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March 29, 2015 / 9 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Lori Lowenthal Marcus’

Understand Israeli Elections – Here’s a Primer, Part 1

Friday, March 13th, 2015

The Israeli political system is radically different from the one in the United States. The most obvious differences are that Israel is a parliamentary system with more than 20 potential parties in the mix, unlike just the two standard American parties, the Democrats and the Republicans.

This year 26 parties are vying for positions in the upcoming vote, 11 of which are likely to pass the threshold requirement for becoming part of the next Knesset.

The first step of this year’s Israeli election to determine who makes it into the Knesset at all, then which parties will form the governing coalition, and finally, who will be the prime minister of the state of Israel, takes place next Tuesday, March 17.

The date was set by a formal meeting in early December, of all the then-current Knesset party leaders. Those leaders chose the date for the election to take place in just four months. While four months is a dramatically short campaign period by American standards, Israeli law permits only five months to elapse between the dissolution of one Knesset and the election for the next.

Election day is a big deal in Israel. Virtually everything, except the polling places, is closed. Free transportation is provided for any voter who needs it to reach their regular polling place.

On March 17,  all eligible voters – every Israeli citizen over 18 years of age – can vote. That includes Arabs, Muslims, Christians and Jews, men and women, able-bodied and those with disabilities. There is no voter registration system; every citizen is automatically registered once they turn 18. Nearly six million Israelis are eligible to vote in this year’s election.

MARCH 17: THE BALLOT BOX

Eligible Israeli voters go to polling places in their neighborhoods. There are more than 10,000 polling places throughout this tiny country. Most open at 7:00 a.m. and remain open until 10:00 p.m.

Turnout for Israeli elections has been declining for years, but it’s still well over 60 percent. In the U.S., turnout has been in the low-to mid 50 percent zone since the early 1970’s.

Before entering the voting booth, each voter is handed an envelope. Inside the booth is a tray, with different strips of paper. Each strip of paper includes the name and symbol of a party. The voter chooses the slip of paper which has the name and symbol of the party for whom they wish to vote, and puts that piece of paper in the envelope they were handed. After leaving the booth the voter places the envelope with their chosen party slip into the ballot box.

Israeli voters choose parties, not individual candidates, which, among other things, means their national representation is ideological, not geographic, and the vote is proportional, meaning the 120 Knesset seats are divvied up in proportion to each party’s percentage of the total vote. There is a minimum threshold for a party to meet before it can sit in the Knesset. That minimum is currently set at 3.25 percent of the total votes cast, which translates into four seats.

PHASE TWO: HORSE TRADING

Once the polling places close and the ballots are counted, the second phase of the Israeli election begins, the one frequently described as “horse trading.” In order to have the right to form a government and choose the prime minister, a group of parties needs to be able to control a majority of the Israeli Knesset, the single chamber Israeli legislature. The Knesset has 120 seats.

With so many parties competing, no single one has ever attained that magic number of 61 seats, and it is even likely that three or more parties need to agree to work together to form the ruling coalition. Therefore, parties which have been thrashing each other in public now start eying each other as potential dance partners, trying to figure out with whom they can create a functioning coalition to run the government.

This coalition building phase is a little bit like when, after a brutal primary in the U.S., the second place vote getter and the winner frequently kiss, make up, and agree to live with each other as their party’s candidate for president and vice president during the general election. But several different parties and lots of individual members of those parties are all added into the Israeli decision making mix. It isn’t easy.

But first let’s back up. How were the individuals on each party’s list chosen?

     PARTY LISTS

As soon as the Knesset is dissolved, either because it reached its four year expiration date, or because it is dispersed for some other reason (such as happened in the current case, when Prime Minister Netanyahu asked the Knesset to disperse and the Knesset unanimously agreed, on Dec. 8), the parties begin internal negotiations to determine who will be on their official “list,” and in what order. The higher up on the list one is, the greater the likelihood of actually making it into the Knesset.

There are various systems for determining who are included, and where they are placed, on each party’s list, including voting by the party leadership. Additional factors are taken into consideration, such as whether enough women are included, whether there are security experts represented, whether certain ethnic minorities will be included.

     PRIME MINISTER SELECTION

How does one of the party members then become the prime minister? Israel’s president, currently former Knesset member Ruby Rivlin, selects the member of Knesset believed to have the best chance of forming a viable coalition government, given the election results. This can take some time until the parties are able to align so that they can govern together.

