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July 29, 2015 / 13 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘settlements’

Obama Won’t Enforce Anti-BDS Provision Language in Trade Bill he just Signed

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

This week the United States officially put on notice its trade partners that it will not countenance boycotts or other economic warfare against Israel.

After signing the relevant trade legislation into law, however, the White House signaled to all its trade partners that they are still free to boycott goods made in the disputed territories, despite the clear language of the legislation the president signed.

This week the Trade Promotion Authority bill was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama.

The TPA is primarily focused on international trade between the U.S. and Europe. It also included a section which addresses trade between the U.S. and Israel.

That part of the legislation, the U.S.-Israel Trade and Commercial Enhancement Act, bans boycotts and other means of economic warfare against Israel or the “Israeli-controlled territories.” This amendment, introduced by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill-6) with bi-partisan co-sponsorship, was unanimously adopted into the PTA in April.

The passage of the TPA, including the anti-BDS section, should sound a death knell for the BDS (Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel) Movement. It should.

However, as pro-Israel Americans and Israelis learned only a few weeks ago in the Jerusalem passport case (Zivotofsky v. Kerry), there are certain spheres of international decision making over which the president has exclusive, or at least primary and controlling, control. Obama claims that international trade is one of those areas, even though Article 1, Section 8, clause 3, expressly gives Congress the power to regulate foreign commerce.

So even though the TPA is intended to act as a strong deterrent to European and other countries to pass and enforce boycotts of Israeli products, the White House has already signaled that it will not extend its protection to any goods produced in the disputed territories.

The anti boycott of Israel language in the TPA is: “actions by states, nonmember states of the United Nations, international organizations or affiliated agencies of international organizations that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize or otherwise limit commercial relations specifically with Israel or persons doing business in Israel or in Israeli-controlled territories.” [emphasis added.]

In a statement which Matt Lee of the Associated Press attributed to State Dept. spokesperson John Kirby, the administration made clear that despite signing the TPA, the position of the White House remains, as it has been, that the U.S. opposes boycotts of the State of Israel, but it also opposes the presence of Jews in the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights.

In the statement the administration argues that by “conflating Israel and ‘Israeli-controlled territories’ a provision of the Trade Promotion Authority legislation runs counter to longstanding U.S. policy towards the occupied territories, including with regard to settlement activity,” and says that every U.S. administration has opposed “settlement activity.”

It goes on to point out that the “U.S. government has never defended or supported Israeli settlements and activity associated with them and, by extension, does not pursue policies or activities that would legitimize them.”

The U.S. administration announced that it will not jeopardize the holy grail of the two-state solution by enforcing the U.S. law as written and which its leader signed. In the statement it claims that “both parties have long recognized that settlement activity and efforts to change facts on the ground undermine the goal of a two-state solution to the conflict and only make it harder to negotiate a sustainable and equitable peace deal in good faith.” It is on this basis, ostensibly to promote a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, that this administration

Professor Eugene Kontorovich of the Northwestern University School of Law analyzes several other provisions of the U.S-Israel trade aspect of the TPA which have been largely overlooked. In particular, Kontorovich points out, U.S. courts cannot recognize or enforce the judgment of any foreign court “that doing business in or being based in the West Bank or Golan Heights violates international law or particular European rules.”

 

Pre-Occupied UN Human Rights Council Debates One Issue – Israel

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Iran and Syria headlined the wolf pack verbal assault on Israel at today’s 29th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council’s pre-occupation with the “occupation.”

This is the first time I ever have watched this much-talked about about circus, but none of the previous reports of the Council’s Israel bashing could have prepared anyone for what must be described as a humanitarian disaster.

Country after country attacked Israel for apartheid, occupation, violation of human rights and freedom, searches on the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, crimes and the violations of human rights. Morocco claimed that Israel is harming the “Islamic identity” of Jerusalem.

Qatar’s representative stated that Israel is not serious about peace, and charged that Israeli forces “have taken control of the third flotilla that was going to Gaza.”

Syria alleged that Israel is supporting terrorists in the Golan Heights, with the backing of the United States.

Saudi Arabia’s official noted that Israel ignores “any human rights norms” but that “many countries” do not condemn Israel, making the Council powerless to “give rights back to Palestinians under occupation.”

