Friday, March 31, 2017

Improving The World – One Mind At A Time

by Tali Kord March 16th 2017

The University of Haifa’s new president, Prof. Ron Robin, has seen the world, to put it mildly. He was born in Tel Aviv and raised in South Africa; he studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, then the University of California, Berkeley. Robin returned to Israel in 1986 to work at the University of Haifa, and in 2005 left the country again, “never thinking I would come back.” His next post was at New York University, where he became the senior vice provost in charge of global campuses – returning once again to his globe-trotting ways, this time to open NYU’s campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai.

Now there’s one more stop on the tour, for the foreseeable future at least, Haifa.

An imperialist in the making?

Robin started his role at Haifa a few months ago and is now working hard at implementing the many new ideas and visions he has for the 45-year-old institution. First and foremost is his plan of expansion, within Israel and beyond.

“UH is on its way to becoming a multiversity, meaning a university over multiple locations; a network with multiple portals,” he explains. “Our campus is in a nature reserve. It’s a proverbial ivory tower and it’s hard to get to.”

The solution, then, are said portals.

Some portals will be spread around Haifa; some throughout the north of the country; and some even in China, including one collaboration with the East China Normal University in Shanghai, another coming up with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and much work being done with the Hangzhou Wahaha Group and CEO Zong Qinghou, the university’s “patron saint in China.”

Robin’s expansion plans are not only geographical.

“We’re moving into fields of engineering, artificial intelligence and biotech,” as well as expanding the already existing work being done in fields like life sciences, marine sciences and more. The university’s neighboring rival in these fields, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, turns out to be no rival at all. “You can’t compete with the Technion,” admits Robin. “What you can do is develop your own niches.

It seems that as far as the University of Haifa and its new president are concerned, things are looking up. Now all that’s left is the “minor” issue of fixing the entire broken system around it, from inadequate education to political shallowness.

The trouble with colleges

One of the system’s current problems is its lack of uniformity when it comes to the quality of the schools – and in particular, of Israeli colleges. “Colleges are a very important aspect of higher education,” clarifies Robin.

"What has happened, mostly due to political pressure, is that colleges mushroomed in a way that there are now too many of them, and not all provide the type of education that the original architects of this project thought they would.”

“There’s always an issue to navigate in making sure politics is sidelined, and that academic freedom is upheld.

We cannot do what we’re trying to do without academic freedom… There’s always political pressure on academia to toe a certain line, and that has to be resisted.” Resistance, insists Robin, is done via persuasion and conversation; not “by setting up barricades and marching down the street.”

Restocking the toolbox 

The tendency to simplify and even misunderstand complex issues is not the sole property of BDS activists; it’s a phenomenon seen and heard everywhere, including in Israel.

Education might be part of the problem – but also the solution.

“Any student with a degree from a university or a college needs to leave that school with two tools in their toolbox. One is quantitative reasoning, and the other is critical thinking, where you learn how to analyze a text, how to pull it to pieces, restructure it, probe its weaknesses and understand its strengths. You can only do that through having a robust background in the humanities.”

This is perhaps another influence from NYU and American higher education in general, where students undergo four year degrees, the first two of which are dedicated to the foundations before the student chooses which subject to specialize in. The three-year course, wherein a student is required to choose their faculty before even starting their courses, is a terrible idea, says Robin.

Perhaps it’s easier on the Jewish-Israeli students, who come in a little older, certainly more mature and prepared.

“Once upon a time high schools were much better and students were more prepared, so it didn’t make that much of a difference whether it was a three or four-year course, but that’s no longer the case. High school is not nearly as strong or broad as it used to be, and students come in unprepared.”

The Arab Community

“If you look at Israel from Haifa northwards, 50% of the population is Jewish. Remove the metropolitan area and it becomes 25%. If Arabs don’t become part of the middle class, what’s going to happen to this country? Everybody, irrespective of political views, understands this is a problem.

If we don’t have Arab civil engineers, software engineers… we’re in deep trouble. So we [at the University of Haifa] are changing Israeli society by broadening the middle class.”

