Saturday, March 29, 2014

Islam and American Justice

by Lance Silver and Andrew Palashewsky

On Saturday evening, Feb. 22nd, the University of Pennsylvania Law School hosted the "Eighth Annual Muslim Law Students Conference," on the topic of "Muslim Obligations in Promoting Justice in America." The fairly innocuous and well-meaning title of the program masked the true intent, which was to lull the students and our society into a false sense of complacency regarding the real aims and effects of Islamic incursion in American society -- which Stephen Coughlin explains in “To Our Great Detriment."

We were greeted with "As-Salamu 'Alaykum" upon entering the conference and by speakers, prior to presentation; responding with "

The attendees, American Muslim law students, along with a few foreign students and lawyers, presented a mixed canvas racially, yet each person is culturally Islamic and a member of the ummah. The speakers and each future American lawyer claimed that Islam has been misinterpreted for 1,400 years.

Professor Faisal Kutty, presented a bogus definition of jihad and Islamophobia. He spoke of jihad as if it were apple pie with vanilla ice cream, splitting the term "jihad" into  Lesser Jihad, offensive/defensive military struggle, and Greater Jihad, personal struggle for good against evil. He downplayed the importance of Jihad’s military meaning, ignoring the majority of references in the Qur'an which compel Muslims to wage a military struggle; jihad is possibly the Sixth Pillar of Islam.

Jihad is offensive. Duplicity and deception tactically confuse opponents and are inherent in Islam. The military conquest of formerly Christian, Jewish, Hindu lands within 100 years of Islam’s founding is termed "da’wa-jihad." Much of that empire still stands under the Islamic culture forced on the conquered cultures.

Islam considers itself to be supremacist and must be victorious over all other religions and cultures. Islam spreads first by invitation, "Aslim Taslam," which means "Submit and Be at Peace." If that isn't effective then conquest by the sword is followed by
dhimmitude, second-class citizenry, including no right for the Dhimmi to defend themselves.

If Islam does not succeed in becoming the world’s only true religion, Muslims will not have fulfilled Allah’s Quranic commands to proselytize Islam throughout the world through da'wa and Jihad, violently or nonviolently. This is accomplished with 100% impunity from Allah, as per the Qur’an. Christianity is a proselytizing religion, but Christianity does not permit the use of violence to proselytize, whereas it is inherent in Islam. Muslims quote the Qur’an saying, “There is no compulsion in religion.” But that statement is superseded and abrogated by later statements in the Qur’an that endorse violent compulsion in the spread of Islam.
Professor Kutty further claimed that terrorism had only killed 5 people in the last ten years. Presumably he was referring to the U.S. alone, ignoring events like Major Hassan’s slaughter of military personnel at Fort Hood, Texas. The more than 10,000 terror attacks worldwide over the last 10 years predominately committed by Muslims against fellow Muslims and thousands of Christians, Jews, and Hindus were also ignored.

He claimed that the popular definition of jihad is only accepted by the Taliban and by al-Qaeda, stating they sought to reinterpret the historical meaning of jihad to support their violence ignoring 1,400 years of Islamic history readily available from Muslim Law sources, such as
The Reliance Of The Traveller.    

Lecture number two was delivered by Amara Chaurhry-Kravitz, a female, secular Muslim lawyer, who detailed her experiences with Civil Rights in the Arab/Muslim community. She represents women and LGBT victims, suggesting many violations within the community were against women subject to Sharia law involving child custody, domestic violence, and inheritance rights.

We further learned from Ms. Chaurhry-Kravitz, who represents CAIR, how absurd it is that her organizations, Council American Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America, are associated with terrorism. She made light of the Holy Land Foundation Trial, and CAIR being named unindicted Muslim Brotherhood co-conspirators.

She purposefully ignored the fact that ISNA, CAIR and the Muslims Students Union are all organizations founded by the
Muslim Brotherhood.

She blithely dismissed the dangers of Sharia, stating that Sharia only relates to matters of family disputes and inheritance rights. If that were so no one would care about Sharia any more htan they do about Jewish Halakha law and Catholic Canon courts’ judging the annulments of marriages.

It is precisely Sharia teaching about Jihad, the killing of apostates in line with Ridda blasphemy laws as well as the definition of democracy as blasphemy, that raise the most profound concerns. These violations of our Bill of Rights are what makes Sharia incompatible with a representative free democracy. This reality wasn’t addressed.

She attempted to define what constitutes Muslim racial and civil rights profiling, giving examples of harassment of Muslims "flying while brown." She went on to define Islamophobia as an irrational fear of Islam, as if it weren't a real concern. It's certainly real to Hindus, Jews, Coptic, Maronite, Sudanese and Nigerian Christians among many others.  How is Islamophobia irrational, as we read about savage attacks on innocent populations? Just this past Feb 25th, 2014, fifty-nine children were hacked and burned to death in Nigeria.

Lecture number three by a Muslim women's lawyer, Fatina Abdrabboh Esq., dealt with Arab civil rights violations by Muslims in the Arab Muslim community. She, somewhat uncomfortably, spoke of the many violations within the community against women, without making the connection that the violations often appear to be a result of Sharia law conformity in Muslim society.

The final lecture was by Professor Ramzi Kassem, a defender of prisoners' rights at Gitmo and “black” sites, where jihadists are allegedly interred without due process. He painted a picture of the USA as a Stalinist state, where every Muslim’s privacy rights are violated with informer recruiting and
fishing expeditions.

