Sunday, 24 July 2011

Kurds and Palestinians. A comparison.

A Jerusalem Post editorial reminded me of why we Israelis should highlight the recent declaration by Kurdish people of a democratic autonomy in North Kurdistan. They made this announcement in their new capital of Amed. New, that is, if the Turks, the Iranians, and the Iraqis do not ruthlessly put down this cry for independence, as they have done in the past. The Turks are already livid. North Kurdistan sits in a large area of southeastern Turkey.

Why is this important to Israel? Well, for one reason, the Kurdish case makes interesting comparison to the Palestinians.
The Kurds were overlooked when the Supreme Powers carved up the Mesopotamian region following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire after World War One.  Palestine was Mandated to Britain to be the National Home of the Jewish People. That was before Winston Churchill took a huge chunk of the land mass to be gifted to the Arabs as TransJordan.  The Kurds were not so fortunate. They were completely overlooked as the Allied Powers divided up their territory to the Turks, Iran, Iraq, and Syria.

It is clear that the Kurds were ethnically recognised people way before the Arabs concocted a Palestinian entity as a weapon to attack Israel.

Today, when it comes to Palestinians, the international community suddenly clamour for self-determination as the natural and inalienable right of each nationality, as the Jerusalem Post editorial reminded us. The international community should have the courage of its own convictions, if they truly stand by that principle, to encourage the self-determination of the Kurds. Let them not turn a blind eye so as not to offend Turkey, or Iraq, or even Iran. Let them, instead, place as much effort, funding, and resolutions in support for a sovereign state of North Kurdistan, as they have done for Palestinians. And if they don't, let them also back down on their poking of Israel in favour of Palestinian Arabs, lest they be accused of political hypocrisy.
If pressure and censure of Israel applies with regard to Palestinians, then so should censure and pressure be applied against Turkey, Iran, and Iraq in support of independence for the Kurds.

And here are some other strong reasons why Kurds should have preference, in the pecking order, over Palestinians.
Not only do the Kurds have longevity that Palestinian Arabs do not have, they also have far more genuine grievances and claims of genocide and human rights abuses than the Palestinians. Yes, I know that the Palestinians and their supporters have made global capital out of their perceived suffering but compared with the Kurds, they are living in Disneyland.
Perhaps one of the most startling statistics that lean in favour of an independent Kurdistan is there are an estimated thirty to thirty five million Kurds. This is far, far, more numerous than any estimation of Palestinian Arabs.
Unlike the Palestinians, the Kurds have distinctive characteristics. They have their own culture developed over the centuries. They have their own distinctive language. They established their own Republic of Ararat in 1927, way before there was any Arab nationalism, let alone a Palestinian one. Both Turkey and Iran brutally suppressed any Kurdish expression of self determination, until now. On the other hand, the Palestinian Arabs are indistinquishable from any other neighbouring Arab people, as the Jerusalem Post article reminded us. They share the same language, religion, culture. They have no unique ethnicity.
So why is it that the world is buzzing to establish recognition for a Palestinian state yet turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to the Kurds? One obvious reason is that the Kurds do not have the passionate and wealthy patrons of the Palestinians, namely the Arab states, Islamic interests, and the International Socialists (actually Marxist Communists) who have adopted the Palestinians as a stick to beat Israel with.
The Kurds would be better advised to set up hundreds of human rights NGOs who could then apply to the members of the European Union for funding to highlight their plight. Perhaps they should pick a quarrel with Israel. That always works. Maybe they should get some advise on this from Turkey. Oops!  Maybe not.  Actually, that's a brilliant idea. They should protest to the United Nations about the criminal acts of genocide. apartheid, inflicted on them by the racist Turkish regime. Don't forget, Kurds, to use expressions such as "war crimes", disproportionate use of force", "deliberately targeting civilians". And make sure you end with claims of "ethnic cleansing." That always works. I would recommend that the Kurds demand a commission of enquiry from the United Nations Human Rights Council to come and examine the crimes against the Kurds perpetrated by the Turks. Make sure you get Richard Goldstone. Christine Chinkin and  Navi Pillay will only get involved if you are ready to accuse Israel of human rights crimes.
Joking aside, the world couldn't care less what happens to the Kurds. They can continue to be slaughtered by the Turks  for all the human rights people care. They are not, you see, flavour of the month, year, decade, as the Palestinians are. There is no money and no political or career benefit in promoting the Kurds. There is also no motive with which the international community can beat Israel. So, sorry Kurds, you will just have to establish your independence on your own. And good luck to you. Israelis, at least, genuinely wish you success. I think that Israel has an interest is helping and supporting the Kurds, as we have in assisting South Sudan in their national endeavours.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Add Cape Town 1 to Durban 3.

