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January 24, 2017 / 26 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Palestinians’

Palestinians Threaten President-Elect Trump W/Holy War If Embassy Moved To Jerusalem

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

{Originally posted to the author’s blogsite, The Lid}

Presidential Candidates since Bill Clinton have promised to move the United States embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, but not one has followed kept the promise once they took office.  All indications are that when he moves into the White House, Donald Trump will keep his promise and move the U.S. Embassy to Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem. But the “moderate peace partners” of the Palestinian Authority are threatening Trump that they will react with violence if the U.S. Embassy is moved to Israel’s capital. The question is will their threats stop Trump from making the move?

The Palestinian Authority’s supreme Sharia judge and President Abbas’ advisor on religious affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash declared on during Friday prayers that a move of the embassy would be considered “a declaration of war” on all Muslims.  His sermon was broadcast live on Palestinian TV with PA President Abbas in the audience.

According to the translation published by Palestinian Media Watch, Al-Habbash said moving the embassy to Jerusalem “harms” Muslim faith, and then threatened: ”

“The new American administration intends to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem. In a simple, calm, and rational manner, in clear words that need no explanation and which are unambiguous: Such a step, for every Muslim, is a declaration of war on all Muslims. It’s a declaration of war on all Muslims. We are no one’s enemies, and we do not want to be. We are not enemies of the US and we do not want to be. However, when something harms our faith and our existence, we cannot stand by and do nothing. We will not agree to this under any circumstances. This will not pass in silence… The entire Muslim world will not accept it, and the entire Christian world will not accept it. Occupied Jerusalem is our eternal capital, the capital of our existence and the capital of our state. In politics there can be compromises here and there… In politics there can be negotiation. However, in matters of religion, faith, values, ethics, and history, there can be no compromises. Therefore, it isn’t possible to compromise on or negotiate over Jerusalem. This of course does not mean that we will prevent anyone from considering Jerusalem their direction of prayer. Our Jerusalem will remain open to all believers as it has been. Open to all of the monotheists.”

From the sound of it Al-Habbash isn’t a big believer in the Qur’an which refers to the existence of both temples in verse 17:7. In this passage, the Qur’an deals with God’s punishment of the Children of Israel for their transgressions:

(We permitted your enemies)
To disfigure your faces,
And to enter your Temple
As they had entered it before,
And to visit with destruction
All that fell into their power.

The word translated as “Temple” by Abdullah Yusuf Ali (and by the influential translator Marmaduke Pickthall before him) is masjid. This word, which is usually translated as mosque, has the meaning of a sanctuary wherever it appears in a pre-Islamic context. The usual Muslim exegesis of this verse (including that of Abdullah Yusuf Ali) holds that it refers to the destruction of the First and Second Temples.

Muslim tradition is especially adamant about the existence of the First Temple, built by Solomon, who appears in the Qur’an as a prophet and a paragon of wisdom. Verse 34:13 is an account of how Solomon summoned jinn (spirits) to build the Temple:

They worked for him
As he desired, (making) Arches,
Images, Basons
As large as wells,
And (cooking) Cauldrons fixed
(In their places)

Al-Habbash isn’t the only Palestinian Authority leader who is making threats about the U.S. Embassy move. Palestinian Media Watch also reported:

  • Abbas’ advisor on NGOs, Sultan Abu Al-Einein declared, “Transferring the American embassy to Jerusalem will lead to bloodshed”
  • Head of the Supreme Muslim Council and head preacher at the Al-Aqsa Mosque Sheikh Ikrima Sabri said, “What this means is that America recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of the Jews, and in doing so America will declare a new war against the Palestinians and also against the Arabs and the Muslims”
  • Secretary-General of the PLO Executive Committee, Saeb Erekat threatened, “If you transfer the embassy and agree to the annexation of the settlements in the West Bank, you will drag the region into a state of anarchy, extremism, and lawlessness”
  • The spokesman for President Abbas’ Fatah Party Osama Al-Qawasmi warned, “Any step regarding transferring the American embassy from Tel Aviv to East Jerusalem will directly cause an explosion”

These threats may represent the first test of Donald Trump’s resolve in foreign affairs. Will the Palestinian Authority attempts to blackmail the Trump Administration deter his plans to move the embassy?

It is very doubtful that the Palestinian incitement will deter or delay moving the embassy. Donald Trump is not the type to be intimidated, especially when one considers his campaign positions and not necessarily his positions about the Middle East. This is the man who has been promising to stand up to China, to force Mexico to pay for the border wall. Justifiably Trump criticized Barack Obama for not standing up to foreign threats and making the United States appear weak. If Trump was honest in his criticism of Obama’s feckless foreign policy (and I believe he was) he will not allow the threat of terrorism by the Palestinian Authority to dictate his foreign policy decisions.

