Tag Archive for: Israel

Moshe Dayan’s Great Mistake

In June 1967, Israeli paratroopers under the command of Mordechai (Motta) Gur broke through the Jordanian defenses and captured the Old City, where the Jewish Quarter, the Western Wall, and the Temple Mount – the holiest site in Judaism – are all contained. Many Israelis believed that after 19 years of being denied access, they, and Jews everywhere, would again have unfettered access to the Temple Mount, where they would be able to pray. Alas, it was not to be. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, a secularist, who was intent on mollifying the defeated Arabs, had other ideas. Meir Soloveichik writes about Dayan’s tragic blunder here: “Moshe Dayan’s Tragic Blunder,” Commentary, February 2023:

There is an argument to be made for permitting wider access and the right to pray for Jews at the site of the biblical Temples. In part, this argument charges that defense minister Moshe Dayan, in electing not to fully realize Israel’s sovereignty over the Mount immediately after its breathtaking capture in the 1967 war, helped facilitate the resonant Palestinian lie that the Jews have no connection to our ancient homeland—for surely, if the Temple Mount was historically ours, religiously ours, we would not have handed it back to them.

Dayan had the perfect opportunity to end, once and for all, the Arab attempt to cut Jews off from the holiest site in Judaism. When east Jerusalem, and the Old City, were under Jordanian control, from 1949 to 1967, no Jews could visit the Temple Mount or the Western Wall. Dayan might, in the heady aftermath of that spectacular victory in June 1967, have declared that from now on, Jews could visit the Temple Mount, at any time of day, and on any day of the week, just as the Muslims could. He might have insisted that Jews could say their prayers on the Temple Mount, just as the Muslims did. But instead he strictly limited Jewish “visiting hours” on the Mount to four hours a day, and then on only five days of the week. And more terrible still, he decided to forbid Jewish prayer, open or silent, at the holiest site in Judaism, a policy that has been dutifully followed by every Israeli government since Dayan’s day.

Anxious to avoid a full-on confrontation with the entire Muslim world [but just how, following Israel’s stunning victory against three Arab states, would that Muslim world be able to summon the strength to “confront” Israel?], and utilizing the halachic argument that Jews should not set foot on the Mount for fear of defiling the sacred ground where the Temple and its Holy of Holies once stood, he allowed Jordan’s Muslim Waqf to continue to administer the compound’s holy places.

It was not wrong to let the Waqf continue to administer the Muslim holy sites. What was wrong was Dayan’s not asserting the right of Jews to visit the Temple Mount at any time, “just as Muslims do,” and especially, in not insisting that “Jews of course will now have the same rights as Muslims to pray on the Temple Mount.” Put that way, it would be hard for the Western powers to reject such a reasonable, and modest, request.

Netanyahu, David Horovitz [editor of the Jerusalem Post, writing in a recent article] continued, had “wisely” adopted Dayan’s approach previously, but now the prime minister had “sanctioned” an act of “potential pyromania.” This is a reference to [National Security Minister Itamar] Ben Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount. Horovitz’s account leaves out the fact that the decision of the ardently secular Dayan was founded on total disregard for what the Temple Mount meant to religious Jews.

Horovitz, another left-wing secularist, calls on Netanyahu not to change Dayan’s policy on the Temple Mount, but to continue to limit Jewish access and to block Jewish prayer. He preposterously calls Ben-Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount an act of “potential pyromania.” There were all sorts of Arab threats, that if Ben Gvir made that visit, there would be an “explosion” of Arab violence. But he visited, walked around the perimeter of the Compound, steered clear of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, did not pray, made no statement, and left after 13 minutes. And no upsurge of Arab riots and violence resulted from this so-called “pyromaniac’s” visit.

After his paratroopers broke through Jordanian lines in 1967 and reached the site, Mordechai Gur exultantly exclaimed that “the Temple Mount is in our hands.” Dayan, in contrast, infamously reflected, “What do I need this Vatican for?”As the Israeli journalist Nadav Sharagai has documented, Dayan’s actions were based in the presumption that the Temple Mount is not of any religious significance to Jews at all:

Dayan thought at the time, and years later committed his thoughts to writing, that since the Mount was a “Muslim prayer mosque,” while for Jews it was no more than “a historical site of commemoration of the past…one should not hinder the Arabs behaving there as they do now and one should recognize their right as Muslims to control the site.”…

Dayan was a brilliant military commander, but otherwise he left much to be desired. He did not feel any religious attachment himself to the Temple Mount, which, given that he was an atheist, can be understood, but what he also lacked was any comprehension of how much that site meant to others, not just to religious Jews, but even to many secular Jews less dogmatic than he. He did not feel along his pulse that the Temple Mount was the holiest site in Judaism, and was unable to empathize with the millions of Jews who felt that it was such. Nor did he see the Temple Mount as the site not just of religious significance, but of the greatest historical importance to the Jews, the place where both the First and Second Temples had stood. Dayan’s description of the Temple Mount only as a “Muslim prayer mosque,” and his dismissal of the Jews’ 2600-year-old attachment to the site, are shocking. He famously, and unforgivably, wrote that “one should not hinder the Arabs behaving there as they do now” and “one should recognize their right as Muslims to control the site.” He was sympathetic to Muslim claims, but not to those of the Jews, to the Temple Mount; he was unable to grasp the depth of the Jewish attachment – that is, of Jews other than himself – to the Temple Mount. And that led to his unforgivable blunder, in forbidding Jewish prayer on the Mount, at the very time when allowing it would have been accepted by the defeated and thoroughly demoralized Arabs.

The Palestinian attempt to insist that there never was a Jewish connection to the Haram al-Sharif (as Muslims call the Temple Mount), even denying that there ever were two Jewish temples at the site, despite what even non-Jewish historians have written, has had the effect of pushing religious Jews, and some secular ones too, to more forcefully stake the Jewish claim by visiting the Mount in much greater numbers than before the Palestinian denial.

The hysteria over the “far-right” members of the Netanyahu government, expressed by Jews and non-Jews alike, is hardly warranted. And so far these incessant cries of alarm, that “Israel is no longer a democracy,“ that “Israel has lost its soul,” and suchlike alarm, overlook the obvious: the new government that is being called “an enemy to democracy” was itself elected democratically, and can be turned out anytime the voters of Israel chose to do so. That Israeli electorate has, after all, gone through ten governments since 2001.

Now is the time for Israel to state clearly its case for undoing Moshe Dayan’s historic blunder. Prime Minister Netanyahu can speak thus to the world:

“For 2600 years, even before the destruction of the First Temple on the Temple Mount in 586 B.C., and the destruction of the Second Temple on the same site in 70 A.D., what we Jews call the Temple Mount and the Muslims call Haram al-Sharif was the religious and historical center of Jewish life. Under the Babylonians, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Crusaders, the Ottomans, and the British, Jews maintained their right to visit and pray on the Temple Mount. During these thousands of years, it was only during the period from 1949 to 1967, when Jordan held east Jerusalem and the Old City, that Jews were forbidden to visit the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. In 1967, Israel came into possession of the Old City, and once again Jews could visit the Temple Mount. But it was the decision of one man, Moshe Dayan, in June of 1967, that deprived Jews of the right to pray on the Temple Mount. And ever since, we Jews have had to endure the paradox of not being able to pray at the holiest site in Judaism. Now that prohibition has been lifted, and Jews will again be free to pray — as Muslims have been able to — just as they did before 1949, on the Temple Mount.

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Biden Tells Israel to Give Money to Terrorists, Not Terror Victims

The most anti-Israel administration stands with Islamic terrorists.


The Biden administration condemned Israel for giving $39 million in tax revenues to the victims of terrorism instead of the terrorists.

“It is morally just and important for the war against terror. There is no greater justice than using the funds for the victims of terror,” Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said of the move.

State Department spokesman Ned Price condemned Israel’s actions as a “unilateral response” that will “exacerbate tensions. and warned that the administration will raise the issue with Israel.

Price did not address whether the Palestinian Authority spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year to finance terrorist attacks against Israelis through the ‘Pay-to-Slay’ program raises any tensions. The ruling PLO body spending millions to kill Jews is not unilateral, but Israel refusing to finance the murder of its own citizens is a dangerous move that will make peace difficult.

Palestinian Authority PM Mohammad Shtayyeh claims that if Israel doesn’t give it $39 million, that “will promptly lead to its collapse.”

The terror organization has been claiming variations of the same thing for over two decades.

“Palestinian Authority Broke and In Disarray,” the media agonized in 2004. “Palestinians Threaten to Collapse the Palestinian Authority,” they clamored in 2009. “Suspended tax transfers leave Palestinian economy on the brink” came the warnings in 2015. “Palestinian finances near collapse as cuts deepen,” we were told in 2019.

The PLO’s terror infrastructure is always on the verge of collapse, but sadly never does.

“Israel sells us everything, including water treatment, electricity and drinking water, and in fact profits from all of this,” Shtayyeh whined.

Why after 30 years can’t the aspiring terror state do anything for itself? The “Palestinians” have received an estimated $40 billion in foreign aid. Other estimates have put it at $50 billion.

Over $14 billion of that money went directly to the Palestinian Authority. What did all that money buy apart from mansions for top terrorists?

Pinchas Rutenberg, who had unsuccessfully urged Russia’s liberal Kerensky government to execute Lenin and Trotsky before it was too late and fought to the last to defend the Winter Palace against the Bolsheviks, headed to Israel and began electrifying the country.

“No one doubts the duty of the British Empire to develop the Land of Israel, but who will be charged the financial burden? The British taxpayer? Or perhaps the Arab public that has lived in the country for hundreds of years and has not lifted a finger to develop it. True, Rutenberg is a Jew, and he recruited businessmen and Jewish capitalists to develop the natural resources of the Land of Israel and create jobs for its Arab residents, but is it therefore necessary to disqualify his vision?” Churchill opined.

In a matter of years, much of Israel was powered by the generators that Rutenberg had built.

And all of this happened over two decades before Israel even achieved independence.

Somehow Jewish refugees could do a better job of providing electricity in the 1920s after only a few years than the Palestinian Authority has managed in the 2020s after 30 years.

Churchill correctly observed that the Arab invaders and colonizers had lived there for “hundreds of years” yet had “lifted a finger to develop it.” The cost of developing the territories under PLO control has passed right back to the British taxpayer, the American taxpayer and the Israelis.

Every few years, Israel threatens to cut off the power unless the terrorists pay their debts. The last time around the debt had shot up to $500 million. Each time diplomats warn that if Israel cuts off the power, there will be a humanitarian crisis. But when isn’t there a crisis?

Biden directed over half-a-billion dollars to the terrorists since taking office. And yet the PLO claims that it’s still on the verge of collapse and Israel has to save it all over again.

“The PA must stop its involvement in terror if it wants to survive. As long as it continues to encourage terror, it is our enemy and as such, what interest do we have to help it?” Israeli Finance Minister Smotritch pointed out.

The Palestinian Authority has never run out of money to pay the terrorists, but it can’t manage to pay for its power bill or accomplish anything useful for its people.

