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a different side of Israel

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A Conversation with Fatima

Ramat Gan, Israel — The Israeli cabinet approved a proposal requiring new immigrants to pledge loyalty to the “Jewish and democratic” state on October 10. The bill was greeted by hot and cold receptions from critics in the international community. The bill, which still faces a wider parliamentary vote, passed initially by a 22-8 margin – finding strong domestic opposition from the Labor Party and Israeli Arabs.

Perhaps I am naive, but I was a little chagrined by the amount of negative hoopla the news caused; I always saw Israel as a Jewish state and a democracy — this is what I love about little Israel. But in the unseasonably hot weather and proverbial prickly atmosphere, one should prepare them self to never feel too surprised in this land of mystery.

Fatima, an 18-year-old student of linguistics and English literature at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan said, “I don’t think it makes any change. Everyone here is supposed to say that they swear to the country.” Fatima, donning a lime green hijab and traditional silk black dress spoke over the mellow hum of copy machines amid an ethnically mixed handful of college students. “I don’t know what he [PM Netanyahu] said and what he meant – I don’t know his aim.” She stressed that the facts for her are freely explained on her Facebook page, she is a proud Palestinian.

“The Palestinians have long rejected that, [the Jewishness of Israel]saying Israel may use it as a pretext to deny Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war that created Israel the right to return to their former homes.” wrote Vita Bekker of The National. However, chief of the Fatah-ruling PA, Mahmoud Abbas claimed that Arabs in the “occupied territories” had already done that during the 1993 Oslo Accords. Recent research shows, the ratio of Palestinians in the territories who object to Israel being a Jewish state and those who don’t is almost cut in half – just slightly a larger percent for the latter.

But the law really applies to those who are thinking of immigrating to Israel. Andrea, 40, is a non-Jewish American woman married to an Israeli. She also studies at the university, of which she complains the tuition is too high. “I won’t make Aliyah if I have to swear to a Jewish country.” The two had to marry outside the country, “A rabbi would not recognize our marriage,” she said, “I feel my husband” placed in a “50% tax bracket” and a career military officer for fourteen years “is being discriminated against.”

Then, a week ago, Israeli PM Netanyahu instructed Justice Minister, Ya’akov Ne’eman to prepare a draft bill that would also require Jews to pledge allegiance to Israel “as a Jewish and democratic state”.

Standing outside the university synagogue, without a yamulke on his head, Rotem Nisan, a 25 year-old geography student at the same university as Fatima said, “This is a country of Jews. I have no problem with Muslims and Christians, but if you want residence and an ID, you must be Jewish. To tourists, the country is open.”

The day after we chatted in the Xerox room near the English language building at Bar Ilan University, Fatima sent me a message on Facebook; she had lots more to say:

“dear Scott,

I just read your article. You have such a nice way in writing. But when I said “I don’t know what he [PM Netanyahu] said and what he meant – I don’t know his aim.” I looked like a very unconscious girl which I am not. I don’t know if this is the right word but when I heard about this law I kinda felt a way of harassment from the government.. that’s why I said I don’t know his aim. If it comes to me, I would highly reject this law because it really against our own believes and thought. Who said that if I want to live in a country i should admit its nationality? so what? go to Canada and see how people leave peacefully and leaving all this political issue behind them, because they want real peace and they are not looking for any excuses to kick their non-Canadian out.”

For an 18-year-old in this country, Fatima’s English is quite good, perhaps better than the average Jewish Israeli 18-year-old. But the average Jewish Israeli 18-year-old would not be studying in the university at the age of 18. They would be serving in the army or doing another form of community service. The message continued:

“I live in Israel, which is for me and for every Palestinian , occupied Palestine, and I will never ever pledge loyalty to this country because it doesn’t reflect me.. Moreover, they should not forget that I was born here, it means that i’m a resident who gets all my absolute rights! and one of my rights in a “democratic country” is my freedom of speech and thinking. How
come they force me to do something I don’t believe in, in a democratic country!?”

In appreciation for giving her honest opinion and feeling so open with me, I responded to Fatima:

“Israel is still a new country. It is a democracy and I think it will always stay that way. Other places in the world aren’t the same, like the Islamic Republic of Iran or occupied Lebanon. But Canada and the United States are democracies which were founded by French, English, German, Dutch and colonizers from elsewhere – and only after much of the native population was displaced, sold off to slavery and killed. You should never feel unsafe or nervous because of your ethnicity. Hopefully we can be friends. And if we all become friends: Jews, Muslims and Christians, then G-D willing there will be peace. And enjoy reading Beowulf!”

The Viva Palestina and “The Siege”

On October 21, 243 truckloads of food, fuel + construction materials legally entered the Gaza Strip via Karni & Kerem Shalom Crossings under the auspices of the IDF.

In yet another attempt to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip, after five weeks on the road through France, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Syria, the Viva Palestina 5 aid convoy finally entered Gaza also on October 21. The convoy was made up of almost 150 vehicles, 370 people from 30 different countries and $5 million of aid. The activists are expected to spend three days in Gaza to hand over the aid, conduct a number of visits and hold meetings with government officials.

The Gazans were thrilled to greet the envoy.

Meanwhile, according to an op-ed piece by right-wing political critic, Orna Shimoni in Ynet, Stanley Fischer, honored as the world’s best bank governor and governor of the Bank of Israel, is the “main party who exerts pressure in favor of fund transfers to Hamas. He is the one who saved the terror group from collapsing, continues to rehabilitate it, and also prevents the collapse of Gaza Strip banks.”

Orna Shimoni went on to say that since the Bank of Israel took over in Gaza in 2007, 80% of the billions of dollars have been transferred to Hamas to finance arms smuggling.

Hamas succeeds in raising funds from certain propaganda activities in Western Europe and North America. In 2003, US intelligence estimated that the militant group had an annual budget of $50m – a number that has surely increased over the years.