Some of the horse trading here involves party leaders with high numbers demanding significant ministry positions in exchange for pledging their party’s support. Compare this to the ability of the U.S. president, once elected, then deciding who will become the various cabinet members.

This phase is incredibly complicated. For example, right now at least five different parties will be needed to join together to create a ruling coalition. And it is not as if just the top five vote-getting parties will join together, because of differences in ideology.

For example, the tiny far left Meretz party, which currently is polling at five seats, thought it would be able to create a power bloc by pairing up with the Joint Arab List. The Arab group dashed those hopes, claiming they would not join with “Zionists.”

Another complicating factor is that certain parties have claimed they will not join in a coalition with Netanyahu, and the Likud has ruled out creating a coalition with other parties, including the current frontrunner, the so-called “Zionist Union.” That party is a joining together of the center-left Labor party and Tzipi Livni and her entourage. Livni has changed parties so many times in the past few years most people just refer to this new party as Labor-Livni.

Once finally selected, the prime minister announces the formation of a new Knesset and the offices each minister will hold.

January 29 was the deadline for all parties to submit their lists of candidates. As of that date, the following parties had the following members in the following order (the parties are listed in terms of their most recent polling status):

ZIONIST UNION (1) Isaac Herzog (2) Tzipi Livni (3) Shelly Yachimovich (4) Stav Shaffir (5) Itzik Shmuly (6) Omer Bar-Lev (7) Hilik Bar (8) Amir Peretz (9) Merav Michaeli (10) Eitan Cabel (11) Manuel Trajtenberg (12) Erel Margalit (13) Mickey Rosenthal (14) Revital Swid (15) Danny Atar (16) Yoel Hassan (17) Zuhair Bahloul (18) Eitan Broshi (19) Michal Biran (20) Nachman Shai (21) Ksenia Svetlova (22) Ayelet Nahmias Verbin (23) Yossi Yona (24)Eyal Ben-Reuven (25) Yael Cohen-Paran. The left-center Zionist Union was forged by combining Labor and Tzipi Livni and her followers, has very recently been polling at between 20 and 24 seats.

LIKUD: (1) Benjamin Netanyahu (2) Gilad Erdan (3) Yuli Edelstein (4) Yisrael Katz (5) Miri Regev (6)Silvan Shalom (7) Moshe Ya’alon (8) Ze-ev Elkin (9) Danny Danon (10) Yariv Levin (11) Benny Begin (12) Tzachi Hanegbi (13) Yuval Steinitz (14) Gila Gamliel (15) Ophir Akunis (16) David Bitan (17) Haim Katz (18) Jackie Levy (19) Yoav Kish (20) Tzipi Hotovely (21) Dudu Amsalem (22) Miki Zohar (23) Dr. Anat Berko (24) Ayoob Kara (25) Nava Boker. Likud has been polling at between 26 and 20 seats, most recently declining.

YESH ATID (1) Yair Lapid (2) Shai Piron (3) Yael German (4) Meir Cohen (5) Yaakov Peri (6) Ofer Shelah (7) Haim Yalin (8) Karine Elharrar (9) Yoel Razvozov (10) Alize Lavie (11) Mickey Levy (12) Elazar Stern (13) Pnina Tamano-Shata (14) Boaz Toporovsky (15) Ruth Calderon. Yesh Atid focuses on social and economic issues and was brand new for the last elections. Yesh Atid has been polling at around 10 – 13 seats.

JOINT ARAB LIST (1) Aiman Uda (Hadash) (2) Masud Ganaim (Islamic Movement (3) Ahmad Tibi (UAL-Ta’al) (4) Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash (6) Abd al-Hakim Hajj Yahya (Islamic Movement) (7) Haneen Zoabi (Balad) (8) Dov Khenin (Hadash) (9) Taleb Abu Arar (Islamic Movement). The Joint Arab party has been polling between 11 and 13 seats.

BAYIT YEHUDI (1) Naftali Bennett (2) Uri Ariel (3) Ayelet Shaked (4) Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan(5) Nissan Slomiansky (6) Yinan Magal (7) Moti Yogev (8) Bezalel Smotrich (9) Shuli Mualem (10) Avi Wortzman (11) Nir Orbach (12) rabbi Avi Rontzki (13) Orit Struck (14) Anat Roth (15) Ronen Shoval. Bayit Yehudi, the religious Zionist party, has recently been polling between 10 and 14 seats.

