Friday, May 30, 2014

Palestinians: BDS Activists Are Troublemakers, Criminals

The Palestinian Authority's move against the BDS activists shows that it considers the movement a threat to Palestinian interests.
A Palestinian Authority official in Ramallah explained that BDS and its followers make the Palestinians appear as if they are all radicals who are only interested in boycotting and delegitimizing Israel.

"No, we do not support the boycott of Israel." — Mahmoud Abbas, President, Palestinian Authority.
At university campuses in the US, Canada, Australia and Europe, they are hailed as heroes campaigning for Palestinian rights. But in Ramallah, ironically, activists belonging to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] movement are seen by the Palestinian Authority [PA] as trouble-makers and law-breakers.
See full report at 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

PA Acknowledges Cooperation with Israeli hospital

Official PA daily acknowledges
Israeli hospital's medical care
for Palestinian children and training of doctors

The official PA daily reported on a visit by the PA Minister of Health, Hani Abdeen, to Israel's Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. The daily noted that 30% of the child patients in Hadassah are Palestinians and that the Israeli hospital is training "60 Palestinian medical interns and specialist physicians who will be returning to the [Palestinian] Authority areas to carry out their work." The hospital has a special program to train Palestinian doctors to treat cancer among children, reported the PA daily.

The following is the report:

"[PA] Minister of Health, Hani Abdeen visited the Israeli Hadassah Hospital yesterday [May 5, 2013]. This is the first visit by a Palestinian minister to one of the most important Israeli hospitals, according to the hospital's announcement.

Minister Abdeen who was accompanied by a delegation that included senior officials of the ministry and of the PA, met with the Director of Ein Karem Hadassah Hospital, Yuval Weiss. He [the minister] visited Palestinian patients being treated in the hospital, and he distributed gifts. [Hospital director] Weiss said: 'We relate to patients without regard to nationality and religion. We treat Muslims, Christians, Jews, and other nationalities without bias, and 30% of the patients who are children are Palestinians.'

He went on to say: 'We've begun cooperating with the Palestinians. We now train teams of physicians from the hospital in Beit Jala in the southern West Bank, to treat cancer among children. We have about 60 Palestinian medical interns and specialist physicians who will be returning to the [Palestinian] Authority areas to carry out their work.'"

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 6, 2013]

BDS - In Their Own Words

BDS proponents often present their case  in terms of peace, human rights and justice; however, this masks the real agenda of seeking to destroy Israel rather than simply improve the lives of Palestinians and help them achieve independence. 

The true aims of BDS become clearer when the views of the movement’s leaders are examined. As the examples below demonstrate, they oppose a two-state solution or any other resolution to the conflict that would recognize the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their homeland. 
“Going back to the two-state solution, besides having passed its expiry date, it was never a moral solution to start with.”
-Omar Bargouti
Founder, Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
“Israel is the oppressor, not the settlements.”
-Hind Awwad,  National Coordinator, BDS Committee
“Good riddance! The two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is finally dead. But someone has to issue an official death certificate before the rotting corpse is given a proper burial and we can all move on and explore the more just, moral and therefore enduring alternative for peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Mandate Palestine: the one-state solution.”
-Omar Bargouti
“(The one state solution means) a unitary state, where, by definition, Jews will be a minority.”
-Omar Bargouti
“I am completely and categorically against binationalism because it assumes that there are two nations with equal moral claims to the land.”
-Omar Bargouti,
“Ending the occupation doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t mean upending the Jewish state itself…BDS does mean the end of the Jewish state. But can’t I see the value in reaching across the aisle, so to speak? The movement may be burgeoning but remains too small. Why shouldn’t we indulge in ad hoc partnerships to get things done? Richard Silverstein, Richard Goldstone, and many other self-proclaimed Zionists have done an immeasurably positive amount of work in skinning the Zionist cat (That’s a deliberate analogy. I don’t kid myself about how difficult it must be for a Jewish person to criticize the Zionist state), shouldn’t they be asked to join the BDS movement?
To be sure, I’m not dogmatically against cooperating with people whose views I find objectionable. If it came down to it, I’d be happy to work with the racist up the street to get the city to fix a neighborhood pothole.”
-Ahmed Moor, Pro-BDS Author
“BDS represents three words that will help bring about the defeat of Zionist Israel and victory for Palestine.”
-Ronnie Kasrils
“[Israel] was Palestine, and there is no reason why it should not be renamed Palestine.”
-Omar Barghouti
“The real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel….That should be stated as an unambiguous goal. There should not be any equivocation on the subject. Justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the state of Israel.”
-As’ad AbuKhalil