Professor Kassem decried the use of classified evidence, instead twice mentioning an unidentified Israeli agent as the witness against a particular detainee  -- a code for USA investigations working at Israel's request. He did not mention that the Gitmo detainees’ recidivism rate was substantial; once released it’s right back to the battlefield as jihadists and terrorists. We were listening to a lawyer in the business of representing Muslim terrorists.

The conference presenters described Islamic concepts of justice utilizing a Marxist model of oppressors and the oppressed.

Sharia law and its compelling actions originate from the Qur'an and other
Islamic doctrine. Sharia is viewed by Muslim authorities as central to a Muslim's existence. This BBC program is an example of da'wa-jihad.

We recognize that not all of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims wish to live under Sharia. But a significant minority uses guns, violence, and savagery to enforce Sharia and dictate ummah behavior. Muslim moderates are too weak to do anything other than delude themselves. This holds no doctrinal currency. Where Islam is strong, dissent is silenced by
Ridda, blasphemy laws. Islam can never be reformed by political correctness in America and if ever reformed, it must happen in Mecca, Medina, Qum, and Al-Azhar in Egypt, as well as on the battlefield where the neck-cutters are strongest.

If Jihadists and their supporters represent 20% of the world’s Muslim population (as suggested by polling), that would amount to approximately 300,000,000 people -- roughly equal to the population of the USA. A similar ratio of the U.S. Muslim population would result in 60,000 Jihadists and supporters among American Muslims.

The United States of America was founded primarily upon Judeo-Christian culture and values, which birthed our Constitution and our Bill of Rights as a guide to limit governance. The Constitution is not a progressive tool. It represents our unalienable rights and natural law as articulated in the Old and New Testaments. The Judeo-Christian tradition holds all people are fundamentally equal, with each life having transcendent value as a gift from God.
Either we Americans move ahead on a delusional and suicidal path of adopting ideologies inimical to our historical values and laws in order to avoid confrontation, or we abandon political correctness and ignorance about Islam and Sharia and confront Islamic law as adults.

We Americans must exhibit fortitude and say to Islam, and its millions of ignorant, delusional, useful idiot apologists, that Islam represents an existentially deadly
Clash of Civilizations,  opposing the U.S. constitution and Judeo-Christianity along with Hinduism and all non-Islamic cultures.

We cannot live with that threat without legislating against Sharia and making it 100% clear that the Constitution of The United States of America is the law of our land.  We must all assume the oath that all government, military, and law enforcement members take, "to protect and preserve the Constitution of the USA against all enemies outside our borders as well as the Trojan Horses within.”

Each year a new cadre of Muslim lawyers graduates from American law schools.  Do these Muslim lawyers represent Islamic culture and Sharia, or American culture and our Constitution?

Lance Silver and Andrew Palashewsky


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

6 Part Series: The Truth About the Negev Bedouin, Pt. 2

by Regavim

Six part series on the claims of Bedouin tribes in the Negev, based on research and aerial photographs.

For part I, click here.

Myth 2 Are the Bedouin Villages Historical?
In the past few years, the Bedouin of the Negev and extreme left non-government organizations (NGO’s) have repeatedly claimed that most of the Bedouin villages are “historical” and that Bedouin have inhabited these villages since before the creation of the State of Israel. Take, for example, the Joint Position Paper: Bill on Arrangement of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev, of May 2013).[4]
“About half of the Bedouin population in the Negev, around 90,000 people, lives in approximately 46 Bedouin villages, the majority of which (around 35 villages) the State of Israel refuses to recognize and arrange for their planning and/or municipal administration. The majority of these villages existed before the birth of the State of Israel, and a number of them were established in the 1950’s, a time when the agencies of the State moved the Bedouin population from their ancestral territory under their ownership and/or control, to a smaller area in the northeastern Negev, known as the Sayag, termed a restricted area.
"In contradiction to the impression widespread among the Israeli public, the Bedouin are not intruders, but are rather the original inhabitants of the Negev, and they have the rights of ownership to the lands that they have worked and occupied. Among them are people who continue to live on their lands where they have lived for a long time before the creation of the State, and similarly are the internally displaced, who have been transferred from their historical lands to the restricted area by the State, as was stated.
"It may be emphasized that the Ottoman Empire as well as the British Mandate recognized the ownership rights of the Bedouin and the traditional methods by which they transferred ownership. Commensurate with this and based on this method of acquisition, lands were bought, and Jewish settlements were created in the Negev, such as Be’er Sheva, established on lands that were bought from the Bedouin in official transactions.” (Emphasis added)
The Bedouin’s claim of “historical villages” is proven to be a myth by the use of historical aerial photographs. Tens of aerial photographs of these so-called “historical” villages have been examined. Below are examples of aerial photos used to examine this “historical” claim for 5 Bedouin villages.[5]
No one is denying that there were nomadic tribes living in the Negev prior to 1948. However, due to the nature of these tribes, no permanent residences were established. There are signs of cultivation in the aerial photography that was examined, but the form of farming used was seasonal, not long term, in order to supply feed for their herds as they moved from place to place.

The Village of Al Araqib
The illegal village of Al-Araqib is situated on state lands managed by the Israel Land Authority (ILA), about ten kilometers north of Beersheva. This village has been mentioned in numerous headlines, when Bedouin families who claim ownership of the land repeatedly trespassed into the area from which they had been evicted tens of times by the authorities. According to Bedouin from the A-Turi tribe, they have lived in the area since the Ottoman period, and were evicted from the area after the War of Independence by the Israeli Army, with a promise that the eviction was only temporary.
As evidence of the village’s long history, they point to a cemetery that they claim is “ancient”. The series of aerial photographs below, dating from 1945 to 2010, indicates that the reality is completely different. From a photograph taken in 1965, it is indeed possible to see the cemetery in its first stages, yet there is neither a village nor anything that looks like a village visible. In a photograph from 1956, the cemetery does not exist at all. So too the imagery from 1945, 3 years before the establishment of the State of Israel.

