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ISRAEL

NEWS WITH VIEWS ON THE MIDDLE EAST

The Age Editor Andrew Holden : “Israeli deaths don’t sell papers” see note please

Melbourne’s newspaper “The Age” is part of a stable of Aussie journals that are really down under in their bashing and bias on Israel. The Editor met with a Jewish community group….rsk

More than 100 members of the community, among them Peter Kohn, flocked to the JCCV plenum on Monday night as Age editor Andrew Holden sought to defend his paper’s coverage of Israel.

LIKE a cautious tourist on safari, Andrew Holden, editor-in-chief of The Age, initially kept his distance from the elephant in the room – in a 16-minute address to the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) plenum on Monday night, he avoided all mention of Jews and Israel.

Perhaps anticipating his audience’s inevitable questions on a widely perceived anti-Israel bias at The Age, he deliberately focused his speech on social issues important to his readers – same-sex marriage, end-of-life ethics and homelessness.

But then came the questions from members of the community – and the elephant lumbered in for a close-up. For the next 40 minutes, Holden responded to stiff questioning from more than 100 attendees over his newspaper’s treatment of Israel.

The editor batted away an opener by J-Air radio commentator Michael Burd – whether he thought Jews were “naive” enough to believe The Age is objective on Israel while it has, according to Burd, pro-Palestinian activists on its editorial staff. “There is no group-think or mindset within The Age or The Sydney Morning Herald that says we are anti-Israel,” declared Holden. “Let me say categorically The Age has never doubted Israel’s right to exist.”

Blood Libeling at Vassar Jonathan Marks

Last week, I reported on the appearance at Vassar College, co-sponsored by their Jewish Studies program, of Jasbir Puar, a Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at Rutgers University. As I noted then, Puar accuses Israel of deliberately maiming Palestinians, rather than killing them, out of some combination of cruelty and greed. At that time, I did not have a record of the speech, which took place last Wednesday. But members of Fairness to Israel, a group of Vassar alums and parents organized to counter the propagandizing that passes for academic discourse about Israel at Vassar, were present and recorded and transcribed Puar’s talk. Assuming the accuracy of the transcript, Puar did not disappoint.

Much of it was evidently incomprehensible. Here is a sample, a part of her description of her project “How Palestine Matters”: “How Palestine Matters situates the geopolitical that has been obliviated in the resurrection of the ecological and the geographical in emergent fields of new materialisms and anthropocene studies.”

Threats to Jewish Students and Double Standards at UC Berkeley

After years of urging the University of California Board of Regents to take a strong stand against campus antisemitism, the regents will soon be issuing a statement that will hopefully address the problem in a meaningful way.

But, as regent Bonnie Reiss eloquently stated at the board’s November meeting, the hostile climate for Jewish students will not change unless UC chancellors act immediately and respond to threats and intimidation directed against Jewish students in the same way they would — and should — if Muslim, African American, Latino, or gay students were being targeted.

If only UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks would heed this plea.

Last October, Berkeley’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) held an anti-Israel demonstration in the center of the campus. After almost an hour of speeches attacking Israel, the SJP leader took the microphone and began chanting, “Intifada, intifada, we support the intifada!” This is the same as chanting, “Violence and murder, violence and murder, we support violence and murder against Jews!” The SJP leader riled up the crowd, encouraging them to repeat his terrorist threat against Jews. The scene was chilling, especially for Jewish students.

One Jewish student named Nathaniel, who had come to support a peaceful pro-Israel rally at the same time and place, was shocked — and afraid — when he heard the SJP’s leader call for violence against Jews. Holding an Israeli flag and a sign supporting Israel, Nathaniel was suddenly confronted by an SJP supporter who told him that he should be ashamed as a Jew to support Israel, and accused Nathaniel of being a “child murderer.”

Aghast at these accusations, Nathaniel was nevertheless determined to reply constructively and peacefully. Before he could, the SJP supporter told him to “f–k off,” stating that Nathaniel “disgusted” him. He demanded that Nathaniel leave the rally.

Who Influences Hillary Clinton on Israel?By Alex Grobman, Ph.D.

Assessing the influence that Jewish associates, advisors, and relatives have on Presidential candidates is complicated. Just being Jewish does not mean automatically understanding the issues confronting Israel and world Jewry. It surely does not mean the politicians’ advisors will be supportive of Israel or effective advocates for the Jewish state.

All too often, Jewish voters believe that if Jews are involved in a candidate’s campaign, this will benefit our people. History has painfully shown this is to be a false assumption.

