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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Rights’

New Film Highlights Israel’s Strengths

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

In Brad Pitt’s latest offering, World War Z, a virus transforms human beings into zombies determined to overtake the world and destroy every country on Earth. In the film, only Israel has the foresight to build a massive zombie-repelling wall. 

One of the film’s central characters, Mossad agent Jurgen Warmbrunn, explains, “In the ’30s, Jews refused to believe we could be put in concentration camps. In the ’70s, we didn’t believe we could be massacred at the Olympics.” Warmbrunn notes that based on these experiences, Israel remains ready for any security threat, maintaining a defense infrastructure that surpasses all other nations.

Some observers see the zombie-resistant wall as representative of the real life Security Barrier that keeps Palestinian suicide bombers out of Israel. In addition to being proactive in security, the movie portrays Israel as a humanitarian country that permits uninfected Palestinians to enter so that they will not be harmed by zombies. “Every human being we save is one less zombie to fight,” remarks Jurgen. He adds that saving Palestinian lives is good for peace. This too reflects an Israel that honors the rights of its Arab citizens, works to save Palestinian lives, and serves as an inspiration to the Islamic world by treating persecuted minority groups, such as Ahmadi Muslims and Bahais, with dignity.

In World War Z, Israel is also portrayed as a country in which women are given equal opportunities. For example, the film features an Israeli warrior named Segen, played by Israeli actress Daniella Kertesz, who saves lives and helps distribute the zombie vaccine.

In reality, Israel is a pioneer in women’s rights, a country where women proudly serve in the Israel Defense Forces. It is also engaged in humanitarian missions that help other countries across the world, including fighting against gender-based violence in South Sudan, sending agricultural and medical assistance to Haiti, rescuing people trapped under a collapsed shopping mall in Ghana, bringing relief to victims of an Oklahoma Tornado, helping Hurricane Sandy Victims, treating victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing, and assisting first-responders at the Newtown Massacre. In a fictionalized form, World War Z highlights Israel’s innumerable contributions to the world and represents one of the most pro-Israel films ever made.

Visit United with Israel.

Israel, ‘Palestine,’ And The Law Of War (Second of Two Parts)

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Historically, viewed against the background of extensive and unapologetic terrorist perfidy in both Gaza and Lebanon, Israel has been innocent of any alleged disproportionality. All combatants, including all insurgents in Gaza and Lebanon, are bound to comply with the law of war of international law.

This firm requirement derives not only from what is known as the “Martens Clause,” a paragraph that makes its first appearance in the Preamble to the 1899 Hague Convention No. II on land warfare, but additionally from Article 3, common to the four Geneva Conventions of August 12,1949. It is also found in the two Protocols to these Conventions.

In world politics, reason is often trumped by passion. It has always been easy to condemn Israel with rhythmic chants of “disproportionality.” Yet, competent legal scholars, if honest about their jurisprudential obligations, will acknowledge the illegitimacy of such contrived charges.

Until now, any seemingly disproportionate uses of force by Israel have actually been the permissible outcome of antecedent and perfidious crimes committed by its enemies.

What about charges, over the years, that Israel had committed “aggression” in its Lebanon operations? At Lebanon’s insistence, not Israel’s, a formal state of war has existed between the two tiny countries since the Jewish state first came into existence in May 1948. Only an armistice agreement exists between Israel and Lebanon. Signed on March 23,1949, this was not a war-terminating agreement, but a codified pledge to “cease fire.”

Legally, it is not possible for Israel to commit aggression against Lebanon. This is because the latter already considers itself in a formal condition of belligerency with the Jewish state. Israel cannot commit aggression against another state with which it is already at war.

Faced with multiple and sometimes cooperating enemies on several fronts, who often make no secret of their explicitly genocidal intentions, Israel has adhered faithfully to the law of war. In starkly marked contrast to the conscious indiscriminacy of its terrorist foes in Gaza, Judea/Samaria (West Bank) and Lebanon, Jerusalem has struggled mightily to respect and honor this set of rules – significantly, a set with origins in the Hebrew Bible (Deuteronomy).