And the Palestinian Authority? It said that Israel is the biggest violator in the world of human rights.

China said the “Palestinian issue” is the “heart” of problems in the Middle East.

And in other news this week, Iran has passed a bill that allows men to marry their adopted children to protect their daughters from being married off.

According to Amnesty, Iran also made a retrogressive amendment in Iran’s new Code of Criminal Procedures, limiting the right to access an independent lawyer of one’s choice during primary investigations in certain criminal cases.

In Syria, Assad’s forces killed 13 civilians and wounded dozens of others in a barrel bomb attack.

Christian Today reported Monday:

Things have taken a turn for the worse for Asia Bibi, 50, the falsely accused Christian woman who has been languishing in Pakistani prison for six years now despite her declining health.

Bibi was accused of blasphemy in Pakistan for sharing her faith in God to other women, according to Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International. She was then sentenced to death, although an appeal has been filed at the Supreme Court with no news yet on when her case will be heard.

And in Saudi Arabia, the ministry said it support internationally recognized human rights but not those that are specific to homosexuals.

As noted above, today is the first time I ever watched the live video of the United Nations so-called Human Rights Council.

God willing, this will be the last time, also.

Foxman Slams Israel on His Way Out the Door

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Abraham Foxman, perhaps the best known, certainly the best funded, of the American Jewish establishment “leadership,” let the veil slip as he began his long-awaited exit from his throne as the national director of the Anti-Defamation League.

It happened at an event at the 92nd Street Y (when formed in 1874 it was known as the Young Men’s Hebrew Association, it’s no longer just for men or exclusively for Jews) on June 10. The program, entitled “What’s Next for Israel? Ari Shavit in conversation with Peter Beinart, Abe Foxman and Dan Senor,” received little attention until the virulently anti-Israel website Mondoweiss reported on it the following day, which was noted by JPUpdates.

The Mondoweiss article had the catchy title: “Foxman Bashes Israel for taking US and Jewish support for granted and not coming up with a peace plan.”

Although it is impossible to know what exactly Foxman said, and how much was taken out of context in order to have Foxman appear to be in complete alignment with the views of the Mondoweiss crowd, the direct quotes are alarming no matter what the context. This appears as a direct quote:

I think we have signed up for Israel. Some—some unreservedly, others with some more reservations. I don’t think Israel understands, appreciates, values, respects this partner– this side of the partner[ship]… There needs to be a lot more sensitivity and education in Israel as to the value of this community beside sending checks or in a moment of crisis, running to Congress…

Foxman appears to believe that Israelis are insufficiently grateful for American Jewish dollars and to American Jewish fat cats.

Perhaps in his retirement, Foxman might develop a curriculum for Israelis on the art of ring-kissing, or a class on American Jewish Leadership Veneration.

Why, the nerve of those folks over in Israel, living the easy life, probably sitting out on their deck chairs, popping bon-bons and watching their fingernails grow. And then they have the nerve to start whining when a rocket or two or three hundred interrupts their sunbathing. Foxman shouldn’t bet on lots of Israelis signing up for his classes, though. Too busy dodging vehicular terrorists and whatnot.

The 75 year-old Foxman then explained to the Upper East Side crowd that he sees there is an existential threat to Israel, but he wonders whether the Israelis do. For if they did, surely they would make many changes and be…why, more like Foxman! You know, someone with the shrewdness to recognize that what Israel really needs is a dynamic new approach for peace. Because American Jewish support for Israel, according to Foxman, is atrophying without it.

Here are the direct quotes:

Do we feel an existential threat to Israel? I do. I sometimes wonder why they don’t see it as I see it and as Ari [Shavit] articulated it. But I think we see the existentialist threat much clearer than they do. They’re so close to it.

Because if they would see it, they would change so many things. Take the U.S. relationship. It’s not that great, it’s not perfect, but what keeps me up at night is the dependence of Israel on the United States. Now if you understand that reality, then you understand how serious and significant it is in your future, facing whatever threats, existential or not. And if that’s the case, where is the sechel [Yiddish for shrewdness, sense]? Where is the smartness? Where is it to understand that you need to change that relationship, you need to find ways– and it’s not happening! It’s not happening!

