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May 5, 2016 / 27 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

Hillary And Bernie Disappoint On Israel

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

It’s been striking to see how little the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been an issue of concern in the many television debates in which the primary candidates of both parties have participated.

But the issue suddenly exploded on April 14, in a CNN Democratic debate between Sec. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The fuse was lit on April 1 when the New York Daily News editorial board met with Sanders. At that meeting, he said that while he was wholly committed to Israel’s right to exist in peace, Israel had used “disproportionate” force in the 2014 Gaza war. In an astounding exaggeration of Palestinian casualty figures, Sanders claimed Israel had killed 10,000 “innocent civilians.”

The 10,000-killed figure was so ludicrous that Sanders had to revise his description of Israeli disproportionate force, saying there were 10,000 Palestinians “injured” (which is still questionable at best).

During that April 14 CNN debate, Wolf Blitzer directly asked Sanders if he believes Israel is guilty of using disproportionate force. Sanders was unflinching in answering in the affirmative, which evoked huge applause from the Democratic audience that had filled the Brooklyn Navy Yard to lend their vocal support to the candidate of their choice.

Sanders also reiterated that he is a 100 percent supporter of Israel. But his bottom line was that Israel is guilty of using disproportionate force in its war with the Palestinians. Moreover, in a refrain that echoes the position taken by Donald Trump (which created a huge backlash in the Jewish community), Sanders insisted the U.S. must take an even-handed approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if the U.S. is to have a chance at negotiating a Middle East peace.

Accusing Israel of disproportionate force has become an anti-Semitic canard pushed by individuals who are ignorant of both the defined rules of warfare and the realities of Middle East life. To be sure, the images shown on American television during the Gaza War evoked appropriate feelings of empathy for the suffering of human beings. War is hell incarnate.

But for all of Israel’s firepower, the number of Palestinian casualties was far below international standards, while there was no way for television cameras to capture the profound trauma thousands of Hamas rockets had inflicted on the Israeli civilian population.

Sanders’s gratuitous critique of Israel to the Daily News, and his rousing comments in defense of Palestinian rights at the CNN debate, underscore a larger, personal philosophy that reflects his wholly unrealistic understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

For American Jews who are passionate in their support of Israel, and who want the next American president to adopt a diplomatic foreign policy that will not seek to create “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel, Sanders’s lack of understanding of the realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are most troubling. He also leaves open the possibility that his administration would refuse to use America’s Security Council veto were the UN to unilaterally create a Palestinian state.

Unfortunately, some in the media are celebrating Sanders for opening the Israeli-Palestinian issue to public discussion. On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” commentators accepted the premise that Israel had indeed used disproportionate force against Hamas in 2014.

So, at the Brooklyn debate, after Sanders condemned Israel for employing disproportionate force, all eyes turned to Clinton. Would she set the record straight?

Jewish supporters of Clinton who care profoundly for the security and survival of Israel have been telling each other she would be far more diplomatically hospitable to Israel – and to the Israeli prime minister – than President Obama has been. After all, her husband was a dear friend and admirer of Yitzhak Rabin and had tried valiantly to negotiate a two-state solution with Ehud Barak and Yasir Arafat in 2000.

When Blitzer asked Clinton if she thought Israel has used disproportionate force in its response to Hamas rocket attacks, these Jewish Democrats were hoping she would answer “Of course not!”

But in a tortuous response, Clinton chose to speak about her role in negotiating a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas. She never responded directly to Blitzer’s question on “disproportionate force.”

Sanders did not miss Clinton’s obfuscation and challenged her. So Clinton tried again, this time talking about the impossible position Hamas terrorists impose on Israel. Once again, however, she avoided answering the question.

In other words, when Hillary Clinton was asked if she thought Israel has used disproportionate force in its battle with Palestinians, she was simply unable to answer “no.”


For many Jews, a candidate’s stand on Israel will not be the sole determining factor when they go to the polls to elect the next president. But Jewish Democrats who are devoted to Israel and place the U.S.-Israel relationship among their top concerns now find themselves in a political quandary.

On the one hand, Bernie Sanders has a seriously flawed view of Israel that is legitimately troubling. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton’s inability to unequivocally support Israel’s defensive military actions is a vivid display of a painful reality: the Democratic Party has moved so far to the left that it has become virtually impossible for Democratic candidates to openly defend Israel in its struggle for survival against Hamas and the jihadist Arab world.

