Saturday, November 12, 2011

CSU to reinstate study abroad program to Israel?

Not if David Klein can help it.
He's been passing around this open letter to CSU Chancellor instead. David hates Israel so much, he devotes part of his CSU Northridge Website to Israel bashing. From David's website, hosted on the CSU server: "Israel is the most racist state in the world at this time". Yes, David's website includes the gratutious dead baby photos, along with BDS resources. Nice. Really nice
He teaches math, incidentally

MY comments are BOLD

An Open Letter to CSU Chancellor Charles Reed Regarding the CSU-Israel Study Abroad Program

Dear Chancellor Reed;

The CSU system has recently taken steps to reinstate the Israel Study Abroad Program. It was suspended in 2002 because of costs and because of the U.S. State Department travel warning on travel to Israel.

The second intifada led to thousands of casualties from acts of Palestinian terror. In 2002 alone, 2,348 Israelis were wounded in terror attacks, with 220 dead from suicide bombings alone. These numbers have greatly decreased, due in part to the security barrier, which according to some reports, has reduced casualties by 90%

We strongly urge you not to reinstate the CSU Israel Study Abroad Program.

The signers of this letter, CSU faculty, staff, students, and administrators, represent a wide range of views and political perspectives, but each one of us shares that conclusion along with some or all of the following concerns:

As of Nov 12, all SIX of them

1) The original reasons, from 2002, for suspending the program remain valid, and may, in some respects, be even more compelling. The CSU is facing unprecedented funding cuts, and programs serving greater numbers of students than this program may be more deserving of the limited available funds. The State Department travel warning also remains in effect

If funding is really the issue, why are you only targeting study abroad to Israel?

2) Additional dangers to U.S. citizens, not described in the State Department travel warning, deserve consideration. There have been multiple instances of U.S. citizens, including students, who have been severely injured, and in some cases killed by Israeli military forces. For example, in 2010, Emily Henochowicz, a 21-year-old Jewish American art student, lost an eye when Israeli soldiers shot her in the head with a high velocity tear gas canister. She had joined protests against Israel's attack on the humanitarian aid flotilla, during which Furkan Dogan, aged 19, another U.S. citizen, was killed by Israeli troops. Other young Americans killed or injured by Israeli forces include Rachel Corrie, Brian Avery, and Tristan Anderson.

Yes, David Klein, CSU Northridge math instructor is creating a moral equivalence here- acquainting those hurt while obstructing operations in a closed military zone, with those targetted simply because they were Jews in a Jewish state. Davis Klein dares equate the death of UC Berkeley graduate Marla Bennett, murdered while eating lunch in the Hebrew University cafeteria with the death of Rachel Corrie, dead while guarding smuggling tunnels in Gaza. David Klein, math professor dares to compare the death of Daniel Wultz, age 16, murdered while eating lunch with his dad with Furkan Dogan. Turkish member of the IHH, who ambushed and assaulted Israeli soldiers in international waters

3) If the Israel Study Abroad Program is reinstated, participating CSU students could face discriminatory treatment, based on race and ethnicity. According to a U.S. State Department document:

"U.S. citizens with Arabic or Muslim names, those born in Muslim or Middle Eastern countries, those who have been involved in missionary or activist activity, those who ask that Israeli stamps not be entered into their passport, and other U.S. citizen travelers have been delayed and subjected to close scrutiny by Israeli border authorities, and on occasion they have been given a “Palestinian Authority only” stamp in their passport which prohibits entry into "Green Line" Israel. U.S. citizens have been detained and/or arrested at the airport and at other border crossings on suspicion of security-related offenses. Members of religious groups have been monitored, arrested, and deported for suspicion of intent to proselytize in Israel. In some cases, Israeli authorities have denied U.S. citizens access to U.S. consular officers, lawyers, and even family members during temporary detention."

"Palestinian-American dual citizens living in the West Bank can be detained or arrested by the IDF. In such instances, the Government of Israel may not recognize the U.S. citizenship and will instead consider the arrested person a Palestinian. In such cases the U.S. Consulate General may not be notified."

If Palestinian America students wanted to study in Israel, and had no ties to terror or plans on proselytizing, this would not be an issue

4) During its October 2011 meeting, the Academic and Fiscal Affairs Committee of the CSU Statewide Academic Senate made a recommendation as follows:

"The AFAC recommends in light of the developments of the past 10 years, and in order to provide a more inclusive perspective on the Israeli/Palestinian issue that priority and effort be given to exploring new partnerships such as: Birzeit University, Arab American University in Jenin."

Reinstating a CSU Study Abroad Program in conjunction with Israeli universities without similar programs in cooperation with Palestinian universities would be one-sided.

The same man who just wrote "The CSU is facing unprecedented funding cuts, and programs serving greater numbers of students than this program may be more deserving of the limited available funds." is now proposing new programs.