This move is done by finding ways to encourage and assist students of various backgrounds: haredim, low-income families and in particular Arabs. All are shocked by this traumatic transition – language barriers, different skill sets, and other social aspects.

“They come in very young and we try to persuade them to take preparation courses. In computer science, for example, we found that among Arab students we had a 60% dropout rate. Now we have tutoring, we give them prep courses, we hold their hands during their first year, and the dropout rate is now single-digit, maybe 10%.”

The most important agents of change in Arab society are the women, Robin points out. “They go through the most difficult changes. Their becoming part of the workforce is going to change Israeli- Arab society dramatically. Even if some women choose to return home and not join the workforce, they are still going to bring up their children differently and change the next generation. These women are the agents of change and we’re proud of the fact that 60% of our Arab students are women.

“Of course, it’s not that simple. They go back to villages where some of the men don’t have the right type of education, and women now refuse to marry them. They say, ‘I don’t want an arranged marriage, I want someone I can talk to and have a meaningful conversation…’ It’s disruption, but it’s creative disruption.”

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Palestinians: We Have the Right to Poison the Minds of our Children

In an ironic turnaround, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) is now the object of intimidation and threats made by many Palestinians.

UNRWA is reportedly planning to introduce some changes to the curriculum in its schools in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the Palestinians are rather unhappy about it. They claim that UNRWA has "succumbed" to Israeli pressure to make the changes.

The proposed changes are based on leaks to Palestinians and have not been confirmed by UNRWA. Palestinians claim that they learned about the plans to introduce the changes during meetings with senior UNRWA officials.

According to the Palestinians, the changes are intended to "eradicate" their "national identity" and "history" and distort their "struggle" against Israel.

The Palestinians claim that the new textbooks have replaced the map of "historic Palestine" (including Israel) with pictures of a pumpkin and a bird. Palestinian textbooks often feature maps of "historic Palestine" without Israel. Cities inside Israel, such as Haifa, Jaffa, Tiberias and Ramle, are referred to as "Palestinian cities." The Palestinian Authority (PA) media also refer to these cities as "Palestinian cities inside the 1948 Land."

In one fourth-grade textbook, the Palestinians charge, UNRWA has replaced the map of Palestine with a picture of a traditional Palestinian woman's dress.

The new textbooks make no reference to cities in Israel; they mention only cities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, such as Nablus, Jenin, Gaza City, Jericho and Ramallah.

Unsurprisingly, an UNRWA revision of the Palestinian presumption of Jerusalem as the "capital of the State of Palestine" to Jerusalem as a "Holy city for the Abrahamic religions" did not go over well with Palestinians. In addition, they are angry because the UNRWA textbooks make no mention of the Jordan Valley along the border between Israel and Jordan.

The controversial textbooks have also removed photos of Israeli soldiers patrolling near schools and references to Palestinian prisoners held in Israel for terrorism. Moreover, the new textbooks are missing the previous references to "Palestinian Prisoners' Day" -- an annual event marked by Palestinians in solidarity with imprisoned terrorists.
Palestinians are also protesting the removal of words such as "occupation" and "checkpoints" from the new textbooks.

If true, the proposed changes to the Palestinian textbooks should be welcomed as a positive development towards ending anti-Israel incitement in Palestinian schools, including those belonging to UNRWA. In light of the widespread Palestinian protests and threats, however, it is doubtful whether UNRWA will succeed in making the proposed revisions.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Without Israel, there would have been no University Education in PA areas.

(With thanks to Charles Abelson of TbT -Truth be Told)

So the Israel hating crowd now wish to boycott Israel`s academic institutions. A reminder: the country that should be boycotted is Jordan who illegally occupied Judea and Samaria in 1948, renaming the area the "West Bank". During this period, the Jordanians were careful and shrewd enough to forbid and prevent the establishment of any university in the West Bank. Yes, in 1967, when Israel regained Judea and Samaria, there were no universities in the West Bank. NOT ONE!