Whether or not their incitement leads to violence, the Palestinians should be very careful because more than just trying to bully a U.S. president who can’t be bullied, they may be pushing the Congress and the President to re-think all that foreign aid the P.A. leadership is using to line their own pockets.

Jeff Dunetz

Haim Saban ‘Deeply Disturbed’ by US Abstention at UNSC, and Kerry’s ‘One-Sided Speech’

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

Israeli American Jewish billionaire Haim Saban, has come out and publicly, intensely criticized last month’s American abstention at the United Nations Security Council, along with the “one sided speech” by Secretary of State John Kerry that followed.

Saban is known for being a superdonor to the Democratic Party for decades and founder of the Brooking Institution’s annual Saban Forum, which each year draws the mega stars of international leadership, politics and diplomacy to its panels.

The Egyptian-born Democrat gave more than $12.5 million to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. But this week he warned the Obama administration to veto any further “biased UNSC resolutions that may be introduced” in Paris later this month.

Saban, who owns Univision, has been – if not the highest, then certainly one of the highest – individual donors to the Democratic Party in history, funding construction of the Democratic National Committee headquarters building in Washington DC to the tune of a $7 million personal contribution together with his wife Sheryl. The couple is known for their philanthropy to the Jewish State, and for having established the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC, a public policy organization.

“As a longstanding Democrat who has supported and defended President Obama on his treatment of Israel throughout his presidency, I am deeply disturbed by the Administration’s decision not to veto UN Security Council Resolution 2334 and Secretary Kerry’s subsequent one sided speech. These actions undermine our country’s long-standing support for Israel and harm any long-term prospects for peace, which is in our national interest. Further, I urge the Obama Administration to stay true to our decades old policy by vetoing any additional biased UNSC resolutions that may be introduced at the Paris summit later this month, and refrain from issuing any other policy statements that would only make things worse. “Fostering the conditions for peace, security, and prosperity for both Israelis and Palestinians is a core American interest. In the months and years ahead, it is essential that the US — in its role as the only superpower today — take the necessary steps to maintain its credibility as an intermediary between the parties and work to advance a sustainable two-state solution, in which a Jewish, democratic State of Israel lives in peace and security alongside its neighbors or, until the conditions are ripe for peace, promote a separation between the two peoples.”

Hana Levi Julian

Palestinians: Welcome to the World of Western-Funded Terrorism

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

{Originally posted to the Gatestone Institute website}

Killing Jews has become a profitable business. Palestinians who think of launching a terror attack against Jews can rest assured that their well-being and that of their family will be guaranteed while they are in Israeli prison. Here is how it works:

The Western-funded Palestinian Authority (PA) government, through its various institutions, provides a monthly salary and different financial benefits to jailed Palestinian terrorists and their families. Upon their release, they will continue to receive financial aid, and are given top priority when it comes to employment in the public sector. Their chances of getting a job with the PA government are higher than those who went to university, because by carrying out an attack against Jews they become heroes, entitled to a superior job and salary.

For the record, these people have not been imprisoned for running a red light. Most of them are behind bars because they have masterminded suicide bombings and other terror attacks that have killed and maimed hundreds of innocent civilians during the past few decades. In the U.S., these convicted Palestinian terrorists would have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, or the death penalty. What they would not be receiving are the privileges offered to them by Abbas and the PA leadership.

Ready for a dose of linguistic reality? In addition to his title as president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas is also chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). So it makes no difference at all whether the PA or the PLO is paying salaries to the terrorists: the same man is authorizing the funds. In reality, the PA and the PLO are one and the same. Israel signed the Oslo Accords with the PLO, and as a result of these agreements, the PA was created. We are dealing with the same people and same ideology.

So, when you hear that it is the PLO, not the PA, that pays the terrorists’ salaries, you might want to mention that this statement is a sleight of hand designed to dupe unsuspecting and well-intentioned American and European donors.

Let us look beyond the smoke and mirrors: Palestinians and their families are being financially rewarded by the West for taking part in terror attacks against Jews. It does not take a brain surgeon to figure out that this promotes terrorism. A Palestinian who kills or wounds a Jew can lie comfortably in his prison cell, secure in the knowledge that his future and that of his wife and children taken care of.

Welcome to the world of President Abbas and his government. By providing financial and other aid to those involved in terrorism against Israel, these leaders actively encourage Palestinians to choose the path of violence, and not peace, in dealing with the Israelis.

Let us get specific. The more time you spend in an Israeli prison, the more prestigious the job you will receive. If, for example, you spent more than 15 years in an Israeli prison, and you are affiliated in one way or another with Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction, you will most likely be offered the rank of Colonel or Lieutenant General in one of the Western-funded PA security services.

