Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Japanese Wives... or Knives?

Police: Arrested Palestinian planned on carrying out shooting attack

An interrogation of an Palestinian arrested in Hebron in possession of tear gas and a Japanese wife (pardon me? - KIC) found that the suspect planned to overcome a soldier with the teargas, snatch his weapon, and use it to carry out a shooting terror attack. The investigation continues. (Efrat Weiss)

Click here for more Israel news from Ynetnews.com

(Best media muddle of the week, surely! - KIC)

Iranian ex-President: Holocaust historic fact

While the current president of Iran claims the Holocaust never happened, he finds no support for this claim from his predecessor. Iran's former president Mohammad Khatami told an Iranian news agency on Tuesday that the "Holocaust is a historic fact."
"We must acknowledge that the crimes committed by Germany's Nazi regime were a massacre of innocents, including a great number of Jews," said Khatami.
Of course Khatami then goes on to say that Israel has "made a bad use of this historic fact with the persecution of the Palestinian people."
Well we can't have everything, can we?

When is incitement not incitement?

In recent weeks we have witnessed raging rioting all over the Muslim world as a result of the Mohammed cartoons. It seems the Arab world now consider anything as incitement.
The other day there was a front-page story in the United Arab Emirates popular Khaleej Times reporting that officials had seized 100 copies of an English-language textbook, World Cultures, from an American private school in Abu Dhabi because of what the newspaper called "a deluge of derogatory remarks against Islam and the Muslim world."
The report cites the most inflammatory chapter as saying, "Israel is one of a few democracies in North Africa and the Middle East today. Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Morocco are all kingdoms; the country of Syria has sponsored terrorism by giving aid to radicals in the Palestine Liberation Organization, known as the PLO."
The thing that is interesting to me is firstly, where are the derogatory remarks against Islam, and secondly what part of the above citation is incorrect?

Religious freedom in Israel?

While many upon reading the title to this posting will asume that I am talking about the religious freedom of Christians or Muslims, I am actually talking about Jews. A disgraceful story has emerged about a group of religious Jews who were denied access to the holiest place in the world for Jews. Apparently a group of Orthodox Jews visiting Israel from Los Angeles said Israeli police discriminated against them on religious grounds by preventing them from entering the Temple Mount last Sunday.
But police said the group failed to produce identification and were, therefore, not authorized to enter the Temple Mount area until they produced it.
A group of eight, all congregants of the Sha'arey Zedek Synagogue, San Fernando Valley's largest orthodox synagogue, who were in Israel for a Bar Mitzva, blamed the police for discrimination.
"About 30 seconds after we were detained a group of about 50 non-Jews were allowed to enter without ID," said Rabbi Aron Tendler, the rabbi of the synagogue.
"The policemen at the entrance to the Mount told us that gentile tourists are usually not required to show ID, only religious Jews."
A police spokesman rejected Tendler's accusation that police discriminated against the group because they were orthodox Jews, but admitted that police do conduct "selective" ID checks.
That last comment is perhaps the most telling. The police admit that they conduct checks selectively, no surprises for guessing who is on the receiving end of the selective profiling.
Jews have pitifully few holy places in the world, I would even posit to say that apart from graves the Temple Mount is the only holy place for Jews in the world. So for the Israeli police to bar religious Jews from visiting the most holy place for Jews, in the Jewish State is indeed troubling.

Geraldo Rivera for Knesset?

As I have mentioned a few times in past postings I reaaly don't like 'celebrities' you pontificate and postulate on our situation here as if they have all the answers. Geraldo Rivera, a talk-show host, has gone a step further and even entertained the idea of moving to Israel and running for Knesset.
Although Rivera is entitled to try I really doubt it would do much good. He may not realise it but Israelis aren't stupid and quite frankly wouldn't be falling over themselves to vote for him purely on the basis that he has the answer. Everyone in Israel thinks that they have the answer, so why would we need Rivera coming here and telling us we are wrong, he knows better and expect us to vote for him?

Why don't the liberal left ever blame Muslims? (Part Two)

Another opinion peice has also caught my eye which is closely related to Dennis Prager's article in the previous posting. This article from Marc Steyn is titled 'Needing to wake up, West just closes its eyes' and it posits that violence upon Jews seems to be acceptable by large parts of the West. Steyn also suggests that the West must wake up and understand the Muslim threat for what it is and not always look for a scape-goat or reasons for the violence.
"In the cartoon jihad and other episodes, the restraints of Islamic law are being extended piecemeal to the advanced world, by intimidation and violence but also by the usual cooing promotion of a spurious multicultural "respect" by Bill Clinton, the United Church of Canada, European foreign ministers, etc."

Why don't the liberal left ever blame Muslims?

It is an interesting aside to note that with riots waging as a result of the Mohammed cartoons, very few on the liberal left have blamed the Muslim world for its incitement and violence. Dennis Prager has written a very thoughtful piece titled 'Why the Left doesn't blame Muslims for Muslim violence'.
Parger cites three reasons for the seeming absence of liberal condemnation of Muslim violence,
"Here are three hypotheses:
One is that liberals tend to blame outside forces for evil. This emanates from the secular humanistic view of people as basically good -- and therefore human evil must come not from the bad choices and bad values of the evildoer, but from the unfortunate socioeconomic and other circumstances of the person's life.
The second explanation is that as you go further left on the political spectrum, it becomes increasingly difficult to blame the "weak" for any atrocities they commit. The Left does not divide the world between good and evil nearly as much as it does between rich and poor, and between strong and weak. Israel is stronger and richer, so Palestinian terror is excused. White America is stronger and richer than black America, so black violence is excused. The West is stronger and richer than the Muslim world, so Muslim violence is explained accordingly.
And third, liberals tend to be afraid of the truly evil. That's why the liberal newspapers of America refused to publish the Danish cartoons, probably the most newsworthy cartoons ever drawn, but have never had any hesitance about showing cartoons and photos that mock Jewish and Christian symbols. Christians and Jews don't kill editors".
I would like to hear from anyone who considers themselves as liberal to respond to these hypothesies. Do you agree or disagree with these charges?

It's not censorship, actually!!!!

The star of the film 'Love Actually', Alan Rickman has directed a play about the life and death of International Solidarity Movement activist, Rachel Corrie, called 'My name is Rachel Corrie'.
The play chronicles the activities of Rachel Corrie and espouses her one-sided beliefs as a person who fought Israeli 'oppression'. The play is to be shown in New York but has been postponed, Rickman has declared that postponing the play amounts to censorship.
The play cunningly leaves out some very well known facts about Rachel Corrie and the ISM. Firstly, although the ISM calls itself a non-violent movement, facts would dictate otherwise. Israel has showed that during the Intifada the two suicide bombers involved in the Mike’s Place suicide bombing, both British nationals, had actually been hosted by ISM. The ISM seems to have quite a history of supporting terrorists.
As for Corrie herself, she was hardly the peaceful activist the play sets her out to be. She is pictured many times burning the American flag with what can only be described as hatred and rage on her face.
As Dennis Prager wrote in the Wall Street Journal," Rachel Corrie chose to side with a society that breeds some of the cruelest murderers of innocent people in the world. Rachel Corrie gave her life trying to protect people whose declared aim is to annihilate another country. In the name of saving children's lives, Rachel Corrie chose to defend a society that teaches its young children to blow themselves up and which deliberately targets children for death. And Rachel Corrie went to America's enemies to burn her country's flag."
"She ended up being a useful idiot for, and one more victim of, Palestinian terror."
So if people in New York want to postpone a theatre production about a girl who hates her own country and belonged to an organisation that supports murder; is that censorship, actually????

