Sunday, 31 August 2008

UN-European Parliament: The Israel-Bashing Club (a year ago)

Source: WSJ, article by Daniel Schwammenthal

""Israel is an apartheid state," was the most often-heard charge, closely followed by calls for a boycott. The West should cut its economic ties with the Jewish state, the speakers urged, and engage the "democratically elected" Islamists now running Gaza.

No, this was not a Hamas rally somewhere in the Palestinian territories. This was Brussels, where the European Parliament last week played host to the "United Nations International Conference of Civil Society in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace."

If the conference title's inversion of the truth is reminiscent of Communist-style propaganda, this is no coincidence. The meeting was organized by the U.N. Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, a Soviet-era body founded around the time of the 1975 U.N. "Zionism is racism" resolution. That anti-Semitic resolution was revoked in 1991 but the committee continued its activities in the resolution's original spirit.

Speaker after speaker at the European Parliament on Thursday and Friday presented the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from an exclusively Palestinian perspective. Israel was accused of human rights violations while Palestinian terrorism and incitement went unmentioned. The delegates invoked the Israeli occupation as the underlying cause for the conflict without mentioning the Palestinian rejectionism and violence that prevent further Israeli withdrawals. The "right of return" of millions of Palestinians, which would lead to the demographic destruction of Israel as a Jewish state, was upheld despite the official claim to favor a two-state solution.

Amid this standard-Israel-bashing, a few delegates managed to come up with a few innovative charges against the Jewish state.

There was Clare Short, a member of the British Parliament and Secretary for International Development under Prime Minister Tony Blair until she resigned in 2003 over the Iraq war. Claiming that Israel is actually "much worse than the original apartheid state" and accusing it of "killing (Palestinian) political leaders," Ms. Short charged the Jewish state with the ultimate crime: Israel "undermines the international community's reaction to global warming." According to Ms. Short, the Middle East conflict distracts the world from the real problem: man-made climate change. If extreme weather will lead to the "end of the human race," as Ms. Short warned it could, add this to the list of the crimes of Israel.

The U.S. also came in for criticism. Pierre Galand, chairman of the European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine, admonished Washington for increasing its military aid to Israel. What really worried Mr. Galand was that this aid would allow Israel to build a missile defense system. In Mr. Galand's view, Israel's ability to protect itself against possible nuclear-tipped Iranian missiles doesn't serve the "cause of peace."

Speaking at the conference's opening session, Edward McMillan-Scott, British vice president of the European Parliament, told the audience that, "It is also worth noting that I am related to Colonel T. E. Lawrence of Arabia." Having thus established his noble pedigree, he later told me that Hamas was "not a terrorist organization." Perhaps Mr. McMillan-Scott is aspiring to the title of Edward of Hamastan?

The only attempt among the dozens of speakers to present the other side came from an Arab-Israeli. Nadia Hilou, a member of the Israeli Parliament (so much for the "apartheid" charge) explained why her countrymen are pessimistic about the prospects for peace. "It's the disappointment that the withdrawals from Gaza and Lebanon, which were seen as gestures of good will, have worsened not improved Israel's security situation." Having failed to stick to her assigned role as witness for the prosecution, Ms. Hilou is unlikely to be invited back.

One is tempted to dismiss the conference as of little practical consequence. Another U.N. conference bashing Israel -- what else is new? Bronislaw Geremek [1932-2008], a former Polish foreign minister and current member of the European Parliament, disagrees. That his house has played host to this "revolting" meeting, he told me, will further diminish Europe's credibility as an even-handed peace broker in Israeli eyes. Mr. Geremek, together with a group of like-minded lawmakers, many also Polish, tried in vain to stop the conference from taking place.

The U.N. gathering in Brussels, though, did more than just sow distrust between Europe and Israel. It was a further step in the growing campaign to delegitimize and demonize Israel. The calls for a boycott, championed first by radical Palestinians, have already been adopted by some mainstream organizations, such as various British unions. Similarly, the idea of establishing contacts with Hamas has been echoed recently by high-profile politicians. Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, a former EU Commission President, suggested talking to Hamas last month to help it "develop." (He later backtracked.) The British Parliament's foreign affairs committee also recommended last month to engage with Hamas. The U.K. lawmakers even added Hezbollah and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood to their wish list of dialogue partners -- all in the interest of peace, of course.

By hosting this conference, the European Parliament has lent its good name to propaganda and helped to make radical anti-Israeli claims more mainstream. It's a huge disservice to the search for Mideast peace, which must be based on compromise and dialogue."

Saturday, 30 August 2008

France: complaint lodged against Euro-Palestine for defending killing of French soldiers in Afghanistan

A French army defense association has lodged a complaint with the Doyen des juges d’instruction of Paris against EuroPalestine for issuing a statement on their website, on August 20, making an apology for the killing of ten French soldiers by Afghan insurgents, and for defamation of the French army.

EuroPalestine indicated that the soldiers' killing was part of "the risk involved in the dirty job" they were doing in Afghanistan, and jeered at the "whining" that followed their death.

EuroPalestine also stated that only the multiplication of well-planned ambushes against French troops engaged in the fight against the Taleban would force the Government to reconsider its position and bring them back home.

EuroPalestine is one of the countless anti-Western/anti-Israeli/anti-Jewish propaganda organizations in Europe posing as defenders of the Palestinian people.

With their hateful words about the death of ten valorous French soldiers, EuroPalestine have once again shown their true colours.

Background on EuroPalestine here

Friday, 29 August 2008

Uruguay-Israel friendship: Bienvenido, Presidente Vázquez

Source: TJP

"Some true friendships, between countries as much as between individuals, are no less charming because they are minor.

This year, Uruguay's President Tabaré Vázquez will be celebrating his country's independence day, August 25, in Israel. Vázquez, an oncologist, has been here before. He studied for half a year at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, and visited in 1992 as mayor of Montevideo. But yesterday he arrived for his first state visit, a five-day trip during which he will meet Prime Minister Olmert, President Peres, and Foreign Minister Livni.

Elected to a five-year term in 2004, Vázquez is Uruguay's first left-wing president. His Frente Amplio (Broad Front) government is based on a coalition that includes Communists, social democrats and former Tupamaro guerrillas. His country, wedged between Brazil and Argentina, is not large. Slightly smaller than Oklahoma, its population is half that of New York City.

But it is also South America's most solid democracy - and one that happens to bear a long and rich relationship with Israel. At the 1920 San Remo conference, Uruguay strongly supported the Balfour Declaration. Before World War II, thousands of European Jews - from Germany and Hungary in particular - found refuge in Uruguay; in 1939 alone, some 2,200 Jews entered the country. (...)

In 1947, Uruguay's pro-Zionist UN delegate, Rodriguez Fabregat, was instrumental in getting the partition plan passed. Three days before it did, he posed a question to the General Assembly at Flushing Meadow, New York: "Why is it necessary that there should be a Jewish State? Precisely to put an end to that form of discrimination and alienation, [and] persecution of a section of humanity." The decision to create that state, he said, "will go down to history as the first great moral victory of the United Nations." The next year, Uruguay became the first Latin American country to recognize the State of Israel, and it later became one of the few countries to recognize Jerusalem as the capital. Uruguay's capital, for its part, boasts a Golda Meir Square. (...)

After his election, Vázquez reiterated that his country's friendship with Israel stands regardless of which party holds power. Welcome to Israel, Mr. President, and Happy Independence Day!"

