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July 27, 2016 / 21 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

Who Do Bigots Blame for Police Shootings in America? Israel, of Course!

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

In response to the tragic deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling at the hands of police officers in Minnesota and Louisiana, the New York University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) posted the following on its Facebook page:

“In the past 48 hours another two black men have been lynched by the police…. We must remember that many US police departments train with #IsraeliDefenceForces. The same forces behind the genocide of black people in America are behind the genocide of Palestinians. What this means is that Palestinians must stand with our black comrades. We must struggle for their liberation. It is as important as our own. #AltonSterling is as important as #AliDawabsheh. Palestinian liberation and black liberation go together. We must recognize this and commit to building for it.”

Even in moments of national mourning such as these, SJP bigots cannot help but exploit the deaths of innocent Americans to further their own anti-Semitic political agenda, namely to delegitimize and demonize the nation state of the Jewish people.

By implicating Israel in these killings, SJP is engaging in the old trope of blaming Jews for systemic and far-reaching societal problems. This practice was anti-Semitic when some Christian communities used it to blame Jews for plagues, poisonings, and murders; it was anti-Semitic when the Nazis used it to blame Jews for the failing German economy; and it is still anti-Semitic today. There is no more evidence that any of the police who killed Mr. Castile and Mr. Sterling were in fact trained in Israel than there was that Jews were responsible for any of the other crimes that formed the basis for traditional blood libels.

The oppression of black Americans long predates the founding of the state of Israel; contrary to the claims of SJP and like-minded groups, Zionism did not beget racism, nor is Zionism a reflection of racism. It is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. But the twisted logic on the part of SJP should come as no surprise, given that the same organization blamed Zionism for rising tuition costs in the City University of New York college system. The essence of anti-Semitism is the bigoted claim that if there is a problem, then Jews — and now Zionists — must be its cause.

Addressing the structural causes of racism in the United States will take more than scapegoating Israel — it will require the type of far-reaching legislative action of which our current Congress seems incapable. By morphing the discussion about criminal justice reform and systemic racism in the United States into a polemic against Israel, SJP makes progress even more difficult.

That said, the reaction by SJP is reflective of a broader trend in hard left politics. Increasingly, groups such as Black Lives Matter (BLM), MoveOn, Code Pink, and Occupy Wall Street have embraced intersectionality — a radical academic theory, which holds that all forms of social oppression are inexorably linked.

This radical concept has led to the linking of disparate left-wing causes, no matter how tenuous their connections. Some intersectional feminist activists, for example, insist that feminists must oppose drone strikes (and by extension, Hillary Clinton), because they negatively impact women in the developing world. Even more absurdly, Jill Stein — the Green Party candidate for president — has come out in favor of the bigoted Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, partly on the grounds that support for Israel furthers the interests of the military-industrial complex, and by extension the fossil fuel industry.

Those activists that do not sufficiently embrace the new intersectional orthodoxy, meanwhile, have been targeted by protests: the 2016 Gay Pride parade in Toronto, for example, was broken up by Black Lives Matter for including a police float, and for not sufficiently prioritizing the concerns of black trans women. Similarly, a gay rights event in Chicago was broken up by activists, who insisted on the exclusion of an Israeli organization, which they claimed was co-opting the gay rights agenda and “pinkwashing” Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

Intersectionality seems to be driving hard left activists towards a “No True Scotsman” worldview: increasingly, they insist on a package of unrelated left-wing causes that must be embraced by anyone claiming the label of progressive — including the demonization of Israel as a racist, apartheid state.

Perhaps more worryingly, intersectionality tends towards the conclusion that the existing social, political, and economic system is flawed in so many profound ways, that any attempt at remaking it through democratic means is unacceptable. Activists have become increasingly obsessed with “Shut it Down” protest tactics, and a proud politics of “disrespectability,” that prioritizes resistance to a “corrupt,” “rigged” socio-economic system over respectful discourse and political compromise.