If, by chance, you masterminded a series of terror attacks that resulted in the deaths of multiple Jews, and your name is Marwan Barghouti, your chances of becoming the next Palestinian president are very high. Barghouti, who is serving five life terms in an Israeli prison for his role in a series of terror attacks that killed at least five Jews, is so popular that he won the first slot in the Fatah “primaries” that were held in Ramallah in late October.

Issa Qaraqi, the head of the Palestinian National Commission for Prisoners and Detainees Affairs, described the election of Barghouti as a “victory for the prisoners and their sacrifices.” In other words, the terrorists should be happy because a bright future awaits them.

Qaraqi’s description is accurate. Like many Palestinians, he too believes that a terrorist who was responsible for the killing of Jews should be honored and offered the finest privileges. Palestinian public opinion polls indicate that Barghouti’s chances of succeeding Abbas as the next PA president are very strong. According to these polls, Barghouti, who has been imprisoned for 15 years, is the Palestinians’ front-runner for the presidency.

These polling results should come as no surprise whatsoever. Palestinians regularly rise to power on the fact of having killed or wounded a Jew. These are, shall we say, optimum credentials for leadership. “Graduating” from an Israeli prison is better than graduating from an Ivy League university.

Moreover, the payments made to the prisoners and their families are far from “humanitarian” in nature. Many of those who receive the benefits are, in fact, not in need of the money: they own their own houses and their families own agricultural lands and farms. In addition, the Palestinian tribal system, where the clan rallies behind one of its members, allows for the prisoners and their families to benefit from financial and moral support. The family bond is very strong in these instances, and it is the duty of each member of the clan to help in accordance with his or her abilities.

Instead, the payments have a political and national goal, as Palestinian leaders themselves remind us again and again. The declared goal is to support the “steadfastness” of the prisoners and their families, “alleviate their suffering,” and pave the way for their “rehabilitation and reintegration” into Palestinian society.

The Palestinian leadership and many Palestinians consider the terrorist prisoners “heroes” — “soldiers” in the fight against Israel. These are the “good boys,” who “sacrificed their lives and freedom” in order to fight the “Zionist enemy.” Take, for example, Maher Hashlamoun, a 32-year-old Palestinian man from Hebron who was recently sentenced to two life terms in prison for murdering a Jewish woman and wounding others in a car-ramming and stabbing attack near Bethlehem. Hashlamoun is now being praised by the PA and many Palestinians as a “hero” and “struggler.” At his sentencing, Hashlamoun laughed, sarcastically telling the judge: “Do you think you will remain on my homeland for another 200 years?”

The terrorist had good reason to laugh in the face of the judge. He knows that Abbas, the Palestinian Authority, or some other entity will look after his family and him while he is sitting in prison. He knows that thanks to Western donations to the Palestinians, his family and he will enjoy monthly payments. The family will even be exempt from paying school and university tuition, as well as their electric and water bills, which will be fully covered by the PA government, directly or indirectly. He also knows that if and when he is released from prison, his chances of finding a job in the public sector are much higher than those of someone who did not kill a Jew or spend time in an Israeli prison.

Until a few years ago, the PA government was dealing with the Palestinian prisoners held in Israel through the Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, which was established in 1995, shortly after the signing of the Oslo Accords.

The ministry aims, among other things, to “ensure a decent life for prisoners and care for their children and their families.” Its mission also includes the “rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-detainees into Palestinian society.”

In 2014, the Palestinian Authority, under pressure from Western donors, abolished the ministry and replaced it with a new body called the Higher National Commission for Prisoners and Detainees Affairs. The decision to abolish the ministry and turn it into a PLO-associated commission was seen as an attempt by Abbas to appease Israel and the Western donors. As a consequence of the change, the PLO, and not the PA government, would be in charge of paying salaries and other social benefits to the prisoners and their families. The move was aimed at showing Western donors that their financial aid to the Palestinian Authority was not going to support terrorists in Israeli prison. (The PLO does not receive direct funds from Western donors).

But Abbas’s move was nothing but another dirty deception. The so-called Higher National Commission for Prisoners and Detainees Affairs is actually the same abolished ministry, but under a different name. The commission is directly linked to the Palestinian Authority government and appears as one of its institutions on its official website. The website declares that the Commission provides the prisoners and their families with “legal and material services,” as well as professional training, health insurance, loans, grants and university scholarships for ex-prisoners.

While many in the international community have fallen for Abbas’s trickery concerning the support of convicted terrorists who are imprisoned by Israel, a few have discovered the ploy. Earlier this year, the British government’s Department for International Development reportedly froze part of its aid to the PA, following demands for action from UK lawmakers, after revelations that British aid was being used to fund payments to Palestinian terrorists. Some of the funds were reported to have gone to families of Palestinian suicide bombers and teenagers who have attacked Israelis.