- Acuerdos y sorpresas para Vázquez en su visita a Israel, Espectador
- Israel signs free trade agreement with MERCOSUR, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Lucas Catherine conference at Brussels Catholic school: Israel is an apartheid State

Anti-Israeli propaganda has reached a peak in some Belgian French-speaking quarters. Hardly does a week go by without the holding of some sort of public event demonizing Israel.

One recent such event was the summer university course organised by ... Belgian Marxists on the subject of "A world in crisis(crises)". The event was hosted, of all places, at the very posh Catholic Berlaymont boarding school in Waterloo, near Brussels.

Venue details here, for the programme click on programme détaillé des cours (in French).

Lucas Catherine reveals the real nature of Israel:
intolerant nationalism, colonialism, apartheid

Lucas Catherine, a well-known Israel-basher, was scheduled to give a talk on the history of Israel at 60 along the following lines :

"The anniversary of a State based on intolerant nationalism, colonialism and apartheid. Apartheid began in South Africa, in 1950, when the majority of land was given to the white minority. In Palestine, for the last two years, Israel has confiscated and turned the major part of the land into an exclusively Jewish territory. Lucas Catherine will apprise us of the real nature of the Jewish State."

The message is deliberately simple and explicit. No need to attend the "course" to understand that Israel is a criminal and evil state.

Lucas Catherine seems to ignore that the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights working definition of anti-Semitism states that it is anti-Semitic to deny : "the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour."

The Flemish magazine, Joods Actueel, revealed a while ago that Lucas Catherine drew some of the facts in his book "Palestina" (EPO, 2002) from the work of a pro-Nazi writer, Gert Winsch, who wrote: "England's regime in Palestine: England unmasked", see Nazi propaganda literature).
Logically another pet subject was George Bush's "Middle-East domination plans".
Other than equating Israel with apartheid South Africa, Africa is nowhere to be seen on the agenda of these self-styled progressives. Neither Darfur, nor any of the former Belgian colonies in Africa (Congo, Rwanda and Burundi) feature on the "course" programme. .

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Mahmoud Darwish, the Palestinian "murdered" poet, writes French newspaper

Source: Le Figaro (25 August)

"The Former Foreign Affairs Minister [Dominique de Villepin] indicated that he had met with the President again "in June to discuss Europe and the world situation". Full of emotion, he explained that he had been "touched" when Nicholas Sarkozy entrusted him with an "assignment": to represent France at the funeral of murdered Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish."

Intriguingly, the paper does not specify the circumstances of the supposed murder of Mahmoud Darwish. It is unclear who is responsible for the misprint/error: Mr. de Villepin or Le Figaro's journalist.

To put the record straight, Mahmoud Darwish was not murdered, he died earlier this month at the age of 67 of natural causes after undergoing open-heart surgery in a hospital in Houston, Texas.

Alghouth the "misinformation" was picked up by several readers and by Menahem Macina, here, it has not been corrected.

"L'ancien ministre des Affaires étrangères a confié qu'il avait revu le président "en juin, pour parler de l'Europe et de la situation du monde". Sur un ton vibrant d'émotion, il a raconté que Nicolas Sarkozy lui avait confié une "mission" qui l'avait "touché" : représenter la France aux obsèques d'un poète palestinien assassiné, Mahmoud Darwich."

Monday, 25 August 2008

Joseph Biden is a strong supporter of Israel

Source: EJP
"Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama choose Delaware Senator Joseph Biden, a politician considered as well-versed in foreign and defense issues, as his running mate.

The choice is widely seen in Washington as shoring up the Democratic Party ticket's foreign policy credentials in the battle against Republican John McCain.

The 65-year-old Biden is currently in his sixth term in the US Senate and is Delaware's longest-serving senator. He is the chairman of the foreign relations committee in the Congress.

He is considered a strong supporter of Israel. In a march 2007 interview with the US-based Jewish cable television network Shalom TV he declared: "I am a Zionist."

He described Israel as "the single greatest strength America has in the Middle East."

He travelled with Barack Obama to Israel in late July, when Obama promised strong support for Israel against the threat from Iran, and said he would strongly support the Mideast peace process soon after he takes office.

In the same interview, Biden revealed that his son is married to a Jewish woman, of the Berger family from Delaware, and that he had participated in a Passover Seder at their house.

He added that "probably my most poignant Seder memory is not with the Bergers, but what happened right after I came back from meeting Golda Meir (in 1973). I had predicted that something was going on in Egypt. And I remember people talking about what it meant to them if Israel were actually defeated."

Like Obama, Biden supports direct talks with Iran. "I believe the United States should agree to directly engage Iran, first in the context of the 'P-5 plus 1', and ultimately country-to-country, just as we did with North Korea," Biden said in an early July press statement.

The 'P-5 plus 1' refers to the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany.

"The net effect of demanding preconditions that Iran rejects is this: We get no results and Iran gets closer to the bomb," he said."

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Anti-semitic assault in Marseille

Source: Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism

A Jewish man was stabbed in front of his shop in Marseille on 19 August.

In a press release, the Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism indicated that the victim was approached by two men of North African appearance, aged around 18 and 25, who asked for a pen.

The victim, who is 62 and has a heart condition, ignored the request. After shouting abuse and calling him "a dirty Jew", one of the man stabbed him twice in the arm.

The assault was reported to the police.

Friday, 22 August 2008

The ghetto is a myth of Jewish victimisation propaganda says Portuguese blogger Pedro Arroja

I have translated this extraordinary piece by a Portuguese blogger, Pedro Arroja, posted on the Portugal Contemporâneo blog.

The author believes in all sorts of Jewish plots and conspiracies and always refers to Jews as being aliens in the societies which "welcome" them, i.e. they are eternal guests, who inevitably cause trouble wherever they live (this is developed in another of Arroja's posts). For him, Jews do not qualify as true Europeans even though they have lived on European soil for many centuries. He believes he has the power to play God and decide who is a genuine European and who is not. Sounds very familiar, doesn't it ?

What is amazing is not so much that such blatantly anti-Semitic ravings are still being published, but that well respected Portuguese fellow bloggers have added Portugal Contemporâneo to their blog-rolls.

"The ghetto is probably one of the greatest myths of Jewish propaganda (...). The ghetto is commonly held to be the ultimate form of anti-Jewish discrimination devised by host societies- and an efficient but ethically reprehensible means to segregate Jews in various places and at different times in history.

This represents a considerable historical distortion. The ghetto is a Jewish creation and one willed by the Jews. It was not a segregation measure devised by host societies. In reality, the ghetto was a powerful and essential institution which enabled Jewish culture to survive for thousands of years.

Jews have always constituted a very small minority in their host societies - and, even today, they only account for 0.25% of world population. [Without the ghetto ...], throughout their long history in host societies, they would not have stood the remotest chance of retaining their culture, practising their religion, educating their children in their famous oral tradition, lending money at interest, and applying the mosaic law - because they would have been absorbed into the main population.

Contrary to what the propaganda says a host society inimical to Jews - be it Christian, Muslim or other - would not have created ghettos where to confine them. (...) a hostile society would have banned ghettoes.

Since the creation of Israel, the ghetto has become an obsolete institution - but was retained as a historical relic often used for victimisation propaganda purposes by Jews (...)."