Secretary of State Blinken and Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, are headed to Israel to scold the Jewish State for not giving money to the terrorists. The administration has used every possible forum to show contempt and undermine Israel: including a recent UN session denying Jews the right to visit the Temple Mount which is the holiest site in Judaism.

When National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited the Temple Mount, the Biden administration called it an “unacceptable” violation of the “historic status quo” that bans Jews.

And yet Ben-Gvir’s visit came and went.

Since then, he’s told the police to take down the terrorist flags of the PLO.

“It is inconceivable that lawbreakers will wave terror flags, incite and encourage terrorism,” Ben Gvir said. “I have issued instructions for the removal of the flags, which support terrorism, from the public space and to stop incitement against the State of Israel.”

The Biden administration, which funds terrorism and incitement against Israel through its foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority, is probably unhappy with this. Its spokesmen repeatedly accuse Israel of “unilateral” acts that increase “tensions”. Every time a Jewish person sneezes in Jerusalem, Ned Price appears at a State Department podium to intone about unilateral sneezing, raising tensions. And yet it’s the Biden administration that is conducting unilateral actions meant to undermine Israel’s status like its rogue diplomatic operation to the PLO.

The level of pettiness included stepping in when an Iron Age spoon was seized from the founder of Birthright Israel to “return” it to the Palestinian Authority even though the Arab Muslim colonists had invaded the area a thousand years later and have no claim to the ancient artifact.

The spoon was identified in the files as coming from the country of Israel, “from the Hebron area” that “is the area of the richest Iron age Jewish tombs (many royal).”

The pettiness of seizing an artifact that originated from an Israeli source and turning it over to the Arab Muslim terrorists who currently occupy parts of Hebron to make a point is emblematic of the Biden administration’s determination to undermine the Jewish People’s claim to its land.

The Biden administration and the media are furious that Israel’s new patriotic government is asserting its rights. It’s a belated act of self-defense that the media treats as an attack.

A hysterical AP news story denounces Netanyahu’s new government as “hard-line”,  “ultra-nationalist”, and the “most hard-line and religious government in Israel’s history” that is “shaking the foundations of Israel’s democracy”, “fomenting divisions” and “barreling toward conflict”.

And that’s just the first two paragraphs of a deranged screed masquerading as news coverage.

Israel’s new government is not “shaking the foundations of Israel’s democracy”, it’s restoring it after decades of hijacking by an activist judiciary by implementing a system of checks and balances to equalize its power with that of the legislature.

It is not “fomenting divisions”, it’s confronting divisions created by leftists and dealing with them. And it’s not “barreling toward conflict” but responding to the attacks against the Jewish State.

What has Israel’s “ultra-nationalist” and “hard-line” government done so far? It diverted money that will be used by terrorists to finance the murder of Jews to the victims of these attacks.

One of its cabinet members briefly visited the holiest site in Judaism. Another suggested that the terrorists need to choose between getting money through Israel and killing Jews.

All that outrage over basic acts of decency.

It’s hard to argue with any of these actions when they’re described objectively. That’s why shrill labels like “hard-line” and  “ultra-nationalist” are being used to silence any meaningful debate.

The media doesn’t want to talk about why Israel and the United States should be financing Islamic terrorism against Jews. Israel’s new government is determined to make that the issue.

Anyone in the Biden administration, the media and activists who scream about “unilateralism” and “ultra-nationalists” should be asked to put away their thesauruses and answer why money should go to terrorists not terror victims.

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Secretary of State Blinken to Address Anti-Israel Group Along With ‘Infected With Jew-Hatred’ Activist

The Biden administration really hates Israel.


One would think this would be a problem. But it’s also routine in the Biden administration which, in recent weeks, elevated Hady Amr, a terrorism supporter, to a top-tier emissary to the PLO and sent the FBI after Israel. This is just one in a series of ugly hate messages, the latest being to dispatch Secretary of State Blinken to address an anti-Israel group set up by George Soros and some Hong Kong money laundering.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be the keynote speaker at leftwing J Street’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., the organization announced on Wednesday.

Blinken on Wednesday announced that he will serve as the headline speaker at the annual conference for J Street, which as recently as last month trashed Netanyahu, accusing the incoming prime minister of “building and bulldozing [his] way to permanent, undemocratic control of the West Bank.” The group also advocates conditioning U.S. aid to Israel, routinely attacks the Jewish state for defending itself against Palestinian terrorism…

The conference kicks off this weekend, with Blinken set to address the confab on Sunday, alongside former Bernie Sanders adviser and longtime Israel critic Matt Duss, Daily Beast writer Wajahat Ali, a cadre of pro-Palestinian activists, and several Democratic members of Congress, including Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.) and senator-elect Peter Welch (D., Vt.).

Duss, a Sanders ally, has gone well beyond being a critic.

Duss, whose writings have been described by a watchdog group, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, as “infected with Jew-hatred,” has been a leading voice in the anti-Israel movement for the better part of the last decade. His criticisms of Israel were too much even for the Obama White House, which said it was “troubled” by blog posts penned by Duss and his colleagues at the now-defunct ThinkProgress.

The Sanders ally gained notoriety in 2011 when he and several other writers at the Center for American Progress’s now-defunct ThinkProgress leveled charges of dual loyalty against Israel’s American supporters, calling them “Israel firsters,” a term that was widely condemned at the time as anti-Semitic.

In one 2010 posting on Israel’s deadly confrontation with a violent mob seeking to break its naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, Duss claimed the country’s policies are like “segregation in the American South” and a “moral abomination.” Duss is also a defender of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and said in 2019 that congressional efforts to counter the anti-Israel crowd are a “con and Democrats need to stop playing along.”

Also there is Daniel Seidemann who had tweeted, “Israel’s policies have become so aggressive and unapologetic – defiant even – that even our staunchest supporters, if they have any intellectual and moral integrity – are compelled to acknowledge the systematic manifestations of apartheid in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.”

The anti-Israel program also includes panels such as, “Resisting Occupation: Non-Violent Activism on the Ground”, and “Demolitions, Evictions, and Displacement in East Jerusalem and the West Bank”.

A helpful reminder that the Biden administration is and always will be an anti-Israel operation.

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Kevin McCarthy says he’ll remove Ilhan Omar from Foreign Affairs committee because of her antisemitism

We’ll see if McCarthy follows through. Don’t be surprised if they strike some deal and he backs down.

Kevin McCarthy to pull Ilhan Omar from Foreign Affairs committee over antisemitism

by Ari Hoffman, The Post Millennial, November 19, 2022:

Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said Saturday that when he becomes the speaker of the House of Representatives in January he plans to remove “Squad” member Rep. Ilhan Omar, (D-MN), from the House Foreign Affairs Committee due to her “antisemitic” comments.

When the Republicans take the majority in the House next year, McCarthy will likely become the next speaker, pending a vote for the position on Jan. 3.

Speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s 2022 leadership meeting in Las Vegas McCarthy pledged to the audience “We watch antisemitism grow, not just on our campuses, but we watched it grow In the halls of Congress. I promised you last year that as speaker she will no longer be on Foreign Affairs, and I’m keeping that promise.”

The room erupted in cheers in response.

Since she was elected to Congress in 2018, Omar has had a history of making many comments against Jews and Israel and using antisemitic tropes. After being elected to Congress, she submitted a resolution to the House comparing boycotting the Jewish state of Israel to boycotting the Nazis.

In February 2021, 1,500 rabbis called on Congress to rescind the appointment of Rep. Ilhan Omar, (D-MN), to the position of vice chair of the House foreign affairs subcommittee based on her past anti-Semitic statements and behavior.

Omar has an extensive history of using anti-Semitic statements and tropes as well as promoting conspiracy theories about Jews. In a now-deleted tweet Omar wrote “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel. #Gaza#Palestine#Israel”

In another now-deleted tweet, Omar said Jews were buying political support tweeting, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby.”

According to The Daily Wire, in an interview, Omar suggested: “Israel should not be allowed to exist as a Jewish state, Israel is not a democracy, and compared Israel to Iran — which is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.”

Omar also embraced the anti-Semitic heads of the Woman’s March which included Linda Sarsour….

Read more.

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Biden still hasn’t called Netanyahu to congratulate him on his victory

The reason why is clear: Biden’s handlers support the “Palestinian” jihad.

No Call to Bibi: Biden Has Yet to Congratulate Newly Elected Israeli Leader

by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon, November 4, 2022:

The Biden administration will not say when the president plans on calling newly elected Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his victory, drawing accusations the U.S. administration is trying to isolate the conservative Jewish leader before he even takes office.

Asked on Thursday afternoon if President Joe Biden has any plans to phone Netanyahu following his victory this week in the Israeli elections, a White House spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon, “We don’t have any call to preview at this point.”

The Israeli media reported on Thursday that Biden is expected to call Netanyahu some time over the weekend, citing the U.S. president’s packed schedule campaigning around America’s midterm elections. But the White House would not confirm these reports when asked by the Free Beacon.

Biden called Brazil’s newly elected far-left president-elect, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, on Monday, just a day after that country’s elections. This discrepancy is fueling accusations the Biden administration is taking a chilly approach to its diplomacy with Netanyahu, who made history by being elected as Israel’s prime minister for the third time.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the Free Beacon that the president’s delay in calling Netanyahu “is not an accident.”

“President Biden rushed to call Lula, a committed anti-American Chavista, but is finding every possible excuse not to call the next Prime Minister of Israel. That is not an accident,” Cruz said. “Biden has spent his entire administration undermining America’s allies and boosting America’s enemies. The next Republican Congress is going to leverage aggressive oversight and legislation to reverse that recklessness.”

This is not the first time Biden has been accused of dissing Netanyahu. It took Biden nearly a month to call Netanyahu upon taking office in 2021, fueling speculation Biden was trying to create some distance with Israel after four years of warm relations under former president Donald Trump. When outgoing Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett was elected, it took Biden just two hours to call and congratulate him.

Omri Ceren, a national security adviser for Cruz, said reports that Biden is too busy campaigning to call Netanyahu are “nonsense.”

“Biden found time call [sic] Lula the day after his election—and that was on Monday so it’s not like Biden wasn’t midterm campaigning,” Ceren wrote on Twitter. “Also if he calls this weekend, it will still be before the midterms. Why can’t this [administration] just admit what their foreign policy is?”…

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The Root of Today’s Worldwide Education Problem Is Staring Us in the Face

From Israel to America and lots of places in between, government schools are failing. This should not surprise us.


“Our schools,” reports a knowledgeable observer, “are producing ignoramuses.” The average graduate, he explains, “does not know how to read critically, write expressively, or debate intelligently and politely.” Meantime, the unions are opposing huge, proposed increases in beginner-teacher salaries because, instead, they want higher pay for teachers with seniority, regardless of individual performance.

Are we talking about America here? No, though Americans can sadly and credibly claim similar circumstances. What you just read comes from writer Amotz Asa-El in the July 29-August 4 issue of The Jerusalem Post. In his article titled “How can Jewish Schools be Bad?”, the country whose schools he excoriates is Israel.