KULANU (1) Moshe Kahlon (2) Yoav Galant (3) Eli Alalouf (4) Michael Oren (5) Rachel Azaria (6)Tali Ploskov (7) Dr. Yifat Shasha-Biton (8) Eli Cohen (9) Roy Folkman (10)Merav Ben-Ari. Kulanu is a brand new party created by its number one on the list. Kahlon is understood to have destroyed the cell phone monopoly in Israel. Kahlon has not ruled out joining with Likud or Zionist Union. His determination to be the next finance minister is well-known. Kulanu has been polling around 8 – 10 seats.

SHAS (1) Aryeh Deri (2) Yitzhak Cohen (3) Meshulam Nahari (4) Yakov Margi (5) David Azoulay (6) Yoav Ben-Tzur (7) Yitzhak Vaknin (8) Avraham Michaeli. Shas (the Sephardi Haredi party which has experienced severe upheaval since its leader, Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef’s death in Oct. 2013) has been polling pretty consistently at 7 seats.

UNITED TORAH JUDAISM (1) Yaakov Litzman (2) Moshe Gafni (3) Meir Porush (4) Uri Maklev (5)Menachem Eliezer Moses (6) Israel Eichler (7) Yaakov Asher (8) Eliezer Sorotzkin. UTJ, the Ashkenazi charedi party, has recently been polling between 6 and 7 seats.

YISRAEL BEITEINU (1) Avigdor Lieberman (2) Orly Levy-Abekasis (3) Sofa Landver (4) Ilan Shohat (5) Sharon Gal (6) Hamad Amar (7) Robert Ilatov. Yisrael Beiteinu is identified with the Russian immigrants and is considered right wing, although it does not believe in annexing Judea and Samaria. It has been polling at 5 seats for quite some time.

MERETZ (1) Zehava Gal-on (2) Ilan Gilon (3) Issawi Frej (4) Michal Rozin (5) Tamar Zandberg (6) Mossi Raz (7) Gaby Lasky. Meretz, which is left on social and Arab-Israeli issues, has been polling pretty consistently at around 5 seats.

YACHAD (1) Eli Yishai (2) Yoni Chetboun (3) Michael Ayash (4) Baruch Marzel (5) Sasson Trebelsi. Yachad, only recently created as a split off from Shas, has been polling between 4 – 6 seats.

Other parties which are not expected to reach the threshold number of votes include the Green Party, the Green Leaf (legalize marijuana) Party, Rent with Honor Party, the Economics Party, a Charedi Women’s Party (called Ubezchutan) and even something called the Pirate Party. Gotta love Israelis.

JewishPress.com will post another primer once the elections reach the second phase: assembling the ruling coalition.

Bibi: ‘ISIS Would Devour Palestinian State, We Cannot Help Create That’

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Whether or not he was publicly forced into stating it, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has now said what most focused Israelis and Israel-watchers have realized for quite some time: the creation of any Palestinian State now, as weak as it is and has been since its leadership began attempting to resemble a functioning state, would be immediately subsumed (or, if you will, “gobbled up”) by ISIS or any of the other Islamic extremist groups in the region.

For that reason alone, if not for the myriad others – such as its own leadership’s inclination towards and support for its own version of terrorism – it is impossible for any responsible leader in the region to consider the creation of a Palestinian State any time soon.

In the words of the Israeli prime minister regarding the calamitous instability in the region and its impact on whether there should be a Palestinian state anytime soon: “Therefore, there will not be any withdrawals or concessions. The matter is simply irrelevant.”

Whether Netanyahu’s hand was forced because of the pressure placed on him by the Religious Zionist party Bayit Yehudi which consistently states it will not hand over any territory to the Arabs, or because a right-wing member of his own Likud party got the ball rolling, the end result is the same.

The cat is back in the bag, the Two State “Solution” is now clearly only a solution for ending Israel, and enslaving even the Palestinian Arabs themselves. For the safety of all those living in the land south of Lebanon, west of Syria and Jordan and north of Egypt, the only way to prevent ISIS and its fellow barbarous murderers is for Israel to remain in control of all the borders.

The Israeli prime minister began his most recent iteration in his leadership role with a earth-shattering speech at Bar Ilan University. Netanyahu invoked the “Two State” mantra as if it were within reach.

In that 2009 speech at Bar-Ilan, Netanyahu said he would recognize a Palestinian State “if we get a guarantee of demilitarization, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state.” He said, if that were to happen, “we are ready to agree to a real peace agreement, a demilitarized Palestinian state side by side with the Jewish state.”

