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August 29, 2016 / 25 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Brussels’

Analysis: One Scary Outcome of Brexit Could Be Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn

Friday, June 24th, 2016

As a million more Britons said no than yes to their country’s EU membership, Israel’s future relationship with the UK may take a downturn, and not because of the argument Prime Minister David Cameron was making during his campaign to remain in the Union.

Cameron earlier this week told an audience at the Jewish Care dinner in London that he wants to be at the EU discussion table, influencing policy whenever the EU decides on yet another anti-Israel move. Cameron also attacked Brexit proponent UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s message as being “opposite of everything that makes Britain great.”

“When we’re fighting terrorism and Islamist extremism are we better doing that out on our own or fighting together with our European partners,” Cameron said at the dinner (which raised almost $7 million). “When Europe is discussing its attitude towards Israel do you want Britain – Israel’s greatest friends – in there opposing boycotts, or do you want us outside the room, powerless to affect the conversation.”

It’s a nice argument, made by the same greatest friend of Israel who only last February called Israeli construction in eastern Jerusalem “genuinely shocking” during a discussion in Parliament. “I am well-known for being a strong friend of Israel, but I have to say the first time I visited Jerusalem and had a proper tour around that wonderful city and saw what had happened with the effective encirclement of East Jerusalem, occupied East Jerusalem, it is genuinely shocking,” Cameron said during a weekly question-answer session.

With friends like that…

But that’s water under the bridge now, on Friday morning, after Cameron has already announced he is quitting his post as Prime Minister since Britain had voted to leave the European Union after being a member since the 1970s. “We must now prepare for a renegotiations with the EU,” he said, explaining that “above all this will require strong determined and committed leadership. I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in that direction.”

The Labour party’s response to the referendum results was a masterpiece of spin. Unlike the Conservatives, who were split over Brexit, Labour was all out in favor of remaining in the EU. Now read the Labour talking points as sent out to members Friday morning:

“Clearly many communities across our country feel left behind and cut off by the political establishment in Brussels and Westminster. This was a rejection of the status quo by millions of people who are not sharing in the wealth of this country, for whom the economy is not working.

“After this divisive campaign and close vote, the first task is to come together and heal the divisions. Our country is divided and things need to change. Politicians on all sides must respect the voice of the British people, who have spoken.

“Labour is the only party that can meet the challenge we now face. We realize that people want politicians who put them first. As the party that stands up for working people, Labour is best placed re-unite the country – we can do so as we did not engage in project fear, and we share people’s dissatisfaction with the status quo, which is why we put a critical case for both remain and reform.

“In making this argument Labour showed that it is far closer to the centre of gravity of the British public than other political parties. Jeremy is uniquely placed as a critical remainer. He understands why people voted to leave, he understood people’s criticisms of Europe – and is the only leader of a major party in Britain to whom that applies.”

The talking points document concluded:

“The Tories cannot possibly provide the leadership we need — they are divided from top to bottom. It is hard to see how David Cameron has a long-term future as Prime Minister, but Labour’s immediate priority is to stabilize the country and the markets.”

Possibly. Which would throw a new, more menacing light on Cameron’s warnings regarding Israel’s only friend in Great Britain: should the Tories exit stage-right, Israel would not need to worry so much about facing a more hostile European Union, rather it should be concerned about facing arch-anti-Israel Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

JNi.Media

‘Bye Bye Brussels!’ – Britain Votes to Leave the EU

Friday, June 24th, 2016

British citizens are done with being one of many — 28, to be precise — and they made their views clear in a referendum Thursday with a vote to leave the European Union.

They wanted their borders back, their own British Pound Sterling, thank you, and the safety of being able to make their own security decisions.

The vote was called late Thursday night at 52 percent in favor of ‘Brexit’ as the leaving was called, and 48 percent against, according to ITV and the BBC.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who said his position would be ‘untenable’ if the country chose not to remain within the EU, now finds himself having to decide his next move. Cameron had warned there would be “no turning back” if the UK were to separate itself from the European body, looking at the impact on banks and other financial institutions as well as other issues.