This helps to explain the sympathetic attitude of Black Lives Matter activists towards groups like Hamas, which embrace terror as a mode of “resistance” (in their view) against Israel. Indeed, Black Lives Matter activists have visited Gaza to express solidarity with Palestinians oppressed by so-called racist Israeli self-defense measures. While Black Lives Matter claims to disavow violence in securing its political objectives, many of its most prominent members are far more eager to criticize the “Israeli genocide of Palestinians” than to criticize Hamas for using rockets to target Israeli civilians. Black Lives Matter and other hard left groups have been notably silent about other oppressed ethnic groups such as Tibetans, Chechens, and Kurds. The only alleged “oppressors” they single out for condemnation are the Jews. This double standard raises legitimate questions about their real motivations.

Moreover, the conflation of police actions in American cities with Israeli military actions in Gaza raises a disturbing question: if the so-called oppression of Palestinians in Gaza and the oppression of people of color in the United States are two sides of the same coin — as the SJP implied in its tweet — are the violent tactics employed by Hamas, and perversely supported by many on the hard left, an appropriate model to emulate in the United States? One hopes that the answer is no, and that the intersectionalist radicals will make that clear to their followers.

 

Alan M. Dershowitz

200 French Jews Immigrating to Israel Wednesday, Biggest Group this Summer

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

More than 200 French Jews will arrive in Israel this Wednesday, July 20, aboard a special Aliyah flight organized by The Jewish Agency for Israel in partnership with the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption and Keren Hayesod-UIA.

This is the largest Aliyah flight from France set to land in Israel this summer. Half the new olim are teenagers, children, and toddlers who will enter the Israeli education system at the end of the summer vacation. The newcomers also include several families where three generations—grandparents, parents, and children—will be making Aliyah together. The olim will settle in Netanya, Raanana, Jerusalem, and Ashdod.

The flight was planned months ago, without any connection to recent events in France.

Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky said in a statement that “French Jews who immigrate to Israel are coming out of choice: they have a whole world of opportunities before them, and they are choosing to come to Israel. Their choice is demonstrates that Israel affords a sense of Jewish identity and attachment to those Jews who wish to take an active part in the Jewish story. We must do everything we can to ease their professional, educational, and personal integration into Israeli society and ensure that they feel at home from the moment they first set foot on our homeland’s soil.”

Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver said: “In light of the difficult weekend in Nice, I wish to welcome the immigrants from France who chose to immigrate to Israel now. French Aliyah strengthens Israel, and the Government of Israel works tirelessly to ease their absorption – the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption will continue to work to remove obstacles to employment and create new opportunities for young immigrants from France, to illustrate to them that Israel is their home.”

Numbering just under half a million, the French Jewish community is the largest in Europe and the second-largest in the world outside of Israel. French Jewish immigration to Israel has surged since the year 2012, breaking records for Aliyah from France and from Western countries. 2014 marked the first time in Israel’s history that more than 1 percent of a Western Jewish community made Aliyah in a single year, an achievement repeated in 2015, with the arrival of some 7,800 immigrants from France – the most ever. In total, nearly 10% of the French Jewish community have immigrated to Israel since the year 2000, half in the past five years alone.

In response to this unprecedented demand from French Jews, The Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption have developed a special plan to facilitate Aliyah from France and ease French Jewish immigrants’ integration into Israeli society. The plan includes efforts to deepen young French Jews’ Jewish identity, bring them to experience Israel on a variety of programs, provide French Jews with comprehensive Aliyah information and counseling, remove barriers to employment, and increase the number of Jewish Agency shlichim (representatives) in France.

David Israel

What If They Commissioned an Anti-Settlements Exhibition and the Pictures Came Out Pastoral and Innocent?

