Thursday, May 14, 2015

This obsession with Israel is anti-Semitism.

From Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address to the5th Global Forum for Combatting Anti-Semitism:

...Seventy years ago, with the end of World War II and the revelation of the horrors of the Holocaust, some believed that humanity would discard one of history's oldest hatreds – anti-Semitism.

And it's true that in the years immediately following World War II, blatant expressions of hatred for the Jews appeared to take a respite, at least in the liberal West.

Yet today there is no doubt that we are living in an age of resurgent anti-Semitism.

Jews everywhere are once again being slandered and vilified.

This is taking place in the intolerant parts of the Middle East but it's also taking place in what otherwise would be expected to be the tolerant parts of the West.
It's taking place in Beirut, in Damascus, in Tehran. But it's also taking place, violently so, in Toulouse, in Paris, in Brussels. Because along with vilification come the inevitable violent attacks.

And Jews are now being targeted for being Jews.

Now, Jews have the right to live freely and safely wherever they choose.

And governments everywhere are responsible for guaranteeing this right.

And I want to take this opportunity to praise all the governments that have been witnessing this resurgent anti-Semitism, their commitment to protect the rights of the Jews, the rights of individuals, the rights of their citizens. Their representatives are here, and I praise you for it.

But Jews also have the right to join us here in Israel, and if they make that choice, we will welcome them with open arms.

Now, contemporary anti-Semitism doesn't just slander, vilify and target the Jewish people.  It first and foremost today targets the Jewish state. That's the nexus, that's the core, that's the focus of anti-Semitism.

I want to give you an example of this from today, this morning. I went down to Ben-Gurion airport to welcome home the IDF's humanitarian mission to Nepal.

The UN filed a report. Actually, this is a good UN report about Israel. It said that of all the countries in the world, and Israel is one of the smallest countries in the world, Israel fielded the second largest rescue and relief team in Nepal.  Of all the nations in the earth.

Our people did a magnificent job. They saved lives. They took people out of the rubble. They treated 1,600 wounded people and sick people. They delivered life, several births.

Yet yesterday state television in both Iran and Venezuela accused our humanitarian team of trafficking in babies.

Now, did any of you see an Iranian rescue team in Nepal?

This is the quintessential example of the Big Lie technique.

The aggressor accuses his victim.

And this big lie of anti-Semitism is propagated most enthusiastically by those who trample on the human rights of their own people.

Iran will speak of human rights? I don’t want to talk about Venezuela. I'll leave that to you. I'm the Foreign Minister, for God's sake.

They lecture us on human rights, on the rule of law, on safeguarding human decency? They string people in cranes, innocent people in cranes in the squares of Tehran and Iran's other cities. They send their goons to Lebanon, to Syria, to Yemen, slaughtering people by the thousands. They slaughter Muslims, they target Muslims who do not share their violent creed.

Today, a lot of the extreme anti-Semitism that we see today is coming from old quarters, intolerant quarters, xenophobic ones in parts of Europe, in a peculiar marriage with the militants who seek to overtake the world of Islam, and they have integrated the most extreme anti-Semitism into this murderous theology.

I want to give you an example. First, recognize that their first and greatest number of victims are their fellow Muslims. But they also target us, and I give you the Hamas Charter.

It repeats the ancient libels against the Jews. It openly calls for the murder of Jews wherever they are and for the destruction of their state.

And the same can be said of Hezbollah and for the common patron of both Hezbollah and Hamas, which is of course Iran.

And of course they have competition. The militant Shi'ites have competition from the militant Sunnis of al-Qaida, of ISIS and al-Nusra who echo their murderous creed not only about Israel. You've seen the horrors they commit on their fellow Muslims.

Today's anti-Semitism, as I said, is not limited to the various sects of militant Islam, nor is it limited just to the xenophobic elements on the fringes of European society. Because today it often wears the mask of so-called progressive thinking in the West.

Some of those who consider themselves champions of tolerance are remarkably intolerant when it comes to Jews and the Jewish state.

The classic anti-Semite portrayed the Jews as the embodiment of all evil in the world.

Modern anti-Semites portray the Jewish state as the embodiment of all evil in the world.

When Hamas and Hezbollah rocketed our cities, thousands and thousands and thousands of rockets, fired directly at our cities – that's a war crime, hiding behind their civilians – that's a second war crime – when they committed these dual war crimes, tens of thousands demonstrated on the streets of European capitals, not against Hamas, not against Hezbollah, but against Israel.