5) To restart the CSU International program in Israel at this time would not reflect well on the CSU's commitment to the universal right to education. Israel has consistently violated its obligation under Article 50 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which requires the Occupying Power to facilitate the proper functioning of educational institutions in occupied territories. Israel remains the Occupying Power because it retains effective control in all these areas, and exercises this control by making education difficult or impossible for Palestinians in a variety of ways: blockading, besieging and bombing schools and universities; suspending delivery of books and educational supplies; restricting or barring the movement of students, teachers and researchers to their institutions of learning, as well as to travel abroad for educational purposes. Because of these actions, Israel has deprived hundreds of thousands of Palestinians of their right to education.

Mr. Klein forgets that Arab students at Israeli colleges on average are about 12 percent of the student population. And he ignores that in Israel's years as "occupying power"

"... during the two decades preceding the intifada of the late 1980's, the number of schoolchildren in the territories grew by 102 percent, and the number of classes by 99 percent, though the population itself had grown by only 28 percent. Even more dramatic was the progress in higher education. At the time of the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, not a single university existed in these territories. By the early 1990's, there were seven such institutions, boasting some 16,500 students. Illiteracy rates dropped to 14 percent of adults over age 15, compared with 69 percent in Morocco, 61 percent in Egypt, 45 percent in Tunisia, and 44 percent in Syria."

6) Recognized leaders and prominent intellectuals have compared Israel's treatment of Palestinians to Apartheid in South Africa. Among these are Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and Mairead Maguire [4]. John Dugard, a South African professor of international law, has served as Judge ad hoc on the International Court of Justice and as a Special Rapporteur for both the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights and the International Law Commission.

Logical fallacy, Mt. Klein.
Appeal to Authority

Description of Appeal to Authority
An Appeal to Authority is a fallacy with the following form:

Person A is (claimed to be) an authority on subject S.
Person A makes claim C about subject S.
Therefore, C is true.

Affiliations of the signatories are included for identification purposes only.

CSU Faculty, Staff, and Administrator Endorsements

David Klein
Department of Mathematics
CSU Northridge

Ian Barnard
Department of English/Queer Studies Program
CSU Northridge

Harry Hellenbrand, Provost
CSU Northridge

Edie Pistolesi
Department of Art
CSU Northridge

Jerry Rosen
Department of Mathematics
CSU Northridge

Vida Samiian, Dean
College of Arts and Humanities
CSU Fresno

Sunday, November 6, 2011

UC Davis Jewish Studies Program Presents the Anti-Israel Narrative and Censors Questions

This is the report of a speaker event at the University of California at Davis, hosted not by an anti-Israel group but by the Jewish Studies Program.  It was written by Gail Rubin J.D., co-chair of StandWithUs Davis.  Please e-mail your concerns and comments to the Jewish Studies Program at and to their funders:  the Koret Foundation ,  the Osher Foundation , the Taube Foundation (, and the Posen Foundation (


Some UC Jewish Studies programs seem to be part of the growing problem of anti-Israel and anti-Zionist bias on UC campuses. Consider the lecture sponsored by the UC Davis [UCD] Jewish Studies Program on October 21st.

The lecturer was University of London professor Gilbert Achcar, author of the controversial book, “The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives.” He was introduced by Diane Wolf, current chair of the UCD program, Professor Susan Miller, and founding chair, David Biale. Professor Miller praised Achcar and called his scholarship “courageous.”

Achcar may have been courageous in acknowledging the Holocaust was a uniquely horrifying event directed at Jews and that Palestinian leader Haj Amin al-Husseini’s anti-Semitism and collaboration with Hitler were deplorable. But after these observations, he careened into anti-Zionist, anti-Israel charges and distortions. Despite ample evidence to the contrary, he argued that the Mufti’s Jew-hatred had little influence on Palestinian and Arab hostility to Israel. He dismissed evidence about the cross-fertilization of Muslim anti-Semitism and Nazi-inspired anti-Semitism as hyperbole and charged that Israel exploits the Holocaust and exaggerates the Mufti’s influence only for propaganda purposes.

 More disturbingly, he has argued that the rise of Zionism in 1920, not prejudice, spawned Arab Jew-hatred, essentially accusing Jews of causing anti-Semitism. Indeed, in his book, he excuses the current popularity of the Czarist anti-Semitic forgery, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” in the Arab world, arguing it must be read from an anti-Zionist, not an anti-Semitic, perspective.

Achcar minimized pogroms against and expulsions of Jews in the Arab world after World War II and after Israel’s reestablishment, equating their expulsion with the American internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. He repeated anti-Israel clichés, denying Israel’s right to exist and referring to it as a “settler colonial project” built on “Arab land,” accusing Zionists of "ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians", and downplaying any suggestion of Pan-Arab racism toward the Jewish people.

Despite these tendentious charges, challenging questions were not welcomed during the Q & A.  I was abruptly censored while attempting to establish facts to challenge Mr. Achcar’s skewed conclusion that the Grand Mufti’s anti-Semitism had only a minimal impact on both Jews and Arabs. Professors Miller and Biale angrily told me the questions were insulting and to either stop or leave the room. So much for free speech and scholarly discourse in academia.

