Monday, September 6, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Israel continues to be the demon poster-child of the Left. The prime example of a repressive regime and abuser of human rights. On the Left, people became outraged and agitated over Israel more than over any other cause. Israel's supposed villainy will bring out protestors on cold, rainy days in a way no other issue can. Many of these people are earnest, but perhaps misled.
In most ways, my own politics tend to be Liberal-Left: I support single-payer, universal healthcare, I opposed the war in Iraq and the Bush-Cheney "imperial presidency," I even voted twice for Ralph Nader. However, like French philosopher Bernard Henri-Lévy, I differ on Israel and reject the demonization of Israel, whether at the United Nations, in the world media, or among American and European Leftists.
If my fellow Leftists or even Liberals think that the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement will help bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as peace to the Middle East and harmony to the community of nations, they are sadly mistaken. There is a difference between criticism and demonization, and the campaign against Israel is of the latter type. Criticism, and there is much of it within Israel's own healthy democracy, can result in positive change. But the focused attempt to demonize Israel, not undertaken against any other nation, is aimed at delegitimizing Israel and undermining its very existence, as if the problems of the world were the fault of the Israelis -- the fault of the Jews -- and if they would only go away, all would be better.
Not only is this a sorry illusion, but this concerted assault on Israel itself betrays the principles of the Left.
Here, then, are 8 reasons Leftists should be Pro-Israel (or, at least, Pro-Peace rather than Anti-Israel):
1. Human Rights. The Left fights for human rights in the world. Even if one thinks Israel or its soldiers guilty of human rights violations (and I am not willing at the outset to grant this point), there is no international or historical comparison that could reasonably rank Israel among the worst criminals of the world or of history. Whether we look at the scale of the conflict, the numbers of lives lost, or the treatment of the press or of dissidents, there are far too many examples of bloodshed and persecution dwarfing anything done by Israel against the Palestinians over the last four decades since the Six Day War, when Israel was attacked by its neighbors. Even Arab treatment of Palestinians, such as in Jordan's Black September massacre, caused thousands of deaths, possibly more in 10 days than in four decades of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And how can we compare Israel to Mugabe's Zimbabwe, or the Chinese crackdown on Tibet and Tianneman? Or the disappearances and death squads of Latin America Square or the killing fields of Pol Pot? Let alone the genocide pursued by Hitler or Stalin's murderous reign? Let us be clear: genocide is the attempt to exterminate an entire people and culture; this is not what has happened to the Palestinians, and it is not the goal of Israeli policy. By contrast, the explicit aim of Hamas is to eliminate Israel. So, if we support human rights and oppose persecution, ought we not first to focus our efforts on the places where we find the worst situations? Can anyone rationally claim that among these places, let alone the most horrendous of all, is a small nation on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea?
2. Internationalism. Leftists tend to support internationalism. One would think that the United Nations would be the world body most dedicated to furthering this aim. But how is it that Israel, this small nation, has become such a central concern? From 2003-2010, there have been more than 900 human rights actions against Israel at the U.N.; the next closest is Sudan at just under 400. Israel is the only member of the U.N. to be excluded from any of the five regional groups. And should not all on the Left oppose the absurdity of the so-called Human Rights Council, whose members include such paragons of humanitarianism as China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Kyrgyzstan? How can Leftists stand silent when the Turkish Prime Minister denounces Israel for human rights crimes while then promising that the Kurds will "drown in their own blood," in a conflict with human rights abuses on both sides and tens of thousands individuals killed? If Gaza is not the ideal place to live, if the Gazans are suffering, nevertheless the photos in the New York Times and elsewhere and the testimony of reporters clearly demonstrate that Gazans are not starving, their store shelves are not empty, whether for food or consumer goods; as difficult as the situation may be, it is simply not the pinnacle of human rights disasters, and Israel is thus not deserving of international condemnation above all other nations in the world.
3. Peace. Leftists want peace. In the Middle East and elsewhere. The polls make clear that, overwhelmingly, Israelis desire peace with their neighbors; the difficult sacrifices, including the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza make this evident. Israelis are prepared for a secure, two-state solution, to live side-by-side in peace. Meanwhile, the stated goal of its enemies is to end its existence. A simple thought-experiment should make the matter starkly clear: If tomorrow Hamas and other Palestinian groups unilaterally put down their weapons, what would follow? Peace. If Israelis unilaterally put down their weapons, what would follow? Millions of dead or exiled Jews. Anyone on the Left who does not recognize this is living in denial. Leftists should support peace and not live in denial.
