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December 9, 2016 / 9 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘war’

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

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Washington Post website}

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eugene Kontorovich

CAIR’s Awad: Anti-Terror JASTA Bill Part of “War on Islam”

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

{Originally posted to the IPT website}

It might be one of the few things on which Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton agree: President Obama was wrong Friday when he vetoed the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.”

The bill, which passed the U.S. House Sept. 9 after passing the Senate May 17, would allow Americans victimized by foreign terrorist attacks to sue countries responsible. Specifically, 9/11 victims could sue Saudi Arabia, which generated 15 of the 19 hijackers who struck the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Flight 93, which crashed in a Pennsylvania field after passengers fought back.

But in an interview with the Arabic-language Al Sharq Al Awsat, Council on American-Islamic Relations Executive Director Nihad Awad cast the legislation as an anti-Muslim attack.

The bill “is a continuation of the series of [actions] attaching terrorism to Islamic societies, the Islamic world and Islamic countries, as well as Islamic personalities, since it aims to demonize Islam,” an Investigative Project on Terrorism translation of Awad’s remarks said. “… so that things have reached the point of attaching the accusation of terrorism against Saudi Arabia, which is the heart of the Muslim world, and accusing it is an accusation of Muslims all over the world.”

He compared the bill to campaigns against mosque construction in the United States and said it is pushed by the same ideology that “supports the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, saying that those who voted for the resolution in the Congress are those waging war on Islam and they always vote for wars and conflicts, and are exploiting the families of the victims in this crisis.”

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., co-sponsored and advocated for the bill, which enjoyed bipartisan support. In a statement, he pledged to make this President Obama’s first veto to be over-ridden by Congress.

More importantly, Awad’s description that the bill’s supporters “are those waging war on Islam” is especially dangerous and reckless. That message, that the West is at war against Islam, is considered the most effective at radicalizing Muslims.

CAIR officials used to repeatedly invoke that message, but seemed to have backed away from it in recent years. Awad’s revival was directed at an Arabic-speaking audience.
Former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, who served as co-chairman of a congressional 9/11 inquiry, has long advocated for the release of 28 pages of his committee’s report focusing on the hijackers’ connections to Saudi government officials. Those pages were released in July. In a New York Times oped earlier this month, Graham said they raise more questions and advocated for the release of more investigative material still deemed classified.

His motivation for this campaign, and for supporting JASTA, had nothing to do with Muslims, he explained.

“It can mean justice for the families that have suffered so grievously. It can also mean improving our national security, which has been compromised by the extreme form of Islam that has been promoted by Saudi Arabia,” Graham wrote.

President Obama claims he vetoed the bill out of concern for unintended consequences, that it might open the door to similar litigation against U.S. military and government officials in other countries and “would neither protect Americans from terrorist attacks nor improve the effectiveness of our response to such attacks.”

Both Trump and Clinton said they would sign the bill if elected president, CNN reported.

Steve Emerson

Conversations with Heroes – Is Israel Still Fighting the War of Independence? [audio]

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

The Land of Israel is often referred to as the Promised Land because of The Creator’s repeated promise (Gen. 12:7, 13:15, 15:18, 17:8) to give the Land to the descendants of Abraham. Neither this promise nor history’s overabundance of agreements, proclamations, resolutions, wars, and the establishment of The State of Israel itself seems to have convinced the world that the Jewish people have a rightful claim to this Land.

On this week’s show, Heather speaks with three inspiring Israelis who were born outside the Land of Israel, made Aliyah, and overcame many an obstacle to claim their place in the Land and even utilize their unique talents to help their fellow Jews.

Meet Nina Brenner Bukstein, who heroically overcame the challenges of moving to Israel as a single mom with almost no prospects or income, yet courageously and resolutely built a thriving business; Paint Parties Israel. In the most surprising ways, you will hear how her company’s events both entertain and transform participants across the country.

Rivka Aminoff, Founder and Principal of Kol Hadassa High School (and previous show guest!) returns to discuss her unique relationship to the Land of Israel, which began with her upbringing in Australia to her eventual relocation to Israel. It was dear old Dad who helped her reframe a particularly disappointing first visit to the Western Wall. Check out what he told his daughter about the holy site.

Frequent guest contributor, David Olesker, founder of the Jerusalem Center for Communication and Advocacy Training (JCCAT) checks in this week and makes the case for naming all of Israel’s battles, skirmishes, and intifadas: Israel’s War of Independence. If you think Israel’s War of Independence was a fait accompli in 1948, think again says Olesker.