But the world according to the PA is still not the world according to the international community. Taxpayers have the right to know if their money is covering the dental expenses of a terrorist and his family. It is time to tell Abbas and his associates, in terms that they understand, that the West will no longer fund terrorists. This message, above all others, will discourage terrorism — and perhaps even encourage peace.


Bassam Tawil

Palestinians: Back into Bed with Hamas

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Gatestone Institute website}

This has become predictable. Given two minutes of breath, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas resorts to the old tactic of courting Hamas as a way of hiding from the disaffection of his own Fatah faction. The overtures towards Hamas are a smokescreen for what many Palestinians are beginning to perceive as the beginning of a revolt against Abbas.

Last week, Abbas held a surprise meeting in Qatar with Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashaal. The meeting reportedly considered ways of ending the longstanding dispute between Fatah and Hamas and achieving “national reconciliation.”

Abbas aides said the meeting also dealt with the possibility of forming a Palestinian “national unity” government and holding long-overdue presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The unexpected meeting was held under the auspices of the rulers of Qatar, a country that has long been the Number One sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood organization, of which Hamas is an offshoot.

The surprising nature of the meeting between Abbas and the Hamas leaders makes sense: for one thing, the two sides had, prior to the encounter, denied that it would take place.

Moreover, the meeting came only weeks after Fatah and Hamas traded allegations over the cancellation of the Palestinian municipal election, supposed to be held in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on October 8. Tensions between the two rival parties have since been mounting over the cancellation of the local election, with each side holding the other responsible for “foiling the democratic, electoral process.”

So what is really behind Abbas’s latest decision to throw himself into the open arms of Hamas? Is the PA president suddenly smitten with genuine concern for “national reconciliation”, or did something else prompt him to rush to Qatar?

The timing of the meeting in the Qatari capital of Doha is most telling.

Abbas’s chat with Mashaal and Haniyeh coincided with an unprecedented wave of violent protests that have erupted against him in a number of Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank. In the past few weeks, scenes of armed clashes between PA security forces and gunmen have become a daily scene in the refugee camps of Balata, Jenin and Al-Amari in the West Bank.

Palestinians say the confrontations are the worst in many years and pose a serious and open challenge to Abbas. The most recent clashes took place last week in Balata, when hundreds of PA security officers stormed the camp in an attempt to arrest “outlaws” and “criminals.” At least four people were wounded during the exchange of gunfire between the gunmen and policemen.

Similar clashes have also occurred in the Al-Amari camp (near Ramallah) and the Jenin camp.

Abbas aides claim that ousted Fatah strongman Mohamed Dahlan is behind the latest unrest in the refugee camps.

They claim that Dahlan and his supporters are seeking to overthrow Abbas as part of a “wider conspiracy” to appoint new leaders for the Palestinians.

They also claim that some Arab countries, particularly Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, are backing the alleged conspiracy to remove Abbas from power.

Abbas’s paranoia has reached the point that he has begun expelling or arresting any Fatah member whom he suspects of being affiliated with Dahlan. Hardly a day passes without the Palestinian Authority’s expulsion of yet another unruly Fatah official.

According to Palestinian sources, at least thirteen Fatah officials have been run out of the faction in the past few months, most of them on suspicion of being linked in one way or another to Dahlan.

The most recent target of Abbas’s crackdown is Jihad Tamliyeh, a top Fatah operative from Al-Amari, who was accused of trying to convene a meeting of Dahlan loyalists in the camp. After breaking up the gathering and threatening to arrest participants, Abbas signed an order expelling Tamliyeh from Fatah. The decision to ban the meeting and the subsequent expulsion of Tamliyeh from Fatah sparked a wave of violent protests and widespread condemnations in the West Bank.

Later, Abbas ordered his security forces to arrest Ra’fat Elayan, a senior Fatah official from East Jerusalem, also on suspicion of being affiliated with Dahlan.

Dahlan, who has denied any connection to the recent turmoil in Fatah, has accused Abbas of running Fatah and the PA as his private fiefdom.

“Since when was Fatah a company or a fiefdom from which people are expelled in accordance with personal agendas?” Dahlan wondered. He also denied that he has ambitions to replace or succeed Abbas.

Further evidence of the expanding turmoil in Abbas’s Fatah faction emerged last week with a report that claimed that the PA security forces had uncovered a plot to assassinate three top Fatah officials: Ghassan Shaka’ah, Jamal Tirawi and Amin Maqboul – all critics of Abbas. According to the report, three of the suspects are PA security officers.

The rising tensions and skyrocketing discontent with Abbas’s autocratic rule in Fatah are yet another sign of the failure of the PA president to control his own faction. Fatah is the dominant party in the PA; thus, the way it goes, so goes PA establishment.