This is an excerpt from a talk I gave to Telfed Raanana on July 21, 2011. Telfed is the association of South African immigrants in Israel.

As most of this audience is ex-South Africans let me begin by informing you of an event that will take place in Cape Town this November.
   Winnie Mandela with join Archbishop Desmond Tutu in what they are calling an “International People’s Court”. They will decide whether Israel is practicing apartheid against Palestinians.  The chair person announced that they would determine if the treatment of Palestinians by Israel meets the criteria of the United Nations convention against the crime of apartheid.
   This sounds wonderful, and these personalities will have the sympathy of the world as the perceived champions of the apartheid battle successfully won in South Africa in the last century. But, there is a disturbing undercurrent going on as we approach the date for this lynch mob trial against Israel. The chair person, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, said that the tribunal was being assembled to examine Israel’s “recognized violation of international law.”
   Another panel member is Ronnie Kasrils who is closely associated with the BDS Movement. In 2006 he said in an article in South Africa’s “Mail & Guardian”,
   “We no longer recognize the state of Israel. We could not recognize the apartheid regime. We call child murderers ‘child murderers.’”
   He also said “Those who use methods reminiscent of the Nazis must be told they are behaving like Nazis.”   He went on “We feel sorrow for those who died under rocket fire in Israel, but we do not blame Hizbollah or Palestinian resistance any more than we blamed the South African liberation forces when civilians died.”
In other words, for Kasrils, terrorism that slaughters civilians is OK. If you are on the side of the terrorists then civilian deaths can be justified. Kasrils said that this kangaroo court “must take strong measures against Israel. We applaud governments that decided to sever ties with Israel.” 
   Clearly, Israel is guilty before this hearing even begins. With the additional presence of Irish Mairead Maguire who participated in the 2010 Gaza flotilla, and Alice Walker, who participated in the 2011 Gaza flotilla, the odds are heavily stacked against Israel.
Another associate of this tribunal, Jackie Achmat, complained that Palestinians who hurled rocks at Israeli soldiers were being tried in military courts. “Even under apartheid, we didn’t have separate legal systems for black and white people.” His logic is confusing but, in Achmat’s words, any Israeli apartheid is worse than South Africa’s apartheid.  In late 2009, Achmat told an Open Shuhada Street audience that “95% of Israelis are racists.” It is clear what he thinks of Israelis in advance of the people’s court.
   Don’t expect Israel to participate in this witch hunt. Why is this significant for Israel? Because this panel will have international resonance to people who are impressed with names linked to the apartheid issue. Because a world will be inclined to listen to their voices and their decisions, even if their foregone conclusions are warped and incorrect. Because a powerful minority is forcing delegitimization onto Israel based on crimes against humanity, and apartheid is considered a crime against humanity.
   What they are ignoring is that true apartheid is being practiced by the Palestinians and the Arabs as they seek to remove the Jewish state of Israel from their presence in the Middle East. Not only apartheid but also incitement to genocide, and ethnic cleansing. To this we can add blatant anti-Semitism.
   In support of the Palestinians, this panel would accuse Israel of being a racist state but, in a recent poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, 73% of Palestinian polled supported Islamic teachings to murder Jews. 80% agreed with the Hamas Charter which says,
“The time will not come until the Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them, until the Jews hide behind trees and rocks who will cry out ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me. Come on and kill him!’”
   The Tutu/Mandela tribunal has no intention of examining or including this in their findings.
The poll found that 61% of Palestinians reject the idea of a peaceful Palestinian state living alongside Israel as a solution to the Arab/Israeli war. 66% said that their real goal should be to set up a Palestinian state alongside Israel as the first step to creating a single Palestinian-controlled state.  Kasrils clearly identifies with this ambition.
72% of Palestinians deny Jewish history and connection to the land of Israel. An overwhelming 92% of Palestinians say that Jerusalem should only be the Palestinian capital, and only 3% of them said it should be the capital of both Israel and a Palestinian state.
Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly said that any Palestinian state must be free of Jews – Judenrein. Is that not ethnic cleansing? Is that not apartheid? The Palestinian Authority has threatened that any Arab who sells land to a Jew will be executed. Is that not Nazi Nuremberg justice?
   These are just some of the extenuating circumstances that Israel finds itself in. These, together with three major and aggressive wars waged by the Arabs against the Jewish state together with decades of the most brutal and inhuman acts of terror, force Israel to fight for its survival.  Yet, the Cape Town delegitimizers have no intention of letting facts cloud their preconditioned judgment. Israel will be found guilty, and the implications will resound around the world.
   So, when I hear about Israel being compared to an apartheid state I am reminded what my friend, Raanan Gissin, told an audience at a recent IBCA event in Herzlia.  He said that he had compared Israel to South Africa and the only thing he could find was that Israel was roughly the size of South Africa’s Kruger National Park. That’s the place where they put their endangered species, fence the place off, and have an army of game wardens protect these endangered animals from people who come with weapons to kill them.  This reminded Gissin, and me, of Israel today.
   The Jews, an endangered species, found refuge in the Zionist state and are protected by our game wardens, the IDF, who defend us from those who come to kill us. The only difference between our game wardens and those in the Kruger Park is that sometimes our game wardens have to make house calls on those who want to kill us, before they set out to do so.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Palestinian unilateralism and '67 borders.