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

Ragnar Kjartansson is a widely exhibited Icelandic performance artist. In a 2002 work called Death and the Children, he dressed up in a dark suit and carried a scythe, leading young children through a cemetery, answering their questions. In a 2006 live performance titled Sorrow Conquers Happiness, he wore a tuxedo and played the role of a 1940s nightclub crooner with an orchestra, singing, “Sorrow conquers happiness” over and over as the music swelled. In 2011, Kjartansson won the inaugural Malcolm Award at Performa 11, the visual art performance biennial, for his 12-hour work Bliss, which was performed without a break at the Abrons Arts Center on the Lower East Side of Manhattan with repeated performances of the finale of Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro,” the moment when the count gets down on one knee and asks his wife for forgiveness, which she grants in an aria. Icelandic tenor Kristjan Johannson played the count.

For his exhibition titled Architecture and Morality, at the Center for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv this season, Kjartansson, according to a press release, was going to “create a new, ambitious body of paintings within the specific context of Israel. He will spend two weeks painting the urban landscapes in the West Bank ‘En plein air’ (a fancy French term the press release misspelled and which means ‘outdoors’) akin to his performative painting practice over the past few years.”

Ragnar Kjartansson settlements exhibition / Source: CCA Facebook

Ragnar Kjartansson settlements exhibition / Source: CCA Facebook

So Ragnar Kjartansson took his canvas and stand and paints and brushes and went en plein air to various Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, and what he brought back was, well, not so bad. He painted what he saw (a paraphrase on the New Yorker’s surrealist Gahan Wilson’s book of horror cartoons), and apparently he saw none of the blood curdling evil normally associated with the term “settlements” on the corner of south Tel Aviv’s Tsadok Hacohen and Kalisher Streets, which is where the CCA is located.

Ragnar Kjartansson settlements exhibition / Source: CCA Facebook

Ragnar Kjartansson settlements exhibition / Source: CCA Facebook

Or, as Galia Yahav put it in Ha’aretz this weekend, “The houses are rendered separately, one per painting. All of them are drawn from the front and fill the canvas in the same way and from the same distance. The style is blatantly amateurish and naïve, as though from a hobby group, deliberately bland, with obedient brushstrokes and a filling of blank spaces, turgid coloration and pedantically mimetic attention to detail.”

But, most upsetting, from Yahav’s point of view, “the result is a small, suburban neighborhood of villas, completely artificial, in which little Israeli flags attached to parked cars wave in the breeze and larger ones flop from the windows of houses. Without addresses or names of specific settlements, this artistic tactic poses with feigned innocence in the likeness of a 19th-century pilgrimage, in which the Holy Land is portrayed through misty eyes.”

Ragnar Kjartansson settlements exhibition / Source: CCA Facebook

Ragnar Kjartansson settlements exhibition / Source: CCA Facebook

In other words, this cutting-edge performance artist, who was going to do to the settlements what Edvard Munch did the screaming, came away from those colonialist, apartheid-dispensing satanic neighborhoods with a fairly bland set of impressions, which is what one could expect from suburban bedroom communities anywhere.

“Perhaps the idea was to depict a generic quality of life rife with sated insensitivity – architecture as amorality,” Yahav tried to dig up some evil from under those middle class shaggy rugs. “Or perhaps it’s the realization of violent fantasy through painting: the occupied territories without Palestinians, a heaven on earth.”

Ragnar Kjartansson settlements exhibition / Source: CCA Facebook

Ragnar Kjartansson settlements exhibition / Source: CCA Facebook

Curator Chen Tamir wrote that Kjartansson’s settlements paintings “tell a story about the banality of everyday life amid complex political turmoil.” Maybe. But it ain’t in those paintings. Indeed, Tamir conceded that the entire Kjartansson exhibition “is a bold statement on art’s futility in the face of social and political strife.”

Or maybe, just maybe, the Icelandic artist discovered and then made a point leftwing art critics can’t afford to admit: that things in those Jewish settlements and in all of Judea and Samaria, just aren’t nearly as bad as they are in many other, more troubled places, such as London, Paris, Brussels, Nice and Istanbul.

JNi.Media

Shiloh Musings: Turkey Falling Apart, “Jinxed” by Israel Agreement?

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

Just a few weeks ago Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu considered himself very lucky to come to an agreement with Turkey.