For more than 2,000 years, a thirst for learning has been a core element of Jewish culture. Asa-El writes,

So obsessed with education were the Jews that Jewish law decreed that a town that did not give its children a teacher must be excommunicated. And so unique did education make the Jews that a French monk noted in the 12th Century that “a Jew, however poor, if he had 10 sons would put them all to letters…and not only his sons, but his daughters” [too].

Education was a legacy, a quest, and a supreme value that went with the Jews wherever they wandered. That’s how the penniless immigrants who proceeded from Europe’s shtetls [Jewish enclaves] to the Lower East Side’s sweatshops produced by 1937 half of New York’s doctors and two-thirds of its lawyers.

One could reasonably assume that such a deeply rooted heritage would produce good public schools in a country defined by its Jewishness. But instead, says Asa-El, they are a “disgrace.” Not only are they academically bad, they also “nurture indiscipline.” He points out that it “is most commonly reflected in students’ total disregard for their teacher’s very presence in the classroom.” Moreover,

In worse cases, this indiscipline breeds vandalism during field trips, not only in Israeli parks, but even in places like Birkenau [a notorious Nazi concentration camp], where Israeli students carved their names into barracks’ walls.

The performance of American public schools, on average, is nothing to write home about either. Their disgraceful shortcomings are well-known and hardly need to be recounted here. You can check the Education section of Just Facts for the details. But guess what? I’ve heard the same complaints in almost all the 87 countries I’ve visited over the years. Even people who think their local public school is OK will decry the lousy and expensive outcomes in everybody else’s public school.

If a chain of private restaurants served bad food at high prices, it would be history in a hurry. Better eateries would spring up in their place, and customers would welcome such “creative destruction” as perfectly natural and beneficial.

Even in education, we can find excellence. Private schools and home schools are generally flourishing. These are the schools in which no parent or child is trapped by zip code. No unhappy customers are forced to patronize these options year after year. Distant bureaucracies and self-serving unions cannot bully their way into the classroom. Teachers are freer to get the job done. Fractious, distracting, intractable controversies are avoided because everybody pays for what they get and gets what they pay for—or they take a walk.

Public schools are government schools. Their common denominator is politics. Who in their right mind would even think to suggest that to improve restaurants, we should assign people to eat at restaurants by geography or zip code? Would a bad restaurant improve if we threw more money at it, rewarded its staff according to seniority instead of merit, or put politicians in charge of its menu? The reality in Israeli schools proves that politics can take even an impressive cultural heritage and trash it in just a few generations.

From Israel to America and lots of places in between, government is not the answer to problems in education. It is the paramount problem itself. Government politicizes education. It foists compulsory unionism on teachers. It rewards mediocrity and frustrates innovation and success. It stifles the very forces of choice, incentive and accountability that produce progress in every other walk of life where they are employed. The answer is more freedom, not more politics and coercion. Why is such common sense so infuriatingly uncommon?

Perhaps government conveniently forgot to teach it to us.

For Additional Information, See:

A New Direction for Education Reform by Lawrence W. Reed

The Spread of Education Before Compulsion by Edwin West

What 17th Century England’s State Church Had in Common with Today’s School Systems by Lawrence W. Reed

The Myth that Americans Were Poorly Educated Before Mass Government Schooling by Lawrence W. Reed

AUTHOR

Lawrence W. Reed

Lawrence W. Reed is FEE’s President Emeritus, Humphreys Family Senior Fellow, and Ron Manners Global Ambassador for Liberty, having served for nearly 11 years as FEE’s president (2008-2019). He is author of the 2020 book, Was Jesus a Socialist? as well as Real Heroes: Incredible True Stories of Courage, Character, and Conviction and Excuse Me, Professor: Challenging the Myths of Progressivism. Follow on LinkedIn and Like his public figure page on Facebook. His website is www.lawrencewreed.com.

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EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Biden’s Israel Trip was a Failure Before He Even Arrived

A failed president meets with failed Israeli leftists and failed terrorists.

Don’t touch me.

Even though Biden was seen pressing the flesh with outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a NATO summit, and getting a hug from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, not to mention shaking hands with a variety of foreign leaders during his summer trip to Europe, including those of Turkey, Indonesia, and India, there’ll be no touching in Israel.

According to a Jerusalem Post report, the Biden administration has told the Israelis that its titular figurehead won’t be shaking hands in Israel due to COVID. Apparently there’s a whole lot more of a COVID threat in Israel than in meeting politicians from across the entire world.

Instead of the traditional greeting line at Ben Gurion Airport, the Israelis have been told that due to “scheduling pressure, COVID, and the hot weather, the US president will not shake hands with the invited, and there will be no opportunity for personal photographs.”

Not that there’s likely to be too much demand for selfies with Biden anyway.

While the official word is that Biden is too old and won’t be able to handle 90 degree heat, he did not seem to have a problem getting out and shaking hands when he landed at Spain’s Torrejon de Ardoz air base last month at a time when temperatures in Madrid hit 88 degrees.

Either, Biden aged quite a bit in three weeks or two degrees make a hell of a difference.

Or, possibly, the Biden administration wanted to avoid a big show with the Israelis and is using COVID, old age and the weather as an excuse for playing down the traditional ceremony.

While Biden won’t be touching any Israelis (something the local women will no doubt appreciate), he has made a point of becoming the first sitting president to visit a “Palestinian” facility in East Jerusalem. The Biden administration refused to allow Israeli officials to accompany him on the hospital visit, demonstrating that despite President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem, Biden doesn’t recognize Israel’s sovereignty over its own capital.

Considering the location of the hospital in question on the Mount of Olives, Biden is effectively declaring that the historic location belongs to the terrorists. It’s a much worse insult than shaking hands with the tyrant of Turkey, but not elected officials in the Jewish State.

Biden began the prep for his trip by boasting of providing “over $500 million” in aid to the terrorist-occupied territories in Israel despite the refusal of the PLO to stop its ‘Pay-to-Slay’ program subsidizing salaries for convicted terrorists and payments to the families of PLO, Hamas, and even ISIS terrorists killed during their attempts to murder Israelis and Americans.

Administration figures have also demanded that Israel upgrade the terrorist territories to 4G, complaining that the Palestinian Authority is still only able to use 3G networks. After repeated terrorist attacks that murdered Israelis, the big issue is that the terrorists won’t be able to download beheading videos on their iPhones at 4G and will suffer under 3G speeds instead.

There’s no apparent reason for Biden to come to Israel except to boost the terrorists.

The visit is especially oddly timed since Israel doesn’t even have a functioning government. After the collapse of the leftist coalition, the country is headed for new elections. Biden will be greeted at the airport by the ‘caretaker’ prime minister, Yair Lapid, Israel’s answer to Justin Trudeau, whose militantly secularist leftist Yesh Atid party falls well below Netanyahu’s Likud party in the polls, but whom the Biden administration is trying to boost in the coming elections.

Biden will be met by Lapid and outgoing former prime minister Naftali Bennett, and then will have an event with Defense Minister Benny Gantz whose Blue and White party alliance, one in a long series of fake centrist stalking horse parties for the Left, is a player in the next election. And then there will be a session with President Isaac Herzog, the former head of the leftist Labor Party. The Israeli portion of this visit is essentially one long Biden leftist election ad.

But Biden’s stamp of approval isn’t likely to do much for Lapid since Biden is not that much more popular in Israel than he is in America. Surveys of the Israeli public show that confidence in the White House has fallen significantly since the Trump administration. Biden has released funds to Iran and to the terrorists inside Israel. And his visit is set to undermine Jerusalem and Israel.

After the photo ops with Israeli leftists, Biden will head to the PLO to meet with Mahmoud Abbas, its terrorist leader, and to announce concessions being made on behalf of the Israelis.

What the visit really amounts to is Lapid and various leftist politicians trading away Israeli security and lives for an election ad with Biden. And Biden is using the trip to undermine President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem and an end to taxpayer money going to terrorists.

But a meeting between Biden, Lapid, and the rest of the gang is a conclave of failed politicians.

When presidents fail at home, they turn abroad. Biden’s European and Middle Eastern trips are a futile effort by a failing president to bolster his image. Biden has nothing new to offer the Middle East. In Israel, he is reduced to picking away at Trump’s accomplishments and promoting a diminished agenda for the terrorists after the success of the Abraham Accords.

As Biden, 79, meets with Mahmoud Abbas, 87, the leaders of the Left and the PLO are men whose eras have passed. The Palestinian Authority is a failed institution and the entire ideological infrastructure of the peace process on which it was built has been discredited.

The visit of a failing president will conclude with a meeting with a failed PLO president and will come after a series of meetings with Israeli leftist politicians whose governing coalition also failed.

Even before Biden sets foot in Israel, his trip is already marked by failure. It’s just as well that he won’t be shaking hands with anyone. Failure can be even more infectious than the coronavirus.

AUTHOR

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism. This article was written before the trip began, but it all still holds true.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Joe Biden’s Policy: Set up and blame the Jews for his own failure

Lee Smith, writing in Tablet Magazine, describes the situation that Biden finds himself in since Russia invaded Ukraine. Given his weakness, Israel is now at the front and center of Russian-Ukraine war negotiations. Biden is putting Israel in the line of fire, as Smith points out.

At the end of last month, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called upon the Israeli government to “be quiet on Russia” and focus on Iran, the archenemy of Israel. While Israel has indeed been focusing on its interests, since it shares with Russia the common goal of wanting to oust Iran from Syria, Israel now finds itself with an albatross of a responsibility in the middle of a war.

Biden is the most disrespected president globally in the history of the United States. He is mentally deficient and highly dishonest. He oversaw a fiasco in Afghanistan, as well as with his immigration policy, and is now on the brink of another with the new Iran nuke deal, for which he gave all negotiating power over to Russia. He is completely lost regarding the war, after making a fool of himself by talking big about standing up to the “bully” Putin and threatening that Putin’s “days of tyranny” would be over once he became president.

Now Biden is on the defensive and will throw anyone under the bus. The State of Israel is a prime target. I wrote on March 16:

Israel is faced with a bigger risk than any other country would be taking on, by undertaking the role of mediating the two sides: the constant historic threat of antisemitism, which frequently manifests itself in the Jewish state being unreasonably blamed for every problem that goes wrong.

The historic scourge of antisemitism has escalated globally in recent years. We see it blatantly every time the Palestinians launch rocket attacks on Israel. The world expects Israel to do nothing, to allow itself to be annihilated in accordance with the Palestinian National Charter, the Hamas Charter, and the ambition of every jihadist in the world.

Israel is busy enough as is without taking on the role of mediator between Russia and Ukraine. It is resettling many Jewish refugees, and going far beyond that as well: fully 90% of the refugees arriving in Israel are ineligible to immigrate according to Israel’s Law of Return. And Israel has already made it abundantly clear that it is not about to abandon its own interests, given the ever-present existential threat to its Jewish nation. As reported previously on the Left Column: Israel’s “strategic interests in the Russia-Ukraine crisis cannot be ignored. Four months ago, Israel and Russia were collaborating on the common goal of ousting Iran from Syria, and established a ‘deconfliction hotline to keep the sides from getting tangled up and accidentally clashing over Syria.’”