You may contact any of Heather’s guests from today’s show via their websites: Nina Brenner Bukstein paintpartyevents.com Rivka Aminoff kolhadassa.org David Olesker jccat.org

Conversations with Heroes 21Sept2016 – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

The Tamar Yonah Show – Are Nations Gearing Up for Major War? [audio]

Friday, September 9th, 2016

The world is agitated. War ships and troops are being moved around the globe. Are nations gearing up for major war?
Guest: Prof. Francisco Gil-White from ‘Historical and Investigative Research’ was created to make important documentation available to the general public, because the academic system is rife with politically biased censorship when it comes to examining the foreign policy of the United States and what is driving world politics, movements and agendas. You can check out his website at: www.hirhome.com

Tamar Yonah Show 06Sept2016 – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

Saudi Grand Mufti: Iranians Not Muslim, 1300-Year War Continues Unhindered

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

The Saudi Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz Al Sheikh has fanned the flames of a 1300-year dispute between Shiites and Sunnis when he announced on Tuesday that the Iranians are the descendants of the Zoroastrians and of fire worshippers. He spoke ahead of the annual hajj, which this year starts on Saturday.

The Grand Mufti used the term “Majuws” to describe the Iranians, a term that literally means “magians,” which he cited from the Quran, Chapter 22, sūrat l-ḥajj (The Pilgrimage): “Indeed, those who have believed and those who were Jews and the Sabeans and the Christians and the Magians and those who associated with Allah – Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed Allah is, over all things, Witness.”

“We must understand they are not Muslims, for they are the descendants of Majuws, and their enmity toward Muslims, especially the Sunnis, is very old,” the Saudi Grand Mufti said, and every learned Muslim understood the reference to the pilgrimage, which has been an area of contention between Shiites and Sunnis, and now between Iranians and Saudis, for almost as long as there has been an Islam.

The Grand Mufti responded an Irate speech by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who called on all Muslims to “fundamentally reconsider the management of the two holy places and the issue of hajj.” In other words, an open call to millions of pilgrims arriving in Mecca for the mid-month festival, to rebel against the Saudi royal family that owns and manages the cities of Mecca and Madīnah.

The Ayatollah attacked the Saudi regime for its failure to prevent last year’s stampede which killed more than 2,400 people, including 464 Iranians, the highest count for any single national group. The Saudis have stated that those figures are inflated and that the real death toll was “only” 769.

The Ayatollah called the Saudi royal family “disgraced and misguided people who think their survival on the throne of oppression is dependent on defending the arrogant powers of the world, on alliances with Zionism and the US, and on fulfilling their demands. And on this path, they do not shy away from any treason.”

He also said that “those who have reduced hajj to a religious-tourist trip and have hidden their enmity and malevolence towards the faithful and revolutionary people of Iran under the name of ‘politicizing hajj,’ are themselves puny Satans who tremble for fear of jeopardizing the interests of the Great Satan, the US.”

So, just for the record, Iran believes there are three Satans: the Great Satan (US), Little Satan (Israel), and Puny Satan (Saudi Arabia).

So far, the Grand Mufti’s enraged response to the Iranian leader has not gone down well even in largely Sunni countries. The Nation, a leading Pakistani newspaper, said in an editorial Wednesday that “for the Grand Mufti Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, to say that Iranians are not Muslims and use offensive words against them, is truly shocking and will haunt many Muslims, especially Shia communities living across the region, for years to come. Saudi Arabia as the custodian of the Ka’aba cannot and must not make such offensive remarks.”

According to AFP, reporting from Riyadh, Iranians will not participate in this year’s pilgrimage to Mecca for the first time in almost 30 years, after talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia on logistics and security had fallen apart. The Saudis claim the Iranians insisted on their right to stage protest demonstrations in the holy city of Mecca. Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef accused Iran of making “efforts to politicize the hajj and convert it into an occasion to violate the teachings of Islam, through shouting slogans and disturbing the security of pilgrims.”

JNi.Media

Massive Traffic Jams Collateral Damage of Internal War in Likud

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

The normal start-of-the-week traffic jams have been more severe than usual Sunday morning, as a result of the limits on train service across the country. Police report severe traffic delays on route 1, connecting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and both cities to Ben Gurion International Airport. Traffic on the coastal highway, Route 2, is unusually heavy from Caesarea to Tel Aviv. The inner highway, Route 4, is likewise jammed all the way from Holon to Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, to Ra’ana in both directions. Route 5 connecting the coastal highway with Ariel in Samaria is also jammed. Route 20, which cuts through downtown Tel Aviv is jammed, too. Route 65, connecting Hadera with Afula through Umm al-Fahm in the Arab Triangle is also at a standstill.

