Monday, February 26, 2007

A Voice of Reason from an Unlikely Source

Standing apart from all the syncophantic support for Jimmy Carter's misuse of the term apartheid is a wonderfully written opinion piece by Irshad Manji, the dissident Moslem feminist. Is she critical of Israel for some of the things it does? Sure she is-just like many Israelis, Americans, and other people of good will who don't throw inflammatory phrases around like confetti to sell books or get attention. But she can cut through the intellectual garbage from the likes of Carter, Finkelstein, and Jewish Voice for Peace with a reasoned explanation of where they are so very, very wrong.

Check it out here.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Being an Apologist for the Demonizers of Israel is not a Jewish Value

Throughout it's relatively short life, JVP's blog, Muzzlewatch, has made a point of defending people who constantly vilify Israel and/or the Jewish People including Norman Finkelstein and Jimmy Carter. Most recently, Muzzlewatch has begun a multi-post kvetch about how NPR is apparently too scared to talk about Israel despite ample evidence to the contrary. If there had been such fear within the NPR to discuss Israel, then clearly there would have been no issue in the first place for an anti-Israel bias investigation. Part 1 of this feature, which I suggest you read for it's obvious comedic value, has multiple contradictions within itself:
One of the most revealing moments in the On the Media NPR segment was the announcer’s introductory statement that “We’re about to go where many American news organizations prefer not to go.” NPR should know. They have long been public enemy number one of the almost comically hawkish media watchdog group CAMERA, which once called for congressional investigation of the respected news outlet for their “anti-Israel bias”.
I for one, am confused. I thought the article was about how NPR, along with apparently the entire mainstream media, is muzzled in their reporting about Israel. Yet within this paragraph, they showcase NPR's apparent bravery to approach the Israel-Palestine issue from what they consider an unbiased perspective. Even an attempt at an explanation of their contradictory sludge is both tedious and baffling in its complexity.

Continuing on their insipid rant, Muzzlewatch writes in the very next paragraph:
A few years ago, the station manager of an NPR affiliate admitted in a room full of people that she simply didn’t want to touch the Israel-Palestine conflict and risk losing one penny.
In a piece from earlier on in their history about how Emory University has enacted a policy of not allowing speakers about the Israel-Palestine debate, Muzzlewatch's far left, and to the general Jewish community, extremist politics shine through. In an incredible act of what they would consider "defiance," and what we would consider "stupidity" or "despicable behavior," they describe the Israel demonizer Norman Finkelstein as a "Holocaust Industry critic and Alan Dershowitz gadfly." It is nearly impossible to succinctly explain how ludicrously this statement underplays Finkelstein's anti-Israel agenda. I would suggest you read this CAMERA article about his fraudulent scholarship.

Simply put, no matter what they say, Muzzlewatch is committed both to demonizing every pro-Israel organization in existence, and to protecting and supporting the demonizers of the Jewish state. Don't fall into their trap, as being an apologists for the demonizers of Israel is not a Jewish value.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

John Dugard's Latest Tract

[Regarding the 'Advanced Edited Version' of the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, John Dugard. A document prepared for fourth session the United Nations Human Rights Council, which will take place next month.]

Bloggers may at times be forgiven recycling their own material. But what is one to say when the 'Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories', Mr. John Dugard, starts sounding like a scratched record?

In a recent report available on the website of the UN office in Geneva, Mr. Dugard recycles most of the same statements that showed him an unashamed apologist for the Palestinians in years past, and in particular repeats the accusation that Israel is practising apartheid. As a South-African, Mr. Dugard feels that he has especial ownership of that word, and whatever he disapproves of is epithetized as being 'apartheid'.

BRIEFLY, ABOUT APARTHEID

Let us examine what apartheid as it was practiced in South-Africa meant, shall we?

