60 years after a terrorist murder and Israel's Gettysburg address
It's just a few minutes until the holiday starts again, and then I will be offline until Saturday night.
60 years ago today (on the secular calendar), a young security guard at Kibbutz Nachal Oz on the Gaza border was murdered by Arab terrorists (Wikipedia and the Times of Israel notwithstanding, there were no Arabs who were known as 'Palestinians' in 1956). Roi Rotberg HY"D (May God Avenge his blood) had moved to Nachal Oz from Tel Aviv. He was eulogized by the IDF Chief of Staff, Moshe Dayan, in what Wikipedia calls Israel's Gettysburg Address.
In 1956, IsraeliChief of StaffMoshe Dayan gave a eulogy for a Roi Rotberg, a kibbutz security officer killed near the Gaza Strip,
calling upon Israel to search its soul and probe the national mindset.
Dayan's eulogy is considered one of the most influential speeches in
Israeli history, and has the importance in Israeli collective memory that the Gettysburg Address has in American memory.
became a kibbutz in 1953 and was frequently in conflict with Arabs who
crossed the nearby armistice line from Gaza to reap crops and conduct
The previous few months had been relatively quiet on the Israel's
borders with Egypt and Gaza, but escalated with several cross-border
shootings in early April. On April 4, three Israeli soldiers were killed by Egyptian forces on the Gaza border. Israel responded the next day by shelling the center of Gaza City, killing 58 Egyptian and Palestinian civilians as well as 4 Egyptian soldiers. Egypt responded by resuming fedayeen attacks across the border, killing 14 Israelis during the period 11–17 April.
Rotberg, the Nahal Oz security officer, was regularly involved in chasing off infiltrators, sometimes using lethal force.
On 29 April 1956 he was caught in a prepared ambush; Arab harvest
workers began to reap wheat in the kibbutz's fields in a spot where
Rotberg would see them, he did, but as he rode toward them to chase them
off others emerged from hiding to attack. He was shot off his horse, beaten and shot again, then his body was dragged into Gaza. According to Jean-Pierre Filiu, Rotberg's attackers included, "an Egyptian policeman" and "a Palestinian farmer." The body was returned on the same afternoon, badly mutilated, after United Nations intervention.
Yes, even in 1956, before there was an 'occupation,' Arab terrorists mutilated his body.
Today's Times of Israel includes a translation of Dayan's speech by Mitch Ginsburg. There is a lot here with which one could disagree (Dayan demonstrates far too much sympathy for the Arabs, and we know historically that he did not follow through to reach the conclusions he should have reached). But I have no time to discuss that right now. I'm just throwing it out there for you to think about.
daybreak, Roi was murdered. The quiet of a spring morning blinded him,
and he did not see the stalkers of his soul on the furrow. Let us not
hurl blame at the murderers. Why should we complain of their hatred for
us? Eight years have they sat in the refugee camps of Gaza, and seen,
with their own eyes, how we have made a homeland of the soil and the
villages where they and their forebears once dwelt.
Not from the Arabs
of Gaza must we demand the blood of Roi, but from ourselves. How our
eyes are closed to the reality of our fate, unwilling to see the destiny
of our generation in its full cruelty. Have we forgotten that this
small band of youths, settled in Nahal Oz, carries on its shoulders the
heavy gates of Gaza, beyond which hundreds of thousands of eyes and arms
huddle together and pray for the onset of our weakness so that they may
tear us to pieces — has this been forgotten? For we know that if the
hope of our destruction is to perish, we must be, morning and evening,
armed and ready.
A generation of
settlement are we, and without the steel helmet and the maw of the
cannon we shall not plant a tree, nor build a house. Our children shall
not have lives to live if we do not dig shelters; and without the barbed
wire fence and the machine gun, we shall not pave a path nor drill for
water. The millions of Jews, annihilated without a land, peer out at us
from the ashes of Israeli history and command us to settle and rebuild a
land for our people. But beyond the furrow that marks the border, lies a
surging sea of hatred and vengeance, yearning for the day that the
tranquility blunts our alertness, for the day that we heed the
ambassadors of conspiring hypocrisy, who call for us to lay down our
It is to us that
the blood of Roi calls from his shredded body. Although we have vowed a
thousand vows that our blood will never again be shed in vain —
yesterday we were once again seduced, brought to listen, to believe. Our
reckoning with ourselves, we shall make today. We mustn’t flinch from
the hatred that accompanies and fills the lives of hundreds of thousands
of Arabs, who live around us and are waiting for the moment when their
hands may claim our blood. We mustn’t avert our eyes, lest our hands be
weakened. That is the decree of our generation. That is the choice of
our lives — to be willing and armed, strong and unyielding, lest the
sword be knocked from our fists, and our lives severed.
Roi Rotberg, the
thin blond lad who left Tel Aviv in order to build his home alongside
the gates of Gaza, to serve as our wall. Roi — the light in his heart
blinded his eyes and he saw not the flash of the blade. The longing for
peace deafened his ears and he heard not the sound of the coiled
murderers. The gates of Gaza were too heavy for his shoulders, and they
There's more here. Chag Sameyach and Shabbat Shalom. See you on Saturday night!
It's embargoed until midnight tonight US time, but since I didn't get it directly from them, I'm not subject to the embargo. Freedom House has issued its annual report on freedom of the press, and has downgraded Israel because - wait for it - Israel HaYom hands out newspapers for free!
Israel declined due to the growing impact of Yisrael Hayom, whose owner-subsidized business model endangered the stability of other media outlets, and
the unchecked expansion of paid content—some of it government funded—whose nature was not clearly identified to the public.