On Saturday, the Israel Railways Corporation announced that essential infrastructure works that were not carried out on Shabbat by decree of Prime Minister Netanyahu would be done Sunday, thus paralyzing most of the train service until 7 PM. The stoppage came against the background of Haredi party resistance to carrying out work on Shabbat, and the apparent capitulation of the prime minister, but judging by what the Haredi press had to say Sunday morning, this was more a provocation by Transport Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) than an actual crisis.

The daily Yated Ne’eman cited MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) who accused Katz of acting out of revenge rather than caring for the services of his ministry. “The abominable conduct of Yisrael Katz proves that he does not care about danger to life, and not about the train, only about politics and his need to take revenge against the prime minister,” Gafni said.

Train service has been greatly curtailed Sunday morning. The IDF has added buses to transport soldiers returning to base from their Shabbat break. IDF representatives will guide confused soldier to the right buses. Israel’s inter-city bus companies have increased their active fleets Sunday to help passengers, which, of course, contributes to the traffic jams on the highways.

Leftwing parties Meretz and Labor called for protest rallies at the dark train stations Saturday night, but only a few hundred protesters showed up at the Tel Aviv rally, and only a few dozens at the Haifa event. The real fight over the train works and train service is being waged inside the Likud Party, between Prime Minister Netanyahu and his rebellious Transport Minister and Likud Secretariat Chairman Yisral Katz. (See: Coalition Chair: No Coming back from Netanyahu Vs. Transport Minister Crisis)

JNi.Media

211 New Immigrants Flee to Israel From War-Torn Ukraine

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

With the increase of hostilities on the Russian-Ukrainian border in recent weeks, 211 new immigrants from Ukraine landed Tuesday at Ben Gurion Airport.

Most came from the embattled regions in the eastern part of Ukraine, arriving on the 19th flight sponsored by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) since hostilities broke out between the two countries.

“There has been a significant increase in calls from potential Olim to the IFCJ representatives in Ukraine and we are doing everything to give them the best possible service so that they can begin new and secure lives in Israel, which was and still is the home for any person who is part of the Jewish people,” noted Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, IFCJ president.

Approximately 4,000 immigrants have fled to Israel from Ukraine on flights sponsored by the organization since December 2014. Among those who arrived Tuesday were 37 children who are to begin their studies in Israeli schools in two days, including nine in the first grade.

Natalia S. arrived in Israel with her mother and son, and said that she was forced to leave the city of Marinka in the Donetsk region in Eastern Ukraine after the extensive bombing in the city that began in April 2014. The building where her family lived was bombed and some of their neighbors were killed.

Natalia explained that her family’s Jewishness was kept secret by her grandmother who had survived the Holocaust, while her husband, Natalia’s grandfather, was in a concentration camp. As a result, she says, “we knew we had Jewish roots but did not have the documents to prove it.”

According to Natalia, during one of the family’s visits to the Holocaust Museum an employee at the site advised her about which archive to search in order to find documents that would prove their Jewish roots.

“Because of the advice we were given, we went later to the archive and found my grandmother’s documents. In the documents, we read that she had changed her name and her father’s name, from “Alia” and “Avraham” to “Lisa” and “Peter,” she said. Natalia, her mother, and her son are planning to settle in Akko. Among Tuesday’s group of new olim there were seven babies, including two who were only six months old. The oldest person on the flight was age 82, and the average age of the group was 34. The preferred destination for the immigrants was Haifa, where 42 of the new arrivals elected to settle.

Most of the olim came from the Dniepropetrovsk region, which has become one of the preferred destinations for refugees escaping the embattled areas in Eastern Ukraine because of its proximity and the fact that it is still in Ukrainian hands.

The IFCJ assists the Olim to Israel with special grants of $1,000 for each adult oleh and $500 for each child, in addition to financing the flight to Israel. This support is provided by the organization in addition to the standard basket of benefits each immigrant receives from the Israel Ministry of Aliyah and Absorption. The organization also arranges the absorption of the new immigrant families with the various local authorities prior to their arrival in Israel, recruiting locals to accompany the new olim as they seek housing and employment and settle in to their new surroundings.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/211-new-immigrants-flee-to-israel-from-war-torn-ukraine/2016/08/30/

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