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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘speech’

A Soldier’s Mother: Netanyahu’s Speech in Layman’s Words

Monday, September 26th, 2016

Across Facebook, Israelis are proud and loud today. We have waited a long time to hear our Prime Minister tell the United Nations a message we have never quite been able to say so eloquently. I can try to translate the thought behind his words but I would likely fail because rarely have I seen someone use every four letter word in the book, without once actually giving them voice.

I’ll try to explain. Here’s Bibi’s speech:

Mr. President,

Ladies and Gentlemen, what I’m about to say is going to shock you: Israel has a bright future at the UN.

There, right there. Did you hear it? That’s Bibi using the F word, and I don’t mean “future.” He’s saying – for all you thought you could destroy us with your endless resolutions, condemnations, threats and sanctions, not only are we still hear, we’re strong, we’re proud, we’re united, and, oh yeah, we’re doing the work YOU are supposed to be doing. It is OUR doctors that arrive in times of disaster, not yours. It is our rescue forces that dig under the rubble to find life, and our compassionate representatives that don’t give up, that keep working even when we know we are likely to only pull out bodies. 

Now I know that hearing that from me must surely come as a surprise, because year after year I’ve stood at this very podium and slammed the UN for its obsessive bias against Israel. And the UN deserved every scathing word – for the disgrace of the General Assembly that last year passed 20 resolutions against the democratic State of Israel and a grand total of three resolutions against all the other countries on the planet. Israel – 20 ; rest of the world – 3!

This is Bibi saying – do you see how stupid you’ve been? Do you see what jerks you are?

And what about the joke called the UN Human Rights Council, which each year condemns Israel more than all the countries of the world combined. As women are being systematically raped, murdered, sold into slavery across the world, which is the only country that the UN’s Commission on Women chose to condemn this year? Yep, you guessed it – Israel. Israel. Israel where women fly fighter jets, lead major corporations, head universities, preside – twice – over the Supreme Court, and have served as Speaker of the Knesset and Prime Minister.

And now Bibi is again using the “F” word, combined with just plain stupid and a bit of an A word that tells them they have been the backside of a donkey.

And this circus continues at UNESCO. UNESCO, the UN body charged with preserving world heritage. Now, this is hard to believe but UNESCO just denied the 4,000 year connection between the Jewish people and its holiest site, the Temple Mount. That’s just as absurd as denying the connection between the Great Wall of China and China.

Circus, hey, I like that! Oh, wait – translation. Okay, so this is Bibi telling them that there are few things more idiotic than denying irrefutable fact. The Great Wall of China is in China; the Temple Mount is where OUR Holy Temples were. God, could you get any dumber, UNESCO?

Ladies and Gentlemen, the UN, begun as a moral force, has become a moral farce.

All of Israel just snorted the most wonderful snort ever. Bibi, wow. Moral force to moral farce! Oh, man, Bibi is nailing it today! Go, Bibi!

So when it comes to Israel at the UN, you’d probably think nothing will ever change, right? Well think again. You see, everything will change and a lot sooner than you think. The change will happen in this hall, because back home, your governments are rapidly changing their attitudes towards Israel. And sooner or later, that’s going to change the way you vote on Israel at the UN.
More and more nations in Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, more and more nations see Israel as a potent partner – a partner in fighting the terrorism of today, a partner in developing the technology of tomorrow.

Here is where Israelis sit back and relax. He did it. He went there and told them the truth. The world IS changing. It is only in the hate-filled halls of the United Nations that this reality is being denied. Around the world…OMG…they are naming babies Israel as thanks for our rescue teams; they are blessing us for coming, for helping, for caring. From this point on, Israelis are simply enjoying the show. Yalla, Bibi, we’re listening even if they aren’t!

Today Israel has diplomatic relations with over 160 countries. That’s nearly double the number that we had when I served here as Israel’s ambassador some 30 years ago. And those ties are getting broader and deeper every day. World leaders increasingly appreciate that Israel is a powerful country with one of the best intelligence services on earth. Because of our unmatched experience and proven capabilities in fighting terrorism, many of your governments seek our help in keeping your countries safe.

Many also seek to benefit from Israel’s ingenuity in agriculture, in health, in water, in cyber and in the fusion of big data, connectivity and artificial intelligence – that fusion that is changing our world in every way.

You might consider this: Israel leads the world in recycling wastewater. We recycle about 90% of our wastewater. Now, how remarkable is that? Well, given that the next country on the list only recycles about 20% of its wastewater, Israel is a global water power. So if you have a thirsty world, and we do, there’s no better ally than Israel.

Did he mention how hard we’ve been working to counter limited rainfall, diminishing seas? Oh yes he did! Bibi, tell ’em! Our problems today, are you problems tomorrow and as we are solving them, you’re gonna need us a hell of a lot more than we need you!

How about cybersecurity? That’s an issue that affects everyone. Israel accounts for one-tenth of one percent of the world’s population, yet last year we attracted some 20% of the global private investment in cybersecurity.

I want you to digest that number. In cyber, Israel is punching a whopping 200 times above its weight. So Israel is also a global cyber power. If hackers are targeting your banks, your planes, your power grids and just about everything else, Israel can offer indispensable help.

Oh, yeah. Water? Well, how about security in the cyber world in which we are living more and more. Oh, man, you guys are in trouble if you don’t listen up. We’re there – 200 times greater, stronger, ready.

Governments are changing their attitudes towards Israel because they know that Israel can help them protect their peoples, can help them feed them, can help them better their lives.