For the uninitiated, Israel HaYom is owned by that villain Sheldon Adelson, and is handed out for free on street corners and at traffic lights throughout the country. It lives on advertising, and has become the number one circulating hard-copy newspaper in the country, much to the chagrin of Haaretz (which has almost no hard-copy presence and exists as a web site for foreigners) and Yediot Aharonot (previously the top-ranking tabloid). In fact, the Freedom House report reads like Haaretz talking points.
Every newspaper in this country has 'paid government content' - legal notices and the like. There are many more here than in many other Western countries because every government tender and every public offering of securities (among other things) has to be published in two newspapers. But the people issuing the tender (local authorities) and the issuer of the securities (to stay with those two examples) have the right to choose in which newspapers they will publicize. Moreover, Freedom House gives no indication of how the 'paid content' in 2016 compares to past years, nor does it give any indication how much more (if any) 'content' goes to Yisrael HaYom than to any other newspaper.
The result is that while Israel is still the freest country in the Middle East and North Africa, Freedom House has downgraded our press from 'Free' to 'Partly Free' and our worldwide rank has declined to 65 (62 countries are rated 'Free') - behind countries like Chile and Uruguay and most of Europe (Norway is ranked #1, Belgium, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands are tied for #2, the US is ranked #28 and the UK is ranked #41). Ghana was the only other country that declined from 'Free' to 'Partly Free' this year.
Israel's downgrading reeks of politics. Politics should play no role in this type of ranking. Shame on Freedom House!
I have written many times on this blog that I do not ascend the Temple Mount because my rabbis here in Israel have ruled that it is forbidden to do so until there is a sacrificed red heifer's ashes that can make us pure from the impurity of coming into contact with the dead (yes, that's the reason).
However, others do ascend to certain parts of the Mount, and this morning, two Jews had the audacity to prostrate themselves before God on the Mount in order to fulfill the command to bow before God on the Temple grounds on the three holidays (Pesach, Shavuot and Succot). Watch what happens.
Let's go to the videotape.
Can you imagine any other country in the world where everyone but the majority would have freedom of worship?
Two videos 'celebrating' first 'Palestinian' suicide bombing in Jerusalem in more than a decade
Over the weekend, Israeli media released videos of 'Palestinians' celebrating the first successful suicide bombing in Jerusalem in more than a decade. Watching these videos will give you an indication of the continued Jew-hatred here in Israel.
This one is from Gaza (and not Jerusalem as it says in the blog post where I got it). Let's go to the videotape.
And the second one says it's from Bethlehem, but is actually the Abu Srour family (which lives near Bethlehem) and is the same video I posted here.
Let's go to the videotape.
But give them a 'state' and they'll stop celebrating every time someone
tries to murder us, just like they'll stop educating their children to
murder us. Right....
The 19-year old terrorist who blew up a Jerusalem bus last Monday did not come from an impoverished home. In fact, he lived a life of privilege, much like the Saudi 9/11 terrorists. And that worries the Israeli authorities.
His uncles are prosperous merchants. He did not grow up in a refugee camp. He went on shopping trips to Jordan.
But the cover photo on his Facebook page
includes the image of Yahya Ayyash, a.k.a. “The Engineer,” the chief
bombmaker for Hamas, who likely was killed by an exploding mobile phone
planted by Israeli agents in 1996.
On Monday afternoon, 19-year-old Abdel Hamid
Abu Srour boarded the Egged No. 12 bus and placed a package between his
legs. His uncles think that it might have been his first visit to
His seat was above the vehicle’s gas tanks,
according to Israeli news media. His relatives scoffed at the idea that
Abu Scour would know how to make a bomb himself.
His high school grades were poor enough that he wanted to retake subjects and redo his exams.
Who gave him the bomb and how it was detonated is the object of a fast-moving investigation.
Hamas claimed that Abu Srour was a member of
the Islamist militant movement, although the Gaza-based terrorist group
did not assert direct responsibility for the bombing.
Israeli police announced Thursday that they had arrested several members of a Hamas cell in Bethlehem tied to the case.
The 'Palestinian Authority' tried to portray Abu Srour as a poor 'refugee.' But that's yet another lie.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health described
Abu Srour as a resident of the Aida refugee camp, a tough, politicized
neighbourhood of tight, twisting alleys where the walls are painted with
murals of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and covered with
the faded posters of dead teenagers hailed as martyrs, killed either
attacking Israelis or in clashes with Israeli troops.
But his relatives said Abu Srour was more of a
Palestinian preppy, the scion of a well-to-do and well-known clan of
eight prosperous brothers, who own and operate a string of furniture
outlets and are rich enough to take their young sons for holidays in
Jordan and to set them up with their own shops selling clothes.
“We are financially comfortable, you could say
very comfortable,” said his uncle Mahmoud Abu Srour, who was gathered
with relatives in a courtyard at a family house in Bethlehem awaiting
the return of his nephew’s body so they could bury him.
Abu Scour’s teenage cousins listened to their
uncles speak but kept silent. They wore pricey watches, skinny jeans and
Abu Srour’s father declined to speak on the
record. He was exhausted, he said. His family said his DNA was used to
identify his son. He said the body was unrecognizable to him.
Earlier in the day, the father denied in an
interview with Reuters that his son had any connection to Hamas, which
had announced Wednesday that Abu Scour was the bomber and that he was an
affiliate of the group.
“I never thought my son would do such an act,”
the father said. “My son did not make me feel, even for 1 per cent,
that he has feelings or thoughts like that. Never.”
