Archive for the ‘Anti-Israel propaganda’ category

Israel Tries Its Hand at a Travel Ban

January 12, 2018

Israel Tries Its Hand at a Travel Ban, American Thinker,  Michael Curtis, January 12, 2018

Israel is proposing to prevent foreign supporters of BDS from entering Israel, although ministers have the right to deny individuals entry on a case-by-case basis, as in the case of Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of BDS, who is married to an Israeli citizen of Palestinian origin.  On January 7, 2018, Israel announced it plans to establish a task force to identify the hundreds of activists already in Israel and deport or deny entry to individuals who support BDS.

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Commenting on President Woodrow Wilson’s “long overdue ” decision to enter World War I, Winston Churchill wrote that if the president had acted earlier, it would have meant abridgment of the slaughter, sparing of the agony, and prevention of ruin and catastrophe.  Even if the parallel is not exact, Israeli authorities are acting to prevent further harm to their country by imposing a travel ban blocking members of organizations supporting BDS, the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, from entering the country.

Mark Twain in his book Innocents Abroad wrote that travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.  Unfortunately, as Israel has found, hostile activists can also encourage those qualities.

The travel ban implements the intention of the law passed in March 2017 that bars entry into the country by groups that actively promote anti-Israeli boycotts.  The ban is virtual recognition of the adage, “Oh, I have taken too little care of this.”  Israel has now taken the offense against those who are not simply rational critics of Israeli policies and actions, but either implicitly or explicitly refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the State of Israel or seek its elimination.

By banning any foreign activist who has knowingly signed a public call to boycott Israel or pledged to take part in a boycott, Israel is preventing harm to its citizens.

On January 7, 2018, Israel issued a ban on 20 worldwide organizations, including 11 European and six U.S. groups, that are involved and active in BDS activities.  They include the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC); Code Pink; the U.S.-based Jewish Voice for Peace; the U.K.-based Palestinian Solidarity Campaign; of which Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is a patron; the British group War on Want; and BDS organizations in France, Italy, Norway, and the Netherlands.

It is worth looking, if only as illustration of hypocrisy, at War on Want, an organization founded in 1951 in London as an antipoverty charity.  It supported liberation movements in Africa.  For a time, the anti-Israeli George Galloway was its general secretary; during that time, there were accounting irregularities, and reports were “materially misstated.”  In 2006, War on Want launched its Palestinian Rights movement and advocated BDS, calling for an embargo on arms to Israel.

One controversial incident resulting from this policy of banning occurred in 2016, when Isabel Phiri, a Malawian citizen living in Switzerland, the assistant general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva and former professor of African theology in South Africa, was refused a visa by Israel.  Israeli authorities maintained that she has been involved in BDS, and it was the first time a foreign national was refused for that reason.  Though the WCC has not formally called for an outright boycott against Israel, it believes that the “Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories is a tragedy for the Palestinian occupied.”

Let us be straightforward on this controversial issue.  The argument against the travel ban is that it violates freedom of expression, and of course, to some extent, this is true in a democratic country such as Israel.  The problem with this is that not only does the freedom to call for a boycott exist everywhere, but much of the expression on Israel is based on falsehood and misrepresentations and the Palestinian Narrative of Victimhood.

Taking two examples illustrates the point.  The AFSC that won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1947 announced extravagantly on January 8, 2018 that “for 51 years Israel has denied Palestinians in the occupied territories their fundamental human rights in defiance of international law. ”  Then there is the absurdly disproportionate announcement issued on February 13, 2015 by over 100 British artists, including some well known personalities such as film directors Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, explaining their cultural boycott of Israel as based on the fact that “Palestinians have enjoyed no respite from Israel’s unrelenting attack on their land, their livelihood, their right to political existence.”