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage described a poster showing a line of asylum seekers as “a statement about the whole of the European Union,” according to CNN. Farage delivered a victory speech to supporters upon hearing the news of the final results at a polling station in Birmingham.

The ‘victory’ may be a bit premature, however: Scotland warned from the outset that should England decide to leave the EU, the decision would launch a discussion about whether or not to hold another referendum on whether or not to secede from the United Kingdom.

Should Scotland vote for independence, the UK decision to leave the European Union — which may ultimately lead to the disintegration of the EU — will have led to its own dissolution as well.

Analysts around the world are now weighing the effect of the British decision on the world economy and it impacts individual nations along with their currencies, pension funds and banking systems. It is also not clear what effect this will have on the British Jewish community both in the United Kingdom and abroad.

In trading Thursday night, the British pound Sterling fell against the U.S. dollar and against the euro; however, the euro fell against the Japanese yen as well. All three stock markets dropped, and were set to open lower on Friday.

Political leaders in Europe are now deeply concerned that the split that exists in England may continue to divide other member states in the EU, prompting them to leave as well and perhaps lead to the dissolution of the entire European body.

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli Leaders Slam PA’s Abbas for Blood Libels and Lies in EU Speech

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
by Michael Bachner, TPS

Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, responded on Thursday evening to harsh and false attacks voiced earlier against Israel by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas during his speech at the European Union Parliament in Brussels.

Abbas urged the world to take action against “Israeli atrocities” and repeating debunked rumors that Israeli rabbis had “called to poison Palestinian water supplies.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the speech, saying that Abbas had “showed his true face” in Brussels. “Someone who refuses to meet the president and myself for direct negotiations and who spreads blood libels before the European Parliament, is lying when he claims that his hand is extended in peace,” said Netanyahu.

The prime minister was referring to the potential meeting between Abbas and his Israeli counterpart Rivlin proposed by EU Council President Donald Tusk that Abbas bluntly refused to attend.

“Israel is waiting for the day when Abu Mazen stops spreading lies and engaging in incitement,” Netanyahu added, referring to Abbas by his nickname. “Until then Israel will continue to defend itself against Palestinian incitement that motivates acts of terrorism.”

Abbas harshly attacked Israel during his speech, calling its policies towards Arabs from the Palestinian Authority “racist” and “fascist.” He also said the PA is prepared to make peace with Israel — even as he rejected a single meeting with Rivlin while the two were in the same building at the same time, for the very same purpose.

“Our hands are extended with a desire to peace,” he claimed, directing his remarks to Israel. “We have the political will to achieve peace and we ask, do you have the same will to achieve peace and to acknowledge the historic injustice that your state has exacted on our country?”

President Rivlin also responded to Abbas’ speech on Thursday, expressing disappointment that Abbas has refused to meet with him.

“It is strange that Abbas repeatedly refuses to meet with Israeli leaders and then repeatedly turns to the international community for support,” said Rivlin in a statement. “We cannot build on the trust we have built if we do not start talking directly without intermediaries. Direct talks are the only way to build confidence and restore the conditions for peace between Palestinians and Israelis.”

Israeli lawmaker and former Shin Bet domestic intelligence chief Avi Dichter, who chairs the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee also responded to what he called the “falsehoods” propounded by Abbas during his Brussels speech.

“With a series of historical distortions and crocodile tears, Abu Mazen today described the 1948 Palestinian ‘Nakba‘ [Arabic for ‘disaster’], without mentioning the fact that the Arab leaders in 1947 were the ones who determined their fate,” said Dichter.

“The Jewish leaders accepted the partition plan, while the ‘Abu Mazens’ of that time rejected the United Nations proposal and the Arab armies invaded Israel in order to wipe out the Jews and take 100 percent of Israel.”

Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon responded to the speech as well, referring to Abbas’ claim that Ya’alon and Ehud Barak, a former Israeli prime minister, recently called Israel was a “fascist” state. While Barak did make a similar accusation, Ya’alon did not.

“Abu Mazen is not only lying as usual, continuing his malicious blood libels against the State of Israel,” wrote Ya’alon on his Facebook page, “he is also exploiting the healthy democratic discourse in Israeli society, which does not exist in his society and is putting words in my mouth I did not say.