I was present at a remarkable session of the Israeli Knesset Forum in Jerusalem on July 13, 2011. many notable people expressed their views on the new Middle East, the striving for democracy, and the impending Palestinian strategy to establish a virtual form of statehood at the United Nations come September.
Here are the words of Dore Gold, who was once Israel's Ambassador to the United Nation. He subsequently wrote a book on that organization entitled "Tower of Babel." Here is what he told us at the Knesset;

"Frankly, we have no idea where the Middle East is heading. We hope that the revolution of freedom will grip the population, will affect the political system, and what will emerge will be a democratic peace. But we don’t know where we are today. Are we in 1945, are we in 1648, are we right after the last of the Crusades? Where are we? We have absolutely no idea. And because we have such uncertainty, when we are asked to take risks for peace, we have to approach this question with a wide variety of scenarios that could emerge. 
     General Amidror asked a rhetorical question. Can anybody guarantee that the regimes around us will be there in a few years? He wrote that in 2005. Can anyone guarantee who will be ruling Egypt? No. Do we know who will be ruling Syria next year? Absolutely not. And even our old partner for peace, Jordan, we can’t be certain who will be ruling that country in five or ten years. I will add one other element to this uncertainty. Iraq. We have been living with the reality where the American army has in one way or another has been inside Iraq, over Iraq, next to Iraq, basically since 1991, in one form or another. Iraq who is always viewed as the key element of Israel’s eastern front was removed from our equation for many years, but can anyone guarantee that Iraq as a democracy will succeed, and Iraq will become a beacon in the Arab world about how democracy works? Or, alternatively, will Iraq become a satellite of Iran? We don’t know. It is in that context, when we discuss the issue of Israel’s future borders, we have to take into account this range of possibilities.
    Israel actually has a legacy of several of our greatest leaders, I use the American analogy of the Mount Rushmore of Israel – Moshe Dayan, Itzchak Rabin, and Ariel Sharon – the architects of Israel’s national security doctrine, who left us with a very clear legacy, do not return to the 1967 lines. 
Rabin’s last speech in the Knesset, one month before he was assassinated, he told the members of the Knesset “We must preserve the Jordan Valley in the widest sense of the word.” Not the river bed, the eastern slopes of the West Bank hills. That was the legacy that we received. Many people like to throw off this legacy. So, what does that have to do with Palestinian unilateralism?  When you switch on the radio in the morning you hear that Abu Mazen is going to the U.N. to declare a state. It is as though states are declared at the United Nations. They are not. New states are declared in their capital. The recent new members of the international community, East Timor, Kosovo, South Sudan, were declared inside their countries, and then afterwards they are declared states by the UN. You don’t go to the UN to declare a state. There is a problem here of misinformation and ignorance.
    So what are the options for Mahmoud Abbas this coming September? Option 1 is to do like other states, which is to stand in Ramallah and go out on his balcony, or in his office, and declare a new Palestinian state. All indications today are that this is not what he wants to do. He wants to be passive and he wants to receive a Palestinian state on a silver platter. 
Which brings us to Option 2, for the Palestinians. This is to seek UN membership without declaring a state. This is sort of like driving a car without a driving license. That’s what he seems to be heading for. That’s what he wrote in the New York Times. That is what Saeb Erekat has said repeatedly in interviews. The serious problem, of course, because anyone who understand the UN Charter knows there is a procedure. You first have to go to the UN Security Council and, if it approved there, you take it to the General Assembly. But, in the Security Council, while we have had our differences with President Obama, he has been very clear that the Palestinian state will not be attained at the UN and we have every reason to believe that an effort to attain a Palestinian state through the Security Council, which is the normal order of events, will be vetoed by the United States. So if Abu Mazen doesn’t want to declare a state in Ramallah, if it’s known that a Palestinian state at the UN is not going to work, what’s his third option?
The third option is to go to the UN General Assembly and the UN General Assembly is the place where you the clarity of resolutions, the power of resolutions, but they are not binding on international law. They don’t change anything in the reality of the Middle East. So what is he going to gain by going to the UN General Assembly? There will be a resolution that says;