Purpose:
One of the primary aims of the Afrikaner government was to eliminate the rights of black South-Africans by stripping them of citizenship in their own country.
BUT:
This is not even arguably part of the Israeli plan - the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza never were citizens of Israel, and massively expressed the political wish to remain Jordanian and Egyptian citizens after their areas were won in war. It will be noted that both Egypt and Jordan have refused to take back those areas since their peace-treaties with Israel. It will further be noted that nearly twenty percent of the population of Israel proper are Arabs, who vote, sit in the Knesset, and have access to the same services and privileges as other citizens of Israel.


Method:
The Afrikaners sought to separate the black South-Africans from the white South-Africans geographically by creating Bantustans, which, it was intended, would eventually become permanent 'homelands' outside of South-Africa, to be acknowledged by the international community. To this end, population transfer was enforced, and blacks permanently barred from many areas.
BUT:
In Israel, no citizens are forced out (except for those who were taken from Gaza when Israel gave it to the Palestinians) and Arab citizens of Israel continue to reside where they have since 1948; as regards the Palestinians in the territories, their area is already internationally acknowledged as being separate - which is by their express and stated wish. What should especially be noted is that a vast portion of the Westbank is Judenrein, as it became when Jordan seized the territory in 1948 - few of the Jews who lived there before the war have returned (Palestinian attitudes make it ill-advised to go back).

OBJECTING TO THE WALL

One of the main objections which Mr. Dugard again runs up the flagpole is towards the security barrier. In the past he argued that the "wall" was incompatible with a two-state solution, and averred that it made the establishment of a binational Palestinian state advisable. Along with other opponents of the "wall", he insisted that it had no discernable impact on security, and only increased the likelihood of violence and terrorist attacks.
It will be remembered that Mr. Dugard not long ago told the General Assembly that suicide bombers were merely a consequence of the occupation - seeming to suggest that if Israel but gave up on security measures there would be complete peace. How remarkable that since the "wall" was built, the number of successful terrorist attacks has decreased so enormously.

His new report also makes clear that Mr. Dugard refuses to consider the reason for either the wall or the security measures adopted by the Israelis, as he steadfastly fails to counter-argue them, but instead delights in cataloguing (and exaggerating by significant omission of context) the regrettable effects they have on Palestinians in Gaza and the West-Bank - ignoring entirely the constant level of security threats which have necessitated certain actions.
Rather, Mr. Dugard presents the Palestinians as passive uninvolved observers of their own affairs, detached from events, and inexplicably victimized by Jews and the evil West.

REGARDING INTERNATIONAL FUNDING

In what seems like an act of reportorial legerdemain, Dugard accuses the United States and the European Union of punishing the Palestinians for having put democracy into action.

"Israel violates international law as expounded by the Security Council and the International Court of Justice and goes unpunished, but the Palestinian people are punished for having democratically elected a regime unacceptable to Israel, the U.S. and the EU" according to Mr. Dugard's previous statements. In this report, he says that "Israel and sections of the international community have imposed collective punishment on the Palestinian people", and strongly suggests it is the responsibility of the international community to force Israel, the US, and Europe, to resume full financial support of the Palestinian Authority with no conditions attached.

Hamas, a violent Islamic group that came to power after elections in January, has sworn to destroy Israel, and has refused to accept Israel's right to exist. As recognition of Israel is one of the basic presumptions on which the quartet has founded it's advocacy of the two-state solution, and as continuing terror attempts from Hamas (and other Palestinian entities) make clear that Hamas is not a partner for peace, it follows that there is little reason to continue funneling money to the Palestinian Authority.

Funding for the Palestinians was meant to further a peaceful solution along the guidelines which were previously agreed upon, not as something to which the Palestinians were automatically entitled, nor as payment of revenues that were due them for services or products provided. In return, the Palestinians were expected to co-operate with the international community instead of continuing the terrorist campaigns of the decades before Oslo.
Hamas is not doing so, has proven repeatedly that it does not wish to do so, and has stated as a matter of policy that it never intends to do so.

Halting funding, under these circumstances, should be considered an appropriate response by the US and Europe.

Halting funding was also recommended by several non-political international bodies when it became clear that there was massive corruption and fraud within the Palestinian Authority, with large stipends being paid to relatives of officials and important people, and funds earmarked for various projects melting away inexplicably. Corruption and fraud still dog the Palestinian Authority, and the only area in which they seem to efficiently provide a full range of services is in armed wings of political groups, and private militias. For which funding has not dried up, despite the actions of the international community.