Conclusion: The “historic” village Al Araqib, which the Bedouin claim was established during the Ottoman period, was built in the end of the 1990’s and thereafter. The aerial photos from 1956 and 1945 have disproved the claim of the A-Turi clan that this location was a village prior to 1965. The Beersheba district court accepted Prof. Ruth Kark’s analysis to this end during the trial of Al Araqib.

Some other examples of so-called” historic” Bedouin villages can be seen on the Regavim site where beside photos from 2012 are the historical photos of the same places from 1945.

The above aerial photos speak for themselves, without the need for further explanation. It is fairly easy to identify the land described in the photographs when set side by side, in order to understand clearly that the claim voiced day and night that “our villages were here even before the founding of the state”, is an ongoing falsehood.

4. The Joint Position Paper: Bill on Arrangement of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev, of May 2013, sent by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and Bimkom, to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation regarding the proposed Law for the Arrangement of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev, 5773-2013.
5. The aerial photographs taken prior to the establishment of the State of Israel were done by the British Authorities, and then transferred to the Government Center for the Mapping of Israel, which is the source for all aerial photographs contained herein.

Regavim is an organization whose raison d’etre is to ensure responsible, legal & accountable use of Israel’s national lands and the return of the rule of law to all areas and aspects of the land and its preservation through proper management of this most precious resource. Based on this assumption, Regavim's activities are directed at influencing all the State of Israel's government systems in order to bring them, and effectively the whole country, to act based on the fundamental principles of Zionism and protect Israel's lands and national properties.


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

Caroline Glick: Campus Brownshirts Rising

by Caroline Glick


Originally published by the Jerusalem Post.

Jill Schneiderman is an unlikely warrior for Jewish rights. A professor of Earth sciences at Vassar College and a lesbian activist, Schneiderman’s political passions put her smack in the middle of the far-Left academic mainstream.
At least they did until she decided to organize a student trip to Israel to study water issues.
To get a sense of just how far to the Left Schneiderman is, when her initiative ran into trouble, she contacted fanatic anti-Israel activist Phillip Weiss to ask for his support.

Hers was not going to be a ZOA student mission to Israel.

Scheiderman needed help, because when the Vassar chapter of the anti-Semitic hate group, Students for Justice in Palestine, got wind of her initiative, their members began picketing her pre-trip seminar. They stood outside the classroom and pressured students to drop the class.

Spooked by this thuggish behavior, Schneiderman complained to the college’s administrators and sought redress for her students whose academic freedom and civil rights were being obstructed.

In response to her complaint, earlier this month the administration convened a meeting of the school’s Committee on Inclusion and Excellence.

Rather than take action against the thugs from the SJP, both the members of the committee and the audience quickly joined forces with them and doubled down on their assault against all even mildly pro-Israel voices on campus.

As Scheneiderman wrote on her blog, at the meeting she was “knocked off-center by a belligerent academic community dedicated to vilifying anyone who dares set foot in Israel.”
Weiss wrote of the meeting, “The spirit of that young progressive space was that Israel is a blot on civilization, and boycott is right and necessary.
If a student had gotten up and said, I love Israel, he or she would have been mocked and scorned into silence.”
Weiss is pleased with the air of intimidation. As he sees it, this is the whole point of the so called boycott, sanctions, and divestment movement that calls for institutions to boycott businesses that do business with Jews in Israel.
As Weiss explained, the real purpose of the BDS movement in all its component parts is to make it impossible to voice any sentiment in relation to the Middle East on college campuses that isn’t anti-Israel.
And the brownshirts at Vassar are from a unique phenomenon.
As Scheiderman and her students were being intimidated for daring to study about and plan travel to Israel, members of the University of Michigan’s student government voted to indefinitely suspend debate on a resolution submitted by an anti-Jewish campus group that called for the university to boycott and divest from companies that do business with the Jewish state.
The anti-Jewish goons behind the resolution hail from an organization that ironically refers to itself as SAFE, an acronym for Students Allied for Freedom and Equality. They responded to the student government’s decision with rage and violence.
They staged sit-ins at the student government, where they cursed Jewish members of the council, calling them “dirty Jew” and “kike.” According to The Washington Free Beacon, some students received death threats from the anti-Jewish activists.
According to the Free Beacon, rather than defend its students from these criminal assaults and protect their civil rights, university administrators forced the head of the student government to apologize to the aggressors from SAFE for voting to table the anti-Israel resolution. They also reportedly compelled the student government to hold an immediate vote on the measure.
As one Jewish leader told the Free Beacon ahead of the vote, “University administrators are allowing students to be bullied into taking an anti-Israel vote with a gun pointed to their heads.”
And he was not exaggerating. The anti-Jewish protesters are open in their embrace of violence.