Discrimination against Arab Israelis

The High Court of Justice unanimously ruled Monday that the Israeli government has exercised discriminative policies against the Arab population in the country, and stated the government must set clear criteria to define National Preference Zones, where affirmative action is implemented.
This decision is to be commended, the High Court has seen a problem in Israel and has called the government to task over it. This is extremely healthy and shows Israel as an extremely competent democrcay albeit with problems that need to be addressed.
The status of Israel's Arab minority has always been an issue to be grappled with from the formation of the state. The Declaration of Independence states that Israel "will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex." This is sometimes hard for a state on the eve of war to declare, this is especially true when a group that would make up a sizeable minority within the state were on the opposite side in the war.
Israel has lived up to these expectations in many ways. Israel has had Arab members of parliament, Arab Ministers, an Arab High Court judge and Arab ambassadors. An israeli Arab even ran for the position of Prime Minister and if he would have garnered the necessary votes would have been the highest authority in the country.
There have however been problems with the Arab minority. From the Arab side many of the Arab leaders have supported Israel's sworn enemies, some passivley and some actively. Many Arabs have agitated against Israel and have rioted with bloddy consequences, for example the riots in the northern region in 2001.
Israel however has not met its full responsibilities towards this sector, Israeli Arabs should receive similar funds as Israeli Jews. Israeli Arabs are full citizens and thus must be treated thus.
There are many who will jump on this ruling and see it as another example of Israeli 'Apartheid'. I have firmly put that myth to bed in previous postings, suffice to say that there still exists no legal differentiation between an Israeli Arab and an Israeli Jew.
Does Israel have a cultural identity as a 'Jewish State'-of course; but it does not compel its minorities to adopt these cultural identities.
Dore Gold and Jeff Helmreich put it best in an article they wrote. "The important point is not whether a state adopts some communal theme but whether it in fact discriminates: Are minority citizens equal under the law? Can they express their own heritage publicly and communally? Do they have the same opportunities for power and representation in the system, even the ability to become the majority? In short, are they first-class citizens?
For non-Jewish citizens of Israel, the answer to all these questions is "Yes. Unequivocally." Israeli Arab citizens are by law equal to Jewish citizens; they enjoy the same rights and are legally protected from discrimination. Non-Jews enjoy every freedom that democracies recognize, including freedom of worship, the free expression and exercise of religion, equality of financial, material, and employment opportunity, political power, and all legal rights."

Israel gets a new 'Arsenal'

I have to say this story is close to my heart. Having been born and bred a 'gonner'(Arsenal football fan) I was overjoyed to read that Israel and Arsenal are now partners. Arsenal have a good history of interest in Israel whether funding and running Arab and Jewish Israeli cooperative sports projects or running football schools for new immigrants from Ethiopia and Russia (which yours truly was honoured to be a coach on).
This is a big coup for Israel to have one of the most well known and popular sports teams in the world to advertise and promote Israel. One of the more startling and definitely positive outcomes of this partnership is the 'Emirates' angle.
Arsenal are building a new stadium for next season and through a deal with the United Arab Emirates airline 'Emirates' will be the name of the stadium as well as the major sponsor. Before the Israel-Arsenal partnership could be signed, Arsenal had to ask their major sponsor if they minded advertising Israel in the stadium. Apparently they had no problem with this deal so next season you will see at least in one place in the world the United Arab Emirates and Israel side by side.

KIC Question of the day #13

How long have there been Palestinians?

Monday, February 27, 2006

Opportunity to prove Israel's actions in a court of law?

A high-ranking official in the Israel Defence Force is the latest army personel to avoid Europe because of a potential court case. Last year former IDF Southern Commander Doron Almog was advised not to deplane at London's Heathrow Airport after Muslim groups filed suit against him for "war crimes" during his stint as head of the IDF Gaza division from 1993-95 and head of the IDF Southern Command starting in 2000.
Now we have the case of Brigadier-General Aviv Kochavi's decision to cancel a study sabbatical in London for fear of being indicted for "war crimes".
There is an opinion expressed in that article which says that Israel should face any potential court case against Israeli officials. Andrew Friedman argues it would be a great Public Relations coup if an Israeli official faced charges and won in a neutral court.
The problem I have with this position is; what happens if he loses? Friedman is pretty confident that the facts will speak for themselves and Israel will claim the upper hand in the PR war as a result. I am not so confident the Israeli official would win.
We live in a crazy world where a 'neutral' international court exacted a ruling on Israel's security barrier without paying any attention to why it was built or Israel's security grievances. UN rulings would have to be taken into account in any court and we know at what disadvantage Israel is when it comes to the UN.
This does not even speak of the fact that a person who served his country could potentially sit in prison if criminal charges are proven and owe a lot of money if they are civil charges. These people have risked life and limb for their country, do they want to be enjoying their post-army life in prison or in massive debt?
The court of public opinion continually rules aginst Israel no matter what Israel does, I am not so confident a real court would rule differently.

KIC Question of the day #12

How should Israel treat the UN?
a) Ignore them totally
b) Only pay attention to the UN if it doesn't compromise Israel's security
c) Only pay attention to the UN if it doesn't compromise Israel's relationship with the West
d) Administer completely and totally all UN decisions and recommendations

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Just when I thought I 'd heard everything......

As you may have read recently I took parts of the Muslim world to task for their frightening PR machine for blaming all the world's ills on the Jews. Just when I thought I would never get shocked by another accusation along came this beauty.
Apparently, Hasan Bolkhari, an adviser to the Iranian Education ministry on mass media has stated that the cartoon 'Tom and Jerry' was a Jewish conspiracy. Read that again in case you are still in shock.
Bolkhari said that the cartoon was part of a Jewish attempt to portray mice as clean and loveable in reaction to the Nazi propaganda films which portrayed Jews as mice. “The mouse is very clever and smart,” Bolkhari said in a televised seminar on film last week monitored by the Middle East Media Research Instuite. “Everything he does is so cute. He kicks the poor cat’s ass. Yet this cruelty does not make you despise the mouse. He looks so nice, and he is so clever...This is exactly why some say it was meant to erase this image of mice from the minds of European children, and to show that the mouse is not dirty and has these traits.”
I wonder what could possibly top that? Mickey Mouse never ate Porky Pig so I guess that must have been a plot to subconsciously make non-Jews not eat pig thus allowing Jews to take over the world. Ok, I guess I'll never be a great Jewish conspiracist.

Israel and Jewish responsibility

Israel is the self-declared 'Jewish State' and has undertaken throughout its short history to help Jews worldwide if in trouble. Be it the raid on Entebbe, the arrest of Eichmann, sending investigators to a bombing of a Jewish centre in Argentina, Israel has always accepted the responsibility to assist Jews and Jewish causes in the diaspora.
However, a Jew in France was brutally murdered by a Muslim group and the Israeli government is painfully quiet. This isn't an average case of a Jew being murdered, but a vicious anti-Semitic act that consisted of a week of unspeakable torture. The Israeli government could have stepped in and exerted pressure on the French government to call this an anti-Semitic act, something they were loathe to do.
For a week the French authorities treated it like a regular kidnapping and ransom case which meant the French police did not expect Ilan Halimi to be killed. All evidence showed that this was an anti-Semitic crime and thus Halimi's life was in immediate danger as was proved. Phone calls to the family were riddled with Koranic sayings and anti-Semitic diatribes all the while Halimi's agonising cries couyld be heard in the background.
Israel should have stepped in and assisted the family in convincing the French authorities to take this case more seriously and perhaps have saved Halimi's life. Perhaps this is even more deserving as Halimi was attempting to make Aliyah and was just making a bit more money before moving to Israel.
It is time that Israel once again took on its role as guardian for the Jews everywhere seriously again. Israel can not get involved with every murder involving a Jew, but a clear and unprovoked attack on a person because they are Jewish (and in a Western country) should send the Israeli authorities into overdrive to make sure they do all they can to assist.