The core legal issue in recurrent Middle East conflict is not about Israeli “disproportionality,” or “aggression,” but rather a persistent Arab resort to terrorism and perfidy. Neither principal Palestinian faction has any effective reason to refrain from future terrorism against Israel. Already engaged in far-reaching diplomatic end-runs around Jerusalem, neither Fatah nor Hamas will ever require Prime Minister Netanyahu’s negotiated approval to proceed toward complete Palestinian sovereignty.

The UN could again take up the issue of membership for “Palestine.” Almost certainly, though any such consideration would likely not meet the more stringent requirements of statehood that were established at the 1934 Convention on the Rights and Duties of States (Montevideo Convention), a generally recognized and totally militarized Palestinian state would then become a reality. Should this UN conferral of sovereignty be implemented, Israel’s more limited future will be discoverable in Article 12 of the PA (Fatah) Charter, which calls for “the liberation of Palestine completely….” and in Article 19: “The struggle will not end until the elimination of the Zionist entity and the liberation of Palestine.”

As for the “less moderate” Hamas Covenant (Charter of the Islamic Resistance Movement), it begins with Israel’s annihilation: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it….” Worth noting, especially in view of what is happening in Egypt, the Covenant refers to Hamas as “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.”

In the Middle East, wishful thinking is always perilous. Over time, Israel’s Arab enemies have generally not demonstrated any observable regard for compliance with the law of war. Once a new Arab state is carved out of Israel’s still-living body, “Palestine” would seize upon now vastly enlarged opportunities for inflicting war and terrorism. It follows that Jerusalem must do whatever it can to prevent Palestinian statehood. It can do this legally.

Court’s Ruling for Hebron Jews Mends Barak’s Violations of their Rights, Honoring Israel’s Moral Obligation

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

Late Thursday afternoon, at my Beit Hadassah home, here, in Hebron, I received a text message – in Hebrew, four words: “Zachinu b’tik Beit HaShalom” which, in simple English means, we won. We won the court case for Beit HaShalom.

We knew that a decision was imminent. Final arguments had been presented. It was a question of time until the judge ruled.

We knew that, according to the facts presented, our chances were good. But in Israeli courts, facts aren’t necessarily a deciding factor. You never know.

I was stunned. I couldn’t believe it. An Israeli court ruled in our favor. Tears came to my eyes, and muttering something, but not really speaking, I held up the phone so my wife could read the notice. Then I recited the age-old blessing said upon happy events: Shechechianu – Blessed is He that allowed me to be present for this joyous event.

Beit HaShalom was purchased for an extravagant amount of money by Morris Abraham and his family. We moved in on March 19, 2007. We remained there until Ehud Barak, then, too, the minister of defense, ordered the police and IDF to throw us out, on December 4, 2008.

The Arab who sold the building, Mr. Rajabi, claimed that we had stolen his property. We had a film of him counting the money paid for the building. He argued that he’d changed his mind and returned the money. In court, when asked to provide proof that he’d returned the money, he admitted that he had no receipt or document of any kind. “We Arabs do everything based on trust,” he said.

Anywhere else in the world, such a case would never have reached court. But in Israel, the rightful owners were expelled, the building was sealed and guarded, and the court case commenced.

Four years in court, tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees, more hours than can be counted invested. Knowing that justice isn’t necessarily a key factor in such cases.

Yesterday we won. The court ruled that the government has up to 30 days to return the building to us.

Pictures flashed through my mind: rain and snow blowing through window-openings, when Barak refused to allow real windows to be installed. One of my daughters lived there with babies. Her floor was a big puddle. Our comrade, the late Eyal Noked z”l, working tirelessly, day and night, to make the apartments minimally livable. Knesset members, ministers, petitions, whatever, in an attempt to convince Barak to change his mind. To no avail.

Until yesterday.

What must happen next? Following the recent expulsion from another legally purchased building in Hebron, Beit HaMachpela, it is well known that, according to present Israeli law, the defense minister must sign permits allowing Jews to purchase property in Judea and Samaria. Without this, he can have Jews expelled from such homes.

This is easily resolvable, of course, to follow the learned conclusions of the Levi Commission, which, contrary to the U.S. intelligence opinions, ruled that civilians living in Judea and Samaria, and in places like Hebron, do not, in any way, violate international law, the Geneva Convention or the Hague accords. The commission determined that such rules, demanding expressed permission from government officials to purchase property in Judea and Samaria, are totally superfluous.