In January, Yazan Kherallah, who serves as SAFE’s “divestment coordinator,” posted a photo of himself on his Facebook page. In the picture, titled, “It’s on,” Kherallah’s face is covered in a khafiyyeh and he is stabbing a pineapple.
Speaking to the Free Beacon, Kenneth Marcus, the former staff director for the US Civil Rights Commission who now heads the Louis D.
Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, explained that by not protecting its students from anti-Semitic harassment and threats of violence, the University of Michigan is exposing itself to civil litigation for civil rights violations and to federal investigation.
Marcus explained, “If the university allows a hostile environment to form without taking effective action, it could be liable for a civil lawsuit or federal investigation….If Jewish students are being called ‘kike’ and ‘dirty Jew’ and the university is not addressing it in a firm and effective way, the university may be liable under federal law.”
And this is really the point. As Weiss made clear, brownshirt tactics are the new norm for anti-Semitic activists on college campuses. Indeed, he said that the movement to silence pro-Israel voices on US college campuses is where the “progressive” movement is going these days.
This is not only a Jewish problem. If the rise of brownshirt tactics and anti-Semitism on US campuses goes on at its current pace, it will destroy higher education in the United States.
Anti-Semitism is predicated and can only survive and grow in an atmosphere in which reason is rejected. Brownshirt tactics are designed to replace reasoned discussion with intimidation and violence. And when violence and unreasoning hatred reign, there is no learning. Hence the threat to the entire university system.
Unfortunately, the administrators at too many universities do not seem to care.
The only instances where university administrators have taken action against anti-Semites on their campuses have been when outside forces compelled them to do so. And in all cases where action has been taken, administrators have done as little as possible.
These instances, and the steps that led up to them must become the basis for developing a general plan for stemming the rise of anti-Semitism on US campuses.
Two recent examples illustrate the general trajectory of successful action.
Last February, Brooklyn College held a BDS event that was co-sponsored by the college and Students for Justice in Palestine. Four Jewish students who attended the event were forcibly removed by campus police acting on orders from the event organizers, who identified the four as potential sources of pointed questions that the BDS advocates could not answer well.
Rather than defend the students, Brooklyn College’s administrators attacked them and endorsed SJP’s transparently false claim that the four — who had been sitting quietly — had been “disruptive.”

Three of the students turned to the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and the Brandeis Center for Human Rights for legal assistance. And as a result of legal pressure, City University of New York, of which Brooklyn College is a part, conducted an investigation that found the students had been persecuted for their viewpoints, in violation of their civil rights. On March 10, Brooklyn College’s president issued a public apology to the four Jewish students. She also promised to institute new procedures to ensure that students’ civil rights are respected.
While no serious disciplinary action appears to have been taken against the SJP, the university police, or university administrators who violated the students’ civil rights, civil litigation against Brooklyn College is still pending.
Likewise, after allowing anti-Semitic intimidation of Jewish students at Northeastern University to go unhindered for years, the university administration finally suspended SJP’s campus affiliation for a year earlier this month.
As they have done on other campuses, including University of Michigan last December, SJP at Northeastern placed mock eviction notices under the dorm room doors of pro-Israel students across campus. They affixed anti-Semitic stickers to walls, doors, windows, and other free spaces all around campus (in violation of university rules), and they interrupted Jewish events and intimidated pro-Israel students.
Last summer the ZOA sent a letter to Northeastern president Joseph Aoun detailing incident after incident of anti-Semitic agitation and intimidation inside and outside classrooms. The letter mentioned that University of California Santa Cruz is currently under investigation by the federal government for its apparent violation of the civil rights of its Jewish students by enabling an anti-Semitic atmosphere to rein on campus.
It is likely that ZOA’s letter had a significant impact in compelling Northeastern’s administrators to finally take action after years of willfully ignoring entreaties from students for help and support.

With a gun pointed at their heads, on Tuesday night University of Michigan’s student government voted on the anti-Semitic resolution. Given the administration’s role in supporting the violent hoodlums from SAFE, the council members had no one but themselves to rely on to protect them.

And so, before voting on the resolution, the council decided that the vote on the resolution would be cast by secret ballots.
The resolution failed 25-9.
The members of the student government should be applauded for their moral and intellectual courage. Although no democracy can long survive without a citizenry capable of displaying such strength of convictions and basic decency, these characteristics are becoming all too rare on campuses. Indeed it is the rarity of such devotion to truth that makes the council members’ behavior so heartening.

But it is due to the rarity of such displays of moral courage that a campaign to defeat the rising tide of anti-Semitism on college campuses cannot rely on the moral and intellectual fortitude of students and on their willingness to stand up not only to the campus brownshirts, but to their enablers in the administrations.
The developments at Northeastern and Brooklyn College make clear that the only way to defeat the anti-Semites on campus is to go after the administrations that enable them. Only the threat of civil lawsuits, federal investigations of civil rights violations, and alumni threats to withhold gifts will force university administrations to take action against the anti-Semitic thugs that are instituting a reign of terror at university after university.
The lesson from Brooklyn College and Northeastern is that the pressure should be unrelenting.

In both cases, the steps the administrations took this month were the minimal steps they think they can get away with. They need to be forced to do more.
For instance, in the case of Brooklyn College, attorneys should push forward with lawsuits for civil damages for all four students for the college’s violation of their civil rights both at the BDS event itself, and in the administration’s subsequent demonization of the students in the media.
The pressure must similarly continue until the campus police who ejected the students from the event and the administrators who attacked them in the media are fired from their positions and SJP is permanently barred from operating on campus.
Similar demands should be made to Northeastern.
Only when universities are made to pay a painful price for their support for anti-Semitism will other university administrators think twice before they give free reign to Jew haters on their campus and so doom their institutions to moral and intellectual destruction.