In 1970, Deputy Israeli Premier Yigal Allon, who was then Minister of Education, announced that he had approved the establishment of the first university in Ramallah in principle when approached by West Bank Arab leaders, including Dr. Salem Nashef, Dean of the Tulkarem Agricultural School.

Paradoxically, it was the Arab Jordanians who attempted to prevent the establishment of the first university on the West Bank. In April 1971, Sheikh Mohammad Ali Jaabari, the Mayor of Hebron, even needed to warn the Jordanian government not to interfere with plans by West Bank Arab leaders to establish an Arab university on the West Bank. Jaabari spoke in reply to a charge made by the Jordanian Education Minister in Amman that “all those who take part in planning the university are traitors and collaborators with the Israelis.”

The universities in the West Bank enjoyed the cooperation of the Israeli universities without which they could not have been developed. In 1973, Dr. Nashef,  as a guest of Tel Aviv University’s “Shiloah” Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, reported that Arab education on the West Bank had expanded under the Israeli administration since 1967. According to Dr. Nashef, 90 percent of children between 6-15 were receiving an elementary education, a much higher percentage than under the Jordanian regime. He further said that the number of matriculants under Israeli administration has risen since then from 3,500 to 14,500.

Stupid matriculants. Were they not aware that they were supposed to boycott Israeli administered education?

Under Israeli guidance, by 1993, when the Oslo Agreement establishing the Palestinian Authority was signed, there were 14 universities, 18  colleges and 20 community colleges in the West Bank.

If the boycotters, like the Jordanians, had their way, there would today still not have been any academic institutions in the West Bank. Israel`s positive contribution to the Palestinians generally and to higher education specifically continuous to be ignored by the Israel haters, best described as the new obstructionist Jordanians, who themselves contribute nothing to the Palestinians. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

PA's Hatred and Pay to Slay

The sympathy Mr. Trump has shown for Israel may reflect long-standing respect for the Jewish state and the influence of Trump’s personal relations with strong friends of Israel. But it appears to reflect something more than that. In the year since his “even-handed” comment, he seems to have gained insight about the Palestinians’ leadership. In particular, he says he’s “seen” how they use their official power to promote violent hatred of Israel, especially among their children. “I think the Palestinians have to get rid of some of that hate that they’re taught from a very young age,” Trump said on February 15. “They’re taught tremendous hate. I’ve seen what they’re taught.  . . . It starts at a very young age and it starts in the school room.”

It does indeed. 

The Palestinian Authority promotes violence against Israel. Officials do it in public speeches. PA-run television and radio make it a theme, as do the curricula and textbooks of PA schools. The incitement is so unrelenting that it’s drawn criticism even from supporters of the PA, such as President Obama—and, remarkably enough, from the United Nations Security Council.

Incitement, however, is only part of the picture. Palestinian officials don’t rely only on words. To spur knifings, car-rammings, and the like, they use an apparatus of cash incentives. The PA has enacted legislation and created bureaucracies to ensure financial rewards for perpetrators of anti-Israel attacks. Payment amounts correlate to the number of people the terrorists manage to victimize. It’s a system that not only foments violence but also makes terrorism a lucrative career choice for young Palestinians.

Critics have labeled this system “pay for slay.” It has received little public attention—far less than the incitement issue. But it deserves more, especially because U.S. taxpayers help fund the blood payments. The U.S. government averages $400 million in annual aid to the PA, and those aid dollars are fungible.

The pay-for-slay system is neither secret nor private. Rather, it is open and official. And it’s not the work of Hamas, which governs Gaza and which the U.S. government categorizes as extremist and a terrorist organization. It’s the work of the PA, generally described as nonviolent and committed to peace.

Legalism is a trait common among authoritarians. Nondemocratic societies lack rule of law, but they generally don’t lack laws. Their laws, in fact, tell us a lot about them. In the case of “pay for slay,” the relevant legislation is the PA’s “Amended Palestinian Prisoners Law No. 19 (2004).”