Clause 1. There should be a Palestinian state.
Clause 2. It should be recognized by the member states of the United Nations.
Clause 3. (This is the critical clause.). The borders of the Palestinian state should be the lines of June 4, 1967.

    If that is his goal, and that is what I suspect is his goal, and those that are intimately involved in his decision making have admitted to me, his goal will be to enshrine the 1967 lines at the UN General Assembly. In other words, just at a time when we look at the region as Israelis and we see complete uncertainty around us, where no one can guarantee whether we are heading, to democratic stability or greater chaos, Abu Mazen will try to determine where the future borders of Israel will be. He will put us exactly back to the lines that the fathers of our national security doctrine, Dayan, Rabin, Sharon, said we must never pull back to.  And that includes withdrawing from the Jordan Valley.
    Therefore, I see, when I look at the developments that are going on in the Middle East, when I look at the challenge of Palestinian unilateralism, and if I look at a Knesset anxious to take part in the struggle for Israel’s future, that the struggle we are going to face come September is the struggle for defensible borders. It is a struggle to make sure that we are not going to be pushed back to lines that our leaders have said are indefensible. There were diplomats 44 years ago at the UN who once supported not going back to them.

    I close with one final observation. Resolution 242 never called on Israel to fully withdraw from the territories that it captured in a war of self defense in 1967. To impose that on Israel is simply changing the goalposts and changing the rules of the game. We have a collective obligation together to defend Israel’s rights to borders that can be defended.

IRWIN COTLER, a member of the Canadian Parliament, and a former Minister of Justice, added an important rider to Dore Gold’s statement;  

"Dore spoke of UN resolution 242 and a non return to 1967 borders. I think it is important not only to address this matter on the principle of security which is clearly there. It should also be put on the principle of international law, especially when you make the representation to a President like Barack Obama in a language that he can understand. 
    Simply put, I will use this analogy. State A targets State B in a war of aggression, not once, not twice, but three times. If the target State B, and I’ll give it a name, if target State B – Israel – is then required to return all the territory to aggressor State A, this not only licenses him, but rewards acts of aggression. It means that states can wage war with impunity, with the full knowledge that they have no indemnification to make, or to be held accountable. 
     So, there is a principle under international law that says, and former Prime Minister Begin used it again and again, that no one can profit from the commission of an illegal act. And if Israel goes back to 1967 borders, it not only licenses, but rewards, acts of aggression. I think we should be using an international law that is applied, generally speaking, in international relations. 
It should also apply with respect to the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Important initiative from the Israeli Knesset.

Today, July 13,2001, I attended a landmark initiative from Israel's Knesset.
The Knesset Forum on International Relations launched a hearing on Middle East Democracy. In a session that achieved a broad coalition of cross party support a statement was issued from the seat of Israel's parliament which read:

Whereas demonstrations, riots, and revolutions have rocked the Middle East from Morocco to Iran and political stability, violence, and call for change of government have touched over a dozen countries in this region, all people have the right to live free from dictatorship and live in safety and security.

At a time when people throughout the Middle East seek to create systems of liberty free of corruption, extremist forces seek to turn popular hope into personal power. These forces of violence do not respect the basic rights of freedom and liberty and danger the yearning for freedom across the region and the world.

Therefore, it is resolved that the Knesset Forum on International Relations;
1. Supports the desire of the people in the Middle East to live freely and enjoy democratic freedom, and
2. Recognizes the necessity for Israel's security needs at a time of great instability in the region, and
3. Appeals to the global community to support Israel as a beacon of democracy and human right, and
4. Condemns extremists forces that promote violence and bloodshed, and
5. Calls on the international community to isolate radical elements that oppose freedom, and
6. Conveys hope for the rest of the Middle East to enjoy the benefits of democratic rights.

For better or worse, Israel is an integral part of the Middle East and, with it's record of freedoms and example of a liberal democracy, it has lots to offer to regional nations groping in the dark for the door of true democracy.