Most, if not all, the members of the PA security forces are Fatah loyalists. So are most of the PA’s civil servants. Many PA security officers and senior Fatah officials are said to be unhappy with the way Abbas is cracking down on suspected Fatah dissidents.

“The Palestinian Authority has violated the Palestinian law by raiding Palestinian refugee camps to prevent conferences,” said top Fatah official Sufyan Abu Zaida. “What is happening in the refugee camps (in the West Bank) is dangerous and unacceptable.”

Some PA officials have privately criticized Abbas for failing to realize the degree to which his Fatah faction represents a threat to him. They expressed surprise that he has not yet abandoned his globe-trotting habit and remained in Ramallah to tackle what they call the “Camp Intifada” against him.

The officials also pointed out that the increased tensions in Fatah could spoil efforts to convene Fatah’s seventh conference to elect new members and discuss reforms in the faction. Abbas is hoping to convene the conference before the end of this year. The last time Fatah held a conference was in 2009.

Under the current circumstances, the likelihood that the long-awaited conference will actually take place appears to be nearly nil. The internecine fighting in Fatah and the growing challenges to Abbas’s leadership are to thank for those poor odds.

Meanwhile, the 81-year-old Abbas is busy searching for ways to escape from the most recent fire to have broken out in his back yard. And the best way to do so, he remembers from eruption to eruption, is to appear to be getting his Fatah faction back into bed with the Islamist movement.

The prospect of a Fatah-Hamas unity certainly gets the world salivating. Only the very naïve, however, could ever imagine such a union, at least in the foreseeable future. Just as only the foolhardy could imagine Hamas relinquishing its goal of the destruction of Israel for the sake of a tryst with Fatah.

If the Fatah-Hamas rift was once considered the major obstacle to Palestinian statehood, today it has become obvious that divisions among Fatah pose even a bigger threat to Palestinian aspirations.

If Abbas is unable to make peace inside his own Fatah faction, how will he ever be able to end the dispute with Hamas? And the more crucial question: How can Abbas ever be expected to make peace with Israel when he cannot even control his own Fatah loyalists? The Palestinian political situation, plagued with anarchy on all fronts, is deteriorating on a daily basis.

Israel and the rest of the world are currently facing two Palestinian camps: one (Hamas) that does not want to make peace with Israel because it believes Israel ought not to exist, and the second (Fatah) that cannot make peace with Israel because it is too weak to do so. The next US administration, whatever political persuasion it may be, would do well to mark this reality.


Khaled Abu Toameh

The Palestinians’ Unsporting and Illegal ‘Football War’ Against Israel

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Washington Post website}

Human Rights Watch published a long, graphics-rich report on Sunday denouncing Israeli semi-pro soccer (football) clubs in towns in the West Bank. A few weeks ago, a group of European Parliament members sent a letter along similar lines to FIFA, the international soccer governing body. The parliament members argue the clubs violate international law, and for good measure, the FIFA constitution, and call for the expulsion of the teams, or Israel itself, from world soccer.

These efforts are all part of a broad Palestinian push to pressure Israeli in international forums. The legal arguments raised in these documents are entirely contrived. They contradict longstanding FIFA practice and create a double standard for Israel. And that’s just not sporting.

The human rights claims in the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report are tendentious — they assert that the local soccer leagues (all quite small-time) are “making the settlements more sustainable, thus propping up” the system. Most of the communities in question are just a few kilometers from the 1949 Jordanian-Israeli armistice line and would remain in Israel in all the major two-state proposals; their residents typically commute to work in bigger nearby cities. It is laughable to think anyone would leave them if the football league moved a few kilometers down the road. In any case, contrary to the HRW’s claims, there is simply no support in international law for prohibiting business in occupied territories, as British and French courts have recently affirmed.

Indeed, Morocco maintains a team, part of its national football federation, in occupied Western Sahara. Yet the HRW completely fails to mention this fact in its report. The human rights abuses in Western Sahara — where the majority of the population are Moroccan settlers and the indigenous population has been heavily displaced — are too vast to recount. No one — including the HRW and the Parliament members — has suggested expelling Morocco on account of its team, based deep in land taken from the Sahrawi.

The football-as-human rights-violation arguments against Israel are tendentious and prove too much. So those campaigning against Israel rely principally on a lawyerly claim about FIFA’s rules: The clubs “clearly violate FIFA’s statutes, according to which clubs from one member association cannot play on the territory of another member association without its and FIFA’s consent,” the members claim.

The problem is nothing in the FIFA statutes that equates “territory” with sovereign territory. Indeed, that would be impossible, since many FIFA members are not sovereign states at all. Instead, territory, as is often the case in international texts, means jurisdiction.