It guarantees “a dignified life” to anyone Israel has imprisoned “for his participation in the struggle against the occupation.” That is, it promises benefits to anyone caught for knifing, shooting, running over, or bombing people in Israel. The law lauds current and former terrorist prisoners as “a fighting sector and an integral part of the fabric of the Arab Palestinian society.”

Articles 5 and 8 apply to terrorists released from Israeli prisons. Those who served a year or more are exempted from

a. tuition fees at government schools and universities.
b. health insurance payments.
c. tuition fees for all professional training programs offered by the relevant official bodies.

Some released prisoners work as PA civil servants. For each of these, prison time served is accounted for as if it had been civil-service work: The law says the PA “shall pay his social security and pension fees . . . for the years he spent in prison.”

Articles 6 and 7 apply to terrorists still incarcerated. “Every incarcerated prisoner” is entitled to a monthly salary “linked to the cost-of-living index.” A portion thereof goes directly to the prisoner’s family.

In 2013, the PA amended the law to promise employment to released prisoners, giving them “priority in annual job placements in all State institutions.” If employment is unavailable for qualified prisoners, the amendment entitles them to a monthly salary, disability payments, and death benefits payable to their families.

The State, it says, “will make up the difference” if the salary of a released prisoner working as a civil servant “is lower than the salary he received in prison.”The PA pays monthly salaries to terrorists for life if they are men released from prison after five or more years or women after two or more years. Prisoners who served relatively short sentences are not entitled to employment; they get unemployment benefits for their periods of incarceration. Every prisoner who did time for at least a year, however, “is entitled to a one-time release grant.”

The law guarantees a “salaried position in a State institution” to any male ex-prisoner incarcerated for 10 or more years, and any female who served five years. The positions for such prisoners are high-ranking and highly paid, ensuring not only that long-incarcerated terrorists are financially comfortable but that they dominate the PA’s various bureaucracies. The PA has organized itself not only to be for terrorists, but also of and by terrorists.

These benefits now apply also “to members of PLO factions arrested outside of Palestine for participating in the struggle for the independence and liberation of Palestine.” Bonuses are paid if the terrorists are Israeli Arabs or Arab residents of Jerusalem.

The PA created the Prisoners and Released Prisoners Ministry to administer this program of support. The ministry received a PA budget allocation of $118 million in 2014 and $140 million in 2016. To provide for the families of dead terrorists, the PA created the Institution for the Care for the Families of the Martyrs. Its allocation was $163 million in 2014 and $175 million in 2016.

These are enormous numbers, given that the PA annual budget totals approximately $4.4 billion. They reflect the generous size of the PA’s individual payments. Salaries start at $400 per month for terrorists incarcerated for up to three years. They rise to $570 for those in for three to five years, and $1,142 for five to 10 years. For those serving more than 30 years, the salary is $3,429. That’s per month. And this is a society in which the gross national product per capita amounts to $258 per month.

One-time grants to released prisoners start at $1,500 for terrorists who served one to three years and rise to $6,000 for those with 11-to-15-year terms and $25,000 for those over 30 years.

Monthly payments to families of dead terrorists are commensurately ample.

All of these payments increase according to the length of incarceration, which roughly correlates to the number of people that the terrorist killed or harmed. So the more victims in Israel, the more money the PA pays to the terrorist.

The Palestinians have had wretched political leadership for a century, since World War I, when Britain ended Turkey’s 400-year ownership of Palestine. Their leaders have chosen the anti-democratic—and losing—side of every major conflict for the last hundred years.

If Palestinian leaders had chosen to become Israel’s partners rather than its enemies, their people could have enjoyed peace and prosperity. Indeed, they could also have had Arab national independence, based on compromise—that is, on willingness to share the land with the State of Israel.

Despite everything—despite the long history of conflict—it remains possible that the Palestinians might someday achieve peace, prosperity, and some kind of national independence. But they’ll never get it if they continue to be dominated by dishonest, corrupt, authoritarian, and violent leaders. They’ll never get it if their leaders are the kind of people who pay rewards to terrorist murderers.