This summer I had an unbelievable opportunity to see this change so vividly during an unforgettable visit to four African countries. This is the first visit to Africa by an Israeli prime minister in decades. Later today, I’ll be meeting with leaders from 17 African countries. We’ll discuss how Israeli technology can help them in their efforts to transform their countries.

In Africa, things are changing. In China, India, Russia, Japan, attitudes towards Israel have changed as well. These powerful nations know that, despite Israel’s small size, it can make a big difference in many, many areas that are important to them.

But now I’m going to surprise you even more. You see, the biggest change in attitudes towards Israel is taking place elsewhere. It’s taking place in the Arab world. Our peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan continue to be anchors of stability in the volatile Middle East.

But I have to tell you this: For the first time in my lifetime, many other states in the region recognize that Israel is not their enemy. They recognize that Israel is their ally. Our common enemies are Iran and ISIS. Our common goals are security, prosperity and peace. I believe that in the years ahead we will work together to achieve these goals, work together openly.

This is Bibi remembering that he’s a diplomat. He said our common enemies are Iran and ISIS. He didn’t say that Israel’s enemy is also the UN, which is bullied and controlled by Iran and those that support that terrorist nation. Oh, Bibi…well, maybe next time.

So Israel’s diplomatic relations are undergoing nothing less than a revolution. But in this revolution, we never forget that our most cherished alliance, our deepest friendship is with the United States of America, the most powerful and the most generous nation on earth.

Yeah, see, here he’s remembering that idiot in the White House and rumors that he wants to be the next General Secretary of the United Nations. But he’s also reminding them all that we’ve survived 8 years of Obama and if we have to, God forbid, we’ll survive Clinton (though judging by recent health coverage, I’m not at all sure she will).

Our unbreakable bond with the United States of America transcends parties and politics. It reflects, above all else, the overwhelming support for Israel among the American people, support which is at record highs and for which we are deeply grateful.

The United Nations denounces Israel; the United States supports Israel. And a central pillar of that defense has been America’s consistent support for Israel at the UN. I appreciate President Obama’s commitment to that longstanding US policy. In fact, the only time that the United States cast a UN Security Council veto during the Obama presidency was against an anti-Israel resolution in 2011. As President Obama rightly declared at this podium, peace will not come from statements and resolutions at the United Nations.

This is Bibi warning Obama, just a bit. The US has stood by Israel in the past and our friends in the US are watching. They won’t let you abandon Israel and yes, as Bibi said, we are grateful for that support. If you go against Israel, Bibi signals Obama, you won’t have the support of the American people.

I believe the day is not far off when Israel will be able to rely on many, many countries to stand with us at the UN. Slowly but surely, the days when UN ambassadors reflexively condemn Israel, those days are coming to an end.

Ladies and Gentlemen, today’s automatic majority against Israel at the UN reminds me of the story, the incredible story of Hiroo Onada. Hiroo was a Japanese soldier who was sent to the Philippines in 1944. He lived in the jungle. He scavenged for food. He evaded capture. Eventually he surrendered, but that didn’t happen until 1974, some 30 years after World War II ended.

For decades, Hiroo refused to believe the war was over. As Hiroo was hiding in the jungle, Japanese tourists were swimming in pools in American luxury hotels in nearby Manila. Finally, mercifully, Hiroo’s former commanding officer was sent to persuade him to come out of hiding. Only then did Hiroo lay down his arms.

Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished delegates from so many lands. I have one message for you today: Lay down your arms.

Bibi saying stop being so F****** stupid! You’re running out of time. You’re redefining the meaning of moronic!

The war against Israel at the UN is over. Perhaps some of you don’t know it yet, but I am confident that one day in the not too distant future you will also get the message from your president or from your prime minister informing you that the war against Israel at the United Nations has ended.

Yes, I know, there might be a storm before the calm. I know there is talk about ganging up on Israel at the UN later this year. Given its history of hostility towards Israel, does anyone really believe that Israel will let the UN determine our security and our vital national interests?

Oh, this. Just this. Perfect. Sarcasm at its best. Does ANYONE really believe we will let the UN control our destiny, our security. Um…no way, UN. just no way! And that sound you just heard? Millions of Israelis yelling, “YESH!” – a word that is basically equivalent to “GOAL” or “GRAND SLAM” because with this simple sentence, Bibi hit the ball out of the park!

We will not accept any attempt by the UN to dictate terms to Israel. The road to peace runs through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not through New York.

So shut the F up. We aren’t listening; and more. Did you notice – JERUSALEM is ours; Ramallah is theirs! Those are the possible sources from which talks will emanate. Not New York (and, by the way, not Washington either).  

But regardless of what happens in the months ahead, I have total confidence that in the years ahead the revolution in Israel’s standing among the nations will finally penetrate this hall of nations. I have so much confidence, in fact, that I predict that a decade from now an Israeli prime minister will stand right here where I am standing and actually applaud the UN.

But I want to ask you: Why do we have to wait a decade? Why keep vilifying Israel?

Perhaps because some of you don’t appreciate that the obsessive bias against Israel is not just a problem for my country, it’s a problem for your countries too. Because if the UN spends so much time condemning the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, it has far less time to address war, disease, poverty, climate change and all the other serious problems that plague the planet.

And this is where Bibi’s speech simply turns to brilliant. Maybe, he suggests to the UN, you forgot completely why you exist – you’ve forgotten, while we’ve been busy doing YOUR job. And shame on you!

Are the half million slaughtered Syrians helped by your condemnation of Israel? The same Israel that has treated thousands of injured Syrians in our hospitals, including a field hospital that I built right along the Golan Heights border with Syria.