We were assured that this was only the initial meeting of this new initiative, and that Israel intends to turn these fine words into finer deeds for the benefit of the region.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011


Over a cold drink in the Netanya sun, a London contact of mine asked me an interesting question while we were discussing the future of Israel.
"So, where is the next great Aliyah to Israel going to come from?"
Without hesitation I responded, "The Anusim. The secret Jews."
   I am no expert on this subject. I staggered across this amazing and hidden drama of Jewish history by accident.
  While browsing through the shelves of a Barnes & Noble bookstore during a vacation stopover in Florida, I picked up a tantalisingly entitled book. It was called "Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean." I thought it would be a light chuckle of an easy holiday read while we fittingly sailed through the Caribbean on a cruise to Panama. It was written by Ed Kritzler, and it turned out to be an amazing read. It had little to do with swashbuckling antics, a la Johnny Depp. Instead, it was a profound study of Spanish Jews who were hounded by a cruel and dogmatic Catholic Church that tortured, expelled, and burnt Jews to death in public exhibitions of massacre if they failed to convert to the Christian faith. This persecution chased them across four continents.  The death toll was enormous. Jews who could not escape adopted an overt Christianity, while many risked death by overtly maintaining Jewish rituals at home. A large number ensured their heritage by marrying people of the faith who also outwardly appeared to be members of the Catholic faith.
  I assumed that these Jews were long lost to Christianity until fate brought me back to this intriguing topic. I helped a client to find a new home in Netanya. Gloria Mound had made the move from Gan Yavne in the south of Israel to be close to the Netanya Academic College who had contracted to receive her 40 year old archives on the Anusim, the forgotten Jews of Spain and Portugal. She, and her husband, had sent decades investigating, researching, and recording the history of this people. They came across many who admitted, in deepest confidence, that they were Jewish but did not want this information to become public. They lived in a society to this day as secret Jews and felt concerned should this knowledge be known to their neighbours, friends, and the general society in which they lived and worked, which was exclusively and outwardly Christian as it has been for centuries. Buried underground, they were hesitant to announce their core faith. Even today, they are the closet Jews.
   But there are signs of an awakening. The Jerusalem Post of July 12, 2011 had an article "Chuetas of Majorca recognized as Jewish." The article displayed a member of the newly announced Jewish community in Palma de Majorca dancing with a Torah at the Shavei Israel's seminary for Bnei Anusim. In may of this year there had been a memorial service in Palma, commemorating the execution of 37 Chueta Jews for practicing Judaism in secret. They, including Rabbi Raffi Valla, who was the secret rabbi of the Anusim, were burned alive.
   The grave injustice done to the Jews has been blotted out of Spanish history. This shameful chapter has been kept secret from Spaniards but, increasingly Spanish authorities are being asked to open their archives so that researchers can study official records that had not been seen for centuries.
   DNA tests done on Portugal reveal that as many as six million Portuguese have some degree of  Jewish blood in their veins. Secret Jews inhabit the Caribbean, Central and South America. Slowly, inevitably, people are becoming curious in discovering their roots. They volunteer their names and details to researchers who examine family trees, name and location associations, in order to establish a more detailed record of the Anusim.
   Israel is witnessing the early signs of a return to open Judaism. This is increasingly linked with a desire to start a new life, with their new pride in their identity, in Israel.
   There are a number of organisations who have outreach programs to these secret Jews. They include the Shavei Israel organisation, and the International Institute for Secret Jews (Anusim) Studies which includes the Casa Shalom Library, at the Netanya Academic College.
   I am proposing setting up a special Facebook group for Anusim.  This group will have information published in English and Spanish. Anyone interested in helping with this research, or have information, should contact me and I will pass you over to the right person. We are aware that many people may be curious as to their roots, yet not ready to make any public disclosure. Concerns for confidentiality will be strictly observed. 
   Many people who are involved with this yet to be fully discovered section of Judaism, feel like I do. That these people, when the awakening becomes public and larger in numbers, will become the next huge wave of Aliyah to Israel, which is the only place they can truly enjoy the freedom to openly celebrate and appreciate their faith.

Friday, 8 July 2011

The delegitimization of the delegitimizers.