Holocaust denial at Yad Vashem

This is a very disturbing story of an Arab waiter working at Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust Museum. The Arab waiter reportedly told a group of German journalists, "don't believe what you see here. Everything they say about the six million murdered is a lie."
The most disturbing part of this story is that apparently nothing has been done about it, no action whatsoever. If you would think there was one place in the world immune to Holocaust denial it would be Yad Vashem. A museum in the Jewish State, run by Jews and surrounded by documents and history attesting to the Holocaust would be the place without this most vicious form of anti-Semitism.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Friday, February 24, 2006

Very important principle of Israel advocacy

When talking or lectruring about Israel advocacy, I always stress that an important principle when disseminating Hasbara is to understand who you are speaking to. Israel's 'Ambassador' Eytan Schwartz seems to have finally understoos this point as he wrote an article about his experiences in the UK. The article called 'Tough time in Britain', show the difference in experience between US and UK students.
Schwartz says," In the United States, it is easier to stir up sympathy for Israel when talking about terrorism, living in fear, and the desire for peace. British students are more apt to think things through, and talking about bombings and longing for peace are less likely to "work" to them. They fortify their opinions with arguments, and emotion has a much smaller bearing on them."
There is a good point here, sometimes emotion works and sometimes it is just cold hard facts. We must understand who we are speaking to an which tact will work best. An essential part of Israel advocacy as in all advocacy is to understand who you have to present your case to and act accordingly.

Israel has no 'right to exist'

A very good piece in Ha'aretz by Bradley Burston.

KIC Question of the day #10

Should the Jews formerly from Arab countries receive compensation for being forced to leave their homes during the early years of the state?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Meshal, what would you have us do?

Hamas political chief Khaled Meshal said in an interview recently that the Israeli people should elect a 'moderate' government to end the occupation.
Meshal said, "If Israelis think that in reaction to Hamas' election in the Palestinian Authority they should elect a radical right-wing party or leadership, they are extremely wrong. I'm telling the Israeli public, especially the Jews, that the only way to end the conflict is not through further aggression and occupation, but by ending it."
Ok, so fair enough the new Palestinian government wants an Israeli government that it can deal with and find a 'partner' to negotiations. All sounds quite reasonable, no?
But then Meshal says "We are entering government open-minded, and are ready for negotiations with everyone in the world, including the U.S., but only with Israel we will never talk - we are ready [to talk] with everyone else."
So Meshal wants the Israelis to elect a 'moderate' government so they can be ignored just as equally as a 'hawkish' government. I don't get it, please can someone explain it to me.

Someone caught a cold in the Muslim world, Israel blamed

OK, so that isn't a real headline, but it could easily be. Israel has recently been blamed for everything from the Danish cartoons, bird-flu, taking over the world (yawn) and controlling the media (bigger yawn).

So just when you thought you were getting bored with the predictable enter stage-right, President Ahmadinejad.
The slightly paranoid Iranian President has now accused Israel of blowing up a mosque in Iraq. A Shi'ite Muslim shrine in Iraq was blown up amid rising sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites. However, the Iranian President seems to know something noone else does.
"These heinous acts are committed by a group of Zionists and occupiers that have failed. They have failed in the face of Islam's logic and justice," Ahmadinejad said in a speech broadcast live on state television.

Just in case you thought he was a lone crazy voice, along comes another creditable personality to corrobarate Ahmadinejad's story.
"I tell the Americans, the Zionists and the criminals who committed yesterday's crime in Samarra that all your aims will fail," Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah told a rally attended by thousands of Lebanese Shi'ites in the southern suburb of Beirut.

Wow, it must be true now if at least two people say it. So next time anyone in Israel is secretly plotting world dominion, please don't because the bad people may dislike us more.

A small victory for common sense

There can't be too many examples of when a three year old takes on the American administration and wins. However, a child in Jerusalem has succeeded in sending a case in the US Court of Appeals back to the lower court, a small but measurable victory as efforts continue to compel the US government to write “Israel” in the passports of US citizens born in Jerusalem.

The improbably named case of Menachem Binyamin Zivotofsky vs. US Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice has tilted in the favour of the former over the latter. To date, US citizens born in Jerusalem may only have “Jerusalem” written in their passports, with the US State Department fearing the inscription “Israel” may be seen as supporting Israel’s position that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of the State of Israel.

Taking corrective action, US President George W. Bush signed legislation in 2002 that compels writing “Israel,” but US diplomatic officials in Israel were informed the law is only “advisory” and not “mandatory”. As such, consular officials in Israel continue to list “Jerusalem” as the place of birth, not “Israel”.

The appeals court has sent the case of 3-year-old Menachem back to the Federal District Court in Washington, D.C., instructing the court to address the case of the US citizen born abroad. The higher court instructed the sides to “develop a more complete record relating to whether the law is mandatory or advisory.”
Apart from it being a ridiculous proposition to tell another nation its own geography, it also belies policy. As far as I am aware the US views at least west Jerusalem as part of the State of Israel so why the abhorrence to the term 'Israel' for someone who lives in west Jerusalem at least?
Also, if Bush signed legislation saying something how can some lower diplomats decide it is only 'advisory'? Would they say legislation that criminalises drugs or theft is 'advisory'? It is a patently absurd suggestion, and so is this. We await a positive result from this seemingly 'open and shut' case.

Reuters reporting 'news'

For those of you interested in Israel advocacy, one of the hardest jobs is attempting to disprove an article which is patently not true. So it continues with a very poor excuse for news from Reuters.
A Reuters article titled 'Israel plans West Bank roads just for Palestinians' begins by saying 'Israel plans to pave new roads in the West Bank exclusively for Palestinians while Jewish settler vehicles keep to the existing network, a senior Israeli security source said on Thursday.'

When they actually quote the 'un-named source' he (she or it, we are not told) actually says "We want to ease access to various Palestinian communities," the source said. "There is no intention of bringing about a separation of Israeli and Palestinian traffic. Palestinians will continue to make use of the roads they use today."
Now correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't that directly contradict the opening sentence to the article? Firstly, the source says there is no intention of separating Palestinian from Israelis and secondly says that new roads will be built for Israelis, not 'exclusively for Palestinians'.
The problem with these articles is many people read the headline and the opening paragraph and little else (for those of you who are still reading, you may well be the exceptions). The next few paragraphs actually completely contradict the emphasis of the article dictated by the opening.

Of course, this is all without mentioning a very important and glaring absence in the article. The writer gives no reason for this move and only suggests that "Palestinians condemned the idea as a form of apartheid." No Israeli explanation is given, nowhere does it mention the very real security concerns that led to this decision (if indeed this ever will happen, the article is extremely hazy on facts). The fact that Israel has 'occupied' the West Bank for almost 40 years and never approached this idea should beg the question, why now?

The article obviously has no intention of explaining it but it is down to the frequency of attacks on Israeli vehicles. If it is Apartheid then why would Israel only get around to this policy 40 years later? Also, even if this plan does come to fruition it will not affect the Palestinians one iota. They will continue using the same roads as before, free of less traffic, and the Israelis will have roads from and to their communities.

It is called 'disengagement' and I seem to remember the world cheering when Israelis were pulled from their houses to implement this policy. Did the world call it 'apartheid' then?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

KIC Question of the day #9

What should be Israel's red lines in negotiations for a final peace agreement?

Turkey's image

According to Ynet News, Turkey is currently in need of a public relations makeover and has turned to Israel for help. "Turkish officials want to learn from Israel's experience in effort to present image as a modern, Western state."
As someone who is involved with Israel's public image and disseminating it to the outside world I have one very good tip. If you trying to present your nation is a "modern, Western state" then make sure your nation is that thing you want to present to others.
As someone who is constantly trying to defend Israel from such statements as 'racist', 'apartheid' and 'colonialist' I have to give credit to Israel and its people. Israel is actually none of these things and as an open, democratic society it is very easy to prove this. Of course there are people who won't listen, but then there is no point in even beginning an intelectual debate with these people.
Israel is quite simply unique as a nation that has been at war since its creation and been a pariah for large segments of the world. Yet with all this Israel has risen above and made itself into one of the most technologically advanced societies in the world. Israel has laws on its books that would make even the most liberal democracies in the world salivate.
Quite simply put it is relatively easy to disseminate PR about Israel because of what Israel is and what it represents. Turkey would do well to follow suit before engaging on an expensive and perhaps futile PR exercise.