Chris Blackhurst mirrors antisemitic conspiracy theory in the Standard

Source: Engage (post by David Hirsh)

"Chris Blackhurst is the City Editor of the London Evening Standard. In his 11 August column in the paper he praises the British government's efforts to attract Islamic investors to the City of London by constructing financial schemes which are compatible with Muslim religious law. Blackhurst goes on:

"So it's disappointing to hear that the Government is being subjected to enormous pressure by those who believe Islamic banking is the thin edge of the wedge, a precursor to the UK becoming a Muslim nation. The pro-Israel lobby especially is very worried and consequently vociferous in opposing it."

1......The term "pro-Israel" is being used here as a synonym for "Islamophobic".

2......The "pro-Israel lobby" is assumed to be capable of subjecting the British government to "enormous pressure".

3......The "pro-Israel lobby" is held to believe that "Islamic banking is the thin end of the wedge, a precursor to the UK becoming a Muslim nation."

4......Blackhurst offers no evidence to link the "pro-Israel lobby" to those who oppose Islamic finance.

This paragraph casually mirrors the themes of antisemitic conspiracy theory."

It is often said that anti-Zionism is a manifestation of left wing antisemitism. This paragraph, however, is an example of anti-Zionist rhetoric which is entirely mainstream politically and is not at all of the left."

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Boycott Durban II, by Pascal Bruckner

From Sight and Sound (via Augean Stables)
"In September 2001 the South African city of Durban played host to the third United Nations World Conference against Racism, which was aimed at achieving recognition for crimes related to slavery and colonialism. The event's organisers hoped that the whole of mankind would use this ceremonious occasion to face up to its history and chronicle events with equanimity.
These good intentions rapidly degenerated into one-upmanship among victims and bloodlust directed at Israeli organisations and anyone else suspected of being Jewish. The original intent, which was to heal the wounds of the past through a sort of collective therapy and arrive at new standards for human rights, twisted into an outburst of hatred which, in the wake of the September 11 attacks that followed only days later, disappeared from the public eye.
It's time we had another look. Against the wishes of the organisers, Durban became an arena where people screamed and hurled insults at each other in a re-enactment of the comedy of damned, in the face of the white exploiter. "The pain and anger are still felt. The dead, through their descendants, cry out for justice", Kofi Annan said on August 31 of the same year – an astounding choice of words for a UN secretary general and more a call for revenge than reconciliation. The delegates at the conference, particularly those from the Arab-Muslim states, also understood it as such and, together with the African group, they transformed the conference into a stage for anti-colonialist revenge. The West, which is genocidal by nature, should recognise its crimes, beg for forgiveness and pay symbolic and financial reparations to the victims of its oppression. Emotions ran high and anger was brought to the boil by coverage of the second antifada which was being violently quashed by the Israeli army.
Zionism was condemned outright as the contemporary form of Nazism and apartheid, but so was "white viciousness", which had caused "one Holocaust after the other in Africa" through human trafficking, slavery and colonialism. Israel should disappear, its politicians should be brought before an international tribunal similar to the one in Nuremberg. Anti-Semitic cartoons were circulated, copies of "Mein Kampf" and the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" were handed out. Beneath a photo of Hitler were the words that Israel would never have existed and the Palestinians would never have had to spill their blood if he had been victorious. A number of delegates were physically threatened, there were calls of "Death to Jews". This farce came to a head when the Sudanese Minister of Justice, Ali Mohamed Osman Yasin, demanded reparations for historical slavery, while in his own country, people were being shamelessly thrown into slavery as he spoke. It was like a cannibal suddenly calling for vegetarianism.
One might think that this sinister comedy would give the UN second thoughts about repeating its mistake. But there is no underestimating the extraordinary determination of dictators and fundamentalists, who have transformed the UN Human Rights Commission into a platform for their demands. A Durban II (The Durban Review Conference) is due to take place in Geneva 20 to 24 April 2009, and it promises to be a repeat of Durban 1 (more information here).
The reports and projects which have been mounting up over the past six years reports do not encourage optimism. On September 14, 2007, Doudou Diene, UN Special Rapporteur for racism, xenophobia and discrimination held a speech in front of the United Nations in Geneva (available on this site under the nummer A/HRC/6/6 as pdf). ) In it he repeatedly blames Western countries for using September 11 to encourage the most perfidious forms of Islamophobia. He defines this Islamophobia as a form of racism which has its roots in the first contact between Islam and Christianity, notably the Crusades and the Spanish Reconquista. He does make mention of anti-Semitism, anti-Christian sentiment and other forms of religious suppression, but his main focus is "anti-Muslim racism". Throughout Europe and the United States intellectuals and politicians of all stripes are guilty of a wide array of offences against the religion of the prophet.
These include the principle of laicism, as championed by the French, the "ban on religious symbols in public schools", the "threatened ban on the burqa in England's public buildings" and stigmatisation of the veil and the headscarf: all signs of a resurgence of intolerance. Diene regrets that laicism has lead "to a general suspicion of religious belief" and he believes that "dogmatic secularism" is being used to "manipulate the freedom of religion". So it comes as no surprise to him that the West, as a "pillar of slavery and colonialism", is leading the way in a "systematic denigration of Muslim intellectuals" (here he is thinking particularly of Tariq Ramadan) and the idea of a "clash of civilisations" à la Samuel Huntington.
By contrast, as he sees it, the persecution of Christian minorities in the Middle East, Africa and India is the unfortunate consequence of the missionary work of Evangelical groups from North America, who are letting their religious brothers suffer for their own bigotry. All criticism of dogma, every questioning of religious belief is, Diene says, a form of racist insult and should be punished. Jesus, Moses, Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius have become untouchable icons, who must be protected against criminal attacks. Should we reintroduce blasphemy as a criminal offence like the fundamentalists of the three monotheistic religions are suggesting – in a return to the Ancien Regime?
Unsurprisingly, Diene's report has the ardent support of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the majority of the Non-Aligned Movement where you can count the democracies on one hand. Because Doudou Diene makes it his policy to refrain from all criticism of authoritarian regimes in Asia, Africa and Latin America and reserves his munition for the States of Europe and North America, whom he accuses of fomenting pogroms against their minorities. It will also come as no surprise that in April 2007 Iran was nominated as vice president and Syria as rapporteur for the Disarmament Commission. This might be hilarious if it weren't so tragic!
In a nutshell: Anti-racism in the UN has become the ideology of totalitarian regimes who use it in their own interests. Dictatorships or notorious half-dictatorships (Libya, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Cuba etc.) co-opt democratic language and instrumentalise legal standards, to position themselves against democracies without ever putting turning the questions on themselves. A new Inquisition is establishing itself, which brandishes "defamation of religion" to quash any impulses of doubt, particularly in Islamic countries. And this at a time when millions of Muslims, particularly in Europe, want to distance themselves from bigotry and fundamentalism. In a reversal of values, anti-racism is being propagated by despots in the service of obscurantism and the suppression of women! It is being used to justify precisely the things which it was formulated to fight: suppression, prejudice, inequality.
In the hands of these powerful and organised lobbies, the UN is becoming an instrument of retrogression in the world, when it was created to promote justice, peace, and human dignity.
Europe must take a firm stand against this buffoonery: boycott it, plain and simple. Just as Canada has done. Perhaps we should also think about dissolving the Human Rights Commission or only letting truly democratic countries in. It is intolerable that in the year 2008 - like in the thirties - nations which recognise justice, the multi-party state and freedom of expression are being brought before the tribunal of history by the lobbies of fanatics and tyrants."