Now, thousands are being killed in the brutal conflict in Yemen.

You see any demonstrations in London or Paris?

A quarter of a million people have been savagely butchered in Syria.

You hear any word of academic boycotts on the Assad regime?

And in Iran now under the Rouhani government, executions have gone up, innocent people are taken to death.

You hear any UN resolutions condemning these violations of basic human rights?

And the answer regrettably is no. The demonstrations, the boycotts, the resolutions are all reserved for the Middle East's one true democracy, in fact it's the most beleaguered democracy on earth – Israel.

This is a travesty.

You can try to explain it away in many ways and it's true that the internet has a multiplier effect, but you can have a multiplier effect on many, many lies, on many slanders, and yet this has a global multiplying effect, and there is something fundamentally wrong that this slander is reserved for the one country in the region where the death penalty is not even used against the most gruesome terrorist murderers, the one country that holds human rights sacrosanct, where equality is protected under the law – for women, for Christians, for minorities, for all.

You can ask yourself how is that possible, how could it be that the Jewish state is treated like that. There's got to be fire if there's smoke.

How do think the Jews were treated for generations? The things that peoples said about the Jews for generations were believed across so many lands. They believed that we poisoned the wells, that we drank the blood of Christian children, that we were spreading disease deliberately. By the way, these are all repeated as we speak.

You see, how could it be that they believed it? But they did. Not only did they believe it, you say, well, that's because of ignorance. Yeah, that's true. Except that some of the most educated people in history believed it – Voltaire, Dostoyevsky, and the list is a lot longer, by the way.

So education and knowledge may be a partial protector against this slander, but there's something deeper here because these are such patent falsehoods. It is the willingness to submit to slander, the willingness to believe this. This is what creates the ground, and it starts not from the bottom. It starts with the elites. And that's where it has to be challenged.

And today the treatment of Israel is no different from the treatment of our forbearers. The Jewish state is being treated among the nations the way the Jewish people were treated for generations.

And we're not perfect, by the way. We have a lot of things that we can improve.

We have a very boisterous and robust democracy. You should come to the Knesset. I invite all of you. What fun. But it is. It's alive. It's free. Everything is debated, everything is open, and there is a system of justice, a system of laws and true tolerance. With all the imperfections of any society, we've built here a tremendous society. Beleaguered? Yes, but with great success.

And our best allies actually these days are some of our Arab neighbors because they know we face a common threat.

So we see this country. How can it be that this country is slandered like no other country? Well, probably because old habits die hard.

But the sad truth is that some of them don’t die. The sad truth is that no rational examination can justify the obsession with the Jewish state, and this obsession with the Jewish state and the Jewish people has a name.

It's called anti-Semitism.

I know you understand all this.

I know that the people in this room have learned the painful lessons of 70 years ago.

I appreciate your commitment to fighting anti-Semitism because the battle starts from the top. Anti-Semitism, contrary to what people think, does not just bubble up from below. It percolates also from the top. And that's why it's so important that there are leaders here, across lands, across faiths, across professions, from the public and the private domain, who are gearing up to fight this old obsession.

You have learned from history, but regrettably, many around the world have yet to do so.

I want to assure you that we have.

We are no longer a stateless people searching for a safe haven.

We are no longer a powerless people begging others to protect us.

Today we have an independent and sovereign state.

Today we can protect ourselves and defend our freedoms, our lives.

What has changed in the history of the world for the Jewish people is not the hatred of the Jews, but with the founding of the Jewish state, the rediscovery by the Jews of the capacity to defend ourselves against slander and against attack.

Today we can speak up against our vilification – as I am doing right now and as you have been doing, and I know you will continue to do.

Because there is a simple fact – a lie that is left unchallenged and endlessly repeated assumes the cachet of self-evident truth.

Our biggest job – our biggest job – is to go and light a candle of truth.

When I came to the United Nations many years ago to serve as Israel's ambassador, I met a famous Jewish religious leader, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and he said to me: You know, you'll be going into a house where many, many lies will be leveled at Israel and at our people, and he said, 'Remember that in the darkest halls, if you light one candle, then people will see the light of truth for a very long distance. They'll see it from afar, and your job', he said to me, 'is to light a candle of truth in a dark hall.' Well, I'll tell you, we need a lot of candles, a lot of lighters of candles, and that's how I see you.