Netanyahu said that with both the world and the region going through enormous changes, it is important to create islands of stability*, and this accord does that with Turkey. He said that his strategy is to create these points of stability in ties with some Arab states in the region, with Greece and Cyprus, and with Russia. Jerusalem Post

I’d consider that a major miscalculation on the part of Bibi, since less than a month later Turkey is suffering from major instability.

Turkish forces thwart coup against Erdogan after crowds rally
Attempted coup d’etat in Turkey, hundreds dead

It’s just another lesson, since the beginning of the Jewish People, that we can’t shouldn’t rely on foreign leaders/countries for help. When we do the right thing, then Gd will help us! That is how this week’s Parshat Shavua, Torah Portion of the week ends. Balak, Bamidbar 25

6Then an Israelite man came and brought the Midianite woman to his brethren, before the eyes of Moses and before the eyes of the entire congregation of the children of Israel, while they were weeping at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. ווְהִנֵּה אִישׁ מִבְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בָּא וַיַּקְרֵב אֶל אֶחָיו אֶת הַמִּדְיָנִית לְעֵינֵי משֶׁה וּלְעֵינֵי כָּל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהֵמָּה בֹכִים פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד:
7Phinehas the son of Eleazar the son of Aaron the kohen saw this, arose from the congregation, and took a spear in his hand. זוַיַּרְא פִּינְחָס בֶּן אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן וַיָּקָם מִתּוֹךְ הָעֵדָה וַיִּקַּח רֹמַח בְּיָדוֹ:
8He went after the Israelite man into the chamber and drove [it through] both of them; the Israelite man, and the woman through her stomach, and the plague ceased from the children of Israel. חוַיָּבֹא אַחַר אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל הַקֻּבָּה וַיִּדְקֹר אֶת שְׁנֵיהֶם אֵת אִישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֶת הָאִשָּׁה אֶל קֳבָתָהּ וַתֵּעָצַר הַמַּגֵּפָה מֵעַל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל:
9Those that died in the plague numbered twenty four thousand. טוַיִּהְיוּ הַמֵּתִים בַּמַּגֵּפָה אַרְבָּעָה וְעֶשְׂרִים אָלֶף:

Gd ended the plague after Pinchas (Phinehas) executed the most blatant of the sinners.

Batya Medad

INTO THE FRAY: Israel and American Liberal Jewry: The REAL Reasons for the Rift

Sunday, July 17th, 2016

Israel’s accomplishments have been remarkable.  Israel has created a thriving economy, and has been a refuge for hundreds of thousands of the displaced and the needy. Israel has generated a rich and diverse cultural life and its scientific and educational achievements have been exemplary.  In spite of these achievements, however, Israel in my view has gone astray…sadly, after a life and career devoted to Jewish community and Israel, I conclude that in every important way Israel has failed to realize its promise for me. A noble experiment, but a failure.

– Rabbi David M. Gordis, Reflections on Israel 2016, Tikkun, February 22, 2016

 

Like the United States of America, the modern state of Israel is a country born from the aspiration for freedom, and standing out among the nations as a beacon of democracy and humanity. Israel is…an exceptional country that shares our most essential values. It is the only country in the Middle East where freedom of speech and freedom of religion are found. Therefore, support for Israel is an expression of our Americanism

–  Republican Party’s 2016 Platform

 

‘Name a single country in the history of the world faced with internal and external threats comparable to those faced by Israel that has ever had a better record in human rights; a better record with compliance of the rule of law; a better record of concern for civilians?’ I have been asking that question now for 20 years probably to a million people around the world, and I’ve never gotten a single person even to stand up and name a country, because you can’t do it.

– Alan Dershowitz, a longstanding supporter of Democratic Party, Jerusalem, June 9, 2015

 

In recent years there have been frequent reports of a growing rift between liberal Jewry in the US and Israel, and of the increasing difficulty liberal American Jews—particularly the younger generation—have in identifying with the Jewish state.

Neither inevitable nor irreversible

This is of course an entirely absurd state of affairs.