Pro-Israel Jewish Democrats may be prepared to write Sanders off but they hoped Hillary Clinton would espouse an honest and courageous stand in support of Israel.

The April 14 CNN debate may have dashed much of that hope.

Mark S. Golub

Shimon Attie Challenging Preconceived Notions about Israel and the ‘Territories’

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

In 2014, artist Shimon Attie inserted approximately thirty custom light boxes of illuminated text into the contested landscapes in Israel’s Judea and Samaria, to produce site-specific installations staged specifically to be photographed. The glowing words both comment on the surrounding region and literally illuminate it, while additionally suggesting the inability of text and image to fully convey meaning.

Now Jack Shainman Gallery in New York is showing a solo exhibition by Attie titled “Facts on the Ground,” featuring the artist’s poetic interventions at meaningful public spaces across Israel.

Los Angeles native Shimon Attie, 59, was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008, The Rome Prize in 2001 and a Visual Artist Fellowship from Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advance Study in 2007. His work spans a variety of media, including photography, site-specific installation, multiple channel immersive video installation, performance, and new media. Much of Attie’s practice explores how a wide range of contemporary media may be used to re-imagine new relationships between space, time, place, and identity. Attie’s work in the 90s dealt with the Holocaust, where he slide-projected images of past Jewish life onto contemporary locations in Berlin. More recent projects have involved using a range of media to engage local communities to find new ways of representing their history, memory and potential futures.

©Shimon Attie. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

©Shimon Attie. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Rich with ambiguity, the phrases offered by “Facts on the Ground”—some culled from the history of Zionism, others artistic distillations—resist interpretation, while pointing to some of the psychological, cultural, and political anxieties at stake in present day Israel. These immersive images offer opportunities for reflection, while raising as many questions as they answer.

Public collections holding Attie’s work include the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre George Pompidou, Paris; International Center for Photography, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Jewish Museum, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Attie is currently working on The Leave-Taking, a film made in collaboration with Syrian refugees who have recently arrived in Europe.

©Shimon Attie. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

©Shimon Attie. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

The show will run through June 4, 2016, at Jack Shainman Gallery, 513 West 20th Street, New York.

On Tuesday, May 10th at 5:30 PM, Attie will be in conversation at the New York Public Library with Maya Benton, Curator at the International Center of Photography, and Norman Kleeblatt, Chief Curator, The Jewish Museum. The program will be held at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Celeste Auditorium, and is free and open to the public.


Palestinian Authority Flag Banned — With Others — at Eurovision

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

Palestinian Authority officials have expressed outrage at the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) decision to ban any display of Palestinian Authority flags at next month’s Eurovision song contest in Sweden.

But it wasn’t personal — a fact that seems to have escaped the notice of the PA government in Ramallah.

EBU released the “flag policy” on their website on Friday. “Particularly, the organizers request and urge the fan community to respect and appreciate the non-political nature of the Eurovision Song Contest,” the statement read. Only flags representing UN member states are to be permitted, along with the “rainbow flag” and the European Union flag – but only if they are not “used as [a] tool to intentionally make a political statement during the show.”

There is a long list of “not” permitted flags, which include local, regional, or provincial flags, those with commercial messages, “flags of disputed territories,” offensive statements, non-English statements and high objects such as selfie-sticks that might obstruct the cameras. There are also size restrictions as well.

Nevertheless, newly-appointed PLO secretary-general and heir-apparent Saeb Erekat slammed the decision on Saturday.

Writing to EBU President Jean-Paul Philippot, Erekat expressed his “outrage and indignation” according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency, and a post on Twitter. Erekat called the decision “discriminatory and a serious offense against our nation.”

The EBU, which produces the show, also banned flags from other disputed political entities such as Crimea, Northern Cyprus and – as the “Palestine Chronicle” noted – the Islamic State. (No, this is no joke – the PC really did write that and apparently really intended it as a geographical and political reference.)

The first semi-final will be held on May 10, the second on May 12 and the final date is set for May 14.

Rachel Levy

UK Labour Politician Warns ‘Israel is a Terrorist State Like ISIS’

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

A London politician campaigning for mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan was forced to apologize after sharing a Facebook post warning that “Israel is a terrorist state like ISIS,” according to a post on the Guido Fawkes political website.

The blog post quoted a piece in the British Jewish News Online that was published with an apology from the aforementioned politician, another Labour Party member who is also the leader of Brent Council.