The saving grace for Israel is if Bennett manages to strike a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine. But the longer the war drags on with Israel remaining central to negotiations, the more the Jewish State risks being scapegoated by Joe Biden (and others). Israel’s enemies will be all too happy to join in Jew-bashing.

Biden Blames the Jews for His Ukraine Policy

by Lee Smith, Tablet Magazine, March 15, 2022:

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was precipitated by assurances from China, Germany, and the United States that each of Russia’s major trading partners either backed his position or had zero interest in getting in his way. President Joe Biden’s invitations to Putin to bite off more chunks of Ukraine made it clear that America was not interested in a fight with the Russian dictator in his own backyard. Surely, the mighty Putin would make quick work of the Ukrainians. After all, he helped put down the Syrian rebellion to preserve Iran’s stake in Syria, and thereby sealed Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with the clerical regime in Tehran. So why make a big fuss, especially since at the same time Putin is intent on breaking Ukraine, he is also brokering the new Iran deal with U.S. negotiators in Vienna?

The problem for Biden is that Putin is not winning his war in anything like the quick and easy fashion that the White House and other world powers apparently expected. Moreover, the prospect of a dictator murdering thousands of Ukrainians in Europe in a prolonged war may be a tougher pill to swallow for so-called Western elites than the same dictator helping to murder half a million Syrians.

Biden’s position has thus become difficult, even with a captive media eager to read from a script in which the president of the United States bravely rallies NATO to do something, while in fact doing as close to nothing as politically possible. Luckily, the White House has a playbook for situations in which the contradictions between appearance and reality threaten to overwhelm the ever-changing storylines about who is responsible for, say, $6 per gallon gas. The playbook, like the Iran deal, is a legacy of the Obama administration, and a variation on an age-old incantation: “Blame the Jews.”

In the case of Ukraine, blaming the Jews might seem like a stretch—the Jewish state is a regional power in a region far from Ukraine. But senior Capitol Hill sources told Tablet that the Biden administration is trying to put Israel in the line of fire by pushing Jerusalem to mediate between Kyiv and Moscow. The point is to position Israel to catch the blame if Putin doesn’t relent, or the stubborn Ukrainians prove unwilling to surrender enough territory to end the war on terms that the Russian president finds acceptable.

Sources explain that the Israelis have reluctantly relayed messages between the two states but don’t want to get further involved, for two reasons: First, with Russian forces on their Syrian border, the Israelis don’t want trouble with Putin; second, they see that the White House is setting them up for failure by forcing them into taking a stand against Putin.

Team Biden’s PR offensive blaming Israel for the failure of two-faced U.S. policy has included Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland’s warnings to Jerusalem not to help hide “dirty money” belonging to Putin-allied oligarchs. Nuland also said that Israel should join the international sanctions regime targeting Russian assets—a regime that notably does not include world powers like China and India, which Nuland failed to mention.

The administration’s misdirection campaign also relied on Biden validators from the foreign policy establishment. Richard Haass and Aaron David Miller tweeted to the effect that if Israel wants to be an American ally, it should stand with America’s values, embodied by its moral stance toward Russia, which includes impoverishing ordinary Russians by crashing the ruble.

The coordinated operation to embroil Israel culminated in a story last week pushed out by the White House’s communications infrastructure inside Israel, whose lead publicist, Axios reporter Barak Ravid, proved his value during the Obama years. The story, which quickly went global, claimed that Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to accept Putin’s terms of surrender. A “senior Ukrainian official claimed Bennett initiated the call,” according to an account sourced to an anonymous Ukrainian official and given to Ravid. The source claimed that Bennett “recommended Zelensky take the offer.”

Was the story true? The Ukrainian government said it was false, and moved to correct the record the next day. Zelensky adviser Mikhail Podolyak wrote on Twitter that Israel did not push the Ukrainians to accept the concessions Putin demanded to end the invasion. Zelensky’s adviser tweeted that Bennett, “just as other conditional intermediary countries, does NOT offer Ukraine to agree to any demands of the Russian Federation.” Instead, he wrote, “Israel urges Russia to assess the events more adequately.” He also pointed out that the source could not have been on the call, which was private, and was probably not in Ukraine.

But whether the surrender story is true or not, shouldn’t the Israelis be openly and proudly pro-Zelensky? Ukraine’s president has won the affection of decent—and smart—people the world over, who have festooned their Facebook pages and Twitter feeds with the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag. And he’s Jewish! Why doesn’t Israel join in?

The reality is that Israel has frequently stood up for Ukraine against Russia, and with little to show for it. But the issue in this case is simple: The Russian military is on Israel’s border, kind of like it was on Ukraine’s border before it invaded. The difference is that the Russian-Ukrainian border is a geographical fact. Russia is only on Israel’s border due to a geostrategic power play that Moscow implemented with the acquiescence of the U.S. political faction now trying to drive Israel toward conflict with Putin.

The purpose of the Biden team’s anti-Israel smear campaign is not just to make the Israelis look like they sympathize with a tyrant while offering to hide the blood money of their Russian co-religionists……..

COLUMN BY

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Wrong Again

Patrick Kingsley is the Jerusalem Bureau Chief of the New York Times, who has a great deal of trouble getting his facts right about Israel and the Palestinians. He has had help from the rest of the resident staff, but that hasn’t rescued him from error. A report on the ineffable Kingsley is here: “How Many Helpers Does the New York Times Have to Hire for Error-Prone Jerusalem Bureau Chief?,” by Ira Stoll, Algemeiner, February 14, 2022:

The New York Times’ error-prone Jerusalem bureau chief, Patrick Kingsley, is at it again.

A full page of Sunday’s New York Times was devoted to a Kingsley dispatch from the West Bank, with reporting “contributed by Rami Nazzal and Hiba Yazbek from Burin, Myra Noveck from Yitzhar and Givat Ronen, Jonathan Shamir from Tel Aviv, and Rawan Sheikh Ahmad from Haifa.” What did this team of error-prone chief Kingsley and five helpers come up with?

More mistakes. Kingsley and Co. report:

Settlers injured at least 170 Palestinians last year and killed five, UN monitors reported. During the same period, Palestinians injured at least 110 settlers and killed two, UN records show. The Israeli Army said that Palestinians had injured 137 Israeli civilians in the West Bank last year.

But if the numbers are roughly comparable, the power dynamic is different … Settlers, unlike Palestinians, have the protection of the military and are rarely in danger of losing the land they live on.

It’s not accurate that Israeli settlers “are rarely in danger of losing the land they live on.”

Let’s look at the history.

In 586 BCE, when the first Temple was destroyed, the Jews were deported to Babylonia.

After 70 CE, when the Romans conquered Jerusalem and sacked the Second Temple, the Jews dispersed to various places. They were expelled from England in 1290, from France in 1306, and from Spain in 1492. Those who settled in central and eastern Europe had their property seized from them by the Nazis and the Communists.

Jews kept being expelled from one country after another in Western Europe, “losing the land” they lived on, as well as whatever other property they possessed: from England in 1290, from France in 1306, from Spain in 1492, from Portugal in 1497. Those who lived in Central and Eastern Europe had centuries of persecutions an pogroms to contend with, losing their land and their lives during the Khmelnitsky Uprising in the Ukraine in the mid-17th century; Jews were again deprived of their land, and their lives, during the Nazi Holocaust; Jews again lost their property in Eastern Europe and Russia under the Communists.

In the land of Israel, Jews who lived in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and elsewhere in eastern Jerusalem had their property taken away by Jordan, which seized the territory in the war initiated by the Arabs in 1948 to prevent the establishment of the state of Israel.

Let’s also remember the 850,000 Jews who were either expelled or fled from Arab countries between 1948 and 1953. They lost their homes and land, their businesses, their property. That is why many Jews, including those in Israel, have internalized, as a kind of folk memory, the loss of their land over so many centuries, and in so many places.

Despite that history of Jews repeatedly having their land taken away from them, Patrick Kingsley insists that today’s Jewish settlers in Israel “are rarely in danger of losing the land they live on.” But that is not true, as the settlers well know.

Even the Israeli government has uprooted a series of settlements as part of a series of peace agreements.

In 1982, the Times itself reported that in turning over the Sinai peninsula to Egypt, Israel relinquished “16 civilian settlements.” The last of these was Yamit.

Tearfully but Forcefully, Israel Removes Gaza Settlers,” was the headline over another 2005 New York Times article. “By nightfall, the army said it had cleared the settlements of Morag, Bedolah, Kerem Atzmona, Ganei Tal, and Tel Katifa. Gadid, Peat Sadeh, Rafiah Yam, Shalev, Dugit and Nisanit were already empty or nearly so.”

Loss of land in Gaza, where 9,000 Jewish settlers were forcibly uprooted in 2005; loss of land, too, in the West Bank, where some settlements were also closed down by the IDF. And every single one of the half-million Israelis living in the West Bank has to worry about a “peace” that will establish a Palestinian state that will include all of the West Bank and Gaza – squeezing Israel back within the 1949 armistice lines. Of course they fear “losing the land they live on.”…

The Times’ formulation that “Violence has long been deployed by both Israelis and Palestinians” makes no distinction between illegal terrorist violence and lawful warfare.

Palestinian violence is deployed in terrorist attacks on Jewish men, women, and children. Israeli violence is deployed by the police and the IDF who track down, and arrest, or kill those same terrorists. These are not equivalent uses o violence. But Kingsley doesn’t appear to see the difference.

Kingsley needs to remember that Israel has faced both enemy states and terrorist groups; it has never been the aggressor. The day after Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948, the armies of five Arab states invaded to snuff out the young life of the Jewish state. Israel has had to fight three wars for its very survival, in 1948, 1967, and 1973. It has also had to fight eight other campaigns: in the Sinai in 1956, to stop the attacks on Israeli civilians in the Negev by Egyptian fedayin; a campaign to oust the terrorist PLO from Lebanon; two wars against the terrorist Hezbollah, and four campaigns against Hamas terrorists in Gaza. It is the Arabs who have constantly rejected a peace deal with Israel. They rejected the UN Partition Plan in 1947, and in response to Israel’s invitation to make peace with the Arabs after the Six-Day War, the Arabs answered with the “three Nos” of Khartoum:”No peace with Israel, No recognition of Israel, No negotiations with Israel. Yasser Arafat walked away from a generous peace offer from Ehud Barak in 2000; Mahmoud Abbas walked away from an even more generous deal from Ehud Olmert in 2008. Since then Abbas has refused to deal unless Israel agrees that the “1967 borders” – that is, the 1949 armistice lines – will be the basis of negotiations.

Meanwhile, the Palestinians of Hamas, the PIJ, the PFLP, and those, too, who belong to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade of Fatah, carry on their terrorism against Israel. And the P.A. raises another generation to hate Israelis, and want to kill them, by continuing to use textbooks filled with antisemitic filth.. None of this Palestinian rejectionism, terrorism, and antisemitism, as Ira Stoll notes, makes it into Kingsley’s highly inaccurate reports. For him, it’s only the “occupation” and the “settler violence” that matters. There is scarcly a single report by Patrick Kingsley from Israel that has not had to be corrected. Given that record of bias and error, perhaps it’s time for the Times to replace him.

