Israellycool » BDS Down Under Punditry in the Middle East Thu, 21 May 2015 06:49:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Robert Wistrich: 1945 -2015 Wed, 20 May 2015 14:16:10 +0000 According the Italian La Stampa, Robert Wistrich, who was due to address the Italian Senate on the rise of antisemitism in Europe, has died of a heart attack in Rome.

Robert Wistrich was in Jerusalem, Israel, on November 8, 2011, when The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, along with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, sponsored a conference entitled “Incitement to Terror and Violence-New Challenges, New Responses.” I still remember the talk.

Robert Wistrich

Wistrich, the head of the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, said at that time, the claim that Israel is the “stealing of indigenous people’s land by the colonial whites” is becoming respectable. The liberal center and moderate left in Britain find it “legitimate to be anti-Israel” using this narrative. His work on antisemitism was important.

As a lecturer Wistrich’s moderated voice prompted one audience member at a recent Jerusalem event to ask how his students managed to stay awake in class.

In April, Wistrich spoke about antisemitism on an Al-Jazzera program Head to Head, on Al-Jazzera.  You can listen to that show HERE, as he carefully selects each word and phrase. Warning: the anti-Israel bias that Wistrich faced is enough to elevate blood pressure.

May his memory be a blessing.

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Orim Takes On BDSHole Natalie Bennett Tue, 19 May 2015 21:06:26 +0000 It’s been a while since I posted a video (or anything on Israellycool mind you). But no better place to resume duties on the front line than with the ‘Queen of BDS’ Natalie Bennett of the Green Party. Watch how she dodges my question. I then proceed to disrupt the event just to make the evening uncomfortable for her and her minions.

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Roger Waters Takes Aim At Dionne Warwick Fri, 15 May 2015 08:04:23 +0000 Guess who is flapping his gums again, this time against singing great Dionne Warwick, who rejects BDS and is to perform in Israel in a few days?

roger waters spray painting wall israelSinger and U.N. global ambassador Dionne Warwick recently released an interesting if puzzling statement asserting that she would, and I quote, “never fall victim to the hard pressures of Roger Waters, from Pink Floyd, or other political people who have their views on politics in Israel.”

“Waters’ political views are of no concern,” I assume she means to her, the statement read. “Art,” she added, “has no boundaries.”

Until today, I have not publicly commented on Ms. Warwick’s Tel Aviv concert or reached out to her privately. But given her implicit invitation, I will comment now.

First, in my view, Dionne Warwick is a truly great singer. Secondly, I doubt not that she is deeply committed to her family and her fans.

But, ultimately, this whole conversation is not about her, her gig in Tel Aviv, or even her conception of boundaries and art, though I will touch on that conception later. This is about human rights and, more specifically, this is about the dystopia that can develop, as it has in Israel, when society lacks basic belief in equal human value, when it strays from the ability to feel empathy for our brothers and sisters of different faiths, nationalities, creeds or colors.

It strikes me as deeply disingenuous of Ms. Warwick to try to cast herself as a potential victim here. The victims are the occupied people of Palestine with no right to vote and the unequal Palestinian citizens of Israel, including Bedouin Israeli citizens of the village of al-Araqib, which has now been bulldozed 83 times by order of the Israeli government.

I believe you mean well, Ms. Warwick, but you are showing yourself to be profoundly ignorant of what has happened in Palestine since 1947, and I am sorry but you are wrong, art does know boundaries. In fact, it is an absolute responsibility of artists to stand up for human rights – social, political and religious – on behalf of all our brothers and sisters who are being oppressed, whoever and wherever they may be on the surface of this small planet.

Forgive me, Ms. Warwick, but I have done a little research, and know that you crossed the picket line to play Sun City at the height of the anti-apartheid movement. In those days, Little Steven, Bruce Springsteen and 50 or so other musicians protested against the vicious, racist oppression of the indigenous peoples of South Africa. Those artists allowed their art to cross boundaries, but for the purpose of political action. They released a record that struck a chord across the world. That record, “I Ain’t Gonna play Sun City,” showed the tremendous support of musicians all over the world for the anti-apartheid effort.

Alas, it is Waters who is – to quote his own words here – “showing [himself] to be profoundly ignorant of what has happened in Palestine since 1947.”

Either that, or he just refuses to acknowledge real facts.

