Saturday, March 13, 2010

French Jews sous pression.


by Isi Leibler


Over the past decade the status of the 500,000-600,000 French Jews, who constitute the third largest Diaspora community, has continued to deteriorate.

This can be attributed to a combination of the dramatic increase in the numbers and power of Islamic extremists, the revival of indigenous anti-Semitism and consistent French support of the Arabs in the Middle East conflict since the Charles de Gaulle era.

In recent years, burgeoning hostility emanating primarily from radical Muslims has led to increasing desecration and bombing of Jewish sites and synagogues, as well as violent altercations on the streets climaxing with the 2006 kidnapping, brutal torture and murder of Ilan Halimi, a young Parisian Jew. Hostility has become so pronounced that Jews are now warned not to wear kippot in public even in central thoroughfares such as the Avenue des Champs Elysees in Paris.

The media is obscenely hostile to Israel. It was French TV in 2000 which initially launched the Muhammad al-Dura blood libel, a fake video manufactured to portray IDF soldiers deliberately killing a young Palestinian boy. It generated enormous waves of global revulsion against the Jewish state and paved the way for the Goldstone Report.

Although traditionally inclined to vote for left-wing parties, Jews overwhelmingly supported the presidential candidacy of Nicolas Sarkozy who they regarded as a friend.

Sarkozy, who was baptized to Roman Catholicism as a young child, has Jewish roots. His mother was of Salonikan Sephardi Jewish descent and only last month one of his grandsons, whose mother is Jewish, underwent a traditional circumcision. As minister of the interior, Sarkozy ruthlessly suppressed Muslim violence and introduced a zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitic crimes.

The vast majority of Jews were therefore delighted when he was elected president, anticipating that he would usher in a new era for Jews.

Their expectations were further raised shortly after the election when Sarkozy accepted an invitation to be guest of honor at the annual banquet of the Jewish representative body, CRIF, where he reiterated his warmth toward Israel, pledging never to shake hands with any leader who refused to recognize the Jewish state and called for the introduction of compulsory Holocaust courses in the curriculum of the French educational system.

THE EUPHORIA soon subsided. Although unquestionably a marked improvement from the open hostility toward Israel of the Chirac regime, French foreign policy soon drifted back to its traditional pro-Arab stance. The new foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, who like his British counterpart is of Jewish origin, is clearly no friend of Israel. At the last UN General Assembly, France joined those European states which endorsed the resolution in favor of the Goldstone Report. More recently, Sarkozy proclaimed "I will rein in Israel" and described the assassination of the Hamas terrorist in Dubai as "murder."

Yet, some Jewish leaders are hesitant to write off Sarkozy, noting that he has a close personal relationship with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and has displayed an excellent track record on Iran. In what may prove to be wishful thinking, they predict that when the chips are down, Sarkozy would never betray Israel.

However, in stark contrast to their British counterparts, French Jewish leaders in recent years have never hesitated in protesting and mounting effective pro-Israel demonstrations whenever they considered that their government was applying double standards or behaving unjustly toward Israel.

Former CRIF president Roger Cukierman set the tone when he organized an impressive march by tens of thousands of Jews and supporters of Israel through the streets of Paris in protest of the anti-Israeli policy of the Chirac government during the last intifada.

Although some attribute the courageous approach of French Jewish leaders to the ongoing memory of the Holocaust, the ethnic composition of the community is the more likely contributing factor.

Many of the older Ashkenazi Jews have become acculturated and drifted away from Jewish life. Jews originating from North Africa now comprise approximately 70 percent of the Jewish community. They take pride in their ethnic origin and even many of the nonobservant retain some of the Jewish customs of their parents. Their attachment to tradition is exemplified by the presence of more than 100 Parisian kosher restaurants in which the majority of clients do not wear kippot. Thirty years ago it was difficult to find a kosher restaurant in the city.

THEIR COMMITMENT to Israel is even more impressive. Astonishingly, approximately 300,000 French Jews, half of the entire community, visit Israel annually either on vacation or to visit friends and families. That says it all. As insurance or for psychological reasons, many also purchase properties here, many of which regrettably remain empty for much of the year.

In the course of a recent visit to Paris, I met a cross section of French Jews, including Richard Prasquier, the current president of CRIF, who like his predecessor Cukierman is an Ashkenazi Holocaust survivor. Both have children residing in Israel and represent a breed of dedicated Jewish Diaspora lay leaders who, alas, are becoming an endangered species.

Prasquier waxed lyrical about the impressive 25th annual CRIF dinner over which he presided with the participation of more than 800 guests, including President Sarkozy and 23 ministers as well as political leaders, ambassadors and representatives from the Catholic Church and Islam. Prime Minister Francois Fillon was the principal speaker and the event was broadcast live on French TV, generating discussion concerning anti-Semitism, Islamic extremism, relations with Israel and the Iranian threat.

Prasquier takes particular pride in the dialogue between Jews and French Muslims which, unlike American interfaith extravaganzas, are never conditional on prior "compromises" over Israel or involve the participation of Muslims whose moderation is questionable.

Prasquier expressed great concern about the burgeoning hatred and violence against Jews which had steeply increased since Operation Cast Lead. However, he insisted that it was incorrect to describe France as an anti-Semitic country, noting that most French leaders are genuinely trying to curtail traditional anti-Semitism.

Recognizing that most French Jews would not be making aliya in the immediate future, he believes that CRIF's primary obligations must be to strengthen the French Jewish community.

Although French Jews are the most committed Zionist Diaspora community, there are nevertheless numerous extremist anti-Zionist Jews making their presence felt. They are lauded by the general media, but shunned by mainstream Jews, the vast majority of whom proudly associate themselves with the Jewish state.

Most Jews are extremely depressed and foresee a bleak future for their children in France. They recognize that anti-Semitic forces are gaining strength and greater political influence. Despite the banning of the Islamic veil and intensified efforts to crush Islamic extremism, integration of Muslims into French society has until now been a failure. Besides, if the low birth rate of indigenous French citizens and the prolific demographic expansion of the existing 6 million Muslims continue, there is every likelihood that in 50 years France would become a predominantly Muslim nation.

