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The Day In Israel: Thurs Aug 20th, 2009

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Blame it on the boogie: Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu blasted Vice Premier Moshe “”Boogie” Ya’alon for saying during a meeting with Likud’s Jewish Leadership division that he was “not afraid of the Americans” and that anti-settlement groups like Peace Now were “viruses” to Israel.

“I, for one, am not afraid of the Americans,” Ya’alon said in the speech, which was reported by Channel 2’s Amit Segal. “I believe that Jews have the right to live anywhere in the land of Israel forever.”


“We again are dealing with the issue of the virus, Peace Now – the elitists, if you may – who have incurred great damage. From my perspective, Jews can and need to live in all of the Land of Israel for all eternity.”

The comments came to light after video footage taken by a cellular phone was leaked to Channel 2.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

11:00PM: Interesting findings according to a poll conducted jointly by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Police and Survey Research and the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In particular:

  • 12% of Israelis and 64% of Palestinians think that Obama’s policy is more supportive of Israel; 40% and 7% respectively think it is more supportive of the Palestinians, and 38% and 23% respectively think it is supportive of both sides equally.
  • 49% of Israelis and 61% of palestinians want now the US to play a more active role in the conflict, 34% of Israelis and 29% among palestinians do not want the US to intervene, and 14% and 6% respectively want the US to continue to play its current role in the peace process.
  • 61% of palestinians think that Israel would benefit more if the US intervened strongly in the peace process. Among Israelis, 35% say that both sides would benefit
  • 36% of Israelis think that the US will decrease its military economic and political support of Israel if Israel continues to be reluctant about US policy in the region
  • In light of the resolutions taken by the Fatah Congress, 59% of Israelis do not believe Israel has a partner for peace negotiations; 27% think it has a partner.
  • 54% of the Israelis oppose and 40% support the Saudi initiative, while among palestinians, 64% support the plan and 34% oppose it
  • Among palestinians 24% support and 76% oppose the establishment of a demilitarized palestinian state; Among Israelis 56% support and 40% oppose it

8:22PM: Damn apartheid!

A Sudanese refugee on Wednesday underwent a cardiac catheterization in Holon’s Wolfson Medical Center.

Jamal Mohamed, 18, was recently diagnosed with a life-threatening heart defect in Soroka Medical Center and required the insertion of a device with an umbrella-like mechanism in his heart.

The operation was financed by Save a Child’s Heart, an Israeli-based project that has financed treatments for 2,100 children from 35 countries in the past 13 years.

Most of the children were from the Palestinian Authority and Iraq. Mohamed, who fled Darfur is the first Sudanese refugee to be helped by SACH.

8:15PM: A program partially funded by the Carter Center’s Peace Program, founded by Jimmy Carter, sends the descendants of so-called “palestinian refugees” to..well, I’m not sure exactly, but it’s sure not to promote peace.

Fourteen-year-old Jum’a Ismail lives 50 km from the Mediterranean but had never seen the sea. The Palestinian youth had never set eyes on an Israeli civilian or an airport.

Juma’a’s horizons expanded this summer, when he left Jalazoun refugee camp in the West Bank with “Birthright Replugged” on a trip taking Palestinian children to Israel to visit the villages of their ancestors.

“It’s an attempt to get out, while they still can,” said the program’s creator, Dunya Alwan.

Once Palestinian children turn 15, they must carry Israeli-issued West Bank identity cards and are no longer able to travel through Israeli checkpoints without special permits.

“Birthright Replugged” is partially funded by the Carter Center’s Peace Program, founded by former U.S. president Jimmy Carter. It takes groups of 20 Palestinian children into Israel twice yearly.

Alwan, an Iraqi-American from a Jewish-Muslim family, calls her work a counterweight to “Birthright”, the program offering Jewish youth from around the world an all-expenses-paid, two-week trip to Israel to foster ties to the Jewish state.


Alwan’s tour does not alter sentiments; the students all support a Palestinian “right of return” to homes and land lost during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948 – a demand Israel says would destroy the Jewish character of the state.

7:52PM: Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has instructed the security establishment’s legal advisor to look into the possibility of submitting a libel suit against Donald Boström for his report accusing the IDF of murdering palestinians in order to harvest their organs.

Barak also sent a message to the Swedish foreign minister, saying that he expects the Swedish government to dismiss “the false and outrageous report accusing IDF soldiers of taking Palestinians’ organs.”

However, the Swedes are not playing (meat) ball.

5:36PM: CNN’s Paula Hancocks looks at the likelihood of an Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran.

Of particular interest: world’s worst toupee at 1:53 onwards.

2:10PM: Here’s a great take-down of the anti-security fence initiative involving former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters and other nincompoops (which I mentioned in yesterday’s post).

So what happens when you put together an ageing British rock star, a Finnish director, and a spokesman for the United Nations to launch a short film about Israel’s security barrier, sorry, “Apartheid Wall”? Let’s begin with the money quote. As Pink Floyd front man Roger Waters had it this week (using the catch line from one of his most famous songs) in a story quoted all across Europe by French news agency Agence France Presse (AFP):

‘”It fills me with horror, the thought of living in a giant prison,” Waters says as he spray-paints “We don’t need no thought control” on the wall.’