Caroline Glick


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

The Other Refugees and the Path to Peace

by Jonathan S. Tobin

Today Canada’s foreign minister proved once again why the Great White North is one of the world’s outliers with regard to the Middle East. Foreign Minister John Baird said that the Canadian government stated that the fate of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries should be both recognized and taken into account in discussions about Middle East peace. The statement followed Canada’s parliament adopting a report on the subject and though Baird was careful to say that he didn’t want the issue to become a point of contention in the talks between Israel and the Palestinians sponsored by the United States, the mere raising of the topic is enough to cause some of Israel’s critics to claim the Canadians are trying to sabotage the negotiations. While the Israelis have repeatedly raised the issue of the hundreds of thousands of Jews who fled or were forced to flee their homes throughout the Arab world in the months and years following Israel’s birth in 1948, the Palestinians not only refuse to discuss the matter, they regard it as a distraction from the “nakba”—or disaster, as they refer to Israel’s creation. But in doing so they make it plain that this issue is central to understanding why peace has eluded the region.

The argument about competing sets of refugees is not an abstract historical puzzle. To even talk about Jewish refugees with their own history of suffering undermines the narrative that the only result of Israel’s War of Independence was the dispossession of a Palestinian refugee population whose descendants continue to demand a “right of return” to the homes they left 66 years ago. For the same reason that the Palestinian Authority refuses absolutely to recognize that Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people, so, too, do they and their supporters close their ears to any discussion about Jewish refugees. Palestinians fear that both subjects undermine their sense of themselves as victims who must be compensated by the world. But while they believe that any diminution of that victimhood, either to recognize the claims of other refugees or the state where most of dispossessed Jews found a home, would deprive them of their identity as a people, the truth is just the opposite. Discarding this mindset is the only way that they—or the Israelis—will ever find peace.

The Canadian report will undoubtedly be ignored by the international press that tends to treat any mention of Jewish refugees as somehow an illustration of Israel’s lack of contrition about the suffering of the Palestinians. But the more that one learns about the topic, the easier it is to understand that there was no monopoly on suffering in this conflict. Just as hundreds of thousands of Arabs fled or, in a few cases, were told to leave their homes in the former British Mandate for Palestine, almost an equal number of Jews throughout the Arab and Muslim world experienced the same fate.

The difference between the two populations was that the Jews were taken in and resettled by their brethren, either in the newborn state of Israel or in Western countries. Though their journeys and adjustment to their new homes was not always easy, none were allowed to languish in limbo. Today, they and their descendants in Israel or in the United States and other Western countries are members of successful communities where they enjoy equal rights.

By contrast, the Arabs who left the territory that would become the State of Israel were deliberately kept in camps to this day and denied any resettlement or citizenship in the countries where they found themselves. The reason for this was that they were useful props in the Arab world’s ongoing war to reverse the verdict of that war. Their future was held hostage to the struggle to destroy Israel, and the refugees and their numerous progeny have been kept apart and in squalor in order to further that effort. Their plight merits the sympathy of the world. So, too, does the way they have been exploited and abused by their own leaders and other Arab countries.

Unfortunately, many of those who wish the Palestinians well, including many Jews, have accommodated their nakba narrative demands and sought to pressure Israel to apologize for winning the war of survival in 1948. But the Palestinian decision to cling to this narrative of suffering rather than embracing one of nation building in the West Bank and Gaza, where Israel has repeatedly offered them an independent state, is the primary obstacle to peace. As Rick Richman noted earlier this week, the point of insisting on the so-called “right of return” is not really the refugees but to keep the war against Israel’s existence alive. Not until they realize that they were not the only ones who suffered and that the war that led to their dispossession was the result of their own unwillingness to compromise and share the land will the Palestinians be prepared to accept the current compromise that has been on the table from Israel for many years, and finally move on.

Far from harming the cause of peace, the best thing those who wish to promote a resolution of the Middle East conflict can do is to remind the Palestinians that they were not the only ones who lost their homes and that the Arab world has as much apologizing to do as the Israelis. If one group of refugees must be compensated, so must the other. Just as two states for two peoples is the only possible formula for peace, let the Palestinians recognize that they aren’t the only 1948 refugees. Until they do and acknowledge the legitimacy of a state for those Jewish refugees, peace will be impossible.

Jonathan S. Tobin


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

European Boycotts of West Bank Products Based on Faulty Premises

by Timon Dias

If the Israeli presence in the West Bank, and the "settlements" from 1967 on, are the root cause of the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, then why does Article 14 of the 1964 PLO Charter call for the destruction of all of Israel?
Because Judea and Samaria had no recognized sovereign, apart from the Ottoman Empire, prior to the illegal Jordanian occupation, the current Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria cannot possibly be designated as illegal.
It seems therefore that nothing Israel offers that is less than 100% of its entire land -- in other words if Israel agrees not to exist -- will affect the Palestinian Authority's willingness to make peace.

In a world ablaze, European governments and companies still see fit to boycott Israeli companies and products from the so called West Bank. The boycotting parties claim to base their actions on the fact that the West Bank is occupied territory and that the Israeli presence in the West Bank is the one true obstacle to durable peace.

It is apparently unbeknownst to them that both premises are entirely false.

In the West, the so-called "Green Line" is usually referred to when the "peace process" is being evaluated. Someone usually states that Israel should retreat behind this Green Line in order to maintain legitimacy and legality. The Green Line is allegedly synonymous with "the Borders of 1967." This is a highly misleading semantic trick. By asserting the Green Line as the borders of 1967, the case is made to sound as if this is the border from whence the Israelis started an aggressive expansion. The truth is the opposite. The Green Line is in reality the armistice line of 1949: the border where the Arab war of extermination was halted and where the Israelis finally prevented the attempted genocide of their people.