In this environment, while some Jews will be immigrating to Canada, in the long-term French Jews represent the main source for future aliya and Israeli society will certainly benefit from the input of such high-caliber immigrants.


Isi Leibler

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


The Corrie Circus is back in town.


by  Judy Balint


As the Rachel Corrie circus comes around yet again--this time in the form of her parents demanding unspecified compensation from Israel's Defense Ministry through legal proceedings in a Haifa court--it's worth taking a look back at the bizarre and tragic circumstances of Corrie's death.

This is a reprint of a 2008 article I published in
frontpagemag about the Corrie case:

The news that a senior Islamic Jihad terrorist, Shadi Sukiya, was captured by an elite anti-terror unit of the Israel Defense Forces while hiding out in the Jenin offices of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) did not make a ripple in the flood of coverage from the Iraqi front in late March 2003.

Just eleven days earlier, on March 16, the ISM did make world headlines when Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old ISM member, was run over by an Israeli bulldozer in Rafah and died of her injuries.

Maybe the fact that a "peace organization" was found to be defending terrorists twice in a two-week period will factor into the inquiry called by several Washington state congressional representatives into the circumstances of Rachel Corrie's death.

With the fifth anniversary of Corrie's death having just passed us, only one thing remains certain about the events of March 16: Corrie died in Rafah, on the southern edge of the Gaza Strip, under very questionable circumstances.

The questions remain: Is Israel responsible for Corrie's death, or do the doctors at the Arab hospital where she was taken still alive after the accident bear any responsibility? What about the ISM that organizes protests in a closed military zone and encourages its members to play cat and mouse among the tanks and bulldozers? Or the Arabs who invite the "internationals" to risk their lives in a war zone? How she died, exactly where she passed her last moments and who should take the blame for Rachel Corrie's death are questions that demand answers.

The inconsistencies in eyewitness testimony raise doubts about the simplistic conclusions drawn ever since the event.

By all accounts, Rachel Corrie was one of a group of protesters attempting to disrupt the work of two IDF bulldozers leveling ground to detonate explosives in an area rife with terrorist activity. The bulldozers moved to a different area to avoid the protesters, and Corrie became separated from the group. Some of the agitators stood with a banner, while Corrie picked up a bullhorn and yelled slogans at the driver encased in the small cabin of the dozer. This went on for several hours on the afternoon of March 16. It's the kind of activity favored by the young pro-Palestinian types who make up the ISM.

There wasn't enough action for Corrie. According to fellow Evergreen State College student, Joseph Smith, 21, who was at the site, Corrie dropped her bullhorn and sat down in front of one of the bulldozers. She fully expected that the driver would stop just in front of her. "We were horribly surprised," Smith told me by phone from Rafah the day after the incident. "They had been careful not to hurt us. They'd always stopped before," he said.

As the dozer plowed forward heaping up a pile of dirt and sand, Corrie scrambled up the pile to sit on the top. Smith says she lost her footing as the bulldozer made the earth move beneath her feet. She got pulled down, he says. "The driver lost sight of her and continued forward. Then, without lifting the blade he reversed and Rachel was underneath the mid-section of the dozer, she wasn't run over by the tread."

Capt. Jacob Dellal of the IDF spokespersons office confirms what Smith says about the driver: he lost sight of Rachel. Inside the cab, some six feet off the ground, visibility is very restricted. The protesters should have known that and kept within the driver's line of sight to avoid getting hurt, Dellal asserts.

The strange thing about this part of the story is the discrepancy over the photos given to the press and posted on several pro-Arab websites.

As Smith describes to me his version of events, I ask about the series of photos printed in an Arab newspaper I picked up the morning after the incident, in Jerusalem's Old City. "They aren't of the actual incident," he states firmly. "We'd been there for three hours already, we were tired, we already had a lot of pictures."

Yet these are the pictures used on the ISM website to document the before and after of Rachel's interaction with the bulldozer. The same pictures are featured as a photo-essay on the site of Electronic Intifada, where they're even attributed to Joseph Smith.

There are several shots of the back of a woman with a blond ponytail facing a bulldozer. She's standing in an open field, wearing an orange fluorescent jacket, holding a megaphone.

Even Michael Shaik, the ISM media coordinator at the time, wouldn't confirm that these are pictures of Corrie taken the day she died. "I'm fairly sure they're of the incident," he tells me by phone from his Bethlehem office. In the same conversation, Shaik asks me not to contact Joe, Greg or Tom, the Rafah ISM eyewitnesses again directly: "They're still in trauma."

The pictures should have raised all kinds of questions to photo editors, but all the major newspapers and wire services chose to run the photos regardless. If there are pictures of Rachel before and after, why didn't the same photographer consider it important to document the act of the bulldozer running her down?

Where is the mound of earth Rachel clambered up and was buried in? The woman shown lying bleeding from her nose and mouth is lying on a flat piece of ground.

So, Corrie was either knocked down by the dozer, or fell in front of it. ISMers assume that she was intentionally run over, but there's no proof that was the driver's intent.

The real issue is, was Rachel alive when she was taken by Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance to Martyr Mohammed Yousef An Najar Hospital? In other words, where did she die? Were adequate efforts made to save her in the hospital?

Again, there are conflicting stories. Joseph Smith tells me in a telephone interview the day after the tragedy, "She died in the hospital or on the way to the hospital." CNN also reported that Rachel died there. (Israeli bulldozer runs over 23-year-old woman. CNN, Monday, March 17, 2003)

In his account posted on, ISMer Tom Dale has a slightly different story. On March 17 he writes: "I ran for an ambulance, she was gasping and her face was covered in blood from a gash cutting her face from lip to cheek. She was showing signs of brain hemorrhaging. She died in the ambulance a few minutes later of massive internal injuries."