This year's version of the Gaza flotilla is dead in the water. Sunk by a changed perception of them by public opinion, and European authorities who are fed up with them.
Last year they were flavor of the month. Their mission hit headlines with the action that took place on the Turkish "Mavi Marmara" ship. The world forgot that five other ships were tamely towed into Ashdod port and the passengers deported.
What was behind the utter failure of the Gaza flotilla exercise?
Following the refusal of the Turks to not only allow the "Mavi Marmara" sail, but also to disallow their ports to be used as launch pads for yet another anti-Israel exercise, the organizers decided to base their fleet in a Greek port before setting out on their provocative cruise to Hamas. Big mistake!
They did not take into consideration the warming of ties between Greece and Israel. This diplomatic embrace suits both countries. Israel, following violent verbal and physical confrontation from an increasingly Islamic Erdogen government, turned to Greece as a convenient and useful counter. Greece, struggling with a serious economic crisis, welcomed Israeli advances with open arms. Increasing Israel investment and tourism into Greece will significantly assist the Greek economy. Israelis share a love of Greek culture. It was a natural fit.
Past Greek governments had been quite radically left wing but recent trends have made the current government much more pragmatic. So, when the Gaza flotilla fly approached the Greek spider's web, Israel requested the Greek authority to recognize the ships as representing a provocative act against a friendly country. The Greeks obliged by refusing to grant sailing permits to the boats. When a number of them tried to sneak out of port the Greek coast guard chased them down, returned them to port, and arrested the captains.
Gradually, the number of passengers drifted back home as defeat stared them in the face.
The Israeli Government had learned from last year's events. This time they employed a great deal of diplomatic effort and succeeded in showing several European leaders the false flotilla propaganda pretense to the extent that a number of countries, apart from Turkey, refused to accept the flotilla and did nothing to assist them when the radicals asked for their help. The diplomatic cooperation was a success for Israeli governmental ministries involved in strengthened ties with their counterparts in mainland Europe. Not only did the Gaza flotilla fail to increase the delegitimization of Israel, by their action they affected a public legitimization of the Jewish state by many southern European nations who displayed common sense and close cooperation with Israel.
Not only was the Gaza flotilla circus a victory for Israeli diplomacy it was also a stunning success for the massive social media efforts of a small group of volunteers. An office and computers were provided by the Interdisciplinary Center in Israel's Herzlia and a team of savvy people created the architecture of a grassroots organization that pumped out facts, information, articles, videos, discrediting the message of the flotilla organizers. They set up a website,Twitter accounts, and numerous Facebook groups made up of pro-Israel lawyers, doctors, teachers, activists, NGOs, bloggers. The team translated material into various languages and attracted pro-Israeli activists in their own mother tongue. The network grew rapidly. Feedback clearly indicated that the general public was prepared to listen to their case and be persuaded that the flotilla narrative was a lie, that there was no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, except in the case of Gilad Shalit, and that these so-called "human rights activists" refused to help a person held for five years in isolation by the Hamas authority that they wished to embrace. This hypocrisy turned public opinion against them.
The social media structure that has connected millions of people in record time has been described as a pro-Israel Facebook revolution, though other forms of social media, apart from Facebook, were operated with successful results.
An added value to their success was the cooperation between this small group of grassroots volunteers and the authorities.  Research exposed names, organizations, and links that led to hundreds of extremists being prevented from flying into Israel to cause chaos and disruption. The material found will be a rich source of intelligence that can be used to identify the money trail back from the radical groups to the donors. It could cause embarrassment for a number of countries, foundations, and other official bodies.
If the social media was responsible for the Arab Spring, the same tools were used in this Israeli Summer. The structure is on place to be used by groups on an ongoing basis. More importantly, it has become a powerful communication instrument to reclaim the Israeli narrative and allow Israel to take the moral high ground where it rightly belongs.