The BDS campaign calls for economic, cultural, and academic boycotts against the State of Israel and Israeli citizens.  But its real intention is not to advocate measures to alleviate the condition of Palestinians, but to implement the Palestinian campaign for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel, founded mainly by Omar Barghouti, to refuse to recognize Israel as a legitimate state.

What is important is that boycott activity is counterproductive, against peace.  It results in increasing hatred, and as Israeli president Reuven Rivlin has remarked, it symbolizes all that stands in the way of dialogue, debate, and progress.  It is against cooperation toward a peaceful solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A reminder of the past may be helpful in understanding the Israel travel ban.  On November 9-10, 1938, Kristallnacht occurred in German cities, with a pogrom against Jews, involving murders; beatings; and destruction of Jewish property and businesses as well as synagogues.  At the core and the call to German citizens was a boycott of Jews in all forms.

Obviously, actions such as calling for Israel to be excluded from international oganizations such as the world soccer governing body FIFA and the insistent commands by rock star Roger Waters to fellow performers not to perform in Tel Aviv are not on a par with the Nazi Holocaust, but it would be foolish to ignore the implications of BDS.  Implicitly if not explicitly, it promotes anti-Semitism as well as tolerating terrorist activity against Israel.

It does this by not criticizing the funds that the Palestinian Authority (P.A.), through its Martyrs’ Fund, gives to terrorists in Israeli prisons or to the families of those terrorists killed by Israel.  It is encouraging that the U.S. Senate by the Taylor Force bill is considering the issue in an appropriate way.  Named after the American citizen, a former U.S. army officer and a Vanderbilt University student, murdered in March 2016 by a Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank, the Taylor Force Act, introduced in 2016, aims to stop all U.S. economic aid to the P.A. as long as it continues to pay those salaries to terrorists and families.

Israel is proposing to prevent foreign supporters of BDS from entering Israel, although ministers have the right to deny individuals entry on a case-by-case basis, as in the case of Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of BDS, who is married to an Israeli citizen of Palestinian origin.  On January 7, 2018, Israel announced it plans to establish a task force to identify the hundreds of activists already in Israel and deport or deny entry to individuals who support BDS.

The Israeli travel ban might be considered in the context of the continuing war on Jews.  It is three years since Hypercacher, the Jewish Paris supermarket, was attacked by terrorists.  Four were killed.  Coinciding with the Israeli travel ban, on January 9, 2018, an arson attack burned down a French kosher grocery store in Creteil, a suburb of Paris, and the store was completely gutted by fire.  Six days earlier, two stores in the area were targeted with paintings of swastikas.

Hatred and anti-Semitism: this is the real essence of the boycott of Israel and Jews.

The horrifying scale of antisemitism in the British Labour Party

November 8, 2017

The horrifying scale of antisemitism in the British Labour Party | Anne’s Opinions, 7th November 2017

Although this isn’t news any more, (I have written about it on this blog several times) it still bears repeating and stressing: antisemitism in Britain’s Labour Party is rising to unprecedented levels, to a stage where Jews do not feel welcome any more in what was once their natural political home.

The Daily Mail writes about the alarming scale of antisemitism within the Labour Party:

The scale of anti-semitism within Labour has prompted training sessions for 1,200 party members in a drive to stamp out the vile online abuse.

Labour’s Jewish wing is holding the events that use a slide show of hate-filled messages posted on the internet by the party’s own activists.

The Daily Mail has chosen to reproduce the comments despite their shocking content in order to highlight the enormity of the problem.

The abuse includes one Labour member describing Jews as a ‘corrupt master race’ controlling sex-trafficking, pornography and wars worldwide.

Another wrote: ‘Every f****** Jew that died in the Holocaust was a blessing.’

One councillor suggested there was a worldwide Jewish conspiracy and that Israel wanted to commit atrocities across the whole world.

Last night MP John Cryer, who is chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party, said that the tweets were ‘stomach-churning’ and ‘awful’.

I have no idea why people who hold these views would want to be a member of the Labour Party,’ he said.