Know with Whom You Negotiate

From an article by David m. Weinberg  published in the Jerusalem Post march 16, 2017

In a powerful essay published in The American Interest late last month by Brig.-Gen.(res.) Michael Herzog. Herzog blows many myths to smithereens, and reveals both the artifice of PA leader Mahmoud Abbas and the chicanery of John Kerry.

US special representative should read this essay before embarking on another peacemaking circus! Herzog is a veteran peace processer, having participated in most of Israel’s negotiations with the Palestinians, Syrians and Jordanians since 1993. He processed peace, or tried to, for prime ministers Rabin, Barak, Olmert and Netanyahu, and worked closely with Tzipi Livni, too. He was part of the Wye, Camp David, Taba, Annapolis and Kerry rounds of negotiation. 

So Herzog is not a right-wing ideologue. When his account thoroughly undermines the global “consensus” regarding the diplomatic process – a consensus unfavorable to Israel – this should be noted.

• First, Herzog tells us that the obstructionist image that Prime Minister Netanyahu seems to have among world leaders is woefully unjustified. Herzog says that Netanyahu was extraordinarily serious about negotiating peace with the Palestinian Authority, and he made significant concessions in the process; so much so, that he still dares not admit the details to the Israeli public and to his current coalition partners.

It is clear from Herzog’s telling (and from previous pieces, such as the 2014 New Republic exposé by Ben Birnbaum and Amir Tibon) that, for lasting peace, Netanyahu was ready to withdraw from vast tracts of Judea and Samaria to facilitate Palestinian statehood, venturing “well outside his natural comfort zone.”

• Second, Herzog makes it clear that Abbas didn’t really want an agreement of any sort, period. He was in the process to cry on the shoulders of president Obama and Kerry about Palestinian rights; to pocket concessions from Israel without being willing himself to compromise on any concrete issue or sign on any dotted lines; and to ensure failure of the talks with blame heaped on Israel, and thus justify breaking previous Palestinian commitments.

Abbas pretended to negotiate before “losing interest”; used Hamas to doom the talks; and ran to international institutions to criminalize Israel, with failed talks as his excuse. Herzog feels that Abbas still expects the international community to “deliver” Israeli withdrawals on a silver platter, without tying the hands of a Palestinian state to any concrete end-game commitments.

• Third, Herzog makes it clear that it is simply not true – not even remotely true! – that the parameters for a settlement between Israel and Palestinians are “well known,” “clear,” “obvious,” and “within easy reach” if only brave leaders step forward. “Unlike some simplistic notions out there,” writes Herzog, and despite 20 years of Oslo-era peace processing, “the gaps are significant and widened by the weight of history, religion, emotions and domestic politics.”

• Fourth, the most interesting and disturbing of Herzog’s revelations relate to the disastrous negotiating dynamics dictated by John Kerry.

To begin with, Kerry drove the notion that there was a constant need to reward Abbas for coming to, and staying at, the negotiating table. This fed Palestinian appetites, and allowed Abbas to continually blackmail the US and Israel for concessions and sweeteners (for example the release of Palestinian terrorists from Israel jails).

Then when the talks reached a stalemate, Kerry’s approach was again to reward the Palestinians for their obduracy (by moving American goalposts on the issues and begging Abbas to stay engaged), and to punish Israel for its flexibility (by pressuring Netanyahu for more sweeteners and concrete concessions).

In fact, according to Herzog, Israel began to realize that Kerry was negotiating mainly with and against Israel, while conducting substantially no such parallel process with Abbas. When the crunch came and it was finally time to prod Abbas into accepting a proposed US framework for continuing the talks, “it was too little too late. Abu Mazen has shut down... no longer interested or invested in the process.”

In other words, the gullible Kerry “discovered” only at the end of the process that Abbas had been stringing him along with no intention of budging.