A moderate voice from Malaysia

A troubling part of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism is it seems to infect people that have no Jews living amongst them or are far removed from the conflict. Malaysia is a good example of this, a nation which has so much hatred for the Jewish people. I say Jewish people and not Israel because Henry Ford's diabolical anti-Semitic diatribe is a popular book there and the Jew- hatred of their former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
So it was quite refreshing to read an opinion piece by a Malaysian who writes of the 'peculiar' Malaysian hatred of all things Jewish and Israeli.

Just in case anyone was in doubt

There are those who still believe that Hamas are a pragmatic force that will eventually come around to accomodation with Israel. To those with a little knowledge of Hamas know this is unlikely in the foreseeable future.
In case anyone needed another example, one is easily found on the Hamas military wing, Az A-Din Al Qassam website. At the top of the page is a constantly recurring Star of David being blown to smithereens in what aludes to a buclear explosion.
I would also recommend looking at the English version of the website to become acquainted with this murderous organisation. I will tell you that I have been reliably informed by someone who reads Arabic that the English version has been massively toned down. However, it is still instructive to learn about how an organisation can make extremely contradictory statements about the cause of their terrorism, a good lesson in 'double speak'. Pay special attention to the word 'occupation', while the word assumes they must be talking about the West Bank only. Upon further reading it should be abundantly clear that all of Israel is considered 'occupied'.

KIC Question of the day #8

Many people talked about leaving Gaza for demographic reasons. But can anyone tell me what will happen if we return to the pre-1967 borders and in 100 years the Arab Israeli population has grown so there are more Arabs than Jews in Israel?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

An excellent opinion peice on the Dalai Lama

I have nothing to add to this article. Let us know if you agree or disagree.

Arab parties won't take Arab women, but Zionist parties will

It is ironic that much of the world sees Israel as the beacon of all discrimination when the facts tell a different story. A good example is the status of Arab women, Arab women in Israel have rights, chances and choices which are many times forbidden to their Arab sisters elsewhere. It is the Jewish state that has seen to the rise in health, education and status of the Arab women in Israel. It is no thanks to the Israeli Arab establishment, in fact it is that establishment which continually tries to act against the furtherment of its female population.
While no Arab party has ever sent an Arab woman to the Knesset, a Zionist party, Meretz has. Once again all the Arab women running for Arab party seats in the Israeli parliament have failed to make the cut. In 1999, the Meretz Party placed Hussniya Jabara in the Knesset and now the Labour party has put Nadia Hilo at number 15 on their party list which will mean that she is almost certain to become a lawmaker in the next Knesset session.
Those that call Israel 'apartheid' and 'racist' would do well to look at the facts from time to time. They might be astonished to find some truths they don't like to face.

It's that Carter again

KIC's least favourite bungling ex-US President has done it again. In a recent opinion peice, Carter called on the US and Israel not to punish the Palestinians because of the election results.
"During this time of fluidity in the formation of the new government, it is important that Israel and the United States play positive roles," Carter wrote in a piece in Monday's edition of The Washington Post.
"Any tacit or formal collusion between the two powers to disrupt the process by punishing the Palestinian people could be counterproductive and have devastating consequences."
Israel should not punish the palestinians for voting in a terrorist party that seeks Israel's destruction, but it should certainly not reward them.
What does Hamas actually have to do to receive some condemnation from certain circles? They have a charter that makes Mein Kampf look positively philo-Semitic, they have murdered hundreds of people (Israeli, American, European,etc), would like to ban homosexuality and put women rights back a few centuries.
I would be interested to hear from people like Carter if he thinks there is a red line that if Hamas crosses then Israel should 'punish' them. Would he say the same of Al-Qaeda?

Monday, February 20, 2006

KIC Question of the Day #7

Can someone please tell me why the international media have started referring to Mohammed as 'The Prophet' and not the 'Muslim prophet Mohammed'?

Two astonishing statements, but now we need action

Today has witnessed two of the most unlikely and astonishing statements in recent history. First came serial Holocaust denier David Irving saying that after coming across more information he concedes that the Holocaust did happen. Speaking at his criminal trial in Austria, Irving said "I made a mistake when I said there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz."
"The Nazis did murder millions of Jews," said Irving, who answered the court in fluent German.
Secondly, a Hamas
senior member Moussa Abu Marzouk said that "there's no doubt that there is a realistic recognition on our part of Israel, that Israel exists in the territory – and there's no signing agreements with an imaginary body but with a body that exists."
Now we can asume that the first statement was made under pressure of a potential ten years in jail and the second statement will gain political points. What we should keep in mind is that these things were said and once the genie is let out of the bottle it can not easily be returned.
The greatest lesson that we can learn from these statements is that we should demand action along with words. Too many times statements are held up as examples of something when the reality is very different. For years the PLO under Arafat was the greatest user of double-speak, they would talk a very peaceful game to the world media while funding and perpetrating terrorism.
We now expect Irving to undo the damage he has done for the last few decades when he has spread his disgraceful claims that caused untold pain to so many. Irving has to do a mea culpa in actions and travel around the world telling conferences that the Holocaust happened and he was historically inaccurate.
Hamas now have to live by these words and talk to Israel, find some ground to register not just our existence but our right to existence. Words are abolutely meaningless if they are not sincere and backed by intent and action. We have a right to expect that until concrete actions occur these words, astonishing as they are, are just those and those that said them still remain pariahs.

Is France a free democracy?

A few years ago ex-Israeli Minister and former refusenik Natan Sharansky made a very interesting definition of democracy. It wasn't about elections and the right to vote, Sharanky had a far more compelling description.
In his book 'The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror' Sharansky has a democracy 'town hall test'. "If you can go in the center of the town square and you can express your views and you will not be punished for this, so you live in a free society. If you are punished for this, if you are afraid to express your views, you live in a fear society."
In a recent demonstration against the3 Mohammed cartoons, thousands of Muslims took to the streets of Paris. Two counter-demonstrators decided to come out in favour of freedom of expression and espressing support for Denmark in the face of boycotts.
Watch this video and see how some parts of the West have gone mad and will now not even tolerate a demonstration supporting the rights France and the West supposedly stand for. While thousands of Islamists have the right to call for death, terrorism and violence in Europe, others are not even allowed to counter-demonstrate with such simple and democratic slogans.

The Church of England's ignorance

Following on from the decision of the general synod of the Church of England to divest from ceratin companies that deal with Israel. There has been a row over whether this move was just, the Archbishop of Canterbury came about against the divestemnt/boycott. The head of the Church of Engalnd, George Carey said he was "ashamed" to be an Anglican.
In the Guardian today a member of the General Synod defends his organisations stance and states that Israel's policies are 'feeding the cancer of anti-Semitism'. Reading this opinion peice one is immediately taken by its outright ignorance about realities of Israel and its history. Paul Oestreicher of course gives a usual pre-condition that he abhors anti-Semitism and is even of Jewish heritage. This does not prevent him from them making some of the grossest anti-Semitic insinuations that are available today.
I wrote to Mr Oestreicher about his peice and make it available for you to read, I will of course let you know if and when he responds.

