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January 23, 2017 / 25 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘B’tselem’

Im Tirtzu: WZO to Employ Former B’Tselem Director

Monday, December 26th, 2016

Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg on Sunday sent a letter to World Zionist Organization (WZO) Avraham Duvdevani, requesting to prevent the appointment of Uri Zaki, former Director of B’Tselem USA, to the WZO.

Last week Israel Hayom reported that WZO Secretary General Reuben Shalom distributed a letter to members of the WZO Executive asking them to approve Zaki’s appointment to a senior position in the Department for Zionist Operations.

Zaki’s appointment was recommended by Dror Morag, former Meretz Secretary General and current Director of WZO’s Herzl Center. Zaki previously served as Chairman of Tzeiri Meretz, the youth wing of the Meretz party where his partner, Tamar Zandberg, currently serves as a Member of Knesset.

In his letter to Duvdevani, Peleg wrote: “During these days when the Jewish People are reciting the Hanukkah blessing of ‘in those days, in these times,’ it is worth recalling that the Maccabean revolt broke out against the backdrop of sanctions imposed on the Jewish People by a foreign ruler – Antiochus – which were encouraged by a small Jewish elite minority known as the ‘Hellenists.’

“We must insist that at this time, as in the days of old, the Jewish People condemn every attempt of the nations of the world to impose sanctions and forced impositions on the Jewish People.”

Peleg stressed that “the WZO cannot incorporate a man in their ranks who served as Director of B’Tselem USA, an organization that deliberately and explicitly calls for the sanctions on Israel in international institutions.”

“We demand that you not confirm the appointment of Mr. Zaki,” Peleg added, “before he declares outright that he strongly opposes the policy of B’Tselem, whose CEO just recently called for international intervention against Israel at the United Nations.”

JNi.Media

Govt. Approves Bill Depriving Anti-Zionist NGOs of National Service Interns

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

On Sunday the Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved a bill proposed by MK Amir Ohana (Likud), aiming to cancel National Service free internship positions in organizations that receive the majority of their funding from foreign governments.

The bill, which has won the support Prime Minister Netanyahu, seeks to end the phenomenon of organizations that act against the state receive state benefits. According to Ohana: “It is inconceivable that we ourselves provide subsidized manpower to organizations that work on behalf of foreign interests, depict Israel as a war criminal, protect mega-terrorists, and slander IDF soldiers who protect us day and night.”

According to 2015 figures obtained by the Zionist movement Im Tirtzu, from the Ministry of Agriculture – which oversees National Service – there were a total of eleven positions allocated to four MGOs that would be affected should the bill become a law: B’Tselem, Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, Israel Social TV, and Hotline for Refugees and Migrants. In addition, one of the main placement organizations for the National Service, Shlomit, reported that the “Public Committee Against Torture in Israel” received one position.

Matan Peleg, CEO of the Im Tirtzu movement which exposed this scandal, said in a statement: “The approval of this bill is an important and necessary step in defending Israel from foreign governmental intervention. This is a historic day when the legislature regains its power to protect Israeli sovereignty against those working against it from within. We must act now to pass this bill into law, to end the embarrassing absurdity in which the state funds those trying to undermine it.”

Peleg concluded: “The Im Tirtzu movement will continue to work against those that seek to harm IDF soldiers, bereaved families, and Israeli sovereignty.”

David Israel

B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, to Collaborate with Anti-Israel NGO Sabeel

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

Sabeel Colorado, a branch of the pro-BDS NGO Sabeel, is currently promoting its 2017 “Fact-Finding Trip” in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The trip “Highlights” will include meeting with the Israeli NGOs B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, Machsom Watch, and Women in Black, NGO Monitor reported Friday. The Sabeel Colorado chapter has been conducting trips to Israel since 2011, and since 2014 have met with Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, Machsom Watch, Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, Alternative Information Center, Women in Black, and Christian Peacemaker Teams.