The organization also operates in European countries and the United States, mainly among the Palestinian population, by conducting fundraising – through charity associations and foundations, building hospitals and schools in the Gaza Strip, and funding terrorism in Israel – Dawa activity.

According to WorldTribune.com: Hamas approved a $540m budget for 2010, the lion’s share of which came from Iranian aid.

The State of Jewish Settlement, Gush Katif, today:

The Viva Palestina:

The Humanitarian Crisis in the Gaza Strip circa 2010:

Fundamentalism in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Fundamentalism in Bosnia and Herzegovina probably deserves more attention as a sociological and political phenomenon, than it does in other European countries. It is a country with a very weak democratic and parliamentary tradition, until 15 years ago Bosnia suffered from extremely destructive war which in this case was more than just a civil war. The territory of the country was literally trampled by many paramilitary forces and by ambiguous political regimes from both inside of country and the neighborhood. Today, Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of the rare European countries with a Muslim majority, struggles with a difficult political system, an economy that is in an unsustainable state. It has huge unemployment and corruption rates and the highest illiteracy rate in Europe. This small country is comprised of three constitutive peoples: Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats, which are characterized by three different and strong religious communities: Muslims, Orthodox Christians and Catholic Christians.

Many of European and domestic officials have for some time believed that Bosnia might be the potential zone of rising terrorism. The terrorist attack in the town of Bugojno on the 27th of June and the case of the village of Gornja Maoca where, on the 2nd of February, Special Forces of Bosnian security agencies entered the isolated Wahhabi community are a few major incidents which exemplify the rise of Fundamentalism in Bosnia in 2010.

Fundamentalism seems to be growing in the country, notably among the youth and even in the youth intellectual circles. Individuals, shaken by uncertainty, search for ways to secure themselves. Several internet based sites promote the alternative ways of surviving. Domestic media promote Fundamentalism often enunciated by people close to clerical institutions.

They don’t belong here, they should go back to the places where they come from… They have nothing to do with Bosnia and Bosnian traditions, they have never existed in Bosnia before the war…

Said Samra, a 22 year old student of Sociology, about Wahhabi movement members in Bosnia.

There are many Wahhabi followers in Bosnia. They came here from Arab countries during the war. Nobody asked them to come, and they should return… They are destroying the dignity of Bosnian people…

Samra added.

Male members of Wahhabi movement are easily recognizable on the street by their specific wardrobe and their long beards. Females are required to wear a hijab. It is widely believed, as Samra said, that members of Wahhabi and other similar groups came to Bosnia from the Middle East. This is actually not true. Most of them, about 97%, are domestic or from neighborhood countries.

It’s not about ideology, it is about surviving. Everybody knows that every girl that ’covers’ herself gets money, I don’t know how much, but they say it’s about 300 euro’s per month. Anyone can do it, even me…

Said Selma, 21, other student from the University of Sarajevo, but she fails to say where that money comes from.

When analyzing diverse forms of Fundamentalism there is one other term that is used a lot in the field and that is the notion of supremacy, although the groups following this ideology of supremacy usually avoid this term and often identify them self’s as a part of Neo-Nazi movement.

In the Bosnia’s case, things are more specific. First of all there is an anti-Semitism, motivated mainly by the emphasized empathy of Bosnian Muslims exclusively with Muslims from Israel and Palestine. Many of Bosnian Muslim citizens are very critical of Israeli political decisions, and often blame Jewish people globally for most of today’s World’s problems. The wars on the Middle East are seen as pure aggression and never as a multisided conflict or civil war caused by complex dynamics on the region. There is actually inflexibility in the reasoning of the majority which is often governed by the notion of Muslims brotherhood and not by the fact that there are people belonging to no matter what ethnicity in the Middle East who are affected by or involved in war. Such deviation and generalization lead often to increasing of the prejudices’ against Jewish people, and fit into the concept of Neo-Nazi ideology.

Bosnian Movement of National Pride is a Neo-Nazi group represented in February 2010 in Bosnia. Aside of proclaiming Jews as their enemies, this group lists many others: Gypsies, ex-Yugoslavian president and Communist leader Josip Broz Tito, Communists, homosexuals and blacks, than Chetniks (Serbian nationalist paramilitary organization), Croatian separatists and even radical Islamists. This group launched the site, where they declared radical views about Bosnian constitution, and made announcements of their future actions. Yet again, they are blaming the Zionists for the current disrupted state in the World.

Today I went to buy my breakfast before going to my Faculty, but I didn’t know what to buy. Everything is produced by Jews. There was one ‘free’ Serbian company that produces food, but recently Jews bought it too. I don’t want to buy anything that is made by Jews. I don’t want to sponsor an evil.

Says Amela, Medical student from Sarajevo.

In general, Bosnian Fundamentalism is most often associated with Islamic terrorism. It is believed that Fundamentalism in Bosnia is getting stronger every day because of the lack of the political will to resolve the problem, and because of desperate economic circumstances that are getting worse with the time.

Bosnian politicians are not aware of the urgency and size of the problem, and in rare moments when they are, they are using it for their political aims…

Said Nihad, professor from Sarajevo, after Bugojno terrorist attack in June.

Such situations are defining more and more the image of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Europe and the rest of the World. Government officials recently stated that there are three thousands of potential terrorists in the country.

It remains to be seen if freshly formed Government can change directions of ideological temptations in Bosnian society. It is believed, also, that the travel visa free regime, that Bosnia is about to reach in few months, will assist in opening up communications and help to deflect people from fundamentalist ideas.

Cast Down Your Buckets

Those who point fingers at Jewish Settlers and cry, “Colonialists, go back where you belong!” should kick rocks. They are in desperate need of a history lesson, if they are not hopelessly anti-Semitic.

What makes the Israeli “occupation” of the “West Bank” comparison with South African Apartheid false is the fact that the true colonizers of the Holy Land were the British, beginning with their defeat of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. When the Jews were partitioned the land in 1947 – all actual colonizing stopped. Lands acquired after 1967 are no different.