But Dr. Ali Mussa, director of Martyr Mohammed Yousef An Najar Hospital where Corrie was taken, seems confused. On the day of the event, Dr. Mussa tells AP Gaza reporter Ibrahim Barzak that Rachel died in the hospital. (American Killed in Gaza. AP. March 16, 2003)

One week later, in a telephone interview, Dr. Mussa states definitively to me that Rachel died at the scene, "in the soil," as he puts it. The main cause of death was suffocation, Mussa asserts. There were no signs of life, no heartbeat or pulse when she arrived at the hospital, he says. Mussa states that Rachel's ribs were fractured, a fact determined by X-rays.

Doesn't quite jive with the photo essay on the pages of the Electronic Intifada website for March 16, 2003. (Photo story: Israeli bulldozer driver murders American peace activist by Nigel Parry and Arjan El Fassed, The Electronic Intifada, 16 March 2003.)

A caption under one photo of doctors leaning over a female patient reads: Rachel arrived in the Emergency Room at 5:05 p.m and doctors scrambled to save her. By 5:20 p.m, she was gone. Ha'aretz newspaper reported that Dr. Ali Mussa, a doctor at Al Najar, stated that the cause of death was skull and chest fractures. Dr. Mussa told me he was one of the treating physicians, yet he alone maintains that Rachel was dead before she was put into the ambulance.

To further complicate matters, on that same website, a report from the Palestine Monitor is cited. Here, the writer says that Rachel fractured her arms, legs and skull. She was transferred to hospital, where she later died, says this report.

Just who is Dr. Ali Mussa? Clearly a man in favor with the Palestine Authority hierarchy. Dr. Mussa's views are aired on the official website of the PA's Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation: (January 27, 2003)

There, Dr. Mussa accuses Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's "terrorist government" of deliberately killing Palestinian children in Rafah.

A few days after the incident, ISM Media Coordinator Shaik tells me by phone from Rafah that three ISMers, Tom, Alice and Greg were in the ambulance with Rachel. She died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, says Michael.

But Greg Schnabel, 28, who is quoted in numerous wire service and newspaper stories, never says he witnessed the death of his comrade in the ambulance. In his account published a few days later on the ISM website, he carefully states that she died twenty minutes after arriving at the hospital.

What happened to Rachel's body after her death? Depends whom you ask. Dr. Mussa says it was kept for 24 hours at the hospital before a Red Crescent ambulance transported it to the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, via the border where an Israeli ambulance took over. l Shaik says "we lost track of it (her body) after she died." Three ISMers tried to escort the body, but only one was permitted on the ambulance on the Israeli side. According to his account, the ambulance drove straight to the Israeli Forensic Institute at Abu Kabir, where an autopsy was performed. The Israelis are trying to say she died from a blow to the head by a rock, Shaik recounts.

Speaking about the autopsy, one of Rachel's ISM trainers, Iowa native LeAnne Clausen, a fieldworker for the Christian Peacemaker Team based in Beit Sahour, tells me: "The general sentiment within ISM is that the Israelis are trying to suggest perhaps Rachel was on drugs."

In reality, IDF spokesperson Dellal says that initial Israeli investigation results indicate that the cause of death was most likely a blow to the head and chest by a blunt object, possibly a chunk of cement dug up by the bulldozer.

In keeping with ISM sympathies, Rachel received a shaheed (martyr) procession in Rafah, the day after her death. But here again, there's confusion between reality and photo op. Some accounts noted that her coffin draped in an American flag was paraded through the streets. Yet a picture on the site of her college town's peace movement, the Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace, shows Arab women holding a coffin covered by a Palestinian flag with the caption: Palestinian funeral for Rachel.

Confusion and obfuscation seem to be a trademark of the ISM. In May 2002, a number of ISMers raced past Israeli soldiers into the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, where dozens of Palestinian terrorists had holed up to evade capture by the IDF outside. After an agreement was reached, the ISM members refused to leave the church, holding up the solution. Then they charged that they were mistreated by clergy, who claimed the ISMers desecrated the church by smoking and drinking alcohol.

Another revealing ISM action took place shortly before the Bethlehem incident, when a number of protesters managed to make their way past IDF barricades into Yasser Arafat's Ramallah compound to protect the terrorist leader.

Strange, given the fact that most ISMers are avowed anarchists decrying any kind of governmental authority. Corrie's Swedish boyfriend and fellow ISMer told a reporter for Seattle's The Stranger newspaper, (April 4, 2003) that Corrie could be described as an anarchist.

Still, the politics of the Ismers are predictable. Another Evergreen student who arrived in Israel around the same time as Corrie says he has "been at war with the multinational corporations for some time now." His "baptism of fire" took place at the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, he proclaims.

Joe Smith, recounts his motivation to join forces with the ISM . "Because I felt it was one of the best ways for me to use my privilege as a white middle class American male to directly serve impoverished people of color who are under-privileged due to the Israeli and other Western governments, especially mine.

I have dedicated my life to serving such people (ed. Arabs), as I believe my over-privilege is a direct result of their under-privilege. I have benefited from their suffering, and this must stop."

ISM activity in Rafah has more to do with being used to defend terrorists than preventing suffering of the masses. IDF efforts in Rafah were concentrated on preventing the flow of arms and explosives over the border from Egypt into the terrorist's dens that riddled the area. Less than a week after Rachel died defending terrorists, Israeli tanks moved into Rafah , surrounded several houses, and arrested two Hamas members. IDF spokesperson, Dellal calls Rafah, "the most dangerous area in the West Bank and Gaza," and decries the provocative protests of ISM. "There's nothing wrong with civil disobedience, but these people crossed the line of what was safe for everyone," Dellal says.

So, while the memorial services laud and remember Rachel Corrie as a peace activist murdered by Israeli occupation forces, the truth lies elsewhere.

An Israeli bulldozer injured Corrie as she tried to prevent it doing its job of protecting Israeli civilians, but she was alive when she was taken to An Najar Hospital, according to at least three eyewitnesses. Only Dr. Mussa, a man intent on accusing Israel of child killing, claims otherwise. None of Rachel's comrades have stated they were with her in the hospital when she died. No one has commented on the extent of efforts to preserve Corrie's life at An Najar.

And all the while, the ISM continues to encourage misguided young people from around the world,like Rachel Corrie, to spend time in the Middle East providing cover for terrorists.