None of this is of consequence to Mr. Dugard, who is on record as never having a bad word for his clients.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Muzzling dissent, "progressive" style

There has been quite a bit of bandwidth taken up lately regarding creating "an open atmosphere for debate about US-Israeli foreign policy".

Yet just days ago, Daniel Pipes, Middle Eastern author and historian was, in effect "muzzled" at U.C. Irvine, and it was largely ignored by the mainstream media, the alternate progressive press, and by blogs dedicated to "creating an open atmosphere" about this issue. There were no links to youtube videos, no transcripts of the Muslim Student Association students declaring "it's just a matter of time before the state of Israel will be wiped off the face of the earth", no reactions of the audience who bought tickets and traveled miles to see this speaker.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5158780407631950723&hl=en

In San Francisco, Elie Weisel was not only pressured and intimidated - he was assaulted. Ultimately he did not make his scheduled appearance at a local conference.

There are many ways to suppress open debate. Threats, intimidation, heckling, and disruption in the name of free speech are simply a way to silence opposition. Why are these techniques of muzzling dissent acceptable to otherwise progressive thinkers? Why is there silence, rather than condemnation when these "techniques" appear in our communities and our classrooms??

It was a dark day in Berkeley, home of the free speech movement when six years ago a protest lead by Jewish Voice for Peace and the Middle Eastern Children’s Alliance, among others, prevented former Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu from speaking at a local venue. One of the organizers, Penny Rosenwasser later wrote "what a great victory, to let him know his voice is not welcome here!" It is incredibly hypocritical to insist not only that YOUR voice be heard where it's not invited, but that voices that disagree with you can't even be heard at all--anywhere- - by those who want to hear them. Those who disagree with us (on the modest proposition that Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish state) get to spread their anti-Israel venom in many different public venues, including many institutions of higher learning. Yet they seem so afraid to allow a dissenting viewpoint to be heard-- anywhere.

To Ms. Rosenwasser and to the Muslims Students Association at U.C. Irvine, and to any others they feel their voice should be heard at the expense of others: It is not a great victory to silence dissent. The hypocritical and one-sided silencing of dissent makes me wonder- what are they so afraid of? Is it the truth?

If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.
-Noam Chomsky

Monday, February 12, 2007

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Palestinian Unity Govermnent

While most of the postings you see here will be about the lies and distortions of our enemies, occasionally a brief note on current events in Israel is necessary. We feel that the creation of a unity government in the Palestinian Authority (PA) will be falsely used to demonize Israel as “not serious about peace,” similar to the reaction of some following the release of the “Prisoner’s Document.” As such, a small briefing is necessary to attempt to help prevent distortions of the situation.

The main factions in the Palestinian Parliament, Fatah and Hamas, have finally come to an agreement that will allow them to form a unity government. The main purpose of this agreement, known as the Mecca Accords, is to bring Palestinian society back from the brink of civil war. Indeed, violence between supporters of each faction has claimed the lives of over 60 people including several children.

Hoping to inflate the significance of this agreement, the new Unity Government is trying to claim that this will not only end the violence in the streets of the territories, but will end the economic blockade of the PA government.

Sadly, the new unity government still does not meet Quartet (USA, EU, UN, and Russia) demands. The Quartet has repeatedly stated these demands are non-negotiable and even released a statement in the wake of the formation of the unity government reaffirming these demands.

As a refresher, those demands are
1. Recognition of Israel
2. Renunciation of violence
3. Acceptance of previous signed agreements

The Mecca Accords only fulfills the last requirement. You can read the Mecca Accords statement here.

As some may recall, even before Hamas was elected to lead the PA, international disappointment with the Fatah led PA was growing and they were threatening to withhold aid if the PA failed to stop funding and fueling violence against Israeli civilians.

The international freeze on aid to the Palestinian Authority is not about who is in power, but about their commitment to building peace in the region.