‘The Labour Party has been at the forefront of confronting Nazism right from the 1930s – so what possesses these people to become members I don’t understand. I have seen tweets like this at our disciplinary body and what I know is these people are quickly suspended and expelled.’

The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) held a training session at September’s Labour conference – itself blighted by accusations of anti-semitism – in a doomed attempt to nip the problem in the bud. Some 1,200 members have attended the official Labour Party sessions, which are carried out by the JLM, in the past 14 months.

The event said that among elected Labour representatives ‘denial of anti-semitism is particularly common’, as was the idea that ‘Jewish people are wealthy or interested in wealth or finance’.

Another message from an unknown Labour councillor contained ‘echoes of the blood libel’, the JLM events are told.

The tweet showed an Israeli flag dripping with blood along with the words: ‘The genocidal murderers of innocent women and children: Moses must be proud of you.’ The message was headlined: ‘Israel is evil, long live Palestine.’

A councillor shared a picture saying: ‘The modern state of Israel was created by the Rothschilds, not God – and what they are doing to the Palestinian people now is exactly what they intend for the whole world.’ Alongside a picture of a child in a hospital bed, it said: ‘Today it’s a Palestinian child: soon it will be your child.’

One member wrote: ‘I see the corrupt “master race” side-stepped into this graphic,’ to which another replied: ‘Lol [laugh out loud] be careful you might get accused of being anti-semitic.’

This led to a discussion about ‘paid disinfo agents’ and Blairites ‘running to the MSM [mainstream media]’ with mention of the Zionism ‘problem’. ‘Just look at who owns what,’ one said.

The notes also said that ‘denial of anti-semitism is known as the Livingstone formulation’ in a reference to comments by former London mayor Ken Livingstone in which he said that anyone critical of Israel was accused of anti-semitism.

A JLM spokesman said: ‘The training programme is starting to have an impact across the country. The examples used are actual samples of anti-semitism, and are regularly updated.

‘They are anonymised in order not to prejudice ongoing disciplinary cases.’

The issue of anti-semitism overshadowed the Labour conference after activists at an anti-Zionist fringe event demanded the JLM be expelled.

Jeremy Corbyn was forced to deny he was leading the new ‘nasty party’, and the Labour leader of Brighton council threatened to ban the party from holding its conference in the town unless it cracked down on racism amongst activists.



Jeremy Corbyn can deny his own or his party’s antisemitism and anti-Westernism till he is blue in the face but it will be to no avail since the proof is there for all to see.

Journalist Tom Gross found this little item in the satirical magazine Private Eye which highlights Corbyn’s hypocrisy with two opposing statements:

In this vein, the political blogger Guido Fawkes has done a thorough research job and found 100 times that Jeremy Corbyn has sided with terrorists: – not only Palestinian but Irish and others. Below is just a partial list:

  • Invited two IRA members to parliament two weeks after the Brighton bombing.
  • Attended Bloody Sunday commemoration with bomber Brendan McKenna.
  • Attended meeting with Provisional IRA member Raymond McCartney.
  • Hosted IRA linked Mitchell McLaughlin in parliament.
  • Spoke alongside IRA terrorist Martina Anderson.
  • Attended Sinn Fein dinner with IRA bomber Gerry Kelly.

Jeremy Corbyn standing with the Hezbollah flag some years ago

  • Put up £20,000 bail money for IRA terror suspect Roisin McAliskey.
  • Didn’t support IRA ceasefire.
  • Said Hamas and Hezbollah are his “friends“.
  • Called for Hamas to be removed from terror banned list.
  • Called Hamas “serious and hard-working“.
  • Attended wreath-laying at grave of Munich massacre terrorist.
  • Attended conference with Hamas and PFLP.
  • Photographed smiling with Hezbollah flag.

There is much more in this revolting litany of cosying up to terrorists.