Pascal Bruckner, born in 1948, is one of the best known French "nouveaux philosophes". He studied philosophy at the Sorbonne under Roland Barthes. His works include The Temptation of Innocence - Living in the Age of Entitlement (Algora Publishing, 2000), The Tears of the White Man: Compassion As Contempt (The Free Press, 1986), The Divine Child: A Novel of Prenatal Rebellion (Little Brown & Co, 1994) , Evil Angels (Grove Press, 1987)

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Swedish teachers fail Holocaust test

"Swedish school teachers display glaring inadequacies in their knowledge of Holocaust history, according to a study carried out by the country's Living History Forum.
Seven out of ten teachers failed a Holocaust history test set by the agency.
The Living History Forum is a Swedish government agency which has been commissioned with the task of promoting issues relating to tolerance, democracy and human rights – with the Holocaust as its point of reference.
5,081 teachers took part in the Living History Forum's Holocaust questionnaire, but only two teachers answered all the questions correctly.
Only every 20th teacher was aware, for example, that between 81 and 100 percent of all European Jewish children alive during the Nazi regime were killed in the Holocaust."
Continue reading here (Source: The Local)
Photo: Hungarian Jews being led to gas chambers (Auschwitz extermination camp, Poland, May 1944)

Former Italian President: We Signed Pact With Terrorists

Here we have Aldo Moro, a highly respected European politician, secretly signing a "non-belligerence pact" with terrorist groups intent on the destruction of Israel, while cynically blaming Israel all along for the violence. Democratic countries' past engagement with terrorists helps explain present-day European attitudes towards Israel.

Source: Arutz Sheva

"In a letter appearing in the weekend edition of the respected Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, former Italian President Francesco Cossiga revealed that the government of Italy agreed to allow Arab terrorist groups freedom of movement in the country in exchange for immunity from attacks in Italy.

Cossiga wrote that the government of the late Prime Minister Aldo Moro reached a "secret non-belligerence pact between the Italian state and Palestinian resistance organizations, including terrorist groups," in the 1970s. According to the former president, it was Moro himself who designed the terms of the agreement with the foreign Arab terrorists. Ironically, Moro later met his death at the hands of homegrown Italian terrorists, the Red Brigades, in 1978.

"The terms of the agreement were that the Palestinian organizations could even maintain armed bases of operation in the country, and they had freedom of entry and exit without being subject to normal police controls, because they were 'handled' by the secret services," Cossiga explained.

As Interior Minister, Cossiga said that he learned PLO members in Italy had diplomatic immunity as representatives of the Arab League. When he became alarmed by the heavy weapons defenses installed around the homes of PLO members living in Rome, the guards were persuaded to switch to light arms.

Cossiga was later elected president of Italy from 1985-1992 and is today a senator-for-life in the Italian legislature.

In his letter, the former Italian president also linked the Arab terrorist groups of the 1970s with the Italian far-left. According to Cossiga, he received a telegram from the head of an anti-Israel terrorist group headquartered at the time in Beirut requesting the return of one of their surface-to-air missiles that had gone missing. The missile was intercepted by Italian police while being "driven on the streets by a well-known ideologue of the extra-parliamentary left!" Cossiga wrote.

In an article in Corriere della Sera the week before Cossiga's admission, a former leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) also claimed that his terror group and the Italian leadership had reached an accord protecting Italy from attack in exchange for Italian non-interference in PFLP activities in Italy. The former PFLP boss, Bassam Abu Sharif, later became a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and personal advisor to the late terrorist leader Yasser Arafat.

While there were several terrorist attacks on targets in Italy in the years following the alleged "protection" deal, most of them could be traced to Abu Nidal's terrorist organization. Abu Nidal rejected the authority of the PLO leadership and many of his attacks, including those in Rome, were assassinations of PLO figures and other Arab diplomats."

Italy's ex-president admits terror deal

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Alternative Jews' anti-Semitism in Germany

Alternative Jews, from the French "Alterjuifs", i.e. self-hating, self-important, media hungry, hyper-critical of Israel etc. Jews.

'Kosher anti-Semitism' in Germany, by Benjamin Weinthal, TJP
"The bell has rung for the first round of a legal fight between renowned German-Jewish columnist Henryk M. Broder and Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, a hardcore anti-Zionist critic of Israel who happens to be a German Jew herself.
At issue is whether Broder may write that statements made by Hecht-Galinski are anti-Semitic.
In an open letter to Monika Piel, director of Westdeutsche Rundfunk (Western German Broadcasting), Broder referred to Hecht-Galinski and wrote that "anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist statements are her specialty."

The Westdeutsche Rundfunk radio program Hallo Ü-Wagen had invited Hecht-Galinski to talk about Israel's 60th anniversary, and Broder questioned the soundness of Hecht-Galinski's credentials as an Israel expert who in the past has equated the Israeli government with Nazi Germany.

While Hecht-Galinski did not legally object to his characterization of her as anti-Zionist, she wants Broder to withdraw the anti-Semitic label. (…)

As reported in the Aachener Zeitung newspaper on Thursday, Hecht-Galinski's attorney, Gernot Lehr, favors a settlement to resolve the dispute.

However, Broder told The Jerusalem Post that he opposes a deal "allowing anti-Semites to decide what anti-Semitism is. It is as if pedophiles can decide what real love toward children is."
A settlement would "muzzle" his free-speech rights and set an unacceptable legal precedent for future criticism of Jews who voiced anti-Semitic remarks and demonized Israel, he said. (…)

Hecht-Galinski has applauded parallels drawn between Israeli policies and Nazism, and raged against a world-wide Israel lobby that seeks to prevent criticism of the Jewish state. (…)
After his legal victory last year in which a court of appeals in Frankfurt affirmed Der Spiegel magazine journalist Broder's claim that Jews are just as capable of voicing anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic statements as non-Jews, Broder said, "There are nurses who kill their patients, attorneys who commit insurance fraud. Why can't there not therefore be Jews who are anti-Semites?" (…)

Broder, who is considered a leading expert on anti-Semitism in Germany, testified before the Bundestag's Domestic Affairs Committee in June. The "modern anti-Semite does not believe in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. But instead he fantasizes about an 'Israel lobby' that is supposed to control American foreign policy," he told the legislators.

And in reference to the "memory culture" in Germany, which is consumed with the Holocaust and the period between 1933 and 1945, yet fails to see Iran's genocidal policy as a real threat to Jews, Broder said, "For the modern anti-Semite, it goes without saying that every year on January 27 he will commemorate the liberation of Auschwitz. But at the same time he militates for the right of Iran to have atomic weapons. Or he inverts the causal relationship and claims that it is Israel that is threatening Iran and not vice versa."

Broder cited lawmaker Norman Paech, the foreign policy spokesman of Germany's third largest party, The Left, as an example of contemporary anti-Semitism in Germany. Paech favors nuclear weapons for Iran and employs Nazi terminology when discussing Israel in the media.

"Devote your attention to the modern anti-Semitism that wears the disguise of anti-Zionism, and to its representatives. You will find some of the latter among your own ranks," Broder told the politicians from across the spectrum present at the Domestic Affairs Committee hearing."
Cover of "Les Alterjuifs", Controverses magazine, February 2004

Monday, 18 August 2008

Belgian newspaper journalist held by Hezbollah in Beirut

Imagine the uproar that such a blatant act of intimidation against a journalist would have caused had it happened in Israel.