Mr Oestreicher,
I have just read your opinion peice in the Guardian titled 'Israel's policies are feeding the cancer of anti-Semitism'. I fear that you have been misinformed in many aspects. You declare that Golda Meir's statement " there was no such thing as Palestinians ... they did not exist" and see this with some incedulity that such a statement could be made. Please don't, a mere perusal of the most basic facts of histoty would lead anyone to conclude that sadly or happily she was right. Please don't take my word on this matter, I will let 'Palestinian' Arab opinion be the judge.
Here are a series of quotes....
The representative of the Arab Higher Committee to the United Nations submitted this in a statement to the General Assembly in May 1947 "Palestine was part of the Province of Syria...
...politically, the Arabs of Palestine were not independent in the sense of forming a separate political entity.
"
Ahmed Shuqeiri, later the chairman of the PLO, to the UN Security Council said. "It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria."
Syrian President Hafez Assad once told PLO leader Yassir Arafat:"You do not represent Palestine as much as we do. Never forget this one point: There is no such thing as a Palestinian People, there is no Palestinian entity, there is only Syria. You are an integral part of the Syrian people, Palestine is an integral part of Syria. Therefore it is we, the Syrian authorities, who are the true representatives of the Palestinian people."
And my personal favourite......
Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, a local Arab leader, to the Peel Commission, 1937 "There is no such country [as Palestine]! 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented! There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria."
I have of course added the bold print to let that very instructive sentence stand and let it sink in for a moment to stress the enormity of the statement.
Of course one could argue that it is irrelevant what was said then, it is only important what is said in the present. But according to that logic could not the people of Sussex decide one day they are a separate entity from the rest of mainland Britian. Then wage a campaign of terrorism, hijacking and murder to garner the attention of the world. Within a matter of decades we will be talking of the rights of the people of Sussex to their own state.
There is much else to complain about in your article. The most outrageous being the fact that you make a connection between anti-Semitism and Israel's policies. By doing this you of course releive the anti-Semite of any manner of wrong-doing as they are merely reacting to a foreign governments policies that have no bearing on their lives.
Can we not in the same manner be anti-Islamic for the way women are treated in Arabia, or the way Africans are treated by the Arab Sudanese? We could also be anti-Christian for the policies of certain South American's more fascist and murderous regimes.
But no, you single one nation out as a reason for discrimination and violence meted out to their co-religionists in the diaspora. By singling out the Jews and holding them to something not expected of all the murderous regimes in the world, you must just be reacing to Israeli policy.
I look forward to hearing a reaction from you.
Sincerely,
Ashley Perez

KIC Question of the day #6

Why does Israel have more journalists per square mile than anywhere else in the world?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Spielberg Responds

As someone who has not seen 'Munich' and has very little intention of seeing it I felt it is only fair to hear Spielberg out. Having read the piece it does seem that he has good intentions and is "pro-Israeli." This however does not explain why he used as a leading source for his film, 'Vengeance' a discredited and biased book. We await his explanations on that. Stay tuned for part two.

KIC Question of the day #5

Should Israel take an example from the Arabs and boycott those countries that offend them?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Kiwi-Israeli Group Established

Even though we've lost Conrad Smith for the season, NZ rugby fans in Israel can still ghold their heads high after the new INZFA (Israel-New Zealand Friendship Assocation) established last week. There was a launching event in Ra'anana covered by the Jerusalem Post and though the rain (which Israel needs) caused many to decide aginst the drive north, it was still a successful event which saw Kiwis, their families and ex-shlichim reunite.

The INZFA's main goals are to establish cultural and sporting exhanges between the land of the long white cloud and the land of our longing. G-d willing we'll see artists, musicians and sportspeople climbing on board the INZFA initiative.

My only hope is that next time we can get some younger faces there. In my role on the INZFA committee I hope to bring in those younger faces, encourage Aliyah and build a support network for New Zealand olim/immigrants. This is something Nefesh b'Nefesh and the like do well. We might not have the same money but we can still set up a supportive environment for the Kiwi olim. I'll also be looking to encourage Israel year programs of Habonim, Bnei Akiva and AUJS and help to provide Kiwi support and open homes for those participants too. I also hope to encourage and work towards the sending of more educators and support toNew Zealand Jewry from Israel.

There are a lot of bridges to be built and rebuilt between New Zealand and Israel. To get involved with the INZFA in New Zealand or in Israel contact Yitzchak Treister.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Great Danes?

The Danish football team is supposed to arrive later in the month to play the Israelis in a friendly game. It now appears that several Danish players have voiced fear and trepidation about playing in Israel.
Goalkeeper Tomas Sorenson, of England's Aston Villa, said: "It's not that I'm scared for my life, but I don't have a good gut feeling over the game. We should remember that this game is only a friendly, and there are much more important things in life."
Well I say to Tomas, go and do them. You get paid more in one week than most do in a year and now you are scared to do your job. If you had to travel to Israel for business to put food on your plate, you most certainly would.
Apart from the typical capitulation of certain European nations in the face of violence, they give thugs, terrorsim and violence a victory. They have quite simply won the battle of mettle, they have shown they can bully whoever they want, whenever they want. By pulling out of events because of fear they are telling the rioters, violence pays off.
If this a clash of civilisations then we know who has won this round, thanks to weeping willows like Tomas Sorenson. They have terrorised you and it has paid off, who knows what this act of capitulation will inspire the rioters to do next. On your shoulders Tomas!!

KIC Question of the Day #5


Why is Israel the highest consumer of toilet paper per capita in the world?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

KIC Question of the Day #4

If Hamas is willing to talk to Israel once it has retreated to the pre-1967 borders, given away Jerusalem, released prisoners and stopped defending itself, what will they have to talk about?

The Dalai Lama Opines

The Dalai Lama has just arrived in Israel and is set to be part of the centennial celebrations of first Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion's birth. The Dalai Lama also had choice words to say on our conflict. I have commented before on people coming to this region and preaching love and peace in an area that has known so many wars. However, do we lump the Dalai Lama in a group with Sharon Stone, Richard Gere, Jane Fonda etc?
My personal feeling is the Dalai Lama already sets himself apart from these people because of his lifestyle and the fact that he does not seek the limelight. I do personally believe the Dalai Lama has good intentions and is not just trying to gain attention or assume that his celebrity accords his opinion strength.

However, a man who preaches harmony and peace should not agree to meet with members of an organisation that glorify blood (see earlier posting). With great respect for this esteemed leader of the Tibetan Buddhist community, sometimes one has to take a stand. If one wants peace and serenity, one sometimes has to fight for it. One has to defend their families, community and country. We all wish we lived in a world without war, but that has never happened and doesn't seem to be on the horizon in the near future. So with so many enraged by my nation's very existence, there can be little to talk about.

Go and Visit Auschwitz

In a world that seems to thrive on images of Islamic extremism there is pitifully small space for the moderate voices of Islam. One such voice is from Germany where a Muslim cultural institute in Germany on Monday criticised Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for disparaging the Holocaust, daring him to visit the Auschwitz concentration camp. We hope to hear more voices from reasonable and moderate Muslims that criticise the extremism and violence of some of their co-religionists.

Drinking Jewish Blood

So here it is folks, the party with which Israel should sit across a table with, exchange pleasantries with and talk about the finer details of Israel's security. An organisation which not only is seeking to kill every Jew wherever they are but also wishes to drink their blood and teach their children to drink the Jews blood. Very shocking video, please watch.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

KIC Question of the Day #3

How can Israel negotiate with a party that doesn't recognise negotiations nor Israel?

No substitute for knowledge

We have all heard people 'expressing' their staunch opinion on this matter or that. Many times when they are quizzed about the most basic facts concerning their opinion it shows that they actually have little idea what they are opining about. They may have heard an opinion somwhere and thought it sounded correct, or it is a popular opinion so they want to be held in the majority.
A Gallup poll recently released is very telling on this matter. The poll generally shows that more Americans are supporting Israel than they have since the first Gulf War in 1991. The interesting part of the poll is the fact that the more informed the person is, the more likely to support Israel they are. The more in tune with global affairs the person is the more likely they are to find in Israel's favour.
This is a very telling statistic.
Whenever I have to defend Israel in public or private forums I have always used the tactic of proving the basic premise of the arguement to be false thus shattering all other assumptions built around it. If a person throws out a statement like "Why don't you give the Palestinians their state back?" I will first ask them when there was a Palestinian state for us to give back. You will be amazed how many people were sure there was an independent Palestinian state. When they are proved wrong on this simple but vital point you can see a level of uncertainty in many of the follow up statements or questions.
In my opinion, this is the first key to Israel advocacy; BE INFORMED. There is no substitute for knowledge and you can be sure the majority of people out there do not even know the most basic facts about the subject matter. When you have information and facts this is the greatest weaponry when tackling Israel detractors.