Even after the recent Gaza wars and bruising condemnations of Israeli self-defense by much of the international community, Netanyahu continued speaking, at least in public, of working with the Palestinian Arab leadership towards a result they claim (an idea that much of the international community was pushing very hard) they want: a Palestinian State.

Perhaps Netanyahu and his advisers believed that Israeli security is so strong it could even survive the birth of a tiny terror state of Palestine (Palistan?). But inviting ISIS into its own neural network? That would make the recent machete, hammer and automobile terrorism by local Palestinian Arab terrorists look like mere schoolyard spitting contests.

Netanyahu’s statement shutting the door on Palestinian statehood came on Sunday, March 8. It came in response to a question about a position taken by the Likud party’s answer to a small Israeli paper’s campaign question.

As Lahav Harkov reported in the Jerusalem Post on Sunday, “The article claimed that the Likud’s answer to a question as to its leader’s position on Palestinian statehood was: “The prime minister told the public that the Bar-Ilan speech [in which he advocated a demilitarized Palestinian state] is canceled.”

According to Harkov, a Likud spokesperson said party member MK Tzipi Hotovely provided the answer and it was her personal position. But regardless of whose language appeared in the campaign response, Netanyahu later made it clear he would not allow ISIS to fill the vacuum created by a weak Palestinian State.

Ban on American Flag Vetoed by UC Irvine Student Govt Leadership

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

Last week the student government of a public, taxpayer-supported institution which receives boatloads of  research and other money from the U.S. government voted to ban the American and all other flags from hanging in the student government main lobby on campus. It happened at the University of California at Irvine.

The Resolution, “Flags and decoration adjustment for inclusivity” was introduced by Matthew Guevara, the “student ecology” representative to the student government, the Associated Students of University of California at Irvine. It was seconded by Khaalida Sidney.

According to the Resolution, which was passed six in favor, four opposed and two cowardly abstentions, “the American flag has been flown in instances of colonialism and imperialism,” and its display “does not express only selective aspects of its symbolism but the entire spectrum of its interpretation.”

This legislation also points out that “flags construct paradigms of conformity and sets homogenized standards” and that “a common ideological understanding of the United states includes American exceptionalism and superiority.”

All of this, the drafters of the Resolution note, is a barrier to the “safe space” and inclusiveness the ASUCI hoped to create.

And then the Resolution concludes with its “Resolved” clause: “Let it be resolved that ASUCI make every effort to make the Associated Students main lobby space as inclusive as possible. Let it further be resolved that no flag, of any nation, may be hanged on the walls of the Associated Students main lobby space.” (See the full Resolution, here.)

Yeah, well, not so much.

The ASUCI student government president Reza Zomorrodian issued a statement the same day the legislation passed. Zomorrodian expressed his firm opposition to the resolution, despite “understand[ing] the authors intent and supporters intent.”

On Saturday March 7, just two days after the ban was approved, the ASUCI executive cabinet voted to veto the ban, stating its belief that the ban is “counter to the ideals that allow us to operate as an autonomous student government organization with the freedoms of speech and expression associated with it.”

The veto statement went on: “It is these very symbols that represent our constitutional rights that have allowed for our representative creation and our ability to openly debate all ranges of issues and pay tribute to how those liberties were attained.”

Acknowledging the perversity of using the mechanisms created by the American form of government to ban the symbol of that government, the executive cabinet members wrote:

As students in an academic institution we encourage all students on campus to participate in open debate about a wide array of issues and to actively engage in academic curiosity, which lies at the backbone of a preeminent academic research institution. It is this freedom to be able to navigate and explore topics on a wide range of issues that we see at risk if we begin to engage in a particular form of regulation of free speech and its expression through symbols in any space associated with our organization.

And even the grown ups at this University of California school (the same school, incidentally, at which then-Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren had been repeatedly booed and heckled during a speech) immediately weighed in, condemning the flag ban.

The UCI administration issued a statement on Saturday, March 7, calling the Resolution “misguided” and “not endorsed or supported in any way by the campus leadership, the University of California, or the broader student body.”

The administration noted that the ASUCI executive cabinet would be meeting that day to discuss whether to veto the ban, something the administration “encouraged.” The administration also recommended that the legislation not be pursued any further, and pointed out that the American flag was still “proudly flying throughout our campus and will continue to do so.”