But Abu Srour apparently WAS connected to Hamas and his family didn't totally discourage terrorism. It just tried to keep their children safe.
But on his Facebook page, there is a photo Abu Srour with a Hamas flag.
Israeli news media also reported that before he died, Abu Srour had
given his mother a photograph of himself wearing a Hamas scarf. The
Jerusalem Post reported that Abu Srour’s relatives gave out sweets on
the street to celebrate his martyrdom in the bomb blast.
And of course, the family is blaming the victim - Israel.
As if we're the ones who are ambivalent or worse about our children's involvement in terrorism....
In case I don't get to post again before the holiday starts, a Chag Kasher v'Sameyach (Happy and Kosher Passover) to all of you. And since there's still a little time left, let this Passover - and if not this certainly the next one - be celebrated with the paschal lamb being sacrificed in the rebuilt Third Temple in the Holy City of Jerusalem. There's plenty of room for a tent for all of you to stay in my backyard :-)
At Legal Insurrection, Miriam Elman reports that the loony Jewish Left, lead by 'Jewish' Voice for 'Peace' (JVP) has published a Haggada this year. I have my doubts that anyone who reads this blog is going to want it in their house, but....
I was curious to see what they do for the end of the seder, when we all say "Next year in [rebuilt] Jerusalem. Here's the answer.
Question 4. “Next Year in Jerusalem!”
We now end our Seder meal once again with the proclamation “Next Year in Jerusalem!” And so
we ask: what will we do to ensure that Jerusalem lives up to its name as a city of peace? How will
we respond as the Jewish state increasingly implements policies that claim this holy city in the
name of one people only? Do we dare to dream of a city divided or a city truly united for all its
...and if we do believe that Jerusalem must be, once and for all, a true City of Peace, what are we
willing to do to make it so?
As we close tonight, go around your table and say goodnight and one thing that you are taking
away with you from this evening’s seder.
Next Year in Jerusalem! Next Year in al-Quds! Next year in a City of Peace!
Kumbaya.... Totally delusional. Either the Jews will control Jerusalem or the Arabs will make it Judenrein (Jew-free).
But as Miriam reports, the loony Jewish Left has done much more than publish a Haggada.
The effort is spread on social media through this week’s trending
hashtags #LiberationSeder and #IfNotNow (see samples below). It’s a five
city (Boston, NYC, Chicago, Bay Area, and Washington, D.C.) series of “seders in the streets”
and in various buildings that house major Jewish organizations in order
to appropriate the holiday’s rituals and texts for an anti-Israel
The explicit goal of these publicly staged seders is to replace the
essential Passover themes—the retelling of the exodus from Egypt and the
Jewish people’s redemption in the land of Israel—with messages
concentrated on the “fight for Palestinian liberation”.
Let's go to the videotape.
Even more, it’s a bizarre program of anti-Jewish propaganda that has a
precedent. As I describe below, in the 1920s some deluded Jews in the
Soviet Union also enlisted in a campaign to eliminate the true meaning
It gets worse and there's a lot of it. Read the whole thing, but please don't let it ruin your Passover.
In Bethelehem, 'Palestinians' celebrate bus bomber
We now know who blew up that bus in Jerusalem on Monday. Abdel Hamid Abu Srour, 19, a resident of the Aida refugee camp near
Bethlehem who is suspected of detonating an explosive on a bus in
southern Jerusalem that left 20 others injured, died on Wednesday
following multiple surgeries. Yes, we even try to save the lives of those who come to murder us. Crazy, aren't we?
The 'Palestinians' in Bethlehem held a march last night to support Abu Srour. His mother handed out candies.
The Professor's name is Simona (Sima) Sharoni. Her academic credentials are here. This is from the second of the three links above.
Sharoni, a professor at the State University of New York at
Plattsburgh in the Gender and Women's Studies Department, said that both
the conflict and campus sexual assault feature institutionalized
disparity of power as a linchpin.
Sharoni articulated that the
pro-Israel narrative embraces a victim-blaming narrative akin to "she
was asking for it" allegations common in rape culture. "The assumption
that Palestinians bring the violence on themselves...it's similar to
telling a survivor that it's what she was wearing," Sharoni said.
Additionally, she asserted that supporters of Israel engage in a
behavior analogous to discrediting rape victims in their repudiation of
"Palestinians are not believed, which is the
same with survivors [of sexual assault]. It's very similar to saying,
'No, he's actually a nice guy,' about a man accused of rape," Aharoni
The professor concluded her interview by explaining
that drawing parallels between campus rape and the "Israeli apartheid"
is strategically advantageous for both the BDS movement as well as
sexual assault survivors groups because it serves as "a means to an
end...to create a just and equal society."
Well, Israel's treatment of 'Palestinians' does have something in common with campus rapes. It's widely exaggerated in the media, and the media reports about it (as well as the crimes themselves) are often based on lies by people who want to create abuse that doesn't exist. Often, both are based on fiction.
.@APDiplowriter takes on State Department spox on state sanctions against Iran
In case you haven't heard yet, the State Department sent letters to all 50 US State Governors that apparently demand that they suspend any remaining sanctions that the States have against Iran.
At the State Department briefing on Monday, the AP's Matt Lee took on State Department spokesman John Kirby regarding the letters.
Much of the rest of this comes from an email I received from The Israel Project's Omri Ceren.
More than two dozen U.S. states have sanctions against Iran. Different states established their sanctions for different combinations of reasons: nuclear work, terrorism, human rights violations, ballistic missiles, etc. For example the Illinois law cited Iran's "support [for] international terrorism," the California law cited terrorism plus "egregious violations of human rights," the New York law cited both of those plus "unconventional weapons and ballistic missiles," and so on. [a][b][c].