Sabeel was founded in 1989 and is directed by Naim Ateek, former Canon of St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem. It is based in Jerusalem and registered as a non-profit in Israel, receiving a significant portion of its funding from Christian aid societies in Europe. Its donors include Diakonia (Sweden), Kierk an Actie (the Netherlands), The Central Mennonite Committee (Canada), The Presbyterian Church in USA, The United Church of Christ, and FOSNA chapters in North America, UK, and Norway.

The following is an assessment of the case against Sabeel as a rabid anti-Israel and anti-Jewish organization

Sabeel is active in anti-Israel political campaigns and a leader of church divestment campaigns. It promotes the Kairos Palestine document, which denies the Jewish historical connection to the land of Israel. Sabeel director Naim Ateek has allegedly stated, “If the Jewish people had a right to a homeland it should be in Germany, not Palestine.” The Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), has attacked Christian Zionism as “a prime example of the misuse of the Bible to promote violence, racism and injustice,” based on “mistaken premises” that are “not authentic to the Bible.”

According to their website and Facebook page, Sabeel Colorado supports the BDS campaigns and publishes anti-Israel content. Mark Braverman, a member of FOSNA’s advisory board and frequent speaker at Sabeel events, has a record of making antisemitic statements, including saying that Zionism has hijacked and is killing Judaism; Christianity is more mature than Judaism; Advocating supercessionism and calling Jewish Theology a disaster; suggesting it is not Christian to support Israel; and accusing Jews of being isolationist and paranoid.

Sabeel claims that Palestinians represent a modern-day version of Jesus’ suffering, using “liberation theology,” supercessionist rhetoric and the concept of deicide to demonize Israel. Sabeel spokespeople, particularly founder Ateek, disparage Judaism as “tribal,” “primitive,” and “exclusionary,” while contrasting this to Christianity’s “universalism” and “inclusiveness.” Ateek has also used deicide imagery against Israel and referred to Jesus as a “Palestinian.”

JNi.Media

Arabs Released From PA Prison; Jews Ask Why the Left-Wing Didn’t Help

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

By Andrew Friedman/TPS

Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi, Dr. Yitzhak Glick and other residents of Gush Etzion expressed satisfaction Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority released four Arab residents of the village of Wadi Nis, but they added sharp criticism for Israeli and international NGOs that remained silent throughout the crisis.

Four residents of the Palestinian Authority village Wadi Nis, adjacent to Efrat, were arrested by Palestinian Authority officials last week for attending a reception marking the Jewish Succot festival in Efrat. The gathering was hosted by Revivi and attended by senior military and police commanders in the Judea and Samaria region.

Palestinian Authority officials initially said the men would be charged with “normalization with Israel,” considered a crime in the Palestinian Authority, but later statements indicated the men were being held in protective custody.

Speaking to Tazpit Press Service (TPS) by phone Tuesday, Revivi said Israeli officials were virtually the only voices that called for the men to be released. He noted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s call on the international community to work to help free the men, and added that efforts to secure the mens’ release included senior IDF officers.

Revivi also said that several members of the US Congress and State Department did act to get the men released. But he, Netanyahu, Glick and others added that repeated pleas to foreign diplomats, Israeli left-wing groups and international organizations to intercede with the Palestinian Authority on behalf of the detained men fell largely on deaf ears.

“I contacted every member of Meretz and B’tselem to get them to press the PA to release them,” said Dr. Yitzhak Glick, a resident of Efrat and member of Shorashim/Judur, a local co-existence group that brings Jews and Arabs from the Gush Etzion region together. “Zahava Gal-on was the only one to respond, and even she only wrote me a formalistic note that she would try to ‘do something’, but nothing more.

“Even Gershon Baskin, who’s got top-level contacts throughout the Palestinian world and goes around the world crowing about how he negotiated the deal for Gilad Shalit’s release, told me there was nothing he could really do. So I have to ask – where were B’tselem, Human Rights Watch and the rest of the groups that are normally so concerned with Palestinian rights?” Glick steamed.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

B’Tselem Does The Bidding Of Repressive Regimes At The UN

Friday, October 21st, 2016

Last Friday, the Israeli non-governmental organization B’Tselem appeared before a special session of the UN Security Council.