• Fifth, up against Abbas in “shutdown mode,” Obama and Kerry offered up significant concessions to Abbas in a desperate attempt to reengage him. This involved “new ideas and formulations that departed from traditional official US positions and tilted toward Abbas’s positions (including an explicit confirmation of a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem and equivalent land swaps) – positions that were never shared with Israel.”

What happened next? Abbas walked away without acceding to America’s entreaties, knowing full well that Obama would never blame him for failure of the process, and that America’s new positions were essentially in his pocket.

And then sure enough, Kerry enunciated these moves away from Israel as official Obama administration policy, when he harangued Israel (and not the Palestinians) in an overwrought 70-minute sermon at the State Department in December.

• Sixth and perhaps most important, Herzog lays bare American unfairness to Israel on the settlement issue. When he testified before Congress, Kerry publicly blamed Israeli housing starts in the territories for the failure of his negotiating effort. I worked so hard to bring peace, he wailed, and then “poof!” – the whole entire effort went up in smoke because of Netanyahu’s damn settlements.

Contrary to Kerry’s casuistic narrative, Herzog makes it clear that Netanyahu never promised to freeze settlement construction for the duration of the talks.

The opposite is true: Israel had fully informed Kerry it would announce construction of up to 1,500 housing units beyond the Green Line to coincide with every phase of terrorist releases. This was the price of getting the very-controversial and dangerous prisoner releases through the cabinet.

In other words, having inappropriately promised to Abbas the release of Palestinian (and Israeli Arab!) terrorists held in Israeli jails, and then foisted these releases upon Israel, Kerry knew that some construction in settlement blocs adjacent to the 1967 line would follow. Abbas knew this too, and they both went along with this.

Herzog notes that the construction announced was in areas that even Palestinian maps in previous negotiations indicated would remain part of Israel. And I note that, for better or worse, the Netanyahu governments since 2014 haven’t actually built most of those promised homes.

In any case, settlements certainly were not the main reason behind the failure of the talks. And yet, Kerry’s egregious “poof” remark pinned the failure on settlement activity, vindictively and dishonestly so. This American sin against Israel has skewed the global diplomatic narrative ever since.

In the end, Herzog’s makes it obvious that the Palestinian Authority under Abbas has not proven to be a “willing or capable” peace partner; that, alas, it isn’t truly seeking an end of conflict and all claims; and that its bottom line seems nowhere near that of even the most flexible Israeli government.

Therefore, it is time for a new approach in dealing with the conflict. “The sea changes in relations between major Arab states and Israel,” concludes Herzog, allow for emergence of a solution strategy “in a broader regional context.”

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Hamas is winning hearts and minds in Europe

For full article by Avi Issacharoff go to

Via conferences and through hierarchies linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, Gaza-based terror group, Hamas is building global infrastructure to challenge PLO’s standing as Palestinians’ sole legitimate representative

At the end of February, in Istanbul, the Palestinians Abroad Conference convened with the purported goal of promoting global support for the Palestinians. Its actual purpose was to bolster the status of Hamas in the international arena.

It became clear that many of the organizers and attendees had something else in common: they are known to have been members — for decades — of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated networks all over Europe. Many of the same faces are present — including current and past members of the Muslim Brotherhood, at a more or less official level, and current and past members of Hamas.

Their shared goal is to promote international legitimacy for Hamas — in Europe, Africa, the Middle East (of course) and even in Latin America — in a bid to challenge the PLO’s international standing as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

Hamas, in this way, is slowly but surely establishing a global infrastructure of supporters who are providing not only encouragement and legitimacy, but also quite a bit of financial assistance.
Tracing the outlines of this infrastructure lends some surprising insights. For example, Britain turns out to be hosting more of this semi-official activity by Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood than any other country in Europe.
One almost quintessential example of such activity under innocent-seeming cover is the Global Anti-Aggression Campaign. The group held many conferences and issued fatwas against the West, such as against France after it began military action in Mali.
The Campaign began focusing on Gaza in 2009, during and after Operation Cast Lead, an Israeli military campaign aimed at stopping rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. At a conference held in February 2009, the group decided to turn Gaza into a new front for jihad under the auspices of the “Istanbul Declaration.” The declaration, signed by 90 Muslim clerics from all over the world, including members of Hamas, stated that the Palestinian Authority was not the representative of the Palestinian people.