Earlier today Bloomberg View revealed that the Obama administration has sent letters to all 50 governors suggesting that states will need to review their Iran sanctions as a result of last summer's nuclear deal. The letters were prompted by paragraph 25 of the deal, which requires the federal government to "take appropriate steps" against state laws that may prevent "the implementation of the sanctions lifting as specified in this JCPOA."
Associated Press reporter Matt Lee raised several questions about the letters in today's press briefing with State Department spokesman Kirby. The full video is below (the exchange runs from about 4:30 to 9:10), but there are two specific questions which Kirby declined to definitively answer.
Let's go to the videotape. More after the video.
Here are those two questions:
1. Are states being asked to dismantle non-nuclear sanctions? - This question is potentially problematic for the administration. The JCPOA is supposed to be a nuclear agreement that provides relief from only nuclear sanctions in exchange for concessions on only nuclear work. But state-based sanctions are based on concerns related to both Iranian nuclear and non-nuclear behavior. If the administration pushes states to dismantle their sanctions, they'll be providing Iran with non-nuclear relief in excess of the deal, but if they don't push states to dismantle their sanctions, Iran will claim the U.S. is violating the deal's paragraph 25 requirements.
Kirby wouldn't provide a definitive answer. First he suggested that non-nuclear sanctions weren't being discussed, then Lee pushed for an explicit clarification, then Kirby added that states would get pushed on anything that conflicted with the JCPOA:
LEE: All right. Last one. Does it mention anything about sanctions that state and local authorities might have put in place against Iran for reasons other than non -- other than nuclear reasons?
KIRBY: Not that I’m aware of.
LEE: So it only applies to nuclear-related sanctions?
KIRBY: And the JCPOA specifically, yes.
2. Will the administration take states to court to try to force them to dismantle sanctions? - This question is also potentially problematic for the Obama administration. If it taked states to court, it might very well lose. The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA) provides states with the authority to divest from Iran so long as any U.S. sanctions - not just nuclear sanctions - remain in place in response to Iranian behavior [d]. A few months ago Rep. DeSantis introduced legislation that would tighten up CISADA in order to further bolster states' sanctioning authority regarding Iran [e]. Last December both the Senate and the House reaffirmed bipartisan congressional support for state and local sanctions against Iran: H.Con.Res.100 (introduced by Rep. Roskam and cosponsored by Reps. Deutch, Lipinski, Pompeo, Sherman, and Zeldin) and S.Con.Res.26 (introduced by Sen. Kirk and cosponsored Sens. Manchin and Rubio) [f] [g].
This time Kirby simply punted:
LEE: Right. But so, would the administration be willing to take state and local governments to court to force their compliance with what it believes to be this...
KIRBY: I won't engage in a hypothetical.
Earlier today, the New York Times announced that it opposes a bill introduced by Senators Kirk and Rubio to try to 'fix' the Iran deal. It may yet be an interesting summer on Capitol Hill.... The Obama administration is likely to agree with the Times.
At the 2012 and 2014 conferences, speakers
blamed radical Islam’s violence against Christians in the Middle East on
Christian support for Israel, as if Muslims had no moral agency of
their own. Speakers condemned Jews for having rejected Jesus as the
messiah, suggesting that this rejection rendered Jews unfit to run a
sovereign state of their own.
On a more practical level, speakers
falsely reported that the security barrier completely surrounds
Bethlehem, the city of Christ’s birth, in an attempt to portray the
Jewish state as an obstacle to God’s purposes for peace in the Middle
I was stunned that the speakers defamed the
Jewish people so brazenly and that the audience of 600 Evangelicals from
North America and Europe listened so happily to it all.
Similar messaging was broadcast at the 2016
conference. I should be in a high dudgeon about what I heard, but
instead I feel pity.
Spreading lies about the Jewish state, as
unsavory and self-destructive as it is, is the price Palestinian
Christians pay for staying in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. It’s
what they have to do.
Jews stay in the land through the force of
arms and diplomacy. Palestinian Christians stay in the West Bank by
shilling on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, one of the most corrupt
and incompetent set of elites in the world.
Palestinian Christians have to pretend that their fellow Palestinians are ready for statehood, jihadism
in the Middle East is not the fault of Muslim radicals but the West,
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is all Israel’s fault and that
Palestinian leaders can be trusted to make peace with the Jewish state
even though they can’t be trusted with the money thrown at them by
Repeating these messages is the tax, or jizya
Palestinian Christians must pay to maintain peaceful relations,
precarious as they are, with their Muslim neighbors in the West Bank.
previous epochs, Christians paid protection money to Muslim rulers to
ensure their safety, but today they pay the jizya by telling lies to their fellow Christians in the West.
Greetings from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (yes, really) to which for reasons that should be obvious to all of you I did not want to say I was going. This post is not going to go live until after I have taken off again.
The good news is that according to the security personnel I asked, the bomb threat on Tuesday night was a 'crazy person' and not Islamist terror like that pictured above. Of course, that doesn't explain why 20 people have been arrested in connection with that threat....
Thankfully, I am heading home from here.
Would you believe that a tiny bottle of water here (I don't think it's even half a liter) is 2.55 Euros? Ouch.
By the way, the Brussels flight from Philadelphia last night was canceled (at least the one on the airline I flew).