B’Tselem’s executive director, Hagai El-Ad, demanded “decisive international action” in order to end Israel’s presence in the West Bank.

In an e-mail sent to B’Tselem mailing lists before the appearance, the group bragged, “This is one of the most important diplomatic opportunities in B’Tselem’s history.”

Actually, this was not a particularly important diplomatic opportunity, nor was it something to brag about.

The session, called an “Arria-Formula” meeting, was not an official Security Council event. According to UN materials, Arria meetings are “very informal…held in a conference room, and not in the Security Council Consultation Room.”

Most important, they “do not constitute an activity of the council and are convened at the initiative of a member or members of the council. Participation in such meetings is for individual members to decide upon, and there have been instances when some members chose not to attend.”

Convening this “Arria-Formula” meeting, under the banner of “Illegal Israeli Settlements: Obstacles to Peace and the Two-State Solution,” were Egypt, Malaysia, Venezuela, and Angola.

(B’Tselem did not indicate whether it or El-Ad’s previous places of employment – the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and the Jerusalem Open House – would thrive in any of those countries.)

Clearly, universal human rights were not the impetus for the meeting. In fact, at the last Arria meeting involving an Israeli NGO (Yesh Din, a group that focuses on law enforcement and legal procedures in the West Bank), the anti-Israel vitriol inspired the Venezuelan ambassador Rafael Ramirez to make anti-Semitic remarks.

B’Tselem, however, was very clear about what it hoped would be accomplished. In the words of its e-mail, echoed in statements made by El-Ad during the meeting, the group was seeking “resolute international action meant to effect real change and bring an end to the occupation. The Security Council has the power and the responsibility to act.”

There is nothing B’Tselem would like more than a binding Security Council resolution that imposes unfavorable terms on Israel, satisfying B’Tselem’s political vision. This would be far easier than real human rights work, such as convincing Israelis that its political agenda is both feasible and in Israel’s best interests.

The truth is, B’Tselem’s greatest diplomatic achievement has been to convince European governments to bankroll its political campaigns.

Despite the lack of Israeli receptivity to its message, the European Union, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland continue to fund B’Tselem. For instance, in 2015 alone the European Union provided B’Tselem with nearly $1.5 million. The Human Rights and International Law Secretariat (a joint funding mechanism of Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands) provided approximately another $1 million.

At the end of the day, B’Tselem can self-identify as an Israeli organization – after all, it has offices in Jerusalem. But as the UN Security Council speech shows, with the exception of international audiences such as donors in Europe and repressive regimes at the UN, nobody is listening to B’Tselem’s narrative.

JNS

Naftali Balanson

INTO THE FRAY: B’tselem at the UN: Has Israel Become So “Open-minded” That its Collective Brains Have Fallen Out?

Friday, October 21st, 2016

“Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad” Ancient proverb, misattributed to Euripides.

–  Q: What is the difference between the State of Israel and a lunatic asylum? A: In a lunatic asylum, at least the management is supposed to be sane.– A popular joke

I admit that until this week I was living in a state of blissful ignorance. But this week the bubble burst—and I was left struggling to wrap my mind around the staggering, outrageous, infuriating truth.

B’tselem as…national service!!!????

Never in my most feverish dreams (or rather, nightmares) did I imagine that volunteering to work for an organization of the ilk of B’tselm would –indeed, could—ever be considered an appropriate alternative to military service in the IDF. But this week, my naiveté was abruptly shattered.

In the hullabaloo following the scandalous (the less charitable might say “seditious”) appearance last Friday of B’tselem’s director, Hagai El-Ad, before the UN Security Council, in which he harangued IDF efforts to ensure security in Judea-Samaria and urged the international community to take punitive action against his own county, I learned the distressing truth: Volunteering to serve in the ranks of B’teselm is considered “National Service”, a government sanctioned alternative for military service. I was stunned at this. After all, B’tselem is a radical political organization— funded predominantly by foreign governments (habitually inimical to Israeli policy),devoted largely to denigrating Israel at home and abroad in general, and to excoriating the activities of Israel’s military in particular. How on earth is it then possible to confer the status of “national service”, in lieu of military service, on the activities of such a partisan political entity?!!