Besides for what is written in the Old Testament – that the Jews were divinely awarded all the land stretching to the Jordan River – archeology can attest to the fact that the majority of the land’s population belonged indeed to Jews, until the Europeans came and destroyed it.

The tomb of Rachel is in Bethlehem, a stone’s throw from Jerusalem. The tomb of Joseph (partially destroyed in 2000 by Palestinians) is in Shechem, near Nablus. And Hebron is famously the resting place of the patriarchs, Abraham, Sarah, Issac, Rebekah, Jacob and Leah.

The irony is that the Israeli government cannot get the majority of Palestinians to recognize the Jewishness of the country (something Abbas claims actually happened during the 1993 Oslo Accords). The victory of truth would have Palestinians recognizing the right of the Jewish people to the land of the Palestinian Authority.

On May 8, 2007, Hebrew University Professor Ehud Netzer reported that he had discovered the tomb of Herod the Great, the once-king of Judea (the southernmost division of Judea), above tunnels and water pools at a flattened site halfway up the hill to the ancient town of Herodium, 7.5 miles inside the “West Bank.”

Further excavations from 2009-2010 uncovered near the tomb base a small 450-seat capacity theater with an elaborately decorated royal theater box; excavations of which are currently being continued, under the decried “Jewish Occupation.” Herod’s royal box once loomed over the “nosebleed” seats at the circa-15 B.C. private amphitheater.

“In order to attract people, there were gardens and waterworks, and the place became famous,”

Said Ehud Netzer, a professor emeritus of archeology at the Hebrew University.

“The theater indicates that the experiment worked: there was lots of life there. Hundreds, if not thousands, of guests would visit the place and there was justification to provide them with entertainment.”

Indeed Jewish life was once rich in the “West Bank.” And Arab history has never seen the likes of the annexations and genocide which caused the Jews’ expulsion between two-thousand and one-thousand years ago.

Shortly before the King’s death in 4 B.C – less than ten years after its construction,

“The theater and other structures were dismantled, so that the mountain would have a clean cone shape to host his grave,”

Said Netzer, The mausoleum stood out but all the other structures were demolished.

“The moment a decision was made to dismantle the theater, it was used as housing by site managers and laborers responsible for the reconstruction work…They scrawled graffiti on the walls while they stayed there, mostly in Greek and Aramaic.”

The true magic of the excavations is the artwork on the walls of the amphitheatre.

“Our art history expert said, ‘Hang on, this is something very familiar from Italy,'”

In terms of both style and method, exclaimed Netzer.

“The technique used here was not particularly accepted in this region; it was secco rather than fresco”

That means painted on dry plaster instead of moist.
The pictures are not only Roman style but Roman made. “It was a one-time mission,” perhaps executed in advance of the visit of Roman leader, Marcus Agrippa to Judea, he said.

“The artists came, they painted, and they returned to Italy.”

Also, a synagogue dating to before the year-70 A.D., one of the oldest in the Jewish Country, found at Herodium is of the “Galilean-type,” and features stone benches built along the walls and aisles formed by columns that supported the roof.

In August, a group of Israeli and then eventually Hollywood performers – actors, writers and producers – declared that they would not perform at a brand new theatre of the Cultural Center in Ariel, near the University Center.

The boycott was the brain-child of one Palestinian-rights activist, Harriet Sherwood:

“More than 60 have joined the protest over plans by Israel‘s national theatre, the Habima, and other leading companies to stage performances in Ariel, a settlement 12 miles inside the West Bank…

…Ariel, home to almost 20,000 people, was founded in 1978 deep in the West Bank. Israel wants it to remain on its side of any border resulting from peace negotiations with the Palestinians. All settlements on occupied territory are illegal under international law.”

Prime-Minister Netanyahu complained:

“The State of Israel is under an attack of delegitimization by elements in the international community. This attack includes attempts to enact economic, academic and cultural boycotts. The last thing we need at this time is to be under such an attack – I mean this attempt at a boycott – from within.”

“I do not want to deny the right of any person, of any artist, to hold to a political opinion. He or she can express this opinion, but we, as a government, do not need to fund boycotts. We do not have to support boycotts directed at Israeli citizens in any manner whatsoever.

“I was pleased to hear Culture Minister Limor Livnat announce that the theaters concerned have stated that they would continue to hold their performances in the various communities as planned.”

He continued,

“This is the correct approach, as opposed to the incorrect approach of pushing or trying to promote boycotts against Israeli citizens.”

As it happens, European, Israeli and American activists have a habit of putting the muzzle on those for whom they are protesting. The following is from Ynet:

Some 11,500 students, among them 500 Arab and Druze Israelis, began the academic year Sunday at the Ariel University Center of Samaria, which is located in the West Bank, beyond the Green Line.

“I scored high on my psychometric exam and could have enrolled in Tel Aviv University and other institutions, but here the enrollment process was quicker. This was the first place that accepted me, so I decided to go for it,”

Said 20-year-old Tayibe resident Manar Diuani, who is studying computer science….

Joana Moussa, a 20-year-old behavioral sciences student from Abu Snan, an Arab village in the Galilee region, said politics does play a role.

“All of the students in Ariel fear the day will come when they’ll be told their diploma cannot be recognized because they studied in the territories. But as of today, our diploma is recognized everywhere.

“I am very pleased because the professors give us personal attention and there is no racism here. Perhaps in other places people would have commented on my name or ethnicity, but here I’m accepted for who I am,” She said.

Labor Party Blues

Many democratic governments have a Labor Party. It usually follows a left-wing ideology, supporting such causes as trade unions. Most of these governments are aligned in the Socialist International. Formed in 1951, this is a worldwide organization of social democratic, socialist and labor political parties.

Comrades, you can start blowing your harmonica now!

The Labor party of both Israel and the United Kingdom belong to the organization – and each of these respective labor parties are currently in opposition to the ruling party of the given country.