Richard Silverstein throws a tantrum

To the credit of JVP, they are allowing a full range of opinions to be presented in the coments section of the "Muzzlewatch" forum. Unfortunately, not everyone is too happy with this. Richard Silverstein, credited as the researcher for JVP, has started to flame other particitants and act as though he is having an online temper tantrum.

What set him off? Revelations of truth and exposure of hypocrisy, of course! This is just one of his attacks:

http://www.muzzlewatch.com/?p=76#comment-171

Oh, Dan, you’re just a little irked that they don’t like yr pro-Israel
ideolgoical slagging at StandWithUs half as much as they like the independent
thinking they’re reading in Muzzlewatch.
If you stopped yelling & screaming at yr “enemies” Jewish or Muslim, people might pay you more attention.

The "independent thinking" to which he refers is the repeated claims of censorship and standard straw man arguments that seem remarkably similar throughout the anti-Israel movement for the past several months and incompatible with fact. The "they" to which he refers is the news media who are eagerly writing about this latest rehash of the "Zionist Controlled Media" argument and printing columns by a wide range of anti-Israel activists.

The above comment was in reponse to our comment pointing out the obvious -- if the media is so keen to cover operations like "Muzzlewatch," how can these operations call themselves "muzzled?"

http://www.muzzlewatch.com/?p=76#comment-165

We will be keeping an eye on Mr. Silverstein. We will also be countering, not "yelling & screaming," false and misleading statements of our opponents, be they Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Arab, Israeli or any other religion or ethnicity. Here at BlueTruth, we judge based on the content of the speech, not the ethnicity of the speaker.

The "silence" is deafening


Rabbi Michael Lerner published an opinion piece in the San Jose Mercury News last week in which he once again complained about having been labeled (along with Jimmy Carter, of course) as "anti-Semitic" and charged that there has been a "silencing of the debate on Israel policy". He claimed that "voices of dissent on Israeli policy must be given the same national exposure in the media" as those of the Jewish "establishment".

I just did a Google search on Michael Lerner and anti-Semitism; same with Jimmy Carter. The closest I could find to anyone in a major media outlet or in a major Jewish community organization calling either one of them anti-Semitic was Deborah Lipstadt's piece in the Washington Post in which she did state that "Carter has repeatedly fallen back -- possibly unconsciously -- on traditional anti-Semitic canards." Yet we constantly hear from these individuals, and from those such as Jewish Voice for Peace who clearly oppose Israel's existence, that they are being "silenced".

So I did another cursory Google check-- just within the past 2 weeks, Rabbi Lerner has been featured or prominently quoted in the following newspapers: The New York Times, The Baltimore Chronicle, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Forward, The Jewish Journal of Greater LA, and Washington Jewish Week. No doubt this list is incomplete. Of course, Carter has lately been in the news more than at any time since his term as President.

To accuse the media of ignoring critics of Israel is laughable. The media's ongoing misportrayals of the Palestinians are legendary examples of journalistic incompetence: equating suicide terrorists with their victims, portraying them as seeking to "end Israel's occupation" (without specifying that for the terror groups, Tel Aviv is occupied territory no less than Jenin or Nablus), banner headlines about a "massacre" in Jenin that never occurred, being duped by Hezbollah into running news stories about faked casualties during last summer's war, and so on. Readers can go to HonestReporting or CAMERA for details of these journalistic misadventures with the truth.

I'm not saying that either Lerner or Carter are anti-Semitic. I am saying that their claims of being "silenced" have become a deafening roar, and have become a way for them to deflect substantive criticism of their positions.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Those who claim they are silenced were asked to speak!

At the Walid Shoebat talk on February 5th at UC Davis, a group of students stood in silent protest within the event, red tape over their mouths, and claimed they were being silenced.



In reality, when the Q&A period arrived, those with the red tape were brought to the front of the line. Naturally, this was because Shoebat was eager to refute their arguments and expose their naiveté. When the students rose to walk out en masse, Shoebat even urged them to stay and voice their positions.