After all, if logic, common sense and truth had any significant role to play in determining the “liberal” discourse on Israel or “liberal” attitudes toward it, Israel would be enthusiastically embraced by all who purport to cherish liberal values, such as civil liberties, socio-cultural diversity and religious tolerance. Indeed, Israel would be held up as source of pride, celebrated as a shining example of how such values can be sustained in the most inclement of circumstances, which in many other places might well have been considered justification for considerably more authoritarian governance (see Dershowitz’s quote above).

Various profound explanations have been proposed to account for the emerging disconnect between the “liberal” Jews in the US and Israel, ranging from philosophical differences to divergent societal shifts in both countries. But while there might be some measure of validity to these claims, to my mind, they largely miss the point and the dominant reason for the rift is far more mundane.

Accordingly, this alleged “animus” is neither inherently inevitable, as several pundits appear to have to resigned themselves to, nor is it inherently irreversible—other than by some far-reaching transformation of Israeli society.

Narcissistic hypocrisy vs indolent incompetence

At the root of the “liberal” Jews disaffection with the Jewish nation-state lies a dual fault—the one of “liberal” Jewry, the other of the Jewish nation state itself.

On the one hand, liberal Jewry in the US has been gravely afflicted by a narcissistic hypocrisy, which sets unattainable standards for the Jewish state to avoid being the target of its disapproval. On the other hand, Israel, as the nation-state of the Jews, has been deplorably derelict in presenting its case to the world in general and to US Jewry in particular. This has left them gravely misinformed, allowing disapproval of its policy and disinformation as to its nature to go unchallenged—and hence to flourish.

Indeed, much of the disappointment expressed by liberal Jewry is rooted in a misperception of what Israel once was, and what it has become today.

In order to illustrate this, the moronic—and often self-contradictory—lament by David Gordis (not to be confused with his nephew Daniel Gordis) as to Israel’s alleged moral degradation, is perhaps a good place to start (see introductory excerpt).

After summarily dismissing Israel’s “remarkable accomplishments” in creating “a thriving economy”, providing “refuge for hundreds of thousands of the displaced and the needy” and generating “a rich and diverse cultural life and…scientific and educational achievements [that] have been exemplary”, Gordis perversely declares Israel a failed experiment—despite its staggering successes.

Totally detached from fact & reason

Gordis then goes on to elaborate on his abstruse indictment of Israel today:“Jewish life and thought have successfully navigated between three pairs of values that are in tension with one another. First, the Jewish experience has balanced the rational with the affective, the assertion with the question…Second, it has embraced both particularism with universalism, probing Jewish interiorities but looking out to the larger world, recognizing the common humanity of all people. Third, it has shaped positions which looked to the past for sources and inspiration but at the same time projected a vision for a world transformed in the future into something better than its current reality.”

Then in a wild diatribe, totally divorced from any semblance of reality, he blares:

“Present day Israel has discarded the rational, the universal and the visionary. These values have been subordinated to a cruel and oppressive occupation, an emphatic materialism, severe inequalities rivaling the worst in the western world and distorted by a fanatic, obscurantist and fundamentalist religion which encourages the worst behaviors rather than the best”.

In reality, “present day Israel” is—demonstrably—far closer to the model of Gordis’s ideal than it ever was, certainly far more than it was back in the days for which he allegedly yearns.

Wrong on every count

Today Israeli society is driven far less by ideological zeal; it far less ideologically monolithic, far less under the sway of a doctrinaire socialistic hegemony, for which Gordis waxes nostalgic. How does that make it less rational?

Israel has been in the forefront in extending aid to “the other” whenever disaster has struck: In Nepal, in Haiti and even in providing life-saving medical treatment to the victims of the Syrian civil war–to name but a few of present day Israel’s humanitarian initiatives. How is that indicative of “the worst behaviors rather than the best”?

Israeli innovation and inventiveness in medicine, agriculture, water conservation is saving/improving the lives of multitudes across the globe? How is that indicative of Israel discarding the “universal?”