Judy Balint

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


No wonder he's smiling...


by   Melanie Phillips


Israel is in the doghouse with America because it revealed during the visit by US Vice-President Joe Biden that it was building more houses for Israelis in east Jerusalem. According to Biden and outraged western received opinion, this 'undermines peace efforts'.


Why? To be more precise, why does this initiative – or indeed any of the 'settlements' -- undermine peace efforts while the actual reason for the absence of peace, the fact that the Abbas administration has said it will never accept a Jewish state of Israel and refuses to renounce the Arab aim of ending Israel's existence, the sole reason for eight decades of aggression, terrorism and war in the Middle East, is not even mentioned?


Biden also said:


the Palestinians deserve a 'viable' independent state with contiguous territory

Why? What have they done to deserve it? In what other conflict in the history of the planet have people who have waged a war of annihilation for eight decades and continue to do so been considered to 'deserve' anything, let alone an 'independent' existence the sole purpose of which is a military beach-head to finish the job and which would slice its victim in half?


To put it another way, why does Joe Biden think that Israel 'deserves' to surrender?

And why, once again, is a final solution being imposed by America upon democratic and beseiged Israel, while the administration of which Biden is such an ornament refuses to take any effective measures against the genocidal Iranian regime which is already responsible for countless American deaths and of which Israel is the present and potentially future victim, and which threatens the safety of the western world against which it has long declared war?


 Melanie Phillips

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


Friday, March 12, 2010

The Games We Play.

skip to main | skip to sidebar

by Marc Prowisor

One of the great game boards of the world is and always has been the Middle East, Israel especially. Since the time of Abraham, when he was given some insights regarding the Real Estate of the region, this area has been coveted by every power in the world. It seems that just because it was promised to the Jewish people, every one wants a piece of it.

Israel has no great amounts of natural resources, no oil, no water or great natural gas deposits. Our only and most valuable resource that we have is the Jewish people, and the only time the land of Israel flourishes is when we are there, en masse.

The amount of good and knowledge that comes out of Israel and the Jewish people in Israel is not proportionate to the size of the people and land, the numbers of Nobel Prizes, Awards, Technological and Medical Advances, to name a few categories is renown and amazing. This happens most when there is an Israel with Jews in it, and the most advances for our people and the world have occurred since 1967, since we have been back in our land, all of our land.

This is not a coincidence it is a simple fact.

In fact, if we look back at history, when did the Arab world start taking a renewed interest in Israel? Only since the Jewish people started returning to their land.

The early Jewish returnees had no choice but to revive the land and by doing this, more jobs and opportunities became available. Suddenly a flower bloomed in the desert, and this caught the eyes not just of the world, but of course the Arabs of the region, from Syria, the Eastern region of then Palestine, today called Jordan and Egypt. Simply out of seeking a better life for themselves from amidst the squalor they were (and are) used to, they came to Israel to be near the Jews, to take advantage of work and opportunities, to make things better for themselves. No illusions, straight up, they were not looking for a homeland, a spiritual renewal, they were simple opportunists, seeing the possibilities of a better life they came to the Jews and to Israel (which was by the way called Palestine at the time).

Of course over a short time they decided that instead of living peacefully with the Jewish people in Israel, it would be best to throw them out, big mistake.

I am sure everyone remembers the story of the Goose that laid the Golden Eggs, well, who says that was just a story.

It seems that today everyone is trying to get at the "guts" of Israel, our Heartland, they figure that's where the gold is, to do that you have to kill the Goose, right?

They are right, that is where the gold is, but what they do not understand is that it is the joining of the Jewish people to their heartland, heritage and Birthright that creates the gold.

In their greed and hatred of Israel and the Jewish people, the Arabs and other enemies of the Jewish people and of a Jewish State, refuse to notice this main ingredient, this win-win combination, and they will attempt to cut apart the Goose to get the gold, big mistake.

This wonderful and winning combination of the Jewish people in their Heartland is being kept from a majority of our people, mostly those overseas. They have been mislead into thinking that the Jews from Judea and Samaria are not part of the State of Israel and that Judea and Samaria are not part of the country. This common error has spread like a globetrotting virus, infecting the non-inoculated ignorant masses.

Judea and Samaria are an integral part of Israel, and have always been, look it up. Besides being historically important to us as a people, many supporters of Israel and those Israelis that support Leftist views tend to forget the strategic and security importance this land holds for us.

As I view Ben Gurion Airport from Haresha or Maale Levona, I often wonder what it would look like through a gunners or Rocket Site. How would the "Left" act when our main Airport gets shut down due to Kassam or Katusha fire? What would the US State Department say when Israel's infrastructure comes under attack? What would they say after the same mistakes of the Gaza expulsion are (Gd forbid) made?

I'm sorry, I can't seem to hear you through the cheers of the Arabs and Islamic world, yell louder!

Too Late! They Left couldn't say anything, the world wouldn't say anything, the Jews living outside of Israel, who would support such madness would just Tsk, Tsk away. Who would bare the responsibility? Who would rush to our side? Who will comfort us and help us bury our dead? Who?

Sorry again, the cheers of our enemies are just too loud…. maybe you can sign your answer to me, or better yet, send me a SMS.

I know that Israel's PR is pretty much non-existent and our reputation regarding Judea and Samaria has been violated and perverted. Never the less, all efforts should be made to reintroduce our heartland and heritage to our people, at least come out to see for yourselves, but be warned, do not be led by someone who wants you to leave, but by someone who loves our people and who loves our land for what it is, a part of our people.

We as a world only stand to benefit from this combination - we all share in this gold. This combination of the Jewish People in their Homeland is the winning combo and it is we who are responsible to the world to keep this combination together, yes we Jews are responsible.

Do not let fear decide who you are, do not let deceit be your guide.

We are seeing a renewed and stronger effort by the Arab nations to cleanse us from our land. The double-edged standard will be wielded with a wider arc in the name of peace. It will be aimed, as usual towards the Jewish people and their continued existence in their land.

The threats will and are coming from all directions - our strength will and does come from within.