When push came to shove, the anti-Israel forces choose to claim persecution rather than give their views a true vetting. What scares them most is the exposure of their lies and the house of cards on which they have built their campaign agenda.


This is especially true in the current environment where there is a coordinated campaign to spread the obviously false message that anti-Israel viewpoints are suppressed.

Joel Beinin and Muzzlewatch “expose” exposed!

The JVP project “Muzzlewatch” claims it “broke” the story of anti-Israel former Standford professor Joel Beinin being “muzzled” by the Jewish Community Relations Council and being prevented from giving a talk at a private school. At the time, they referred to the JCRC as an “outside advocacy organization.”

They then stated:
Professor Joel Beinin being booted at the last minute from a Harker School speaking engagement due to pressure from a parents group, with some kind of involvement by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Silicon Valley (though they have not responded to a request for a statement), that was no doubt, fulfilling its mission as a “protector of Israel.”

Turns out this is the classic example of a lie upon a half truth.

Here is the real story from an anonymous source within JCRC.

The Harker School wanted a discussion of the Arab-Isareli conflict. To that end, they brought in an anti-Israel Arab to speak. To balance the discussion, they wanted to bring a Jewish voice to the table. Unfortunately, according to my source, a person with “malicious intent” suggested the Jewish voice be Joel Beinin. The organizers of the event did not know that Beinin, despite being Jewish, is notoriously anti-Israel.

The organizers may have not have known, but they found out. The school’s parents also found out and protested loudly over this obvious mistake. Realizing that the planning committee has erred, the principal cancelled Beinin’s invitation. By the time the Silicon Valley JCRC called the principal, the principal had already made his decision.

This was another classic case of the anti-Israel forces trying to put on what they call a “balanced” presentation – that is “balanced” between an anti-Israel Arab and an anti-Israel Jew. When the duplicity was discovered, Beinin was rightly booted from the panel.

JVP suffers a severe credibility problem which, more than their political agenda keeps them out of mainstream discourse. This case is yet one more nail in the coffin of JVP’s credibility.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

The Absurdity Extends to The UK

Possibly feeling left out by their American counteparts, UK anti-Zionist Jews under the banner of "Independent Jewish Voices" are trying to claim they are being muzzled as well. It is bad enough that Americans are writing in major newspapers and speaking at major universities that they are being muzzled but now the British are trying to get in on the act! This is all the more bizarre since the legitimacy of Israel's existence and expressions of anti-Semitism are a time honored tradition in the UK.

The British anti-anti-Semitism group Engage has a lot of information about this on their website.

Jonathan Spyer also takes aim at this insanity in Israel's Haaretz:


If we take, as an example, contributors to the Guardian, which published the IJV's founding statement, Jews who have successfully found the courage to resist the Board of Deputies and its anxiety-inducing unwritten laws include Daphna Baram, who wrote in a recent op-ed that Israel is an "apartheid state"; Jacqueline Rose, whose book, as her Guardian interviewer reminded us, "draws tentative analogies between Israel's treatment of Palestinians and Nazi Germany's treatment of Jews," and Ilan Pappe, the Israeli academic who recently wrote in support of a boycott of Israeli academia.


These opinions fit comfortably into parts of the British debate, in which denial of the right of Israel to exist and allegations of conspiracy theory are accepted within the parameters of polite discussion. British-born Jew Tony Judt, for example, was able to promote his thesis advocating the dismantling of the Jewish state in the London Review of Books.

Welcome

Welcome to Blue-Truth.

Here we will be refuting the accusations and exposing the lies that are being told on the streets and in cyberspace about Israel, Jews and pro-Israel organizations.

A severe campaign of disinformation is underfoot that relies on anti-Semitic stereotypes, intimidation, half-truths, and outright lies. These campaigns have gone almost completely unanswered. Until now, they have also gotten little press and were deemed by many to be inconsequential. Given the media blitz that has surrounded Jimmy Carter's book, the Mearshimer-Walt paper, and the coordinated media campaign accusing "Jews," and/or "Zionists" of suppressing free speech and access to the media, we decided it is time to fight back.

Welcome to the next stage of the struggle.