Herzog

Four Labor-party MKs recently praised Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog‘s intention to challenge Defense Minister Ehud Barak for leadership of the party. Herzog is the son of former Israeli President, Chaim Herzog.

MKs Amir Pertz, Eitan Cabel, Daniel Ben-Simon and Raleb Majadele said however, in order for Herzog to be taken seriously by Barak, Herzog’s announcement must be accompanied by “meaningful leadership actions” such as resigning from his role in opposition leader, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s party.

Labor was the only Jewish faction to have MKs vote nay on the new bill requiring new Israeli citizens to pledge a loyalty oath to a “Jewish and democratic” state.

Miliband

And the Labor-party of another country too has made its way into today’s post and that country is Britain.

OneJerusalem.com was poised to send a Mazal Tov to Ed Miliband, who was elected over his brother David on September 25, the first ever Jewish leader of the 110-year-old British Labor party. Now we are revoking the prestige of his receiving a OneJerusalem.com Mazal Tov and instead: “tisk tisk…”

The young Jewish leader, formally Secretary of State for the new British Department of Energy and Climate Change, harbors an opinion of Israel which sadly deviates from the pro-Zionist leanings of former prime ministers, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, also Labor party blokes.

In Miliband’s keynote address to the Labor’s annual Manchester conference earlier this month, the MP told his party that they should feel pressure to “strain every sinew” in ending Israel’s naval (and aerial) blockade of the Gaza Strip and the Jewish country’s “attack on the Gaza flotilla was so wrong.”

Louise Ellman, a Labor MP from Liverpool and chairwoman of the Jewish Labor Movement, told the Jewish Chronicle (the main Jewish newspaper in England):

“It was very disappointing that his conference speech criticized Israel without mentioning Hamas rocket attacks on civilians”

She said,

“It’s important for Ed to show he is evenhanded on the Middle East, and the first things he must do are support the universal jurisdiction legislation, show he is opposed to boycotts and support a negotiated peace agreement.”

The Labor party is favored by most British Jews, so Miliband’s stance has brought to that atmosphere a tinge of concern.

One party insider said:

“These are serious issues requiring serious answers,”

He said,

“Ed’s not about to make up policies on the fly just to answer a reporter’s questions. Moreover, there are a significant number of pro-Israel members of his shadow cabinet.”

The 40-year-old politician isn’t THAT bad though, he did issue the following statement to Labor Friends of Palestine:

“The major instrument for influence at our disposal in relation to the Middle East is trade policy. I am against blanket boycotts of goods from Israel. But Israel, and all countries in the region, must live up to the commitments they have made to respect human rights as part of trade agreements. The EU must be tough enough to ensure that these commitments mean something.”

Ed and David Miliband’s late father, Ralph Miliband was a war refugee from Nazi Poland, who came to England in 1940, a Marxist and professor at the London School of Economics. He has gone down as one of Britain’s most beloved left-wing intellectuals.

The Miliband’s mother, Marion Kozak, now 75, escaped genocide and deportations in Poland and fled to Belgium, where she was hidden by a Christian family.

Upon immigrating to London, she became an advocate of groups like Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

Miliband’s older brother, the 44-year-old David, former foreign secretary, has established a track record for pro-Israel engagement.

Author of “A State Beyond the Pale: Europe’s Problem with Israel Robin Shepherd”, feels that analysis cannot account for Miliband’s “baseline political values.”

“Miliband comes from left of the Labor Party, which is instinctively hostile to Israel, and if he becomes prime minister, like all others, he will defer to the interests of the Foreign Office and the European Union, both of which have that as their default position as well,”

Shepherd told the JTA.

“I don’t see a lot of maneuverability there.”

Slouching Towards Apartheid

Whether you realize it or not, if you are a Jew living in the Diaspora, you are living in peril. Jews living in Israel should keep on smiling, having great ideas and loving their children.

Here are some examples of what I mean. Take Europe for instance, where recently a government-funded Catholic school in Antwerp hosted a ‘Palestine Day,’ sated with anti-Semitic activities for youngsters. In one stall was “Throw the soldiers into the sea”, where kids were invited to throw effigies of IDF soldiers into two large tanks.

In Sweden, an event for children in the Jewish community of Malmo was interrupted by shouts of “Heil Hitler” and “Jewish Pigs.”

Ilmar Reepalu, the newly elected mayor of that Swedish city said “we accept neither Zionism nor anti-Semitism,” equating thereby by Zionism with racism.

Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress said

“Small Jewish communities are facing a situation where they are being physically, verbally and psychologically threatened by fundamentalist elements and their extreme left-wing cohorts on one side and the far-right neo-Nazis on the other.”

He continued,

“If they can’t receive protection or respite from mainstream officials then we are entering a very dark period for the Jews in Europe.”

Kantor, who is hosting a conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia later this month about effective practices in fighting racism and xenophobia said, European Union and European leaders should “launch a campaign against intolerance and anti-Semitism to remind European citizens that the new Europe was established after the Second World War on the concept of ‘Never Again.'”

Say it to my Facebook

Meanwhile, Simon Wiesenthal Center researchers have uncovered about two-dozen Facebook sites with titles like “Kill a Jew Year” and “Kill a Jew Day” in just one week.

“Some have been posted from the United States, others from the United Kingdom,”

Reported Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and director of the Jewish Human Rights NGO’s Digital Terrorism and Hate project.

“Facebook officials have been very cooperative in removing these calls for anti-Jewish violence, but the hate continues to sprout at an alarming rate. We know they are committed to thwarting online bigotry, but if such a trend continues, we will urge Facebook and other social networking hubs to track and preempt online bigots more aggressively.”

Bringin’ it all back home

And concerning Jews in Israel, Noam Shalit, father of Gilad Shalit, IDF captive being held in Gaza since 2006, complained recently that the European Union hasn’t done enough to pressure Hamas. However, he said

“When there is a need to pressure Israel, the European Union knows how to do that very well.”