Because nowhere is this calumny that is leveled against our people more systematically propagated than in Iran.

The ayatollah regime is conducting as we speak a competition. The competition is an international competition. It parallels our conference, except it's the very reverse. It's a competition of Holocaust deniers from around the globe, who can better deny the Holocaust. And while they are denying the Holocaust, they're planning another genocide against our people.

They openly threaten to annihilate the State of Israel.

Just a few weeks ago, a few days before the Lausanne agreement was signed, an Iranian general said, "The destruction of Israel is non-negotiable." Openly.

And of course they seek to build nuclear weapons to implement this mad design.
And I have to tell you honestly that the Lausanne framework won't stop them.

Israel wants to see a peaceful solution, a better deal that will actually block Iran's path to the bomb.

But I want to be absolutely clear.

The Jewish state will defend itself by itself against any threat.

That's what we've learned from history.

That's what the Jewish state is all about.

But we've also learned something else.

I don’t know if we'll be able to eradicate the scourge of anti-Semitism. I know we have to fight it. We have learned that if you don’t fight it, if unstopped, these fires of anti-Semitism eventually spread and they consume everyone. That is I think the central lesson of the 20th century, in many ways the central lesson of modern times.

So for the sake of decency, for the sake of our common humanity, for the sake of our common future, we must all continue to stand up and fight anti-Semitism...

Boycott this....

From Yahoo News, 12 May 2105:

Human rights under Palestinian rule worsened

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — A leading Palestinian advocacy group says human rights for people living in the Palestinian territories are at their "worst" in years.

The annual report by the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights said hundreds of people were tortured by authorities in Gaza, ruled by the Islamic militant group Hamas, and in the West Bank, governed by the Western-backed Palestinian Authority.
It says several people died in Hamas detention and one died while incarcerated in the West Bank. It also says Hamas took 16 prisoners from their jail cells and killed them during the war with Israel last year.

Commission chief Ahmad Harb said other violations include bans on peaceful gatherings. He said rights violations "increased in volume" over the past four years.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Middle East Runs out of Water

From The Washington Times, May 8, 2015, by Daniel Pipes:

An Egyptian farmer shows the dryness of the land due to drought in a farm formerly irrigated by the river Nile. Photograph: Mohamed Abd El Ghany

A ranking Iranian political figure, Issa Kalantari, recently warned that past mistakes leave Iran with water supplies so insufficient that up to 70 percent, or 55 million out of 78 million Iranians, would be forced to abandon their native country for parts unknown.

Many facts buttress Kalantari's apocalyptic prediction: Once lauded in poetry, Lake Urmia, the Middle East's largest lake, has lost 95 percent of its water since 1996, going from 31 billion cubic meters to 1.5 billion. What the Seine is to Paris, the Zayanderud was to Isfahan – except the latter went bone-dry in 2010. Over two-thirds of Iran's cities and towns are "on the verge of a water crisis" that could result in drinking water shortages; already, thousands of villages depend on water tankers. Unprecedented dust storms disrupt economic activity and damage health.

Nor are Iranians alone in peril; many others in the arid Middle East may also be forced into unwanted, penurious, desperate exile. With a unique, magnificent exception, much of the Middle East is running out of water due to such maladies as population growth, short-sighted dictators, distorted economic incentives, and infrastructure-destroying warfare. 
With one unique, magnificent exception, much of the Middle East is running out of water.
Some specifics:

Egypt: Rising sea levels threaten not only to submerge the country's coastal cities (including Alexandria, population 4 million) but also to contaminate the Nile Delta aquifer, one of the world's largest groundwater reservoirs. The Ethiopian government finally woke to the hydraulic potential of the Blue Nile that originates in its country and is building massive dams that may severely reduce the flow of river water reaching Egypt (and Sudan).

Gaza: In what's called a "hydrological nightmare," seawater intrusion and the leakage of sewage has made 95 percent of the coastal aquifer unfit for human consumption.
Yemen: Oil remittances permit Yemenis to indulge more heavily than ever before in chewing qat, a leaf whose bushes absorb far more water than the food plants they replaced. Drinking water "is down to less than one quart per person per day" in many mountainous areas, reports water specialist Gerhard Lichtenthaeler. Specialist Ilan Wulfsohn writes that Sana'a "may become the first capital city in the world to run out of water."

