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May 31, 2016 / 23 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘disputed territories’

Obama Won’t Enforce Anti-BDS Provision Language in Trade Bill he just Signed

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

This week the United States officially put on notice its trade partners that it will not countenance boycotts or other economic warfare against Israel.

After signing the relevant trade legislation into law, however, the White House signaled to all its trade partners that they are still free to boycott goods made in the disputed territories, despite the clear language of the legislation the president signed.

This week the Trade Promotion Authority bill was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama.

The TPA is primarily focused on international trade between the U.S. and Europe. It also included a section which addresses trade between the U.S. and Israel.

That part of the legislation, the U.S.-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act, bans boycotts and other means of economic warfare against Israel or the “Israeli-controlled territories.” This amendment, introduced by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill-6) with bi-partisan co-sponsorship, was unanimously adopted into the PTA in April.

The passage of the TPA, including the anti-BDS section, should sound a death knell for the BDS (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel) Movement. It should.

However, as pro-Israel Americans and Israelis learned only a few weeks ago in the Jerusalem passport case (Zivotofsky v. Kerry), there are certain spheres of international decision making over which the president has exclusive, or at least primary and controlling, control. Obama claims that international trade is one of those areas, even though Article 1, Section 8, clause 3, expressly gives Congress the power to regulate foreign commerce.

So even though the TPA is intended to act as a strong deterrent to European and other countries to pass and enforce boycotts of Israeli products, the White House has already signaled that it will not extend its protection to any goods produced in the disputed territories.

The anti boycott of Israel language in the TPA is: “actions by states, nonmember states of the United Nations, international organizations or affiliated agencies of international organizations that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize or otherwise limit commercial relations specifically with Israel or persons doing business in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories.” [emphasis added.]

In a statement which Matt Lee of the Associated Press attributed to State Dept. spokesperson John Kirby, the administration made clear that despite signing the TPA, the position of the White House remains, as it has been, that the U.S. opposes boycotts of the State of Israel, but it also opposes the presence of Jews in the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights.

In the statement the administration argues that by “conflating Israel and ‘Israeli-controlled territories’ a provision of the Trade Promotion Authority legislation runs counter to longstanding U.S. policy towards the occupied territories, including with regard to settlement activity,” and says that every U.S. administration has opposed “settlement activity.”

It goes on to point out that the “U.S. government has never defended or supported Israeli settlements and activity associated with them and, by extension, does not pursue policies or activities that would legitimize them.”

The U.S. administration announced that it will not jeopardize the holy grail of the two-state solution by enforcing the U.S. law as written and which its leader signed. In the statement it claims that “both parties have long recognized that settlement activity and efforts to change facts on the ground undermine the goal of a two-state solution to the conflict and only make it harder to negotiate a sustainable and equitable peace deal in good faith.” It is on this basis, ostensibly to promote a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, that this administration

Professor Eugene Kontorovich of the Northwestern University School of Law analyzes several other provisions of the U.S-Israel trade aspect of the TPA which have been largely overlooked. In particular, Kontorovich points out, U.S. courts cannot recognize or enforce the judgment of any foreign court “that doing business in or being based in the West Bank or Golan Heights violates international law or particular European rules.”

 

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Christie ‘Apologizes’ for Using Term ‘Occupied Territories’

Monday, March 31st, 2014

At a Republican Jewish Coalition event held over the weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada, many of the party’s potential contenders for the top of the ticket in 2016 were on display.

Florida’s Governor Jeb Bush paid a visit, Ohio Governor John Kasich was there, as was Wisconsin’s Scott Walker. But there was plenty of buzz around someone who, just a few months ago, would have certainly been considered one of the leading contenders for political and financial backing from the high rollers in the crowd.

Chris Christie came in to this year’s RJC spring leadership meeting with a bit of tarnish on his previously teflon siding. The scandal known as “Bridgegate,” in which members of his inner circle were discovered to have inflicted serious damage on Fort Lee, New Jersey’s (Democratic) mayor for not backing Christie in the election. The revelation that traffic onto the George Washington Bridge was purposefully jammed with unnecessary lane closures just to spite the mayor, led to weeks of humiliation and a shadow over Christie’s hopes for a bigger political future.