Belgian minister compares terrorists to Jews who hid in World War II
What's wrong with Europe is anti-Semitism and it's no wonder that it's rotting from within. Meet Belgian Interior Minister @JanJambon who thinks terrorists are like Jews who hid in World War II.
Jan Jambon, the Belgian interior minister, aroused a storm of controversy in the country Wednesday when, in a television interview, he compared the Muslim terrorists who hid in Brussels for months to “the Jews who hid here during the Nazi occupation,” later clarifying that his comments pertained to "the mechanism of hiding."
Jambon, a member of the right-wing Flemish party N-VA (New Flemish Alliance), spoke on a news program of the Flemish VTM channel in Antwerp. At first his words attracted no attention, but when Antwerp City Council member Claude Marinower learned of them, he posted them on social networks and the reactions began.
Marinower, a former MP, told the Jewish news website Regards: “At first when they told me about it I didn’t believe it was possible. I asked to watch the video – and realized that Jambon really did make this dubious comparison… It’s inconceivable, it’s shocking for all those who hid Jews during the occupation while endangering their lives. How can you compare the jihadist criminals who are hiding today with the innocent Jews who wanted to flee from the Nazi manhunt?”
In an initial response Wednesday, the interior minister’s spokesperson said, “Jambon had no intention of offending the Belgian Jews, on the contrary. He isn’t comparing Jews and terrorists, he was only referring to a factual element of Belgian history: that providing a refuge, hiding people, was something positive, but what is happening today in Brussels is not. Jambon’s statement refers only to the technical aspect of finding the refuge.”
Right.... Technical aspects.... Europe is rotting from within and one can only hope that they don't take the rest of the West with them.
But Salaita’s views, it seems, are too unpalatable even in Lebanon. A petition
circulated today and signed by students of the university argues that
the official search procedure designed to award Salaita his position was
cancelled on March 30 by university president Fadlo Khuri, citing
“procedural irregularities.” Which, the petitioners argue, is just code
for political persecution. “We fear,” the petition continues, “that AUB
is reproducing the trend of persecuting scholars who condemn the
injustices committed in Palestine.”
Even if you ignore for one minute the rich irony of this
statement—given the absolutely abysmal way Lebanon has treated its
sizable Palestinian population, denied access to basic resources like
housing, education, and employment for the past six decades—you have to
savor the thought of Salaita, who fashioned himself into a martyr
wronged by a shady Zionist cabal for criticizing Israel, being now
slammed a second time by a university few can accuse of abundant love
for the Jewish state.
The university was reached for comment, but provided none as of yet. Updates as they come.
Here's betting that Salaita lands at Bir Zeit on the Hudson... or at the Islamic University of Gaza. Heh.
Bernie's 'Jewish Outreach' Director: F*** You Bibi
Greetings from... well, you can guess where.
Bernie Sanders has appointed a 'Jewish outreach' director. He need not have bothered. In a March 3, 2015 Facebook post, the director, one Simone Zimmerman, threw a slew of expletives - including the "F" word - at Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Here's the original unedited post:
Zimmerman later edited the post to replace 'a-hole' with 'politician' and 'F-you' with 'shame on you.' But the internet has a long memory, and as Noah Pollak points out, the edits won't help Sanders much.
The choice of Zimmerman, a young anti-Israel activist with a history
of support for the BDS movement, signaled that the Sanders campaign was
not retreating from recent campaign behavior that many in the pro-Israel
community viewed as hostile.
Sanders turned down an invitation to speak at the annual AIPAC
conference, a bipartisan campaign stop for Republican and Democratic
politicians. Zimmerman condemned
Hillary Clinton’s speech to the AIPAC conference as “racist and
orientalist.” Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer on Sunday called Sanders’s recent comments about Israel’s conduct during fighting with the Hamas terrorist group “libelous.”
Zimmerman comes to the Sanders campaign after a stint as an
undergraduate at Berkeley, where she headed the campus chapter of J
Street, an anti-Israel lobbying and activist group.
Last year, Zimmerman promoted
a play called Martyr’s Street, whose plot compares an Israeli settler
to a Hamas bomb-maker. While a student at Berkeley in 2012, she signed a letter
criticizing the University of California system for issuing a report
about anti-Semitism on UC campuses. The next year, Zimmerman wrote an op-ed
calling on Hillel International, a national Jewish student
organization, to sponsor campus events promoting the BDS movement, which
seeks Israel’s destruction.
Maybe Bernie doesn't want any Jewish votes. He certainly doesn't want any pro-Israel votes.
Breaking: Part of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport evacuated
Great.... Just great....
Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport has been evacuated in the last few minutes due to a possible bomb or suspicious package. It is still unclear what is going on.
The Leiden train station in Amsterdam has also been evacuated.
A section of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has been evacuated after the arrest of a suspect, a spokesperson has told ITV News.
Social media users report armed police are patrolling the airport and hundreds of people have been evacuated from the commercial section.
Great.... Is there anyplace safe in Europe anymore?
UPDATE 5:31 PM BOSTON TIME
Three more updates at the same link:
1. A bomb disposal robot is investigating a suspicious package at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, according to Airlive.
Pictures of the scene were shared on social media:
Hundreds have been evacuated from the commercial square in the airport and one person has been arrested, authorities say.
Air traffic has so far not been affected, the airport said.
2.Parts of Schiphol Airport remain closed following reports of a suspicious package.
The official Twitter account for the airport has tweeted that air traffic has 'not been affected' by the incident.
3.A section of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has been evacuated following reports of a suspicious package.
One person has been arrested, a spokesperson for the airport has told ITV News.
So glad I fly through Europe....
