.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

GMJ organizer furiously backtracks on"'two million" claim

Last Monday:
Two million Arab and international protesters will march toward the borders of Israel and take part in activities designed to highlight Jerusalem’s Arab character on Friday, the event organizer claims.

Ribhi Haloum, general coordinator of the “Global March to Jerusalem,” said in a press statement that volunteers from 80 countries will take part in the march. Jordan and Lebanon will send protesters to the border, whereas Egypt will organize a solidarity marathon from Cairo University to the pyramids in Giza and a large rally at Al-Azhar University.
Now that the marches are over and they missed their goal by at least 99.8%, Haloum has changed his tune:
Organizers of the Global March to Jerusalem commemorating Land Day say the march on Friday made big strides as most of its goals were realized.

General coordinator of the march Ribhi Halloum told Ma’an from Jordan that the organizers put forward three major goals....

The organizers, added Halloum, do not pay great attention to the number of participants in the rallies, but rather to the number of countries joining the protests, as that reflects the support for Palestine.
By the way, the goals that he says that the organizers set for the marches are not mentioned on the GM2J website. In fact, one of their main goals mentioned there is
We aim to make this march a turning point in the nature of the confrontation, with the occupation having to face millions of protesters and demonstrators demanding Freedom for Palestine and its capitol Jerusalem.
I love how they change their goals after the fact to save face.

Mustafa Barghouti was injured by Arabs, not the IDF

During Friday's Land Day protests in Qalandia, member of parliament Mustafa Barghouti was injured - and, of course, he blamed Israel for what he described as a tear-gas canister hitting him.

The IDF denied the report.

As reported in Ma'an:
On Saturday, the aide told Ma'an he was injured by a tear-gas canister fired by Israeli forces. She said the police were informed of the circumstances during their visit to the hospital.

An Israeli military spokeswoman disputed Barghouti's account and said he was attacked by other Palestinians. He was "trying to convince youth in (Qalandiya) to riot," she said on Twitter.

A report on the case released by the police media office said Barghouti was injured in an altercation and taken to hospital. Police opened an investigation to determine the circumstances, the report says.

Barghouti heads the Palestinian National Initiative and is a former presidential candidate.
So what happened? As usual, the IDF seems to be correct and the Palestinian Arab accusers were lying.

From (of all places) Mondoweiss, quoting an account by Jalal Abukhater:
As I arrived to Qalandia, first thing I saw was a large crowd of protesters with most carrying Red PFLP flags and orange PNI [Palestinian National Initiative] flags. As I walked down, I saw Mustafa Barghouti being evacuated into an ambulance at the Qalandia field hospital and Fateh guys were attacking PNI people. As Mustafa entered the ambulance, angry crowds continued to attack Mustafa and his group, a fight broke out between both sides. Mustafa was also beaten inside the ambulance. Weapon used in fighting was sticks which held flags. The ambulance which carried Mustafa had its rear glass broken and it rushed away. A while later I saw PNI organizers calling on all PNI people to leave the demo, clashes continued and hundreds remained present at the demo.

Reason behind all this, according to eye witnesses who were there before I was, is that PNI group acted separately and didn't follow the general plan agreed upon by all groups, and they marched towards the checkpoint rushing during the prayer to beat all other groups and be first there. Also, none of them carried Palestinian flags..all carried PNI flags.
JPost adds a telling detail:
The Palestine News Network reported that Barghouti’s office phoned its editors and requested that they refrain from publishing the news about the assault.
Ah, the truth hurts - so lets resort to censorship.

I cannot count the number of times that I have reported where Palestinian Arabs claim to have witnessed an attack by Israelis where Arabs ended up injured or dead, the IDF denies it, and it turns out the IDF is right.

Yet when these incidents are reported the IDF denial - when mentioned at all - is always stuck around paragraph 12 after the reader already assumes that the Arab witnesses are telling the truth.

Every reporter should put IDF denials in the first paragraph of any report like this, and should note that the IDF's track record on admitting and denying its activities has been pretty good. There certainly has been spin, but the track record for lies belongs, hands down, to the Palestinian Arabs.