Unfortunately, this lecture was not an anomaly. It is symptomatic of attitudes in the UC Davis Jewish Studies Program and elsewhere in the UC system. Approximately 30 Jewish Studies faculty members signed a March 3 letter to the Orange County District Attorney, opposing legal action against the “Irvine 11.” The “Irvine 11” were the Muslim Student Union students who had orchestrated a disruption of a lecture by Israel Ambassador Michael Oren on the UC Irvine campus, in violation of both campus guidelines and the law. The six UCD faculty connected to Jewish/Middle Eastern scholarship who signed that letter are: David Biale; Ari Kelman; Ze’ev Maoz; Susan Miller; Brenda Deen Schildgen; and Diane Wolf.

Yet, these same academics turn a blind eye to campus anti-Semitism. Open letters were submitted to UC President Mark Yudof in June of 2010, highlighting the rise of anti-Semitism throughout the UC system. Some of the signatories included the Simon Wiesenthal Center, CAMERA, StandWithUs, and Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. More than 700 students signed an on-line petition. In September , 2011, more than 5,200 supporters sent another letter to Mr.Yudof, urging him to investigate and take action. Thus far, not one of the UCD professors referenced above has signed on to the letters, nor have they taken action to protect Jewish students from harassment and fear on their own campus. In fact, Emanuel Ringelblum Professor David Biale criticized the decision by the U.S. Office of Civil Rights to extend Title VI protection to Jewish students as “bizarre” because “the Jews are a group with power”.

Blind allegiance to any ideology is dangerous for the free exchange of ideas that is supposed to be the hallmark of a university. It is even more dangerous in the current climate where professors and academic departments encourage anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, and anti- Jewish views and behaviors. Too often, students who express favorable views about Israel are ridiculed and verbally abused. Surely Jewish Studies Departments should ensure that the distortions and misinformation that propel anti-Israel dogmas are exposed and critiqued. People committed to intellectual integrity and the future of Israel and the Jewish people should be concerned about these trends in Jewish Studies Programs.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Do Zionists Help Restore the Tuba-Zangaria Mosque? Yes, Zionists Do

As many of you know, last week a mosque in the Arab village of Tuba-Zangaria in the Galilee was attacked by arsonists, presumably extremist Jews (because of the "price tag" graffiti left at the site). One suspect has been arrested.

Not only is this act repulsive on many levels (and was immediately condemned in the strongest terms by both Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as by Israel's Chief Rabbis), but it also took place in an Arab village whose residents fought alongside the Palmach during Israel's War of Independence, whose young men commonly enlist in the IDF, whose village leaders decided they would not participate in the Arab riots in October 2000, and whose village sports center is named after Yitzhak Rabin.

And just yesterday, Muslim and Christian cemeteries in Jaffa were vandalized with similar graffiti left at the sites of the desecrations.

And while I don't always agree with Bradley Burston, I think his eloquent column in Haaretz about this is completely on the mark.

Those of us who are Jewish have just completed our prayers on the Day of Atonement.  Th
e centerpieces of that day's prayers are the community confessionals, the Vi'dui and the Al Het, in which we all request forgiveness for the sins that, though we may not have committed them ourselves, fall upon us because members of our community did commit them.  This Yom Kippur, the desecration of the mosque of Tuba Zangaria was prominent in my mind during those prayers. 

The "price tag" phenomenon is a dangerous one for Israel in many ways.  These acts are those of vigiliantes who openly challenge the rule of law and the authority of the state of Israel.  Up until now, these attacks have only taken place on the West Bank.  There, they attack not only their neighbors, but also IDF soldiers (on whom, ironically, they depend for their own safety in their West Bank settlements).  They undermine the authority of the state, and they feed into the mostly false stereotypes created by anti-Israel activists, of violent settlers attacking peaceful Palestinian villagers who want nothing more than to live in peace; that false impression creates more international pressure to force Israel to withdraw from the very land which the settlers want to keep for their own.   When these attacks take place within the state of Israel itself, it challenges one of the fundamentals of Israeli society that we proudly hold up as a response to those who maliciously misrepresent Israel's status as a Jewish state-- that Israel's Arab citizens have full political, civil and religious rights equal to the Jewish citizens, and far better than the rights enjoyed by Arabs anywhere else in the Middle East.  If Israel's Arab citizens, especially those who express friendship and support to their Jewish neighbors, are the subject of acts of terror such as this, then it is not only those Arab Israelis who suffer, but the Jews of Israel as well.   

We also make the argument that Israel acts more morally than the Palestinian leadership that turns terrorists into heroes, and that broadcasts an incessant stream of venal anti-Semitic propaganda . And we correctly point out that the terrorists of Hamas, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Islamic Jihad openly celebrate the slaughter of children in their bedrooms,  because "itbach el-Yahud" ("kill the Jew") has been a rallying cry for Arab rejectionists since the days of the Grand Mufti (and can be heard even on the streets of the San Francisco Bay Area) .