UPDATE 6:19 PM BOSTON TIME
The Sheraton Hotel near the airport has also been evacuated and two more people have been arrested.
ALERT https://t.co/1jjhY4y8Qk Spokesman says Sheraton Hotel adjacent to Amsterdam airport also evacuated due to 'suspicious situation' - AFP
You didn't really think there would be a deal between Israel and Turkey, did you?
So after a weekend without WiFi access (did not even turn on the computer), greetings once again from Boston.
To those of you who thought that a deal between Israel and Turkey would happen, this should remove your delusions. Sultan Erdogan is saying that a deal won't happen unless Israel lifts its 'Gaza blockade.'
“What happens in Gaza is unacceptable, the occupation by Israel must
end," Ibrahim Kalın a spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan said on Monday.
On Friday, a day after high level
Turkish and Israeli officials met in London, the Turkish Foreign
Ministry issued a statement saying that “The teams made progress toward
finalizing the agreement and closing the gaps, and agreed that the deal
would be finalized in the next meeting which will be convened very
In Israel, both the Prime Minister's Office and the Foreign
Ministry declined to comment – as they have done for months – on the
Two major obstacles to an agreement are Israel’s demand that Turkey not
house a Hamas command center in Istanbul, and Turkey's demand that
Israel lift its maritime blockade of Gaza.
Israel has made clear
that it does not intend to lift the blockade of Gaza, which it deems
vital for the country's security, although it is apparently willing to
let Turkey ship some humanitarian aid to Gaza.
According to the
Daily Sabah newspaper, another Turkish demand is that Israel let Turkey
dispatch to the area a floating power-generating ship to relieve energy
problems in Gaza. According to the report, Israel did not reject the
idea and is considering it, although there is concern that it would set a
precedent. This idea was first broached already in 2014.
The Turkish newspaper said that the next meeting between the two countries will take place within the next two weeks.
Hey folks - this deal is not going to happen. The 'negotiations' are a charade, probably to keep Obama happy. Get used to it.
A reminder that I am in Boston where the Sabbath doesn't start for another couple of hours.
Israel's National Counter-Terrorism Bureau is urging all Israelis to leave Turkey at once due to a specific terrorist threat.
The National Security Council’s
Counter-Terrorism Bureau released a statement Friday warning Israelis at
home and abroad to avoid travel to Turkey due to the "heightened
security risk" and "threat of an terror attacks" in the country.
"Following the evaluation of the current situation in Turkey, we
have raised the alert level," the statement from the bureau begins.
"At the same time we encourage Israelis currently in Turkey to
refrain from visiting tourist areas with large crowds and follow the
instructions of local security officials," the statement added.
The statement noted that the travel warning was "hot" or of high
value and that the defense establishment "wished to reiterate its
recommendation to avoid visiting the country and those in it to leave as
soon as possible".
Stay safe folks - and get out of there while you can.
Welcome to the United States, where anti-Israel indoctrination masquerades as 'critical thinking'
Greetings to all of you from Boston (yes, again).
I am starting today's posting with a local story - from my home town.
Indoctrination @ Newton, a new video released today by Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT), exposes a pattern of anti-Israel teachings found in Newton, Massachusetts high schools, including:
Newton’s high schools have used Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) maps that falsify the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Newton students were not told that the maps were created by the PLO’s propaganda unit.
Newton’s schools presented students with a falsified version of the Hamas Charter. In Newton’s doctored version the word ”Jews” – as a target of hatred -- is replaced with the word “Zionists.”
In one lesson, Newton students are asked to consider the Jewish state’s right to exist. (The legitimacy of no other nation-state’s existence is questioned.) The lesson included “expert” opinions, which are drawn overwhelmingly from anti-Israel academics and anti-Semitic activists.
A book used in Newton high schools has a recommended reading list that includes the extremist writings by Muslim Brotherhood leaders including Sayyid Qutb, and Yusuf Qaradawi, whose sermons call for the murder of Jews and homosexuals.
Newton schools officials are shown to continuously refuse to make school curricula and teaching materials available to the Newton residents.
Charles Jacobs, APT President said, “The video also shows that Saudi, Palestinian, and other Arab-funded teaching materials have been inserted into the curriculum, much of it containing anti-Israel bias.”
The Saudi funded Arab World Studies Notebook was used in Newton high schools until public pressure forced its removal. The Notebook, condemned by the American Jewish Committee (AJC), and rejected by many other school boards, teaches students, among other things, that Israeli soldiers murder Palestinian women. Newton’s Superintendent of Schools David Fleishman claimed that use of the Notebook helps develop “critical thinking skills.”
The video’s release follows news reports of anti-Semitic incidents, including hateful graffiti found in Newton North High School and at the F.A. Day Middle School. The graffiti featured swastikas and the genocidal statement “Burn the Jews.” According to media reports, Newton Day school officials – in violation of required mandatory reporting procedures – failed to inform parents and police about the incidents. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed concerns about these escalating anti-Semitic incidents.
Upon discovering racist graffiti at Boston Latin High School, city, state, and federal agencies immediately launched an investigation into the matter. Jacobs said, “Concerned parents in Newton demand equal protection for Jewish students. Accordingly, in light of Newton’s biased education, its ongoing refusal to allow public access to curricula and teaching materials, and the recent escalation of anti-Semitism, we urge Newton Mayor Setti Warren, Massachusetts’ state education officials, and the FBI to investigate this hateful situation in Newton schools.”
Let's go to the videotape. More after the video.