KIC Question of the Day #2

Is Israel a state of the Jews or a Jewish state?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Half of Israelis oppose further pullouts

A recent poll that was released states that 50% of the Israeli public oppose further withdrawal.The poll also showed that 68% of Israelis feel the government has not done enough for the evacuees. As this is something I have mentioned in previous postings, I am pleased to show that I do not stand alone.
The important poll result is the first. During the lead up to the disengagement we were constantly bombarded with polls that claimed the people wanted disengagement and the government were implementing a populist policy. Now we see the opposite, will the government take note?
61% of those polled said that the disengagement was a good thing as it had improved Israel's image in Europe. This does not bear a resemblance in reality as we see the Church of England voting to divest from Israeli companies. We witness Russia giving official welcome to Hamas, with France as its cheering section.
So Israel evicted 8,000 people and put itself through a national trauma (46% of people felt disengagement caused a rift in Israel) so we could have a non-existent better image in Europe.
No wonder the people of Israel have said they do not favour extra evacuations if the price Israel would have to pay was too great and the rewards too minimal.

Israel helping the world to love

According to reports Israel is exporting 100 million flowers to Europe and the US for Valentine's day. Israel is a nation constantly disliked and even hated by many, so this a nice report that suggests that Israel is giving a hand to romance and love worldwide.

KIC Question of the Day #1

Islamists are always talking about Muslim solidarity, so how can Hamas visit and be courted by a country which is occupying and oppressing Chechnya?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

KIC Quick Questions

The KIC Israel team is always trying to enhance the quality of debate about Israeli current affairs. With that in mind we will be introducing a new segment to our KIC Israel site. Starting tomorrow we will be posing an interesting and sometimes provocative question to you our readers in the hope that this will spur an interesting and informative debate.
We very much hope that we will be hearing your opinions and contributing to what we at KIC Israel anticipate will further a greater understanding of the issues that matter.

Freedom to Laugh

This is probably one of the most reasonable and best put commentaries on the Mohammed cartoon controversy since it all began. Rabbi Jeremy Rosen, usually known to be of liberal orientation, does not pull any punches and puts the matter succinctly into persepective and what is at stake for the western world.

Bring them home

Israel is moving to the pinnacle of election season and passions are high as politicians will do everything necessary to convince you that their party will solve all the needs of our society. All sorts of act, promises and pleas will be made to various groups who it is felt are needed to support their candidacy.
However, there is one group in need who will probably not get a look in and their dire situation will probably not even be given a second thought. The people are Ethiopian Jews and those that are still waiting to come home to 'The Promised Land'. It is an abolute disgrace that there are people who have been recognised as Jews yet they have to wait in terrible circumstances for the Israeli government to get its act together to bring them home. Another remarkable part of this story is that Israel has set a monthly quota on their arrival. This is the nation that fought desperately to shatter the British mandatory discriminatory quota system applied when the Jewish people were dying in Europe. Here we have other Jews who are starving and dying of disease waiting in shacks around the Israeli Embassy in Ethiopia to fulfill the dream that millions of other Jews have had to the honour to fulfill.
While we bring in many people from other parts of the world who aren't Jewish and have no intention of becoming part of the Jewish nation, here we have a group of Jews who have given up so much to make the trip to return to their ancestral lands. It is about time Israel did its job as the homeland of the Jewish people and brought them home.
People talk about cost, but cost was never an issue for other aliyot, we have brought over many more in a much shorter time and we managed. It is not a political issue especially for a people with little support in the upper echelons of power. This goes to the very root of who we are as a people. For thousands of years we were dispersed and now we have our homeland back we should not wait another minute to absorb Jews whose dreams are the same as mine and every other immigrant.
For those who would like to know more about who the Ethiopian Jews are just clink on this link.

Petition Against 'Paradise Now'

A petition worthy of your consideration - from an Israeli who justifiably can not see any benefit from giving an award to 'Paradise Now'.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Out of Africa

An interesting part of Israel's history was recounted by ex-diplomat Yehuda Avner in an article titled 'A Jilted Love Affair with Africa'. This comes as a timely reminder of Israel's extended hand to African nations that Israel helped during the early years of the state. While the cannard of 'Apartheid' is being resurrected in certain quarters it is extremely important to remember that Israel sent finacial, medical and humanitarian help to Africa. This was then thrown back in Israel's face after the 1973 war when all African nations severed ties with Israel at the behest of their new allies the Arabs.
There are those who point to Israel's dealings with the apartheid regime in South Africa as proof that the two governments were ideologically close. The assertion of course ignores history, Israel had excellent relations with much of the world, especially sub-Saharn Africa until the Arab world made them choose. Israel had nowhere to turn and it was obviously felt that to be in bed with the devil is better than disappearing. Difficult choices, but it was literally the existence of the nation at stake.
With organisation like Israid, MASHAV and Save a Child's Heart show that Israelis still offer many helping hands to Africa and the world.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Responses to the Guardian

Here are some reactions to the article by Chris McGreal:

1. A Response to the Guardian's G2 Supplement

2. Why Depict Israel Like A Chamber of Horrors?

I'm sure there will be other responses like these seeing as it is so simple to see the inaccuracies in the first article.

London Sightseeing

Let's go for a little trip and take in the sights and sounds of London. Ahhh... Europe. Wonderful spot for a vacation or an escape from reality.

It's called war!!

Tell me readers, what is it called if one group of people declare that another group of people are targets for violence and then carries out their declaration? The second group of people experiencing and understanding the intent of the first group attempts to defend themselves by stopping the violent actions of the first group. What do we call this scenario?

A second clue - mankind has had countless thousands of them and there are quite a few going on now as you read this.

Anyone, any takers? The UN Secretary General doesn't seem to know so I will tell him - Kofi my friend, it's called war. It's a sad fact of human history but there have been quite enough of them to allow us to recognise the characteristics of the phenomenon.

The UN secretary General is calling for a halt to what he calls Israel's "targeted killings..... executions without trial". Silly me but I don't remember a war in history where the combatants each had a massive list of arrest warrants and went to each other's country with the intent on arresting their enemies. This is not NYPD Blue where Israel can send in a bad-ass cop to go knocking on doors making enquiries about a suspect before tracking him down. This is especially true as Israel is out of Gaza and has no intention of going back in, not to mention the world would condemn Israel if the IDF went into Gaza to try and arrest these people.

These people attack Israel and try to kill people - why do we have to apologise for the poor quality of their missiles and the good quality of ours?

For those who would seek to blame Israel for the death of any innocent bystanders, they too should consult the Geneva Convention Protocol I, article 51 . "The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favor or impede military operations".

So the Geneva Convention, long touted as standing against Israel, actually says any innocent deaths are attributable to the militants who stand among them.

The real smack in the face from Annan is he prefixes his comments about "targeted killings" with words seldom uttered by Annan before... " recognizing Israel's right to defend its citizens".
I would like to ask what this meaningless statement means. With the Munich film equating murderers with those who would stop the murderers, the world has become politically insane. We have tried a non-violent fence, we got criticised. We tried sonic booms, we got criticised. Please tell us world, if we have a right to defend ourselves, HOW ARE WE ALLOWED TO DO SO?????