It is therefore vital for those of us who support the existence of a Jewish state of Israel, to stand with what we know is the overwhelming majority of Jews in Israel and in the Diaspora against such vile acts done by an extremist minority in our community; even the leadership of the settler movement condemns these terrorists.  Our enemies routinely distort "Zionism" into a hateful caricature; this is an important opportunity for us to stand up for the Zionism that we know and to reclaim it from those who use it as an epithet.

This is not about settlements, nor about borders, nor about negotiations (or lack thereof) between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.  This is about standing with the Israeli citizens of Tuba-Zangaria and elsewhere, just as we stand with Jewish Israelis who have been the victims of religious and political acts of hatred. 

Israel's Declaration of Independence states: 

"WE APPEAL - in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months - to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions."

The people of Tuba-Zangaria answered that appeal in the affirmative. It is time now for us to honor that.

In the spirit of atoning for the sins of others in our community, the Association of Reform Zionists of America, in partnership with the Israel Religious Action Center, is raising funds for the refurbishing of the Tuba mosque.  It's the Zionist thing to do. Please join me in donating.  

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mondoweiss Lies To Diss StandWithUs

Those of you who venture out on the 'net to view some of the "truth-optional" sites commenting on Israel and the Middle East have undoubtedly come across Mondoweiss, one of the darlings of the "see, even the Jews hate Israel" set.  Like many of these sites, it claims to be a "news" site covering developments from a "progressive Jewish perspective".  And like many of those sites, there is no hint of anything except a steady diet of anti-Israel diatribe, as well as links to sites such as If Americans Knew (run by Alison Weir, one of David Duke's favorite Israel haters-- isn't it great how nice progressive Jews can agree with a neo-Nazi about Israel?), Jewish Voice for Peace sites, and even the site of Richard Silverstein, whose method of responding to any challenge to his belief system is to throw a tantrum of ad-hominem attacks.

Now Philip Weiss has chosen to get all verklempt over a quote criticizing Jewish Voice for Peace and the frankly anti-Semitic Sabeel for wrapping their anti-Zionist ideology in feel-good wrappings of "peace".  He devotes an entire post to trying to refute the charge that another fake "peace" campaign on transit systems in the San Francisco Bay Area has the underlying goal of the elimination of the Jewish state of Israel.  Here was my quote in J Weekly:

"“Though their ads suggest they are in favor of ‘peace,’ their website explicitly calls for the elimination of the state of the Jewish people,” Dr. Mike Harris said on behalf of StandWithUs/S.F. Voice for Israel. “They actually oppose peace between a Jewish state of Israel and an Arab state of Palestine.”

Weiss seems to take great umbrage at the suggestion that JVP and Sabeel want to eliminate the existence of a Jewish state.  He quotes extensively from the "Build Peace" site referenced on these ads (which actually redirects to JVP's "Two Peoples One Future" site).  He quotes rather quite extensively from that site to justify his position. And conveniently chooses to leave out the two sentences at the crux of the matter.

Under the question of "What would a comprehensive peace between Israel and Palestine look like?" their website repeats the fiction that has been promoted by anti-Zionist groups as a means of ending Jewish rights to national self-determination:  

"A comprehensive peace would also include recognition of the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. That starts with Israel’s recognition of its role in the expulsion of refugees and creation of the refugee crisis in 1948, and public acceptance of resolution 194 and the right of refugees to return as it legally agreed at the time Israel joined the United Nations in 1949."

Two big lies, both of which are quite relevant to the statement that they want to eliminate the Jewish state.

Certainly for descendants of the refugees created by the Arab war on the Jews of Palestine, no such right exists.  Anti-Zionists try to point to UN Resolution 194 as justifying their statement-- yet resolution 194 (a nonbinding resolution of the General Assembly in 1948) states the following about refugees:

"Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.
Instructs the Conciliation Commission to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation, and to maintain close relations with the Director of the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees and, through him, with the appropriate organs and agencies of the United Nations;"

Nothing about "rights", and absolutely nothing to justify the exceptional status given the descendants of Palestinian refugees by the UN, which allows all descendants of the 1947-8 Arab refugees to claim refugee status and live off the international community forever. By contrast, the equal number of Jews who became refugees from Arab countries, as a result of the decision of their governments to expel and persecute them, were given virtually no assistance at all. 