“Peace-or better yet, justice-cannot be achieved without a total decolonization (one can say de-Zionization) of the Israeli state.”
-Michael Warschawski, BDS activist
“[Palestinians have a right to] resistance by any means, including armed resistance. [Jews] aren’t indigenous just because you say you are….[Jews] are not a people…the UN’s principle of the right to self-determination applies only to colonized people who want to acquire their rights. ”
-Omar Barghouti
“I think the BDS movement will gain strength from forthrightly explaining why Israel has no right to exist.”
-John Spritzler, Pro-BDS Author
“BDS’s stated goals (ending the Occupation, equality for non-Jews and Jews, and the right of return of the Palestinian refugees) logically imply the end of Israel as a Jewish state….The “state of the Jews” is actually an instrument by which a Jewish elite ruling class of billionaires and generals and politicians secures its oppressive grip on ordinary Jews in Israel…This is why there should not be a Jewish state.”
-John Spritzler
“The goal of #BDS is the full restoration of Palestinian rights, not an agreement to create an artificial mini-state in order to save Zionism”

-Ali Abunimah, BDS activist

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Israel has little to fear from the International Criminal Court

The ICC’s former chief prosecutor says the Palestinians wouldn’t have much of a case against Israel.

Anshel Pfeffer | May 20, 2014 

In the dysfunctional state of Israeli-Palestinian relations, the “nuclear option” for the Palestinians would be joining the International Criminal Court as a member state and exercising that membership to launch war crimes investigations against Israel. At least, that’s the view of many in Israel, which, like the United States, is not a member of the ICC.

But to judge by comments made by the ICC’s former chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo — who, even two years after leaving his post in The Hague, remains the controversial court’s most persuasive advocate — Israel has little to worry about. 

Last week, on his first visit to Israel, Moreno-Ocampo was full of praise for the local legal system and eager to point out that joining the ICC could backfire for the Palestinians. “Being here in Israel is not liking talking about international justice in Boston or Sweden,” said Moreno-Ocampo, who was here as a guest of the Fried-Gal Transitional Justice Initiative at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s law school. “The issues here are not academic.”

But he isn’t at all sure that if the Palestinian Authority were to join the ICC — or if Israel were to join, for that matter — the international court would actually play an active role in the conflict.

The ICC’s job is to investigate and prosecute only in cases in which the local legal system is not performing. “In a dictatorship they can make you disappear and kill you,” said Moreno-Ocampo. “But here, even if the situation is awful, you cannot disappear; you have the rule of law.”

He is wary of being yet another foreigner who “comes here and says I can solve your problems.” Saying Israel has “great lawyers here,” the former chief prosecutor said if Israel’s Supreme Court could find a way to win the Palestinians’ trust, perhaps it could adjudicate claims the Palestinians want to bring before the ICC. For the ICC to rule on Israel’s activities, he said, “the Palestinians have to prove that the [Israeli court’s] decision was to shield the defendants. They would have to prove that it wasn’t a fair proceeding.”

Moreno-Ocampo rejected a Palestinian request that the ICC launch a war crimes investigation against Israel after its May 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, which ended in the deaths of nine Turkish nationals. “I told them that I can’t offer you success because you are not considered a state,” the former chief prosecutor recalled. “First go to the United Nations and when they recognize you, come back.”

The Palestinian Authority did go to the United Nations, and its status has since been upgraded to non-member observer state, making it eligible to join the court. All the same, Moreno-Ocampo said ICC membership could be a double-edged sword for the Palestinians, since it would also open them up to investigation for alleged war crimes, such as rocket fire and bombings targeting Israeli civilians.

“The ICC could help the Palestinians, but it could also increase the conflict,” said Moreno-Ocampo. “And the Palestinians should ask themselves how they would do it, because if you want to include everything since 2002 [when the ICC was established], that could include things done by the Palestinians. Another alternative is to start from 2015, not investigate past events and now that Hamas is part of the government, that would prevent them from committing more crimes.” 

Moreno-Ocampo’s warnings may seem strange to those who see the ICC as an interventionist organization of busybodies, but he doesn’t see the international court as an institution that should necessarily be conducting many global investigations.

The former chief prosecutor is certain the ICC’s impact will be felt over decades, not necessarily because of the cases that actually go through the court but because it is drawing a line between war crimes that can only be prosecuted by an international forum and cases that will be increasingly dealt with by the countries where the war crimes took place.

“Law enforcement is national, but acts of terror need global investigations,” said Moreno-Ocampo. “We’re living in a new age when people under 25 from Argentina, Italy and Russia are communicating around the world with each other and are very similar. This is the global community which will demand common standards.” The best outcome of for the ICC, he said, is that “there will be zero cases. That is the best because it means we are having an effect. The law is not for judges; it’s for people.”