Are the gays hanging from cranes in Iran helped by your denigration of Israel? That same Israel where gays march proudly in our streets and serve in our parliament, including I’m proud to say in my own Likud party.

Are the starving children in North Korea’s brutal tyranny, are they helped by your demonization of Israel? Israel, whose agricultural know-how is feeding the hungry throughout the developing world?

The sooner the UN’s obsession with Israel ends, the better. The better for Israel, the better for your countries, the better for the UN itself.

And, of course, the better for ALL the world. Hypocrites and liars and thieves that you are. Worthless people sitting around while millions suffer. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If UN habits die hard, Palestinian habits die even harder. President Abbas just attacked from this podium the Balfour Declaration. He’s preparing a lawsuit against Britain for that declaration from 1917. That’s almost 100 years ago – talk about being stuck in the past.

And the sound you heard was millions of Israelis laughing. Abbas is going to sue Britain for the Balfour Declaration. Oh, is that rich! And, made richer by the next few lines because in a world where the Palestinians pull the “PAST card”

The Palestinians may just as well sue Iran for the Cyrus Declaration, which enabled the Jews to rebuild our Temple in Jerusalem 2,500 years ago. Come to think of it, why not a Palestinian class action suit against Abraham for buying that plot of land in Hebron where the fathers and mothers of the Jewish people were buried 4,000 years ago? You’re not laughing. It’s as absurd as that. To sue the British government for the Balfour Declaration? Is he kidding? And this is taken seriously here?

Bibi is at his greatest when he’s sarcastic, isn’t he? Are you so stupid you’ll take this nonsense seriously? 

President Abbas attacked the Balfour Declaration because it recognized the right of the Jewish people to a national home in the land of Israel. When the United Nations supported the establishment of a Jewish state in 1947, it recognized our historical and our moral rights in our homeland and to our homeland.

Yet today, nearly 70 years later, the Palestinians still refuse to recognize those rights – not our right to a homeland, not our right to a state, not our right to anything. And this remains the true core of the conflict, the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish state in any boundary. You see, this conflict is not about the settlements. It never was.

And this is Bibi reminding Obama that it was never about the settlements. And more, this is Bib turning to the Israelis and saying, “Okay, okay, you were right all along and it’s time I just say what we all know. They won’t listen, but who cares. The joke is on them. Obama and Abbas and the Iranians are on them so yeah, let’s all smile and be proud.”

The conflict raged for decades before there was a single settlement, when Judea, Samaria and Gaza were all in Arab hands; the West Bank and Gaza were in Arab hands and they attacked us again and again and again.

And when we uprooted all 21 settlements in Gaza and withdrew from every last inch of Gaza, we didn’t get peace from Gaza. We got thousands of rockets fired at us from Gaza. This conflict rages because for the Palestinians, the real settlements they’re after are Haifa, Jaffa and Tel Aviv.

Truth time yet again. A “duh” moment when Bibi states what every Israeli knows.

Now mind you, the issue of settlements is a real one and it can and must be resolved in final status negotiations. But this conflict has never been about the settlements or about establishing a Palestinian state. It’s always been about the existence of a Jewish state, a Jewish state in any boundary.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Israel is ready, I am ready to negotiate all final status issues but one thing I will never negotiate: Our right to the one and only Jewish state.

Wow, sustained applause for the Prime Minister of Israel in the General Assembly? The change may be coming sooner than I thought.

Had the Palestinians said yes to a Jewish state in 1947, there would have been no war, no refugees and no conflict. And when the Palestinians finally say yes to a Jewish state, we will be able to end this conflict once and for all.  Now here’s the tragedy, because, see, the Palestinians are not only trapped in the past, their leaders are poisoning the future.

I want you to imagine a day in the life of a 13-year-old Palestinian boy, I’ll call him Ali. Ali wakes up before school, he goes to practice with a soccer team named after Dalal Mughrabi, a Palestinian terrorist responsible for the murder of a busload of 37 Israelis. At school, Ali attends an event sponsored by the Palestinian Ministry of Education honoring Baha Alyan, who last year murdered three Israeli civilians. On his walk home, Ali looks up at a towering statue erected just a few weeks ago by the Palestinian Authority to honor Abu Sukar, who detonated a bomb in the center of Jerusalem, killing 15 Israelis.

When Ali gets home, he turns on the TV and sees an interview with a senior Palestinian official, Jibril Rajoub, who says that if he had a nuclear bomb, he’d detonate it over Israel that very day. Ali then turns on the radio and he hears President Abbas’s adviser, Sultan Abu al-Einein, urging Palestinians, here’s a quote, “to slit the throats of Israelis wherever you find them.” Ali checks his Facebook and he sees a recent post by President Abbas’s Fatah Party calling the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics a “heroic act”. On YouTube, Ali watches a clip of President Abbas himself saying, “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem.” Direct quote!

Over dinner, Ali asks his mother what would happen if he killed a Jew and went to an Israeli prison? Here’s what she tells him. She tells him he’d be paid thousands of dollars each month by the Palestinian Authority. In fact, she tells him, the more Jews he would kill, the more money he’d get. Oh, and when he gets out of prison, Ali would be guaranteed a job with the Palestinian Authority.

Ladies and Gentlemen, all this is real. It happens every day, all the time. Sadly, Ali represents hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children who are indoctrinated with hate every moment, every hour. This is child abuse.

And though the delegates are not clapping, millions of Israelis are. Child Abuse. That’s what you call what they’ve been doing to their children. In your face, Abbas – this is what you’ve been doing! And in your face, United Nations delegates – this is what you’ve been celebrating and rewarding all these years. Nothing more and nothing less than absolute child abuse!