The lie perpetuated about Israel's admission to the UN-- that it required Israel to repatriate the population that had made war upon it-- disintegrates upon reading the text of the resolution admitting Israel to the UN: 

Having received the report of the Security Council on the application of Israel for membership in the United Nations,Noting that, in the judgment of the Security Council, Israel is a peace-loving State and is able and willing to carry out the obligations contained in the Charter,
Noting that the Security Council has recommended to the General Assembly that it admit Israel to membership in the United Nations,
Noting furthermore the declaration by the State of Israel that it "unreservedly accepts the obligations of the United Nations Charter and undertakes to honour them from the day when it becomes a Member of the United Nations",
Recalling its resolutions of 29 November 1947 and 11 December 1948 and taking note of the declarations and explanations made by the representatives of the Government of Israel before the Ad Hoc Political Committee in respect of the implementation of the said resolutions,
The General AssemblyActing in discharge of its functions under Article 4 of the Charter and rule 125 of its rules of procedure,
1. Decides that Israel is a peace-loving State which accepts the obligations contained in the Charter and is able and willing to carry out those obligations;
2. Decides to admit Israel to membership in the United Nations.

Yes, the resolution RECALLS Resolution 194 (adopted on 11 December 1948); and it notes the explanations of the Government of Israel, and therefore decides that Israel is admitted. No contingencies, no amendments, no probationary period.  Period.  

Why is this, indeed, the heart of the issue?  Because the Arabs have recognized for decades that the refugees were useful as a political weapon against the right of the Jewish people to national self-determination.  Nasser recognized this back in 1961:  "If the refugees return to Israel, Israel will cease to exist." The demand for the "right" of 4th generation descendants of these refugees to return is no different now than it was then. Calling for that is calling for the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

I don't know why Weiss is so concerned about this; after all, I haven't seen anything he's written that actually supports Israel as the state of the Jewish people. So I don't know why he'd be upset at the claim that his anti-Israel friends at JVP or Sabeel are being misrepresented.  Of course, Mondoweiss also published a post last month claiming that they needed to raise funds because their website was "under Israeli attack", then after their fraud was exposed, deleted pages holding both the fraud and their admission of it.  So their veracity is questionable in any case.

Therefore, allow me to issue a simple invitation.  If any of the leadership of JVP or Sabeel want to refute my statement, and endorse a true "two state solution"--  peace between a Jewish state of Israel and an Arab state of Palestine-- please feel free to send a comment.  I'll post it.  Philip Weiss can even link to it.  

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ami Isseroff

This site has been quiet for the past few months.  In part that's because of lack of time on my part; in part it's a major hat tip to the folks over at Pro Israel Bay Bloggers who have been so timely (and so effective) in posting commentary about our little hub of delegitimization that there wasn't anything for me to add.

But I learned last week of the death of Ami Isseroff, and his life and work should be memorialized.  Many of you have never heard of Ami.  But in his own way, this physically small man has left a giant impression on many of us who advocate for Israel online.

 I made his acquaintance when, shortly after this blog was launched, we received an e-mail from Ami who had found our new site online.  Ami was trying to organize a network of pro-Israel bloggers, and also trying to teach us how to be more effective in setting up our blogs to be more visible online.  I learned about search engine optimization, about how and why to set up links to other sites, and also about Ami's brand of proud Zionism-- he loved his country, he wanted peace but was realistic about the attitudes of the Palestinian leadership, and he didn't tolerate extremists whether on our side or theirs.  He also didn't tolerate sloppy thinking and in our online discussion group was not hesitant to critique his own government's policies and inadequate (too often inept) public relations, not to mention our own contributions to the discussion if he felt they were unsound.

But Ami's achievement was what he left behind-- a veritable online encyclopedia of Israel and Zionism, .  It has been an invaluable resource to me-- every time I needed information on any topic related to the history of modern Zionism or the state of Israel, it was there.  In better times, he had also created, a site organized by Arabs and Jews committed to peaceful coexistence.  And he wrote, with amazing frequency and clarity, distributing his posts (as well as mine and others from our worldwide network) on the Yahoo group ZNN (which stood for Zionist News Network, something our enemies would accuse almost any US news outlet of being). 

I met Ami in 2009 on my most recent trip to Israel.  His poor health, due to a congenital heart defect, prevented him from traveling easily so I came to Rehovot to meet him.  Ami in person was quite different from Ami online.  Though an Israeli for decades, he still retained the accent (and attitude) of his New York area upbringing, not hesitating to be profane when the topic under discussion justified it.  We spent most of an afternoon talking about how to be effective in activism and advocacy.  

Ami never lived to see his ultimate goal-- peace between Palestinians and a Jewish state of Israel.  Those of us who learned from, and were inspired by, Ami will continue our efforts with our eyes on that prize.  And if we live to see that day ourselves, I know that we will be thinking of Ami.

Ami Isseroff z"l, 1946-2011

Monday, April 4, 2011

Goldstone Recants; Who's Next?

It seemed like an April Fool's Day hoax at first:  Richard Goldstone admitted in print that the most serious charge in the UN Report that bears his name was false-- the IDF, he now admits, did not have a policy of targeting civilians in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. He also, in an understatement of mammoth proportions, noted that "asking Hamas to investigate [itself] may have been a mistaken enterprise".  He blithely apologizes for taking the word of Hamas at face value in making the determination that Israel deliberately attacked civilians in Gaza, claiming "We had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion."