Muhammed Butt, who is the Lead for Equalities at London Councils, shared a clip on social media that appeared to show a young girl from the Palestinian Authority in a conflict with an Israeli soldier. The clip was captioned at the bottom with the words, “Israel is a terrorist state like ISIS.”

Anti-Israel clip shared on FB page of British Labour politician Muhammed Butt, appearing to show Arab girl in conflict with Israeli soldier - caption says Israel is a terrorist state like ISIS.

After being ‘outed’ by the Jewish News Butt issued the standard politician’s apology, saying in a public statement: “I apologize for sharing this on social media. I do not agree with these views and as Leader of Brent Council I have championed diversity, tolerance and respect for all faith communities, and will continue to do so.”

He removed the post after it was brought to the attention of the public – and his political party – by the Jewish News.

But as with the other politicians of late, one questions how it is possible for him “not to agree with these views” if he shares the clip on his Facebook page, where it gains prominence.

The Labour Party has seen at least two politicians benched this past week as former London Mayor Ken Livingston joined MP Naz Shah in being suspended over rampantly anti-Semitic statements. Shah was suspended after a number of posts on her Facebook page from 2014 were ‘outed’ – including an entire graphic in which she advised the relocation of the state of Israel into the United States of America, including a list of reasons and benefits to everyone, especially the Arab world if that could take place.

Livingstone – who has also campaigned for Sadiq Khan – was also suspended when he commented that her actions were “over the top” but not anti-Semitic. To add insult to injury, he referred to Adolf Hitler “supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.”

Moreoever, Livingston refused to retract his statement, insisting in an interview with LBC on Saturday that Hitler was a Zionist and that he was simply stating a fact. “I never regret saying something that is true,” he said. How can I have hurt and offended the Jewish community when the prime minister of Israel said exactly the same thing?”

The reference is to a remark last year when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a meeting of the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem that Hitler’s original intent was to expel all the Jews, rather than annihilate them; the slaughter came at the initiative of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Hussseini, who argued that expulsion would result in all the Jews arriving in the Holy Land, where no Arab wanted them. Livingston contends that Hitler up to that point was a Zionist; furthermore, it was Netanyahu who made the point, he said.

The entire mechanism of the “final solution” clearly has utterly escaped his notice.

There appears to be a crisis developing in the Labour Party with regard to anti-Semitism which is apparently galloping out of control. Party leader Jeremy Corbyn claims to have been an “anti-racist campaigner” all his life – but he has also been a self-declared “friend of Hamas and Hezbollah” as well, and has protected his brother Piers after he made anti-Semitic comments as well.

Meanwhile the upcoming elections for mayor of London are fast approaching – and Labour candidate Sadiq Khan is becoming less and less likely to win the seat, given those who have been his greatest supporters.

In addition, the Home Affairs Select Committee of the House of Commons has just launched its investigation into anti-Semitism in the UK, even with its newly-suspended member still listed on its website. MP Naz Shah still appears as a member of the committee, and her photo and bio still appear on the website.

Hana Levi Julian

A Soldier’s Mother: A Vacation Day in Israel

Friday, April 29th, 2016

There is nothing like Chol Hamoed in Israel. There are two major holidays in Judaism that have what is considered a “holy” day at the beginning and a “holy” day at the end, with what is referred to as the “intermediary” days being considered as…wait for it…half-holy. What this means is that the first and last days are like the Sabbath – we don’t drive, use electricity, phones, computers, etc. and have special prayers. These two holidays are Sukkot and Passover (Pesach). The intermediary days are called Chol HaMoed and while you are allowed to drive, use electricity, phones, etc. it is considered holiday-like and hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of Israelis take vacation and take to the parks, the beaches, the streets.

It isn’t about shopping; it’s about just relaxing. Some families go different places every day; others use the time to catch up on resting and just doing nothing. Yesterday, we went north.

For once, I’ll use pictures to speak, rather than words. It was an amazing day…







Paula Stern

British Labour MP Naz Shah Suspended Over Anti-Semitic Posts

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

British Labour MP Naz Shah has discovered a “heartfelt” apology is not enough to get her off the hook for anti-Semitism, even in the UK, even three times repeated.

The Bradford West parliamentarian was ‘outed’ by the Guido Fawkes political website for serious anti-Israel and anti-Semitic Facebook posts she made two years ago.