The success of the ICC, maintains Moreno-Ocampo, should not be measured by the number of its successful prosecutions, but by the change its very existence is making in the way governments investigate their own security forces. He is certain that even the Israel Defense Forces “changed its orders just because of the ICC.”  

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Israeli Arabs more satisfied with life in Israel

A survey conducted by Professor Sammy Smooha of Haifa University shows that the acceptance of Israel by Israeli Arabs increased markedly between 2012 and 2013.
The research shows that between 2012 and 2013 there was an increase in the percentage of Israeli Arabs recognizing Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, and Israel’s right to maintain a Jewish majority. Similarly, the percentage of Arabs who define themselves as “Israeli Arabs” without a Palestinian identity has increased.
Among the specific results reported were that :-
a) the percentage of Israeli Arabs who accepted Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state rose to 52.8% from 47.4% the year before. 
b) there was a more pronounced rise in the percentage of Israeli Arabs who believe that Israel can exist as a Jewish majority state to 43.1% up  from 29.6% a year earlier. 
c) the number of Israeli-Arabs who accept their identity as such without identifying as Palestinians increased from 32.5% in 2012 to 42.5% in 2013. 
d) in 2013, 63.5% of Israeli Arabs consider Israel to be a good place to live up from 58.5% in 2012.

The poll measuring attitudes in Jewish-Arab relations was conducted by Smooha, who won the Israel Prize for sociology in 2008, among 700 Jews and 700 Arabs, Druze and Bedouin.

The Druze in Israel: Context

A paper issued by © ALISHA DELUTY AND KELLI ROSE, 2014 in their Druze Capstone Research Project  discusses


Following is a review of the context of the Druze community in Israel. A copy of the whole report can sent on request.

The type of state Israel is must first be reviewed in order to understand the level of social participation that the Druze have within Israel. The state of Israel is a parliamentary democracy where the government is formed based on an electoral process.25 According to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) World Factbook, and considering the concept in its restricted political process sense, a parliamentary democracy is when the legislature, i.e., the parliament, chooses the government, which includes the prime minister and cabinet ministers. The cabinet ministers are decided based on a party, rather than a district, which receives the most votes in an election.26

This has also been referred to as a “procedural democracy,” in order to focus on process and structure rather than values and norms.27 The Israeli government is formed based on a multiparty system. There is free universal suffrage for all Israeli citizens over age eighteen. The Basic Laws of the state function as a collective constitutional corpus, outlining different functions of the Israeli government, including the roles of the president, the Knesset, the judiciary branch, the IDF, and the comptroller.28

Along with being a participatory parliamentary system procedurally open to all citizens, Israel can be characterized as an ideological state because it is a Jewish state with a Zionist ideology, as explained in the 1948 Declaration of Establishment of the State of Israel.29 The Declaration notes that by law, all religious groups are allowed to practice their religion privately and publicly.30 

Each religious group has its own religious council and courts that govern “all
religious affairs and matters of personal status,” including marriage and divorce.31 The Druze community is a relatively small segment of the overall population. The population of Israel is approximately 7,821,850, of which 75.1 percent are Jewish, 17.4 percent are Muslim, 3.9 percent are defined as other, 2 percent are Christian, and 1.6 percent are Druze.32 Israel is, nonetheless, a Jewish state, and Israel’s “vehicles of state” demonstrate intentional policies towards furthering what the government considers to be Jewish interests.

Approximately 120,000 Druze live in Israel today, predominantly in the Galilee and Golan Heights. While the Druze are a transnational sectarian minority with about 450,000 in Syria, 350,000 in Lebanon, and 10,000 in Jordan, Druze have predominantly demonstrated a feeling of national belonging to the particular country in which they live.33 As a result, the Israeli Druze have developed a different national identity from the Druze of Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. Moreover, the Druze have always been a minority in the respective state within which they live and do not want a state of their own.34

A brief summary of Druze history is essential to understand the origins of the Druze community’s religious and quasi-ethnic identity as a minority group in the MENA region. The Druze religion developed from the Ismaili movement of Islam in the 9th and 10th centuries C.E., from the Fatimid Caliphate in Egypt. The Druze religion then spread in Egypt between the years 1017 and 1048. As it developed, however, the Druze religion was faced with much opposition, often violent, from Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims.35 Today, the Druze are not just a minority in Israel, but also a minority in every country in which they reside (Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan).