As many of you know, I grew up in Newton - about a 5-minute walk from Newton North High School. I did not attend the Newton public schools. Newton was and is a heavily Jewish suburb of Boston and both Newton North and Newton South have many Jewish students. Some of you may have heard of this alumna of Newton North. One can only wonder how much influence the Newton public schools had on her political views.
Feel the Bern: 'Israel killed 10,000 innocent people in Gaza'
Greetings from a British Airways lounge somewhere in Central Europe on a cloudy, rainy, dreary day (yes, it's travel day yet again). What an appropriate time to talk about Democratic Socialist Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' claim that Israel killed 10,000 'innocent people' in Gaza. This is from Daniel Greenfield.
Bernie Sanders is wrong. This isn't even in dispute.
Sanders:... my recollection is over 10,000 innocent people were killed in Gaza. Does that sound right?
Daily News: I think it's probably high, but we can look at that.
Sanders: I don't have it in my number...but I think it's over 10,000.
that every Hamas terrorist and accessory was "innocent", that's four
times the number of total people killed in the last conflict.
But while the 10,000 figure is the banner headline, the real story seems
to be an incoherent interview which reveals that Bernie Sanders knows
little about what's going on and has no actual policy. Trump gets
blasted for this often enough while Sanders gets a pass when he quotes
imaginary figures and really seems not to know what he's talking about.
I have criticized Bernie Sanders for being anti-Israel, and there's a
dose of that in the interview, but mostly it's dominated by a kind of
'meh-ness'. Bernie isn't interested in foreign policy and it shows. In
some ways he seems less interested in pressuring Israel or having any
kind of plan than some Republicans.
Does anyone recall another Presidential candidate who seemed uninterested in foreign policy? How has that worked out? Bernie is far less competent than Hillary Clinton, but he's at least as dangerous.
[I]n practice, Bernie Sanders wants to forcibly evict Israeli Jews from
their homes, but leave it up to Israel whom to evict? This is
borderline incoherent. And it doesn't get any better...
Daily News: I was talking about something different, though.
Expanding settlements is one thing; coming into office as a President
who said as a baseline that you want Israel to pull back settlements,
that changes the dynamic in the negotiations, and I'm wondering how far
and what you want Israel to do in terms of pulling back.
Sanders: Well, again, you're asking me a very fair question, and if I
had some paper in front of me, I would give you a better answer. But I
think if the expansion was illegal, moving into territory that was not
their territory, I think withdrawal from those territories is
Daily News: And who makes the call about illegality, in your mind?
Sanders: Well, I think that's based on previous treaties and ideas. I happen to think that those expansions were illegal.
What defines illegality? Bernie Sanders has no idea. Treaties? At some
point his advisers will tell him the UN and then it will get truly
messy. Bernie Sanders is against "illegal settlements", which are
actually just Jews living in territory conquered by Muslim invaders in
'48 and liberated by Israel in '67, but has no idea what they are or
what defines Israeli territory.
Okay, so if we were to find Israeli settlements, so-called settlements,
in places that has been designated to be illegal, you would expect
Israel to be pulling them back?
Sanders: Israel will make
their own decisions. They are a government, an independent nation. But
to the degree that they want us to have a positive relationship, I think
they're going to have to improve their relationship with the
Except of course Israel hasn't
been allowed to make its own decisions and there's no way to fix that
relationship with terrorists.
For those of you who think Bernie won't be the nominee anyway, he won the Wisconsin primary on Tuesday. And the US isn't Israel and generally finds a way to stop candidates who have been indicted from running. Another Clinton scandal may be on the way.
This is perhaps a good summary of the Democratic race as seen by supporters of Israel:
Hillary Clinton will certainly be on a "Get Israel" mission. Bernie
Sanders is signaling more anti-Israel views, but ones that he isn't
committed to or especially invested in. This is the Democratic Party
now. Stick your hand in the box. Find the lesser of two evils.
That's true. The problem is that on the Republican side, Donald Trump doesn't exactly seem to have a coherent policy either.
The Israel Project's Omri Ceren sent around an email this afternoon reporting that Congress is looking into whether Obama administration officials lied to Congress in their testimony about the Iran deal last summer, or whether they have just totally bowed to Iran.
Last week reporters confirmed that the
Obama administration has reversed itself on a number of commitments made
to Congress during last summer's push to get support for the Iran deal.
Specifically the AP confirmed that the administration intends to give
Iran indirect access the U.S. financial system and Reuters confirmed
that Washington is no longer labeling Iranian missile launches a
"violation" of the U.N. ban [a][b].
White House, State Department, and Treasury officials testified to
Congress last summer that exactly the opposite would happen. Last Friday
Bloomberg View published a roundup how lawmakers are reacting. It noted
that these were not the first two bait-and-switches the administration
has pulled, and catalogued statements of opposition from both parties in
both chambers. I sent around the article last night with a bunch of
links and background, so let me know if you didn't get it.
Now this morning lawmakers are sharpening the question into: did the administration deliberately mislead lawmakers last summer or is the deal still open
so that the Iranians have been extracting more concessions since then?
The full story from the Washington Free Beacon is pasted below, but the
key quote comes from Rep. Pompeo:
"When multiple officials — including Secretary Kerry, Secretary
Lew, and Ambassador Mull — testify in front of Members of Congress, we
are inclined to believe them," Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) told the
Washington Free Beacon. "However, the gap between their promises on the
Iran nuclear deal and today’s scary reality continues to widen. We are
now trying to determine whether this was intentional deception on the
part of the administration or new levels of disturbing acquiescence to
Now the transcripts. In case you're reporting out this story, this is some of the testimony Pompeo was probably referencing:
Sec. Lew testimony on Iran being "denied access to the
world's largest financial and commercial market" due to the
LEW: But a number of key sanctions will remain in place...