Nonetheless, Christie’s gregariousness seemed to smooth over lingering concerns. Until the Big Gaffe.

Christie was describing a 2012 trip he took to Israel, an obvious topic of interest to the Jewish crowd.

“I took a helicopter ride from the occupied territories across, and just felt personally how extraordinary that was, to understand the military risk that Israel faces every day,” Christie said.

That’s right. In just about any other setting, no one would have blinked, but Christie was speaking at a Republican Jewish Coalition event. And one of America’s biggest donors to Zionist causes, the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, was present.

Of course, the territories to which Christie was referring are not “occupied,” no matter how often and how many people insist they are. The area properly known as Judea and Samaria may legitimately be referred to as “disputed territories,” but there can be no occupation, under international law, for several reasons, the most prominent of which is that there was no sovereign nation in control of the land when Israel conquered it in a defensive war against Jordan during the 1967 War.

According to several reports there was a serious intake of breath when Christie uttered the words “occupied territories.”

An aide to Adelson told CNN that Christie explained that he “misspoke,” when he used the term, and that he “didn’t believe” the land is “occupied by Israel.”

CNN reported that a senior member of Adelson’s company said his boss was “satisfied” with Christie’s explanation.

 

 

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

2 Arab Palestinians Failed High School Final Exams, Commit Suicide

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Here is a twist on the tragic stories Westerners have become familiar hearing about: two Arab Palestinians who had just completed high school committed suicide on Thursday, July 25.  And here’s what is differently tragic about this story: these teenagers killed themselves not to seek martyrdom by killing as many Jews as possible, thereby bringing honor and glory to their families.  No, the reason these young people killed themselves is something to which far more Westerners can relate, or, at least, understand.

These students committed suicide because they failed their final high school exams.

The exams are known as “Tawjihi,” and a passing score is virtually required for entrance to university.

According to Ma’an News Agency, 18-year-old Nisrin Jumaa of Tulkaram hanged herself in her family home after learning that she had failed the Tawjih, and in Jabaliya in Gaza, Muhammad Zaqut committed suicide by shooting himself after learning that he had failed the exams.

A third student attempted to take her life by throwing herself from the second floor of a building in Beit Hanoun, in Gaza, after learning she had not passed the exam.  This student suffered pelvic and foot fractures and was transferred to a hospital in Gaza.

Are these exams that important?  Indeed they are.

Every student in Gaza and the territories is required to take the dreaded exams upon completion of high school, and according to experts, an entire year is spent preparing for the exam.  The test itself goes on for two weeks, and once completed, the results take another two to three weeks to be tabulated.

There is not that much written publicly about Tawjihi, but a blog written by an American of Arab Palestinian descent makes it clear how similar some things are for anxious teenagers, no matter how very different life is in so very many other ways.  This blogger writes about the intensive preparatory courses for the exam, and the disparity in results due to economic differences.  There are even Instagram and Tumblr sites just for Tawjihi.

The results, including the scores, of the Tawjihi are posted publicly. For the lucky few who perform at the highest levels, it is a matter of great honor for the families.  For the families of the high scorers, halls are rented and enormous parties are held, and fireworks are shot off in celebration. For those who don’t fare well, the pain can be, literally, unbearable.

Applicants are permitted to take the tests as many as five times, although the test is only given once per year.

Nearly 86,000 students took the Tawjihi this June, and almost 60 percent passed.

The Tawjihi is also required of Jordanian students, and in Jordan it was the jubilation of some who passed that resulted in injuries. On February 14 of this year, in less than 24 hours, there were more than 380 Tawjihi-related accidents reported, mostly from “festive firing and reckless driving,” the Jordan times reported.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

IRS: We Targeted Supporters of Israel’s Disputed Territories

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Ever since the beginning of the scandal concerning the United States Internal Revenue Service and the claims that it had a policy of treating differently – as in worse – organizations seeking tax exemptions if those organizations held positions in conflict with this US administration, there have been doubters.

And, of course, the way the story has been spun fans the flames of doubt – yes, the IRS finally admitted, after years of denial, that it had targeted certain groups and subject some groups to extra scrutiny, but there was no political impetus for the inappropriate action, there was just poor oversight of overworked civil service employees who were just trying to streamline their jobs.  Heck, the claim went, that was wrong, but what we now recognize as inappropriate actions weren’t taken for political purposes. That was the claim.