I don't know whether Goldstone's conscience finally caught up to him, or what else motivated him to recognize what Israel's supporters had known from the start-- that the entire process was going to be about as honest as a game of 3 Card Monte; that his colleagues on the commission had determined the verdict before the "investigation" even started; that the very concept that he could conduct an impartial inquiry of Hamas in Gaza was ludicrous; and-- of course-- that Israel was not targeting civilians in Gaza, while Hamas was attempting to commit acts of mass murder against Israeli civilians.  Perhaps in his recent speaking tour of the US he encountered enough people who used the report as a weapon to delegitimize "apartheid Israel" , or to support the BDS movement whose goal is the end of Jewish statehood.  

But it got me to thinking-- what if this admission by Goldstone sets off a chain reaction of other conscience-clearing retractions, and admissions that Israel was right all along?  Imagine the stories (unfortunately, these are, for the moment, still fictional):

"We really thought that the occupation was a legitimate excuse for stabbing children through the hearts and slitting their throats.  And we thought that we really shouldn't hold the Palestinian extremists subject to our own culturally-biased standards, because as a population under occupation they can't be expected to have any shred of human decency whatsoever.  We had no evidence to draw any other reasonable conclusion."

President Obama Admits That Apartments Are Not The Main Obstacle to Peace

"If I had known then what I know now, I would not have insisted publicly that Israel freeze all building across the Green Line as a precondition for negotiations.  I thought that if Israel would stop building apartments in Jerusalem, then the Palestinian Authority would be willing to stop its media broadcasts that demonize Jews, glorify terror, incite murder, and reject the existence of Israel entirely. I had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion."

Palestinian Authority Retracts Its Statements Denying Jewish History in the Land of Israel

Palestinian Authority Deputy Minister of Information Almutawaqel Taha said "Nobody had ever suggested to us that the Jews came from this land.  I mean, it's not like they have any historical tradition of ties to Jerusalem, which we have been revering as our historic capital for at least, oh, 30 or 40 years.  Or any museums with ancient artifacts such as coins or tablets, or any holy sites-- UNESCO said they were all mosques, so how were we to know differently?  We had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion."

Of course, not all of the possible acknowledgements might be positive, but at least they would add clarity: 

Ahmedinejad Admits He Wants A Nuclear Weapon and To Start a Second Holocaust

"Sure, I can admit it now.  I know the international community won't treat me the way they did that dog Gaddafi.  They're even afraid to speak up about my lackey-- er, loyal ally-- Assad in Syria. As long as you're willing to murder your own people in cold blood at ground level rather than bomb them from the air, the West will steer clear.  
The Americans and Europeans make noise about trying to stop me, but they're not willing to do what is necessary.  I have no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion."


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Itamar: a Poem by Matt White

Matt White, a student in Tikvah; The Zionist Voice at UC Berkeley wrote this poem . It debuted March16 at a candlelight vigil in memory of murdered Fogel family of Itamar, Israel. We are honored and humbled to re-print it here.


thank you to Suheir Hammad for your words to inspire me
Sweet and acidic like a perfect grapefruit
a blood orange

Gentlemen, let us bless
“May it be your will, Hashem, our G-d,
that there be no distress, grief,
or lament
on this day
of our contentment”

Red rooftop white wall blind sunlight bright
soft skies in haze on Shomron
hilltops and pine groves dot this
village cautious advanced upon by shrubs and bushes
fennel, sage, thistle, za’atar
shimmy in a circle around Itamar
cactus soldiers in a wild common battalion
fragrant handful clutch soil realization belonging
Homeland herbs

Desert wind you carry the spices of Solomon
Desert sand you twirl and strangle
Desert veil you shroud a beloved
Desert eyes made now of glass

Shabbat queen
Shabbat mother Shabbat bride
Her garments torn on jujube thorn
Her gullet roars no sound to mourn
Dare break the silence day seven shorn

Children are dead no hero was born
Massacre you shalom ’aleikhem
Butcher you yedid nefesh
Shabbat woman
Cannot wail cannot tear her hair
Her sleep was robbed her bed invaded her joy drained of fluid her

Prayers jewels treasures nightmares
Sleep is robbed of Shabbat woman she cannot
Sleep again cannot give herself in
To rest cannot
Sleep no more
Crystal shrapnel on challah cover

How can she seek to give comfort
because Jew father
in bed with Zionist entity baby girl
Her purple tiny custom-made hoodie embraces his
blue jacket with white striped sleeves
trying to sleep
Because in her three months she
could but cry out that she
demanded to grow
can never say a first word because
slashed throats don’t speak
they only bleed
only bleed