In a statement she read this week in the British House of Commons, she offered a “profound apology” which she then also posted on Twitter. Shah said that she “made these posts at the height of the Gaza conflict in 2014, when emotions were running high around the Middle East conflict. But that is not excuse for the oofense I have given, for which I unreservedly apologize.”

Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn, who has caught more than a few critical comments himself in recent weeks for the rising anti-Semitism in his party, warned her about the “offensive and unacceptable posts.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews said the comments were “simply appalling” and called for an urgent meeting “for clarification of her views on Israel and the UK Jewish community.”

Prime Minister David Cameron, a Conservative Party member, simply called for her suspension.

“Jeremy Corbyn and Naz Shah have mutually agreed that she is administratively suspended from the Labour Party by the general secretary. Pending investigation, she is unable to take part in any party activity and the whip is removed,” said a Labour Party statement that followed.

But being unable to take part in any party activities did not indicate whether in fact Shah would ultimately be allowed to remain as a Member of Parliament.

Minutes before the Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs), Corbyn had issued a statement defending Shah, saying that her social media posts were made before she became a lawmaker.

“Naz has issued a fulsome apology,” he said. “She does not hold these views and accepts she was completely wrong to have made these posts. The Labour Party is implacably opposed to anti-Semitism and all forms of racism.”

Perhaps, but individual members of the party, more than a few, are not – and the number of those who feel free to express those views is rising, particularly under the leadership of Mr. Corbyn. His own brother, Piers, took aim at Jewish Labour MP Louise Ellman — and brother Jeremy defended his right to do so. At the time, Ellman had called for Labour to clamp down on anti-Semitism in the party – but Piers Corbyn called her remarks “absurd” and said, “Zionists can’t cope with anyone supporting rights for Palestine.”

Nevertheless, there were Labour Party MPs who called for Shah’s suspension, including MP Lisa Nandy. Labour MP Kate Hoey told the BBC that Shah should resign “right away” from the Home Affairs Select Committee, which is tasked with investigating the rising anti-Semitism in Britain.

Prominent British politician Lord (Michael Abraham, Baron) Levy recently sounded the alarm that anti-Semitism is rising in the Labour Party itself, and not in the UK in general, and has threatened to leave the fold if something is not done to stem the tide. A son of observant Jewish parents, Lord Levy warned that Corbyn is presiding over what appears to be a resurgence in the party’s acceptance of anti-Semitism.

Hana Levi Julian

Pro-Israeli Danish Journalist Ejected from Temple Mount

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Pro-Israeli journalist Jane Kyle was ejected from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Thursday morning by the Jordanian Islamic Waqf with the assistance of the Israel Police.

The Waqf complained that she was not allowed to be present on the grounds because she has published articles against them on the Internet, according to the Tazpit Press Service (TPS).

Arab men under the age of thirty are being allowed to enter the compound at the end of the day, TPS reported, in spite of prior regulations prohibiting their entry.

Less than two weeks ago, Jordan decided not to make good on its promise to install cameras on the grounds of the Temple Mount.

The agreement was reached in October last year together between Jordan and Israel with the encouragement of the United States after countless Arab riots and terrorist acts on the site due to Islamic incitement in the mosques, claiming Israel was “changing the status quo.”

The so-called “status quo” forbids Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount – the holiest site on earth in Judaism – but allows complete freedom of worship for Muslims, who have built not one, but two mosques on the site.

Jordan’s Minister of State Information, Mohamed al-Moumani, declared Amman would install cameras inside the mosques and out on the grounds to “document Israeli trespasses.”

Radical Islamists fear Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount because it contradicts the belief in the supremacy of Islam.

But after incessant screams by the Arab faithful the project was rolled back to an installation of cameras only around the grounds, to ensure the Arab worshipers would not have their “privacy” violated.

Naturally, the preparations of Arab terrorists within the mosques would not be seen either.

It is within the mosques that Arab attackers stockpile the rocks, bottles, fireworks, explosives and other items needed for preparing firebombs (Molotov cocktails) and similar IEDs (improvised explosive devices) hurled at Israeli police and others during riots.

Nevertheless, outdoor cameras might still detect Arab operatives sneaking the needed supplies into the grounds – and therefore the protests continued unabated until Jordan was dissuaded from installing cameras altogether.

Amman said it would work to attain the goals of the cameras through “other means.” Foreign news sources reported the decision.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/pro-israeli-danish-journalist-ejected-from-temple-mount-by-jordanian-waqf/2016/04/28/

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