The statement attacked the Saudi-sponsored Arab Peace Initiative — a proposal that offers normalization of ties between Arab countries and Israel in exchange for Israel pulling out of territories claimed by Palestinians — calling it nothing less than “a proven betrayal of the Islamic Nation and the Palestinian cause, and a blatant betrayal of the Palestinian people.”
Another example: FIOE, the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe. Thirty-seven different groups in different countries on the continent operate under that organization, and over the years have created an image for themselves as ‘the legitimate representatives’ — the Islamic mainstream. The group is known as IGD in Germany and UOIF in France. The same thing is going on in Scandinavia and almost everywhere.”
These networks operate according to the long-established model of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. In each country there is a network of civil society organizations — in other words, dawa, a word in Arabic meaning proselytizing or preaching of Islam. These organizations are run by well-known figures who head madrasas, or Muslim schools; mosques; charitable organizations that raise money not only for Muslims in Europe but also for Hamas. Recently, Muslim “human rights” groups have been established that work to strengthen support for the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.

Many prominent figures in these groups, again, operate on British soil. Here are some examples.
• Muhammad Sawalha, of Palestinian origin, is very well known to the Israeli security establishment as one of the founders of Hamas’s military wing in the West Bank. He also lives in London.
• Zaher Birawi, a former Hamas operative in the Gaza Strip, was one of the spokesmen of the Mavi Marmara flotilla and has been involved in other flotillas.
• Essam Yusuf Mustafa is a former member of Hamas’s political wing, at least according to the US Treasury Department. Mustafa, one of the organizers of the latest conference in Istanbul, is on the board of trustees of another organization, Interpal, which was declared a terrorism-supporting organization by the United States as far back as 2003. Both Birawi and Mustafa live in Britain.
Mustafa was a leader of a group called the Charity Coalition (also known as the Union of Good), which raised money for Hamas in the early 2000s and gained the spiritual support of Yusuf al-Qardawi, the leading Sunni cleric and Muslim Brotherhood member..
There are others, in Britain:
- Ismail Patel, head of the Friends of Al-Aqsa group;
- Daud Abdullah, originally from Grenada, a former member of the Muslim Council of  Britain, who helps operate a news site which takes a pro-Hamas and pro-Muslim Brotherhood stance;
- Azzam Tamimi, a Palestinian who is the CEO of the Alhiwar television station, which operates from London and is considered explicitly pro-Hamas
- Ibrahim Munir Mustafa, also Egyptian by birth, who chairs the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood movement and lives in London.

The whole BDS issue benefits from this Islamist infrastructure and receives assistance from organizations that are identified with Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Dirty Little Secret of Palestinian Journalism

by Bassam Tawil  •  March 13, 2017
  • Nasser Abu Baker, Chairman of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), who also works as a correspondent for Agence France-Press (AFP), also lashed out at Al-Quds for publishing the Israeli advertisement. "We are determined to combat normalization and those who promote it," he vowed.
  • Abu Baker, who recently ran in the election for the Fatah Revolutionary Council, is the architect of the PJS campaign to boycott Israeli journalists and media outlets. His political activism constitutes a flagrant violation of the regulations and principles of AFP, and a conflict of interest. However, this does not seem to bother his employers at the French news agency, who apparently do not see a problem with one of their employees running in the election for Fatah's Revolutionary Council.
  • Abu Baker and his colleagues have one mission: to "combat normalization" with Israel. For them, this task far exceeds in importance exposing financial corruption in the Palestinian Authority (PA) or reporting about assaults on freedom of expression. It is also evidently more important than protesting the arbitrary arrest and torture of their colleagues at the hands of the PA and Hamas.
  • One can only imagine the response of the Western mainstream media if the chairman of the Israeli Journalists Union or the Government Press Office called for a boycott of Palestinian journalists.