Shabbat woman how can she seek to give comfort
mother is cut open on the bathroom floor
because she hid her hair in her tikhel for the world to not see
her grace
just as in Ramallah
a doppelganger hides her hair in her
hijab for the world to not see
her beauty

because sour iron ruby pool surrounds and soaks this crumpled kippah
because preteen boy child is slapped down on his back
with holes in his flesh
a criminal for being indigenous
did you know that a heart can boil

did you know that doves have dirty infected wings
that three year old has a knife enter his heart twice to stop it
that three year old neck must be racist
because it was designed white
that three year old neck was hacked apart
vocal cords already
know how to dare speak
"am yisrael khai”

because it ain’t no disgusting accident
ain’t no human shield
ain’t no clear and present danger
ain’t no violent threat
ain’t no combatant in a war which has sides
ain’t no terrorist with bombs as a breastplate

Shabbat woman what power have you
against Gush Katif evacuation catastrophe
against orange groves being chopped down and used as space for
Hamas rocket launchers
against a retreat with hands held steady above our heads
that translated into metal rain for a decade in the life of southern Israel
that introduced civilians to the words Katyusha, Kassam, Grad
what power have you to weep
when refugees from ethnic cleansing
find themselves converted to corpses in the wilderness of Itamar

Shabbat woman please try to caress the face of
the survivor Yishai
because he’s two years old
and he has blood caked and spattered on his legs
and he screams for his parents to wake up
because he screams and cannot be quieted
try to caress his face
because his mother will never again be able to do just that

tell Tamar and Roi that there is no justification for terrorism
that their lives are a miracle
that were they found they would have been murdered too

a family of Jews

Dalaal al-Mughrabi
hijacks a bus in the second week of March 1978 Israel
murders thirty seven
murders from them thirteen children
murders credibility to the Palestinian cause

and in the second week of March 2011 Israel
while Itamar weeps until salt claws at its eyelids
al-Bireh devotes
its largest town square
to Dalaal al-Mughrabi
to her name
to her memory
to her hate
and the children of the family Fogel
are stabbed in the heart again and again

Salam Fayyad
Mahmoud Abbas
you whisper in my ear that you want peace
you tell me on your government-controlled TV idiot box bullshit that you want peace
My peace has no knives
My peace has no shrouding of the map of Israel
My peace has no networks broadcasting glorifying a previous batch of Itamar murderers
My peace has no political party of my own design claiming responsibility for murder
My peace has no Fatah lies
My peace gauges no party as moderate just because the alternative is worse
My peace has no incitement to murder
My peace has no terrorists

To the people the world has sent into damnation such to be “settlers”
who CNN and Al-Jazeera would rather call “settlers” than human beings
who Western media can’t see as innocent victims in their homeland but rather the fact that they had it coming to them
that this was an “alleged” terror attack

People who stand in defiance to a world that no longer cares about slaughtered Jews

I dare you to live

And I shriek out to the lone few of you who
pour tar and kerosene and feces on peace negotiations
and you’re craven enough to do it
in the name of Judaism and Israel and Zionism

I shriek out to you
My Judaism has no reprisal attacks
My Israel has no threatening the lives of innocent Palestinian townsfolk
My Zionism has no smashing car windshields
No invasion of property to throw stones in a third racist intifada
No demonstrations with signs saying “death to Arabs”
My Zionism burns with pride and kisses the cheek of the
Civilian in the neighboring town of Awarta
who speaks in Arabic
and declares the injustice of killing babies

Give me your hand as I look into your eyes I don’t care what color they are because to me they are beautiful they are gorgeous because they and I thirst to be loved my Muslim Christian agnostic atheist Arab raceless brothers and sisters

Palestinian people I want to dance to the beat of your darbuka
I beg you to listen when I say
My peace has no pastries and candy passed out on the streets of Rafah
To celebrate an infant having the breath sliced out of her

Hamas of Gaza your candy tastes like Iranian warheads
Your candy tastes like shells and mortars
Your candy tastes like a crown of thorns
Your candy tastes like charred bones and howling blood
Your candy tastes like the murder of my people
And your residents tell me joy is a “natural response” to the murder of Israelis

I’m sick I’m so sick I want to vomit I surf on waves of nausea I
spill my words like Tishbi wine into internationally deaf ears I
can’t process my thoughts when the United Nations is controlled by maniacs I
feel so abandoned when evil tyranny anti-Semitism can thrive

I light my candle for Rabbi Udi
for Ruti
because they now have no tikhel no blue jacket with white striped sleeves
because they now are clothed in black and white tallitot

I light my candle for Yoav
for Elad
for baby Hadas
because there are three tiny coffins in Givat Shaul
that the world doesn’t give a fuck to see