Hillary Clinton’s anti-Israel advisors, including Sidney Blumenthal, Sandy Berger, Anne Marie Slaughter, and former US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Pickering, have been the subject of discussion within the Jewish community. Michael Oren’s description of Mrs. Clinton’s condescending behavior toward Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and her view that Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria are the impediment to peace, speak volumes about her feelings towards Israel and her failure to understand why this conflict remains unresolved.

Mrs. Clinton’s views are also influenced by her husband. In an impromptu discussion with a pro-Arab Palestinian activist in Iowa in September 2014, former President Bill Clinton was overheard asserting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “not the man” to sign a peace agreement. Mr. Clinton agreed with the activist that “if we don’t force him to have peace, we won’t have peace.”

Gaza War Deja Vu By Lawrence J. Haas

The next Gaza war is fast approaching, with the terrorist group Hamas feverishly expanding its tunnel network to launch attacks inside Israel and Jerusalem now debating the shape and timing of its next move.

So get ready for the usual drama: Hamas will seize or kill Israelis by attacking through a tunnel; Israel will receive significant global support at first when it defends itself by counterattacking; Hamas will then ensure the deaths of Palestinian women and children by hiding its terrorists in homes and schools as Israel responds; the global media will promote images of Palestinian suffering while ignoring its cause; support for Israel will erode in Europe and then Washington; Israel will face war crime charges at the United Nations; and Jews around the world will come under attack.

Before long, Israel will succumb to mounting global pressure to halt its counterattack; Israel and Hamas will agree to a ceasefire; Hamas will portray the ceasefire as but a temporary respite before its next round of rocket fire and underground incursion; an increasingly isolated Israel will face a more energized global movement to isolate the Jewish state through sanctions and boycotts; and the Western intelligentsia will ignore Hamas’ genocidal motives, target Israeli settlements as the driving force behind the mayhem, and push mindlessly forward for the wholly unrealistic two-state solution.

Clearly, Israel didn’t deliver the deterring blow to Hamas during their seven-week war over the summer of 2014 that it had hoped because, just 18 months later, both sides are sliding toward the next round.

Today, along the border with Gaza, Israelis complain that they hear the digging of tunnels beneath their homes. “The fear among everyone here is constant,” one Israeli told Reuters. “I’ve heard the sound of a hammer and chisel and my neighbor says she can hear them digging under the cement. We’re stressed out.”

Plenty of Palestinian Passes The heavy cost of ignoring or rewarding Palestinian hostility and hate . Noah Beck

Reprinted from InvestigativeProject.org.

Activists who genuinely want to see peace between Israelis and Palestinians need to internalize a memorably alliterative warning: plenty of Palestinian passes perpetuate the impasse. The more global opinion ignores or rewards irresponsible behavior by Palestinians, the more likely renewed violence (rather than peace) becomes.

There are enough instances of unfair and counterproductive “Palestinian passes” to fill a tome, but here are some recent examples.

PASSING ON HAMAS BELLICOSITY

Probably the most important pass currently given to the Palestinians is the global silence over news that Hamas is preparing to launch another war against Israel while distressing ordinary Israelis with their ominous tunneling sounds. Such silence by the world’s most important media, international bodies, political leaders, NGOs and academics helps keep Hamas in power, and when Hamas eventually launches new hostilities against Israel, many of the same voices that are now silent will blame Israel for the resulting suffering.

Hamas bellicosity is constant, and constantly ignored. Rather than prepare Palestinians for peace, Hamas glorifies death and promotes viciously hateful ideologies. A Hamas TV broadcast announces, “We have no problem with death. We are not like the children of Israel…we yearn for death and Martyrdom…Every mother…must nurse her children on hatred of the sons of Zion.”

Last April, Iran reportedly sent Hamas tens of millions of dollars to rebuild tunnels and restock missile arsenals destroyed in 2014 by Israel during Operation Protective Edge. Instead of global sanctions or censure over its support for terrorism, Iran was rewarded with a nuclear deal that just unlocked $100 billion in frozen assets, some of which are expected to support more terrorism.

Hamas regularly starts pointless wars with Israel that doom Gaza to inevitable devastation. Then, when international sympathy and donations pour in, Hamas diverts the resources to rebuilding its offensive capabilities/tunnels (rather than destroyed homes in Gaza).

Hamas recently accelerated its tunnel-digging program. Indeed, three collapsing tunnels killed eight Hamas diggers in late January and another two last week.