The rise in antisemitism disguised as anti-Zionism in the Labour Party has alarmed even such liberal Jewish stalwarts as Howard Jacobson, Simon Schama and Simon Sebag-Montefiore. Here is their letter to the editor of the Times in which they decry such bigotry:

Letter to the Times protesting antisemitism in the Labour Party (click to enlarge)

Unfortunately these three eminent personalities concede the validity of the Palestinian “narrative” which dilutes their entire argument. The Elder of Ziyon takes issue, correctly, with the writers’ ceding the validity of Palestinian claims to any history in the Land of Israel, whether they did so out of genuine belief or because they feel their message will be more palatable to the British public if they dilute it with support for the Palestinian narrative:

Even if you give these writers the benefit of the doubt and say that they are only making this claim to allow their message about antisemitism to be easier to swallow by British anti-Zionists – doesn’t that mean that they don’t really believe that anti-Zionism is a modern form of antisemitism? It dilutes their argument, instead of strengthening it.

No self-respecting Zionist can accept any part of the Palestinian Arab claims – because the very acceptance of those claims negates Jewish claims. That is the entire point of Palestinian nationalism since the 1910s – to delegitimize Zionism and Jewish peoplehood altogether. If there was no Zionism, there would have never been Palestinian nationalism which exists to combat Zionism. (Where were the Palestinian nationalists demanding self-determination in the territories between 1948 amd 1967?)

If Schama and Montefiore disagree, please, I would love to hear their arguments. I have looked for years for any evidence of a “Palestinian” nation and culture and people that predate Zionism, without luck.

I have no doubt that these three writers love Israel, but they seem very unaware of how much damage they can unwittingly cause to the nation they love by embracing the narrative of those who want to destroy Israel.

The Elder is correct that in order to counteract this constant delegitimization, we must stay on-message and speak with one voice, at least in public.

But to return to the Labour Party, some of them have even turned on their own members if they are viewed as too pro-Israel, or not anti-Israel enough. The British Jewish grass-roots organization Campaign Against Antisemitism reveals that a Labour councillor who took action against antisemitism was the victim of a social media attack that was endorsed by a Shadow Minister:

Shadow Minister Chris Williamson has tweeted a blog article entitled “Revealed: The Labour Party activists behind the ‘antisemitism’ smears”, which he commended as “really interesting”. Despite its grand use of terms such as “raw data” and “the power of weak links”, the article does little more than to insinuate – on the flimsiest of evidence – that a small number of social media users constitute a “network of hate” and to accuse Councillor Warren Morgan – the leader of Brighton and Hove City Council whose brave stand against antisemitism we applauded in September – of lying, bringing the Labour Party into disrepute, and “regurgitating second-hand fabrications about alleged antisemitism”. It was written by internet millionaire and former Daily Mail journalist Greg Hadfield, whose membership of the Labour Party is currently suspended.

The article notes how extraordinary it is for a Shadow Minister to turn on one of his own party’s members so publicly, and continues:

In the UK, it is accepted that an incident perceived as racist should be investigated as such. The idea that one particular ethnic group — and one particular ethnic group alone — cannot be trusted to recognise racism when directed against itself is incompatible with the Macpherson principle that underpins the British approach to racism. It would be regrettable indeed if the endorsement of Mr Hadfield’s article by such a senior politician as Mr Williamson were to have the effect of intimidating party members from coming forward with or responding to complaints about antisemitism. The Labour Party’s new rules on hate speech, adopted by near-unanimous vote after a highly controversial conference debate, cannot begin to have an impact on the Party’s undeniable antisemitism problem unless whistleblowers are able to speak out without fear of reprisals.

In the light of all this bigotry and racism, we are all wondering what is the root of the deep antisemitism now prevailing in its ranks. Melanie Phillips posits a theory as to the roots of Labour’s antisemitism:

… the Labour party is still in denial about the deep roots of this scourge within its own ideology. It still wrongly believes that the examples which have publicly surfaced over the past few months are some kind of aberration. John Cryer MP, the chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party who described these tweets as “stomach-churning” and “awful”, demonstrated the problem when he said: “I have no idea why people who hold these views would want to be a member of the Labour Party”.