Saturday, 2 July 2011


Gaza today is a middle class society being portrayed by the flotilla, and BDS crowd, as one of the greatest humanitarian disasters on earth. The 2011 flotilla is sailing just days after Gaza City opened its second super shopping mall replete with a wide range of goods, mostly supplied by Israel. By the way, most of the building material, including the moving escalators, came from Israel.
   Even assuming that Palestinians can’t survive on an excess of one and a half billion dollars of  annual international aid plus a local economy that is growing at a double digit rate per annum, thanks to the cooperation of Israel, why are these flotilla people blowing more than ten million Euros on a publicity circus?          Danny Williams in the February 2, 2011 edition of “Liberal Conspiracy”  said that this figure only covered the hire of the ships but did not include the fuel,  personal expenses, or the needless aid which, in the case of the American ship, seems to be an essential bundle of love letters to the people of Gaza. Will Gazans survive without this essential humanitarian aid, I wonder, if “The Audacity of Hope” gets diverted to Ashdod?
   William’s assessment did not include the more recent addition of a Jordanian ship for which Jordanians miraculously found $805,000 to buy this boat. And you thought they were also struggling to make end meet?
The twisted logic of anti-Israel radicals can pervert anything. Take the example of the “Juliano” ship of the flotilla.  This boat was named after Juliano Mer, an Israel Arab from Haifa who closely identified with the Palestinian cause to the extent that he organized a theatre in Jenin. Mer was gunned down outside his theatre by Palestinian gunmen. Yet, despite the fact that he was murdered by Palestinians the activists can push credence to such an extreme degree as to name a boat after him as part of their Palestinian platform and use it to condemn Israel. They are unable to find the irony in their decision.
   The American radicals involved with the “The Audacity of Hope” have fronted their publicity stunt with useful idiots who purport to champion minority civil rights.  Alice Walker may be  author of The Color Purple, but it is the Code Pink  radical movement who intend to arrive in Gaza and embrace the Hamas  leaders of Gaza and hand them their love letters with speeches of support.                                                       Do these people not know that this Islamic terror regime came to power in a brutal and bloody coup during which they threw opposition members of rooftops to their death? Do they not know that Hamas is imposing a radical Shariah law in Gaza that marginalizes women, permits honor killings, executes and tortures gays, and put their children into military style summer camps where they are taught how to kill Jews? When they return to the calm of mid America will they then realize the insanity of what they have done? I doubt it.
   In their political ignorance and blindness they do not realize that, in their meddling, they are delegitimizing the Palestinian Authority.   One of the chief organizers of the flotilla, Joe Catron, announced in the Palestine News Network that the flotilla is indeed a political provocation. When has it pretended to be anything else?” They think they are attacking the legitimacy of Israel. Israel will simply impound the boats, deport the radical activists and misguided passengers, and get on with life. The real and profound damage of this expensive charade will be to undermine the so-called moderate arm of Palestinian society, namely the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority. By openly embracing Hamas, an act that would be magnified by the close attention of the media horde, they strengthen the Palestinian extremists who wish to ratchet up the violence, and they weaken a Palestinian political element on whom any hope for peace and reconciliation depends upon. The sheer act of heading for Hamas, and ignoring the cooperative venture between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, highlights what really lies at the malevolent heart of the Gaza flotilla. It is a deliberate provocation to a success story of mutual interest.  They know it. This is what Catron meant by his words.
   Israel and the official Palestinian Authority ship massive amounts of aid, money, goods, and services to Gaza through official, efficient, and supervised channels. Surely this is what they should have been promoting?  The truth is the flotilla organizers are not interested in a peaceful solution. That is the evil insanity of this flawed mission.

There are Jewish floaters on the flotilla boats. What is that all about? How can these people embrace Hamas Gaza? Have they not read Article 7 of the Hamas Charter?  How can they hug and kiss people whose motivation is enshrined in these words;

   “The time will come when the Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them until the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees who will cry out ‘Oh Muslim! There is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him!’”

   Notice this Hamas Charter does not talk of Israeli, or Zionists. They talk of Jews.  To be honest, I did not know where to categorize the American Jews who are sailing to support the racist, Anti-Semitic, Hamas. Are they insane? Are they immoral? I think they are both. They are worse than useful idiots. They are traitors to their people and to their faith. Shame on them!
    Much more can be said about the insanity of the Gaza flotilla. It certainly is not a humanitarian mission. The International Red Cross and the United Nations have said so. Insanity and immorality merge when describing the excessive activism that goes into promoting the fraud of the Palestinian condition.   The World Bank statistics show that 15 million children die of hunger every year. None die of hunger in Gaza.  They also state that well over 500 million people live in absolute poverty in Asian, Africa, and Latin American countries.  Why are these flotilla people heading to a prospering society?  By the way, the International Herald Tribune on June 27, 2011, reported that an additional two luxury hotels are opening up in Gaza in July. They also record something we have known for some time, that thousands of new cars are flooding the wide new streets of Gaza, and two dozen new schools are in the advanced planning stage.
   Wouldn’t the efforts of the flotilla, if they were genuine humanitarians, be better appreciated in more desperate parts of the world? It would, but then they wouldn’t be able to beat on Israel, would they?
So we are back to the main aim of the flotilla which is a political provocation organized by people who support Hamas or other terrorists. Catron, who I referred to earlier, is a leading member of the International Solidarity Movement. This is an organization of hardened radicals who aid and abet terrorists as they did when they protected the two British suicide bombers who were on their way to blow up Israelis in Mikes Place on the Tel Aviv beachfront on April 30, 2003. Three were killed and more than 50 injured by their “charitable” act.
   The immorality is pretending to offer substantial help to Gazans while their real intent is to discredit Israel with a bunch of lies.
   These pretend humanitarians, who claim to be coming to champion the abused human rights of people in Gaza,  have studiously ignored the human rights of one lonely guy in Gaza. Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists who infiltrated into Israel over five years ago and dragged this Israeli back into Gaza where they are holding him in defiance of human rights, and in defiance of the Geneva Convention.  In June, they refused the demand of the International Red Cross to have access to Shalit, or to receive evidence of sign of life.  Shalit has been held in isolation for five years. Hamas has consistently refused access to him. They have refused to give details of his condition or even if he is still alive. They have tainted his family with mock demonstrations of a desolate and aging Shalit being terrorized by Hamas. One of the main flotilla activists, Dror Feiler, asked the head of the Free Gilad Shalit campaign to give him a letter to produce if and when the flotilla mob get to Gaza.  The Shalit guy correctly conditioned the release of a letter to Gilad to the Gaza flotilla people personally delivering it to Gilad and not simply use it as a publicity stunt.  Not surprisingly, they did not respond to this condition.                                                                                                                            That is the immorality and fraud of their mission. It has zero to do with human rights. It does nothing to protect Israel. It does nothing to advance a peace process. It interferes with cooperative ventures between Israel and the Palestinians via the official and recognized channel. It has more to do with hate of Israel than love for Palestinians. It is an extravagant waste of money that appalls those involved with genuine humanitarian missions.