French freelance journalist David Hury tells in an article in the Belgian daily Le Soir how he was detained and intimidated by Hezbollah supporters. Hury was taking photographs at the Beirut suburb of Dahiyeh, a Hezbollah stronghold, when he was stopped. He was questioned about his private life, professional activities and was forced to disclose his e-mail box password. His ordeal lasted six hours.

Both Reporters Without Borders and Le Soir issued statements about the incident.

As an aside, it is ironic that Hezbollah treated this badly a journalist on assignment for Le Soir whose coverage of Israel is notoriously hostile... but maybe not enough to Hezbollah's liking.

- Belgian newspaper Le Soir claims that Israel prefers Western immigrants
- Belgian newspaper Le Soir shows picture of bodies of Palestinian children

EU determined to develop a closer partnership with Israel, says Commissioner

Source: EJP

"The European Union is determined to develop a closer partnership with Israel. This process needs to be seen in the context of the broad range of our common interests," European Commissioner Jan Figel said on the occasion of the signing of a joint EU-Israel declaration to reinforce cooperation and dialogue in education and training.
"I strongly believe that enhancing cooperation and dialogue on education and training is instrumental for improving our mutual understanding and for strengthening our position with regard to the challenges facing us in an ever-globalising knowledge-based society and economy," Figel, who is in charge of education, training, culture and youth, said last month during an official visit to Israel.
"Our education and training systems are adapting to this new reality and we can learn a lot from each other," the Slovakian Commissioner added.

Figel signed the declaration with Israeli Education Minister Yuli Tamir.
The joint declaration will be an effective tool to contribute to the objectives of the 2005 Action Plan under the European Neighbourhood Policy, namely to gradually integrate Israel into European policies and programmes.
For this purpose, the Commission and the Israeli government want to launch an enhanced policy dialogue on greater compatibility of education systems and to increase educational mobility and exchanges through the EU's Erasmus Mundus and Tempus programmes.
The declaration marks the starting point for a sectoral policy–oriented dialogue between the EU and Israel.
The regular exchanges will cover jointly identified issues of common interest, such as the modernisation agenda for higher education, including the Bologna process, and vocational training aspects covered by the Copenhagen process, lifelong learning policies, school twinning, language learning, means of promoting the transferability and recognition of qualifications, as well as of non-formal and informal learning outcomes.
The EU Commission and Israel also expressed their intention to increase inter-university cooperation between European and Israeli universities for further mobility and exchange of academic staff and students, notably through the new generations of the Erasmus Mundus and Tempus programmes.
Israel now fully participates in both programmes and the Commissioner's visit was also marked by the opening of the first National Tempus Office in Jerusalem. (...)

Sunday, 17 August 2008

European NGO Amnesty International: relentless and disproportionate focus on Israeli “violations”

More allegations of a powerful European NGO (Amnesty International) anti-Israeli bias. Unfortunately, just routine: a hugely powerful and rich NGO devotes funds and resources to tar Israel's reputation.
Source: NGO Monitor

On August 12, 2008, Amnesty International released a statement headlined “Trapped – collective punishment in Gaza.” This is one of numerous misleading Amnesty statements focusing on this contentious and highly politicized issue, including a July 4 “briefing.” The deficiencies in this report include:

Evidence and Credibility: The evidence presented is entirely unverifiable and un-sourced. Numbers and percentages are included without the citation of independent verifiable references. The opening quote from an anonymous Gaza resident is meant to provide authenticity to the “facts” and figures that follow. The lack of credibility is further highlighted by the failure to include any mention of the daily transfer of truckloads of basic supplies from Israel, or of reports regarding the confiscation of basic goods by the Hamas leadership. In the allegations regarding students, the claims are distorted (see below) and lack sources, suggesting that they Amnesty simply copied them from reports by other NGOs, which also lack credibility.

Context of terrorism: The context of terrorism from Hamas-controlled Gaza is almost entirely erased. When this key dimension is mentioned in a single sentence, Amnesty immorally equates Palestinian terror attacks targeting Israeli civilians with justifiable Israeli responses aimed at ending these attacks (Amnesty’s casualty comparison fails to distinguish between Israeli civilian deaths and Palestinians involved in the attacks.) The demand that Israel “immediately lift the blockade” also entirely ignores Israel’s legitimate security concerns.

Exploitation of international humanitarian legal terms: As NGO Monitor has demonstrated, Amnesty and other NGOs grossly misrepresent international humanitarian law by labeling the Gaza blockade “collective punishment.”

Selective use of data: Amnesty refers to “students who have scholarships in universities abroad are likewise trapped in Gaza, denied the opportunity to build a future” as one of the consequences of Israel’s “collective punishment.” This is a very selective and distorted version that erases many of the facts, including the US government decision to deny visas to the students following security checks. Amnesty also refers to “the ceasefire holding…” without documenting continuing attacks, including on the day before the update, August 11, 2008, when Palestinians in Gaza fired rockets at Sderot.

Distinct focus on Israel: Egypt, which denies passage through its border crossing with Gaza, remains unmentioned in the update. Similarly, Amnesty’s stated reason for issuing an update, “Gaza has fallen off the international news agenda,” while war crimes are likely being committed in the Russia-Georgia conflict, indicates a relentless and disproportionate focus on Israeli “violations.”

Saturday, 16 August 2008

War on Want, another European NGO hostile to Israel

War on Want: Chasing Demons,
by Jeremy Newmark
"When War on Want director John Hilary talks about a recent investigation by the Charity Commission, he characterises it as "part of an ongoing strategy by an organised pro-Israel lobby and the Jewish press". Interviewed in Third Sector magazine, he accuses "ill-meaning journalists" of deliberately misrepresenting the investigation, and cites "abusive calls from Zionists".
The complaints against War on Want were well-grounded. The charity was one of the founders of the anti-Israel Enough Coalition, hosting the campaign’s website. It also endorsed and distributed a "Guide for Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions" of Israel. They distribute anti-Israel material at trade union and party conferences. It is reasonable to ask whether these anti-Israel campaigns advance War on Want’s charitable aims of relieving poverty and providing mental care for the poor."
Read the full article here

Via Harry's Place

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Pro-Israel views get NGO in Iraq defunded by Catholic charity

The Swiss section of Caritas has stopped funding Wadi, a successful German aid organisation operating in Irak, because it is too pro-Israel. Yet another example of double standards by a European NGO hostile to Israel. It is good to see that such prejudice is being exposed and denounced. Pajamas Media has the story.

See position paper on Palestinian refugees on Caritas website (in English). The Awareness Raising in Switzerland section is worth reading.