In the United States, anti-Semitism is less severe; it is reduced to isolated attacks of violence, yet a post-Holocaust trend of anti-Zionism has left its mark in a more inconspicuous way.

When Jimmy Carter, who will be visiting Israel this week, wrote his book in 2006, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” , Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League was quick to have the former president apologize to Israel and Diaspora Jews for the “stigma” the book and its subsequent publicity may have caused them.

In those four years, applying the term ‘Apartheid’ to the Zionist cause has gone beyond ‘wha’ or edginess. It is hip, it is soon to be a norm – and in no consideration of actual facts, I might add. Heck, there is even a Wikipedia page now dedicated to just this. That is to say, I’ve never seen side-by-side Arab and Jewish drinking fountains or parking spaces. Though I’ve noticed the security barrier has reduced terrorism in the Jewish country, some 92 to 97%.

On August 31th, Thomas L. Friedman, the Jewish, sometimes-supporter of Israeli policy, wrote in his New York Times column of the Israeli right-wing, (an educated assumption)

“The opponents want to destroy the idea of a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians, so Israel will be stuck with an apartheid-like, democracy-sapping, permanent occupation of the West Bank.”

Whether Peace Talks fell under Abu Mazen’s faint-heartedness or the pressure of Hamas, (or perhaps Bibi whispered something in Abbas’ ear, such as “go back to Saudi Arabia, you dog”) Friedman who supported the Lebanon invasion and Operation Cast Lead just wanted to sound young and hip, so he used the term apartheid; thereby propelling a Liberal American mentality yet one-step closer to further isolation, misunderstanding and eventually resentment toward Zionism and the Jewish State; which can and will act under its own auspices – that is to say, the US is Israel’s biggest ally, but not her boss.

(Even counting the self-interested US as a confidante is something that opposition-Kadima leader, Tzippi Livni has recently warned Bibi about). And as if the soul of the Jewish-American population has not become diluted enough, today 50% of all American Jews wed outside the faith.

A frightening hint of things to come…

Email from Berlin

Hi,

We are well and thank you for the recommendation…

Berlin is a beautiful and edgy city. There is lots to see here. We went to 4 museums so far and today we went for a walk in their Tiergarten park, sort of like central park, beautiful and bigger actually.
The city is huge, its 900 sq. kilometers and has 3.6 million citizens. It also gets 9 million tourists a year…

We took the bus city tour pass, like we always do, and we got a feel for the city. Of course we also got the 3 day museum pass so we can go to as many museums as we want in 3 days. It’s amazing to see how Hitler and the Nazi party fucked this city up in every aspect possible. The city zoo, one of the biggest collection with over 4500 species was cut down to 70. The national museums were all but destroyed and the works of arts they had collected were taken by the allied forces or destroyed. In the center of the city there is a church which was bombed and they intentionally leave it like that, the roof and towers are in pieces and they keep it that way to remember. And of course, the huge mark of shame – the Berlin Wall, that cut this city in half and is still noticeable today.

The city is young but you see older people who have a good life. They go out to restaurants and enjoy the city.

The weather is beautiful, fall and changing colors. Yesterday was sunny and you see the locals all run out and sit along the Spree river and enjoy the last days of sun before the winter. The park was all orange and yellow and it was beautiful.

Yesterday, we went to a shopping areas called Hackensack Market in the Mitte district, what once was East Berlin, and it was great. You walk around between residential buildings in courtyards and each with little boutiques and specialty stores. The area is an East Berlin revamped suburb, young and edgy. We finished the evening in a good Thai restaurant..

We are staying in the Charlottenberg district, right off the Kurfustedam. West Berlin’s very high end street. Sort of the 5th avenue or Madison Avenue of Berlin. We are staying in a very modern hotel called XXX hotel and on the corner of our street is Cartier. The street is 3.5 KM and you can find every major fashion designer and brand on this street. XXX was very busy and visited them all 🙂

We enjoy a great breakfast every morning, salmon, cold meats and cheese, fresh bread and eggs and bacon. We have Wireless Internet everywhere in the hotel and its really great. When you walk into the corridor the lights turn on to conserve energy and the room looks on to a green treed courtyard (since we are here for a week they upgraded our room).

The first place we went to was the Jewish Museum, interesting place and the 3rd most popular museum in the city.. Its a significant part of the Museum trail here. German kids were there and they are all taken there to see and learn. Some don’t want to be there but at least they are taken there. Berlin had 180,000 Jews when the war started. Today there are 14,000 Jews… when you go to the museum and you see some of the pictures and stories of Jews in the city, you start to recognize the names of the streets they mention.. It’s eery..

You come across the effects of the war and that period of shame all the time. We went to the Helmut Newton exhibition, It’s Berlin’s photography museum. He was a Berliner Jew who left to Australia and became one of the best known photographers in the world. He lived in Paris, Monte Carlo and LA but not Berlin. His mother got him out of the country after things got dangerous in Berlin when he was young… Must really burn their ass..

Everything in Berlin is under construction! I mean everything.. They are building all the time and everywhere. It is once again the Capital of Germany and the Bundestag is the parliament. It’s also the festival of lights this week so they light up the main buildings at night and its beautiful. One thing that was a little creepy was the Brandenburg Gate. The gate with the 4 horses at the top and what once had the Nazi emblem. I saw a photo of it in 1945 right at the end of the war, it was completely destroyed and what’s interesting is that the Berlin wall was a few hundred yards from it so it was also in no mans land for 40 years..

When you walk through the areas where the Berlin wall ran, there is a double cobble stone belt in the road to show you the imaginary line of the wall. It’s a permanent scar across the city’s face, like someone slashed it and left the mark. Again, the result of Nazi regime and past mistakes.

All this makes Berlin an interesting city to visit. Food is great and its not very expensive. There are also lots of Israelis and a few times when we spoke, Germans asked if we were Israelis and recognized the lingo.