And Israel’s cutting edge activities in the field of space research and exploration have put it in the world’s top five countries in this sphere of human endeavor. So has Israel really discarded the visionary?

This is merely a small sampling of how intellectually dishonest the derogatory drivel of Israel’s “liberal” detractors has become.

This narcissistic hypocrisy was aptly exposed in a perceptive piece in a Washington Post blog by David Bernstein, professor of Law at George Mason University. He wrote: “Israeli Arabs have never been more integrated into Israeli society, or made more rapid economic and social progress, than…under Netanyahu… surrounded by hostile enemies, absorbing about four times its original population in refugees, very few of whom came from countries with a longstanding liberal or democratic traditions, expecting a progressive utopia to emerge was ridiculous. Creating a reasonably liberal, multiethnic, democratic state with religious freedom in a region where there aren’t any others should be more than enough to satisfy all but the most starry-eyed idealists.”

Indeed, it should.

Beneath the disingenuous gobbledygook

Of course, denigrating Israel because it fails to meet some unattainable criteria of human behavior, conjured up by disenchanted “liberal” Jews, serves no useful purpose other than to expose their self-centered insincerity—especially when they refrain from applying the same stringent standards to any other country, including their own.

For, once one strips away all the disingenuous gobbledygook, one comes to the core reason for “liberal” chagrin with Israel. This has nothing to do with how diverse or tolerant Israeli society has become, or the level of humanitarian relief it may extend to others, or how Israeli enterprise contributes to the betterment of mankind at large. It has to do with one – and only one—politically partisan issue—Israel’s interaction with the Palestinian-Arabs across the pre-1967 Green Line (a.k.a. the “Occupation”). The only remedial measure that “liberals” advance to deal with the “undemocratic blight” is to implement a “two-state-solution”.

Incredibly therefore, according to Israel’s “liberal” detractors, the only panacea for Israel’s “democracy deficit” is to facilitate the establishment of yet another Muslim-majority tyranny, whose hallmarks will be homophobic persecution of homosexuals, misogynistic discrimination against women and girls, intolerance of religious diversity, and repression of political dissent.

But this is not only wildly irrational in terms of its internal logic, it is equally imprudent in terms of its operational implications. After all, every time Israel has transferred territory to Arab control, it has sooner or later, become a platform to launch deadly attacks against it. Yet with unswerving doctrinaire zeal “liberals” cling to the perilous prescription of touting tyranny and bringing hundreds of kindergartens within the range of rockets and mortars along Israel’s eastern flank.

Down to the last Israeli

It would thus seem that much of US Jewry is so blinded by its obsessive attachment to the failed formula of two-states-for-two- people that they are prepared to defend it—paradoxically under the banner of liberal political philosophy – down to the last Israeli. Indeed, in its mindless subscription to the two-state notion as the touchstone of Israeli democracy, “liberal” Jewry disregards Israel’s many merits and highlights its inevitable defects—thus greatly contributing to its international de-legitimization across the globe. After all, who better for the Judeophobes to cite than the Jews themselves?

But beyond disregard for Israel’s virtues, US liberal Jews seem to be blind to the nature of its adversaries. Despite ample evidence, they refuse to acknowledge that Arab (including Palestinian Arab) animosity is not rooted in anything the Israel does—or does not do; but in what Israel is: Jewish. Concessions will not satiate Arab appetites, only whet them.

But if US “liberal” Jews frown upon the coercive measures that Israel is compelled to use against the Palestinian-Arabs, were they to apply the same criteria to their own country, they would have good reason to feel even more disenchanted. For when faced with threats far less severe than those faced by Israel, the US has responded far more vigorously and less discriminately than Israel, whether in the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan and even Yemen, with “collateral” civilian casualties dwarfing anything Israel has been accused of.

Yet strangely, few if any, embittered Jewish liberals have distanced themselves from the USA because they have been disappointed by American brutality and its failure to live up to their immaculate standards of state behavior.