COLUMN BY

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Lebanon and Kuwait ban Israeli actress Gal Gadot’s new movie because she served in the IDF

It is mandatory for every Israeli over 18 to serve in the army (Israeli Arabs have a choice to opt out). Why? Because Israel has been under the threat of jihadist obliteration since the day of its birth. Even before that, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammed Amin al-Husseini, lead the Arab Revolt to keep Jews out of the region.

Gadot’s tweet below led to a firestorm back in May during Operation Guardian of the Walls, when Israel was left with no other alternative but to defend its citizens from a barrage of Hamas rocket fire:

To Israel’s antagonists, Israel does not deserve to live “as a free and safe nation.” In their view, Israel only deserves to be obliterated, as documented in the charter of every major Palestinian organization, and as is evident from the attack on Israel by surrounding Arab nations on the day of its birth. Those nations were of one accord….

“It will be a war of annihilation. It will be a momentous massacre in history that will be talked about like the massacres of the Mongols or the Crusades.”
— Azzam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League,
October 11, 1947

Islamic antisemitism is rooted in Islam, and it spreads under the guise of opposing the State of Israel because of its status as an “occupying,” “apartheid” state, regardless of the falsity of these claims.

“Death on the Nile” banned in two Middle East countries over Gal Gadot’s Israeli military service

by Jesse O’Neill, New York Post, February 12, 2022:

Israeli movie star Gal Gadot’s new Hollywood film will reportedly not appear on the big screen in Lebanon and Kuwait due to her connection to the Israel Defense Forces.

“Death on the Nile” was being released in the rest of the Middle East over the weekend, according to Deadline.

Gadot, 36, served in the Israeli armed forces for two years, as is required of all young Israelis, before she entered show business.

It’s not the first time the former Miss Israel’s nationality has caused controversy as tensions persist between the two warring nations. Lebanon also blocked her “Wonder Woman” films over her IDF ties.

The ban was in accordance with a law that boycotts Israeli products and bars Lebanese citizens from traveling to Israel or having contacts with Israelis.

Kuwait banned “Death on the Nile” after a barrage of protests on social media, according to The Daily Mail, which cited the Arabic language newspaper Al-Qabas….

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Biden Frees Gitmo Terrorist Linked to Chanukah Murder of Israeli Children

He “can quote Mohandas Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King like teenagers quote Taylor Swift.”

On Chanukah 2002, four Hercules planes bearing hundreds of people evacuated from Africa landed in Israel. The passengers included Israeli families who had been vacationing in Kenya, some alive, some wounded, and some children returning to their homeland in small coffins.

Now, Biden has decided to release Mohammed Abdul Malik Bajabu, an Islamic terrorist who, “participated in the planning and execution of the terrorist attacks”, from Guantanamo Bay..

2002 had been a bad year in Israel. 457 Israelis were murdered by terrorists in one of the worst years of the Islamic campaign of genocide against the country’s indigenous Jewish population. By the time fall came around, families in a terrorized nation were looking to get away from a year of suicide bombings, shootings, and brutal atrocities. Families, many working class, scrimped and saved to be able to afford a Chanukah trip somewhere safe out of the country.

On the eve of Chanukah, a group of Israeli tourists had just arrived at the Paradise Hotel in

Mombasa, while another group was flying back to Israel.

The Islamic terrorists timed their attack precisely: two missiles lifted off targeting the Israeli plane with 271 passengers and crew on board. The aircraft momentarily trembled, but few of the passengers noticed that anything had gone wrong. The missile damaged the plane’s tail, but the aircraft was able to continue flying on and landed safely with all of its passengers in Tel Aviv.

The Israeli captain thought that a bird had hit the plane.

The terrorist attack at the Paradise Hotel proved more successful. The booby trapped SUV smashed past a barrier to get through to the hotel. One of the terrorists wearing a bomb vest ran out shouting, “Allahu Akbar”, and blew up, and the driver smashed the vehicle into the hotel, while the remaining terrorist detonated the bomb inside filling the entrance with shrapnel.

A surviving video shows a final moment of a Paradise Hotel employee telling the Israelis, “Welcome to Africa”.

Two decades ago, Ayelet, then 15 years old, saw the carnage firsthand. “Everything was burning. I thought my sisters were inside the fire,” she told reporters.

When I contacted Ayelet today, she was shocked to learn that Bajabu would be released.

“Thank God, my family and I got back home safely from Mombasa, but I am sure that those who have lost their beloved children, parents or partners won’t be able to understand how come this kind of person is getting free.”

“I would like to see justice done,” Ayelet told me.

Few in America or Israel understand the manic obsession with which the Obama and Biden administrations have pursued the release of some of the worst Islamic terrorists on the planet. Some advocates have even tried to use false accusations of racism to justify their crusade.

Lee Wolosky, Obama’s point man for freeing Gitmo terrorists, recently argued, “If these detainees had been white and not brown or black, is there any realistic chance the United States… would imprison them without charge for decades?”

And yet the victims of the terrorists whom Obama and Biden have worked so hard to set loose were “brown or black”, Africans and Middle Eastern Jews, often poor or working class.

Albert de Havila, the tour guide leading the trip, a Jewish immigrant from Morocco, had been struggling financially. The trip was his opportunity to turn things around. He was killed where he stood in the lobby, his daughter, who later moved to America, was not injured.

Upstairs, the Anter family, who also originated from the Muslim world, was just getting settled. Rahamim Anter, who worked in a rope factory, had carefully saved money to take his three children somewhere safe to enjoy Chanukah after a year of murderous Islamic terrorism.

A week earlier, the family had celebrated Noy Anter’s 12th birthday. The trip had been a surprise from their parents for Noy, his fourteen year old brother Dvir, and their 8-year-old little sister.

Ora Anter, their mother, wanted to get some refreshments downstairs. The two boys joined her.

Noy had been excited to take his first trip out of the small country he had lived in all his life.

It was his final trip.

The Islamic terrorist attack killed Noy and his brother Dvir, described as a smart and shy boy, and left their mother Ora hooked up to a respirator.

“Suddenly there was an explosion. I jumped up and saw fire through the window. I ran outside and looked everywhere for them, trying with all my might to save them,” Rahamim described.

Mercy Neema Mwagambo, the hotel’s receptionist, was seeing to the guests when the bomb went off. Covered in burns, she crawled to the swimming pool and jumped in. The Israelis flew her and her mother, along with other wounded staff, out to a Jerusalem hospital.

Other hotel employees who were closer to the blast were not so lucky. Ten of them were killed.

“It was a giant explosion. I saw a lot of people injured, covered with blood,” one woman said.

Seven years later, a few days after the latest 9/11 anniversary, Operation Celestial Balance took out Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, Al Qaeda’s Somalia boss, and the FBI’s third most wanted terrorist.

After helicopters shot up the convoy, Seal Team Six went in and confirmed that Nabhan was dead. The Somali Al Qaeda leader had been linked to some of Al Qaeda’s earliest operations against America, the bombing of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, as well as the Paradise Hotel attack. The operation would later be seen as prep for getting Bin Laden.

A few years earlier, the Kenyans had already captured Mohammed Abdul Malik Bajabu and turned him over to the United States. And from there he was sent on to Gitmo.

According to Bajabu’s lawyer, he is a peace-loving man who “can quote Mohandas Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King like teenagers quote Taylor Swift.”

That raises the question of which hotel full of Jews Martin Luther King have bombed.

A Gitmo terror threat assessment noted that Bajabu “admitted that he participated in the planning and execution of the terrorist attacks in Mombasa, which included the bombing-of the Israeli-owned Kikambala Paradise Hotel and a missile attack on an Israeli airliner.”

The peace-loving Bajabu who can’t stop quoting Gandhi was also allegedly “involved in a plot to attack the Kenyan Anti-Terrorism Headquarters located in Nairobi, and the Mombasa Marathon,with the intent of killing Americans and Israelis.”

Other terrorists said that they “discussed future operations at detainee’s home, to include potential attacks on US and Israeli Embassies”.

While no copies of Gandhi or MLK speeches were found at Bajabu’s home, the assessment noted that he “stored rockets, anti-aircraft missiles, explosives, and mines at his residence”.

After abortive discussions during the Obama administration about turning over Bajabu to the Israelis to face justice for the Chanukah massacre, the Biden administration is setting him free.

Bajabu’s lawyer claims that the terrorist has a “a large and loving family” in Somalia.

After the attack, Rahamim Anter called his brother, shouting, “I have no children. Noy ​​and Dvir have gone.”

The pro-terrorist leftist lawfare groups, like Human Rights Watch, that labored to help the terrorists are celebrating Bajabu’s release. There are no celebrations in Kenya or Israel.

The Paradise Hotel terrorist attack has left deep scars in both nations. Thirteen people, most of them Kenyans, were killed in the Paradise Hotel attack. Many others, including a number of other Israeli teenagers and children, were wounded. Some still live with the trauma to this day.

“I think these kinds of people should stay behind bars, not just for what they did, but for their intentions as well,” Ayelet told me. “I think that a long time won’t pass before he will do something like that again, the minute he will have the chance.”

Last year we learned that 229 former Gitmo detainees had returned to terrorism. And yet last month, Biden complained that the defense spending bill prevented him from closing Gitmo.

Bajabu is one of five Islamic terrorists freed by Biden from Guatanamo Bay. The radical administration is determined to free as many of the enemy as possible to kill again.

“Today’s decision is wonderful news,” the terrorist’s lawyer declared, and claimed that his client “longs to be reunited with his family.”

That is a privilege forever denied to the families of his victims.

Biden has relentlessly exploited the death of his son for political gain, but he has shown no empathy for the losses and suffering of the children killed by the terrorists he is protecting, whether in the Palestinian Authority, in Hamas, or even in our custody in Guantanamo Bay.

Rahamim Anter said that he had taken his family on vacation, “to look for calm far from the intifada to take the children on safari, but I brought back their little bodies to put them in the ground”.

When Biden addressed the anti-Israel J Street lobby group, he closed with a poem by Seamus Heaney,  “History says, Don’t hope, On this side of the grave, But then, once in a lifetime, The longed-for tidal wave, Of justice can rise up.”

Whatever justice comes to the Islamic terrorists of Gitmo and to their victims whose coffins rode those four planes on a Chanukah two decades past, it will not come on this side of the grave.

Or at least not if Biden and his pro-terrorist administration have anything to say about it.

After the attack, the Israeli Defense Minister had vowed that the “killers of children” would face a reckoning. “Our hand will reach them.”

Biden, his radical regime, the multitude of lawyers who lobbied for the terrorists, hoped to help Bajabu, but they may have instead ensured that he faces justice on “this side of the grave.”

COLUMN BY

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

U.S. ambassador to Israel: ‘The Biden administration believes it must take care of the Palestinian people’

At his first interview with the Israeli media in early January the new American ambassador was asked If he would be visiting any of the settlements. No, he said, “I absolutely will not.” This went over well in the Muqata in Ramallah, but left most Israelis feeling a blend of amazement, chagrin, and fury.