Facts like:

  • The Jews’ indigenous right to a homeland in the land of Israel
  • Israeli being attacked by 5 Arab nations in 1948, following the palestinian Arabs’ rejection of the Partition Plan, in an attempt to destroy her and drive the Jews in to the Sea
  • Subsequent wars of annihilation initiated by the Arabs
  • The palestinian’s use of terrorism and refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state
  • Israel’s right to defend herself in the face of this terrorism and the real security considerations that give rise to policies that are discriminatory
  • Israel’s belief in in equal human value, as evidenced by the rights of minorities, Israelis working against racism and discrimination that exist in Israel like every other country in the world, as well as Israel’s disproportionate representation in overseas humanitarian endeavors
  • Human rights violations by the palestinians against Israel AND palestinians
  • Illegal Bedouin appropriation of lands and the rationale of court decisions behind the razing of places like Al-Araqeeb

I could go on and on as to the extent of Water’s ignorance but I think you get my drift.

In short: Waters is out of his depth and Dionne Warwick is quite simply delightful.

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The Real Doctors Without Borders Thu, 14 May 2015 18:26:29 +0000 There were two terror attacks today in Gush Etzion. In one, we knew one of the boys who was injured and his family for many years. It is always painful when someone is injured, or worse killed.

In the other attack, which has not been so widely reported and not far away, a bus with Muslim tourists was stoned by Arab stone throwers.

I saw a Facebook post by the wife of a young Israeli doctor (this photo was not taken today, just she wanted to put a face to her story).

This is not an unique situation. It happens way too often in Israel. Sometimes seriously injured terrorists are treated before the victims they were trying to kill.

Help share her story:

My husband is waiting in the operating room for two patients. The first is a terrorist who was injured while caught trying to kill others. The second is an innocent bystander who was almost killed in an act of terror.

Now show me another country that will bring its terrorists for treatment at a major public hospital that is collapsing under strain of the masses and lack of budgeting. Show me another country that will put terrorists and victims in the same recovery room.

Dr Lev operate on victim and terrorist

She is so correct, when writing, the real “Doctors without Borders”, is right here.

We know.

Now #letthewholeworldknow

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Must See Video: President Rivlin Rolls into Berlin Mon, 11 May 2015 18:15:57 +0000 Living in center of Jerusalem, Israel, we hear the Prime Minister’s motorcade at all hours of day and night. We saw Obama’s motorcade, and those of many Presidents and Super Celebs.

But none compare to this video of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Berlin. It is a must see.

Israeli flag on President limo Berlin

No, I did not try and count the motorcycles or the cars, but I did go back to get photo of the flag.

Just Wow! ht Avi Mayer

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Reader Post: Our Flawed Response To The “European Colonialism” Libel Sun, 10 May 2015 18:21:23 +0000 One of the most damaging stereotypes promulgated by the anti-Israel crowd is the “white European colonialism” myth. In other words, it is claimed that since the overwhelming majority of pre-1948 Jewish olim are of Ashkenazi descent (i.e. Israelite refugees who settled in Central/Eastern Europe during the Middle Ages), Israel’s rebirth is essentially a European settler colonial construct and therefore an “injustice” against the Arab population of Palestine, who are believed to be indigenous. And we all know how civilized, progressive people are supposed to treat settler colonial states: boycotts, isolation, and delegitimization. For this reason, it has become the centerpiece of contemporary antisemitic propaganda, and remains a popular slogan among those who want nothing more than to bring the Jewish state down.

But what’s even worse is our preferred method for responding to this libel. Instead of confronting it head on, we offer what amounts to little more than an evasion. What I’m referring to here is the “more than 50 percent of Israel is Sephardic and Mizrahi” counter-argument. It is ineffectual, lazy, and akin to applying bandages to axe wounds. By immediately moving the subject over to Sephardim (the majority of whom returned after Israel’s War of Independence), you are tacitly conceding to the anti-Zionists that Israel’s rebirth was, in fact, a European colonial project. And just how do you think people will respond if you tell them “Israel may have been established by thieving colonizers from Europe, but hey! Look at those Sephardim! They came from Arab countries, right? That means they’re legitimately Middle Eastern, so we can just ignore all of that earlier colonial business!”? Do you think that’s going to convince them of Israel’s legitimacy? I can almost guarantee that it won’t. At first glance, it may seem like an easy and convenient rebuttal, but it is deeply flawed and doesn’t disprove anything.