Oh dear, oh dear. One of the problems with political fanaticism, of course, is that the people who participate in it quickly lose all sense of what they are saying and doing. But this — ‘We don’t need no thought control’? — is preposterous even by anti-Israeli standards. Time then for a bit of loopy logic from the United Nations just to guarantee this particular piece’s entry into the idiotic-story-of-the-year competition.

For full effect, I have left the narrative and the quotations from the AFP story intact:

‘Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said he hoped the virtual disappearance of [suicide bombing] attacks in recent years would encourage Israel to rethink the barrier.

“The number of suicide bombings has dropped from about 38 a year to one in the last two years,” he said ahead of the premiere. “This might be an opportunity to reflect if the reasons still prevail for continued construction at the expense of tens of thousands of Palestinians.”‘

Hmmm. So let’s get this right. The security barrier has been highly successful in preventing suicide bombings. Since its success is now proven, this obviously means that it should be removed.

Make of that what you will.

The film, entitled ‘Walled Horizons’ and narrated by Waters, takes its cue from the fifth anniversary of the notorious ruling by the International Court of Justice in 2004 which said, in a purely advisory capacity, that the route of the security barrier was illegal and that it should be torn down.

Yohan Eriksson, the Finnish director of the film, was quoted by AFP as saying of his production:

“It is first and foremost a reminder that the world’s highest court has essentially said you cannot build a fence on your neighbour’s yard.”

Actually, in a world of sanity and decency it would “first and foremost” be a reminder of the brutal realities of Palestinian political culture which necessitated the barrier’s construction in the first place.

But as AFP reminds us: ‘The Palestinians view it as an “Apartheid Wall”‘. With which casual and seemingly innocent reference the notion of Israel as the modern day equivalent of Apartheid South Africa is once again pumped into Europe’s collective mind. And so it goes.

2:04PM: If you thought the reaction to criticism of the Aftonbladet article by the paper’s editor was bad (see 6:04AM update), here is the reaction of the paper’s cultural editor Åsa Linderborg .

“It surprises me really. The questions that it raises are nothing new. The Knesset has on several occasions discussed the issue of widespread organ trading in Israel.”

She added that she did not in any way regret publishing the article.

“No. Why should I?”

“Furthermore I am indignant that they (Israel) would get involved in what is published in the Swedish media. I think it is embarrassing for them that they would question our right to publish.”

“And for Sweden’s ambassador in Israel to get involved, is just plain scandalous.”

“I think one can also question whether Israel has the right to shoot so many Palestinian men,” said Linderborg.

I think it’s not hard to see why they published the story.

9:08AM: Israeli entertainer Dudu Topaz, jailed a few months ago on charges of plotting attacks on senior media officials, has died after hanging himself with the cord of an electric kettle in the shower stall next to his prison cell.

This was Topaz’s second suicide attempt since detained. Days after his arrest, he injected himself with insulin.

Meanwhile, in perhaps a Freudian slip, the Jerusalem Post has posted Topaz’s picture with the wrong caption.

dudu topaz caption

I am guessing there are many who would like Moshe Ya’alon to hang himself.

6:13AM: Waltz with Bashir:

abbas bashir - Reuters

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) is welcomed by his Sudanese counterpart Omar Hassan al-Bashir on arrival at the airport in Sudan’s capital Khartoum, August 19, 2009. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallh (SUDAN POLITICS SOCIETY)

Yeah, that’s the “moderate” PA leader Mahmoud Abbas meeting with Omar Hassan al-Bashir, a man with a standing arrest warrant for crimes against humanity for his role in Darfur.

According to Ma’an, the meeting was intended to include “discussions around ways of strengthening bilateral relations and developments in the Middle East.”

I am assuming Abbas would also like some tips from his friend.

6:04AM: Who said the following, regarding the publication by Sweden’s largest daily newspaper Aftonbladet, of a story on transplant organ theft by IDF soldiers?

“It’s deeply unpleasant and sad to see such a strong propaganda machine using centuries-old anti-Semitic images in an apparent attempt to get an obviously topical issue off the table.”

If you thought these words were uttered by someone disgusted with the paper’s publication of such an anti-Semitic story, you are incorrect. These words were said by Aftonbladet’s editor Jan Helin, in response to Israel’s Foreign Ministry blasting the article as anti-Semitic “hate porn” which has “clear elements of medieval blood libels against Jews.”

A clear case of “turnspeak,” the cognitive technique of propaganda favored by the Arabs in which you attack someone and then turn it around 180 degrees and claim they attacked you.

Notice also how the editor is referring to Israel’s Foreign Ministry as a “strong propaganda machine.” Given his views, it is no surprise the paper would choose to publish such a piece.

Meanwhile, I am wondering whether the Foreign Ministry’s characterization of the article as “hate porn” was a deliberate dig at Sweden’s reputation as being sexually liberal.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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