But they hold them precisely because they are members of the Labour party – because they are committed to the thinking that has become an article of faith on the left, which has turned the “Palestinians” into the signature cause for progressive people on the utterly false grounds that aggressive, brutal, colonialist Israel has deprived them of their historic right to a Palestine state.

This thinking uses precisely the same uniquely deranged and obsessional charges – diabolical cosmic power, covert conspiracy against the world, crimes of which the accused is not only innocent but is in fact the victim, expectations of standards of behaviour applied to no other people and overall demonisation based on systematic falsehoods – which have characterised hatred against the Jews as people and now identically characterise hatred against the collective Jew in Israel.

Antisemitism goes far beyond the left. Tragically, it is the prejudice that never dies. But what the left has done is provide the means of sanitising it through support of Palestinianism which provides plausible deniability by couching the venom as being anti-Israel instead of being overtly anti-Jew.

Sadly, none of this analysis provides us with a method for combatting this irrational hatred. All that we can do is keep on pounding away with the truth and facts. We pro-Israel activists must also be much more pro-active on the social and mainstream media in order to counteract the floods of hatred that swamp the media.

Indoctrinating America’s youth against Israel

August 4, 2017

Indoctrinating America’s youth against Israel, Israel Hayom, Richard Baehr, August 4, 2017

The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East ‎Reporting in America has published a new monograph: “Indoctrinating Our ‎Youth,” a case study of the bias in the high school curriculum in one U.S. city ‎when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and teaching about Islam.‎

The booklet is of interest because it helps explains a dramatic shift in the attitudes ‎toward Israel among younger Americans.‎

According to a study by the Brand Israel Group, in just six years, support for Israel ‎has dropped from 73% to 54% among U.S. college students. The drop-off in support among Jewish college ‎students has been particularly steep — from 84% to 57%. It is no great secret that the environment for pro-‎Israel students on many if not most college campuses has become quite hostile. ‎The movement to create an intersectionality of interests among various purveyors ‎of identity politics — the LGBT community, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Muslims, among others — ‎now seems to have adopted anti-Zionism among its key tenets. The exclusion of ‎Jewish women in Chicago from various rallies because they carried rainbow flags ‎with the Star of David is typical of the increasingly fierce attempts to banish ‎anything remotely connected to Israel from the movements on the Left.‎

Elements of the organized Jewish community have been working to fight the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement ‎on college campuses and to support, train and educate pro-Israel activists. It is ‎clearly difficult for pro-Israel students to isolate themselves from accepted ‎‎”wisdom” or belief among their peers and push back with an alternative ‎viewpoint.

But the CAMERA study reveals that the problem begins earlier than ‎college. The pattern of indoctrination and ‎pressure to adopt narratives hostile to Israel are now common in high school, if not ‎even earlier.

In a typically comprehensive, carefully footnoted ‎study, CAMERA staffers took the time to evaluate all the materials used in teaching ‎about Israel, as well as the Islamic faith, in the two high schools in Newton, ‎Massachusetts, an affluent, heavily Jewish suburb of Boston. In some cases, ‎materials had to be obtained through Freedom of Information requests. School ‎administrators did what they could to impede efforts by local ‎parents and a few local groups who pushed back after learning about the heavily ‎slanted curriculum. Promises were made about changes in the class ‎materials that proved to be false. The school system seemed committed to ‎advancing a point of view, if not just circling the wagons when challenged. ‎