So the question remains, how *do* we respond to this accusation? The answer is a simple one. We do away with the profoundly ridiculous conception of Ashkenazi/European Jews as “white European converts” and remind our interlocutors of who they really are: Israelites. They’re not foreign immigrants from Europe, they’re returning natives. Anyone with an understanding of indigenous status will be able to see how they, along with most other Jewish groups, meet all of the criteria for inclusion.

Genetic studies are particularly useful here, but one should not overlook phenotypes (that is, physical/facial features) either. Ashkenazim are often categorized as “white Jews” in contrast to “Jews of color”, but anyone who has spent a significant amount of time around Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews would know that this is nonsense. It is almost impossible to distinguish the former from the latter, or from other Levantine groups (e.g. Lebanese, Syrians, Druze, etc). In fact, Jews living in Central/Eastern Europe were frequently characterized as ‘dark-skinned Asiatics’ by the indigenous European populations they lived with. Evidence of this can be found in the writings of European philosophers, scholars, and historians from before WWII. Immanuel Kant, for example, once famously remarked that Central European Jews were “the Palestinians who live among us”. Not even the philosemites of the time questioned their origins in the Fertile Crescent.

All of that being said, it’s easy to see why many people would rather just point to Sephardim/Mizrahim instead of deconstructing this myth directly. There are many who desire to give more of the spotlight to a Jewish population whose history and plight has largely been overlooked. This is perfectly understandable, but there are better ways to handle this topic. It is a worthy cause on its own merits, and as a Mizrahi Jew myself, I feel we deserve more than to be used as red herrings in a discussion that, frankly, has very little to do with us. Whether we like it or not, Ashkenazim are the main target of the colonialism myth, so they should be the main focus in deconstructing it. There’s really no other way.

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The Hate Israel BDS Crowd Still Can’t Find An Alternative To Israeli Wix Thu, 07 May 2015 09:43:07 +0000 The following “phishing” spam was sent to a system administrator at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. It’s an attempt to get the person to send his log in password details to malicious Israel haters.

email to hebrew universtity spam phishing including arabic

I’ll save you from clicking on the link; something you should never do in such suspicious emails unless you are a trained professional and taking suitable precautions. Here’s the site that comes up:

fishing email site on wix

What you see here is a fairly rudimentary attempt to collect a username, email and password: what’s known as “phishing”.

What’s funny is the fact that this is built within the Israeli website building platform called “Wix”. That’s the one that floated on the US stock market with huge valuation and it’s also the one that veteran Jew hater and extreme BDS proponent, Max Blumenthal, was caught using a few weeks ago. Oh dear.

h/t to an anonymous source (but I know who, so I’m streets ahead of the mainstream media who republish Breaking the Silence reports without verifying their claims).

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Reader Post: BDS Is An Anti-Indigenous, Pro-Colonial Movement Tue, 05 May 2015 17:06:52 +0000 River to sea BDSAs of yesterday, R&B and pop singer Lauryn Hill has canceled her upcoming performance in Israel, citing difficulties in booking a show in Ramallah around the same time. Although her statement (which one could reasonably argue is nothing more than a glib excuse) was not an explicit endorsement of the boycott, BDS champions are nevertheless hailing it as a victory. The fact that she played in Israel in 2007, and as a result, is fully aware that Israel is not even a fraction of the things her enemies portray it as, make this decision all the more bewildering. Whether or not she agrees with BDS’ goal, or even knows what the cause is actually about (more on that in a second), it makes no difference to anti-Zionists. Cancellation for any reason means they are one step closer to their goal of dismantling the Jewish state.

Founded in 2005 by Qatari-born activist Omar Barghouti, the BDS (aka Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement is the latest in a long line of attempts by the Arab world to economically, culturally, and diplomatically cripple Israel, in the hopes of finally bringing the Jewish state (along with every single Jew living within its borders) to its knees. More specifically, their aim is to pressure Israel into national suicide and purge it of its Jewish character, or at least weaken it to the point that they may invade and destroy it more successfully. All previous attempts at the latter scenario ended in humiliating defeat for the Arabs.

Naturally, the primary target of the BDS campaign is college students, particularly at Western universities. Their strategy is to drum up support among tomorrow’s politicians, businessmen, diplomats, artists, and other important decision makers with a simple and emotionally compelling narrative, simultaneously exploiting both the profound ignorance and latent, institutionalized antisemitism that is thoroughly baked into Western culture. And on that front, they’ve mostly succeeded. By directly linking the Palestinian predicament to just about every human rights catastrophe in history (no matter how erroneous and misleading these comparisons actually are), and with no shortage of historical revisionism and whitewashing, they’ve amassed a wealth of support from university students, liberals, and minority groups, even including many Jews.