But responsibility does not rest with Barak, but rather with the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, and the Knesset – the present legal framework under which Israel is governed.

If I bought a home in London and was told that a Jew purchasing a home on “that side of the city” would cause a violent reaction, how would that be viewed? Probably as anti-Semitism and racism. Why, then, can’t a Jew buy property in Hebron, just as people purchase homes all over the world?

Recently, a paper was claimed to have been presented to U.S. President Barack Obama, called: “Preparing For A Post Israel Middle East.” Written by the U.S. Intelligence cream of the crop, the paper concludes that the American national interest in fundamentally at odds with that of Zionist Israel.

As we reported, that while this report garnered a lot of publicity in certain circles, it is unlikely that there was any truth that to its claim, but still, it was taken seriously in some circles, and its conclusion, in short, is the world, i.e. the United States, would be better off without an Israel.

Many of the reasons detailed in the paper have to do with the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria—the extremist, violent “settlers” and the anti-democratic, apartheid-like state of Israel.

Perhaps the most appropriate response to that paper on the part of Israel would be the immediate return of Jews to Beit HaShalom and Beit HaMachpela, here in Hebron, basically telling the authors exactly what we think of it and them.

UC-Berkeley Jewish Students File Civil Rights Complaint

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Attorneys for two Jewish UC-Berkeley graduate students alleging verbal and physical assault by Muslim students have filed a federal civil rights complaint against the university.

The federal complaint alleged that “Jewish students have been subjected to a pervasive hostile environment and that the university has failed to take effective measure to cure the situation,” according to the Oakland Tribune.

The students dropped a lawsuit that alleged the same charges.

“We filed because once the plaintiffs in the lawsuit graduated, we lost the ability to affect changes to correct the hostile environment,” Neal Sher, one of the attorneys, told the newspaper.

He and lawyer Joel Siegal filed the complaint Monday with the U.S. Justice Department and U.S. Department of Education against UC Berkeley on behalf of graduates Jessica Felber and Brian Maissy.

A university official disputed the harassment and abuse claims.

“The campus takes great pride in its vibrant Hillel chapter, the broad range of other Jewish student groups, our world-class Jewish studies program, and the recently created Institute for Jewish Law and Israeli Law at the Berkeley law school,” UC Berkeley Dean of Students Jonathan Poullard said in a statement to the newspaper.

Thoughts On The ADL’s Anti-Semitism Survey

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

While it’s said that numbers don’t lie, the truth is they do lie – or, rather, mislead.

 

The Anti-Defamation League’s 2011 nationwide poll on anti-Semitism seemingly found a correlation between lack of education and anti-Semitism. But an expert on anti-Semitism I spoke with wondered whether people with greater education are really less anti-Semitic or whether they’re just better at concealing their biases from pollsters.

 

This calls to mind what is known as the Bradley Effect, a term developed years ago when Tom Bradley, an African-American, ran for governor of California. He had a decisive lead in all the pre-election polls but ended up losing to his Republican opponent. One explanation for the unexpected outcome was that whites feared coming across to pollsters as being bigoted, so they said they planned to vote for Bradley.

 

Regardless, it does appear that the less educated a person is, the more likely it is that he or she will be bigoted.

 

Another thing: When you take into account that the survey has a margin of error of nearly 3 percent, the findings don’t necessarily reflect a 3 percent jump from 2009 of those who “hold deeply anti-Semitic views,” as the ADL reported. Nor did it necessarily find a 1 percent increase in those who agreed with the statement that “Jews have too much power in the U.S. today.”

 

The survey’s saddest irony concerns African American anti-Semitism, which the ADL has “consistently” found to be highest in terms of demographics. This from a group of people one might expect would empathize with Jews, who also have suffered from hatred and persecution.

 

Moreover, Jews during the Civil Rights era played a large and disproportionate role in helping secure basic freedoms for African Americans.

 

In fact, Jews were arrested and murdered while fighting for those civil rights. And Jews were among the founding members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Joel Spingarn served as an early president of the NAACP for nearly a decade while Jack Greenberg was an attorney for the NAACP in the precedent-setting Brown v. Board of Education case that led to the desegregation of schools.

 

Perhaps the scariest finding of the survey was that millions of Americas can fairly be classified as anti-Semitic in the year 2011, decades after the Holocaust and the Civil Rights movement and all we have overcome in America.