One has to ask how this happened, and why. Newton, of course, is part of the ‎Boston metropolitan area, which is densely populated with colleges and ‎universities, including some of the most elite institutions in the country, if not the ‎world. Not surprisingly, given the current orientation toward Israel on campus, ‎the Newton school system relied on materials from the Outreach Center at ‎Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and invited a BDS ‎supporter from the center, Paul Beran, to conduct teacher training activities to ‎help develop the curriculum in the Newton high schools. The center also ‎mainstreamed a textbook, “The Arab World Studies Notebook,” by ‎Audrey Park Shabbas, as a resource for teachers and students. This notebook ‎was described as “replete with factual errors, inaccuracies and misrepresentations” ‎in a study by the American Jewish Committee after parents in Anchorage, Alaska, ‎complained about the book’s bias against Israel back in 2004. ‎

The AJC found the book to be riddled with “overt bias and unabashed ‎propagandizing,” such as depicting Israel as the aggressor in every Arab-‎Israeli war, and praising Muslim conquerors throughout the ages for their ‎‎”gentle treatment of civilian populations.”‎

The CAMERA analysis makes clear that the high schools presented a picture ‎of the Arab-Israeli conflict in which Arabs had no agency, but were always victims ‎of displacement and occupation. The Palestinian Arabs were shown as the ‎indigenous people, dating back to the Canaanites, and the Jews the modern ‎interlopers as a result of the Zionist movement and then European guilt over the ‎Holocaust, leading to the 1947 partition resolution at the United Nations. Palestine Liberation Organization heads Yassar Arafat ‎and Mahmoud Abbas were depicted as leaders who have always sought peace but were stymied by Israeli intransigence ‎and reluctance to share the land. The dispute was always about land, not ‎religion. ‎

Discussion of terrorism as a political tool is almost entirely absent from the ‎materials, and when mentioned, it is explained away as a ‎product of frustration that the plight of the Palestinians was being ignored by the ‎world.

The teachings about Islam naturally soft-pedal the violent history during the Prophet Muhammad’s time, the meaning of jihad, and the growing strength of radical and ‎violent movements within the religion in recent decades. The real threat today is ‎always virulent Islamophobia. ‎

In Newton, there was significant pushback against the school system, though some ‎major Jewish institutions seemed fearful of rocking the boat. But in the time ‎between the complaints by the Anchorage parents and the brouhaha in Newton, a ‎large number of school systems have adopted the textbook, and similarly biased ‎supplemental readings, maps and films, as their blueprint for teaching about the ‎conflict and the region. Thousands of high school history teachers have been ‎introduced and trained in presenting the materials. Other than Anchorage and ‎Newton, there are few instances where parents objected in other locales. Tulsa, ‎Oklahoma, is one of these. ‎

The author of the “Arab World Studies Notebook” has bragged about its wide ‎distribution and influence. ‎According to a Jewish News Service report, “Shabbas has claimed that the Notebook has been distributed to more than ‎‎10,000 teachers, and ‘if each notebook teaches 250 students a year over 10 ‎years, then you’ve reached 25 million students.’‎”

JNS quotes Curriculum Watch’s Dr. ‎Sandra Alfonsi as saying that “the most important statistic is the number of workshops that Shabbas has ‎given to instruct teachers in how to use the book. She has conducted hundreds of such three-day ‎teacher-training sessions.”

Further, JNS reports, “Shabbas’ website names 211 schools where she ‎ran teacher workshops from 2000-2006. Other years are not listed.”

In essence, an entire generation of high school students has been exposed ‎to this propaganda, with virtually no alternative views offered, nor any ‎critical analysis of the bias in the textbook. ‎

CAMERA’s monograph is an important first step in providing such a critical ‎commentary on the textbook and other materials that are now in wide use. ‎Hopefully, both parents and the organized Jewish community will show ‎more sustained interest in battling this insidious corruption of the ‎curriculum, which has but one goal: to create a new generation of ‎Americans far less favorably disposed toward Israel.

 

Richard Baehr is the co-founder and chief political correspondent for the American Thinker and a fellow at the Jewish Policy Center.