Monday, October 26, 2009

Fear and Loathing at J Street Conference-- Scanning The Blog Reports

Our friend Solomonia broke this story today: Richard Silverstein tosses someone out from the bloggers' conference that Silverstein organized at the J Street confab in DC. That particular event was not "officially" part of the J Street meeting-- except that it was in a room provided by J Street, with staff (including bouncers) provided by J Street. And the reason this person, who was sitting quietly and taping the proceedings, was tossed? Because he happens to hold opinions that Richard Silverstein disagrees with-- pro-Israel opinions. Richard is just fine with inviting outspoken opponents of Zionism to his little coffee talk, but the presence of someone who he considers to be on his enemies list gets him all verklempt. (I'm sure there were others in the room who Silverstein didn't recognize, and I look forward to hearing their reports.)

More eyewitness reports are trickling out of the conference: Elie Wiesel being publicly mocked , while Rabbi Eric Yoffie being heckled for daring to suggest that the Palestinians had some minimal responsibility for the current situation because they had voted for the genocidal Hamas. And J Street already appears to be trying to distance itself from the "pro-Israel" label.

I'm looking forward to more reports, especially after the conference is over and some of the other observers can write openly about it. (Richard, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that they're not watching you).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Say it Ain't So Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Why are Israeli doctors being deliberately excluded from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Conference held in Egypt? Did Susan G. Koman for the Cure, the world's largest breast cancer advocacy organization enable this act of anti-Semitic exclusion?

According to INN, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure conference on breast cancer awareness, hosted in Egypt has been touted by international news networks as an example of “unprecedented cooperation” in the region.

However, Israeli doctors were told at the last minute that their invitations to participate had been rescinded.

Ignoring the deliberate exclusion of Israel, Egyptian Doctor Mohammed Shaalan claimed “The week's events are a demonstration of the cooperation between countries, governments, civil society, advocates, survivors, and the global community as a whole... It shows that breast cancer has no boundaries and reveals the beauty of the world's unity in its fight against breast cancer."

Apparently the "world's unity" doesn't extend to Israel, the worlds' only Jewish state. Israel is at the cutting age of cancer research, with innovations in both diagnosis and treatment, with researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot developing a non-invasive way of identifying breast tumors using magnetic resonance imaging. And yet Israeli doctors were specfically excluded from a conference meant to enhance regional cooperation, and a well respected American organization faciliated this exclusion.

“In the midst of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this collaboration in Alexandria begins a week of listening, learning, sharing…and breaking the silence,” said Hala Moddelmog, president and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Its time to break the silence about anti-Semitism. Give Susan G. Komen a call 1-877 GO KOMEN (1-877-465-6636) or send them an email Let them know how you feel.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fight the Hate, Show Ahava Some Love

The Israeli cosmetics firm Ahava (Hebrew for "love") is the latest target of the anti-Israel BDS --"boycott, divestment, sanctions"-- movement. This is the same group that attempted not only a boycott, but also encouraged and carried out vandalism against the Trader Joe's chain for carrying Israeli products. Of course, that effort has simply resulted in a national mobilization of Israel supporters to buy large amounts of Dorot frozen herbs , Gates of Eden feta cheese, and Osem couscous. The success of that counter-effort has led to doubts being privately expressed (at least they thought it was privately) in anti-Israel circles about a strategy that results in increased sales of Israeli products. Nonetheless, the movement has decided to follow the same strategy. So, of course, it's up to us to make sure that it has the same result.

This time, the boycotters are ostensibly targeting Ahava because it has a production facility in the West Bank settlement of Mitzpe Shalem (located in a desert area by the Dead Sea with no nearby Arab villages). But forget about the pretense that this is even about the West Bank, or about settlements, or about peace between a Palestinian Arab state and a Jewish state of Israel. Code Pink, which appears to be the lead group in this particular effort, announces proudly on the website for this campaign that they have signed on to the official "Palestinian Unified Call for Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions." That document states that one of its demands upon Israel is "Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194."

Let's briefly review a few points that should be common knowledge for anyone who wants to engage in coherent conversation about "Palestinian refugees":

1. Resolution 194 is a resolution of the General Assembly of the UN and is, as such, a statement of opinion that is advisory and not binding on member states.

2. Nowhere in the text of the resolution is there any reference to "rights"; rather, there is the suggestion that refugees be "permitted" to return--if they wished to live in peace with their neighbors.

3. All of the Arab member states of the UN voted against Resolution 194 at the time it was adopted, because they refused to accept the concept of living in peace with Israel.

4. Resolution 194 makes no ethnic specification for refugees; the 900,000 Jewish refugees who fled or were expelled from Arab lands in the wake of the creation of Israel were clearly included within the scope of the resolution. This suggests that the Jewish refugees have as valid a claim to compensation for their losses as to the Arab refugees, and that the situation of both refugee populations need to be considered simultaneously.

5. In no other conflict in the world are 2nd, 3rd, or 4th generation descendants of refugees considered to have acquired the "rights" of the actual refugees themselves-- not in India/Pakistan, with a 20 million exchange of population in the late 1940's; not in any of the multiple ethnic conflicts in Africa and Asia. Only the descendants of Palestinian refugees are somehow entitled to remain on the international dole and prevented, by their fellow Arabs, from leaving the camps to integrate into the lives of the countries in which they now live (Jordan being the sole exception to this).

The reference to, and deliberate misuse of, Resolution 194 reveals the true intent of the BDS movement. To paraphrase James Carville in Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign, "It's the Jewish state, stupid." The promoters of the BDS movement follow in the footsteps of those who launched a war against the Jewish community of Palestine in the wake of the UN's adoption of the 1947 partition plan. They will fail, as their predecessors did; and in the process of failing they will continue to put off any possibility of Palestinian national self-determination. But of course a Palestinian state living in peace next to a Jewish state was never really the goal, was it?

In the US, Ahava products can be purchased online here. Every bottle helps undermine the BDS movement.