They are also a religious minority branched off of the Ismaili Shi’ite minority sect of Islam, with a strong sense of history and local territorial connection. As the Druze religion spread throughout the region, it also developed into a quasi-ethnicity. Israeli Druze view the religious designation of “Druze” as also being connected to an ethnicity, hence the term quasi-ethnic.
They only self-identify as ethnically “Arab” due to a shared language and culture with other Arabs in the region, but are reluctant to make the self-identification as being “Arab.”36 The majority of Druze in Israel define themselves in terms of their Druze religion and Israeli nationality, not their Arab ethnicity, which sets the Druze apart from Israel’s Arab minority.37

The Druze community has lived in the territory of what is now Israel since before the state was established in 1948. Approximately 13,000 Druze lived in Palestine in 1948, which was less than one percent of the total population.38 During the Israeli War of Independence, the Druze initially attempted to remain neutral, but eventually they fought alongside the Israelis against five nations – Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. This created an inevitable tension between the Druze and the Arabs, which added to the division between them.39

The state of Israel has passed several laws on behalf of the Druze community at the administrative and legislative levels. In 1956, the state passed a law requiring compulsory conscription for all Israeli citizens. This law also applied to Israeli Druze males.40 The state recognized the Druze as an independent religious community in 1957, and established a Druze Religious Council and Druze religious courts.41 In 1962, identity cards noted that Israeli Druze were Druze, and not simply Arabs.42

After these laws were passed, Israeli officials realized that the Druze needed a separate education system.43 In October 1967, Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol told the leadership of the Druze community that “from now on, the Druze will not need the special apparatus that deals with the minorities but the regular apparatus will be open to them.”44 The implication of this was that Druze education would be equal to that of Israeli Jewish education. In the 1970s, the Ministry of Education established a Druze education system in Haifa and the Northern district.45

By 1976, an education system was established for Druze villages where the majority of teachers were Druze.46 The goal of this type of education was to create an Israeli Druze identity among the students. These historical events set the stage for the relationship between the state of Israel and the Druze community.

25 While there are competing arguments concerning the nature of the state of Israel, it is outside the purview of this research to debate this specific political issue. The continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict makes any characterization of the type of state that Israel is to be a politically charged characterization. While we recognize that there are various claims and arguments supported against the notion that Israel is a democratic and non-discriminatory state, we also do not intend to debate this issue within our research. The most neutral and unbiased sources, such as the CIA World Factbook, were used to try to get an accurate picture of the type of state Israel is. With regard to discriminatory practice, this is in fact one of the main parts of our research as it relates to the Druze. Discrimination towards other non-Druze minorities was not included in our primary research objective, although certain examples of it did arise in our interviews.

26 “Library.” Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook
27 Saffon, M. P., and N. Urbinati. "Procedural Democracy, the Bulwark of Equal Liberty." Political Theory 41.3 (2013): 441-81.
28 “Basic Laws of the State of Israel.” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
29 “The 1948 Declaration of Establishment of State of Israel.” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
30 The 1948 Declaration of Establishment states, “The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion,
conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations” (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
31 “People: Religious Freedom.” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
32 “Israel.” Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook.
33 Halabi, p. 2.
34 Gabriel Ben-Dor. “Inclusion of the Druze in Israel.” Personal interview. 10 Mar. 2014.
35 Halabi, p. 2. and Shawki, Taxi driver. “Historical roots of the Druze in Israel.” Personal interview 8 Mar. 2014.
36 Zeedan.
37 Ibid. and Halabi, p. 2.
38 Parsons, p. 74.
39 Although the Druze speak Arabic, we discovered ambivalence from our interlocutors regarding their self-identification as ethnically “Arab.” Several of our informants stated that since they spoke Arabic they are Arab, but then also distanced themselves from the “Arabs.” They view themselves as different, not just religiously, but also ethnically, from Arabs.
40 Zeedan.
41 Halabi, p. 3.
42 Ibid.
43 Firro, 2001, p. 42.
44 Firro, 1999, p. 190.
45 Majid Al-Haj. Education, Empowerment, and Control: The Case of the Arabs in Israel. New York: State University of New York Press, 1995, p. 73.

46 Firro, 2001, p. 50.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

World Attitudes to Jews

A Survey of Attitudes Toward Jews in Over 100 Countries was conducted around the World representing 96.9% of the World’s population

The Anti-Defamation League commissioned First International Resources to research attitudes and opinions toward Jews in more than 100 countries around the world. All interviews were conducted between July 2013 and February 2014.

The data is a result of 53,100 total interviews among citizens aged 18 and over, across 101 countries and the Palestinian Territories in the West Bank & Gaza. Expected margin of sampling error for the weighted global average is +/- 0.97%,.