Yep.. The Jews are back motherfuckers ….

Love you,
xxx

Old Land, New Land

“The state that will rise will be Jewish in its function, purpose, and aim. Not a country of Jews settled in a land but a state for Jews, the Jewish people…” David Ben Gurion

Last Sunday, the first day of the Israeli workweek, Israel’s Cabinet approved a bill requiring new citizens to pledge a loyalty oath to a “Jewish and democratic” state.

It was in specific reference to the Law of Return, as almost all new immigrants to Israel are indeed Jewish.

The bill, which now faces a wider parliamentary vote, passed by a 22-8 margin.

“The state of Israel is the national state of the Jewish people and is a democratic state in which all its citizens — Jews and non-Jews — enjoy full equal rights…Whoever wants to join us, has to recognize us.”

Said Bibi.

“There is no other democracy in the Middle East. There is no other Jewish state in the world. Unfortunately, there are many today who tried to blur not only the unique connection of the Jewish people to its homeland, but also the connection of the Jewish people to its state.”

A correspondent of Al Jazeera contended in conversation, “some have argued that the bill will cast Israel in a bad light in the international community.”

Israel?

Bad light?

International Community?
What a shock!

Shmuel Sandler, a professor at Bar Ilan University defended the bill:

“You can stay whichever religion you want, whichever nationality. But if you want to become a citizen, you have to take the oath.”

Another Al Jazeera correspondent, Nour Odeh, from Ramallah said:

“Defining a state by the specific religious or ethnic background of the majority of its citizens is unprecedented”.

However an Arab State of Palestine would not allow Jewish settlers.

Unlike their Palestinian brethren in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the Arabs (who make up roughly one-fifth of the Jewish Country’s 7,000,000 citizens), have the right to vote, travel freely and even claim munificent social benefits.

Same as anyone.

And apropos to these enraged or threatened Arab citizens of Israel, Mitchell Bard, Executive Director of the nonprofit American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE) and a foreign policy analyst told Haaretz in August, alluding to the Arab lobby in the United States:

“As for the domestic Arab lobby, even they are less pro-Palestinian than they are anti-Israel. Almost everything is anti-Israel. For example, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s resolutions mostly target Israel and ignore discrimination against Arabs by anyone other than Israel or the United States. They don’t support independence for Lebanon.”

He continued,

“They rarely criticize terrorism. And so they have very little credibility with Congress. It shouldn’t be surprising if they are also unsuccessful.”

To shed some light on the issue.

“The powerful part of the Arab lobby isn’t so concerned about the Palestinian issue, they’re concerned about the welfare of the Saudis. And fights between the Israel lobby and the Saudi lobby are rare − there hasn’t been one since the 1981 arms sales fight.”

Building Rawabi

Israel’s environment minister – supporter of Jewish settlements in Samaria – Gilad Erdan told Israel’s army radio it was “a mistake” for Israel to allow the Palestinians to build a city called Rawabi, north of Ramallah for “green” concerns.

And no – that is not envy.

The Palestinians, according to Erdan, have no proper plans for managing sewage or other waste generated from the city, that will house some 40,000 people at a cost of $700m.

Bashar al-Masri, head of the Bayti Real Estate Investment Co, that is jointly running the Rawabi project, said that AFP US-funded plans for a sewage and waste water treatment plant were well under way – to the contrary of Erdan’s accusations.

“The environment is very important to us and we are coordinating with the Americans over the sewage issue,”

He said, adding specifically that three US companies were competing over a contract for a waste water treatment plant serving Rawabi and the surrounding villages.

“Rawabi is well planned and we are ready for any investigation into what we do.”

Erdan said,

“At a political level, I don’t like the idea (that they are building) in territories over which there is a dispute about ownership and sovereignty,”

Continuing that

“on one hand, they are building thousands of housing units, while on the other side, every stone that is moved creates a scandal.”

“But let’s put that to one side,”

Erdan said, attempting not to mix politics with environmental issues,

“I have turned to the defense minister (Ehud Barak) and the civil administration and said: ‘OK, this train has already got under way, and this city will be built but let’s demand at the very least that it doesn’t damage the environment…”.

The civil administration is a military body of the Jewish country which runs civilian affairs in Samaria.

While Rawabi is being built in Area A, which is governed by the Palestinian Authority, the roads joining it to Ramallah and the surrounding area run through Area C, which is under complete Israeli military control.

Work on the project began in January and is being carried out by the Bayti Real Estate Investment Company and Qatar’s Diar Real Estate Company.

Katharina Wagner Will Be Staying in Germany

Great-granddaughter of German composer Richard Wagner canceled a trip to Israel after the leaked news of the visit prompted criticism over her anti-Semitic ancestor.

Katharina Wagner was scheduled to visit the Jewish Country and invite the Israel Chamber Orchestra to open next summer’s Wagner Festival in Bayreuth, Germany.

The visit, which according to Haaretz had been kept secret for a year, was leaked to the Israeli media to the reception of hot and cold reactions both from Israel and abroad.

Usually, Wagner’s works are not performed in Israel where he is unloved for his reputation as an outspoken anti-Semite whose work was venerated by Hitler.

Chairwoman of the orchestra’s board of directors, Erella Talmi told Israel’s Army Radio that the orchestra will play in the opening of the month-long festival of Richard Wagner operas.

“The decision was not to break a taboo,”

Said Talmi,

“The decision was to accept an invitation that showed a new openness.”

Hence, she drew a distinction between performing Wagner in Israel and abroad.

The new Austrian conductor of the orchestra, Roberto Paternostro is a friend of Katharina Wagner’s.
Some musicologists date the beginning of modern classical music to the first notes of Wagner’s Tristan – the Hendrix-esque “Tristan Chord”.

His music is especially known for its early introduction to 20th century atonality.