The IRS is trying desperately to make glib admissions, have some heads roll, even parade some of those heads around to show how seriously the IRS takes its need to be punished.  But now, it’s time to move on.  The IRS is even providing a kind of amnesty for many of the politically conservative groups that complained – they are getting hand-delivered approval letters, and future applicants will be assured of an easier time going forward.

So, maybe it is time to move on?

Well, one little organization (the one this reporter founded and of which she is the president) refuses to go flying no matter how hard the IRS is shaking its leg to free itself.

Z STREET claimed when it filed its lawsuit for viewpoint discrimination against the IRS in August, 2010, that the IRS treated Z STREET differently subjecting it to additional scrutiny, because of its ideological views.

Two things happened on Monday, June 24, that proved, finally, that Z STREET – and others similarly situated – was correct.

First, the IRS released its 83 page document, “Charting a Path Forward at the IRS,” in response to the Treasury Department’s Inspector General who found that the IRS had engaged in inappropriate targeting of certain groups which had sought tax exempt status from the IRS.

The IRS Path Report begins:

The IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention.

Well, there you have it.  The IRS admitted that it made decisions based on policy positions, rather than on prohibited activity.  That is exactly what Z STREET claimed – that it had been discriminated against because it holds positions that “contradict the Administration’s public policies.”

The second revelation was one made by Bloomberg News.  That media agency obtained IRS documents revealing that, in addition to the terms Tea Party and 9/12, other terms were used in flagging organizations seeking tax exempt status for additional scrutiny.  While the headline of the article, and what was the object of most media attention, was that terms that suggested not just conservative groups, but also liberal or progressive groups were given the IRS evil eye – words such as “occupy” and “progressive” were allegedly triggers, as was the word “Israel.”

But far down in a long article the Bloomberg reporter explains that, “Disputed Territories” was considered problematic.  To wit:

‘Disputed Territories”

The November, 2010 [BOLO – Be On the Look Out] list also has terms that could be related to Israel, looking for applications that ‘deal with disputed territories in the Middle East’ and ‘may be inflammatory.’

Well, golly!  What kind of a group calls a particular area of land “disputed territories,” which the vast majority of people, either for ideological or simply conformity refer to as the “West Bank?”  Yes, that would be strong Zionist groups such as Z STREET.

That the IRS chose to handle Z STREET’s application in a particular way on the basis of our organization’s position on this issue, and the fact that someone within the IRS even took the time to think such a position might ‘be inflammatory,’ is about as close as can be to a smoking gun revealing the IRS engaged in naked viewpoint discrimination.

That foul activity cannot be waved away.  Its stench is one that will only dissipate after there is a thorough investigation into how the  decision was made to use this particular criterion for evaluating an application.  Who approved that decision?  How many people knew about it?  How many organizations were subjected to it?

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Europeans Bring Back ‘Kauf Nicht bei Juden!’

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Benjamin Weinthal writes (subscription):

The left-liberal German Green party finally forced the hand of the conservative Merkel administration to explicitly declare—what before had been an open secret—its support for product labels covering export goods from the occupied territories in the West Bank and Golan Heights.

Germany’s Green Party unleashed a firestorm of criticism in May over its parliamentary initiative to label Israeli exports to Europe and the Federal Republic. Critics in Germany and the United Kingdom argued that the Green Party push was an eerie reminder of the Hitler movement’s “Kauf nicht bei Juden!” [Do not buy from Jews!] boycott action and a modernized form of the yellow star.

Dr. Emily Haber, a state secretary in the German Foreign Ministry, conveyed the new position of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government in a letter to the Green Party: “The label ‘Made in Israel’ is, according to the opinion of the federal government, only allowed for products from within the borders of Israeli state territory before 1967.”