You hear it all the time on campuses: Palestinians are the new Jews, the new Native Americans, the new South African blacks, the new African-Americans, etc, along with all manner of aspersions of villainy being cast on the Jewish state. This is consistent with the history of antisemitism, wherein Jews (and now the Jewish state) were defamed, isolated, and then slaughtered. The effects of this malicious campaign have been felt by Jewish students all across the Western hemisphere, as racist attacks on Jews have spiked tremendously over the past decade (especially this past summer, during Operation Protective Edge). As a result, Jews are feeling increasingly isolated on campus.

That is why it’s important to provide students with a different perspective, one that they might not have heard before. There is, of course, no guarantee that my article will change anyone’s mind, but it is nevertheless crucial that our young activists, particularly those with a genuine interest in social justice, have the complete picture. If you belong to this category, read with an open mind. There are many things the Palestinians have not told you.

First and foremost, as I have alluded to in my opening paragraph, BDS is neither about human rights or co-existence. The goal from the outset has always been to dissolve Israel and replace it with an Arab Palestinian state, thereby restoring the country to Arab colonial domination. Barghouti himself made this clear when he openly boasted of his desire to “euthanize” Israel, and that the outcome of BDS would not be a two state solution, but “a Palestine next to a Palestine.”

Other prominent BDS supporters, such as As’ad Abu Khalil, were even more candid, saying that “justice and freedom” for Palestinians is “incompatible with the existence of the State of Israel.” And what would happen to the Jews in such a state? Only time can answer that question, but given the obscenely high rates of antisemitism throughout the Arab world, it is safe to say that deportations and massacres (against Jews) are far more likely than anything resembling peaceful co-existence. This, however, is of no concern to the BDS movement or its sympathizers.

Second, although the dominant narrative in Israel/Palestine discourse is that Palestinian Arabs are the “true” indigenous occupants of the Holy Land, a cursory glance at the history of the region paints a very different picture. Palestinian Arabs, as their name directly implies, are a subgroup of the larger Arab nation whose origins lie in the Hejaz province of what is now Saudi Arabia. Their presence in the Levant largely dates back to the 7th century AD, when Arabian armies colonized a significant portion of the Middle East and nearly all of North Africa. And even though today’s Palestinians share a considerable amount of genetic material with diaspora Jews, indigenous status is lost when one fully adopts the mantle of the colonizer. Throughout their conquests, Arabs have oppressed, subsumed, and eliminated countless indigenous cultures while imposing their own via brute force. Israel was just one of the many regions that came under Arab colonial rule, and Jews (at least those who remained after the earlier Roman occupation) were just one of the many indigenous peoples they subjugated. The Dome of the Rock was deliberately built on the site of the fallen Temple, and was intended to be a symbol of humiliation to the Jews.

Nowadays, revisionists might tell you that Jews and Arabs lived together harmoniously before Zionism, but this is far from the case. Jews who lived under Arab rule were “tolerated” minorities, and nothing more. In other words, they could live and practice their religion peacefully only if they accepted complete social and legal inferiority to Arabs/Muslims. And this, more than anything else, is the key motivation behind Arab opposition to Israel. Zionism is a movement for equality and national freedom for Jews in their homeland, and is therefore a direct threat to Arab hegemony. Long before there was a military occupation, settlements, checkpoints, and a Nakba, Arabs all over Palestine (which was then ruled by Ottoman Turkey) were slaughtering Jews because they (Arabs) balked at the very idea of living together with them as equals. “Palestine is Arab land and the Jews are our dogs” was a frequent chant heard during pogroms, especially the Nebi Musa riots of 1920.

And this leads me to my third point: Jews are an indigenous people of the Middle East. In stark contrast to the BDS narrative which depicts Jews as foreign colonizers from Europe, the Jewish diaspora is an indigenous population of Southwestern Asia, with deep ancestral roots spanning more than 3000 years. Israel’s rebirth in 1948 marks the first time in history that a displaced indigenous people were able to retake their ancestral lands from a colonial power. The indigenous status of the Jews is easily verifiable through genetic, cultural, anthropological, archaeological, historical, and linguistic evidence. Furthermore, today’s anti-Zionists conveniently forget how Jews in Europe were perceived by indigenous Europeans prior to the 1960’s. European Jews, aka Ashkenazim, were hated precisely because they were non-white, non-European “Orientals” from the Middle East. Notable examples of this can be found in the writings of Kant, Hegel, Proudhon, Voltaire, and many others, including those who were (by all accounts) philosemitic.