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

'Guardian' of lies

The greatest cannard has risen its ugly head again. The acquainting of Israel and apartheid South Africa has not just made it into the news but received a 14 page report by the British newspaper, The Guardian.
This is one of the best and most disturbing lies about Israel circulating today. From the anti-Israel side it is perfect in its conception, to equate Israel with an ideology that formed a basis for government which is universally condemned. An ideology which conducted one the worst excesses of racism and discrimination by a white government since the end of WW II. The term Apartheid means 'separateness' and was coined by Jan Smuts in 1917.
If you are unfamiliar with the facts of Apartheid then just read the link above and all the disturbing facts of that regime will be laid bare. Anyone of course with a cursory knowledge of apartheid South Africa and Israel will know that the two couldn't be further apart in ideology or policy.
Firstly, we will look at policy. According to the 'Declaration of Independence' by the State of Israel " it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations."
At the official level it doesn't sound very 'separate' to me. In fact if you read such equivalent documents around the world you would find few with such egalitarian and humanitarian principles ensconed in such a declaration. Perhaps even more so as the codifiers of the document knew they were about to be attacked existentially on all sides as soon as they declared the State of Israel.
The sole legal distinction between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel is that the latter are not required to serve in the Israeli army. This was to spare Arab citizens the need to take up arms against their brethren.
Critics will argue that official policy is one thing (although on that alone you could mark tremendous differences not only with apartheid South Africa but with over two thirds of the world) but how does the situation stand on the ground.
Azmi Bishara, an Arab Muslim ran for Prime Minister in 1999 and was fully entitled to do so. Arab members of Parliament sit in the Knesset even when they openly call for Israel's destruction.
Abdel Rahman Zuabi, an Arab sits on the Israeli Supreme Court. The Literacy, health, life-expectancy and median years of schooling of Israeli Arabs are higher than any other Arabs in the Middle East. Can you find a Jew only street, cafe, cinema, sports club,etc. In fact can anyone show me a sign in the whole country which makes a distiction between one people,race,ethnicity and another?
But ok, I hear the critics say again "What about the Palestinians?"
This is where the argument to discredit becomes all too easy but discredit it I will. As far as I am aware the majority of the world are calling for a two state solution. That means that Palestinians and Israelis (including Jews, Arabs,etc) are two distinct nationalities, thus will not be under the same law, same rights,etc. The Palestinians just had open democratic elections and the Israelis will have theirs in a few weeks. The Palestinians have their own parliament, their own president, their own judicial system....they should be part of Israel's aswell??
The critic will finally be left with one hand to play, "But the Palestinians do not have a state?"
This is of course very true, the only question is why?
For those who are not certain of their history, the Palestinians have had the chance to build their own state on many occasions but turned it down. In 1947, the UN created a partition plan to create an Arab state and a Jewish state. Then from 1948 until 1967 the Palestinians lived under Jordanian and Egyptian rule (no talk of apartheid then) and have been offered a state by Israel on numerous occasions. The most recent offer was at Camp David in 2000 when the Palestinians were offered a state encompassing almost all of their demands and again they turned it down and started the second intifada.
So there it is, Israel can not possibly be equated with Apartheid South Africa as (1) All citizens in Israel regardless of race, religion, ethnicity are equal before the law.(2) Israeli Arabs can reach the highest pinnacles of office and (3) the Palestinians can not be considered under 'Apartheid' because Israeli laws don't govern their lives, they have their own institutions of state and will have a fully-fledged state when they accept an Israel living alongside them.
This slander even took place before the State of Israel came into being and David Ben-Gurion himself had to deal with it.
If I have left anything out, please let me know. Let's please consign this most malicious of slanders to the dustbin where it belongs.

Letting Tzahal Win

Suddenly the Israeli government is behaving like any Western democracy should. Now we are starting to see the operational ability and intelligence brilliance of the IDF as they have FINALLY been given the green light to respond to missile fire on Israeli homes inside Israel proper.

Maybe there was hesitation because such military responses leaves the comment "Oops maybe Disengagement didn't separate us as well as we had expected" etched in to the sands of Gaza. Of course it iss election time and no doubt Kadima need to strike a balance between striking at illegal Jewish communities and striking at Islamic terror. It appears Israel will not be deterred by the cartoonist terror gangs of this neighborhood. Or maybe, just maybe, the Qassam-inflicted fracturing of a baby boy's skull on Friday was what was required to jolt Kadima forward - (excuse the too often repeated play on words).

It's peculiar isn't it that in a week that we've faced a barrage of missile fire in the north and the south, witnessed a murderous stabbing attack and stopped numerous suicide bombers, that Shin Bet security chief Yuval Diskin should come out against land gifts when there is in fact noone on the other side to ensure secure and responsible administration of those gifts. Chief-of-Staff Yaalon lost his job basically by saying similar things prior to Disengagement.

Amazing really then that most Israelis still back the Kadima unilateral borders approach to peacemaking and security. Amazing really and yet hardly surprising. Is there any other country in the world that boasts 6 million Prime Ministers?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Land of Israel Lovers

Arutz-7 came across a very important piece of commentary - important enough in my opinion that it be posted to the KICblog. It made me think... and think again.

Yehoram Gaon Decries War Against Land of Israel Lovers

They call them, justifiably, law-breakers. But... law-breakers are those who fire Lau missiles at their competing gangsters' homes and kill people along the way, and drug-dealers and pimps. So with all the due respect that you do not give them, at least agree with me that the law-breakers in Amona have a different type of motivation.... Why are they, of all people, being persecuted?
Do you realize how many building violations there are in Israel? Why specifically them, and why specifically now? And who wants to prove what this time, and to who, and why specifically at their expense? Like Hillel the Elder, I sandwich in this matza not only the establishment, but also the leadership of the settlers... But it appears that the youth no longer have leaders other than this land. The land is leading and directing and forcing its will, and sending them to fight for it, and they agree to do so - like a lover for his loved one, with great truth and without compromise. Zionism '06.
I know it's not popular today to say nice things about the settlers. All my colleagues in radio and television are very, very angry at them - but what to do? Only one who fights for his land, cities and fields, and for every caravan and every clod of earth, acquires it, by virtue of his love and dedication.

Read this important opinion IN FULL at Arutz-7 (Israel National News)

Sarid the fanatic

Like many commentators around the world, Yossi Sarid, former head of the Meretz party, gave his opinion on the Mohammed cartoons controversy. In an opinion peice called 'Get out of our lives, fanatics', Sarid rallied against what he saw as all religious fanatics. Of course someone of Sarid's ilk can not fail to link the violence, riots and death threats throughout the Arab world with religious Jews in this country.
Israel is a free country and Sarid has every right to criticise his fellow Israeli but what he wrote in this peice went far beyond the pale. Sarid wrote "Oh, settler, what do we have in common with you? Get up and leave, and may the devil take you." Sarid is insinuating that anyone who doesn't think as he or has nothing in common with him should leave Israel. Sarid the anti-fanatic is the worst kind of fanatic, the fanatic who can not stand an opinion that differs from his own. Sarid in these comments is more akin to the fanatacism of the rioters who would get rid of all dissenting voices from their uropia. Sarid's utopia is not religious in nature but fanatical it remains. Sarid the legislator would have Israel become an 1984-like nation with no dissent from the 'enlightened' views of himself and his cohorts. I welcome Sarid to spew any opinion he wishes, apparently Sarid refuses to allow others to do the same. Israel is a nation of extremes and diversity, that is the way it should be. The liberal left is always the first to talk of human rights and liberal values but it is always interesting that this same ideological grouping is always the first to quell dissenting speech.