"(...) According to the account given by Caritas, the termination notice was provoked by a series of blog entries by Thomas von der Osten-Sacken, the managing director of Wadi and the driving force behind the organization. According to Caritas, Osten-Sacken is supposed to have advocated a military strike against Iran in the event that the Iranian regime could not otherwise be prevented from building a nuclear weapon. Osten-Sacken claims, on the contrary, that he precisely warned against a military intervention. What is true, however, is that the Wadi managing director has persistently condemned the rule of the mullahs in Iran and warned that the regime has long been engaged in a "war" against the West that cannot simply be ignored.
Osten-Sacken has also criticized the idea of a "right of return" for Palestinian refugees and opposed calls for a boycott of Israel. According to Norbert Kieliger, the head of the "international cooperation" division of Caritas Switzerland, Osten-Sacken thereby took positions that are incompatible with continued support from the aid agency. "We reject all forms of violence," he says. "Political partisanship puts our mission at risk."
The Swiss division of Caritas likes to present itself as an apolitical organization, which helps refugees, feeds children, and takes a principled stand in support of the needy and disadvantaged. In reality, Osten-Sacken charges in a written response to the termination letter, Caritas is anything but neutral. Vis-à-vis Palestinian groups that deny Israel’s right to exist and justify terrorist attacks, for example, Caritas displays none of the scruples that it has shown toward Wadi. (The exchange of letters is available in German here.)
Osten-Sacken points, in particular, to the involvement of Caritas in the "Forum on Human Rights in Israel and Palestine," a Swiss umbrella group that also includes Amnesty International, the Protestant aid agency HEKS, and several Swiss-based Palestinian organizations. Officially, the "Forum" pursues strictly humanitarian aims. In reality, however, the aims are eminently political. Thus, a core item on its agenda is the "right of return": namely, of Palestinians whose ancestors were expelled from their homes sixty years ago. In light of demographic developments in the meanwhile, what in theory may appear a just demand would in practice represent the end of Israel as a Jewish state.
The most important local partner of the Swiss "Forum" is the Palestinian organization Badil, which also receives financing from the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs. Watchdog groups sympathetic to Israel, like the NGO-Monitor, accuse Badil of harboring thinly-veiled extremist tendencies. On their account, Badil has defended suicide bombings and demanded a complete boycott of Israel - a boycott that is supposed to extend even to cultural exchanges. EU states have thus declined to work with Badil.
Up to now, Caritas has not taken any official position on calls for a boycott of Israel. But in light of the historical precedent represented by the "Don’t Buy from Jews" slogan, this silence is itself a kind of statement. Officially, Caritas - like most NGOs - condemns all forms of violence. But - as in the case of Colombia and the FARC - in practice the NGOs place a democratically-elected Israeli government on the same level as terrorist organizations. And when it is a mater of condemning concrete human rights violations, it is always the western-oriented governments that get pilloried. (...)".

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Haveil Havalim #177 - Tisha B'Av Edition by Simply Jews

This is a result of another mental meltdown. That or I am getting addicted to HH hosting as a form of... doesn't matter.

In place of introduction: no post with BO was accepted. With one exception. Please be civil about it.

So let's go!

Tisha B'Av

A reminder from Dzeni.

The text at the back of the image is a translation of the book of Lamentations. This book is traditionally read in shul on Tisha B'Av.

On this occasion, shouldn't we all be reminded again of the need for unity - the lack of which caused some of the events we think about during this day?

Poetry at the time of mourning.

So, will we ever learn the lessons of this day? I am not too sure.

Oy vey Israel.

We are definitely a nation blessed (oh well) by abundance of prophets. Here is more about prophets and losses.

Touring the past in our country is never a way to forget the present. And what would we be without our memories? She lives davka in Shiloh, she invites women there for prayer, and she is not Elkana. Well, maybe a virtual one. Er... why invite women only?

Our neighbors on the west side are busy teaching their children to hate, and our northern neighbors are going to ratify the next war. Quite a sad situation. More in this moving er... movie by colleague Elder.

On the trivial and gray mentality of a murderer.

Continued here.

Norm blog profile of
Snoopy The Goon

And where will they bury Mahmoud Darwish?

Mahmoud Darwich considered that America was guilty of "universal despotism".

Many Arabs never tire of criticizing and loathing America, but reflexively knock at her door when they face a problem. How ironic to think that Mahmoud Darwich, the celebrated and emblematic poet and intellectual, who was thought to represent the Palestinian resistance and conscience, chose precisely to go to Texas to have cardiac surgery and died there.

From My Right Word blog:

"Arab poet Mahmoud Darwish has died after surgery at the age of 67, hospital and Palestinian Arab officials say. He suffered complications after undergoing open-heart surgery in Houston Texas.

Here are some of his thoughts in June 1982:

Shortly after noon, the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish comes by the Commodore. He has written no poems about the war. "I write my silence," he says. "I need distance to be a witness, not a victim." Since words are powerless against tanks, he feels that his silence is stronger than words. Still, a poem has power. Is Palestine itself a poem? "Yes," he says. "Because a poem is an unachieved desire."

Yet, at the moment, he is "fed up with poetry and refugee camps and walls." He believes that "Beirut is our last stand. From here to the grave, or to the homeland." Then he relents a bit. "We have to save the idea before we save Beirut. Beirut is not the capital of our idea." Darwish is 40. He has been a refugee four times and has been thrown in jail. "If the Palestinians find a homeland, they may discover the same dilemma as the Jews. The Jews were great creators in the abstract. Now only their army is great. Israel is the grave of Jewish greatness."

Darwish had published a poem during the first Intifada, one which I read in an English-language Arab periodical named Al-Awdah (The Return). It's theme was:

"Leave our land and take your dead bones with you".

I guess he'll not want the same treatment for his bones, eh?"

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Anti-Semitic T-shirt on sale in Paris shop

The EJP reports:

"A sleeveless t-shirt with anti-Semitic inscriptions was found on sale in a northern Paris shop last weekend.

The inscriptions on the t-shirt read in German "Juden Eintritt in die parkanlagen verboten" (No Entry for Jews in the Park) and in Polish "Zydome wstep do parku wzbroniony," reproducing a ban to Jews in the Lodz ghetto in 1940.

It was found and bought for 18 euros last weekend in Belleville, in Paris's 19th district, by the French National Bureau of Vigilance against anti-Semitism (BNVCA), a group monitoring anti-Semitic incidents in France.

An AFP reporter found five of the grey, sleeveless woollen tops -- labelled with the brand "Introfancy IF" -- on sale early Tuesday, but when he returned shortly afterwards they had been withdrawn.

The sales assistant said they had just been bought by a single customer.

She added that she did not know the meaning of the inscriptions."

Monday, 11 August 2008

The 'halo effect' shields NGOs from media scrutiny

Article by Naftali Balanson, managing editor of NGO Monitor in The Jerusalem Post

"A familiar scenario: A non-governmental organization (NGO) issues a report on alleged Israeli human rights violations, and it's instantly and automatically newsworthy. The Israeli and foreign media uncritically, even eagerly, promote the NGO's politicized agenda, regardless of the NGO's credibility or the veracity of the allegations.

This "halo effect," whereby the claims of human rights groups are accepted without a modicum of scrutiny, often results in Israel's vilification on the international stage for violating "international humanitarian law" or demonized as an "apartheid state" to be shunned and boycotted. By publishing these stories, the media reinforces the halo effect and becomes partner to the damage done.

The typical article on Israeli "violations" has a number of common denominators. Beyond the ubiquitous headline championing a human rights NGO and condemning Israel, the NGO's "evidence" and sensational accusations are repeated, left unchallenged by the reporter. By dint of its presumed independence and stated lofty goals, the NGO is considered more truthful than the government. The media pits universal human rights against Israel, leaving it to respond on the defensive. This might make for "good" journalism, but does it tell the whole story?

