety of quotes from leaders of the Resistance Network (including Iranian President Ahmadinejad, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah, and leaders of Hamas) whose statements demonstrate, the Resistance Movement's political rationale based on the theory of "Implosion" that are carried out through the following means: 1) the basic de-legitimization of Israel, and 2) preventing Israel from promoting a two-state solution.
The Resistance Network's Theory of Implosion
The theory of Implosion asserts that Israel's strength in relation to its neighbors will not withstand over time and it will implode as a result of internal pressure, demographic trends, and the erosion of its legitimacy in the eyes of the international community.
The following quotes demonstrate the Resistance Network's theory of implosion:
1) Basic de-legitimization of Israel
One facet of the resistance network's political rationale is the attempt to de-legitimize the basic tenets upon which Israel was created. This includes political, legal, and diplomatic declarations and actions aimed at terminating the existence of the State of Israel by fundamentally rejecting the Jewish right to self-determination and promoting the establishment of one Palestinian / Arab / Islamic state instead of Israel. Recent examples include:
2) Preventing Israel from promoting a two-state solution
An additional method for causing Israel's implosion is to prevent it from achieving a sustainable separation between itself and the Palestinians, including the end of occupation through the two-state solution (see: One-State Threat). In order to promote this goal, the Resistance Network works through the following paths: 1) erosion of the unilateral option; 2) undermining the negotiation option; 3) preventing Israel from a decisive military victory; 4) preparing the ground for the dissolution of the PA.
Erosion of Unilateral Option
The Resistance Network uses terror and rocket-fire as a strategy to prevent Israel from achieving political gains from its unilateral withdrawals from Gaza (8/05) and Lebanon (5/00), and in order to prevent additional unilateral withdrawals from the West Bank. Thus, the continuous firing of Qassam rockets erodes Israel's unilateral option and undermines Israel's ability to end its control over the Palestinians.
Undermining Negotiation Option
In order to undermine the negotiation option and in order to prevent political progress towards an agreement, the Resistance Network utilizes a number of tactics including: strategically timing violence to coincide with negotiations or other important political events, refusing to recognize and negotiate with Israel, and posing unreasonable conditions for negotiations (including 1967 borders, Jerusalem as capital, right of return, etc.).
Preventing Israel from decisive military victory
The goal of the Resistance Network is not to destroy Israel on the battle field, but rather to prevent Israel from achieving a decisive military victory through the use of guerilla and limited warfare. The ability of the Resistance Network to "survive" against Israeli retaliation erodes Israel's deterrence capability and military image. The following statements illustrate Israel's weakened image:
Dissolution of PA
During the Oslo process, the Palestinian Authority was established as the cornerstone for the future Palestinian state. However, the Resistance Network continues to struggle against any temporary solution that may allow Israel to create a sustainable separation between itself and the Palestinians, such as the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
The dissolution of the PA undermines the establishment of a Palestinian state, and promotes - in light of demographic trends - the establishment of one Palestinian/Arab/Islamic state in place of Israel.
The continuous threats made by Hamas leaders to dissolve the PA, may be interpreted as signs that the Resistance Network is preparing the ground for such a move (see: Dismantling the PA - an Emerging Trend).
This Reut Institute study tracks the "Palinform" that has been formed to delegitimize Israel. This is one of several posts on the issue.
Israel is facing a dramatic assault on the very legitimacy of its existence as a Jewish and democratic state. The groups promoting this delegitimacy aim to isolate Israel and ultimately turn it into a pariah state. This issue of ReViews tracks this strategy and its components.
In recent years, Israel has faced a dramatic assault on the very legitimacy of its existence as a Jewish and democratic state. While the ideological framework for this delegitimacy was solidified after the first Durban Conference in 2001, the trend has been given a boost by the perceived lack of progress in the political process, coupled with Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.1
The groups making the fundamental delegitimacy of Israel among their main rallying cries represent a marginal phenomenon in Western politics. Although some of their activities are portrayed as protesting against Israeli policies, in fact they are frequently manipulated in order to blur the difference between valid criticism of Israeli policies and attempts to undermine Israel's right to exist. Thus, they are able to disproportionately impact Israel's international legitimacy.
The aim of these groups is to internationally isolate Israel and ultimately turn it into a pariah state through demonizing the country;2 promoting a policy of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS); and waging a legal struggle against the state and its citizens.
This issue of ReViews tracks this strategy and its components.
The Strategy: Turning Israel into a Pariah
Demonizing Israel creates an ideological justification for taking concrete steps aimed at negating the state's legitimacy. Demonization is rooted in the narrative of Israel as an illegitimate colonial entity born in sin that practices Nazism, apartheid and racism. This narrative plays out in several key arenas, such as public protests and demonstrations, the media, and campus activities.
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)
Attempts to demonize Israel provide the ideological and rhetorical platform for pursuing a policy of BDS in the fields of academia, economy, culture, sport, and security.
Despite the BDS movement including several academics, trade unions, and church groups, it has enjoyed limited practical success so far. However, efforts have been highly successful in generating publicity and in mobilizing anti-Israel activism, effectively uniting anti-Zionists with critics of specific Israeli policies.4
The risk posed is that such campaigns will create an equivalency between Israel and apartheid-era South Africa that penetrates the mainstream of public and political consciousness. Given Israel's dependence on vigorous trade, as well as scientific, academic, and technological engagement with other countries, this movement towards isolating the country may pose a strategic threat.
The BDS movement is largely spearheaded by non-governmental organizations. In a revealing example, the World Social Forum - an umbrella group for hundreds of social, anti-globalization, and rights groups worldwide - announced it would be launching a campaign calling on all of its affiliates to excommunicate Israel (YNET 3/30/09). Similar initiatives have also been taken up in academic, cultural and scientific, security, sporting, and economic arenas.
Culture and Science:
In parallel to demonization and promotion of the BDS Strategy, groups and individuals have increasingly sought to combat Israel in the legal arena. These efforts comprise attempts to: utilize laws of universal jurisdiction in European countries in order to charge Israeli generals and politicians with war crimes; levy proceedings against Israel in the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice; and file charges against corporations conducting business with Israel.
While certain initiators of these lawsuits claim to exclusively act according to a humanitarian agenda, Hamas involvement in some of these cases may indicate that the intention of prosecuting Israeli military and political leaders is not always pure.5
2 Jewish agency Chairman and human rights activist Natan Sharansky describes demonization as occurring when "Israel's actions are blown out of all sensible proportion" and when "comparisons are made between Israelis and Nazis." (Natan Sharansky. 3D Test of Anti-Semitism: Demonization, Double Standards, Delegitimization. Jewish Political Studies Review 16:3-4 Fall 2004).
Canadian Member of Parliament and international human rights lawyer Irwin Cotler meanwhile sees demonization as "the portrayal of Israel as the metaphor for a human rights violator," giving calls for "the dismantling of the apartheid state of Israel... the appearance of international sanction." These demonizing labels are "tantamount to transforming ideological anti-Semitism into a duty - the obligation to remove this Nazi state, Israel." (Irwin Cotler, Identifying the New Anti-Semitism Jewish People Policy Planning Institute. Nov. 2002.)
5 See Reut post: Legal Aid: Role in Livni Arrest Warrant and Beyond
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