Imagine your child undergoing this brainwashing. Imagine what it takes for a young boy or girl to break free out of this culture of hate. Some do but far too many don’t. How can any of us expect young Palestinians to support peace when their leaders poison their minds against peace?

We in Israel don’t do this. We educate our children for peace. In fact, we recently launched a pilot program, my government did, to make the study of Arabic mandatory for Jewish children so that we can better understand each other, so that we can live together side-by-side in peace. Of course, like all societies Israel has fringe elements. But it’s our response to those fringe elements, it’s our response to those fringe elements that makes all the difference.

Take the tragic case of Ahmed Dawabsha. I’ll never forget visiting Ahmed in the hospital just hours after he was attacked. A little boy, really a baby, he was badly burned. Ahmed was the victim of a horrible terrorist act perpetrated by Jews. He lay bandaged and unconscious as Israeli doctors worked around the clock to save him.

No words can bring comfort to this boy or to his family. Still, as I stood by his bedside I told his uncle, “This is not our people. This is not our way.” I then ordered extraordinary measures to bring Ahmed’s assailants to justice and today the Jewish citizens of Israel accused of attacking the Dawabsha family are in jail awaiting trial.

Now, for some, this story shows that both sides have their extremists and both sides are equally responsible for this seemingly endless conflict. But what Ahmed’s story actually proves is the very opposite. It illustrates the profound difference between our two societies, because while Israeli leaders condemn terrorists, all terrorists, Arabs and Jews alike, Palestinian leaders celebrate terrorists. While Israel jails the handful of Jewish terrorists among us, the Palestinians pay thousands of terrorists among them.

So I call on President Abbas: you have a choice to make. You can continue to stoke hatred as you did today or you can finally confront hatred and work with me to establish peace between our two peoples.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I hear the buzz. I know that many of you have given up on peace. But I want you to know – I have not given up on peace.

Well, yeah, hundreds of thousands of Israelis just snorted again because really, how many of us really believe in peace anymore? Or, more accurately, how many of us believe the Palestinian leadership will ever wake up and help bring peace to their people? Yeah, not many, thus that snort.

I remain committed to a vision of peace based on two states for two peoples. I believe as never before that changes taking place in the Arab world today offer a unique opportunity to advance that peace. I commend President El-Sisi of Egypt for his efforts to advance peace and stability in our region.
Israel welcomes the spirit of the Arab peace initiative and welcomes a dialogue with Arab states to advance a broader peace. I believe that for that broader peace to be fully achieved the Palestinians have to be part of it. I’m ready to begin negotiations to achieve this today – not tomorrow, not next week, today.

President Abbas spoke here an hour ago. Wouldn’t it be better if instead of speaking past each other we were speaking to one another?

And this is another of Bibi’s “duh” moments – saying what is obvious and yet will not be.

President Abbas, instead of railing against Israel at the United Nations in New York, I invite you to speak to the Israeli people at the Knesset in Jerusalem. And I would gladly come to speak to the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah.

Ladies and Gentlemen, while Israel seeks peace with all our neighbors, we also know that peace has no greater enemy than the forces of militant Islam. The bloody trail of this fanaticism runs through all the continents represented here.

It runs through Paris and Nice, Brussels and Baghdad, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Minnesota and New York, from Sydney to San Bernardino. So many have suffered its savagery: Christian and Jews, women and gays, Yazidis and Kurds and many, many others.

You thought it was only buses in Jerusalem and restaurants in Tel Aviv. It didn’t bother you when the blood in the streets was Jewish blood, did it? But now, now it is your blood, your people. Now it is happening in your countries, in your cities. Now they have brought terror to your doors.

Yet the heaviest price, the heaviest price of all has been paid by innocent Muslims. Hundreds of thousands unmercifully slaughtered. Millions turned into desperate refugees, tens of millions brutally subjugated. The defeat of militant Islam will thus be a victory for all humanity, but it would especially be a victory for those many Muslims who seek a life without fear, a life of peace, a life of hope.

But to defeat the forces of militant Islam, we must fight them relentlessly. We must fight them in the real world. We must fight them in the virtual world. We must dismantle their networks, disrupt their funding, discredit their ideology. We can defeat them and we will defeat them. Medievalism is no match for modernity. Hope is stronger than hate, freedom mightier than fear.

We can do this.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Israel fights this fateful battle against the forces of militant Islam every day. We keep our borders safe from ISIS, we prevent the smuggling of game-changing weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon, we thwart Palestinian terror attacks in Judea and Samaria, the West Bank, and we deter missile attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza.

That’s the same Hamas terror organization that cruelly, unbelievably cruelly refuses to return three of our citizens and the bodies of our fallen soldiers, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin. Hadar Goldin’s parents, Leah and Simcha Goldin, are here with us today.

They have one request – to bury their beloved son in Israel. All they ask for is one simple thing – to be able to visit the grave of their fallen son Hadar in Israel. Hamas refuses. They couldn’t care less.

I implore you to stand with them, with us, with all that’s decent in our world against the inhumanity of Hamas – all that is indecent and barbaric. Hamas breaks every humanitarian rule in the book, throw the book at them.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the greatest threat to my country, to our region, and ultimately to our world remains the militant Islamic regime of Iran. Iran openly seeks Israel’s annihilation. It threatens countries across the Middle East, it sponsors terror worldwide.

This year, Iran has fired ballistic missiles in direct defiance of Security Council Resolutions. It has expended its aggression in Iraq, in Syria, in Yemen. Iran, the world’s foremost sponsor of terrorism continued to build its global terror network. That terror network now spans five continents.