There was more to come. “New US envoy says ‘absolutely won’t’ visit settlements, to avoid inflaming tensions,” by Jacob Magid, Times of Israel, January 14, 2022:

Pointing to another difference between the current and previous American administrations, the US ambassador said, “The Biden administration believes it must take care of the Palestinian people. That is the difference between us and the Trump administration.”

“The Biden administration believes it must take care of the Palestinian people”? Since when did that become an American duty? We have no historic connection to, no special affection for, no duty towards, the soi-disant “Palestinian people,” who, thanks to UNRWA’s ever-increasing largesse, are better provided for than any of the hundreds of millions of real refugees created since World War II.

Some of us – the better-informed some of us — don’t accept the existence of a separate “Palestinian people” whom Ambassador Nides thinks we must “take care of.” We know that their invention was a propaganda effort, suggested to Arafat by the KGB. The head of the Palestinian terror group As-Saiqa, Zuheir Mohsen, explained in an interview he gave to the Dutch newspaper Trouw in 1977: “Between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese there are no differences. We are all part of one people, the Arab nation […] Just for political reasons we carefully underwrite our Palestinian identity. Because it is of national interest for the Arabs to advocate the existence of Palestinians to balance Zionism. Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity exists only for tactical reasons.”

Mohsen repeated – and reinforced — the point: “The Palestinian people do not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct ‘Palestinian people’ to oppose Zionism. Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity exists only for tactical reasons.”

Nides may think “we have to take care of the Palestinian people,” but many will reject – as you and I do – both parts of that bizarre proposition.

Nides pointed to Biden’s renewal of hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid to the Palestinians that was cut by Trump, amid Ramallah’s refusal to engage with his administration.

Asked if he’s had any meetings with Palestinian officials since his arrival, the envoy admitted that he had yet to cross the Green Line, but said he well might do so in the coming weeks if asked.

While the Palestinian Authority has renewed its ties with the Biden administration, it has maintained an overall boycott of the US embassy, objecting to its relocation from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The boycott hasn’t always been maintained though, and PA President Mahmoud Abbas has met with the head of the embassy’s Palestinian Affairs Unit George Noll — which operates in lieu of the Jerusalem Consulate that Trump shuttered in 2019.

Nides repeated the Biden administration’s assertion that the US plans to reopen the consulate that historically served as the de facto mission to the Palestinians. However, he did not provide any additional details, including a timeline for when the matter will be seen through.

Biden is a year into his term as President, and while he promised to reopen the consulate to the Palestinians very early on, it looks as if it’s not going to happen. Biden has a lot on his plate: a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, a Chinese threat to Taiwan, the North Korean missiles, the endless wrangling with Iran in Vienna. The Palestinians are small beer. The Abraham Accords show how little they matter to the other Arabs. He’s already thinking of the 2024 election, his sinking numbers in the polls, and likely Democratic losses in 2022. Why unnecessarily antagonize Israel’s supporters by trying – in vain — to reopen that consulate to the Palestinians in east Jerusalem?

Besides, Biden would need to obtain the approval of Israel to open that consulate, and he knows that under the Vienna Convention of 1963, to which both Israel and the US are signatories, a consulate cannot be opened without the agreement of the host state. A unilateral reopening of the consulate would contradict the convention, custom, and common sense. Both Prime Minister Bennett and Foreign Minister Lapid have insisted that Israel will never give such approval. Biden is stuck.

And the Bidenites have gotten the message.

Three sources familiar with the matter told The Times of Israel last month that Washington has effectively decided to shelve plans to reopen the consulate amid strong Israeli resistance to the move. The news has deeply angered PA leaders, who warned ToI [Times of Israel] that the move would have consequences on US-Palestinian relations moving forward.

Oh dear. America, you have been warned. There will be “consequences on [sic] US-Palestinian relations” if that consulate is not reopened. What might they be? Will the Palestinians refuse to cash those generous checks the Bidenites have been sending to Ramallah? No one in the U.S. will be losing sleep over that.

Nides asserted that despite declarative efforts to reopen the consulate, “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the American ambassador works and lives there.”

Beyond that, he said that the US hopes the final status of Jerusalem will be determined through direct negotiations between the parties.

I hate to break it to Ambassador Nides, but the “final status” of Jerusalem was decided some 3000 years ago, when it became the center of Jewish life, the place where Jews lived uninterruptedly for thousands of years. There have been updates to the story since, as the city changed rulers, but not its central significance to Jews. The last major change was in 1980, when the modern state of Israel formally annexed all of Jerusalem. Its “status” is not subject to “negotiations between the parties.” Sorry, Mr. Ambassador. No can do.

As for the Biden administration’s support for Israel more broadly, Nides characterized it as “unconditional.”…

“Unconditional”? Not if the Bidenites are willing to violate the Taylor Force Act and provide hundreds of millions of dollars to the P.A. despite its continuing to reward past, and incentivize future, terrorist acts through the “Pay-For-Slay” program that is Mahmoud Abbas’ proudest achievement. Not if it is willing to let the PLO, which has Israeli blood on its hands, reopen an office in Washington.

“Unconditional”? Not If the Biden Administration refuses to admit that Israel has a very strong claim to retain all of Judea and Samaria (a/k/a the West Bank), based on Article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine, which encourages “close settlement by Jews on the land.” What land? All the land that the League of Nations assigned to the Palestine Mandate for the Jewish National Home. That land extended from the Golan in the north to the Red Sea in the south, and from the Jordan River in the east to the Mediterranean in the west. Have the Bidenites read, and understood what the League of Nations’ Mandate for Palestine signifies? Are they aware that Article 80 of the U.N. Charter committed the U.N. to fulfill the requirements of any League of Nations mandates still remaining? Does Biden, does Blinken, does Sullivan understand that Resolution 242 of the U.N. Security Council allowed Israel to retain the territory it deems necessary in order to have “secure [i.e. defensible] and recognized boundaries”? I have an awful feeling that Ambassador Nides has paid no attention to, inter alia, the Mandate for Palestine, the Treaty of San Remo, Article 80 of the U.N Charter, and Resolution 242 of the Security Council. It’s time, Ambassador Nides, for you to hit the books, and burn the midnight oil.

“Some of the conversations are meant to calm your anxiety. If I were Israeli, I would be anxious too. I respect that with all my heart,” Nides said.

They’d be a little less anxious in Israel, Mr. Ambassador, If you’d do the right and handsome thing, and announce that “upon reconsideration, I intend to visit the five settlement blocs that Israelis keep telling me, will remain part of Israel, whatever else may be subject to negotiation. Yes, I’d like to see some things in the West Bank for myself. And I will.”

Impotent rage from the rais in Ramallah, feeling betrayed. Quiet satisfaction in Jerusalem. A highly desirable denouement.

COLUMN BY

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Is Anti-Israelism Included in Antisemitism?

“Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.”  – Edgar Allan Poe


In my controversial novel, The Second Catastrophe:  A Novel About a Book and its Author, the protagonist is a Professor, son of a Holocaust Survivor, who writes a book during the suicide bombings of the Second Intifada, claiming that a Second Holocaust has begun.  He perceives that the genocidal nature of Iranian, Islamist and Arab attitudes to the Jewish Homeland, and the empathy of Western leftists with Arab and Iranian threats, along with the double standards used with respect to the Jewish state, are beyond mere dislike, and are approaching exterminationalism, fortunately stopped to date by Israeli military superiority.

How else can one understand the successes of the so-called Palestinians, where every evil act of terrorism increases support in Europe, America, and particularly in the universities, for the murderers, who in the world of intersectionality, are allowed to be “the oppressed” rather than the “oppressors”.  Every time the Palestinians get to set the “narrative” by controlling the meaning of words like “occupied”, “oppressed”, “apartheid” and succeed in using words like “protest” to describe violent riots, then Israel and its friends lose another battle in this endless war about words where Hasbara seems almost as important as missile defense.

The writings on antisemitism are endless;  the purpose of this contribution is to focus on contemporary attempts to split off anti-Israelism from the term antisemitism, so that genocidal attempts to create a second Holocaust can be viewed as having nothing to do with antisemitism.   These attempts now come mainly from the Left, while so many Jews are locked into an atavistic framework where they say the only threats come from neo-Nazis and white nationalists, where it is obvious to me that the threats today are from leftist groups, together with their intersectional friends in BLM, and politicians in the U.S. like Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who bring anti-Israel antisemitism to the younger supporters of the Democratic Party there.

I fear that a bright young 18 year old in the West who has ambitions to be a political and/or cultural leader, will, after a period of looking around the university, become a latter-day Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin, a leader of the 1848 French Revolution, who is reputed to have declared, “There go my people.  I must find out where they are going so I can lead them.”   Today, they are eager to become “progressives” which involves anti-Israelism, rather than conservatives, because not many students want to conserve a world which the media has labeled “right wing”, especially when the best jobs are in the now-woke corporations, like High Tech censorial Zuckerberg’s and in education and government.

When the University of Toronto became the first university to host the bizarre “Israel Apartheid Week”, I wrote to then university President Naylor pointing out that whatever one thinks of Israeli responses to Arab terrorism and advocacy of genocide against Jews, the word “Apartheid”, given its essential ingredient in South Africa being complete separation of races, was in no way what is happening in Israel.  There, Arab doctors work alongside Jewish doctors, Jewish and Arab patients receive equal medical care in adjoining beds, universities like Haifa University have one-third Arab students, and  those Arabs who are willing (mostly Druze) serve in the army, the diplomatic corps and as Judges, alongside their Jewish colleagues.  After the last election, Israel now has an Arab party in the governing coalition, whatever one thinks of that..

I wrote to him that a political dispute, whether as the Left says, is a dispute over land, or whether it is, as the Right says, an unwillingness by Islamists to allow a Jewish presence on any land ever controlled by Muslims, is not helped by distortion of facts.

I wrote to President Naylor (whose background was Medicine) that the issue was not one about free speech or diversity of opinion but was in my view one about the intellectual standards to be enforced by the University before allowing its space to be used for such an event.  I asked him: “Would you allow a conference to take place at the University called “All U. of T. Professors are Fascists”?   I suggested that he would not, and the reason is that we require our universities to meet certain standards of truth as to the facts underlying opinions.  Otherwise, distorted facts and distorted opinions  might well conduce, in this case, to the ideology of anti-Semitism. University events about Israel and the Jewish people using double standards, demonization or delegitimization, are anti-Semitic and there is no reason for the University to provide support.

Of course, I was unsuccessful in my argument, and now “Israel Apartheid Week” has spread to many if not most universities in Canada and the United States.  At the same time, anti-Semitism sweeps the west and while Islamist Muslims hunt everywhere for evidence of “Islamophobia”, anti-Semitism in the West remains the most prevalent form of racial hatred.

As the University of Toronto refused to even discuss the issue with me, I became ashamed of my two degrees and returned them for cancellation. My background as a Lawyer, Historian and child of a Holocaust Survivor obviously makes me more sensitive than most people to certain ideologies and certain facts.