In recent weeks, local, highly political rights groups - funded by the EU and by European governments - have received worldwide coverage for their attacks on Israel. Consider the publicity afforded to Physicians for Human Rights - Israel (PHR-I) when it accused the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) of denying Gazans life-saving health care in Israel unless the patients informed on family and friends. PHR-I's report was published in hundreds of major media outlets, and Israel was portrayed as cruel and inhumane, as opposed to genuinely concerned for the security of its citizens.
Yet, despite the importance of this story, did reporters question PHR-I's reliability? Rather, the halo effect shielded it from past mistakes. Three months ago, PHR-I reported that a cancer patient in Gaza died while awaiting a permit to receive treatment in Israel, only to admit days later that the "deceased" was still alive. The patient was attempting to evade a security check.
Even if we give PHR-I the benefit of the doubt, that it was unknowingly misled by the patient's family, surely similar self-serving "evidence" from Palestinians and provided by PHR-I should be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism. But it was not."
Read the full article here

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Belgian newspaper Le Soir claims that Israel prefers Western immigrants

Reporting on the latest airlift of 65 Ethiopian Jewish families, Belgian newspaper Le Soir (paper edition of August 7) claims that "there are still tens of thousands of black Jews in Ethiopia, but Israel is not in a hurry to welcome them". Where the paper got such high figures remains a mystery.

Serge Dumont, the author of the article, further claims that Israeli authorities have a preference for Western immigrants, i.e. white immigrants ("les responsables privilégient désormais les immigrants occidentaux"). The journalist does not bother to substantiate this claim either but the implications are clear.

To emphasize the "racist" character of Israeli society, the newspaper goes on to quote a female Ethiopian management student, identified as Imanut B., who is said to have arrived in Israel in 1989 (note the irony she is "a student" and not a "street sweeper"):

"We would be treated much better if we were white and rich. In any case, we wouldn't be accused of spreading AIDS and of being parasites just fit to sweep the streets."

And she adds :

"Maybe white Israelis view us as better than Palestinians, but for them we remain poor negroes who are trying to be civilized."

It is also stated that Ethiopian Jews have not integrated well because they are poorly educated and find it difficult to integrate into Israeli "americanized society". Whatever that means is for anyone to decide, but is in keeping with the whole tone of the article: negative.

In a recent article, Le Soir - whose reporting on Israel is invariably hostile - made light of Barack Obama's positive remarks about Israel putting them down to his need to "court" Jewish American voters.

To find out more about the Falash Mura still living in Egypt:
-Major phase of Ethiopian aliyah ends, but advocates want more
-Bringing Falash Mura impugns the real Ethiopian Jews
-'Last' Falash Mura arrive, group slams gov't for leaving behind thousands of Jews

Saturday, 9 August 2008

The irony of inviting Ahmadinejad to Turkey, Fresno Zionism blog

An little irony for the Turks, from Fresno Zionism blog

"Israel has officially protested against the planned visit of Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Turkey next week.

Israel’s ambassador to Turkey, Gabi Levy, presented the protest to officials in Ankara, and the Turkish ambassador to Israel was summoned to Jerusalem."

"Israel is disappointed that Turkey has invited for an official visit a leader who denies publicly the Holocaust, and thus grants him legitimacy," was the message given to the Turkish ambassador to relay to his government."

Will the Turks will see the irony in being asked to shun a Holocaust denier, when they themselves officially deny that their predecessors committed genocide against the Armenians?

Israel and American Jews have been caught between a rock and a hard place in regard to the Armenian Genocide. I’ve written a number of posts on the subject.

The Turkish government has its reasons for not admitting that the Young Turks, and later the Turkish Nationalists, murdered about a million and a half Armenians during and after World War I. The Israeli government also has its reasons for not wanting to irritate the Turks. Even the US administration seems to feel that Turkey is too strategically important to annoy by using the word ‘genocide’ to describe the events. But the truth is the truth. (...)
Survivors sometimes feel that denial is the final stage of extermination. First the physical forms of the victims were destroyed, and then their memories are erased. Most Jews are familiar with the rage that comes over them when confronted with Holocaust denial. But — at least in the West, if not in Iran or the Arab world — deniers are marginal. After all, the present government of Germany has officially accepted responsibility for the Holocaust.

One can imagine how Armenians feel — actually, you don’t need to imagine, they will tell you — when, almost 100 years after the fact, the Turkish government still insists — against the huge preponderance of historical evidence — that while something happened to the Armenians, it wasn’t genocide, the Turks were not responsible, and it might even have been the Armenians’ fault.

Turkey wants to join the EU. It would only be fair to ask them to follow the example of Germany."

Friday, 8 August 2008

Israel battles Spanish arrest warrants, by Ksenia Svetlova

Terrorists never let up and use any opportunity - in this case the legal system of a Western democracy - to advance their cause. What is happening in Spain confirms that Europe has become their favourite ground to wage opportunistic "legal combats". In this instance, the Spanish Government seems to be taking steps to avoid a Spanish re-play of the shambles caused in Belgium by the ludicrously unlimited law of universal jurisdiction. It is nonetheless worrying that they have been able to get this far.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

"Israel is battling hard to overturn a Spanish court's decision to issue arrest warrants against six current and former politicians and senior military officials, a source in the Attorney-General's Office told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

Late last month, Audiencia Nacional, the National Court of Spain (the highest Spanish judicial council), issued arrest warrants against the six - Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Doron Almog, Moshe Ya'alon, Dan Halutz, Giora Eiland and Mike Herzog - accepting a petition from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights that suggested they were guilty of war crimes in the Gaza Strip during the summer of 2002.

At that time, Ben-Eliezer was serving as a defense minister; Ya'alon was IDF chief of General Staff; Eiland headed the National Security Council; Halutz was commander of the IAF, Almog was OC Southern Command and Herzog was a senior Defense Ministry official.

The plaintiffs claimed that Ben-Eliezer personally oversaw the killing of Hamas commander Salah Shehadeh, a Palestinian terror chief who was responsible for killing of dozens of Israelis, in which 14 civilians also died. Israel subsequently apologized for the civilian deaths.

The Foreign Ministry has said only that the matter is being taken care of. However, the Post has learned from a source in the Attorney-General's Office that active negotiations between Madrid and Jerusalem are taking place to overturn the warrants.

This is not the first time that PCHR has filed suit against high-ranking Israeli military commanders, but if the court's decision is not reversed it will set a disturbing precedent in international law, said Ofer Zalzberg, co-chairman of YIFC (Young Israeli Forum for Cooperation), an organization that promotes relations between Israel and the European Union.

Zalzberg recalled a 2005 incident in which Almog, travelling to London to raise funds for handicapped children, stayed in his plane upon arrival in London rather than risk arrest. Shortly thereafter, a British warrant for his arrest was revoked. (...)

Almog told the Post that he believes the warrants issued against him, first by the British and now by Spanish courts, are not directed at him personally, but at Israel and its right to defend itself.

"Some elements with very clear motives and intentions use these lawsuits as a weapon against Israel. The combat between Israel and terrorists continues on different scenes, and the legal scene is just one of them," he said. "I don't think the decision of the Spanish court indicates a crisis in Israel-EU relations, but it seems that these elements exploit the law in these countries to act against the State of Israel.""

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Late film director Youssef Chahine declared that Israel is "built on terrorism"

Praise has been heaped by the media on Youssef Chahine, the Egyptian film director who died on July 27, aged 82. The Guardian gushed:

"Youssef Chahine was the leading voice of the Arab cinema for over half a century – and as prolific, versatile and accomplished as many a more famous western auteur – but his abiding worth, inside Egypt and out, has been in his outspoken expression of the conscience of his country. He took on imperialism and fundamentalism alike, celebrated the liberty of body and soul, and offered himself warts and all as an emblem of his nation. Egypt's modern history is etched in his life's work."