So my point to you is this: The threat Iran poses to all of us is not behind us, it’s before us. In the coming years, there must be a sustained and united effort to push back against Iran’s aggression and Iran’s terror.

With the nuclear constraints on Iran one year closer to being removed, let me be clear: Israel will not allow the terrorist regime in Iran to develop nuclear weapons – not now, not in a decade, not ever.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I stand before you today at a time when Israel’s former president, Shimon Peres, is fighting for his life. Shimon is one of Israel’s founding fathers, one of its boldest statesmen, one of its most respected leaders. I know you will all join me and join all the people of Israel in wishing him refuah shlemah Shimon, a speedy recovery.

I’ve always admired Shimon’s boundless optimism, and like him, I too am filled with hope. I am filled with hope because Israel is capable of defending itself, by itself, against any threat.

I am filled with hope because the valor of our fighting men and women is second to none. I am filled with hope because I know the forces of civilization will ultimately triumph over the forces of terror. I am filled with hope because in the age of innovation, Israel – the innovation nation – is thriving as never before. I am filled with hope because Israel works tirelessly to advance equality and opportunity for all its citizens: Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, everyone. And I am filled with hope because despite all the naysayers, I believe that in the years ahead, Israel will forge a lasting peace with all our neighbors.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am hopeful about what Israel can accomplish because I’ve seen what Israel has accomplished. In 1948, the year of Israel’s independence, our population was 800,000. Our main export was oranges. People said then we were too small, too weak, too isolated, too demographically outnumbered to survive, let alone thrive. The skeptics were wrong about Israel then; the skeptics are wrong about Israel now. Israel’s population has grown tenfold, our economy fortyfold. Today our biggest export is technology – Israeli technology, which powers the world’s computers, cellphones, cars and so much more.

And this is Bibi reminding them that not one of them, not one, lives without OUR technologies, OUR contributions.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the future belongs to those who innovate and this is why the future belongs to countries like Israel. Israel wants to be your partner in seizing that future, so I call on all of you: Cooperate with Israel, embrace Israel, dream with Israel. Dream of the future that we can build together, a future of breathtaking progress, a future of security, prosperity and peace, a future of hope for all humanity, a future where even at the UN, even in this hall, Israel will finally, inevitably, take its rightful place among the nations.

Thank you.
Paula Stern

Israeli Envoy to UN Danny Danon Says Abbas’ UN Speech is ‘Ticking Time Bomb’

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon criticized the speech by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.

Danon slammed claims by Abbas in which he spouted accusations about “Israeli extrajudicial killings” of Palestinians and “Israeli aggression against our Muslim and Christian holy sites.” Israel’s Ambassador to the UN responded with a statement in which he said, “Abbas chose to use the UN pulpit to represent Palestinian terror. His dangerous words are sure to lead to even more terror attacks against Israel. The Palestinian youth listening to his speech today, will be the terrorists of tomorrow.” Danon pointed out that there is a direct link between Abbas’s hateful words, and the increase in terror attacks in Israel.

“Abbas’s words are like a ticking time-bomb,” Danon added.

Since the start of the UN General Assembly, there has been a noticeable uptick in the number and intensity of Arab terror attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces. The same phenomenon has occurred at the same time each year.

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu to UN General Assembly: Road to Peace Runs Thru Jerusalem, Ramallah [video]

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu devoted the lion’s share of his speech at the United Nations General Assembly to his vision of a future in which “someday” Israel will be accepted by the “nations of the world.”

JewishPress.com brings you a video of the prime minister’s address in its entirety, courtesy of the United Nations website.

But one of his first declarations was to acknowledge a debt of gratitude and to reiterate Israel’s loyalty to the United States, “the most generous nation on earth.” He said the two nations have an “unbreakable bond that transcends parties and politics” and said he is “deeply grateful” for America’s “consistent support for Israel at the UN,” — perhaps also an extra bit of insurance against any ninth hour actions by outgoing President Barack Obama. It was, he reminded, Obama who declared, “peace will not come from statements and resolutions.”

Any bright future with Israel working together with its Arab neighbors, he said, would require Palestinian Authority leaders to wake up and join today’s reality, rather than continue to wallow in its love of hate. The automatic majority against Israel that the PA has recruited in its campaign to win statehood by evading direct final status negotiations, will ultimately prove useless, he explained.

“Yes, I know, there might be a storm before the calm. I know there is talk about ganging up on Israel at the UN later this year. Given its history of hostility towards Israel, does anyone really believe that Israel will let the UN determine our security and our vital national interests?

“We will not accept any attempt by the UN to dictate terms to Israel. The road to peace runs through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not through New York.”

Netanyahu also described a day in the life of a boy named “Ali,” walking the hypothetical child through his indoctrination-filled world. He talked about the child’s walk to school past the public monuments named after terrorists who murdered Jews, the curriculum and school events named after terrorists, and the TV, radio and social media programs filled with government leaders promoting murder of Israelis as a worthwhile goal to achieve. He used actual quotes from Palestinian Authority officials — including PA leader Mahmoud Abbas — to make the point.

He added that “Ali’s” mother assured him that if he killed an Israeli and was sent to a prison in Israel, the Palestinian Authority would pay “thousands of dollars” each month to him and the family — “the more Jews he would kill, the more money he would make” — and that when he gets out, the PA would also have a job waiting for him too.

All true, Netanyahu underscored.

He emphasized that it was unrealistic — in fact, impossible — for anyone to expect children raised on such a steady diet of hate to then be able to break free of such brainwashing and suddenly switch gears to “live side by side in peace” with Jewish neighbors.