Expose and inform

Given the facts on the ground, Israel should in fact be the proverbial “apple of the eye” of US liberal Jewry, an object of pride it is eager to be identified with—especially in light of the harrowing circumstances under which it is forced to exist.

Sadly, Israel has done inexcusably little to harness the facts to rebuff the attacks on its democratic credentials and has allowed imperative coercive actions to ensure the security of its civilians against an implacable foe, to be portrayed as racist brutality.

Thus, Israel is losing the support of the US diaspora by default. By spending a pittance on public diplomacy, it is by its own incompetence and impotence fostering the narratives of its adversaries.

The Spring 2016 edition of the Columbia University journal, “Current”, ran an interesting piece entitled “Reclaiming Alienated Liberals: Israel’s Imperative for Diaspora Jews” by Benjamin Davidoff, self-professed pro-Israel advocate. There are many things I disagree with in the article -such as the need for a Palestinian state and the call for Israel to empower J-Street, but on one matter Davidoff was spot on. He conveyed the feeling that pro-Israel advocates had been abandoned by Israel. He aptly notes: “Israel has an obligation to aid in pro-Israel advocacy on university campuses. Israel has largely ignored those fighting for Israel on campus and has failed to offer any true support for diaspora Jews… this issue directly affects the viability of the Israeli state in the future and should be of primary concern for Israel.”

On this he is quite right – and Israeli officialdom will ignore this obligation at the nation’s peril.

Dr. Martin Sherman

Erdogan Blames Former Military Attaché to Israel and Muslim Peace Advocate for Coup Attempt

Saturday, July 16th, 2016

One of the senior military officials mentioned in the flurry of accusations in Turkey over who exactly was responsible for the failed coup attempt Friday night was former air force commander Akin Ozturk, who was the Turkish Military attaché to Israel between 1996 and 1998. Ozturk, who commanded the Turkish Air Force between 2013 and 2015, is suspected of being the leader of the coup attempt, according to a Hurriyet report.

Ozturk has been a member of the Turkish Supreme Military Council since August 2015, and government media reports have claimed that he may have decided to launch the uprising before an upcoming meeting where his possible links with Turkish opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen were to be raised.

Akın Öztürk / aksam.com.tr

Akın Öztürk / aksam.com.tr

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged President Obama on Saturday to extradite Gulen, a Turkish preacher, former imam, writer, and politician, founder of the Hizmet (service) movement, who is living in self-imposed exile in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.

“They [Gulen supporters] were like a tumor within the military, and now this tumor is being removed,” Erdogan told a crowd in Istanbul less than 24 hours after the end of the coup. “I told you [the US] to deport or give this person back to Turkey. I told you that this person was in a preparation for a coup against Turkey, but I could not make you listen to me,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan Reiterated his demand, “I repeat my call on the US and president Obama, give this person back to Turkey.”

Gülen is actively involved in the societal debate concerning the future of the Turkish state, and Islam in the modern world. He has been described in the English-language media as an imam “who promotes a tolerant Islam which emphasizes altruism, hard work and education.” He teaches that the Muslim community has a duty of service (hizmet) to the “common good” of the community and the nation and to Muslims and non-Muslims all over the world; and that the Muslim community is obliged to conduct dialogue with not just the “People of the Book” (Jews and Christians), and people of other religions, but also with agnostics and atheists.

Some 2,839 military personnel involved in the coup attempt have been arrested, and 20 pro-coup soldiers, including some senior officers, were killed during the attempt to overthrow the government. An estimated 194 Turks were killed overnight in the coup attempt.

On Friday just before 11:00 PM local time military jets flew over Ankara, and both main bridges from Asian to European Istanbul were closed. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said military action was being “taken outside the chain of command,” calling it an “illegal attempt” to seize power by “part of the military.” Tanks were posted in Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport. Internet users within Turkey were blocked from Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. The Turkish Chief of the General Staff Hulusi Akar was taken hostage. The coup took place while President Erdogan was vacationing in south-western Turkey.