4. Anti-Authoritarianism. Leftists oppose authoritarianism and dictatorship and instead support popular, democratic rule. Israel maintains a vibrant, parliamentary democracy, with a broad range of views represented, much more so than in the United States, for example. Indeed, Arabs parties and Communists have long had representatives voted into the Israeli Knesset. Can we imagine such representation, as well as the freedom of assembly and freedom of speech in Israel's Arab neighbors? In the Gaza ruled by Hamas? In Egypt or Syria or Saudi Arabia? By opposing Israel and supporting groups like Hamas, the Left is not supporting a liberation struggle but rather the effort to replace the Middle East's only democracy with yet another repressive dictatorship. Do Leftists really desire such an outcome? How can the one major effort to boycott, divest, and sanction be aimed at a democratic nation like this? As Bernard Henri-Levy has written at the Huffington Post of the "Confusion of an era when we combat democracies as though they were dictatorships or fascist States. This maelstrom of hatred and madness is about Israel. But it also concerns, as we should be well aware, some of the most precious things established in the movement of ideas in the last thirty years, especially on the left, and these are thus imperiled."
5. Human Dignity and Equality. The Left fights for the values of dignity and equality. Are these traits exemplified more by Israel or its neighbors? Look at how much Israelis value the life of a single soldier, in the willingness to trade hundreds of prisoners for one soldier, and even to trade prisoners to recover their dead for proper burial. Look at the rules of engagement of the Israeli Defense Forces, at how the IDF calls and leaflets civilians to warn them; does any other military do such a thing? In terms of equality and human rights, compare the state of women's and gay and lesbian rights in Israel with that in the rest of the Middle East. And in terms of human dignity, do people on the Left think so little of Palestinian dignity that they are willing to claim Palestinians have "no choice" but to turn themselves into homicidal-suicidal bombers to kill Israeli children? Can we not expect more of people? Treating Palestinians like helpless victims does less than recognize their human dignity.
6. Anti-Discrimination. Leftists oppose sexism, racism, and any similar sort of discrimination. And so, Leftists do or ought to oppose anti-Semitism in the same way. And yet, Leftists too often give a pass to anti-Semitism masked as anti-Zionism or anti-Israel sentiment. The playwright David Mamet has written in the Huffington Post as follows: "Yet most of the Western Press, European and American, pictures Israel as, somehow the aggressor, and the Israelis as somehow inhuman, and delighting in blood." As Mamet has elaborated in his book The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Self-Hatred, and the Jews, this is nothing less than a reworking of the old Blood Libel against the Jews--except this time, instead of being accused of using non-Jewish blood to bake matzah, the Jews are accused of spilling blood for no reason other than gratuitous pleasure. Leftists ought to be vigilant in distinguishing between constructive criticism of Israel and dehumanizing caricatures of Jews.
7. Self-Defense. Only the most uncompromising pacifists oppose the right to self-defense, and certainly most Leftists uphold this right. At least when Palestinians are doing the defending. Why are Israelis exempt from this right? How many Leftists would sit idly by while rockets rained down on their towns and families, with their children traumatized? And if we said, oh, but people are only killed occasionally, would that minimize your commitment to protect your family? Only Jews are expected to lay down their weapons and offer their throats. How dare the Jews have the chutzpah to fight back?!
8. Progress. We want movement on Palestinian-Israeli and Arab-Israeli peacemaking. Yet, demonizing Israel, singling it out, as is done at the UN and on college campuses will do little to advance peace. We all know, have all known for decades the basic outlines of a peace settlement. The Israelis have been prepared for this and have prepared their citizens. The Left should be pressuring Palestinians to accept peace and to stop teaching their children that Jews are monsters after their blood. This sort of pressure might bring some progress.
It was long ago time for Leftists to tear down the poster that features Israel as the demon-child of human rights abuse and repression. It is time for Leftists to become outraged not over Israel, but over the distortions and demonization of Israel on college campuses and at the United Nations and throughout the media and politics. It is time for Leftists to reject the treatment of Israel as a pariah, or Jews as bloodthirsty murderers, and time instead to welcome Israel into the community of nations as a full member, subject to the same criticism and praise as any other nation.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
The Daily Mail: Judge faces anti-Semitism probe after speech attacking Israel helps free arms factory protesters.
A senior judge was under investigation yesterday after being accused of making anti-Semitic remarks in court that may have swayed his jury into acquitting a group of protesters.