This is because the FIFA is not a border demarcation body. That is why FIFA clearly separates any question of sovereign statehood and territory from FIFA membership by not requiring that member federations be recognized states (i.e. Hong Kong, American Samoa, Faroe Islands, Northern Ireland, etc.). The claim that the acceptance of the Palestinian soccer federation into FIFA constituted a recognition of Palestine as a state and a recognition of its maximal border claims is unsupportable. FIFA membership does not imply statehood, nor has FIFA ever taken a position on preexisting border disputes.

Indeed, FIFA practice makes clear that it never gets involved when teams of one federation play on territory that is the subject of sovereign claims by the state of another member. As often happens, Israel’s critics attempt to portray it as a unique situation. It is far from it.

For example, British Gibraltar’s soccer federation is a member of the international soccer system despite being entirely located on what Spain claims as its sovereign territory. Indeed, Spain protested Gibraltar’s membership vigorously on these grounds. Similarly, the Taiwanese (Taipei) federation is recognized — but that hardly means FIFA has decided to reject China’s claim to the island.

Member states have territorial disputes. FIFA’s recognition of teams has never been understood as taking any position on the status of the territory where the team plays. Indeed, if it does, it would be big trouble for FIFA, and big news. Does this mean FIFA rejects Spain’s claim to Gibraltar, or China’s to Taiwan, and accepts Morocco’s annexation of Western Sahara? No one has ever suggested that any of this is the case. Conversely, the South American regional football association has refused to admit the Falklands Island Football federation, which prevents it from joining FIFA. But this hardly means the Falklands is occupied territory. This probably explains why only 66 MEPs signed the letter when anti-Israel resolutions routinely command vast majorities of the 751-member body.

Moreover, the Palestinian Federation has been a FIFA member for 20 years. When the Palestinian Federation was recognized in 1998, the event barely made news, because everyone understood that it was neither a recognition of Palestinian statehood (this was well before even the nod from the U.N. General Assembly) or a denial of Israeli teams’ rights to play where they had been playing. Indeed, the Israelis did not even protest Palestinian membership, as no one had yet invented the spin that the membership had anything to do with settlement teams. The Palestinians also failed to complain until a couple of years ago, when they began to use FIFA as part of their overall effort to “internationalize” their dispute with Israel. (The head of the Palestinian football association, Jibril Rajoub, has been accused of mixing football with celebrations of terrorism.)

The longstanding acceptance of the Israeli teams is further evidence that no one really thinks FIFA rules mean what they are now said to mean.

Much reliance is placed on FIFA not recognizing the teams taken over and reorganized by Russia after its 2014 invasion of Crimea. Of course, in that situation, Russia invaded its neighbor and assimilated its teams. In other words, the teams in question were ones that Russia had actually taken over. Here, no Palestinian team has been taken over by Israel — indeed, every single one of them has been created during Israel’s supposed occupation. Nor has Israel invaded and overrun the Palestinian Authority, which was established in 1994 — in short, there has been no change in the status quo.

Moreover, FIFA’s 2014 action was not its last word. It has since allowed the creation of a separate Crimean federation separate from the Russian one — and the Ukrainian one. Does that mean that FIFA recognizes that the area is no longer part of Ukraine? Hardly. It means that it realizes that the football pitch is not the Peace Palace.

Eugene Kontorovich

The ‘Altruistic Evil’ of Social Justice for the Palestinians

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

As yet another indication that the university campus has become “an island of repression in a sea of freedom,” last March a pro-Israel group, Hasbara Fellowships Canada, was barred from participating in a “Social Justice Week” event organized by the Student Association of Durham College and University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT).

The stated reason for the exclusion? The student association (which, not coincidentally, had just approved a pro-BDS resolution against Israel) declared that since the “organization seems closely tied to the state of Israel . . . it would be against the motion to provide any type of resources to [the] organization.”

While the term “social justice” has a seemingly benign and positive connotation, the reality is that, as columnist Jonah Goldberg observed in his book The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas, social justice is actually “an empty vessel to be filled with any and all leftist ideals, and then promptly wielded as a political bludgeon against any and all dissenters…”

That has meant that students, and left-leaning faculty as well, are urged to advocate for social and economic goals described in decidedly liberal intellectual formulations such as “social and economic justice,” “distributive justice,” and “the global interconnections of oppression,” this latter view ideal for conflating, at least in liberal imaginations, the shared complicity of America and Israel in their long-term oppression of the indigenous people of the fictive nation of Palestine and the alleged “occupation” of their land.

So while social justice warriors on campus are quick to welcome a collection of perceived victim groups into their tent – Muslims, African-Americans, gays, Hispanics, women – they have been decidedly more hostile when dealing with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, with the result that pro-Israel groups (such as the Hasbara Fellowships in Ontario) are regularly excluded for allegedly being part of the oppressor class.