Americans Favor Strength Against Iran, Glad Congress Invited Bibi

Saturday, March 7th, 2015

poll conducted for Fox News by Democratic and Republican research teams just before and on the day of Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the joint session of Congress on March 3, shows that Americans believe the United States is not doing enough to fight back against Islamic extremism, and think that U.S. President Barack Obama has been a weak negotiator with foreign leaders.

The results of the poll shows that despite the political tsunami inside the beltway and in the American and Israeli media regarding Netanyahu’s speech, most Americans believed that it was a good thing that Congressional leaders invited the Israeli prime minister to address Congress. This was true generally, for 56 percent of the public, and it was even true for 44 percent of Democrats, as well as, of course, a whopping 74 percent of Republicans.

This pretty strong showing, despite the hysteria in, for example, the New York Times and its baby echo chamber in Israel, Haaretz, shows that Americans are inclined to believe in the use of power to stop violent aggression, and remain committed to Israel despite what has become a very public spat between President Obama and his administration in its dealings with Netanyahu.

This is borne out both in the results of what Americans believe the U.S. should in dealing with Iran, which is more in concert with Netanyahu’s very publicly and frequently repeated warnings about that nation. For example, 55 percent of all Americans believe it will be a disaster if Iran acquires the ability to develop nuclear weapons, 57 percent believe the U.S. has not been sufficiently aggressive in its efforts to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapons program, and a full 65 percent favor the use of military action if that is the only way to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

Americans told the pollsters that a full 58 percent have a favorable view of Israel, with only 25 percent expressing an unfavorable view. This is a much stronger view than is held of even the “moderate” Palestinian Authority – the ones Israel is constantly told is its peace partner – for which only 11 percent of all Americans expressed a positive view.

A small minority of Americans view Netanyahu unfavorably, 26 percent, while 54 percent view Obama unfavorably. Drilling down on those numbers, 38 percent of Democrats view Netanyahu unfavorably, while only 13 percent of Republicans share that position. The situation is reversed when it comes to how Americans feel about Obama, with only 16 percent of Democrats thinking that the president is not doing a good job as president, but 87 percent of Republicans disapproving of his performance.

With respect to support for Israel, 41 percent of Americans think the Obama administration is not doing enough to support the Jewish state, while 14 percent think it is doing too much to support Israel. Breaking it down further, 17 percent of Democrats think this administration is not doing enough to support Israel, while 68 percent of Republicans feel that way.

The poll asked Americans their views on many different subjects. Some interesting results are that, as of the beginning of March, Americans have only a slightly more favorable view of Obamacare (38 percent) than they do of the Tea Party (34 percent), and more Americans have an unfavorable view of Obamacare (58 percent) than they do of the Tea Party (48 percent).

Only 17 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Congress, and 76 percent have an unfavorable view. Back in late October of 2013, however, only 9 percent of Americans had a favorable view of Congress, and a full 85 percent disapproved of the job Congress was doing.

Want to Tell the BibiCotters What You Think? Here’s How You Can.

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

The following members of Congress have confirmed that they refuse to attend Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech on Tuesday. There are four Senators  and 31 House members. In addition to their names, however, we have provided their twitter handles, their Washington office address and their phone and fax numbers for their Washington offices. Just in case you want to tell them what you think.

In addition to the contact information, we endeavored to provide you with a little insight as to why these particular members of Congress have chosen to Bibicott.

U.S. SENATORS WHO ARE BIBICOTTING ON MARCH 3

UPDATE: Sen. Martin Heinrich (NM) is boycotting Netanyahu’s speech.

Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.) @SenKaineOffice 388 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510Phone: (202) 224-4024 Fax: (202) 228-6363

On July 31, 2014, Sen. Kaine joined with other members of Congress in denouncing the decision of the United Nations Human Rights Council “to launch a one-sided investigation into Israel’s actions during the current conflict while ignoring actions by Hamas that threaten the lives of both Israeli and Palestinian civilians, including indiscriminate rocket attacks and the widespread use of human shields in Gaza.” The letter is a strong one and none of the other signers are on the no-show list for Netanyahu’s speech. He has made thoughtful and supportive comments about Israel in the past.