The results of giving into these ridiculous claims and desires of our enemies will wreak havoc and this will affect not just us in Israel, but the world, all of the world. Guess who will be first to suffer?

This is something that can and must be avoided. The way to start and fight this threat of havoc is by renewing and strengthening our connection to our homeland, to the places we read about in our history, in our Torah. Just to coin a phrase, our Birthright, but I mean our real Birthright, the places our forefathers walked and lived, you know the places most trips don't show you, start in the beginning.


Marc Prowisor

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


Israel in the Hot Seat Again — for Building Homes.


Vice President Joe Biden condemns a new Israeli settlement plan.


by P. David Hornik


Here we go again. What has Israel done now? With Vice President Joe Biden here for a visit, the Israeli Interior Ministry "announced that approval had been granted to build new housing units in Ramat Shlomo, an ultra-Orthodox community of 20,000 north of downtown Jerusalem, which borders the Palestinian village of Shuafat." Biden reacted to the shocking news with: "I condemn the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in east Jerusalem. The substance and timing of the announcement, particularly with the launching of [Israeli-Palestinian] proximity talks, is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I've had here in Israel."

Other condemnations followed like clockwork. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman made known that "the secretary-general condemns the approval of plans for the building of 1,600 new housing units in east Jerusalem." Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said that "it is now clear that the Israeli government is not interested in negotiating, nor is it interested in peace." He added that "massive American pressure is required in order to compel Israel to abandon its peace-destroying behavior."

There were even condemnations — and apologies — from within Israel itself. Defense Minister Ehud Barak was reported to be "angry" at the Interior Ministry's announcement, and his office called it "damaging" to negotiations with the Palestinians. Welfare Minister Isaac Herzog called it a "big error in government bureaucracy that should never have happened."

Indeed, Interior Minister Eli Yishai said: "If I'd have known, I would have postponed the authorization by a week or two since we had no intention of provoking anyone. It is definitely unpleasant that this happened during Biden's visit. … I apologize for the distress this matter caused."

Israel, though, seems unable to keep itself out of hot water of this kind. Last November President Obama said Israel's intention to build 900 apartments in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo "makes it harder for them to make peace with their neighbors. I think it embitters the Palestinians in a way that could end up being very dangerous." And in February Israel's announcement that it was including the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem in a list of "heritage sites" touched off condemnations by the U.S., the UN, the EU, and others — and a week of violent Palestinian rioting ensued.

In all this period there was — as usual — a total absence of public criticism of the Palestinian Authority from these same sources. Why? Was it because, in contrast to Israel's constant alleged breaches of propriety, the PA's behavior was without blemish?

Not exactly. In December an Israeli father of seven was murdered in a drive-by shooting by terrorists belonging to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, part of PA president Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement. After Israeli forces found and killed three of the terrorists, Abbas called them shahids (martyrs) and sent his personal emissary to visit their families. PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad went further, visiting the families himself and "condemn[ing] the Israeli military operation" — not the terrorists, whom the Fatah movement called "brave heroes and fighters."

In February an EU-trained Palestinian policeman stabbed an Israeli soldier to death at a checkpoint. Hardly an isolated incident, it was part of a "trend" of fatal terror attacks by American- and European-trained Palestinian security personnel. Condemnations? A rethink of the policy of training and empowering Palestinian security forces for the future Palestinian state that would nestle right up against Israel's population centers? Of course not.

In January the PA announced that it was naming a square in Ramallah after Dalal al-Mughrabi, the female Palestinian terrorist who led the 1978 Coastal Road massacre, the worse terror attack in Israeli history. Israel registered official complaints with the U.S. The formal dedication of the square is set to occur on Thursday — on the 32nd anniversary of the attack. The Israeli Foreign Ministry states: "There has been no public comment from the Obama administration about the PA's honoring of the terrorist."

This picture is skewed — badly. Are Israeli actions like building homes for Jews in Jerusalem, or refurbishing shrines for the good of both Jews and Muslims who pray in them, really objectionable in themselves? Of course not. They're "objectionable" because they make Palestinians angry — as a vanguard of the Arab/Muslim world, which is much larger and wields much more economic power than Israel.

If that explanation doesn't seem right, then how could it be that truly objectionable actions by the Palestinians — committing murder, glorifying the murderers, dedicating a public site to a massacre — evoke nary a peep from the same parties that rush to condemn Israel?

That international bodies like the UN and the EU are deeply in the thrall of dhimmitude before Muslim power is probably an irremediable situation. One can still hope that the United States, with its far stronger moral credentials, can one day stop the charade of hectoring its ally Israel and excusing true outrages.


P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Tel Aviv.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


Is Israel a Colonial State? The Political Psychology of Palestinian Nomenclature. Part I


by Irwin J. Mansdorf


1st part of 2

  • Israel's creation, far from being a foreign colonial transplant, can actually be seen as the vanguard of and impetus for decolonialization of the entire Middle East, including a significant part of the Arab world, following the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
  • What is not popularly recognized is how the Arab world benefited from the Balfour Declaration and how it served the Arab world in their nationalist goals and helped advance their own independence from the colonial powers of England and France.
  • Despite the essentially parallel processes of independence from colonial and protectorate influence over the first half of the twentieth century, only one of the national movements at the time and only one of the resulting states, namely Israel, is accused of being "colonial," with the term "settler-colonialist" applied to the Zionist enterprise
  • This term, however, can assume validity only if it is assumed that the "setters" have no indigenous roots and rights in the area. As such, this is yet another example of psychological manipulation for political purposes. The notion of "settler" dismisses any historical or biblical connection of Jews to the area. Hence, the importance of denial of Jewish rights, history, and claims to the area.
  • Lest there be any confusion about what a "settler" is, those who use the terminology "settler-colonialist" against Israel clearly mean the entire Zionist enterprise, including the original territory of the State of Israel in 1948. The "colonial Israel" charge is thus rooted in an ideological denial of any Jewish connection to the ancient Land of Israel.