Iranian banks will not be able to clear U.S. dollars through New York,
hold correspondent account relationships with U.S. financial
institutions, or enter into financing arrangements with U.S. banks.
Iran, in other words, will continue to be denied access to the world’s
largest financial and commercial market. The JCPOA makes only minor
allowances to this broad prohibition. (SFRC, July 23, [c])
Amb. Mull testimony on ballistic missile launches being a "violation":
THE CHAIRMAN: There is some weird language in the UNSCR that this
refers to. It says "they're called upon." Out of curiosity, after the
implementation if they launch these types of missiles, is it or is it
not in violation of the agreement? AMB MULL. It is not in violation of the JCPOA. It is a violation of Security Council resolutions. THE
CHAIRMAN: So the called-upon language from your perspective makes it
clear that going forward it will continue to be a violation? AMB MULL. The calls-upon language, it would violate that part of the U.N. Security Council resolution... (SFRC, Dec 17, [d @ 34:55])
There's other problematic testimony floating around on both of these
issues, as well as on other bait-and-switches such as IAEA access to
military sites, which the Agency was refused when it tried to enter the
Parchin base where Iran conducted tests related to nuclear warheads.
On non-nuclear relief and dollarization, Treasury Undersecretary Szubin
testified to Senate Banking that "no Iranian banks can access the US
financial system; not to open an account, not to purchase a security,
and not even to execute a dollarized transaction where a split second's
worth of business is done in a New York clearing bank" [e]. On missiles,
Sec. Kerry somewhat notoriously insisted to Sen. Menenedez that
old language banning Iranian ballistic missile launches had been
imported unchanged into the new UNSCR [f]. On IAEA access to military
sites, Sec. Kerry told HFAC that failure to provide access would
put Iran "in material breach of the agreement and the sanctions will
snap back" [g]. Etc.
In an astonishing open letter, the officers said they have warned about the terrorist sympathisers whose security badges give them access to planes, but they remain employed.
The airport police, who are threatening to go on strike because of security deficiencies, also said they have raised the issue of terrorists scouting the airport to plan possible attacks.
The extraordinary claims come after the Mail reported how the family of two of the bombers involved in the attacks last week said they had worked as cleaners at the airport.
‘Some people suspected of having fought in Syria came to the airport as “false tourists”.
We reported their presence but we do not know if anything was done with that information,’ the airport police wrote in their letter.
The officers said they had raised suspicions about certain staff members including those who apparently celebrated after the Paris attacks in November that killed 130 people.
‘When we checked these people, we were surprised more than once. It was men with a radical ideology and a long police history,’ the officers continued.
‘Even today, there are at least 50 supporters of the Islamic state who work at the airport. They have a security badge and have access to the cockpit of a plane.
‘In the past, a number of people had their badges revoked because they had IS sympathies. But clearly not everyone, especially in store personnel, cleaning services and baggage where we find the most suspicious people.’
Police raised concerns about inadequate security at the airport just four days before the attack took place.
The Belgian police union, NSPV, told the interior ministry on Friday 18 March that they would go on strike unless it was improved.
A disaster waiting to happen, God Forbid. So why am I not surprised at it? Long time readers may remember this story. I've mentioned many times on this blog my July 2003 conversation
with an El Al security person at London's Heathrow Airport, who told me
that since Heathrow employees were involved in a suicide bombing at Mike's Place in Tel Aviv in April 2003, El Al no longer trusts Heathrow security.
It's not just Heathrow. Until recently - and they may yet go back to it - if you arrived in Europe from the US on an American or European airline and you were connecting to El Al to go to Israel, you had to go down to the tarmac, claim your bags, open them and confirm to the security people that nothing had changed since you checked them in.
Two days after the Brussels attacks, I flew home to Israel from San Francisco. I won't say where I changed on the way, but I had about four hours in a European airport before boarding an El Al flight. I happened to sit down near my flight's gate before it was even posted, and I could hear El Al security speaking very conspicuously in Hebrew to someone down on the tarmac before the equipment arrived. It was clear to me that El Al is still doing its own security in Europe. I did not have to claim my bags in Europe.
Many Westerners are more scared of being labeled as illiberal or
nativist than they are of being unsafe.
Islamic terrorists sense that Westerners are increasingly materialist
rather than spiritual. Europeans in particular are becoming more
secular. Their birthrates are declining. And they seem to believe more
in satisfying their appetites than in finding transcendence through
children and religion.
As a result, jihadists trust that they can cull a handful of
Westerners every few weeks from an otherwise indifferent herd. Their
only challenge is to keep the harvest of Westerners down to a few dozen
and not to get greedy in their bloodlust.
Terrorists seem to believe that as long as they avoid another 9/11-like
massacre, they can continue to take lives and insidiously weaken the
West without awakening it from its morally indifferent slumber.
And they may be right.
And the American elites are similar to the European ones. 'Westerners' includes both Americans and Europeans. Read the whole thing.
I am an Orthodox Jew - some would even call me 'ultra-Orthodox.' Born in Boston, I was a corporate and securities attorney in New York City for seven years before making aliya to Israel in 1991 (I don't look it but I really am that old :-). I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty-five years, and we have eight children (bli ayin hara) ranging in age from 12 to 33 years and eight grandchildren. Three of our children are married and a fourth is engaged! Before I started blogging I was a heavy contributor on a number of email lists and ran an email list called the Matzav from 2000-2004. You can contact me at: IsraelMatzav at gmail dot com