The measure is an unashamedly provocative anti-Israel move by the largely pro-Israel Merkel administration. It will blur the lines between an all-encompassing boycott of Israeli merchandise and demarcation of settlement products. In short, the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement will push the punitive label action down the slippery slope of blocking access to all Israeli goods.

canned-food1

Apparently, a decision about how to label products made beyond the Green Line hasn’t been made yet. The yellow star is probably not in the running, but it should be. It is impossible any longer to hide the ugly hate-based double standard applied to the world’s only Jewish state by the international Left, of which Greens are representative:

In 1983, the Green Party put out a “Green Calendar” with the headline “Israel, the gang of murderers” and called for a “boycott of goods from Israel.” In an article last month in the German daily Die Welt entitled ‘The long tradition of Green Anti-Zionism,” the Green Party’s history of blaming Israel for the Middle East’s problems was highlighted. A year after the notorious “Green Calendar” was published, Green party politicians launched a fact-finding mission in the Middle East with visits to Jordan, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, and the occupied West Bank. The delegation prepared a final document ahead of the trip declaring Israel “totally responsible for the emerging blood bath in the Middle East, when Israel does not decisively change its policies.”

A mere seven years later, a leading Green deputy, Hans-Christian Ströbele, who still serves in the Bundestag, justified the later Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s rocket attacks on the Jewish state during the First Gulf War in 1991 as a “logical, almost compelling consequence of Israel’s politics.”

Another telling example of the Greens’ disparate treatment toward Israel is that they have shown no comprehensive and systematic effort to push Germany’s government to similarly label products from Turkish occupied North Cyprus. In fact, the E.U. has showed no appetite for product labeling from territorial conflicts spanning the globe: Gibraltar, the Falklands, Western Sahara, Tibet, Kashmir, the Russian-held regions of Georgia, Armenian-held regions of Azerbaijan, North Cyprus, and Kosovo. Israeli products remain the notable exception subject to EU consumer protection.

The EU continues to hide its official Jew-hatred behind logically indefensible statements that the presence of Jews in Judea and Samaria is illegal, but its double standard betrays its true motivation.

Visit Fresno Zionism

Vic Rosenthal

Palestinian Journalists Declare War on Israeli Colleagues

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Palestinian journalists have declared an intifada against their Israeli colleagues.

In recent weeks, Israeli journalists who cover Palestinian affairs have been facing increased threats from Palestinian reporters. On a number of occasions, the threats included acts of violence against the Israeli journalists, particularly in Ramallah.

Human rights organizations and groups claiming to defend freedom of media have failed to condemn the campaign of intimidation waged by Palestinian journalists against their Israeli fellow-journalists.

It is one thing when governments and dictators go after journalists, but a completely different thing when journalists start targeting their counterparts.

An Israeli journalist had his microphone damaged during an assault, while another was thrown out of a press conference. Behind the two incidents were Palestinian journalists, angered by the presence of Israelis in Ramallah and other Palestinian cities.

The threats and harassment came as more than 200 Palestinian journalists signed a petition, for the first time ever, calling on the Palestinian Authority to ban Israeli correspondents from operating in its territories “without permission.”

The Palestinian Authority, for its part, has complied, issuing instructions requiring Israeli journalists to obtain permission from its Ministry of Information before entering Palestinian cities.

Palestinian Authority officials and journalists later explained that the ban does not apply to some journalists working for the Israeli daily Ha’aretz and who report on “Palestinian suffering.”

The Palestinian journalists campaigning against their Israeli colleagues have justified their action by saying that Israeli authorities do not allow them to work freely inside Israel. They also accuse the Israeli authorities of refusing to issue them with [Israeli] government press cards.

If anything, these claims represent a hypocritical approach.

In recent years, Palestinian journalists have strongly opposed to “normalization” with Israelis, including meetings with Israeli colleagues. Some Palestinian journalists who violated the ban and met with Israeli counterparts were denounced as traitors and expelled from the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate.

So while Palestinian journalists are opposed to “normalization” with Israel, they are at the same time demanding that Israeli authorities grant them permission to work inside Israel.

Even more, the Palestinian journalists are demanding that Israel provide them with press cards issued by none other than the Israeli government.

Won’t the Palestinian journalists be violating their own rules and ideology once they accept press cards issued by the Israeli government? And if they enter Israel and meet with Israelis, won’t they also be acting against their own boycott campaign?

What is disturbing is that foreign journalists based in Israel have not come out against the campaign of intimidation against their Israeli colleagues. Could it be because these foreign journalists have also been facing threats and want to stay on good terms with Palestinian reporters, and will also agree to report only on “Palestinian suffering”?