Psychological factors often play a role in the development of political views. In the Israel-Arab conflict, one of the ways in which psychological factors operate is in the formation of "mantras" that do not necessarily reflect either the historical record or applicable international law.1 Examples include the use of descriptions of occupation as "illegal"2 and the determination that there is a "right" of resistance3 or a "right" of return.4 When used over and over again, these descriptions, despite their questionable legitimacy, can alter perceptions. Once perceptions change, attitudes and behavior change as well, leading to partial and ultimately biased views of historical and political reality.

Language thus becomes an important psychological tool both in correctly describing events and in perpetuating beliefs based on narratives that do not accurately reflect history. Columbia University Professor Joseph Massad is among those that have portrayed Israel as a colonial entity based on an illegitimate and racist movement, namely Zionism.5 In the eyes of many, it is a foreign element implanted into the Middle East where organizations such as the United Nations6 and political activists such as Chomsky7 describe Arabs as "indigenous" and Jews as "immigrants." The charge of colonialism has become a major theme in criticizing Israel throughout the academic world and is part of the language of the discourse.8 The language of "colonialism" and its related terms (e.g., ethnic cleansing) have been incorporated into academic coursework even in Israel.9 An examination of the actual history and events related to the Middle East, in general, and Palestine, in particular, however, fails to confirm the reality behind the "colonial Israel" moniker. Israel's creation, far from being a foreign colonial transplant, can actually be seen as the vanguard of and impetus for decolonialization of the entire area, including a significant part of the Arab world, following the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

The Beginning of the End of Colonialism in the Middle East: The Balfour Declaration

The Balfour Declaration is historically viewed as the document that first recognized the rights of Jews to a national home and independence in Palestine. Accordingly, it is perceived in the Arab world as a document that began what was seen as an illegitimate process of dispossessing Arabs from their lands. What is not popularly recognized, however, is how the Arab world benefited from the Balfour Declaration and how it helped advance their own independence from the colonial powers of England and France. Nowhere is this made clearer than in the Peel Commission Report of 1937, which stated:

The fact that the Balfour Declaration was issued in order to enlist Jewish support for the Allies and the fact that this support was forthcoming are not sufficiently appreciated in Palestine. The Arabs do not appear to realize in the first place that the present position of the Arab world as a whole is mainly due to the great sacrifices made by the Allied and Associated Powers in the War and, secondly, that, insofar as the Balfour Declaration helped to bring about the Allies' victory, it helped to bring about the emancipation of all the Arab countries from Turkish rule. If the Turks and their German allies had won the War, it is improbable that all the Arab countries, except Palestine, would now have become or be about to become independent states.10

The Balfour Declaration, thus, not only served as the stimulus for Jewish independence, but, curiously enough, served the Arab world in their nationalist goals as well. This was largely seen outside of Palestine, but insofar as Palestine is concerned, there was initially an absence of nationalism with a distinct "Palestinian" identity. The Peel Report notes, "The Arabs had always regarded Palestine as included in Syria."11 The plan, under an agreement between Emir Feisal and Chaim Weizmann (the Feisal-Weizmann agreement), was that the Arabs would recognize Jewish rights and independence over Western Palestine as called for in the Balfour Declaration, while Feisal's family would retain control of Syria and the area known as Trans-Jordan. The failure of this agreement, and the resultant conflict that ensued, was a result of the French refusal to relinquish their colonial control and recognize the rights of Emir Feisal in Syria.12

Arab Denial of Jewish Rights and History in Palestine

The breakdown of the Feisal-Weizmann agreement and the reversal on Arab acceptance of the Balfour Declaration launched a period of Arab nationalism accompanied by violence between Jews and Arabs. Today, despite the documented history of the Jewish people in the area that was known as Palestine and Feisal's acceptance of the Jewish presence there, the Arab world continues to deny this history, both in official policy and in popular media. The U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report of 2009 notes that Palestinian Authority textbooks "often ignored historical Jewish connections to Israel and Jerusalem."13

This thinking is reflected in the charters of both leading Palestinian movements. The Palestinian National Charter of 1968 declared the Balfour Declaration null and void and said: "Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood."14 The issue of recognizing Jewish as opposed to Israeli rights remains a sticking point between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.15 The Hamas Covenant makes several statements expressing Islamic hegemony over the area known as Palestine, along with several references to the Jews usurping Palestine and challenging Islam.16

Academic circles in Palestinian Arab society also subscribe to these notions. Al-Quds University posts a "History of Jerusalem"17 that repeatedly implies that the Jewish "narrative" is a "myth"; that King David, whose very existence is questioned, was probably part of an "idealized" community of "Israelites" that had no connection to Jerusalem; that those "Israelites" never experienced an exodus from Egypt (Al-Quds claims this "story" was "appropriated" from a Canaanite legend); that Joshua's conquest never took place; that Solomon's Temple was actually a center of pagan worship; and that the Western Wall was probably just part of a Roman fortress. In the Al-Quds rendition of the "conquests" of Palestine, Jews are not even mentioned, although ancient Egyptians, Hittites, Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Romans, Muslim Arabs, Mamlukes, Ottomans and British are. Jews are nowhere to be found in the history of the land and have nothing to do with its past.

In popular Palestinian media, the notion of lack of historical connection between the Jews and Palestine has also been promoted, such as with television broadcasts denying any Jewish connection to the Western Wall.18 This belief is so pervasive that even Israeli-funded institutions have been exposed to it. In Jerusalem, the Tower of David Museum's head Arabic-speaking guide was dismissed19 after implying that there were no Jewish roots in Jerusalem, stating, in a Palestinian television interview, that the museum's documentary film was "full of historical lies and historical deceptions."20

The Connection between the Charge of Colonial Israel and Denial of Rights

The concerted effort in Arab circles to deny Jewish roots in Palestine/Israel is critical to claims of Jewish colonialism in Palestine. Palestinian spokespersons claim that since Jews are members of a religion and not a nation, any nationalistic aspirations based on a specific territory are invalid.21 The notion of Jews as a foreign entity in Palestine was advanced and popularized through the work of the late Edward Said in his seminal work, Orientalism,22 which continues to be seen as a foundation for post-colonial thinking in academia today.