The term "occupied territories," even if not correct, is enough to nonplus the average Israel supporter and send left-wing and Muslim front groups into a twist. It is probably worthwhile to examine the legal accuracy of the term "occupied" as it is applied to the West Bank.

First, it is important to realize that the West Bank had no legally recognized sovereign prior to 1948. After the proclamation of the state of Israel in 1948, which then counted a scarce 660,920 Jewish inhabitants, Israel, literally on the day of its birth, was immediately faced with a war of extermination launched by Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, complemented by Saudi Arabian forces fighting under Egyptian command and a Yemeni contingent.

During this effort to obliterate the nascent state, Jordanian forces took control of the area that had, from biblical times, been known as Judea and Samaria. The Jordanians, in 1950, changed this name to the "West Bank" [of the Jordan River], apparently in an attempt to semantically strengthen their case of "occupation" by making the territory sound as if it were a legitimate part of their East Bank. The move also appears to be an attempt to delegitimize Israel's claim to the area by de-Judaizing its name[1] -- a strategy first adopted by Roman emperor Hadrian, when he changed the country's name from Judea to Palestine, after a nomadic maritime people, the Philistines, who had been in constant armed conflict with the Jews.

Moreover, only Britain, Iraq and Pakistan recognized the Jordanian occupation of Judea and Samaria. The rest of the world, including Jordan's Arab allies, never recognized the Jordanian occupation of Judea and Samaria as legitimate, let alone legal. The same goes for the Gaza Strip, only there, it was the Egyptians who ended up illegally occupying the area after the 1948 war of extermination.

During the Six Day War of 1967, Israel was faced with another war of extermination launched by its Arab neighbors. To survive yet another attempted genocide, Israeli forces conducted, in response, a war of defense in which the Israel Air Force destroyed Egyptian aircraft before enemy troops could reach Israel's fragile borders. In the process of this defensive war, the Israelis ended up expelling the Jordanians from the part of Jerusalem they occupied and the West Bank of the Jordan River: Judea and Samaria.

Because Judea and Samaria had no recognized sovereign, apart from the Ottoman Empire, prior to the illegal Jordanian occupation, the current Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria cannot possibly be designated as illegal. After all, from whom are they occupying the area, save from the former Ottoman Empire? The area can only be correctly designated as "disputed" territories, just like Kashmir, the Western Sahara, Zubarah, Thumbs Island, and a lengthy parchment of other disputed territories.

It has been alleged -- originally by diplomats of the Arab and Muslim world, and later parroted by a gullible European political elite -- that to leave this dispute unresolved blocks not only the peace process but also the general stability of the region. Any impartial examination of facts, however, shows that the Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria has no significant relationship to either the "peace process" or regional stability. It is probably just irresistibly convenient for autocrats to keep telling diplomats to focus on Israel and the Palestinian problem to throw them -- as well as their own people -- off the scent of their own questionable governance.

If the Israeli presence in the West Bank, and the "settlements" from 1967 on, are the root cause of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, then why does Article 14 of the 1964 PLO charter call for the destruction of all of Israel? "The liberation of Palestine, from an Arab viewpoint, is a national duty. Its responsibilities fall upon the entire Arab nation, governments and peoples, the Palestinian peoples being in the forefront. For this purpose, the Arab nation must mobilize its military, spiritual and material potentialities; specifically, it must give to the Palestinian Arab people all possible support and backing and place at its disposal all opportunities and means to enable them to perform their role in liberating their homeland."

In 1964, there was not a single Israeli in Judea and Samaria, nevertheless the PLO called for the obliteration of Israel. It is this '64 PLO mentality that has pervaded the upper echelons of Palestinian administration ever since. With the signing of the 1993 Oslo accords, although PLO leader Yasser Arafat said 'yes' to peace, in the period following his actions led to the first massive wave of terror attacks, known as the "Second Intifada." In 2000, then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak made Arafat an offer that shocked the world. Barak offered the PLO nearly everything it demanded, including a state with its capital in Jerusalem; control of the Temple Mount; the return of approximately 97% of the West Bank and all of the Gaza Strip, and a $30 billion compensation package for the 1948 refugees.[2] Arafat turned this deal down. In 2008, then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas almost 98% of the West Bank, and again accepted nearly all Palestinian demands. Olmert too, was turned down.

It seems therefore that nothing Israel offers that is less than 100% of its entire land -- in other words, if Israel agrees not to exist -- will affect the Palestinian Authority's [PA] willingness to make peace. The Arabs rejected a plan to partition the land, they did not want peace when there were no Israelis in Gaza, the West Bank or the Jordanian-occupied eastern part Jerusalem, and have repeatedly turned down generous peace offers.

Judea and Samaria are not occupied territories, and the Israeli presence there has no relationship to the PA's willingness to make peace.

Why then would European governments and companies boycott the region? They do not boycott other comparable regions. Even more revealingly, in 2006, the EU even actively aided an occupying power, Turkey, by approving a $259 million aid package for Turkish occupied Northern Cyprus.

Anti-Israel protestors in Melbourne, Australia in June 2010. (Image source: Wikimedia/Takver)

Why these double standards and what do they tell us about the morality -- or lack thereof -- of the people who hold them?

As Thomas Friedman once wrote "Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is vile. But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanction out of all proportion to any other party in the Middle East is anti-Semitic, and not saying so is dishonest."