Gone are the days when Israeli and Palestinian journalists used to work together and exchange information on a daily basis, in the days before the peace process started.

Today, there is a new generation of Palestinian journalists who have evidently been radicalized to a point where any meeting with an Israeli is being viewed as a “crime.” This is the result of anti-Israel incitement by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, especially over the past two decades.

Aware of the growing radicalism of Palestinian journalists, the Palestinian Authority, together with the American security detail, banned a large number of Palestinian journalists from covering the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to Ramallah last month.

The biggest fear was that a Palestinian journalist would either throw a shoe at Obama or engage in a rhetorical attack against him and U.S. policies.

If Palestinian journalists have been so radicalized that some are even willing to resort to threats and violence against colleagues, what must one say about the rest of the Palestinians who, for the past two decades, have also been exposed to messages of hate by their leaders?

How can anyone talk about resuming the peace process when Palestinians are being told by their leaders, on a daily basis, how bad and evil Israel is? If Israel is so bad and evil, then how can any leader go to his people and say that he is negotiating with them?

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

Khaled Abu Toameh

Murder by Rock Throwing is Still Murder

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

News item:

In a groundbreaking decision, a military court found a Palestinian man guilty of murder for throwing a rock at an Israeli car, causing it to crash and killing the driver and his infant son.

The court at Ofer military prison on Tuesday found Wa’al al-Araji, 25, from Halhul, to be directly responsible for the deaths in 2011 of Asher Palmer and his 1-year-old son Yehonatan.

Palmer was driving from his home in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba towards Jerusalem when Araji and accomplices drove towards them in the opposite direction in another vehicle. As the two cars passed each other, Araji hurled a rock that smashed through the windshield, knocking Palmer unconscious. The car swerved off the road, killing its occupants.

The decision was unusual in that the Military Advocate generally does not seek a murder charge against stone-throwing Palestinians, even when their actions cause fatalities. However, the panel of three judges said that, in this particular case, there can be no doubt that the accused intended to kill and had practiced perpetrating similar — although less deadly — attacks in the past.

As I pointed out at the time of the murder,

Every single day, hundreds of rocks, blocks, stones, etc. are thrown at Jewish vehicles in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and Arab towns or neighborhoods inside the Green Line. Sometimes photographers are informed in advance that there will be exciting opportunities to view the heroic resistance to occupation. Throwing ‘stones’ (sometimes as big as a person’s head) is what Palestinian Arab adolescents do for entertainment. Even the great Columbia University ‘scholar’ Edward Said symbolically threw a stone across the Lebanese border at Israeli soldiers.

Stone-throwers are rarely caught. In this case, it was several days before the police even admitted that a crime had been committed. And just a few weeks ago, there was a similar incident in which a three-year old girl was critically injured.

Sentence hasn’t been pronounced yet, but al-Araji faces the possibility of a life sentence. Unfortunately Israel does not apply the death penalty to terrorists, who are sent to prison where they are permitted to take correspondence courses and enjoy other benefits until they are released in exchange for hostages taken by other terrorists.

While in prison, he will be paid a salary by the Palestinian Authority, which, when he gets out, will treat him like a hero, a ‘political prisoner’ like Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi or Mahatma Gandhi. Don’t be surprised — consider the treatment received by mass murderer Ahlam Tamimi, responsible for the Sbarro’s Pizza bombing in which 15 lives were snuffed out (including 8 children).

The release of prisoners has been an important demand made by the PLO, and at times has even been given by Mahmoud Abbas as a precondition for negotiations with Israel. It is an integral part of the Arab narrative that what they do — what we call ‘terrorism’ — is justified, akin to self-defense, a legitimate ‘resistance to occupation’.

At least, that’s the Western translation of their narrative, often dressed up in neo-colonial theory in which the ‘colonized’ are justified in resisting the ‘colonizers’ by any means (academics particularly eat this nonsense up).

Probably in Arab minds it is more like “they took our land and our honor, and we will get it back by killing them, especially the children they value so much.” That might be a little raw for Western sensibilities.

Visit Fresno Zionism.

Vic Rosenthal

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/fresno-zionism/murder-by-rock-throwing-is-still-murder/2013/04/03/

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