What are the defining characteristics of those well meaning but often misguided individuals who promiscuously proclaim their commitment to social justice? A number of tactics and behaviors are common to their efforts:

* Social justice warriors are commonly infatuated with their own virtue, which manifests itself in very public “virtue signaling,” a way that self-described activists indicate that they have taken the high moral ground, that they stand for racial equality and the aspirations of the oppressed, and that they single-mindedly fight for the rights of, and make excuses for, the oppressed state in which their victims find themselves.

* Economist Thorsten Veblen identified an emerging social phenomenon in which an increasingly more affluent middle class used spending and material acquisition as a way of signaling their economic—and social—status. Social justice warriors use the same psychological device of announcing to others their self-righteous ideology through what could be called “conspicuous moral consumption,” part and parcel of their virtue signaling.

* The rectitude of students and faculty enthralled by social justice and pushing for condemnations of Israel manifests itself as what has been termed “moral narcissism,” the tendency of members of the educated elite to align with causes and ideological positions that are based not on the actual viability or worthiness of a cause but on how the moral narcissist feels about himself by committing to a particular campaign or movement.

Like other members of the academic left, who believe their worldview is correct because it seeks to create a world in which social equanimity will be realized by the downtrodden, members of victims’ rights grievance groups and movements are content to support such intellectually dishonest campaigns as the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement because it enables them to denounce Israelis as imperialistic, colonial, racist, militaristic oppressors of wholly innocent “brown” Palestinians dispossessed and victimized by the Jewish state’s very existence. The moral narcissist’s reasoning may defective, ahistorical, counter-intuitive, or just wrong, but he still feels good about himself. In this worldview there can be only one enemy of justice, and Israel is that enemy.

* In debating the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, social justice activists, of course, demonstrate their hypocrisy by endlessly dwelling on the many evils of Israel without bothering to examine or measure the Palestinians’ own central role in contributing to the many pathologies endemic to their civil society and institutions. Like many Western elites do when choosing sides, social justice warriors infantilize the Palestinian victim and assume he has no agency to ameliorate his own conditions. In reality, pro-Palestinian activists seem to care very little about the actual self-determination and state building of the hapless Palestinians.

As is frequently the case when speaking about the Israeli/Arab conflict, the discussion often glosses over the real problems of Palestinian culture, politics, and society (including its cult of death, terrorism, and martyrdom), and targets all criticism on Israel, Zionism, and Jewish power. All of the blame for the conflict is placed on the so-called occupation, the “apartheid wall,” Jewish “racism,” the oppression and militarism of the “Zionist regime,” and the brutal humiliation, collective punishment, and even “slow-moving” genocide Israel is said to mete out on a daily basis upon the wholly innocent Palestinians. This is a clear example of another underlying factor in the social justice effort, the soft bigotry of low Palestinian expectations.

* Many academics in the humanities and social sciences, including activists in groups as disparate as Black Lives Matter, Students for Justice in Palestine, and the National Association of Women’s Studies, increasingly find a linkage as they seek to affirm the rights of the victimized and name the villains responsible for this oppression. The more that seemingly unrelated instances of oppression can be conflated, it is thought, the greater the ability to confront these oppressors and dilute the negative effect they have on their specific victims and on society at large.

This trend has been called “intersectionality” and it has meant that someone who is a gender studies professor or American studies expert can, with no actual knowledge or expertise about the Middle East, readily pontificate on the many social pathologies of which he accuses Israel, based on its perceived role as a racist, imperialist, colonial oppressor of an innocent indigenous population of Arab victims.

For social justice warriors, to know one victim group is to know any victim group – with Israel being a tempting and habitual target of their opprobrium. Thus, for instance, supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement have often linked racism and police violence “from Ferguson to Palestine,” as their placards have announced, making Israel somehow complicit in American racism and police brutality, and even recently proclaimed in its recent platform that Israel is practicing “apartheid” and is engaged in “genocide” against the Palestinians.

* Social justice warriors are intent on using “weaponized intolerance,” the willingness to abridge speech and human rights of opposing groups in the campaign to seek social justice for the victim. Moreover, so sure are they of their moral uprightness in denouncing white privilege and conservative thought, that the social justice warriors will not even deign to collaborate, negotiate, or even tolerate the views of those groups and individuals they have decided are essentially unworthy of having their options heard. New York’s Students for Justice in Palestine, for example, announced proudly that “We reject any and all collaboration, dialogue and coalition work with Zionist organizations through a strict policy of anti-normalization (anti-engagement) and encourage our comrades in other organizations to do the same.”

Similarly, a leaked memorandum from the Binghamton University Students for Justice in Palestine chapter revealed that members would never be required to even engage in dialogue with pro-Israel groups on their campus, they would be prohibited from “engaging in any form of official collaboration, cooperation, or event co-sponsorship with [pro-Israel] student organizations and groups,” and members “shall in no manner engage in any form of official collaboration with any student group which actively opposes the cause of Palestinian liberation nor with groups which have aided and abetted Zionist student organizations,” meaning, of course, that the so-called intellectual debate that universities purport to promote in exactly this type of discussion will never take place when SJP is involved.