Judge George Bathurst-Norman was said by critics to have persuaded a jury to clear a group of campaigners who smashed up a factory making parts for Israeli warplanes.
Summing up in the criminal damage trial, he compared Israel to the Nazi regime and accused the country of ignoring international law.
The judge added that 'there may be much to be admired' about the chief protester, and that 'in the last war he would probably have received a George Medal'.
The Office for Judicial Complaints, which deals with objections over the conduct of judges and magistrates, confirmed that an inquiry into how Judge Bathurst-Norman handled the trial of five political activists at Hove Crown Court in June is under way.
Its findings will be considered by Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge and Lord Chancellor Kenneth Clarke, who have the final say on any disciplinary action.
A number of complaints are said to have accused the judge not just of anti-Israel rhetoric but specifically of anti-Semitism.
The case involved a group of activists who broke into and vandalised a Brighton factory run by engineering firm EDO MBM.
The company was making parts for use in the bomb-aiming equipment on Israeli F16 warplanes.
The invasion shut the factory for a week and caused £187,000 worth of damage. But five men and women who appeared in court claimed they had done nothing wrong under criminal damage law.
The law says someone is not guilty of causing damage if they believed it was necessary for the immediate protection of someone else's property.
It is framed to protect, for example, someone who smashes a neighbour's door down if they believe their house is on fire.
However, in the Brighton case, the activists claimed they believed their invasion was necessary for the protection of property in Gaza.
Several similar defences by protesters have been successful in recent years.
In 2008, six Greenpeace protesters were acquitted after causing £30,000 worth of damage at a coal-fired power station.
The jury in that case accepted they had acted to prevent climate change causing greater damage.
Describing evidence shown in court, Judge Bathurst-Norman told the jury that he could only describe the 'horrific' events shown as 'scenes which one would rather have hoped to have disappeared with the Nazi regimes of the last war'.
In his summing up, he gave his backing to the evidence of one defendant, Ornella Saibene, a former Greenham Common activist.
The judge said: 'She took us through the horrors, and there really is no other word for it than horrors, that emerged in the press and on the news and the footage as to what the Israelis were doing in Gaza.
'You may think that perhaps "Hell on Earth" would be an understatement of what the Gazans endured.'
Among groups complaining was the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
Its president, Vivian Wineman, said: 'The judge's comments give rise to profound concerns about the appropriateness of his directions to the jury.'
Jonathan Hoffman, of the Zionist Federation, said: 'This opens the door to any group which thinks the British presence in Afghanistan is wrong to go and smash up plants supplying British forces.'
by Steve Doughty
Monday, July 19, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
by Micael Oren
In a small Jerusalem café, I sat with Noam Shalit and tried to discuss his son, Gilad. I say tried because each time Noam, a soft-spoken, bespectacled man, began a sentence, the owner of the café rushed over with complimentary plates of humus, salads and desserts. Passersby, glimpsing Noam through the window, burst inside to embrace him. “We are with you,” they cried. “We will get our Gilad home.”
That our is the key to understanding the devotion that Israelis feel for Gilad Shalit. The Israel Defense Forces is a citizens’ army in which most young men serve for a minimum of three years, followed by several decades of reserve duty. Young women serve for at least two. Our soldiers are literally our parents, our siblings, our children. Israel is also a small country with few if any degrees of separation between families. Even those who have never met the Shalits know someone who has. And all of us have loved ones—a brother, a son—who could suffer the same ordeal that Gilad began four years ago today.
Early on the morning of June 25, 2006, Hamas terrorists—using a tunnel secretly excavated during a cease-fire with Israel—infiltrated across the Gaza border and attacked an IDF base. Firing rocket grenades and automatic weapons, they killed two soldiers—Lt. Hanan Barak and Sgt. Pavel Slutzker, both 20—and kidnapped the 19-year-old corporal, Gilad Shalit. The IDF promptly launched a massive manhunt in Gaza, suffering an additional five fatalities, but failed to find the abductors. Hamas, meanwhile, demanded that Israel release more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, most of them convicted terrorists, in exchange for Gilad’s freedom.
Since then, Gilad’s parents, Noam and Aviva Shalit, have only received three letters from their son as well as a brief video showing an emaciated hostage with a haunted expression and lightless eyes. Hamas has refused to allow the Red Cross or other NGOs to visit Gilad, or to permit mail or aid packages to reach him. And to mock the Shalit family’s suffering, Hamas has staged re-enactments of the kidnapping, most recently in a Gaza summer camp, and plays in which actors portraying Gilad beg for their release. An animated Hamas film depicts an aged Noam Shalit grieving over his son’s coffin.