UPDATE: Sen. Kaine’s office sent The Jewish Press a statement from the Senator explaining his decision to boycott the speech. Kaine wrote on Feb. 25 that although a long-time supporter of the U.S.-Israel relationship, he believes Netanyahu’s address to Congress is inappropriate because of the proximity to the Israeli elections. Kaine had suggested to Speaker Boehner that the speech be postponed until after the Israeli elections so “there was no appearance of U.S. favoritism in a foreign election.”  Sen. Kaine was a J Street-endorsed candidate in 2012.

UPDATE: Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) is boycotting the speech.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.) @SenatorLeahy Sen Sntr D.C. Office 437 Russell Senate Bldg United States Senate Washington, DC 20510 (202) 224-4242 On Feb. 10 Sen. Leahy issued a brief statement on why he will not attend Netanyahu’s speech. Leahy placed the full blame on the Republican House leaders: “They have orchestrated a tawdry and high-handed stunt that has embarrassed not only Israel but the Congress itself. It has long been an unwritten rule and practice through the decades that when it comes to American foreign policy, we speak and act thoughtfully, with one voice when we can, with the national interests of the United States as our uppermost consideration, and with caution about the unintended consequences of unilateral actions like this. They have diminished that valuable precedent.” The Senator ignored Israel entirely in his statement.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) @SenSanders 332 Dirksen Building D.C. 20510 tel (202) 224-5141 fax (202) 228-0776 Sen. Sanders has a strongly anti-Netanyahu speech PBS clip on his website. Which was posted on Feb. 27.  Sanders appears briefly in the clip, saying that the speech “politicizes foreign policy in this country in a way that it shouldn’t.” When the interviewer asks Sanders, point blank, “what about Prime Minister Netanyahu, did he cross the line here?” Sanders says: “the answer is yes. I don’t think it is a good idea for the Prime Minister of Israel to come here, to the floor of Congress, and trash the president of the United States.” Sanders is Jewish.

Sen. Brian Schatz (Hawaii) @SenBrianSchatz 85% left 722 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 Ph: (202) 224-3934 F: (202) 228-1153 This relatively new senator has not issued a formal statement about why he is boycotting Netanyahu’s speech. Schatz reportedly told the AP that he was skipping the speech because it was arranged with “the apparent purpose of undermining President Obama’s foreign policy prerogatives.” Schatz was sworn in on a Hebrew Bible. He must not have read the Book of Joshua. Schatz filled the vacancy created when Sen. Daniel Inouye died. Schatz’s predecessor, a stalwart supporter of Israel, must be rolling in his grave. Schatz was a J Street-endorsed candidate in 2014.

MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WHO ARE BIBICOTTING ON MARCH 3

Said Says (Falsely): ‘Israel flooding Gaza with Waste Water’

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Once again Said Arikat of the al Quds newspaper used the bully pulpit of the U.S. State Department briefing room to lobby for aid for the Palestinian Authority. But this time he also slandered Israel with an outright lie, stated as fact. And no one corrected him. Where is the voice of truth in the State Department press corps, let alone the State Department?

On Thursday, Feb. 26, Arikat artfully built on a lie that Israel intentionally flooded Gaza by opening dams in the region. That lie has been conclusively disproven – there are no such dams in southern Israel that could be opened to flood Gaza, even if Israel wanted to to that.

Perhaps sensing that some journalists or even the State Dept. Spokesperson herself might have learned that major media outlets such as AFP, MailOnLine and Yahoo! News had to pull their Israeli dam stories because they were proven false, Arikat reached into his bag of tricks and pulled out another (false and disproven, but older so maybe not so fresh in people’s minds) slander against Israel.

Arikat claimed that Israel was intentionally flooding Gaza “farmland” with waste water.

ARIKAT: Okay. And lastly, the Israelis have flooded the areas – farm areas of Gaza with some waste water and so on. Do you have any comment on that? Are you aware –

MS. PSAKI: With some waste?

Arikat: Yeah, waste water, whatever, I don’t know what they call it.

MS. PSAKI: I can check into those reports.

ARIKAT: Could you check? Yes.

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any confirmation of those.

During the huge rains of 2013, Gazan public officials claimed that Israel was flooding Gaza with waste water. Those were disproven decisively as well.
Over the past month there have been record-breaking rain and snow storms throughout the Middle East, resulting in flooding throughout large swathes of  Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Israel and the disputed territories, as well as Gaza.

If Arikat wants to blame someone for flooding in Gaza, no doubt farmers throughout the region will readily join in, but they won’t find a human to blame.