So I sometimes say, What they say and what they do–don’t they see what’s around them? And they talk about the danger but I don’t think they’re acting it. If we have time, what do we tell Israel to do? Some of us see the crisis. But we don’t have any magic formula. But … if they asked me, I would say, Come up with some creative dynamic approach for peace. It doesn’t mean it will happen. But that’s part of the existential disintegration of the support base.

The main attraction at the event was Ari Shavit, a journalist for the blindly leftist Haaretz, who was, as always, calling for a “settlement freeze.” Mondoweiss quoted Foxman’s response to that call as “it’s smart for us to do it, regardless of whether we think it’s right or wrong.”

French NGOs and Palestinian Authority behind BDS Pressure on Orange

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

A coalition of French NGOs, some of them partly funded by the government, last month published a 51-page document named “Orange’s Dangerous Liaisons in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” to spearhead the campaign to pressure Orange to boycott Israel’s Partner Communications, which markets the Orange mobile phone service brand.

The Palestinian Authority joined the French NGOS to lobby the government and Orange to boycott Israel, the Israel-based NGO Monitor reported.

The NGOs reportedly met with Orphanage officials on May 26 and told them that its business link with Partner endangered its reputation. Orange told the BDS promoters that the agreement for Partner’s marketing the Orange brand expires in 10 years.

NGO Monitor reported:

The authors of the report asked Orange to publicly and explicitly state its decision to disengage and to denounce the human rights violations that Partner is involved in  Israeli settlements in the OPT [occupied Palestinian territories-sic]. In other words, the statements made by the France-based company are a wholesale adoption of the NGOs’ BDS agenda (which is illegal in France).

Following the publication of the report, Saeb Erekat, lead negotiator of the Palestinian Authority (PA), wrote to France’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, to denounce the link between Orange and Partner.

Organizations participating in the move to pressure Orange to boycott Israel include the European-based Who Profits, Al Haq, Catholic Committee Against Hunger and for Development-Terre Solidaire (CCFD), FIDH, and Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS).

Who Profits, which now is a separate organization, began to campaign against all of Israel’s cell phone companies in 2009 for allegedly being “commercially involved in the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights” and “exploit[ing] the Palestinian frequencies and to impose their services on the Palestinian captive market.”

The Who Profits webpage also attacks Partner for sponsoring IDF units in the Golan, Judea and Samaria in the “Adopt a Soldier” project.

The 51-page document stated:

During the attack on Gaza in the summer of 2014, Partner was on the front lines providing material support, cellular services and entertainment to the Israeli soldiers. The company also waived service fees for soldiers carrying [sic] the assault during July-August 2014.

The French government, which owns 25 percent of Orange, granted the Catholic Committee Against Hunger and for Development-Terre Solidaire received nearly $400,000 from France in 2012. The same organization is a member of the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine,

FIDH last year libeled Israel with allegations that it deliberately targeted civilians in the war against Hamas rockets and missiles on Israeli civilians. The NGO is funded in part by the European Union and the governments of Finland, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

NGO Monitor added, “Al Haq is funded directly by the governments of Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Ireland, and indirectly by UK, Sweden, Germany, and the UN.”

Its report continued:

Al Haq is a leader of lawfare and BDS against Israel. A main actor in the NGO campaign to file war crimes charges against Israeli officials at the International Criminal Court (ICC)….

Al Haq proposed sabotaging the Israeli court system by ‘flooding the [Israeli Supreme] Court with petitions in the hope of obstructing its functioning and resources.’

The Israeli Supreme Court has identified Al Haq’s general director Shawan Jabarin as ‘among the senior activists of the Popular Front terrorist organization.’

The Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS) was funded by the French government in 2012, refers to the “Gaza extermination camp” and states, “It is inconceivable and unacceptable that the ‘Jewish-executioner’ would hide behind the ‘Jewish victim!’” Other AFPS rhetoric includes ethnic cleansing, apartheid state, and “Stop hunting Palestinian children!”

A French court in 2014 ruled in favor of the French distributor of Israel-based SodaStream in a lawsuit charging the pro-BDS group with stating that SodaStream products were being illegally sold in France.