“Abu Mazen’s conduct, speeches and evasions of direct negotiations with Israel without preconditions are further proof that he never intended to go for an agreement, including recognition of our right to exist as the only nation state of the Jewish people,” Ya’alon added.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Abbas Tells EU ‘No Meeting With Rivlin’ in Brussels

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is big on talking all about his desire for peace and a final status agreement with Israel. But acting on those words is quite another story.

Abbas bluntly rejected a proposal by the European Union that he meet with Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin in Brussels. The two men were in the European Union’s main governmental headquarters for meetings with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, and to address the EU Parliament about the peace process.

Donald Tusk, the president of the EU Parliament tried to broker the meeting between Abbas and Rivlin, but the Palestinian Authority leader refused.

At a joint news conference with Mogherini, Rivlin expressed disappointment in the rejection.

“On a personal level, I find it strange that my friend Abu Mazen refuses again and again to meet with Israeli leaders… Instead, he turns again and again to the support of the internal community,” he said. “We can talk directly,” he pointed out. “We can find a way to build confidence.”

Israel has repeatedly emphasized the importance of direct talks and after decades of failed multilateral talks has rejected that option as a way to reach a final status agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli President in Brussels: Israeli-EU Relations Independent of Peace Deal

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – President Reuven Rivlin said that current European Union (EU) efforts to bring about a final arrangement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority should not overshadow the importance of bilateral ties between Israel and the EU, following a meeting in Brussels with President of the European Council Donald Tusk.

“The advancement of peace in the Middle East is a vital interest for Israel,” emphasized Rivlin. “At the same time, I believe that the bilateral relations between us can grow and develop independently.”

The Israeli president, who met with Tusk as part of a several day tour throughout Europe in which he is scheduled to meet with dignitaries of Belgium, the EU and NATO, viewed the Israeli-EU relationship as having great prospects of success.

“This is my first visit to the institutions of the EU as president of the State of Israel, and I see it as a sign of the great importance of relations between Israel and the European Union,”  said Rivlin.

“The EU is an integral partner with Israel in the fields of trade, science, environment and culture,” he continued.

Rivlin also claimed that Israel’s ties with Europe were founded on common values.

‘We share the fundamental values of democracy, freedom of expression, liberalism and human dignity,” Rivlin added. “These values are a solid basis on which to expand cooperation in other areas.”

President Tusk concurred with Rivlin. “We share many values and join forces together on a variety of issues,” Tusk said. “There is a deep partnership between the EU and Israel.”

Tusk touched on the need for the continued partnership between Israel and the EU in the battle against terrorism.

“I expressed to the president my condolences on the recent terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, and we discussed ways to deepen our cooperation against terrorism,” Tusk said. “There is no better place than Brussels to discuss this issue today.”

The European Council president added that a peaceful resolution between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is of vital importance to the European Union.

“A sustainable peace is a very high priority for the European Community,” Tusk stressed. “The EU is ready to support peace with unprecedented assistance and cooperation with both sides.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Analysis: Trump Giving Israel a Bad Name with ‘Profiling’ Comment

Monday, June 20th, 2016

“I think profiling is something that we’re going to have to start thinking about as a country,” GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump told CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday, using Israel as an example for a place where this method is flourishing and yielding results. “You look at Israel and you look at others, and they do it and they do it successfully. And you know, I hate the concept of profiling, but we have to start using common sense,” he said.

Sadly, as Israel is being drawn with increasing frequency into the US presidential elections, with the Democrats using the Israeli-Arab conflict as a battle field between the Sanders and Clinton proxies, bits of prejudice and misinformation about the life and politics of the Jewish State are coming to the fore and, more often than not, spreading more ignorance than knowledge about it.

Donald Trump’s cartoon depiction of Israel’s security forces’ strategies is a case in point. A few years ago, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was elected on a promise to do away with police racial profiling, because it perpetuated decades of abuse when African-Americans and Latinos would be routinely stopped and frisked by police. But predictive profiling, which takes into account multiple elements in an individual’s manner and appearance, is a crucial component of law enforcement work, and it’s much more complex than just skin color and religion.