He warned that the UN obsession with Israel damages the international body far more than it does Israel. “But if UN habits die hard, Palestinian habits die harder,” he said, and pointed to the current lawsuit Abbas said he is filing against the United Kingdom, over the Balfour Declaration.

“Talk about being stuck in the past,” Netanyahu said. Come to think of it, why not a Palestinian class action suit against Abraham for buying that plot of land in Hebron where the fathers and mothers of the Jewish people were buried 4,000 years ago?

“You’re not laughing. It’s as absurd as that. To sue the British government for the Balfour Declaration? Is he kidding? And this is taken seriously here?”

The truth is, the Palestinian Authority conflict with Israel is not based on the issue of settlements, the prime minister said bluntly. It never was. “It’s the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish State in ANY boundaries.” He reviewed the entire history of the State of Israel, beginning with the partition plan offered to both sides of the conflict by the international body, which was rejected in 1947 by the Arab side.

“One thing I will never negotiate, ” he thundered, “and that is the right to the one and only Jewish State!! Had the Palestinians said yes to a state in 1947, there would be no conflict, and when they do finally say yes to a Jewish state we will be able to end this conflict once and for all.

“Not only are they trapped in the past, their leaders are poisoning the future,” he added. Netanyahu called on Abbas to work together to establish peace. He said he is willing to sit down with Palestinian Authority leaders “not tomorrow, not next week, TODAY” for direct talks. “Wouldn’t it be better if instead of talking PAST each other, we talked TO each other? he asked.

He invited Abbas to come to Jerusalem to speak to the Israeli Knesset, and said he is willing to go to Ramallah to speak to the Palestinian Authority parliament.

“Many of you have given up on peace,” he told the assembly. “I remain committed to a vision of peace based on two states for two peoples. I believe as never before that changes taking place in the Arab world today offer a unique opportunity to advance that peace. I commend President El-Sisi of Egypt for his efforts to advance peace and stability in our region.

“Israel welcomes the spirit of the Arab peace initiative and welcomes a dialogue with Arab states to advance a broader peace. [But] I believe that for that broader peace to be fully achieved the Palestinians have to be part of it.”

Hana Levi Julian

What Ambassador Power Left Out Of Her Anti-Semitism Speech

Friday, September 16th, 2016

Radical Muslims are currently the major perpetrators of verbal and physical attacks on Jews throughout the world. And on U.S. college campuses, the radical Islamist group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is the major perpetrator of anti-Semitism.

The Zionist Organization of America has extensively documented SJP’s anti-Semitic activities. It is thus deeply disappointing that during her speech at the United Nations “anti-Semitism” conference on September 7, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power failed to even mention the term “Muslim” or “Islamic anti-Semitism” –which happens to constitute a major portion of the physical and verbal anti-Jewish attacks.

She also never mentioned the critical role of the SJP and Muslim campus groups in committing hate crimes and harassment of Jews, encouraging additional anti-Jewish actions, and inducing fear among Jewish students. And throughout her speech, whenever she described attacks on Jews, she never mentioned that the perpetrators were Muslims.

For instance, Power stated: “On July 1, a cement-filled bottle was thrown through the window of a local Jewish center in Santa Fe, Argentina with the message, ‘This is a warning, the next one explodes.’ ” Power left out the fact that the note attached to the cement-filled bottle also stated: “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great” in Arabic, and included the logo of the Islamic State.

Power also failed to mention even more violent anti-Semitism in South America, such as the attack by a Muslim who, while shouting “Allahu Akbar,” stabbed to death a Jewish man and wounded victim’s son in Uruguay in March.

And in still another example, Power referred to the “horrific terrorist attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris” without mentioning that the perpetrator of this deadly attack on Jews was a radical Somali Islamist who also declared “Allahu Akbar” as he murdered victims selected for death because they were Jews.

It is also deeply disappointing that the only time Power mentioned Muslims during her entire speech was when she misleadingly complained that rising anti-Semitism goes “hand in hand” with “xenophobic” efforts to bar Muslim immigration.

In fact, Muslim immigration goes hand in hand with rising terrorist attacks on Jews and persons of other faiths in western nations. It is not “xenophobic” to want to limit immigration by a population infiltrated by ISIS members and other radical Islamists and who, according to FBI Director James Comey, can’t be properly vetted.

Power also omitted the involvement of Islamists and SJP when she described anti-Semitism on U.S. college campuses.

For instance, she stated: “In February, not far from here in Brooklyn College, a group of student activists interrupted a faculty meeting demanding that all Zionists be removed from campus.” Power omitted the fact that this was one of the many incidents that ZOA has documented related to SJP’s anti-Semitic activities at Brooklyn College and other CUNY campuses.

In addition to omitting the radical Muslim perpetrators of violent anti-Semitic attacks, she adopted the diversionary tactic of focusing much of her talk on alleged right wing (generally non-violent) neo-Nazi anti-Semitism.

For example, she expounded at length about an isolated, unsuccessful proposal to erect a statue to honor an official who was a Nazi collaborator in Hungary. By contrast, she never breathed a word about the innumerable ways that the Palestinian Authority honors Muslim terrorists who murder innocent Jews. The PA names streets, sports clubs, schools, and public squares, and sponsors television specials and holidays for these terrorists, and pays these terrorists stipends for murdering Jews.

Sadly, Power also ignored the helpful existing State Department definition of anti-Semitism. The State Department definition includes: holding Israel to a double standard of behavior not expected of other democratic nations; comparing Israeli policy to that of the Nazis; blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions; NGOs focusing peace or human rights investigations only on Israel; and denying the Jewish people’s right to self-determination and Israel’s right to exist.