IN 2004, the great Soviet Jewish refusenik Natan Sharansky made yet another contribution to world Jewry. In a seminal essay in Jewish Political Studies Review, he outlined an important conceptual approach to antisemitism.   He started his essay thus:

“When I was a dissident in the former Soviet Union, one of my regular activities was monitoring anti-Semitism, and smuggling out evidence and records of such activity to the West. I believed then that the free world, particularly after the Holocaust, would always be a staunch ally in the struggle against anti-Semitism.”

“Unfortunately, I was wrong. Today, as a minister in the Israeli government in charge of monitoring anti-Semitism, I find myself regularly summoning the ambassadors of West European states to protest anti-Semitic attacks on Jews in their countries and the often meek response of their governments…

“Whereas classical anti-Semitism is aimed at the Jewish people or the Jewish religion, ‘new anti-Semitism’ is aimed at the Jewish state. Since this anti-Semitism can hide behind the veneer of legitimate criticism of Israel, it is more difficult to expose. Making the task even harder is that this hatred is advanced in the name of values most of us would consider unimpeachable, such as human rights.

And so Sharansky came up with his “3D test” to distinguish legitimate criticism of Israel from antisemitism, as follows:

“The first “D” is the test of demonization. When the Jewish state is being demonized; when Israel’s actions are blown out of all sensible proportion; when comparisons are made between Israelis and Nazis and between Palestinian refugee camps and Auschwitz – this is anti- Semitism, not legitimate criticism of Israel.

“The second “D” is the test of double standards. When criticism of Israel is applied selectively; when Israel is singled out by the United Nations for human rights abuses while the behavior of known and major abusers, such as China, Iran, Cuba, and Syria, is ignored; when Israel’s Magen David Adom, alone among the world’s ambulance services, is denied admission to the International Red Cross – this is anti-Semitism.

“The third “D” is the test of delegitimization: when Israel’s fundamental right to exist is denied – alone among all peoples in the world – this too is anti-Semitism.”

Sharansky was particularly concerned about the antisemitism coming out of Muslim nations.

The extent to which his 3D Test is discussed less and less is the extent to which anti-Israel ideologues wish to separate anti-Israelism from its ideological foundation in antisemitism.

The next major initiative defining antisemitism arose from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

Founded by a Swedish politician  IHRA’s membership consists of 35 member countries, “each of whom recognizes that international political coordination is imperative to strengthen the moral commitment of societies and to combat growing Holocaust denial and antisemitism.”

The IHRA seeks to use trusted experts to “share their knowledge on early warning signs of present-day genocide and education on the Holocaust. This knowledge supports policymakers and educational multipliers in their efforts to develop effective curricula, and it informs government officials and NGOs active in global initiatives for genocide prevention.”

So far, so good.   However, how does the IHRA define antisemitism and does it follow Sharansky’s concerns including the 3D test?

The IHRA says it  worked to build “international consensus around a non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism. Note that this is “non-legally binding” and it is a “working definition”.

In 2016, it set out its working definition this way:

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

Where is the recognition that current antisemitism is connected to anti-Israelism?  The IHRA instead of mentioning the 3Ds as an integral part of the definition only gave as an example “the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity”, whatever that means, but it is sure to note that “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.

It did give 11 examples in total, and 6 of these examples related to Israel:

  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

Whether omitting Israel from the definition itself, detracts from the mentioning of 6 examples is a good question.  But it seems to me that the IHRA was starting to feel the heat from so-called “progressive” organizations, including Jewish ones, because it noted in January 2021 that certain groups identified as the Progressive Israel Network were opposed to the codification of the working definition with its examples due to the “potential for misuse”.   The groups were:  Ameinu, Americans for Peace Now, Habonim Dror North America, Hashomer Hatzair World Movement, Jewish Labor Committee, J Street, New Israel Fund, Partners for Progressive Israel, Reconstructing Judaism and T’ruah.”Pledging that they “care deeply” for the State of Israel, they stated:

“the effort to combat antisemitism is being misused and exploited to instead suppress legitimate free speech, criticism of Israeli government actions, and advocacy for Palestinian rights. In particular, the effort to enshrine in domestic law and institutional policy the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, with its accompanying “contemporary examples,” risks wrongly equating what may be legitimate activities with antisemitism.

“This effort has created opportunities for abuse and politicization by the outgoing Trump administration and others, undermining the moral clarity of the effort to dismantle antisemitism.

“We respect the original creation of the IHRA Working Definition as an illustrative tool and as part of a larger and ongoing conversation about the nature of antisemitism. While we maintain no substantive objection to the core definition itself, our concern with its adoption as a legal tool is with the IHRA definition’s “contemporary examples,” which have been included as integral to the definition. We fear its adoption in law or policy at the state, federal and university level and in corporate governance has the potential to undermine core freedoms, and in some cases already has. For this reason, the Progressive Israel Network opposes the codification in US law or policy of the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism.”

And so, we see that the groups that call themselves “progressives” (but who I call “regressives”) are attempting to cleanse definitions of antisemitism of any reference to anti-Israelism despite Sharansky’s work..  It bothers me that we tolerate such groups claiming that they are Progressives, and that they stand for “progress.”  Treating the Jewish Homeland as the (hated) Jew amongst the nations is indeed antisemitic.   Tolerating the United Nations Human Rights Council with its explicit agenda to uniquely punish the Jewish people is also antisemitism, but the progressives ignore it at the same time as they “virtue signal” that they care deeply about Israel – which is surrounded by Iranian terrorist proxies and bloodthirsty Palestinians urged by the dictator Mahmoud Abbas again just this week to continue their “martyrdom” operations against Jewish civilians.

These “progressives” argue that former Secretary of State Pompeo’s declarations that  “anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism” and that “the Global BDS Campaign [is] a manifestation of anti-Semitism” represent a harmful “overreach”. They say that this overreach is primarily aimed at shielding the present Israeli government and its occupation from all criticism.  And they allege that such is made possible by the use of the Working Definition’s “contemporary examples.”

Alas, the Progressive network is so concerned with “overreach” that it fails to understand that in Israel’s neighborhood,  under reach could be fatal.  Jews have for so long been treated hatefully that sometimes, like abused persons, we sometimes blame ourselves inordinately: the Jewish right to live trumps the Jew-haters right to incite the death of another six million Jews in a Second Shoah, this time in our homeland.  The clever students studying political theory, gender studies, and sociology, don’t know what the Torah says to do about Amalek and think that toleration of evil will somehow turn out well.  (See my book, Tolerism:  The Ideology Revealed.)

In a world where they practice “cancel culture” the Progressive network says that they insist that activists and academics that they support must have the right to express a wide range of political opinions without fear of being suppressed or smeared by the government. This includes critiques of the legitimacy of Israel’s founding or the nature of its laws and system of government.    But it is only the anti-Israel positions of the radical left and its intersectional allies that are so supported by the progressives that they want them to be featured in any definition of antisemitism.  It is only the progressives who view Israel’s very founding (and thus its existence”) as a “racist” endeavor.

I must say that I trust Sharansky’s work more than theirs.   The fight against the vile BDS which if not countered and defeated could jeopardize the existence of the State of Israel, now surrounded by Iranian terrorist proxies and threatened with annihilation by the apocalyptic Iranian Mullahs.   These groups would be trusted more if they would be as concerned with Israel hatred in the United Nations and the grave security threats exacerbated by anti-Israelism becoming the norm rather than the exception in Europe.

Most mainstream Jewish organizations belong to  the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in which 51 of its 53 member-groups have adopted the definition for their own use.

But to the progressives the mere mention of Israel in the examples as opposed to the more narrow 39 word text was enough to arouse their anger, showing the deep divide between the mainstream and the anti-Israel, pro BDS progressives.   For example, Morriah Kaplan, strategic director at IfNotNow, which is focused on opposing the Israeli “occupation”, said of the organizations backing the definition, “these are not people I trust to go after antisemitism.”

The progressives tend to be those who we might term Trumpophobes, who could not accept any of Trump’s policies towards Israel or domestically to be valid.  Since these progressives religiously are Reform, Reconstructionist, secular, or Renewal, the fact that Trump has an Orthodox Jewish daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren was not a reason to support Trump but to dislike him.   Perhaps they sense that he is more certain than they are to have Jewish grandchildren.

Historian Deborah Lipstadt has been nominated to fill the vacant U.S. State Department’s Special Envoy for Combating and Monitoring Anti-Semitism.  However her nomination has been held up due to some intemperate highly political comments she made.  She, like so many Democrats, has been unable to put aside her Trumpophobia and keep politics out of the fight against anti-Semitism.   As Jonathan Tobin recently noted in an essay in Jewish News Syndicate: Lipstadt may have deserved the post, but no one should be under any illusion that the decision didn’t have a lot to do with her willingness to play the partisan in 2020 by endorsing a shameful ad from the Jewish Democratic Council of America that likened the Trump administration to the rise of Nazi Germany. She followed that up by co-authoring an op-ed in The Washington Post in which she compared those who raised questions about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election to Holocaust-deniers.   Tobin, although supportive of Lipstadt, acknowledged that she is an example of how “politics and combating anti-Semitism don’t mix”.

The intermarriage rates in America are now so high amongst progressives, there is a serious schism between the Orthodox and the Reform.  (The Conservative or Masorti movement seems to be in a state of terminal decline) which is based on fundamental Halachic differences in addition to the views on Israel and antisemitism.  Another is that progressive Jews and many in the mainstream view the modest number of extremists on the right, including white supremacists and neo-Nazis, as more of a problem than the antisemitism and anti-Israelism of the Left, including the intersectional Blacks and Islamists.   The Left do not see the long term threat to our children and grandchildren posed by anti-Israel students, including Muslim Islamists whose aggressive behaviour is a feature of American universities.  The Jewish Federations of North America sent a memo to the new Biden administration, outlining the organization’s priorities for fighting antisemitism. The document listed ISIS and Al Qaeda as threats to American Jews, but did not name right-wing antisemitism.   The progressives were very upset.   For example, Rabbi Alissa Wise, deputy director of Jewish Voice for Peace, which is anti-Zionist and supports the BDS Movement, said that seeing anti-Israel college students as more of a threat that right-wing antisemitism was to her “unconscionable”.

Public opinion polls show that American Jews are so inward looking that 75% said in an American Jewish Committee survey last year that the political right posed a serious antisemitic threat, compared to 32% who said the same about the political left.

“The IHRA definition is the most authoritative and internationally accepted definition of antisemitism,”  said William Daroff, chief executive of the Conference of Presidents, as quoted by Forward .

But critics say that the definition is now being weaponized to shut down “legitimate” criticism of the Israeli occupation (sic) of what they call the West Bank and Israel’s friends call Judea and Samaria.

The progressives cannot tolerate even the mildest support for Israel, which recognizes that the Trump Plan for middle east peace and the Abraham Accords were together the best future for all.  The “Peace to Prosperity” plan called for a demilitarized Palestinian state in all of Gaza, roughly 70% of the West Bank, and portions of Israeli land near those two territories. Roughly 30% of the West Bank would become part of Israel. The plan also called for wide scale economic cooperation across the region and a $50 billion investment to help Palestinians improve their education system, create 1 million new jobs, and establish reliable government institutions.  The full plan can be seen here.