Between 11 PM and midnight, helicopters bombed the police special forces headquarters and police air force headquarters outside of Ankara, leaving 42 dead and 43 injured. Satellite telecommunication Türksat headquarters near Ankara was also attacked, and two security personnel were killed.

Just before midnight, soldiers occupied Taksim Square in central Istanbul. At about the same time Turkish soldiers entered the buildings of the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), in Ankara. Soldiers forced anchor Tijen Karaş to read out a statement saying that “the democratic and secular rule of law has been eroded by the current government” and Turkey was now being governed by a “peace council” that would “ensure the safety of the population.” The statement also read that “Turkish Armed Forces have completely taken over the administration of the country to reinstate constitutional order, human rights and freedoms, the rule of law and general security that was damaged. […] All international agreements are still valid. We hope that all of our good relationships with all countries will continue.” This was “done to preserve democratic order, and that the rule of law must remain a priority.” The statement ended with a declaration of temporary martial law, promising a new constitution “as soon as possible.” Eventually TRT was taken off air.

Pro-coup soldiers surrender in Ankara / Anadolu Agency

Pro-coup soldiers surrender in Ankara / Anadolu Agency

Bombs struck near the Turkish Grand Assembly, injuring 12, two of whom were in critical condition. There were reports of shelling from the air of several locations in the capital Ankara, including the ruling AK Party headquarters, the presidential complex, and the General Staff.

MPs from all parties converged on the Assembly and inscribed on the wall of the main session hall a declaration that “Sovereignty unconditionally belongs to the Nation.” They then moved into a bomb shelter to hide from the airstrikes.

A Turkish army F-16 reportedly shot down a Sikorsky helicopter, and aircraft belonging to the army continued to fly over the capital to repel any attacks on key buildings.

Reuters reported that in early Saturday the coup had “crumbled” as crowds defied the rebelling military units and gathered in major squares of Istanbul and Ankara to oppose the coup. Pro-coup soldiers eventually surrendered to police in Taksim Square, Istanbul. At 5:18 AM Atatürk airport had been completely cleared of pro-coup forces and police later surrounded the coup forces inside the Turkish army headquarters, calling on them to surrender. There was a skirmish there between 6 and 8 AM, after which the coup was by and large over. Ümit Dündar, head of the First Army, was appointed as the Army’s Acting Chief of Staff.

JNi.Media

Turkey Under Martial Law; Coup Attempt by Turkish Military

Saturday, July 16th, 2016

Gunfire was heard in the Turkish capital of Ankara late Friday as the Turkish military announced it was seizing control of the country, Reuters reported.

The military released a statement saying its armed forces have ‘fully seized control’ Turkish state television was seized by an entity calling itself the “Turkish Peace Council,” and the military chief of staff was taken into custody.

It was not possible to reach Israeli or U.S. contacts via social media; international journalists said social media access has been blocked.

Some 2200 U.S. troops and 1500 foreign U.S. citizens were warned to “shelter in place and stay indoors” late Thursday night.

Military tanks were seen rolling through the streets and low-flying jets were flying sorties overhead, eyewitnesses told Reuters.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim confirmed that a group within the military has indeed engaged in an attempted coup.

Eyewitnesses told international media they saw the jets and helicopters flying above Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city and an ancient metropolis straddling both the continents of Europe and Asia, once known to historians as Constantinople.

According to the Turkish Daily Sabah website, both bridges in Istanbul that span the mightly Bosphorus strait that separates the two continents have been closed to traffic.

As of five pm Friday afternoon New York time, it was not yet clear what the outcome will be, but it is clear that whatever the outcome, the ramifications for the State of Israel will be serious either way.

Israel and Turkey had just reached a reconciliation agreement barely two weeks ago after a six year freeze in diplomatic ties. There are numerous Israeli business owners, artists and musicians who live in Turkey and/or travel to and from the country.

It remains to be seen how the current state of affairs will affect Israelis, Jews and Americans who are currently in Turkey, as well as those who regularly do business with their Turkish counterparts and travel in and out of the country.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/turkey-under-martial-law-coup-attempt-by-turkish-military/2016/07/16/

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