Timon Dias


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Could the Peace Process Be Destroying Israel’s Legitimacy?

by Tom Wilson

In the world of hasbara–Israel advocacy–it is commonly suggested that the best way to make Israel’s case is by emphasizing that Israel wants peace: pointing to Israel’s willingness to negotiate, its withdrawals from territory, its evacuation of settlements, its prisoner releases, the settlement freezes, the moves to help establish and strengthen the Palestinian Authority. It’s true that Israel has done all of these things, but how is Israel’s standing in the world doing? Have peace talks and the surrender of territory done anything to placate those who only ever respond to these moves by calling for still more Israeli concessions? The hard truth is that today, in many circles, Israel’s legitimacy is in a worse place than it’s ever been. Israel negotiates and concedes, yet the movement to boycott and demonize Israel has only grown increasingly strident.

Israel has been locked down in the latest round of negotiations for months now. To make these talks happen Israel was first compelled to consent to the release of 104 convicted Palestinian terrorists. In the past Israel has been forced to freeze Jewish communities in the West Bank and even projects in Jerusalem. In both cases these concessions were to no avail. President Obama and Secretary Kerry regularly threaten Israel that should this current round of allegedly last-chance negotiations fail, Israel will be cast asunder to meet its fate in a cold world of boycotts and diplomatic isolation. Concessions and goodwill from Israel are rarely cause for praise from Western allies, they have simply come to be expected.

The boycott threat that Obama and Kerry try to use to panic Israel into doing whatever they instruct is really a case in point. Israel doesn’t await a wave of calls for boycotts if these talks fail; it faces them now. If anything, while this past round of Israeli concessions and negotiations have dragged on, the call for the boycott of Israel has only become louder. Across Europe and on American campuses, the campaign for boycotts is becoming frenetic. Oxfam’s attack on Scarlett Johansson and SodaStream made the headlines but there have been many cases that didn’t. In Europe a Dutch pension fund and several Scandinavian banks have already divested from Israel, while on both sides of the Atlantic the student campaign for boycotts has become particularly ugly. As Jonathan Tobin wrote about yesterday, the BDS campaign has even come to propagate racist hate speech. During a boycott vote only last night at King’s College, London, Jewish students were first hectored and reduced to tears, then mocked and taunted by BDS students.

At the very least, the fact that all of this goes on while Israel is in negotiations to try and end its presence in the West Bank should convince us that this has nothing to do with the “occupation.” Omar Barghouti, one of the leading founders of BDS, has been unequivocal in saying that the creation of two states would not end calls for boycotts. Yet if it is true that none of this is about creating a Palestinian state but rather opposing a Jewish one, then where does this leave notions about land for peace? Indeed, it would seem that on this point the boycotters are consistent with the Palestinians’ own refusal to let go of the desire to end Israel, even if it prevents them from getting a state themselves.

In a hard-hitting follow-up piece for Mosaic, Yoav Sorek tells us that since the beginning of the Oslo peace process, when Israel reneged on its pledge to itself not recognize or negotiate with the terrorist PLO, the net result has not only been unprecedented waves of carnage and violence, but the onset of deep self-doubt about Israel’s own national legitimacy. By promoting the idea that the conflict is a territorial one, Israel at once legitimized the PLO and undermined its own legitimacy before the world, as well as to itself. Accepting the land-for-peace equation meant that Israel was now saying it was the problem, not Arab annihilationism toward the Jewish state, but rather its occupation of “Palestinian land.”
Israel has placed itself in the dock by endorsing land-for-peace. By promoting this idea Israel accepts that its activities over the 1949 armistice lines are illegitimate if not illegal. For the international community, land for peace means that Israel withdraws from territory and gets peace in return. By that logic the absence of peace is on account of the presence of Israelis in occupied land. Israel knows that it can’t hand over territory to those who will only use it to advance warfare against its people. So Israel is forced to say one thing and do another; the debate becomes fixated on whether or not the Palestinians are really a partner for peace and the Israelis just appear dishonest. Nor does Israel get any praise for the withdrawals it makes for, as Evelyn Gordon has argued previously, by denying its claim to the land Israel earns the status of a thief only partially returning what never belonged to her.
Sorek suggests that asserting to the world Israel’s legal rights in the West Bank is the only viable option left. Once Israel establishes that it has the land by right, only then can it effectively confront Arab rejectionism, which negotiations and land withdrawals actually spur on. It would seem that if Israel cannot tolerate the status quo then it must either unilaterally withdraw from the West Bank or otherwise annex it. But it’s quite possible that further withdrawals might actually damage Israel’s legitimacy more than annexation would.

Tom Wilson


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Congressional Muscle and US Foreign Policy