The mind boggles at the self-obstructive insanity of the decision to accept the incomprehensible travesty.

B’tselem: Political activism in guise of “human rights”

Don’t let B’tselem’s self-righteous rhetoric fool you. It claims to be a “human rights” organization. But in reality it is nothing of the kind!

It is, indisputably and undeniably, a blatantly biased political group, for which “human rights” are but a mere pretext for advancing its political agenda. This is an agenda that has nothing to do with protecting the “human rights” of Palestinian-Arabs in Judea-Samaria, and everything to do with trying to compel Israel to withdraw from those territories. Indeed, this was explicitly conceded in a TV interview with B’tselem’s spokesperson, Sarit Michaeli, by Alan Mendoza, director of the Henry Jackson Society, a British think-tank. (Sept.6, 2016)

In probing to uncover the essential aim of B’tselem’s activities, Mendoza asked: “…what’s your end point in this?” To this Michaeli answered, starkly: “For us…the key issue is that the Israeli occupation needs to end.”

But of course, in the real world, there is no connection between the two—ending the Israeli occupation, on the one hand, and Palestinian “human rights, on the other”. Indeed, as we shall soon see, a compelling argument can be made for precisely the opposite – i.e. the state of Palestinian human rights has been dramatically undermined by Israeli withdrawals and will be further eroded by further withdrawals.

Loath to admit that terror is terror

Seen in this light it is not surprising that the leaders of B’tselem are loath to define Hamas as a “terrorist group”. Indeed, the most B’tselem director El-Ad was prepared to reluctantly concede in a radio interview (August 13, 2014) was that Hamas was an “armed Palestinian organization”, insisting that that is the “commonly used professional term”. Likewise, in the previously mentioned Mendoza interview, spokesperson Michaeli could not bring herself to say that Hamas was a terrorist organization—despite the laudable persistence of her host. The most she would grudgingly admit was that “the military wing” of the organization at times engages in terrorist activities.

Again, seen in the context of the clear political bias of its organizational goals, this is entirely unsurprising.

After all, one of the stratagems that B’tselem employs to undermine the IDF’s capacity to function effectively in Judea-Samaria is to severely hamstring its operational capabilities by holding Israel to unattainable, immaculate standards of morality—while holding the Palestinian-Arabs to none. This not only creates accumulating pressure on the IDF to restrict the measures that it employs in combatting its unscrupulous enemies, but also exposes its combatants to considerably greater risk – lest they run afoul of B’tselem’s appalling double standards.

Thus, if B’tselem were to actually concede that Hamas is a terror organization, this might actually give a legitimate operational rationale to some of the harsher coercive measures the IDF needs to employ and which B’tslem wishes to stymy—so as to further its political goal of inducing Israeli withdrawal.

Casting context & integrity aside

El-Ad launched into his anti-Israel diatribe at the UN Security Council with evident gusto, liberally peppered with pathos. He urged the Council to consider “What does it mean, in practical terms, to spend 49 years, a lifetime, under military rule?” totally ignoring two things:

(a) The presence of Israel in Judea-Samaria, which until June 1967was under Jordanian control, was not the consequence of avaricious Jewish territorial greed, but the consequence of desperate Jewish self-defense against a concerted Arab attempt to annihilate the Jewish state.

(b) As reflected in another UN address, that of Palestinian Authority chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian-Arabs do not consider the “occupation” to be 49 years old (i.e. a consequence of the 1967 Arab defeat) but 68 years old ( i.e. a consequence of the 1948 Arab defeat and the establishment of the Jewish state).

The latter was starkly illustrated at Abbas’s 2011 UN General Assembly address when he exclaimed theatrically: “After 63 years of suffering and ongoing Nakba (catastrophe): enough, enough, enough…” Note 63 years –in 2011. Interestingly, the next year, in his 2012 UN address Abbas referred to “64 years [having] passed since Al-Nakba”. No one can accuse him of inconsistency –or B’tselem of accurately representing the facts.