 

Daniel Vahab is a freelance writer for various newspapers, with a particular niche in Jewish publications. As research for his forthcoming book on anti-Semitism, he conducted an online poll on the subject with more than 700 respondents.

Learning From The Past: Some Current Implications Of An Earlier Indifference To Israel’s Basic Rights Under International Law

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

At a moment when Israel is under new daily assaults from the international community, especially from the Palestinian Authority and its oddly eager mentors at the United Nations, it is worth noting that there is a discernible and continuous pattern here of legal double-standards. No matter how often Israel is victimized by instances of Palestinian terrorism, Jerusalem’s most basic rights under international law are flagrantly disregarded. Although core documents in jurisprudence refer hopefully and optimistically to “general principles of law recognized by civilized nations,” the actual orientation of states toward Israel has generally been to punish the innocent victims, and reward the terrorist.

As a suitable reference point, let us consider the trial and subsequent punishment of Saddam Hussein. U.S. forces had captured the Iraqi dictator on December 13, 2003. Significantly, Saddam’s many egregious crimes had included the Jewish state and its citizens as victims. Still, Israel was never given any voice in the specially created judicial forum. Rather, all prosecutorial authority over Saddam was quickly vested in an ad hoc institution from which Israel had been totally excluded.

This official trial venue was called the Iraqi Special Tribunal.  It began its formal proceedings on October 19, 2005. Saddam Hussein was subsequently executed by hanging on December 30, 2006.

Clearly missing from Saddam’s criminal prosecution were any specific counts for Iraq’s multiple 1991 aggressions against Israel. The Jewish state, however, did have a “peremptory” legal right to participate in the Iraqi Special Tribunal, and its deliberate exclusion from the proceedings plainly violated one of the world’s most elementary jurisdictional principles of justice.

Nullum crimen sine poena;No crime without a punishment.” Stemming from at least three separate passages of the Torah (in their sequence of probable antiquity, they are Exod. 21:22-25; Deut. 19: 19-21; and Lev. 24: 17-21), the Lex Talionis or “law of exact retaliation” was integral to the precedent-setting Nuremberg Trial after World War II. Indeed, in 1946, when the Special Military Tribunal justified its sentencing on arguments for retributive justice, it strongly reaffirmed this binding principle. In its precise words: “Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefore, and liable to punishment.”

When facing the Iraqi Special Tribunal, Saddam was charged with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, but not with aggression against Israel. Yet aggression is fully codified in several sources as a very serious crime, and must never be accepted “without a punishment.” Whatever the practical arguments had been for excluding Israel, there could never be any proper legal justification for having ignored Iraq’s Gulf War missile attacks upon Israeli cities.

On Friday, January 18, 1991, Saddam Hussein’s government launched eight Scuds directly at civilian targets in Tel Aviv. This attack was followed for more than a month by thirty-one additional missiles fired at Israeli noncombatants. Baghdad’s last missile attack against Israel took place on February 25, 1991. In compliance with U.S. and allied expectations, Israel never fired back.

Iraq’s thirty-nine Scuds managed to kill only one Israeli directly. Twelve additional deaths resulted indirectly from missile attacks. Nearly two hundred persons were injured. Also, 4393 buildings were damaged: 3991 apartments and residential buildings; 331 public institutions; 17 educational institutions; and 54 businesses. It could have been much worse. But the particular tactical failures of Saddam’s primitive missiles do not provide an exculpatory argument for Saddam under international law.

Although Saddam Hussein’s personal responsibility for aggression here must be limited to the 1991 attacks, Iraq already had a long history of unpunished crimes against Israel. Baghdad had sent expeditionary forces against the tiny Jewish state during the 1948 War of Independence, the Six Day War (1967), and the Yom Kippur War (1973). During the 1948 war, Iraqi forces entered Transjordan and engaged Israeli forces in Western Samaria. In the aftermath of the 1967 war, Iraqi forces remained deployed in Jordan for several years. During the 1973 war, Iraq committed about one-third of its then 95,000-man armed forces to assist Syria in its determined campaign of violence against Israel on the Golan Heights.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/in-print/from-the-paper/learning-from-the-past-some-current-implications-of-an-earlier-indifference-to-israels-basic-rights-under-international-law/2011/10/26/

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