During the 1870’s, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was part of the composer’s in-crowd – and in fact, Nietzsche (also known to have an anti-Semitic edge, though less sharp) proposed in his first work, The Birth of Tragedy, that Wagner’s music is the “Dionysian rebirth of European culture in opposition to Appollonian rationalist decadence”.

A prolific writer, Wagner wrote a famous essay in 1850, “Das Judenthum in der Musik” (“Jewishness in Music”), a polemic in opposition to Jewish composers in general, and in particular one Giacomo Meyerbeer. He was also well-known for his mistreatment of German-Jewish composer and conductor, Hermann Levi.

Jon Stewart is a Bigot, Rick Sanchez Is Unemployed and Fidel Castro is a Zionist

Rick Sanchez
After he made tetchy rhetoric on a radio program, CNN has put the axe in one veteran news anchor Rick Sanchez.

According to Mr. Sanchez, Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” is a bigot.

The former CNN news anchor was born in Cuba and worked at CNN since 2004. He was host of the two-hour “Rick’s List” on CNN’s afternoon lineup. The prime-time version of that show ended when the time slot was filled by former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker.

Sanchez often found himself the butt of Stewart’s jokes — other than frequent features on the show’s “Moment of Zen” segment, the most recent example of Stewart’s bigotry directed at Sanchez was when he said on the air that his show had received a tweet from House Republican leader John Boehner. Stewart said it was a case of “send a twit a tweet.”

In rebuttal, Sanchez told Pete Dominick in a satellite radio interview that:

“He’s upset that someone of my ilk is almost at his level,” he is bigoted toward “everybody else that’s not like him.” Jon Stewart “can’t relate to what I grew up with”.

alluding to his family’s needy fiscal findings and prejudice directed at his dad.

Dominick pointed out that Stewart, Jewish, is a minority too.

The response came,

“I’m telling you that everyone who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart, and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart, and to imply that somehow they, the people in this country who are Jewish, are an oppressed minority?”

Sanchez added a sarcastic “yeah.”

“I can’t see someone not getting a job these days because they’re Jewish.”

Stewart was labeled by Sanchez as a member of “elite, Northeast establishment liberals “who ”deep down, when they look at a guy like me, they see a guy automatically who belongs in the second tier, and not the top tier.”

Sanchez even talked about Jewish influence in the media:

“Very powerless people… [snickers] He’s such a minority…”

Here is Jon Stewart’s response:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Hurty Sanchez
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity

Meanwhile, in a recent interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, former Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro lambasted Iranian Holocaust denial, supported the Jewish Country’s right to exist and had amicable wishes for Binyamin Netanyahu and Shimon Peres.

“I don’t think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews…I would say much more than the Muslims. They have been slandered much more than the Muslims because they are blamed and slandered for everything. No one blames the Muslims for anything.”

Said Castro:

“Now, let’s imagine that I were Netanyahu…that I were there and I sat down to reason through [the issues facing Israel], I would remember that six million Jewish men and women, of all ages were exterminated in the concentration camps.”

Castro also expressed an admiration for Netanyahu’s father, Ben-Zion, who is the foremost historian of the Spanish Inquisition in the world.

Strange, even for the former Communist dictator who was once a vehement supporter of the ultra-left movement to delegitimize the Jewish Country.

In a separate public announcement, Castro also recently pitted Israel and the US against Iran by cautioning about the could-be catastrophic effects on global climate change that could come as a result of a ‘nuclear winter’.

Meanwhile, this year according to Haaretz, 5,000 Israelis traveled to Cuba on vacation. A number that is sure to increase.

I’ve Got You Under My Skin

The London branch of the Ahava cosmetics store was closed for three and a half hours (11:30 am until 3pm) on Shabbat when activists, acting on behalf of the International Solidarity Movement, locked their arms together on a concrete slab with tubing leading into the middle of the shop.

The protestors were removed and consequently arrested by London Police.

Ahava store in London shut down

The aggravated trespass charge will be challenged on grounds that Ahava is an unlawful business ergo no lawful activity was stopped by the provisional blockade.

For those who have not felt the mineral magic of Ahava’s Holy Land blessed face, body and hand, bath and hair, botanic, spa, anti-aging, dermud and various other products – I feel bad for you.

You don’t know what you’re missing!

A privately held Israeli firm founded in 1988, Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories’ central location and much-visited visitors’ center is located in Mitzpe Shalem, in the spectacular Judean desert; a spitting distance from the magical Dead Sea and the freshwater springs of Ein Gedi: playground for the Syrian Brown Bear, Mountain Gazelle and Nubian Ibex, where King David hid from his persecutors and composed Psalms to Elohim.

37% of Ahava company shares are held by the settlement of Kibbutz Mitzpe Shalem, 37% by Hamashbir Holdings (investment fund of B. Gaon Holdings and the Livnat family), 18% by Shamrock Holdings (investment fund of the Roy E. Disney family), and 7% by Kibbutz Kalia.

Mitzpe Shalem is about 9 km from the green line, Kibbutz Kalia too lays in disputed territory.

According to international law, a person of any nationality may establish a factory in any country, so long as they pay taxes to the local government. The Palestinian Authority does not receive any kind of bursary from the lucrative Israeli cosmetics firm, and therein is found the grievance.

To put things into context, listen to this:

Last year, while on display in London at the British Library, the antiquities minister of Jordan urged the Britons to return the Dead Sea Scrolls to them, rather than to their home at the Israel Museum. The reason? The ancient Hebrew Biblical scriptures on sheepskin parchment, dating from 50 AD and backward were uncovered in Qumran in the Judean Hills before the founding of the State of Israel, in “annexed territory.”

Come on! Like Jordanians can read Hebrew!

The “pillage” or “plunder” of materials, referencing the all-natural ingredients of Ahava products is illegal under international humanitarian law; specifically Articles 23, 53 and 55 of the Hague Regulations; Articles 51 and 53 of the 4th Geneva Conventions and Article 8(2)(b) of the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court.