by Yoram Ettinger

On March 5, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 410-1 to upgrade Israel from a "major non-NATO ally" to a "major strategic partner" -- significantly expanding the mutually beneficial U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation in the areas of missile defense, intelligence, national security, technology, energy, cyber security, irrigation, space satellites, defense industries, and more.
The Senate is expected to overwhelmingly support the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014, highlighting the systematic bi-cameral, bi-partisan consensus support of Israel by the U.S. constituent and its most authentic representative, Congress, the independent, equal, co-determining branch of the U.S. government.
When Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, was asked by the Navy secretary to rescind an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill -- upgrading the port of Haifa facilities for the Sixth Fleet -- the senator responded: "According to the U.S. Constitution, the Subcommittee on Defense supervises the Department of the Navy, and not vise versa." The amendment remained intact, in defiance of the administration, enhancing the operations of the Sixth Fleet in the eastern Mediterranean.
Asked to support initiatives of Democratic presidents, based on partisan loyalty, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), an arch-defender of congressional power, stated: "I am the obedient servant of the Constitution, not the president."
Asked whether then-President Bill Clinton was guaranteed the backing of the 1993 Democrat-controlled House and Senate, House Speaker Tom Foley (D-Wash.) advised: "The president should not take congressional support for granted, because our political life expectancy is different than his." Ignoring Foley's advice during Clinton's initial two years in office led to the devastating Democratic defeat in the 1994 mid-term election.
Following a meeting with an Israeli dignitary, who contended that the president was supreme in the area of foreign policy, Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-Maine) quipped: "Yoram, didn't you tell our distinguished guest that the U.S. is not a monarchy?"
Contrary to conventional wisdom, the inherently pro-Israel Congress possesses the muscle to check, defy, oversee, overrule, direct, fund and withhold funds from the administration, including in the arenas of foreign policy and national security. Congress prefers to focus on district, state and national domestic priorities, which preoccupy the constituency and, therefore dominate the congressional re-election process. Congress tends to be deferential to the president on external issues, but reveals formidable muscle when presidents assume an overly imperial posture, outrageously usurping power, disregarding Congress, violating laws, pursuing strikingly failed policies, or dramatically departing from public consensus (as in Vietnam, Watergate and Irangate).
The power of the U.S. legislature is unique among Western democracies. It reflects the intent of the founding fathers to secure civil liberties by highlighting the centrality of the constituent and precluding excessive executive power, by constraining unilateral presidential maneuverability. Hence, the fundamental tenets of limited government, the separation of shared, overlapped and conflicting power, an elaborate system of checks and balance (treaty ratification, confirmation of senior appointments, veto and veto override), the congressional power of the purse, oversight, declaration of war, establishment/abolishment of executive departments and agencies, impeachment, and more. The president proposes, but Congress disposes. The president is the commander-in-chief, but only as authorized and appropriated by Congress.
Moreover, congressional independence is bolstered by prescribing House members and senators -- as well as governors -- a different constituency, term, timetable and agenda than those assigned to the president. Thus, the president, constrained by a two-term limit, rushes to accomplish his nationwide agenda within four to eight years. On the other hand, House members and senators benefit from two- and six-year unlimited terms, which enable them to adopt a long-term, gradual approach, advancing their district and state-wide agendas, which may not be consistent with the president's national agenda and timetable.
For example, on Feb. 17, 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama reluctantly vetoed a U.N. Security Council condemnation of Israel's settlement policy, due to pressure exerted by Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill. The Senate defied both Clinton and Obama, refusing to ratify the 1999 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) foiled Obama's attempts to close down the Guantanamo detention camp. In 2009, House and Senate bi-partisan leadership prevented the appointment of Chas Freeman to chair the National Intelligence Council, because of Freeman's close business and political ties with China and Saudi Arabia. Congress ended U.S. military involvement in Vietnam (the Eagleton, Cooper and Church amendments), Angola (the Clark Amendment) and Nicaragua (the Boland Amendment); overrode President Ronald Reagan's veto and brought down the white regime in South Africa; halted the supply of AWACs to Iran on the eve of the Khomeini revolution; overhauled the U.S. intelligence (Church/Pike Committees); and forced the USSR/Russia (Jackson-Vanik amendment in defiance of the president) to allow the emigration of one million Jews to Israel.
In 1957, bi-partisan congressional leadership (especially Senators Lyndon Johnson and William Knowland) was about to force President Dwight D. Eisenhower to refrain from imposing sanctions on Israel unless it withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula. However, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion pulled the rug from under the feet of Congress, by announcing full withdrawal. In 1990-1992, Senators Inouye, Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Bob Kasten (R-Wis.) initiated a series of amendments, expanding U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation, despite presidential opposition.
While a congressional challenge to presidential foreign and national security policies constitutes an uphill battle, Congress has demonstrated its ability to flex effective muscle, especially when it comes to an issue -- such as Israel -- that benefits from bi-partisan, bi-cameral, consensus support.

Yoram Ettinger


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Hamas Imposes Radical New Law: Lashings, Amputations, and Massive Executions

by IPT News

Hamas is now trying to outdo the Taliban in imposing new Shar'ia inspired draconian punishments, including amputations of limbs and massive increases in lashings and executions. A senior Hamas official told Gulf News that a new punitive law, "inspired by" Shar'ia Law, is required to replace the former and "impractical" one. The article states that there will be a minimum of 20 lashes for minor offenses and a minimum of 80 lashes for criminal cases: the death penalty will also be expanded in accordance with the Shar'ia. In addition, the new law includes cutting off the hands of a thief.

By replacing an almost 80-year old punitive law with a new radical one, Hamas has earned widespread condemnation by other Palestinian factions. Even other terrorist groups condemn Hamas' new law.

"The new law will harm the interests of the Palestinians and perpetuate the Palestinian internal split. Hamas must retreat and show priority and preference to the higher Palestinian interests," according to The Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) statement.

According to the article, Hamas asserts that the law aims at deterring criminals in Gaza.

Instead of planning to alleviate Gaza's deteriorating economic situation or reining in terrorist groups operating in the Strip, the Hamas regime is reinforcing its radical rule. Clearly, Hamas prioritizes imposing its radical Islamist agenda on Palestinian society over enhancing Gaza's standard of living.

It remains to be seen whether Hamas' front groups and supporters in the United States, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, American Muslims for Palestine and the Muslim American Society, who claim to be civil rights organizations, will condemn Hamas for implementing this new law.

IPT News


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