She should have called for worldwide adoption of this existing definition. Instead, she called for countries to draft and adopt a weak new definition of anti-Semitism that apparently legitimizes much anti-Semitic criticism of Israel.

We urge Ambassador Power to acknowledge that radical Islam is the major perpetrator of rising anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish and anti-Western terrorism.

Morton A. Klein and Elizabeth A. Berney

Quebec Bill 59 Seeking to Protect Muslims by Quashing Free Speech

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Quebec’s Bill 59, titled “An Act to enact the Act to prevent and combat hate speech and speech inciting violence and to amend various legislative provisions to better protect individuals,” has been raising concerns among Quebec residents and people across Canada. As the Center for Inquiry (CFI) has put it, “Human Rights actions in one province often set precedents for other jurisdictions,” and the unusually aggressive measures of Bill 59, should they become law, may threaten free speech everywhere in Canada.

Bill 59, introduced in June 2015, would allow the Quebec Human Rights Commission (QHRC) to censor speech that promotes “fear of the other.” It doesn’t provide details as to what constitutes such fear, which probably leaves the definition up to the QHRC, and its president, one Jacques Frémount. Back in 1964, US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart described his threshold test for obscenity (as opposed to legitimate film and literature) saying, “I know it when I see it.” This vague approach is bad enough when it comes to censuring x-rated media, but when it comes to actual free speech, the core of democracy, such vagueness is the stuff of state tyranny.

The CFI points out that the bill’s section 3 allows reporting of hate speech that hasn’t occurred but is anticipated. The section states: “The person can also report any situation that could contravene the prohibitions in section 2, in particular if the person has knowledge that such speech is about to be engaged in or disseminated or if the person has been asked to engage in or disseminate such speech.”

The third item of the bill’s Section 17 sets forth a proposed public record of those who have contravened this proposed legislation: “For the purposes of this Act, the Commission also … maintains an up-to-date list of persons who have been the subject of a decision concluding that they contravened a prohibition under section 2 and makes the list available on its website.”

Section 20 stipulates fines to be paid at between $1,000 and $10,000 with doubling if a prior contravention has occurred.

Section 24 goes after the livelihood of educators who have crossed the QHRC, suggesting that “a person whose name is on the list kept by the Commission … is considered to exhibit behavior that could reasonably pose a threat for the physical or emotional safety of the students.”

Pen Canada has stated that “Bill 59 poses a significant threat to free expression in Québec. Although this piece of legislation aims to combat hate speech and speech inciting violence specifically, its broad language coupled with restrictive prohibitions and significant penalties will place a chill on the expression of legitimate ideas and debate.”

“Not only does Bill 59 prohibit citizens from engaging in or disseminating hate speech, but also from acting in a way that causes the speech to be disseminated,” Pen Canada continues. “This language casts an alarmingly wide net. For those in heated political discussions, will the defense of ‘legitimately informing the public’ be sufficient against anonymous complaints to the Commission?”

A petition to “Stop Quebec Bill 59” spells out what the more polite websites objecting to the bill have not said: “People are trying to impose Islamic blasphemy law right here in Canada, RIGHT NOW! You may or may not have heard about the Quebec Bill 59 but it will affect us all. Bill 59 will enforce Islamic Sharia Law, making it a crime to question or criticize or ridicule an idea. This is a law that would explicitly infringe upon our rights to free speech. Be it in person, on a street, or even on the internet.”

And if you haven’t yet clicked away to add your name to the petition, the authors conclude: “This bill is not only not needed but flies in the face of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It criminalizes criticism of Islam and anything considered an Islamic practice (Honor killings, honor rape, female genital mutilation, female oppression, and beating of wives and children).”

Constitutional attorney Julius Grey commented recently that, “Quebec is not yet a police state, but it is an inspector-state.” True to that definition, Bill 59 has been adopted in principle by Québec’s National Assembly and is currently being studied in detail by the Committee on Institutions. Once the committee releases its report and the National Assembly votes to adopt it, the bill could become law.

JNi.Media

The Book of Speech; Redeeming Relevance on Parshat Devarim

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

One of the first obstacles to understanding Devarim is thinking of it as a book. Devarim literally means “[spoken] words.” Even if we might otherwise have missed the centrality of this notion, the book’s ‘orality‘ is brought to our attention right from the start: “These are the words that Moshe spoke.” The text clues us in to the fact that, as opposed to the other four books, Devarim, to its very core, is an oral work.

In light of the book’s strong oral dimension, it would be no surprise to find other ways in which it is tied to orality. Most understand its rabbinic name, Mishneh Torah, as referring to the fact that it contains laws that previously appear in the first four books. But this is not the only way that the term can be understood. According to some commentaries, it doesn’t refer to the duplication of previously recounted sections of the Torah but rather to a (section of the) Torah that requires our repetition of it and its constant review.

Whether this is a correct understanding of the term or not, everyone agrees that it is specifically in the book of Devarim that we find many passages that were constantly recited by the Jews throughout the ages. Hence the only question is not whether the book had to be recited but rather how much of it encompassed this requirement. This approach differentiates Devarim quite explicitly from the other books, as the recitation and re-recitation of it defines its very essence. The orality of Devarim means that it comes with its own rules. When a writer repeats himself it generally goes against the conventions of writing. But in an oral presentation the opposite holds true, as the repetition itself is a convention.

In our own lives we are aware that people purposefully repeat themselves in everyday speech.