Such reports establish that Hamas is diverting resources from rehabilitating Gaza to attacking Israel, and yet the world still blames Israel for Gazan misery.

Syria and the Real Demographic Threat How would a Palestinian state on the western side of the Jordan River block refugee flows from the east? February 10, 2016 Caroline Glick

Last week marked the 17th anniversary of Jordan’s King Abdullah’s coronation after the death of his father, King Hussein.

Abdullah’s ascension to the monarchy was unanticipated. His uncle Hassan was his father’s long-serving crown prince and was expected to inherit the throne. Hussein made the change in succession from his deathbed.

Today it is hard to believe that Abdullah will have the power to decide who succeeds him.

For generations, the largest looming threat to Jordan was its Palestinian majority. Although estimates of the size of Jordan’s Palestinian population vary widely, some placing it at just over 50 percent, and other estimates claiming that Palestinians made up 70% of the overall population, all credible demographic studies have agreed that most Jordanians are Palestinians.

It was due to fear of his Palestinian citizenry that for the past decade or so, Abdullah has sought to disenfranchise them. Beginning around 2004, Abdullah began throwing Palestinians out of the Jordanian armed forces. He also began canceling their citizenship.

According to a 2010 report by Human Rights Watch, between 2004 and 2008, the kingdom revoked the citizenship of several thousand Palestinian Jordanians and hundreds of thousands were considered at risk of losing their citizenship in an arbitrary process.

Today, concerns that Palestinians may assert their rights as the majority and so threaten the kingdom have given way to even greater fears. Demographic changes in Jordan in recent years have been so enormous that Palestinians may be the least of Abdullah’s worries. Indeed, it is far from clear that they are still the majority of the people in Jordan.

Since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, between 750,000 and a million Iraqis entered Jordan. Current data are not clear regarding how many of those Iraqis remain in Jordan today.

But whatever their number, they have been eclipsed by the Syrians.

Reconciliation, jihadi-style : Ruthie Blum

Palestinian officials met in Doha on Sunday, as part of a Qatar-led initiative to cause rival factions Fatah and Hamas to bury the literal and figurative hatchet. Turkey was also in on the act, ostensibly interested in getting the leaders in Ramallah and Gaza to present a united front for the sake of an agreement with Israel.
This is amusing, to put it mildly, since the only thing on which Fatah and Hamas actually do agree is the ultimate goal of annihilating the Jewish state.
They are at odds about everything else, including the pace at which their shared aim should be carried out. But mainly, they — like the rest of their Islamist brethren throughout the region and the world — are engaged in a deadly power struggle.
So perpetual is this battle that the so-called unity deals the two groups signed in the past, most recently in April 2014, have unraveled before the ink on their contracts was dry. But the signatures did serve an unwitting purpose: to show those who still could not see that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was a partner for jihad, not peace with Israel.
In order to hide the egg on their faces, all the leftist Israeli and foreign politicians and pundits who were making a distinction between Hamas, the recognized terrorist organization controlling Gaza, and Fatah, Abbas’ party ruling the PA, came up with a creative way to justify the internal rapprochement. Rather than saying they had been wrong to view Abbas as a moderate, the PA apologists said Abbas would now be able to speak on behalf of the entire Palestinian population when negotiating a two-state solution.
This was a moot point, of course, because Fatah and Hamas have never honored their own agreements with anyone. Furthermore, Abbas was not then, nor is now, interested in Palestinian statehood. So let us all rest assured that no good can come of the talks taking place in Doha right now. Oh, other than a reiteration of enmity on everyone’s part towards Israel.
As was reported in the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat ahead of the negotiations, Fatah and Hamas “were set to discuss ways to end divisions and to unite their ranks in the face of ‘Israeli aggression,’ stressing that unity was necessary to rebuild Gaza and end the Israeli blockade on the Strip.”
Where fighting Israel is concerned, consensus already exists, however. The current wave of violence against Jews, through the use of rocks, knives, cars and pipe bombs, is being carried out predominantly by PA Palestinians, not all Hamas loyalists.
For its part, Hamas is not only rebuilding the terror tunnels destroyed during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, but it keeps releasing videos boasting of this endeavor and threatening to kidnap and kill Israelis. Even Egypt is having a hard time flooding and demolishing all the new underground passageways Hamas has been digging to transport ISIS terrorists from the Sinai to Gaza for medical treatment, in exchange for weapons, cash and other contraband.
Hamas’ latest production, released on Sunday (coinciding with the jump-start of negotiations with Fatah in Qatar) is a music video calling on Palestinians to resume suicide bombings on Israeli buses — a practice that was hindered by Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. Preventing terrorists from infiltrating Israel on a daily basis to blow up innocent people riding to work or dining in restaurants was the whole purpose of closing off the hornet’s nest in the first place. And opening it up to enable a repeat performance is precisely what the parties in Doha, including Turkey, are demanding.