I light my candle because nobody is going to do it for me

I don’t want no houses built in their honor

I don’t want martyrdom to be answered with human growth I don’t want martyrdom to be used for political purposes even if it makes us seem weak maybe we don’t always have to have muscles maybe the desiccated byproduct of a jihadist genocidal mentality can’t be in dialogue with concrete maybe I want their souls done tangible justice I’ve given up on humans for the time being I want to see olive trees and rotem flower bloom in their name I want to see pomegranates fresh fragrant in their memory I want to see lemon blossoms sticky with nectar in their love I want to see the children in Nablus and Jenin given books explaining with truth how we’re cousins in genes and phantasms all of us and how resplendent this friendship alone on our ship our ship bamidbar in the wilderness of our land isolated vessel how children have futures in medicine art healing for all the times they were told to strap magazines pregnant with bullets across their small frail chests and denied life to others and in so doing were abused denied dreams themselves because knife tangible knife silver blade cutting throats equals knife invisible indoctrination hungry devouring brains intellect hope future washed away in milk in chalk in plasma screen violets scream in suicide

I hold gingerly between fingers limp a natural growth
With a drop of blood
A white cyclamen
With a drop of blood
I’m scrubbing I’m scrubbing oh G-d they’re trying to make out of me
Lady Macbeth
I scrub and scrub until my hands fall off and I go insane

The dolls children left on the floor and did not tidy up
Are frozen with their beatific smiles
They cannot play without a partner

Shabbat queen
Shabbat mother Shabbat bride
Shabbat woman
your eyes
because next Shabbat
I want peace

Friday, February 18, 2011

What Is It Really About, Israel or Human Rights?

(cross posted here)

Anti-Israel activists often frame their arguments around phrases such as “the universal application of human rights.” And if you oppose their definition of human rights, then you are obviously not someone who should be tolerated in civil society.

But it doesn’t take much scratching below the surface to discover the ugly reality under this patina of progressivism. Take, for example, the current anti-Israel road show called “Never Again for Anyone”. As you could guess from the name, it attempts to conflate the current situation of Hamas-ruled Gaza with that of the Jews of Europe during the Holocaust. They have even found a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz whose anti-Zionism is so deep that he is the headliner for this circus. Reports from Rutgers and DePaul Universities document that this event featured denial of Jewish ties to the land of Israel, praise of Hamas, and opposition to any peace between Israel and the Palestinians.  Any reader of this site has seen films of the Holocaust. And while nobody should claim that life in Hamas-stan is peaceful and easy, we also keep hearing from the extremists that Hamas was the democratically elected government of the Palestinians. So perhaps those who voted Hamas have discovered that their choices have consequences. After all, Hamas’ platform is jihad against Israel, now and forever. And Israel has the right to take steps, such as a naval blockade, to prevent Hamas from freely importing long range rockets (and worse) from its Iranian patrons to carry out that jihad. Despite that, I don’t think we saw scenes like this from Auschwitz:

On campuses, it’s a similar story. Once again, the Hamas position of elimination of Israel is supported as a “human rights” campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel and only Israel. Yet if it was about human rights, then common sense would indicate that those concerned about human rights attack the worst violators first. China's use of forced labor and the abrogation of human rights of its own citizens on a scale measuring into the tens of millions doesn't register for these "human rights activists”. Saudi Arabia's treatment of women as less than second class citizens, not to mention the utter lack of any political or religious freedom, is irrelevant. (US-Chna trade was 15 times more than US-Israel trade in 2010; US-Saudi trade was 35% more).  And so on, ad nauseum, around the world.

Now if you approach the faux “human rights” activists with this, they will immediately claim that you are changing the subject. That depends. Is the subject Israel, or is the subject human rights? If the subject is Israel, and only Israel, and the object is its elimination, then what does that say about “human rights”? If the subject is human rights and only Israel is under scrutiny.... well, it says the same thing. And what it says is quite ugly.

You can see this ugliness displayed at colleges when Israeli speakers—and only Israeli speakers-- come to campus. Last year, the Muslim Student Union at UC  Irvine orchestrated interruptions of Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren—and the leaders of this now face charges.
Last month, an Israeli who had served in the IDF, speaking as an individual, was subjected to the same treatment at Hampshire College;

(Read a full report on this event from Citizen Wald) I should note that in both cases the administrations of these institutions thoroughly condemned this behavior; at Irvine, the MSU was subjected to a penalty as well, though many felt that they should have been banned from campus for much longer than one semester.

In Scotland earlier this month, Ishmail Khaldi, an Israeli Arab who is an advisor to Foreign Minister Lieberman and who was formerly Deputy Consul General for the State of Israel in the San Francisco consulate, attempted to speak at Edinburgh University in Scotland; anti-Israel thugs took over the meeting and prevented him from speaking. Can anyone recall similar treatment of Chinese or Saudi speakers on campuses?

In the end, though, it comes down to one simple question: do you support peace between a Jewish state of Israel and an Arab state of Palestine? All 3 of those speakers answer yes to that question. Those who prevented them from speaking, and those who put on obscenities such as “Never Again for Anyone”, will answer “no”. They insist that of all the peoples in the world, the only one that is not to be allowed to exercise the right of national self-determination in its indigenous homeland is the Jewish people.

Human rights, anyone?