All respondents were selected at random. Telephone respondents were selected using random-digit dial sampling; face-to-face respondents were selected using geographically stratified, randomly-selected sampling points in each country and at the household level.

Scores were created by asking whether the following negative stereotypes are “probably true” or “probably false.” Respondents who said at least 6 out of 11 statements are “probably true” are considered to harbor anti-Semitic attitudes.

1) Jews are more loyal to Israel than to [this country/the countries they live in].
2) Jews have too much power in the business world.
3) Jews have too much power in international financial markets.
4) Jews don’t care about what happens to anyone but their own kind.
5) Jews have too much control over global affairs.
6) People hate Jews because of the way Jews behave.
7) Jews think they are better than other people.
8) Jews have too much control over the United States government.
9) Jews have too much control over the global media.
10) Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust.
11) Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars.

Full results of the survey can be found at but below are three of the results

Discrimination Against Jews, Christians on Temple Mount

It should not surprise me that visitors to Israel are surprised by certain daily events that occur here.

Whilst the media gives excessive coverage to any incident where an Israeli commits an illegal act against the Arab community (an act which under no circumstances can be condoned), the day to day actions of Arabs against Jews are barely reported, so it is no wonder overseas visitors come with preconceived ideas of what life is like.

Two US congressmen were "surprised" when they visited the Temple Mount. see following report  from the Algemeiner, on May 14th

U.S. Congressman Dr. Andrew Harris on Wednesday said he was “surprised” by the limited access for non-Muslims to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and the “discrimination against Jews” he witnessed during his visit, along with Congressman Ron DeSantis.

According to a video statement made during the visit on Wednesday, Harris said, “It’s a pleasure to be here on the Temple Mount, obviously an area of religious significance for many religions including Christians like myself, Jews and Muslims… but I’m actually surprised that access is so limited, and especially the discrimination against Jews above any other religion in visits to the Temple Mount.”

“It surprises me as an American, believing in religious freedom, that [such conditions]would exist,” Harris said.

The visit was coordinated by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute, which described what happened, in a statement: “The group witnessed how outwardly looking Jewish groups are singled out and accompanied by both Jordan Islamic Waqf guards and Israeli police officers that scrutinize their behavior for signs of prayer or non-Muslim worship. In addition to the usual entourage, the Congressmen were also followed by an Israeli intelligence officer that filmed their every move for much of the visit.”

“Both were clearly moved by the experience and expressed concern at the lack of religious freedom for Jews and Christians at the site,” the Temple Institute said.

Harris and DeSantis, Republicans from Maryland and Florida, respectively, are in Israel as part of a week long visit organized by the Yes Israel Committee in conjunction with the YESHA Council, which represents the Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Israel Bashing on its Independence Day

The sirens will wail today and the nation will come to a halt. It’s a collective tribute to those heroes who have fallen so that we Israelis may live in freedom. 
Yet as Michael Dickson writes ,   “This year, as Israelis pay tribute to their servicemen and women, a very different event will be taking place on Independence Day in London. Yachad – the British version of lobby group J-Street – together with the New Israel Fund, will be hosting “Breaking the Silence”, a notorious anti-IDF group. No one serious would suggest that Israel is beyond criticism but this is strange yet deliberate timing.

If past experience is anything to go by, the audience will be treated to a flurry of half-truths and accusations (never proven) aimed solely at blackening the name of Israeli soldiers. Indeed, “Breaking the Silence” has made its name by promoting a distorted and unfair portrayal of the IDF via its website and tours.
Breaking the Silence is hypocritical about its aims and even its name. If it wanted to present a true picture of the IDF, it would not blatantly omit
a)    the context of terrorism, the goals of Israel’s enemies, the deadly rockets fired from Gaza.
b)    how the enemy hides behind Palestinian civilians and attacks Israeli civilians.

It would raise awareness about the moral dilemmas the IDF faces. But instead, it omits this vital context in its reports, which often consist of anonymous, unverified testimony. Instead, their representatives embark on worldwide campus tours, meet with political leaders and speak at the UN in order to lobby and punish Israel.”

Conversely, tucked away in the inner pages of the Jerusalem Post this morning was a report of a Palestinian who was illegally attempting to scale the barrier in order to get into Israel to seek work  and fell several metres breaking his leg. He was bleeding profusely when Israeli border policeman St Sgt Maj Hassan Amid (an Israeli? Yes an Israeli!)  rendered first aid to save his life before the Red Crescent ambulance arrived to take him to hospital.

“In cases like this” said Amid “we don’t think twice, we provide the best possible first aid assistance we can”.  This is the true face of Israel.