Obama Chastises Netanyahu for not Adopting US Policy

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

President Barack Obama used Israeli television Tuesday night to accelerate his campaign to make Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu look like an illegitimate leader

The President established his credentials for a thorough knowledge and understanding of Israel. Afar all, he said, “When I’ve visited Israel, when I was in Sderot, talking to families who had seen missiles crash through their living rooms; when I was with young people in Jerusalem and talking to them about the possibilities of peace, the reception was incredibly warm.”

He then provided evidence that he knows and understands “the very moral imperatives that led to the founding of Israel — the belief that all of us share a basic humanity and dignity and rights that make it important for us to speak out against anti-Semitism.”

So much for Theodore Herzl and Zionism.

President Obama then went to the heart of his criticism of Netanyahu’s leadership in Israel, but he inadvertently exposed his administration as a wholesale failure without his questioner taking note.

Referring to the dangers of security to Israel, he noted “the incredible tumult and chaos that’s taking place in the Middle East, the hope of the Arab Spring that turned into the disasters of places like Syria, the rise of ISIL, the continuing expressions of anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli settlement [sentiment] in so much of the Arab world, the rockets coming in from Gaza, the buildup of arms by Hezbollah.

And which country and which president of the same country encouraged the Arab Spring without the ability to see beyond tomorrow, because of ignorance of the Middle East? The United States and President Barack Obama.

And which country and which president encouraged Israel to exercise “restraint” and not respond “disproportionately” when Hamas and Hezbollah tried to destroy the country? Same answer.

But the heart of Obama’s creed is “two states,” which he stills dreams is a “solution.” He blamed Prime Minister Netanyahu for “so many conditions” for “two states” “that it is not realistic to think that those conditions would be met any time in the near future.”

His clincher is that since the peace process is a dead duck, Israel is to be blamed and will be deemed illegitimate:

And so the danger here is that Israel as a whole loses credibility.

Already, the international community does not believe that Israel is serious about a two-state solution.

His statements represent a huge collapse of his former promises the United States would not impose conditions on Israel. President Obama always has promised that Israel should be guaranteed security and should remain Jewish, but now he is defining what those terms mean.

Netanyahu’s concerns for security are not Obama’s, and therefore the Prime Minister’s conditions are not “practical.”

The President did not utter one word about the Palestinian Authority, not about Mahmoud Abbas’ corrupt regime that he heads seven years after his term of office has expired, and not about Abbas’ refusal to talk with Israel except on his own condition of “all or nothing.”

President Obama used to criticize the Palestinian Authority for ditching the Oslo Accords and going to the United Nations for recognition, but he indicated in the interview last night that he might tacitly support the move.

Obama said:

But the practical consequence that I refer to — let’s be very specific — if there are additional resolutions introduced in the United Nations, up until this point, we have pushed away against European efforts, for example, or other efforts because we’ve said, the only way this gets resolved is if the two parties work together….

Iin fact, there’s no prospect of an actual peace process, if nobody believes there’s a peace process, then it becomes more difficult to argue with those who are concerned about settlement construction, those who are concerned about the current situation– it’s more difficult for me to say to them, be patient and wait because we have a process here — because all they need to do is to point to the statements that have been made saying there is no process.

But Obama says Israel has his back.

Ben & Jerry’s Launches New Flavor: Bernie Sanders

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

The Jewish co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s dished out $1,500 worth of ice cream at a campaign event for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Ben Cohen hurriedly responded to Republican party charges of violating campaign contributions by saying that he and said he and co-founder Jerry Greenfield’s contribution was reported to federal officials and was within the limits for individual contributions. Ben & Jerry’s now is owned by Unilever.

The Jewish Press.com reported here last month:

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Jew who is not involved in organized religion, will toss his hat in the political rang today and announce he is challenging Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic party’s nominee for president in 2016.

We would write that he is throwing his kippa into the ring except for the faint possibility that he even owns one.

As for Judaism, he is not actively involved, and the Burlington, Vermont Free Press reports:

When it comes to the impact of religion on his life, he said, ‘I find myself very close to the teachings of Pope Francis,’ and he described the pope as ‘incredibly smart and brave.’