The historical reality is quite different from what the Arab narrative, which has been adopted by many in academic and intellectual circles, presents.

The Colonial Background of the Entire Middle East 

As a result of their colonial conquests, much of the Middle East area was under the control of the Ottoman Turks from 1516 through 1917. British colonial history includes their gaining control of the Gulf area between 1861 and 1899, turning the area into what one source called "a British lake."23 British officials would decide which of the prominent tribal families in the Gulf region would eventually become the rulers of the states that would eventually emerge. French colonialists took over Algeria in 1830, conquered Tunisia in 1881, and took control of Morocco in 1912. 

Neither Jews nor Arabs enjoyed any modern independence in the area, which, by the end of World War I, had been under colonial control for many years. As a result of the mandate system that developed after the war and the secret Sykes-Picot agreement in 1916, British and French colonial interests were drawn and defined. 

Decolonialization Following the Ottoman Defeat 

Starting around the period of World War I, the entire Middle East underwent a process of decolonialization with the emergence of national movements. Jewish nationalism was consistent with the Balfour Declaration, which, after being incorporated into the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, uniquely called for settlement of Jews in Palestine as part of the Jewish National Home, without reference to their place of origin. Just as the British supported the Jewish national claims to Palestine, a number of source documents show that they also encouraged Arab nationalism as a tool in their own conflict against the Ottomans.24

The mechanism for the transformation from colonial independence for the majority of new states was the mandate system. Both the British and French mandates eventually yielded sovereignty to the populations of the Middle East as multiple independent states came into being. With Israel, the Jewish state was reconstituted, while the various tribal Arab populations that stemmed from the invasion of the seventh century25 now began carving out areas of influence and sovereignty. The Jews, far from being colonialists, were the beneficiaries of a national movement that aimed to renew Jewish sovereignty, but also which, along with Arab national movements, ended colonial control by forces that had no historical or indigenous roots in the region. 

Indeed, it is an error to assume that Britain, as the mandatory power, gave the Jewish people their rights to claim Palestine. The 1922 Palestine Mandate specifically refers to the "historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine." Rather than creating a new right, the Mandate recognized a pre-existing right that clearly pre-dated the colonial powers.

The Mandate also calls for the Jewish people to begin "reconstituting of their national home," essentially stating that they were going to rebuild a national home that had been there before. Many of the Arab states, in contrast, were modern fabrications of the British and the French. 


Irwin J. Mansdorf

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


Is Israel a Colonial State? The Political Psychology of Palestinian Nomenclature. Part II


by Irwin J. Mansdorf


2nd part of 2


The Process of Independence 

A look at a map of the Middle East will show that national movements eventually became national entities, with tribal factors largely accounting for the division of the area into independent countries. North Yemen became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1918. The Hashemite monarchy in Iraq was granted independence in 1932 from England. Saudi Arabia (originally Hejaz and Nejd), although never colonized after World War I, became an independent kingdom in 1932 as well. Egypt, occupied by England since 1882, gained full independence in 1952. Lebanon and Syria became independent from the French Mandate in 1943 and 1946, respectively. Another Hashemite family in Jordan was granted independence in 1946 in territory originally a part of the Palestine Mandate. Independence also was eventually achieved by the British protectorates of Oman (1951), Kuwait (1961), South Yemen (1967), the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar (1971).

In addition to the formation of the various Arab states noted above, Jewish national self-determination was obtained in Palestine with the independence of Israel in 1948. While the dispute with the Arab residents of Palestine continues, the colonial entity, namely Britain, relinquished control in 1948. Prior to Israel's legal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza following the hostilities of 1967, Jordan illegally occupied the West Bank, while Gaza was administered by Egypt.

The fact of the matter was that in 1948, during its war of independence, Israel acted as an anti-colonial force. The troops of the Arab Legion of Transjordan fought under a British commander, and had British as well as Arab officers.26 The British, clearly a colonial power, had treaty obligations to both Egypt and Jordan. At one point Hector McNeil, British Minister of State, threatened to "defend Aqaba if necessary."27 British units were stationed in Egypt near the Suez Canal, the British were suspected of supplying sensitive intelligence information to Egypt, and the Israeli Air Force even clashed with a RAF squadron based in Egypt, downing five planes in 1949.28 While Israeli weapons came mostly by way of Czechoslovakia, the Arab states were equipped with weapons from the old colonial powers, Britain and France.29

Indeed, at the United Nations in 1949, when Britain and Italy submitted a draft resolution to put Libya under UN trusteeship, and deny it independence, Israel refused to go along with the colonial powers. By Israel abstaining, the British-Italian resolution did not get the required two-thirds support and was defeated.30 In short, both militarily and diplomatically, Israel served as an anti-colonial force during its early years. 

Language and Perception: "Settler-Colonialism"

Despite the essentially parallel processes of independence from colonial and protectorate influence over the first half of the twentieth century, only one of the national movements at the time and only one of the resulting states, namely Israel, is accused of being "colonial." The accusation of colonialism against Israel is not without difficulty. Since the traditional definition of colonialists exploiting the native population and resources does not broadly apply to Jews and Zionism, how then, to continue the narrative of Israeli colonialism? The answer was the application of another type of colonialism, that of the "settler-colonialist," to the Zionist enterprise.31

This term, however, can assume validity only if it is assumed that the "settlers" have no indigenous roots and rights in the area. As such, this is yet another use of language to shape perceptions and another example of psychological manipulation for political purposes. Unlike any other "settler-colonial" state in history, Israel stands alone in that there is no identifiable foreign power that can be identified as the colonial entity. It goes without saying that the notion of "settler" also dismisses any historical or biblical connection of Jews to the area. Hence, the importance of denial of Jewish rights, history, and claims to the area.

The notion of Israeli colonialism, however, is so established in certain academic and political circles that its colonial identity is never questioned, and "settlers" are automatically considered agents of a colonial effort.32

Lest there be any confusion about what a "settler" is, despite the impression of some that the term applies only to those Israelis who have established communities in disputed territory after 1967, those who use the terminology "settler-colonialist" against Israel clearly mean the entire Zionist enterprise, including the original territory of the State of Israel in 1948.33 In fact, many contemporary Palestinian activists blithely and routinely assume, in their writing, that all Israelis are colonialists and all of "historic" Palestine has been occupied (e.g., Qumsiyeh,34 Abunimah35). 