My fourth point pertains to the allegation that Israel is built (or in this case, rebuilt) on “stolen land”. The Palestinian narrative usually goes something like this: “European fake-Jewish Khazars just showed up one day, slaughtered our people, and stole our homes”. In truth, this is a highly distorted and borderline chimerical depiction of the events leading up to and culminating in the war of 1948. The Zionist returnees had no army, no guns, no tanks, and no plan to systematically uproot the Arab residents. In fact, the mainstream of Zionist thought (including Theodor Herzl, Albert Einstein, David Ben-Gurion, Chaim Weizmann, etc) favored co-operation with the Arabs and a bi-national Jewish-Arab confederation. The Weizmann-Faisal agreement is one key example. Anti-Zionist revisionists, in their fervent zeal to demonize Israel, conveniently forget this.

Further, the population of Ottoman Palestine at the time was less than a million, in an area that now holds well over 10 million people. The Zionist Jews made a habit of purchasing unused land (mainly from absentee Arab landowners) and cultivating it themselves. And as statistics from the period clearly demonstrate, many of today’s Palestinians arrived during the British Mandate, usually as hired labor and refugees who sought to take advantage of the reinvigorated economy. Eventually, Palestinian Grand Mufti Hajj Amin al-Husseini, a notorious ally of the Nazis who petitioned for the Final Solution to be brought to the Middle East, began inciting riots and attacks on the Jewish population in Palestine (e.g. Nebi Musa riots, Jerusalem pogrom, Hebron massacre, etc). Despite that, the Jewish community in Palestine didn’t arm themselves until the 1940’s, following decades of massacres and pogroms aimed at ethnically cleansing the Jewish population. After the British (who initially supported the Zionist project before siding with the Arabs in 1939) left the region, the UN decided to partition Palestine into 2 states, one Jewish and one Arab, drawn along demographic lines in order to settle the dispute. The Jewish community accepted this plan, but the Arabs rejected it. Instead, they declared war on the nascent Jewish state in the hopes of ethnically cleansing the region of Jews, promising the Arabs who have fled (mostly out of fear) that they would be able to return and then loot and despoil their property. The plan was to crush Jewish independence and divide the land between Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.

The war of 1948 had tragic consequences, not only for the Arabs (some of whom were indeed expelled), but also for the Jewish population. Although a sizable Arab minority remains in Israel, virtually all of the Jews over the green line (that is, the West Bank) were expelled by the Jordanian army. Had the Arab armies won the war, the same fate would have befallen every Jew in the Middle East.

So before openly aligning themselves with the BDS movement, it is important for students, faculty, and people of conscience all over the globe to know what they are supporting. Divestment from Israel is an investment in colonialism, not human rights.

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Blumen Fail: Max Blumenthal’s Web Address Still Advertising Israeli Company Sun, 03 May 2015 19:01:00 +0000 Last month, I posted about Israel hater Max Blumenthal’s stunning hypocrisy: having his personal website created with Wix, an Israel-made product.

When this was pointed out to him, Blumenthal used a rather lame excuse.

Well, apparently it is hard to get it replaced. Because 3 weeks later, and still looks like this:

That’s a big advertisement for an Israeli company right there.

Looks like his “web designer” is snoozing on the job. Perhaps Max should chase him down to make the changes.

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Robbie Williams: Israel “F—n Amazing” (Updated With Video) Sat, 02 May 2015 19:43:23 +0000 No, I did not go to the concert tonight, but others have, and Robbie Williams has apparently not just wowed the crowd with his performance, but also his excitement for Israel.

And this:

Those are not the words of someone just being polite. Those are the words of someone who truly has loved being here.

Sounds like a big ol’ FU to Roger Waters if you ask me.

As does his copious use of the word “Israel” apparently.

Updated: Thanks to reader and friend Jonny, here is footage from the concert in which Robbie confirms he was looking forward to performing in Israel more than anywhere else.

Updated: Here he is repeatedly saying “Israel” before singing “She’s the One”

More concert video here:

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