The fight over the definition of antisemitism and how much anti-Israelism is part of that antisemitism, is a sad commentary on the disunity of American Jewry.  The election polls tell us that 70% of Americans in their support of Biden/Harris do not recognize the centrality of Israel,  After the ill-fated Oslo Accords and the terrorism that Israel suffered as a result, Israelis moved politically to the right. An America whose Jews have, at the same time,  moved to the left reflects that a hatred for Trump exceeds their love for Israel.

Hopefully they will start to understand that in Israel, the progressives have, according to Mordechai Nisan’s brilliant book, suffered The Crack-up of the Israeli Left. We can only hope that, like so many totalitarian regimes, based on lies, their movement that aims to hide the antisemitism inherent in anti-Israelism, will also end up in the dustbin of history.

©Howard Rotberg. All rights reserved.

Ocasio-Cortez: Comes the Moment to Decide

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the infamous group of four Congresswomen known as the “Squad,” which includes two Muslims — Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American, and Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American – and Ayanna Pressley. Tlaib and Omar are consistently, virulently, anti-Israel; Ocasio-Cortez just a tad less so in her public pronouncements. She did not vote “No” with Tlaib and Omar on a bill to provide extra funding to Israel for its Iron Dome anti-missile defense, but after voting “Present,” she proceeded, in a fit of remorse, to have a good cry in Congress about that very vote.

Now it turns out that a recently-hired legislative assistant in her office, one Hussein Altamimi, has made some outrageous and false claims about Israel on Instagram.. Ocasio-Cortez has been asked to discharge him. Robert Spencer discusses the case here, and an additional report on Altamimi’s accusations against Israel, and the call on Ocasio-Cortez to fire him, is here: “ZOA calls on Ocasio-Cortez to fire staffer who called Israel ‘racist European ethnostate,’” JNS, January 7, 2022:

…”Hussain Altamimi has made false, hateful, anti-Semitic, anti-Israel accusations on Instagram,” ZOA national president Morton Klein said in a letter sent to Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday [Jan.5}. He added that Altamimi’s “vitriolic posts are likely to add to the atmosphere of anti-Semitism and hatred that has fueled increasing, frightening, violent attacks on Jews in New York and throughout the United States.”

Fox News reported that Altamimi, who joined Ocasio-Cortez’s office in November, shared on his Instagram story on Dec. 24 a post from an account called “Let’s Talk Palestine,” which falsely accused Israel of “apartheid” and of having a “racial hierarchy.” Altamimi accompanied the post by writing: “Israel is a racist European ethnostate built on stolen land from its indigenous population!”

In his letter to Ocasio-Cortez, Klein insisted that “the racist dictatorship in the area is the Palestinian Authority.”

As he explained, “the Palestinian Authority states that no Jews will be allowed to live in their entity; condemns Arabs to death for selling property to Jews; and pays Arabs’ lifetime pensions to murder Jews and Americans. The P.A. also names schools, streets and sports teams after Jew-killers.”

Klein said the ZOA urges Ocasio-Cortez to fire Altamimi, as well as “publicly condemn these hateful odious remarks” made by him.

Well, let’s see. Hussein Altamimi’s remarks are certainly unpleasant – “hateful” and “odious,” according to Morton Klein – but are they true? Altamimi first posted, with evident approval, a statement he came across at the site “Let’s Talk Palestine,” that accused Israel of being an “apartheid” state and of having a “racial hierarchy.” So forgive us the need to repeat, endlessly, the same rebuttal as we have posted a dozen times before.

In Israel, Arabs sit in the Knesset, serve on the Supreme Court, go abroad as ambassadors for their country. An Arab party, Ra’am, is part of the current governing coalition. The chairman of Israel’s largest bank, Bank Leumi, is an Arab. Jews and Arabs study together in universities, work in the same offices and factories, provide care to Jewish and Arab patients, and receive treatment from Jewish and Arab doctors and nurses, in the same hospitals. Jews and Arabs play on the same sports teams and in the same orchestras. They act together on the stage, on television, and the movies. None of that would be possible in a real “apartheid” state as South Africa was until the 1990s. There is only one difference in the treatment of Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs. Jews must, while Arabs may, serve in the military.

Is there a “racial hierarchy” in Israel? Do Jews lord it over Arabs? Nowhere, and in nothing. There is complete legal equality between Jew and Arab, Muslim and non-Muslim. There are no professions in Israel that Arabs cannot practice, unlike the Palestinians in many Arab lands, such as Lebanon, where they are shut up in camps, and prohibited from practicing dozens of professions.

Altamimi accompanied that post from “Let’s Talk Palestine” by writing in his Instagram: “Israel is a racist European ethnostate built on stolen land from its indigenous population!” Is Israel a “European ethnostate”? This is one of the staples of Palestinian propaganda – that “the Jews” all came to Israel from Europe, and are not indigenous to the Middle East; they have no business laying claim to any part of Israel. But we know that Jews have been living continuously for 3000 years in the Land of Israel; there is extensive archaeological evidence – pottery, coins, scrolls from the Dead Sea, ancient synagogues, mosaics, and so much more – of that Jewish presence. And Jews were not only in Eretz Israel, but spread from there across the Middle East and North Africa and into Europe. The Jews who remained in the Middle East and North Africa are called Mizrahi Jews; there is nothing “European” about them; in 2005 61% of Israeli Jews claimed Mizrahi or part-Mizrahi ancestry.

Less than one-third of Israeli Jews claim Ashkenazi or part-Ashkenazi ancestry, which would link them to Europe. Of course even those Ashkenazi Jews did not originate in Europe; like all Jews, they originated in the Land of Israel; through the centuries some Jewish populations appeared in Europe The only reason for Hussein Altamimi to make his preposterous claim that Israel is a “European ethnostate” is that he wants to deny the indigeneity of the Jews, the claim that they originated in the Land of Israel,, and are not outside invaders who came as European conquerors to the Middle East. There are whole museums of archaeology and anthropology that offer incontrovertible evidence that Altamimi has it wrong. But his narrative depends on the “white, European, colonial-settlers” coming from outside, arriving in Palestine where, in his narrative, the Muslim Arabs have been living for thousands of years, and proceeding to “steal their land.” No one has been able, for obvious reasons, to find any evidence of that Muslim Arab presence before the seventh century A.D., about 2300 years later than the Jews first appeared in the Land of Israel.

Hussein Altamimi claims that “Israel is a racist European ethnostate built on stolen land from its indigenous population!” Which is the indigenous population – the Arabs who came out of Arabia in the seventh century and conquered large swathes of the Middle East and North Africa, or the Jews who since 3000 B.C. had been living uninterruptedly in the Land of Israel? The Jews did not “steal [the Arabs’] land. It was the Jews who were dispossessed of their land by various conquerors – Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman Turk – but who finally, in the 20th century, were encouraged by the ideology of Zionism to return to the Land of Israel, not to “steal land,” but to buy it from Arab and Turkish landowners. The sums the Jews spent in this effort were exorbitant: in 1941, Jews buying scarcely arable land in Mandatory Palestine were paying more to their Arab owners than was then being charged for the richest farmland in the world, in Iowa. The Palestine Mandate, Article 6, calls on the holder of the Mandate, Great Britain, to facilitate Jewish immigration and to encourage “close settlement by Jews on the land.” In addition, “state and waste lands” were to be made available for Jews to settle on. The only time that Israel took land that it did not buy, or inherit as “state and waste land,” was in the immediate aftermath of the 1948 war. Arabs who had left the area, having been encouraged to do so by Arab broadcasts that promised that if they left the places where fighting was taking place in Palestine, they would soon be able to return with the victorious Arab armies. They left, but the “victorious Arab armies” never appeared. Israel saw no reason, since the Arabs who left were clearly not going to return, not to allow Jews to settle on these lands deserted by their owners. The Israelis did not “steal land” but put to use land that had been permanently abandoned. There is a difference.

Hussain Altamimi has made a series of damning charges. He claims that Israel is an “apartheid” state, but provides no evidence for this preposterous claim, for there is none. He insists there is a “racial hierarchy” in Israel, but again, offers no evidence for Jews lording It over, whether in law or in custom, Israeli Arabs. He calls Israel a “European ethnostate,” though almost two-thirds of Israel’s Jews are Mizrahis, descended from people who never left the Middle East and North Africa. He charges Israel with “stealing” land from the Arabs, ignoring the fact that all the land the Zionists acquired before the 1948 war was bought at very high prices from Arab and Turkish landowners. The land left by Arabs who fled just before, during, and after that war, was taken by the State of Israel and settled on by Jews. Those same Jews in many instances had fled for their lives from Arab lands, leaving them bereft of tens of billions of dollars in property. Israel put t use the land abandoned by Arabs. What else should Israel have done? Left those lands forever empty?

Hussain Altamimi has made a series of accusations against the Jewish state that are false. He has maligned the State of Israel. What does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez plan to do? Will she shut her ears to those who have complained about Altamimi, or will she do the right thing, and look into his claims, and If she finds them to be false, say so publicly? Or will she remain silent, which will be interpreted as constituting an endorsement of his statements as true? The only honorable course for her is to investigate the truth or falsehood of his remarks, and when she finds them — as she surely will — to be false, both to denounce Hussain Altamimi’s lies, and to let him go. He won’t remain unemployed for long. Even now they are ready to take him on board as a “legislative liaison with Congress” at that samaritan institution, CAIR, where Israel-bashing is never out of style.

COLUMN BY

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Muslim staffer for AOC calls Israel ‘racist European ethnostate’ built on ‘stolen land’

AOC and her friends and allies won’t care about this. They believe the same thing. Get the truth in The Palestinian Delusion.

Ocasio-Cortez staffer calls Israel a ‘racist European ethnostate’ that was built on ‘stolen land’

by Houston Keene, Fox News, December 30, 2021 (thanks to Henry):

FIRST ON FOX: A staffer for “Squad” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., referred to Israel as a “racist European ethnostate” on social media.

Hussain Altamimi joined Ocasio-Cortez’s office in November as a legislative assistant, posting shortly after a picture of him and the congresswoman on Instagram with the caption “New beginnings.”

Then, last week, Altamimi targeted Israel in an Instagram story calling the U.S.’s key Middle Eastern ally a “racist European ethnostate.”

“Israel is a racist European ethnostate built on stolen land from its indigenous population!” Altamimi wrote on Christmas Eve, according to a screenshot obtained by Fox News Digital.

Altamimi’s comments were in response to a post he shared from an account with the handle “Let’s Talk Palestine,” which claimed there is a “racial hierarchy” in Israel.

“This reveals the principle underpinning Israeli apartheid: It’s not about where you’re born,” the shared post reads. “It’s about whether you’re Jewish or non-Jewish. Your ethnicity determines your rights [and] level in the racial hierarchy.”

“Israel is an exclusive ethnostate, established to serve one ethnic group at the expense of another,” the post continued….

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EDITIORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.