Not according to the BBC, which informed its listeners on Sunday: “Profiling uses ethnicity, race and religion to determine whether a person has or is likely to commit crimes.”

And, sadly, this is probably what Trump meant when he shared with Face the Nation what he had taken from Israel’s security strategies. In a sense, Trump’s and the BBC’s notions of profiling come down to the store detective who spots a black person coming in and sticks to them expecting that they are more likely than others to shoplift.

If Israel’s security forces had used this yardstick in their approach to predictive profiling it would have choked not just its international airports, but traffic on the streets in many cities, too. If all you need to be in order to trigger security response is dark-skinned or Muslim, three-quarters of Israelis would spend their days and nights in police stations.

Chris Weller, who last year reported in Business Insider about his experience as a foreign, non-Jewish traveler at Ben Gurion airport, noted that “no flight leaving Ben Gurion has ever been hijacked, and the airline servicing Israel, El Al, hasn’t seen an attack in more than 30 years.” And yet, dozens of El Al and other flights leave Ben Gurion every day, and passenger traffic is brisk and efficient.

Israel employs, on the streets of its cities as well as in its airports, an intelligence driven system that relies on good communication, alert operatives, and multi-layered screening. Daniel Wagner, co-author of the book “Global Risk Agility and Decision Making,” cites Raphael Ron, a former director of security at Ben Gurion for 5 years, who said the passenger-oriented security system there is focused on the “human factor,” and is “based on the assumption that terrorist attacks are carried out by people who can be found and have been stopped through the use of this simple but effective security methodology.”

Unlike all US airports, departing passengers in Ben Gurion are not asked to take off their shoes during physical screening processes. Instead, passengers are interviewed by trained agents before they get to the check-in counter. So that the area in front of the check-in is not conceded to potential terrorists, as was the case recently in the Brussels airport attack. The interviews last one or two minutes for the most part, so that the line of passengers is moving quickly, and when the agents (they work in pairs) do suspect someone, based on factors such as vocabulary, general behavior, dress, age, race, religion and destination—they may be detained and questioned for as long as it takes.

But the scrutiny at Ben Gurion begins well ahead of the passenger’s arrival at the terminal itself. Every vehicle first passes through a security checkpoint where armed agents examine it, have a brief exchange with the driver, and assess their risk level. Meanwhile, the vehicle is gauged by a weight sensor, and an undercarriage scan. Then, outside and inside the terminal building agents are always mingling with the crowd pouring in, aided by hidden surveillance cameras that are monitored around the clock. Suspicious people would be challenged without waiting for them to reach a counter or a metal detector. An agent would approach them and strike a conversation to assess their mental state and risk level.

All of that well coordinated system relies on a broader intelligence infrastructure that uses informants, social network scrutiny and surveillance — traditional police methods which Israel’s security forces have been using and improving over the past decade and a half both in green line Israel and in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Chris Weller offered an excellent example for the way Israel combines computer technology with the human factor, to create a smooth, reliable, fast and effective communication system regarding predictive profiling. “I learned that before any passenger ever gives up his luggage to the fine folks at Ben Gurion International, an employee places a neon yellow sticker on the back of your passport. On it is a 10-digit number. The first number, ranging from one to six, indicates your perceived threat level to whomever else you’re passed along. I got a five.”

And so, with a simple bar-coded sticker, the first agent who meets the passenger communicates his impressions to the next agent down the line without having to exchange one word or even a gesture. Leftwing writer Lia Tarachansky complained a few years ago about the same system:

“So I enter the line … My Israeli-Palestinian roommate tells me he’ll wait while I answer the security lady’s questions. She sees I speak Hebrew, she asks if I packed my own bags and she gives me a ‘1’ as expected. I’m white and I’m an Israeli, therefore I’m probably a Zionist. High from excitement and privilege I ask if my friend can come with me to the check-in. She says of course and asks for his ID. Her face changes.

“Where it says the Jewish birth date the line in his ID is blank. i.e. not Jewish. i.e. Palestinian.

– you know this man?

– yes

– how?

– he’s my roommate

– where?