Syria: The Syrian government wasted $15 billion on failed irrigation projects in 1988-2000. Between 2002 and 2008, nearly all the 420,000 illegal wells went dry, total water resources dropped by half, as did grain output, causing 250,000 farmers to abandon their land. By 2009, water problems had cost more than 800,000 jobs. By 2010, in the hinterland of Raqqa, now the Islamic State's capital, the New York Times reports, "Ancient irrigation systems have collapsed, underground water sources have run dry and hundreds of villages have been abandoned as farmlands turn to cracked desert and grazing animals die off."

Iraq: Experts foresee the Euphrates River's waters soon halved (refer to Revelations 16:22 for those implications). Already in 2011, the Mosul Dam, Iraq's largest, shut down entirely due to insufficient flow. Sea water from the Persian Gulf has pushed up the Shatt al-Arab; the resulting briny water has destroyed fisheries, livestock, and crops. In northern Iraq, water shortages have led to the abandonment of villages, some now buried in sand, and a 95 percent decrease in barley and wheat farming. Date palms have diminished from 33 million to 9 million. Saddam Hussein drained the marshes of southern Iraq, at once destroying a wildlife ecology and depriving the Marsh Arabs of their livelihood.

Persian Gulf: Vast desalination efforts, ironically, have increased the salinity level of gulf sea waterfrom 32,000 to 47,000 parts per million, threatening fauna and marine life.
Nearby Pakistan may be "a water-starved country" by 2022.
Thanks to conservation, innovative agricultural techniques, and high-tech desalination, Israel is awash in H2O.
Israel provides the sole exception to this regional tale of woe. It too, as recently as the 1990s, suffered water shortages; but now, thanks to a combination of conservation, recycling, innovative agricultural techniques, and high-tech desalination, the country is awash in H2

(Israel's Water Authority: "We have all the water we need"). 

I find particularly striking that Israel can desalinate about 17 liters of water for one U.S. penny; and that it recycles about five times more water than does second-ranked Spain.

In other words, the looming drought-driven upheaval of populations – probably the very worst of the region's many profound problems – can be solved, with brainpower and political maturity. 

Desperate neighbors might think about ending their futile state of war with the world's hydraulic superpower and instead learn from it.

Foreign meddlers and the NIF are fuelling the anti-Israel campaign

From Arutz Sheva, 10 May 2015 by David Gross:

Breaking the silence on Breaking the Silence.

... NGOs of all descriptions have gravitated away from advocating for a cause to professing entirely partisan policy positions. This questionable practice is further muddied when one finds out the agendas being professed are not even homegrown, but are being imposed by private unaccountable groups and individuals.

One doesn’t have to wade very far into Breaking the Silence’s 170-page booklet detailing the IDF’s so-called misconduct before one’s attention is drawn to the fact that two foreign governments,

  • Norway and 
  • Holland
openly funded the report. A further Google search reveals that

  • Trocaire is the overseas aid arm of the Irish Catholic Church, which in turn received 30% of its operating budget from the Irish Government. 
If one spends the time, one very quickly finds that

  • the European Commission, the governments of 
  • Belgium, 
  • the UK, 
  • Switzerland, 
  • Sweden and 
  • Denmark 
all feature as major supporters of various aid agencies such as Christian Aid who funded the publication.

This is not surprising. At least in the latter case, governments have always given funding to aid agencies. Between Nepal, Syria and the Ebola crisis in West Africa, it is eminently reasonable and indeed praiseworthy that richer countries go out of their way to provide succour to those in need. It is also beyond question that the day-to-day situation is Gaza is desperate, and that in an ideal world reconstruction would have commenced straight away. Yet we do not live in such a utopia, and our country’s ability to act is constrained by factors outside of our control.

Foreign aid has always served a government’s purpose to project influence where traditional methods such as trade were less than successful. Indeed, Israel has supported thousands of ongoing concerns in different parts of Africa since the 1970s when Golda Meir was Prime Minister and continues to do so today. But this is not foreign aid.

Im Tirtzu was not surprised to see that the New Israel Fund featured in the list of donors. Our work documenting their activities is well-known, specifically their consistent funding of Breaking the Silence.

What was more interesting was that the Moriah Fund also funded the project. I mention this because they have also received money from the New Israel Fund, as well as sharing common directors from their respective boards. This cross-pollination is not the exception to the rule. To take but one example, the Foundation for Middle East Peace boasts a director who previously worked at B’Tselem and Jewish Voice for Peace.