Now we come to the criminal actions of this fraudulent campaign. The Israeli blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza is legal. International law says so. No matter how much these radicals may protest, this is an inevitable truth. So their provocative actions, in attempting to break this blockade, gives support to an internationally recognized terrorist organization that targets innocent Israeli civilians in rocket and mortar attacks, suicide missions, and kidnapping of Israelis for ransom.  Israel is within its rights to defend its citizens. It provides full logistical support for the transfer of aid, goods, and services to the people of Gaza. The Israeli blockade is legal. The action of the flotilla in defying international law is, therefore, illegal.  And they know it.
   Allow me to add another element of the illegality of the flotilla, namely the media that are accompanying the radicals. Let me explain this point with an anecdote.

   A local reporter hears that his friend is planning a major bank robbery. He asks his friend to join him on the heist in the interests of getting the scoop on this breaking event. He joins the gang on their ride to the bank, enters the bank with the robbers and witnesses the job in action. He is on the spot when the police arrive in force. After a scuffle they overcome the bank robbers but also arrest him.
   “Wait!” he demands. “You can’t arrest me. I’m a reporter. I have immunity under freedom of the press!”
   “Screw you,” replied the police chief. “You’re an accomplice. You’re nicked!”

The media decided to embed themselves with the flotilla crowd knowing they were setting out to defy the law. Faced with punishment when they are towed into an Israeli port with the rest of the passengers they are claiming “freedom of the press” as their excuse for immunity from criminal charges being lodged against them. Many would argue for a free press, but when journalists side with people defying the law, especially when they are terrorist supporting radicals, they have crossed that red line between honor and cynical dishonesty, even illegality.


Friday, 1 July 2011


A local newspaper reporter had a criminal friend who was planning a bank robbery.
The reporter asked his pal to join the criminals gang on the bank heist and the robber agreed.
They drove together, the reporter, his friend, and the gang, to the scene of the crime. The reporter joined the gang as they burst into the bank, frightened the customers, and demanded the money from the bank staff.
Before they could make off with their loot the police arrived in numbers. There was a scuffle. Some of the gang violently resisted arrest and people were hurt.
All were arrested, including the newspaper reporter.
"But I'm a journalist!", he protested. "I have immunity under freedom of the press!"
"Screw you," said the cop. "You've been nicked."

The Gaza flotilla sets out on its Mediterranean cruise knowing that their act is illegal. The Israeli blockade on Gaza is legal. International law clearly says so. The maritime radicals willingly set out to break that law, and the media have asked to join them. The media are, therefore, embedded with those embarking on an illegal act and in the full knowledge that they are breaking the law. As in the parable, the journalists did not ask to join the police. Instead, they rushed to join the radicals. Like the local reporter,they are, in effect, aiding and abetting in a crime.  Like the local reporter, they should be arrested and punished.
If they get away this time we may find them embedded with terrorists next time. After all, they often broadcast the motivation of these killers rather than cover the personal tragedy that they cause.
The press, it seems, has no interest in presenting a full and fair picture. It simply takes one side of a story and projects it from the perspective of the author. This is bias reporting. When their reports do not accurately and fully reflect the position of the legitimate party to a conflict their work is tainted with dishonesty.
Freedom of the press is no excuse to avoid justice.