Youssef Chahine, "the conscience of his country", was no innovator in one respect: he shared the rabid anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiment of the Arab world and with his films and pronouncements he contributed to its entrenchment. Blaming America and Israel is the unfortunate way the Arab world has devised to rationalise its failures.

In his film on 9/11, Chahine showed a suicide attack in Israel, laying the blame on U.S. foreign policy. The father of the Palestinian terrorist says:

"Israel fools everyone. Bush lets them decide who the terrorists are, but imagine your house or the olive trees your ancestors planted being bulldozed."

So what do you do if your olive trees are bulldozed to prevent terrorist activity you engage in? Simple. If you are a Palestinian, you blow yourself up and in the process kill as many innocent people as possible. Your dad praises you and an acclaimed film director makes a film about you, thus explaining, if not justifying, a major terrorist attack that left 3,000 people dead.

Guysen News quotes Chahine's comments on 9/11:

"Bush had the cheeck to tell who is a terrorist. But who is he to speak? He helps Israel which is a country built on terrorism. The occupation of Palestine is violent and it necessarily triggers resistance."

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Media critic suing French news outlets, by Paul Lungen

Source: The Canadian Jewish News (via UPJF)
"After successfully defending a defamation case brought by one of France’s premier television networks, Philippe Karsenty is going on the offensive.
Karsenty, who runs an online media watchdog organization, has launched two suits against some of France's most prominent news outlets, alleging they have libelled him by comparing him to a "nut case."

The first suit names Canal+, a pay TV company owned by Vivendi SA, and alleges the network aired a documentary "depicting me as a manipulative liar. They said I was the same as those who say 9/11 was an inside job."

The second suit charges L’Express, a weekly magazine, with running an article that described him as a "obsessive nut case and manipulative," Karsenty said.

"We defended against the al-Dura lie. Now it’s time to go on the offensive and get the French media to pay the price for supporting an anti-Semitic lie," Karsenty said in a telephone interview from Paris.

Karsenty, a financial consultant who operates Media Ratings (, won a historic legal victory in May when a French court dismissed a charge of defamation against him. Karsenty had repeatedly asserted that France 2, which has been dubbed "a flagship and establishment channel," aired a news report in September 2000 that was a hoax and an anti-Semitic lie. The TV report claimed Israeli soldiers shot 12-year-old Mohammad al-Dura while he and his father crouched behind a concrete barrel at the Netzarim junction in Gaza. Karsenty questioned whether al-Dura was shot at all and said the false report had vilified Israel and led to attacks against Jews. Al-Dura, moreover, became an international symbol of Israeli ruthlessness and the boy’s poster was visible behind Daniel Pearl when the American Jewish journalist was murdered by al-Qaeda.

Karsenty was sued by Charles Enderlin, France 2’s Jerusalem correspondent, who broadcast the report based on footage and information supplied by a Palestinian stringer, Talal Abu Rahma. Karsenty lost at trial but was vindicated on appeal when a French court ruled his claims were a legitimate criticism of the network and its reporter. Most revealing was that footage shown in court showed Palestinians at Netzarim faking injuries. U.S. Prof. Richard Landes, who had monitored the case, dubbed the news manipulation, "Pallywood."

Karsenty said the French media have lined up behind Enderlin, who they want to protect as a fellow member of France’s intellectual establishment. A petition has been launched in Le Nouvel Observateur that supports Enderlin and paints him as some sort of victim, Karsenty said. The petition supports Enderlin’s integrity and states, "Seven years. For seven years a despicable campaign of hate has been trying to stain the professional honour of Charles Enderlin. For seven years, there have been those who have tried to present as 'fabricated' and as a 'staged scene' his report that shows how a 12-year-old boy was killed by shots fired from an Israeli position."

Karsenty said supporters of the petition are "personalities who are worried by the fact I was not found guilty. They say there is no right to defame and the justice system is allowing me to defame him. That’s not true. The judge found there was no defamation.""
The Daniel Pearl Standard - a responsible journalism

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

TV proof that the Iranian regime is antisemitic

"Until now the Iranian authorities have been careful to insist that they are not anti-Jewish, just anti-Zionist. Jews in Iran have all the rights other communities enjoy, and the government affords them security and protection.

This TV programme, however, crosses a red line into out-and-out anti-Jewish antisemitism and demonisation. Note the 'Jewish plan for the genocide of humanity', not the Zionist plan. It lashes out in all directions: even Hollywood is a vulgar Jewish conspiracy. Pseudo-experts, one of whom disparagingly refers to 'Jew-boys', trot out the usual theories based on the notorious Tsarist forgery Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This time, they suggest that the Jews, with their accolytes the Baha'is (seven have now been arrested as Israeli spies) and evangelical Christians, have a long-term plan to dominate Islam and conquer Iran.

You may laugh at the suggestion that peddlars of Harry Potter in dark alleys are spreading moral degeneration. You may comfort yourself that Iranian viewers are far too sophisticated to believe this rubbish. But that's what they said about Nazi propaganda in the 1930s."

Memri: 'The Secret of Armageddon' - An Iranian TV "Documentary" Claims That "a Jewish Plan for the Genocide of Humanity," Includes a Conspiracy for the Takeover of Iran by Local Jewish and Bahai Communities

Illustration: cover of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, contemporary Portuguese edition.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Drawing together - the first Israeli-Polish comic book

Article by Asi Gal in The Jerusalem Post:
If you didn't know, 2008-2009 is Israel-Poland year. One of the many events taking place in this framework is the launching of Polisra, the first Israeli-Polish comic book - to be featured at an exhibition at Holon's Israeli Cartoon Museum and at the Tel Aviv comic books festival. The Polish Mickiewicz Institute, which initiated the book, hopes it will be a channel in creating dialogue on topics considered taboo in the two nations' histories.
On the Polish end of things, the obvious taboo is that period that began in the late 30s - and the never fully resolved questions of complicity with the Nazis.
"Polish people feel a lot of hatred from Israelis visiting Poland," says Amitai Sandy, publisher, art director and editor of the comic book. Sandy, along with four other Israeli comics writers, including Ze'ev Engelmayer and Noa Abarbanel, worked with five Polish comics writers [Krzysztof Ostrowski, Michał "Śledziu" Śledziński, Joanna Karpowicz, Łukasz Mieszkowski and Jakub Szczęsny].
"When Israelis come to visit the camps, they always have security around them and are not allowed to talk with the Poles." The Poles, he says, "feel that all Israelis view them as anti-Semites."
For their part, he asserts, many Poles "view Israelis as militant extremists who have brought Russians to Israel to use as war machines against Arabs."
Sandy views Polisra as an opportunity to deal with history and the stereotypes connected to it. One story in the book, for instance, portrays a Polish woman who buys a picture of a Jew counting money for her new house. According to Polish tradition, such a picture brings prosperity to a new home. When no such prosperity arrives, the woman complains of the picture's failure to the salesman. The next frame depicts the salesman in his villa, surrounded by such pictures, exclaiming that, "It works for me!"
"Humor is a great method to examine our values. It takes a situation, flips it upside down, and gives the viewer a whole new perspective on it," Sandy says.
Regarding the potential offense viewers might experience from the application of humor to these most controversial of topics, he states: "There is always the fear that people will get hurt. However, after exhibiting my anti-Semitic caricatures" - Sandy participated in an Israeli anti-Semitic cartoon contest two years ago open to Jews only, in an intended ironic riposte to Iran's official international Holocaust cartoon competition - "I have learned that there are enough people out there who can take a joke.""