This latest slander of Israel followed yet another plea by Arikat for more funding to the Palestinian Authority. As if that is something a “journalist” should be ever do at all, and certainly not repeatedly as Arikat does, and most certainly not in a State Department press briefing.

ARIKAT: Very quickly. The Secretary called Mahmoud Abbas yesterday. Could you –

MS. PSAKI: He did. I don’t have a readout of that, Said. I’m happy to – we can get you one after the briefing.

ARIKAT: Okay. Are they taking any measures, because of the – the PA is really on the verge of collapse completely?

MS. PSAKI: As we’ve discussed quite a bit in here.

Maybe Arikat has forgotten he is not supposed to be an advocate.

Arikat used to be a United Nations spokesperson for Iraq. Now he is supposed to be a journalist, one who asks questions during the state department press briefings, not one who pleas for more money for the Palestinian Authority or dresses up mendacious claims as mere questions.

Perhaps some official needs to forcefully remind Arikat he is a journalist or else see that he no longer is allowed to claim to be one.

‘Devastated’ by Slain Jew, yet Denmark Huge Funder of Anti-Israel Activity

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

The prime minister of Denmark laid flowers on Sunday, Feb. 15, at the site where the day before a Jewish man was shot in the head and killed while volunteering as a security guard outside of a synagogue in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Was the murder of Dan Uzan, the son of an Israeli father, an act in which the Danish government was indirectly complicit?

When Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt laid the wreath outside of the synagogue, she offered her condolences to the slain man’s family and to the whole Jewish community. She said she and her entire country were devastated by Uzan’s murder, and by all that happened in Copenhagen on Feb. 14.

“A man has lost his life in a service of that synagogue and we are devastated,” Thorning-Schmidt said, speaking to Jewish Danes.

“Our thoughts go to the whole of the Jewish community today. They belong in Denmark, they are a lasting part of our community. And we will do everything we can to protect the Jewish community,” the Prime Minister concluded, before turning towards the makeshift shrine to Uzan, and then briefly embracing two members of the Jewish community.

On Sunday evening, Thorning-Schmidt spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. She provided him with the details of the weekend’s terrorist attacks. During the conversation, Netanyahu told his Danish counterpart that Israel and Denmark must together fight the current terrorism, one that knows no borders.

Netanyahu also told Thoring-Schmidt that “countries which do not fight terrorism today will deal with much worse terrorism tomorrow.”

But other than when a Jew is killed – in a spectacular way – on its soil, does Denmark show support for its Jewish community or the Jewish people? Or does its action actually contribute to the demonization of the Jewish State and of Jews?

This past September, Denmark’s Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard threatened Israel. He said that if the then ongoing ‘peace’ negotiations between Israel and the PA did not resolve according to his lights, punitive action would have to be considered.

Lidegaard warned that if Israel failed to commit to serious concessions, such as ending the blockade of Gaza or stopping “illegal settlements,” then Denmark and the European Union would need to consider taking punitive steps. The threats he mentioned included changing trade relations with the Jewish state, Herb Keinon of the Jerusalem Post reported at the time.

But it isn’t only Lidegaard and it isn’t only recently that Denmark has put the screws to Israel.

Denmark has been financially supporting anti-Israel organizations to the tune of many millions of dollars a year, for many years running.

According to the exhaustive data collection and analysis provided by organizational watchdog NGO-Monitor, in recent years the Danes have contributed tens of million of dollars for Israeli and Palestinian Arab organizations. Many of those organizations engage in economic and legal warfare against Israel known as the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns. The BDS movement, along with demonizing Israel, also engages in acts of blatant, hostile anti-Semitism.

Lidegaard’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs directly funds anti-Israel organizations. In 2011 alone, the Danes contributed over $1.1 million directly to Israeli organizations which actively demonize and seek to harm the Jewish State.

Gerald Steinberg, the president of NGO-Monitor, told The Jewish Press, the “Danish government is among the leaders in funding for anti-Israel NGO demonization in Europe, irresponsibly providing large sums via a number of mechanisms.”

Steinberg explained that the Danes support the so-called Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat, which is managed by Birzeit University. That entity in turn funds groups such as Adalah, Breaking the Silence, and Al Haq. These and a number of other recipient NGOs promote false “war crimes” allegations and blood libels against the Jewish state. Another recipient of Danish largesse – Badil – uses the money to perpetuate the Palestinian refugee demands and anti-Semitic themes.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/devastated-by-slain-jew-denmark-huge-funder-of-anti-israel-activity/2015/02/17/

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