The plight of Gilad Shalit poses painful dilemmas. Should Israel negotiate with Hamas, a terror organization sworn to its destruction, and unleash hundreds of terrorists, many of whom will quickly return to murdering? Or can Israel leave Gilad to languish alone indefinitely, prolonging his family’s agony and undermining the faith in which other families send their children to battle?
There are no easy answers. Yet Israel has consistently sought to secure Gilad’s freedom through the good offices of intermediaries, all the while striving to reconcile the nation’s security needs with the time-honored Jewish principle of pidayon shivuyim, the redemption of prisoners.
The struggle to bring Gilad home has become a national passion for Israelis. His birthday and the anniversary of his abduction are both commemorated with dramatic public events. In one such rally, some 2,000 young people sailed a “freedom for Gilad” fleet of homemade rafts across the Sea of Galilee. Photographs of Gilad as a whimsical teenager loom from public walls and flutter on flags from car antennas. His name is emblazoned on bracelets popular among Israeli youth and the days of his captivity are displayed on a booth near the prime minister’s residence.
But the campaign to free Gilad Shalit is hardly limited to Israel. The mayors of Miami and New Orleans have made him an honorary citizen, as have the cities of Paris and Rome. President Nicolas Sarkozy has declared Gilad’s release “a top French priority,” and President Barack Obama has further condemned his “inhumane detention.”
Nevertheless, Gilad Shalit remains in solitary confinement—in spite of the protests and his parents’ unflagging appeals to the international community. Lost in the recent tumult surrounding Israel’s efforts to block Iranian and Syrian arms shipments to Hamas, which has fired 10,000 rockets at Israeli civilians to date, is the unending nightmare of the Shalit family. Their pain is shared by countless Israelis and well-wishers worldwide. We must not rest until our Gilad is once again safely at home.
Mr. Oren is Israel’s ambassador to the United States.
First published in The Wall Street Journal.
"Bring Him Home," performed by Dudu Fisher for Gilad Shalit
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
As you have seen from this blog (here, here, and here) and many other forms of media (blogs, newspapers, etc).
Below is another music video further glorifies martyrdom and asks children to give up their childhood "for the sake of Palestine."
If you're as outraged as I am, write to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (click here) and include this link and remind her that the children of Gaza (and the West Bank) are still being taught to hate!
Sunday, June 20, 2010
The first letter requested Hitler to stop the war while the second posed to him the unique preachers of non violence. He wrote that we seek to convert our enemies not defeat them on the battlefield.
According to the news feed from Time magazine (click here) the film, according to it's director Rakesh Ranjan Kumar:
"[The film is focusing on] Hitler’s love for India and how he indirectly contributed to Indian independence. … It aims to capture the personality of Adolf Hitler and his insecurities, his charisma and his paranoia during the last few days of his life."
According to Nalin Singh, one of the writers of the script, claims the movie will be about the contrasting ideologies of Hitler's violence and Ghandi's non-violence (see full article here).
There is something terribly wrong with Bollywood. India's Jewish community is outraged:
"Whoever is making this film is doing so with ignorant, if not more sinister motives," Jonathan Solomon, the chairman of the Indian Jewish Federation, told Reuters, adding, "They are hurting the feelings of a community that has suffered a great deal." (Source)
As of right now, the star of the film, Anupam Kher, withdrew from the project, saying:
"I wish to withdraw from the film because it is creating ill feelings among my fans and I respect their sentiments. I was never affected by commercial considerations but social opinions always matter to me." (Source)
If anyone knows the production company, write to me at Nazibegone@bigstring.com and I'll put up the information so the production company in Bollywood knows how the world feels about this film.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Thank you Elton John for coming to perform in Israel and for your voice of support!
Elton John's "Your Song."
Friday, June 18, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Relatives take photos of toddler outfitted
Relatives take photos of a toddler outfitted with a mock suicide vest, at an anti-Israel demonstration outside the United Nations headquarters in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, June 1, 2010. A few thousand protesters chanted anti-Israel slogans and waved flags representing Turkey, Lebanon and numerous Palestinian factions in front of the United Nations headquarters in downtown Beirut on Tuesday, while Pro-Palestinian activists sent another boat to challenge Israel's blockade. Writing in Arabic on placard at top right reads 'Gaza'.
(AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Source: Yahoo! News
New Revelations from Op-Ed piece by Ambassador Michael Oren Re: Flotilla Lynching of Israeli Navy soldiers
1. "About 100 of those detained from the boats were carrying immense sums in their pockets — nearly a million euros in total."
2. "Israel discovered spent bullet cartridges on the Mavi Marmara that are of a caliber not used by the Israeli commandos, some of whom suffered gunshot wounds."
3. "Also found on the boat were propaganda clips showing passengers 'injured' by Israeli forces; these videos, however, were filmed during daylight, hours before the nighttime operation occurred"
4. "They also rebuffed an Israeli request to earmark some aid packages for Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held hostage by Hamas for four years."
For those who wish to read the article, click here.
I like his final sentence and I it is something I believe in and in Israel's best interest: "The real peace activists are those who support our vision of a two-state solution, not those supporting the terrorists bent on destroying it."
Makes sure to read my blog post about what happened on the flotilla here.
Monday, May 31, 2010
While I will acknowledge the situation inside Gaza is an unfortunate situation, the blockade is understandable. First, it is one thing if one country, Israel, is doing this; however, a fact lost in the discussion, is the this blockade is being supported by and enforced by Egypt as well.
Second, that this organization and groups of organization has been linked to terrorist organizations that support the work of Hamas and other Islamic terrorist activities, according to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center's report (click here for the report and click here for the follow up report). As if one needed any further evidence of this connection, only days ago, Palestinian Media Watch released this report video below:
Earlier this morning, according to a report by London's Telegraph, Israeli Navy ships went out and made the following announcement to the flotilla:
When the ships did not respond, troops where flow in to enforce the blockade. The Israeli Navy released this shocking footage:
It is clear that after seeing these videos and this report from Reuters, the Israeli Navy troops where acting in self defense.
Here are some pictures of what was recovered from the flotilla from the IDF Spokesperson blog.
****************** Update #2 06/01/2010 ***********************
Israeli Navy soldier describes what happened on the ship
**************** Update #3 06/01/2010 1:27PM EST *******************
Video of Israeli troops being fired at:
Another video showing the true aim of the flotilla:
*********************** Update #3 06/01/10 7:29PM EST **************************
More video of what was found on the ship that was used to attack the Israeli Navy soldiers:
******************* Update #4 06/01/10 10:20PM **********************************
According to the Jerusalem Post, the goods that the flotilla were carrying were not in shortage in Gaza. For more info, click here for the full report.
****************** Update #5 06/02/10 ***********************************
As this video clearly shows, Israeli Navy soldiers were being attacked before they even were on the ship (recovered video from an activist on the ship):
***************** Update #6 06/02/10 12:26PM ********************
According to the IDF Spokesperson's official blog, Hamas is currently refusing delivery of the aid from the flotilla to go into Gaza. See full blog post here.
**************** Update #7 06/02/10 1:17PM **********************
More video of "humanitarians" preparing to attack Israeli Navy troops
************* Update #8 06/02/10 7:55 AM **********************
Israel has released a couple of new videos, providing further evidence that the flotilla was not intent on carrying aid to Gaza, but prepared to fight, and even kill, Israeli's.
First, weapons and footage of passengers preparing the weapons:
Second, video of a passenger talking to Iranian government controlled Press TV talking about what he wants to be on this "humanitarian mission." I wonder if it is to be a good person?
Monday, February 8, 2010
"In the predominantly Muslim nations surveyed, views of Jews were overwhelmingly unfavorable. Nearly all in Jordan (97 percent), the Palestinian territories (97%) and Egypt (95%) held an unfavorable view. Similarly, 98% of Lebanese expressed an unfavorable opinion of Jews, including 98% among both Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims, as well as 97% of Lebanese Christians.
By contrast, only 35% of Israeli Arabs expressed a negative opinion of Jews, while 56% voiced a favorable opinion.
The survey was conducted between May 18 to June 16, 2009.
The sample size of each of the countries surveyed was over 1,000 people and the margin of error was 3%. Results for the surveys in these nations are based on face-to-face interviews conducted under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International. All surveys are based on national samples, except in Pakistan where the sample was disproportionately urban."
While I am a proponent of real & lasting peace, the numbers here clearly show us a picture of the Middle East where Israel continues to be ready for negotiations (see here and here) and the Arab/Muslim countries in the region show that only through killing innocent people, more so Jews, Israelis and Americans (see here), they could continue this process of radicalization and leading their citizens to thoughts and beliefs in racism, bigotry, and Antisemitism.