– Jaffa

– wait here.

“She looks at his last name. It’s Christian, i.e. Arab. She disappears with our passports. The roommate looks at me and we both know what’s going to happen. When she comes back her smile is gone. She tears the ‘1’ off my bags and angrily puts on a ‘3’ as though to say ‘you didn’t tell me you have an Arab friend!’ Her face says ‘don’t you see you’re [expletive] it all up for us?!’”

Tarachansky described in her vivid style just how unhappy she was with the Israeli security system, but the fact is that even in her anti-Israeli narrative one can see that no one was hurt in the encounter she described, no one was manhandled, no one even missed their flight. But the system quickly spotted and responded to the potential threat, and the response was to replace a passport sticker. This hostile depiction of the Israeli method is, in fact, a song of praise to a rational, sophisticated and effective security system.

One wonders whether Donald Trump, or the media, understand the full depth of this system when he describes Israel’s success in police work and security as “profiling.”

JNi.Media

Analysis: Can Ha’aretz Be More Racist than Donald Trump? You Betcha

Friday, June 10th, 2016

Late last month, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was condemned universally, when everyone but Ann Coulter called him a racist and a bigot for suggesting federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel should have recused himself from the Trump University trial because his parents were born in Mexico, and he, Trump, as he so aptly put it, is “building a wall.” Trump went on to tell various reporters that although the judge was born in Indiana, he must be a Trump hater, on account of “I’m building a wall.” He also told one reporter that the same obligation to recuse themselves should also apply to Muslim American judges in Trump-related cases (the candidate generates thousands of them, literally).

The fact that both House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- Kentucky) called on their party’s nominee to tone down the racism should tell us just how much they loathed his outburst.

On Friday morning, Ha’aretz op-ed writer Uri Misgav, in reviewing the recent Supreme Court decision that sided with the Chief Rabbinate and against the AG in prohibiting “alternative” kosher certifications, wrote the following:

“The ruling was by a majority of two to one. The two judges who preserved the corrupting power in the hands of the Rabbinate were Rubinstein and Noam Sohlberg. Both wear a yarmulke, [and are] religious Orthodox, who grew up and developed on the high road of Religious Zionism. They put the cats in charge of the cream. This was a very strangely composed panel. In fact, it was so strange that it’s not strange at all: of course it was intentional. With the assumption that it’s better to let the religious handle these issues which are close to their hearts. Except that the logic should have been the complete opposite of that. There’s a clear conflict of interests here. At stake was the tension between state and religion. The secular judge, incidentally, had the minority opinion.”

The paragraph above is dripping bigotry, not only accusing supreme court judges of being unable to examine a case on its merits, suspending their personal views—which is something we expect of every judge in every trial—but that somehow the powers-that-be on the court assigned the two religious Orthodox judges because the case belongs in their ghetto. The root of Trump’s bigotry and the root of Misgav’s bigotry are the same: they both assume that judges belonging to the group they hate are inevitably partial, interested parties in the cases they try.

But then Misgav focuses on Judge Sohlberg, calling him a criminal, because he resides in Alon Shvut, at the heart of Gush Etzion, an area which even Misgav agrees will never be handed over to Arab rule, even as part of a two-state agreement. Writing for a newspaper that has printed many miles of allegations against rightwing activists and politicians who have threatened the Supreme Court for its unprecedented activism, Misgav actually exposed Sohlberg to prosecution by a European court as a war criminal. The scenario is simple: Judge Sohlberg lands in Brussels, someone on the same El Al flight identifies him and calls over the Gendarmes, showing them the English translation of Misgav’s attack, demanding that Sohlberg be taken into custody until the war crime charges against him are verified. Unrealistic? Probably, but when MK Moti Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi) last summer announced, “We have to take the blade of a D-9 [bulldozer] to the High Court of Justice,” Ha’aretz took his expression of rage at face value.

It appears Ha’aretz is willing to see Israeli high court justices’ lives be put in jeopardy just to advance the paper’s political ends. So much for tolerance and liberalism.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/analysis-can-haaretz-be-more-racist-than-donald-trump-you-betcha/2016/06/10/

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