Ben & Jerry’s has been active in promoting liberal issues, including marriage for homosexuals, which is sugar-coated with the term “marriage equality,” global warming and legalizing marijuana.

It has come up with a new flavor called “Save Our Swirled” to promote public awareness of the global warming.

It will not be surprising if it comes up with a new flavor to tour Sanders, a long-time Independent and socialist who is challenging Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic candidate in the 2016 party primaries and convention.

Ben & Jerry’s is known as being far from the nationalist camp and refers to Judea and Samaria as the “occupied territories,” tried to stay clear of political issues in Israel. It probably will not go so far as to advertise a “Two-State Flavor,” maybe a mixture of za’atar and falafel.

Or perhaps it could be called NetanAbbas, but that probably would probably be boycotted by the Arab world.

Cohen told Business Insider a new flavor might be called “Bernie’s Rebellion.” He said,”What would be in it? All good things. I mean, there might be some chocolate chips molded in the shape of a cap that you wear for graduation to symbolize his stance in favor of free college education and reduced student loan rates. I think that there might be equal numbers of peanuts and pecans to symbolize his initiatives to reduce economic inequality.”

The Boycott Israel movement wants a boycott of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream because the company sells it products to Jews in Judea and Samaria, known to President Barack Obama as “illegal” and “illegitimate” Jews. On the other hand, so does Coca-Cola and the makers of Mars candy bars, but BDS has a fix on the ice cream maker.

The boycotters were aghast last year when Ben & Jerry’s Israeli franchise posted a picture on its Facebook page of IDF soldiers in the Golan Heights licking their ice cream the firm handed out.

Ben & Jerry’s stated last month:

We have conducted business in Israel with our licensee there since 1987.  Between our local owner/operator, and visits to the region by our CEO, select Board of Directors members, and a few of our Global Leadership Team members, we are keenly aware of how complex the situation can be.

Ben & Jerry’s corporate organization, based in the U.S., does not retain any profits from the business in Israel. The company remains committed to contributing 100% of the net licensing fee to foster multicultural programs and values-led ingredient sourcing initiatives in the region….

PLO Blows Up Netanyahu’s ‘Peace Process’ Renewal

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

The Palestinian Authority and its superior PLO organization have totally dismissed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s overture to sit down and discuss new borders that would leave several settlement blocs under Israel sovereignty.

Haaretz headlined on Tuesday a report that Prime Minister Netanyahu told European Union foreign policy adviser Federica Mogherini last week that he wants to advance the idea of “two states for two peoples.” His suggestion theoretically would be a step towards the expulsion of more than 100,000 Jews in other areas of Judea and Samaria that would be part of a new Arab country.

The Jewish Press.com reported here on Tuesday that Netanyahu simply was leading Mogherini along her rosy path while knowing full well that the Palestinian Authority is not interested in resuming negotiations.

Lo and behold, the Ma’an News Agency, based in Bethlehem, published Wednesday morning an amazing statement by Palestinian Authority negotiator Saed Erekat, who said:

If Mr. Netanyahu wants to have meaningful negotiations ending the occupation that began in 1967, he should recognize a Palestinian State on the 1967 border and honor Israel’s obligations including a halt of settlement construction and the release of the Palestinian prisoners.

There never has been a clearer admission of the Palestinian Authority’s understanding of the word “negotiation,” which it defines as “give us everything we want and then we will talk about, hmmmm, uh, about expelling Israel from FIFA, assuming it survives charges of wholesale bribery.”

PLO official Hanan Ashrawi also condemned Netanyahu’s proposal, which she called a “disingenuous and manipulative exercise of political and legal deception.”

Several knee-jerk nationalists went bonkers over Netanyahu’s suggestion to Mogherini, reflecting a paranoia that ignores political and diplomatic realities of which the Prime Minister is well ware.

Virtually all of the Israeli media establishment, and foreign media are sure to follow, attacked Netanyahu from all sides this week of “dividing and conquering” the Foreign Ministry. However, it is clear Netanyahu wants to retain control because he knows best how to exploit the Palestinian Authority’s total rejection of the Oslo Accords and negotiations, as defined by Webster’s.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/plo-blows-up-netanyahus-peace-process-renewal/2015/05/27/

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