Casting context and intellectual integrity aside, El-Ad then recited a litany of hardships Palestinian-Arabs suffer under Israeli occupation—somehow omitting to mention that virtually all these hardships are the consequence of unending Arab endeavors to murder and maim Jews. B’tselem advocates annulling human rights?

But as I hinted earlier, there is a compelling case to be made for the claim that advocacy for Israeli withdrawal gravely undermines basic Palestinian rights and welfare. This was made vividly clear in a seminal article, What Occupation?, in “Commentary” (July 1, 2002), by Efraim Karsh, then professor of Middle East and Mediterranean studies at Kings College London, and incoming director of BESA ( Begin-Sadat) Center for Strategic Studies.

He makes the dramatic assertion: “Under Israeli rule, the Palestinians also made vast progress in social welfare”, which he backs up with a battery of factual evidence.

He writes: “Perhaps most significantly, mortality rates in the West Bank and Gaza fell by more than two-thirds between 1970-1990, while life expectancy rose from 48 years in 1967 to 72 in 2000 (compared with an average of 68 years for all the countries of the Middle East and North Africa)”. He continues: “Israeli medical programs reduced the infant-mortality rate of 60 per 1,000 live births in 1968 to 15 per 1,000 in 2000”. This was far below the then-prevailing rates in unoccupied Iraq (64), Egypt (40), Jordan (23), Syria 22. He adds: “… under a systematic program of inoculation, childhood diseases like polio, whooping cough, tetanus, and measles were eradicated.”

“Occupation” enhanced welfare and basic rights But that was not all!

Karsh underscored the Palestinian-Arabs’ soaring standards of living: “No less remarkable were advances in…Palestinians’ standard of living. By 1986, 92.8 percent of the population in the West Bank and Gaza had electricity around the clock, as compared to 20.5 percent in 1967; 85 percent had running water in dwellings, as compared to 16 percent in 1967; 83.5 percent had electric or gas ranges for cooking, as compared to 4 percent in 1967…”

He concludes: “Finally, and perhaps most strikingly, during the two decades preceding the intifada of the late 1980’s, the number of schoolchildren in the territories grew by 102 percent, and the number of classes by 99 percent, though the population itself had grown by only 28 percent. Even more dramatic was…progress in higher education. At the time …Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank [began], not a single university existed in these territories. By the early 1990’s, there were seven such institutions, boasting some 16,500 students. Illiteracy rates dropped to 14 percent of adults over age 15”. Again this is far lower than rates prevailing even today in most of the unoccupied Arab world.

Clearly then, if the right to life, health, basic amenities and education are anything B’tselem cares about, these were all greatly enhanced by the Israeli administration (a.k.a. “occupation”) and, as we shall see, have been greatly undermined by Israeli withdrawal—B’tselem’s undisguised primary demand.

Lies, damn lies and B’tselem lies

Numerous doubts have been raised as to the reliability/veracity of B’tselem’s allegations (perhaps the less charitable would say “blood libels”) against Israel. In virtually all cases, they are manifestly biased, detached from context and highly selective in the facts they present–and/or those they do not. .

But nowhere is the blatant mendacity of B’tselem’s anti-Israel recriminations—and Israel’s appalling incompetence/impotence in rebutting them—more apparent than in the sphere of water usage.

The B’tselem site is replete with heart-rending accounts of Palestinian-Arab families being deprived of minimal water –with blame being inevitably laid at the doors of the “usual suspects”, the much maligned “settlers/settlements” These emotive portrayals typically neglect to mention several well-known, but inconvenient, facts:

(a) By the terms of the Oslo Accords, it is the PA, not Israel, who is responsible for supplying the domestic Palestinian-Arab consumer with water. (b) Almost all cases of disruption of supply to the consumer are due to faulty infrastructure, theft or unpaid bills, not the cessation/reduction of supply by Israel.