A night of strong words and dancing

The thing that always strikes me at right-wing rallies or demonstrations is the spirit. Whether it was immediately before the disengagement last year or a rally against what was perceived as police brutality there is always a festive air to these gatherings.
Last night I made my way down to Kikar Zion for a rally under the slogan of 'Olmert is bad for the Jews'. Again I witnessed this remarkable cheeriness and unbreakable spirit. This was a very serious event and the allegations that were made were extremely serious. However, there were thousands of Israeli youth dancing in circles, singing at the top of their voices with smiles on their faces. These were not the hateful, contorted youth that some sections of the press would have us believe resided on the right wing of the political spectrum. There were girls sitting in circles on the floor clapping along to a song chatting like any young group of girls would.
There was one surreal moment for me as we passed a group of girls who were having a bragging match about how many policemen it took to drag them away from a particular place. I looked carefully at these girls and there was no hate on their young cherubic faces. They were proud of their acheivements and not one of them claimed to have lifted a hand in resistance.
There was of course a serious side to the evening and the array of speakers at the event decried the treatment by the government of those who went to Amona to prevent the evacuation. Pictures of people being beaten or being trodden underfoot by horses hooves were intertwined with pictures of Acting PM Ehud Olmert. There was definitely a villain to this night and the hasrh words that emanated from the podium lambasted our nation's highest authority.
To me the rhetoric was secondary to seeing all these Israeli youth, loyal to their country and full of passion and verve. We may not agree with their views or even the way they choose to express them. Compare this with scenes from around the world of a group of people disagreeing with another group of people and subsequently chanting death to this or that one and burning down buildings.
These scenes always give me hope that whatever our differences as a people, we Israelis will always carry on singing and dancing even if accompanied by strong words.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Questions have to be asked

Tonight at 6:30 at Kikar Tzion in Jerusalem, the right will hold a rally at what they perceive as police brutality during the Amona evacuations. The banner of the event will be 'Olmert is bad for the Jews' and will also focus on holding Acting PM Ehud Olmert accountable for his actions.
The Amona evacuations were of course political, any action taken in the lead up to elections have a political and electoral dimension to them. If Kadima were serious about redrawing the borders of Israel, then why start now and make such a fuss about nine structures and create scenes like we witnessed in Amona? Why didn't Kadima wait for an almost definite mandate that it will receive, decide on borders and conduct wider scale Gaza Disengagement-like evacuations en masse?
This question needs further thought. MK Tzvi Hendel claims that he was told by an Olmert advisor that it is his job to make the public "hate the settlers." We do not know whether this is true or not as the advisor has strenuously denied it, even though Hendel says he will quit the Knesset if it turns out that he lied. What is clear is that the Amona evacuations were intended for internal Israeli consumption.
Recently, Hamas were overwhelmingly voted into power by the Palestinian electorate and the Israeli electorate which in times like this, unlike most democracies, in response is waiting to be led by the government reactiont(shouldn't it be the other way around??). The first reaction of the government is to switch the focus. The world is in a holding pattern to see what Hamas will do, and Hamas is keeping its terror wing under wraps under the intense glare. Israel doesn't want to hinder the process by being seen as the protaganist and jumping the gun.
Kadima and the Israeli government know that they have staked their reputation on reshaping borders and thus will have to make further evacuations. In order to do so there has to be a villain of the peice, Kadima can not afford many more heart wrenching scenes like those that took place last year in Gaza. Hamas are not doing their part by showing the Israeli public we must evacuate to prevent friction. So logically what Tzvi Hendel is claiming does seem likely even if this actual conversation did or did not take place.
The government and Kadima need more scenes like Amona to distance the 'mainstream' Israeli voter from the 'extremist' settlers. Already the media is follwing this worrying suit with articles such as 'Us and them'.
The rally tonight shouldn't be political in as much as a call for prevention of not only police brutality but a call on our politicians, right and left, not to stoop to creating rifts in our society for electioneering purposes. Politically heated debate is fine and we are going to disagree vehemently but questions must be asked when politicians attempt to garner votes by creating hatred for one sector of a poulation.

The Disengagement is not finished II

We were told one of the advantages of evacuating the settlements in Gaza was that the IDF would have a more free hand to attack terrorist organisations in Gaza and they wouldn't be able to stand behind the fact that Gaza is 'occupied' to justify their attacks on and in Israel.
As with other facets associated with disengagement, we are still waiting.
The Kassam attack on Kibbutz Karmiya on friday ended with injuries, including those to a 10 month old baby. The people who live in the area of the Kassam attack were Gaza evacuees and have been moved by the army to a safer location, of course just like with the disengagement noone bothered to see that they actually had a place to stay.
Israel retaliated to these attacks by launching their own by targeting Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades members. Unless I'm very much mistaken isn't that the same sort of tactic they used before disengagement????
Quotes like "the gloves will be taken off" and "The IDF will use all mean necessary" have been shown to be meaningless. We disengaged from Gaza, Gaza is 100% free of Israelis of any kind. Gazans can now travel freely to the outside world, goods can come in, safe passage routes have been given to and from the West Bank. Yet, here we are still being attacked.
Recently the Palestinians conducted open and free elections and voted in their next government. For all purposes Gaza is an independent entity with its own administration under no form of occupation. I would like to know then, why do we not respond to attacks as any other soveriegn power would?
Any other nation in the world who had their civillian population under attack would respond with full force until it ended. Our reaction is to target a few people and remove our own population centres further from the border. We are disengaging now from Gaza and its periphery. These people left their homes under the belief that their sacrifice would make Israelis safer, but it obviously hasn't, so they know their sacrifice was in vain.
The disengagement will not be finished until all facets associated with it are completed, above all the complete safety of Israelis who live near the Gaza Strip.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Can You Smell Something?

I will never have a great deal of time for Btselem (the Israeli Human Rights Organization) - not because the work they do is not important but because their valuable goals come soaked in bias, misleading statistics and one-sided advocacy.
For that reason, I was surprised to see them issue a demand to Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz in which they request an investigation into police abuse of non-violent protestors at Amona.

I've been unable to decipher the truth from the various Amona reports. I can't fathom how anyone could have succeeded in doing so. Anyone who bellows about facist settlers deserving a beating or about Nazi Jewish soldiers or politicians aren't helping me in my personal analysis.

For me, video coverage helps me to understand what went happened. Look, there might be more than meets the eye but frankly this footage from Amona sits uncomfortably in my mind and in my soul (to be honest).

I don't know what was going on outside this camera frame or whether police and soldiers had been abused physically prior to this, but as far as I can see this is an unprovoked baton beating of non-violent protestors. As Btselem (Defender of National-Zionist Rights too!) will verify, that such action is against human rights and international law.

As for the horse riding over people - you be the judge. Send this post to others and let them judge too.

Concerns have been raised by the President, political parties (even the lefter-wing) and rights groups. The Knesset is being recalled for a special session on the confrontation itself. Kadima MKs however accuse the protestors as provoking the harsh response.

I'm against lawlessness and I'm against illegal building whether by Arab or Jew. Regardless - something smells here. It reeks of politics and electioneering.

Tell me I'm wrong... please.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Could the scenes at Amona have been averted?

Those of us in Israel have already witnessed harsher and more disturbing scenes in Amona than we did in the whole lead up to and subsequent disengagement from Gaza and parts of the West Bank last year. There have been very disturbing and depressing reports of over 100 people hurt, both protestors and security forces.
There are reports of one Israeli policeman in critical condition and three Israeli members of Knesset among the scores of injuries. It is my impression that this battle and the violence that took place could have been avoided.
From the protestors side, injuring another human being is unforgiveable, delegitimises any political point that is made and it is certain that the Amona outpost is not worth any amount of blood. The settler leaders should have been coaxed and forewarned into speaking and pleading with the more rational demonstrators and this perhaps would have had a knock on effect to the hotheads and thugs in the group. As was shown during the disengagement, the older Rabbis and settler leaders were a very calming influence on the younger more active element.
From the government side, there was a violence to the evacuation that was not seen during the disengagement. Why could the government evacuate tens of thousands of people without any injuries and create over a hundred injuries in an evacuation much smaller. I don't know who threw what first, but the policeman on horses showed the governments intent from the beginning. When horses charge at a group there will be injuries, horses hooves can inflict very serious injuries. Even Tnu Lahayot Lihyot, Israel's main animal rights groups called for horses not to be used during evacuations like these.
The government is obviously sending a message that the law must be abided and when there are no international media the gloves will come off. The demonstrators are obviously traumatised by the disengagement when in the main they behaved impeccably and their dreams were shattered. One can only asume they have brushed aside restraint as a failiure and action and violence as their only hope.
What is needed on both sides is restraint and dialogue; dialogue worked with the stand off in the Hebron maeket. Both sides have to listen to each other and they must find a solution that minimises any confrontation and violence. There will be many potential flash points in the future as the government seeks to establish permanent borders that will see many settlements and outposts evacuated. Both sides must take stock of their actions and see how these violent scenes can be avoided.