Whether it is a parent repeating important instructions to a child or a politician turning back to a catch phrase, it is even often tellingly prefaced by the words, “I repeat.” When the parent or politician repeats him- or herself, the words are not meant to convey new information, as they’ve already been heard by the listeners. Rather, the speaker is using the words this time to convey emphasis, as if to say, “The following is so important that it bears repeating.”

I suggest that the Torah is doing exactly the same here. Although it could have written “this is important” (as does Maharal, for example, in his writings)or “note this” (as does Rav Chaim Vital), it would have been less colloquial and, therefore, less like the “language of men.” The Torah explicitly strives to be colloquial, even as it tries to echo the highly refined message of God. And this is all the more true in its most oral of books.

{This Dvar Torah is an excerpt from “Chapter 2: Mishneh Torah: the Repeated Torah,” in the upcoming book Redeeming Relevance on the Book of Devarim, by Rabbi Francis Nataf. Excerpt prepared by Harry Glazer of Highland Park, N.J.}

Rabbi Francis Nataf

The Jewish Exception to Free Speech on Campus

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

{Originally posted to the JNS website}

In 2012, the Electronic Intifada, an online anti-Zionist media outlet that aggressively promotes the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, ran a lengthy article suggesting that “allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’ create a real climate of fear” that is “silencing” pro-Palestinian student activists on U.S. campuses. I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw the article, not because of the absurd nature of the charges — that Jewish students were somehow intimidating and silencing pro-Palestinian student activists just by virtue of speaking up about the intimidation, and silencing they themselves were experiencing at the hands of those same activists — I laughed because of the accompanying photograph set beneath the headline. In one concise image, it revealed the utter disingenuousness of the thousand words that followed.

Students face a climate of intimidation on several California campuses (UC Berkeley SJP)

Students face a climate of intimidation on several California campuses (UC Berkeley SJP)

The photo, credited to Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at University of California Berkeley, depicted a large pole on campus that was covered from top to bottom with multiple layers of promotional flyers. However, the only ones that were fully visible — because they had been affixed directly on top of the others — were the SJP’s flyers demonizing and delegitimizing Israel and urging the university community to support BDS. The juxtaposition of the photo with its caption, “Students face a climate of intimidation on several California campuses,” practically begged the reader to think: Which students are facing a climate of intimidation?  Certainly not the members of SJP, whose bold and brazen “freedom of expression” to demonize and delegitimize Israel and promote efforts to harm it is literally smothering everyone else’s!

In the four years since that article was published, the smothering of speech depicted in the article’s photo has not improved. In fact for one group of students, it has gotten worse.  Much worse.

A study of anti-Semitic activity in 2016 on more than 100 campuses, which our organization released earlier this week, revealed that over the past year the number of incidents involving the suppression of Jewish students’ freedom of speech and assembly by members of SJP or other anti-Zionist student groups had approximately doubled. For example, in April of this year, more than two dozen members of the General Union of Palestine Students at San Francisco State University disrupted and ultimately shut down a Jewish student event featuring a speech by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. A few minutes after Barkat’s speech had begun, protestors stormed into the hall and loudly chanted slogans such as “Get the hell off our campus,” “Long live the Intifada,” and “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will be Free,” until the speech was prematurely terminated. Similar disruptions and attempted shut-downs of Jewish student events unfolded on campuses across the country.

It is telling that in our study we found a strong correlation between incidents involving the suppression of Jewish students’ freedom of speech and assembly and those involving the expression of anti-Semitic tropes that demonize and delegitimize Israel or promote its destruction: in 2016 all 12 of the schools at which the speech and assembly of Jewish students were suppressed played host to one or more incidents of anti-Zionist expression, and the greater the number of these incidents, the higher the likelihood that Jewish student expression would be suppressed. Not only does this strong correlation suggest that anti-Zionist expression may incite conduct which harms Jewish students, it also underscores the breathtaking hypocrisy of anti-Zionist activists on campus, who vigorously exercise their own freedom of expression but deny Jewish students that same right and freedom.

In addition, the increase in incidents which trample on the civil rights of Jewish students indicates the growing success of a tactic known as “anti-normalization,” which members of SJP and similar anti-Zionist groups routinely employ to aggressively stifle all pro-Israel expression. For example, in one of its founding documents the SJP group at Binghamton University outlined strategies for harassing Jewish students and disrupting or shutting down their Israel-related events in a section entitled: “Tactics and Strategies Used to Counter Zionist Normalization.”

Adherents of “anti-normalization” target not only pro-Israel students, but anyone presumed to support Israel, first and foremost Jewish students, regardless of their actual personal feelings on Israel. As a result, Jewish students engaging in Jewish activity having nothing to do with Israel — wearing their Jewish sorority or fraternity letters, displaying Star of David necklaces, walking to Hillel for Sabbath dinner – report fearing for their safety and well-being.  In addition, because of their support, or even just presumed support, for Israel, Jewish students report being rejected from progressive social justice activities such as pro-choice rallies, anti-rape demonstrations, Black Lives Matter events and racial justice conferences.

The situation has become intolerable for many Jewish students.

This past spring, the University of California system took a critical stand against the rising anti-Semitism plaguing its 10 campuses. Its Board of Regents issued a Statement of Principles Against Intolerance acknowledging that anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism which incites additional Jew hatred and, like other forms of discrimination, has no place at the University of California system. The Regents’ statement also singled out “actions that physically or otherwise interfere with the ability of an individual or group to assemble, speak, and share or hear the opinion of others,” stating that they “impair the mission and intellectual life of the University and will not be tolerated.”

Universities across the country must follow suit.

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/the-jewish-exception-to-free-speech-on-campus/2016/08/02/

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