Most worrying is the enigmatic Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat. Based in Ramallah and Gaza, with an operating budget funded by four of the aforementioned countries (Holland, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland), it probably sets a record for an organisation that published its first newsletter last November.

All of this is troubling: unelected, unaccountable individuals and organisations financing an effort to besmirch the reputation and degrade the morale of the IDF is only worthy of our disdain and opprobrium. 

Had this publication displayed a modicum of intellectual honesty, such as mentioning the word ‘Hamas’ in any of its 170 pages, one might have been able to stomach it. And the fact that the report was presented in a way calculated to damage the IDF (it made it into all the internationalpress), leads inescapably to the conclusion that the agenda was to advance other, more sinister interests.

In this particular instance one hopes that these individuals understand that they were short-changed. A meaningful reading of these testimonies confirmed what man has known since time immemorial – war is confusing, bewildering and certainly not pretty. Our armed forces responded to the very real challenges that complex urban warfare presents nowadays. One hopes that the backers of this report ask for their money back.  

MK calls for former diplomat to be indicted for treason

From Arutz Sheva, 28 April 2015, by Shlomo Pitrikovsky, Gil Ronen

Yinon Magal
Yinon Magal                 Flash 90 / Moshe Shai

MK Yinon Magal (Jewish Home) has asked Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to file charges against the former Director of the Foreign Ministry, Alon Liel, on allegations of treason for lobbying European parliaments to support PA state in Jerusalem.

Alon Liel: Foreign Ministry's director-general, November 2000 until April 2001

According to Magal, Liel has been working to get European parliaments to recognize a Palestinian state on 1967 borders, and in some cases has explicitly stated that such a state should have eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

In a letter to Weinstein, Magal noted that section 97b of the penal code, under the heading “Treason,” refers to “a person who, with the purpose of causing any territory to be removed from the sovereignty of the state or to enter the sovereignty of a foreign state, took action to bring this about” and defines the maximal penalties for this as death or life in prison.

Magal notes that he does not think Liel's alleged actions merit the most severe punishment, but says that the very fact that the law set the punishment at such a high level means that it cannot be ignored.

..Liel holds radical viewpoints which the majority of Israelis, even those on the Left, oppose, from calling high school trips to the Golan “a provocation" in 2007, to saying that Jonathan Pollard is not a hero, but a man who betrayed his country.

Liel's wife, Rachel Liel, is the President of the New Israel Fund.

New Justice Minister will target anti-Israel NGOs

Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s new Justice Minister has said that 

“To boycott Israel because of its policies and because Israel wants to defend itself is not only anti-Zionist... it's 21st century anti-Semitism."  and that boycotting Israel "should be illegal."Shaked criticized those who “call for an academic and economic boycott of Israel and by presenting petitions against Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers and heads of the security forces. These organizations enjoy a great deal of power and invest millions of euros in their incitement activity — a sort of a “new anti-Semitism.”
“…foreign states damage Israel’s sovereignty with a heavy hand by funding anti-Israeli — not to mention anti-Semitic — organizations, while Israel stands by unable to respond.”  

She has proposed a bill – similar to America’s Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) – which will require foreign countries funding projects in Israel to pay taxes and obey disclosure laws. 

“These NGOs cause Israel significant international damage, in general, and to Israeli soldiers, in particular, by helping draft petitions presented to various European courts. One such example is the significant contribution of the Adalah organization to the Goldstone Report — Israel is still dealing with the fallout from that document. Another example is the expert opinion provided by the organization in a petition presented to a Spanish court against senior Israeli defense officials. The proposed bill seeks to curb the ability of foreign entities to influence activities of this kind.” 

J Street has taken upon itself the role of Israel's loudest critic. Among its actions are the leading of a media campaign against the placing of sanctions on Iran by the US Congress; denunciation of the Cast Lead operation and its definition as 'an illegitimate and even criminal operation'; defining the takeover of the Marmara as 'brutal and cruel'; support for the US administration's demand to freeze construction in Jerusalem; pressure on the US administration not to veto the proposal by the Palestinian Authority to denounce Israel for construction in Judea and Samaria and more."

Many of the NGOs Shaked has named are funded by the New Israel Fund, which should be prevented from harming Israel with impunity.