Once an Israeli government official was asked about the legality behind the activities of the Ahava firm and this is what they said:

“The Palestinians did nothing with this land when they had it…And the Palestinians still have access to the Dead Sea. If they wanted to, they could set up a factory themselves.”

In November 2009, the Dutch Foreign Minister launched an investigation into the conditions which Ahava products are made to determine if the firm’s practices and location flouted international law and European Union labeling regulations.

This is what a representative of Ahava had to say:

“The Dead Sea and its treasures are international and do not belong to one nation…The company was founded out of love for the magical environs of the Dead Sea and throughout the years has been driven by a deep passion to reveal the secrets of the minerals’ rejuvenating effects on the skin. Therefore, the natural location of the factory is along the western shore of the Dead Sea.”

The Ahava factory outlet in Israel is open Sunday through Thursday 8-5, Friday 8-4, and Saturday 8:30-5.

Two Cases of King Lear

According to the Palestinian Authority, the main obstruction to building a real Arab state, I mean one with large outdoor festivals, power-house industries, world-class universities and hotdog stands are the Jewish Settlements.

The PA is serious this time: jettison the moratorium – no state.

Which really means no end to terror on Israeli and world citizens, or just an end to the peace discussions?

The Palestinian Authority, as part of its boycott after Netanyahu cried, “game on!” on West Bank construction, is telling Palestinians to quit their jobs in the settlements by the end of the year.

But Mr. Abbas, where else will your people find work?

Some 25,000 Palestinians are employed in Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

When the freeze ended on Monday, less than a dozen builders and surveyors went to work in Geva Binyamin, a settlement of 1,300 families eight miles north of Jerusalem. Tragic.

In the village of Hussan near Bethlehem, one Palestinian builder named Ali spoke of the employment benefits he finds in the end of the ban on Jewish building in Samaria,

“What difference does it make?” he said, “We have lived with Israelis and we will have to live together in the future. I’m pleased that I will be able to make a living…”

Meanwhile, the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan has written a letter to the head of the UNRWA and to Arab donor nations cautioning about the shortfall in the UNRWA budget, and the danger posed to Lebanon and Syria.

While the fact remains that the majority of so-called “Palestinian refugees” in Jordan are in fact Jordanian citizens, the Hashemite kingdom insists on:

“Keeping the Palestinian Arabs crammed into these miserable camps under UNRWA control rather than integrate these citizens into Jordanian society.”

The meaning behind the danger of reducing the UNRWA budget is that, as the letter expressed “these UNRWA camps are meant to keep the issue of Palestinian refugees alive.”

On the other hand, in 1950 Israel provided Israeli citizenship to the members of UNRWA refugee camps in the new state and within a couple of years the camps perished, as the refugees became self-supporting members of Israeli society!

Feeling a little #ish today?

Nice campaign for the Jewish Federation 🙂

Walking on Water

The Israeli Government and the IDF coordinated the delivery of a variety of Humanitarian Aid and Development Assistance to the civilian population in the Gaza Strip, whose dire situation is actually questionable and whose peaceful disposition is a fallacy.

The month of August saw a 41% increase in the net volume of truckloads entering Gaza, together with the ongoing discharge of the new policies approved on June 20th.

These are including the establishment of a Joint Project Coordination Team between COGAT and the PA, which has already overseen various development efforts.

In addition there has also been a near doubling of the capacity for imports via the Kerem Shalom Crossing since the month of May.

Gaza aid shipTuesday afternoon, the Irene yacht carrying nine activists from the United States, Israel and Britain – which intended to single-handedly break the Gaza naval blockade was docked at Ashdod Port after being intercepted by the Israeli Navy. Thank God there was no violence.

Despite opposing pressure and the grilling of senior officials throughout the summer the Jewish Country insists that the objective behind the blockade is simply to prevent arms smuggling into the Hamas-run territory.

Since the end of Operation “Cast Lead” in January 2009, 500 projectiles – rockets and mortar shells – have been fired from Gaza at civilian targets in southern Israel.

The Islamic Jihad newspaper, Palestine Today explained that unlike other vessels and flotillas, Hamas has been

“Ambivalent at best towards the entire idea of this particular pseudo-aid ship…”

Therefore you can bet that Israel coordinated aid to the Gaza strip is a lot more effectual than silly Turkish yachts full of anglo-speakers, if what you have in mind or heart is actually the civilians.

A Thought On Zionism

On a side note, I would like to bring to recollection today a few recent instances of Israel demonizing.

Remember when Helen Thomas said this to Rabbi David Nessenoff?

Q: Any comments on Israel?

HT: Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine. Remember, these people are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not German, it’s not Polish.

Q: So where should they go, what should they do?

HT: Go home.

Q: Where is the home?

HT: Poland. Germany.

Q: So you’re saying Jews go back to Poland, Germany?

HT: And America and everywhere else.

And within the same week wrote this on her website:

“I deeply regret the comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.”

Oh and when Jimmy Carter wrote that book, “Israel: Peace Not Apartheid” and then months later told the Anti Defamation League this:

“We must recognize Israel’s achievements under difficult circumstances, even as we strive in a positive way to help Israel continue to improve its relations with its Arab populations, but we must not permit criticisms for improvement to stigmatize Israel,”

Continuing:

“As I would have noted at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but which is appropriate at any time of the year, I offer an Al Het for any words or deeds of mine that may have done so…”

Well, right wing Hollywood hunk, Mel Gibson too apologized for his drunken anti-Semitic rant five years ago.

If indeed Zionism is virtuous – the world will not receive apologies from the Jewish Country when nine incognito Turkish Jihadist posing a pantomime peace activism are killed on board the Mavi Marmara.

Nor can Richard Goldstone squeeze out guilt or remorse from the IDF concerning “Operation Cast Lead”.

The answer?

One party is propelled by survival and the other by anti-Semitism.

Virtue does not regret its actions. Virtue does not apologize. And a Jewish State which fights for its survival is virtuous.

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