Yes, Many Journalists Choose Sides in a Conflict—and Often for the Worst Reasons Zenobia Ravji

It’s important to remember that journalists are human beings, too—and just like everyone else at work, they can often be overwhelmed, underprepared, bought with kindness, and subject to unconscious bias.

People always ask me if I’m pro-Israel. No one has ever asked me if I am pro-America or pro-Canada or pro-Kenya, where I was born. What does it mean to be pro-Israel? The question even seems vaguely offensive, as if it questions the legitimacy of Israel itself.
I am sure that the concept of a Jewish state has always made sense to me. Perhaps because I myself come from an ancient ethnic and religious minority, the Zoroastrians, who continue to live in a diaspora outside of what was once our homeland, Iran.
So I came to Israel with a predisposed understanding of the need for a state, a safe haven for a people that has been a global minority for millennia and continuously persecuted. But as for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I had no clue what was going on, who was right and who was wrong.
What I came to realize was that you simply cannot understand this highly complex, multidimensional situation unless you come see it for yourself and experience it for yourself, without preconceived notions. This is hard to do. So whom do we rely on to do it? For most people, it’s the Western media, and we presume they know what they’re doing. For the most part, they don’t.
I first came to Israel in January 2014 for a short trip. This two-week holiday turned into two years. At the time, I was a graduate student in journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While traveling, I stumbled on a really eye-opening story—“everyday life” in the West Bank. In the U.S., I was exposed to images of violence and chaos any time the West Bank was mentioned in the news. So when I accidentally ventured into the West Bank during my travels, I had no idea I was even there. I was surrounded by tranquil scenes, modern infrastructure, and economic cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis. I guess this was too boring to make any headlines.
I thought it would be interesting to show people the uneventful side of the story. This wasn’t to negate any social and political injustices of the situation. I just thought people should see the entire truth—not just soldiers, bombs, and riots, but also what’s happening when none of the drama is taking place.
And it wasn’t just the normalcy of life in the West Bank that went unreported. Many of the human rights violations by the Palestinian Authority were never mentioned, such as the lack of freedom of speech and the press, and a complete neglect of the Palestinian people by their own politicians, who continue to exploit the peace process while pocketing European and American funding for a “free Palestine.” My work, however, didn’t consist of criticizing the PA. I thought I should leave that to the “real” journalists. It was their job, after all, to report such things.

The Insanity of Jewish Philanthropy Funding Hamas Only the insane think that Jews should help Hamas kill Jews. Daniel Greenfield

Jane Kahn and Michael Bien, two activists with the anti-Israel New Israel Fund, had a complaint about San Francisco’s Jewish Community Federation. They were unhappy that JCF wouldn’t fund Hamas.

Or more specifically, they whined that “we were unable to make donations through our JCF donor-advised philanthropic fund to certain organizations that we support”. One of those organizations was the American Friends Service Committee because the JCF narrow-mindedly refuses to help fund groups that “endorse or promote anti-Semitism” or promote BDS.

The American Friends Service Committee does these things and more. It promotes BDS as if that were its religion right down to a “BDS Summer Institute”. And it has a long and troubled history with anti-Semitism from urging Jews to “tolerate some anti-Semitic remarks” to throwing a shindig for Iranian madman Ahmadinejad.

But, more importantly, the AFSC has urged the United States to deal with Hamas despite its call for the eradication of the Jewish people. It has a history of supporting Hamas front “charities” and its website defends Hamas and describes its murderous terror attacks against Israeli civilians as “the use of violence in resisting Israel’s occupation”. It tells supporters “U.S. government policy officially supports Israel’s continued siege on Gaza and the Isolation of Hamas. This is a situation that must end.” It urges supporters to demand a, “complete end to Israel’s siege on Gaza and engagement with Hamas.”

AFSC Palestine-Israel program director Mike Merryman-Lotze justifies anti-Semitic terrorism by arguing that, “Violence is the inevitable response.” AFSC figures advocate the destruction of Israel in various forms. AFSC coordinates with other extreme anti-Israel groups, including JVP. This isn’t a new development for the AFSC which has an ugly history of defending politically correct genocide.