Reestablishing Accuracy: Cognitive Dissonance and Confirmation Bias

The "colonial Israel" charge is thus rooted in an ideological and cognitive denial of any Jewish connection to Palestine and the ancient Land of Israel. This can be either through a belief that the connection is weak because of the passage of time,36 or, as has been the case in Arab circles and in some revisionist Israeli ones,37 by flatly denying Jewish roots in the area. 

Cognitive dissonance is the phenomenon whereby established beliefs are challenged by new, conflicting information that arouses a challenge to those core beliefs. Confirmation bias, on the other hand, is the term applied to seeking evidence that validates prior attitudes and beliefs. When confronted with dissonance, some may alter their beliefs to conform to the new information, but many, especially those that are ideologically invested with and committed to a particular view, continue in their established attitudes by adding justifications or interpretations that support or "confirm" the original cognition.

Just as committed Zionists would not accept a colonial narrative, presenting facts and arguments in response to accusations against Israel would not change attitudes for anti-Zionists, even when their core beliefs or attitudes feeding that position are challenged. In practice, ideologues seem to respond to challenges through "confirmation bias," seeking information consistent with their ideology that supports their core beliefs when dissonance is aroused.38 Attempting to change attitudes, thus, would appear to have a chance for success only when these attempts target those who are not predispositioned or biased towards particular political ideologies and when the information is accurate, not tendentious, and based on solid data. 

The mechanism of dissonance reduction that is most central to the "settler-colonialist" argument is the notion that Jews do not constitute a national entity and thus cannot possibly have legitimate rights to what was known as Palestine. For those who are familiar with Jewish history and traditions, such as the specifics of the Jewish legal system applicable only in Israel or the role of the "Land of Israel" in Jewish liturgy, the speciousness of these notions is self-evident. For many others, however, this is either not recognized or not relevant.39 Challenging these beliefs involves two overlapping mechanisms: First, a firm recognition of the reality of Jewish roots and historical sovereignty in the area, and second, an acknowledgment that the modern reconstitution of Jewish nationalism was achieved through a legitimate process consistent with international law and the right to self-determination. Both tenets are taboo and are not even subject to discussion for many anti-Zionist ideologues.

Ideology, when unyielding and unbending, will be resistant to any cognitive dissonance.40 That is why, despite the historical record, the core notion of Israel as a "settler-colonialist" nation will continue to resonate in circles where nationalism is frowned upon, where religious history is irrelevant, where post-modern ideologies are entrenched and philosophically embraced, and where the notion of Jews as a people is not recognized.




1. I.J. Mansdorf, "The Political Psychology of Postcolonial Ideology in the Arab World: An Analysis of ‘Occupation' and the ‘Right of Return'," Israel Studies, vol. 13, no. 4 (October 2007):899-915.



4. R. Lapidoth, "Legal Aspects of the Palestinian Refugee Question, Jerusalem Letter/Viewpoints, no. 485, September 1, 2002.


6. Minority Rights Group International, World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Israel: Overview, 2007,


8. R. Aharonson, "Settlement in Eretz Israel - A Colonialist Enterprise? ‘Critical' Scholarship and Historical Geography," Israel Studies, 1(2) (Fall 1996):214-229.


10. (ch. II, para. 19, p. 24).

11. Op. cit., para. 23, p. 2.5

12. Op. cit., para. 25-28, pp. 26-28.







19. P. Cidor, "Obliterated in Translation," Jerusalem Post, January 7, 2010.

20. PA TV (Fatah), November 13, 2009.


22. Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1979).

23. Y. Tareq,  J.S. Ismael, and K.A.J. Ismael, Politics and Government in the Middle East and North Africa (University Press of Florida, 1991), p. 453.

24. "British Imperial Connexions to the Arab National Movement," in G.P. Gooch and Harold Temperley, eds., The Last Years of Peace - British Documents on the Origins of the War, 1898-1914, Vol. X, Part II (1938), pp. 824-838.

25. W.I. Saadeh, "The Three Phases of Arab History, Excerpt from ‘History of Arab Thought'," Arab-American Affairs, vol. 32, no. 211 (June-July 2004),

26. T.N. Dupuy, Elusive Victory: The Arab-Israeli Wars, 1947-1974 (New York: Harper Collins, 1978), p. 121.

27. N. Aridan, Britain, Israel and Anglo-Jewry 1949-1957 (London: Taylor and Francis, 2004), p. 8.

28. Z. Tzahor, "The 1949 Air Clash between the Israeli Air Force and the RAF," Journal of Contemporary History, 28 (1)(1993):75-101.

29. Zach Levey, "Arms and Armaments in the Middle East," Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa, 2004,

30. Gideon Rafael, Destination Peace: Three Decades of Israeli Foreign Policy (New York: Stein and Day, 1981), pp. 21-22.

31. M. Rodinson, Israel: A Colonial-Settler State? (Pathfinder Press, 1973).


33. Op. cit., 20, 21.




37. S. Sand, The Invention of the Jewish People (Verso, 2009).

38. C.S. Taber and M. Lodge, "Motivated Skepticism in the Evaluation of Political Beliefs," American Journal of Political Science, 50(3) (2006):755-769.

39. F.M. Perko, "Contemporary American Christian Attitudes to Israel Based on the Scriptures," Israel Studies, vol. 8, no. 2, (Summer 2003):1-17,

40. B. Nyhan and J. Reifler, "When Corrections Fail: The Persistence of Political Misperceptions, in Political Behavior, in press. J. Bullock, "The Enduring Importance of False Political Beliefs," paper presented at the annual meeting of the Western Political Science Association, Albuquerque, New Mexico, March 17, 2006.



Irwin J. (Yitzchak) Mansdorf, PhD, is an Israeli psychologist who has published widely on the subject of political psychology as it relates to the Israel-Arab conflict.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.