* Proponents of social justice apologize for and enable grievance-based violence by abandoning moral precepts and applying a double standard by which they support murder, violence, “resistance,” and terror in the name of self-determination—but only that perpetrated by the favored victim. Anti-Israel campus events regularly include protesters ghoulishly chanting “long live the Intifada” and “’resistance’ is justified when people are occupied,” in other words, extolling the ongoing homicidal rampage in Israel in which psychopathic terrorists have used knives, guns, stones, and vehicles to randomly murder Jewish civilians. In fact, the use of the word “Intifada” is a grotesque and murderous reference to the Second Intifada that began in 2000, during which Arab terrorists murdered some 1,000 Israelis and wounded more than 14,000 others.

The fact that pro-Palestinian student activists, those who purport to be motivated by a desire to bring “justice” to the Middle East and who, presumably, care about all human lives, could publicly call for the renewed slaughter of Jews in the name of Palestinian self-determination demonstrates quite clearly how ideologically debased the human rights movement has become.

* Those purportedly seeking social justice for the Palestinians regularly exhibit a willful blindness to the quest for social justice for actual Middle East victims of egregious oppression, while obsessing, to the exclusion of all other examples, over the perceived perfidy of Israel. For example, this year the National Association of Women’s Studies (NWSA) voted to approve an academic boycott against Israeli scholars. It had evidently escaped the notice of the NWSA experts on gender and sexuality issues that if one wanted to punish any Middle Eastern country for its subjugation and abuse of women, Israel would probably not be the first nation to come under reasonable or justifiable scrutiny for a group dedicated “to principles of human rights, justice and freedom for all, including academic freedom.”

Totalitarian and despotic regimes throughout the region have created an oppressive group of social pathologies that negatively affect women, including genital mutilation, stoning of adulteresses, “honor” killings by fathers and brothers who have been shamed, cultures of gender apartheid in which women are seen as property with no emotional or physical autonomy, ubiquitous sexual assault, and a general subjugation of women, complete with regulations governing behavior, movement, speech, and even requirements that women be covered by burqa or hijab.

Like other members of the academic Left who believe their worldview is correct and virtuous because it seeks to create a world in which social equanimity will be realized by the downtrodden, members of the NWSA, similar to their fellow travelers in other academic associations and student groups, are content to support such intellectually dishonest campaigns as academic boycotts because doing so enables them to denounce Israel as an imperialistic, racist, militaristic oppressor of innocent victims.

* * * * * *

This nearly total rejection by those seeking justice for the oppressed of any recognition of goodness on the part of Western countries (and particularly Israel), favoring without hard judgments severely flawed societies of the Third World is, according to commentator Melanie Phillips, symptomatic of activists’ belief in their own moral superiority, a feature which, at least in their own minds, gives them a more genuine, principled, and valuable worldview. “In the grip of a group-think that causes them to genuflect to victim-culture and the deconstruction of western morality and the concept of truth,” Phillips wrote, “a dismaying number of our supposedly finest minds have been transformed from people who spread enlightenment to those who cast darkness before them.”

Richard L. Cravatts

Palestinians are a Thorn [video]

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

It’s interesting how unintentionally our enemies often manage to fit themselves right into interesting phrases from the Torah.

For instance, in this video from the Palestinian Authority, the singer describes the “Palestinians” as a thorn in the throat of Zionism.

Which parallels the pasuk (sentence) in Bamidbar (Numbers) 33:55 where it says, “But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell.” Yup.

Singer: “We are not afraid of the enemy – a thorn in the throat of Zionism! Palestinians – We are! We are! The people of Jerusalem – We are! We are! The people of Jenin – We are! We are! … The people of Gaza… The people of Jaffa – We are! We are! The people of Haifa – We are! We are! The people of Lod – We are! We are! The people of Ramle The people of Acre – We are! We are! The people of Nazareth – We are! We are! … We swear in the name of the prisoners In place of one [prisoner], here are ten We have given them [Israelis] a taste of grief We have given them a taste of grief – a thorn in the throat of Zionism!” [Official PA TV, July 30 and Aug. 6, 2016]

Following are all the places in Israel mentioned throughout the song: Jaffa, Haifa, Lod, Ramle, Acre, Nazareth, Galilee, Beer Sheva, Tiberias, Safed, Beit Shean and Jerusalem.

Following are the places in the PA: Jenin, Hebron, Tulkarem, Qalqilya, Nablus, Gaza, Jericho, Ramallah

Video of the Day

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/multimedia/video-picks/palestinians-are-a-thorn-video/2016/08/18/

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