(c) Not only does Israel provide Palestinian distributers with amounts far in excess of its Oslo commitments, but actually conveys across the 1967 Green Line quantities that exceed the entire consumption of the Jewish population living in Judea-Samaria! In other words, not only do the “settlements” not encroach on Palestinian-Arabs water supplies but Israel actually provides them with additional water from inside the pre-1967 lines. But hey, why let pesky facts ruin the dramatic effect of a perfectly good politically-correct myth.

B’tslem touts tyranny

Of course, B’tselem must know that, were its demands for Israeli withdrawal implemented, the most plausible outcome would not be an enhancement of Palestinian human rights, but a dramatic erosion of them. Indeed, if their aims, as set out by spokesperson Michaeli (i.e. “the Israeli occupation needs to end”), were realized, there is little reason to believe that the result would be anything other than the establishment of (yet another) homophobic, misogynistic Muslim-majority tyranny, whose hallmarks would be the utter negation of all the humanistic values invoked for its creation: Gender discrimination, persecution of homosexuals, religious intolerance, and oppression of political dissidents.

How would that advance the basic rights of Palestinian-Arab women/girls, Palestinian-Arab Gays? Socio-cultural diversity? Religious tolerance? Indeed, to gauge how counter-productive the consequences of Israeli withdrawal would be in terms of human rights, one need look no further than Gaza, from which Israel withdrew completely, eliminating every vestige of Jewish presence –including its dead—with the exception of several synagogues which the Palestinians, in a spontaneous display of religious tolerance, promptly pillaged and burnt.

Indeed, since Israel withdrew from Gaza, living conditions have become so harsh, that, according to reports in Al Jazeera, many Gazans, now unencumbered by Israeli occupation, are paying considerable sums to smugglers to extricate themselves from post-occupation realities- see Palestinians paying thousands in bribes to leave Gaza

So my advice to B’tselem: Beware what you wish for – you just might get it

Reinstating the “T” word?

While writing these lines reports are coming in of a complaint filed against B’tselem by an attorney and activist for the Left-leaning Zionist Union opposition party, accusing it of treason—something which has been largely eschewed as taboo since the 1995 assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Significantly, the complaint is based on the country’s existing Penal Code- see Chapter Seven: National Security, Foreign Relations And Official Secrets -Article Two: Treason It may be a little early for optimism but perhaps this is a sign that not everyone in the country has become so open-minded that their brains fell out.

 

Dr. Martin Sherman

Israeli UN Envoy: Stop Funding B’Tselem

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

Israel’s UN envoy Danny Danon will call on the UN Security Council to suspend UN funding for the anti-Israeli NGO B’Tselem, Israel’s Army Radio reported Wednesday morning. In his speech before a special session of the UNSC on the Middle East, Danon will reveal the funding provided the leftwing NGO by the UN, blaming the latter for orchestrating attacks on Israel through this funding. “It is no coincidence that this specific organization is invited to speak at the UN, to damage the State of Israel,” Danon will tell the special Thursday session.

On a related topic, Danon announced on Tuesday a new “political struggle against aid money which is transferred to Hamas in Gaza.” He noted that intelligence reaching Israeli security forces points to a worrisome increase of humanitarian funds ending up in Hamas hands. “Today we launch a political war against funding Hamas terror infrastructure with money from aid organization,” Danon declared, adding, “We will not rest until the UN and the aid organizations keep track of every dollar being transferred to the Gaza Strip.”

Danon said that he had approached directly the UN secretary-general regarding the creation of control mechanisms to stop the leakage of funds into the hands of Hamas. He also called on international aid organizations to do the same. In recent months, Israeli security forces detained two Arab officials of international aid groups who confessed to diverting tens of millions of dollars in aid money to Hamas. Israel has reported that Hamas invests $110 million annually in constructing terror tunnels, using, among other sources, International aid money.

“We must put an end to the unacceptable phenomenon whereby the international community believes it is funding hothouse construction while, in reality, the money goes to digging tunnels and buying arms,” the envoy said.

At the same time, Danon also praised the forum of donor countries to the Palestinian Authority, whose annual meeting is coming up, saying “Israel welcomes the contribution of these countries to the Palestinian Authority and sees great value in it.”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-un-envoy-stop-funding-btselem/2016/10/19/

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