(h/t Michael)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Weekend open thread

Go for it.

Latest Latma

Nice bedtime story.

Dog mascot chases real cat during Maccabi Tel Aviv game

From The Daily Mail:
A basketball team's canine mascot needed no help getting into character when a cat strayed onto the court during a televised match.

In a curious take on the age-old pursuit, Maccabi Tel Aviv mascot Donny the Dog sprang into action after the feline appeared during a match against Bnei Hasharon in Israel.

As Maccabi's players attacked their oppponents' end at the Zisman Arena in the city Ramat Gan, eastern Israel, the furry intruder was spotted in the middle of the court.

The skittish cat, no doubt startled by the size 11s of the ball players thundering around him, tried to sprint towards cheerleaders gathered at the Bnei Hasharon end.

But Donny, feeling the spirit of his canine alter-ego, decided to give chase.

Sensing the chase was on, the cat skidded across the court, changing direction to avoid Donny's lunging attempt at a tackle.


(h/t Ian)

Five year old girl forced to marry - in England

From BBC:
A five-year-old girl is thought to have become the UK's youngest victim of forced marriage.

She was one of 400 children to receive assistance from the government's Forced Marriage Unit in the last year.

The figures have emerged as the public consultation into criminalising forced marriage in England, Wales and Northern Ireland comes to an end.

Amy Cumming, joint head of the Forced Marriage Unit, said 29% of the cases it dealt with last year involved minors.

"The youngest of these was actually five years old, so there are children involved in the practice across the school age range," she said.

To protect the child, the authorities have not disclosed details of the case or where the marriage took place.

But the case comes as no surprise to the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation (IKWRO), which deals with more than 100 cases of forced marriage a year.

"We have had clients who are in their very early teens, 11-year-olds, 12-year-olds, the youngest case we had was nine years old," said IKWRO campaigns officer Fionnuala Murphy.

Now the consultation on forced marriage has come to an end, IKWROs hope it will become a criminal offence.

"Our organisation is pro-criminalisation because we believe that it will empower victims to know that this is a crime, to stand up to their parents and to stand up for their own rights and it will enable them to come forward and seek help and say what's happening to me is wrong."

In 2011 the Forced Marriage Unit helped deal with around 1,500 cases, but many more are thought to go unreported.
While it is true that the phenomenon is not limited strictly to Muslims, it is interesting that the entire article does not mention the word "Islam" or "Muslim" once.

(h/t John W.)

972mag attacks Judaism

Yossi Gurvitz of 972mag has written two screeds this week where he claims that an IDF rabbi allows troops to rape enemy women.

In the first article he publishes a query to Rabbi Eyal Qarim, a colonel in the IDF who was not answering in any official IDF capacity, and the rabbi's answer, which makes it look like Qarim is saying that rape is permissible nowadays during wartime. In his second, he ridicules the rabbi's denial, all the while clucking about how he knows how terrible Jewish law is and most of his critics don't know enough Hebrew to be horrified.

What he doesn't tell you is that he completely  and purposefully misrepresents the question that is being asked, and the actual question changes how the answer can be understood.

According to Gurwitz, the question was:
Is it allowed in our days [sic] for an IDF soldier, for example, to rape girls during a fight, or is such a thing forbidden?

And the answer was:
The wars of Israel […] are mitzvah wars, in which they differ from the rest of the wars the nations wage among themselves. Since, essentially, a war is not an individual matter, but rather nations wage war as a whole, there are cases in which the personality of the individual is “erased” for the benefit of the whole. And vice versa: sometimes you risk a large unit for the saving of an individual, when it is essential for purposes of morale. One of the important and critical values during war is maintaining the army’s fighting ability […]

As in war the prohibition against risking your life is broken for the benefit of others, so are the prohibitions against immorality and of kashrut. Wine touched by gentiles, consumption of which is prohibited in peacetime, is allowed at war, to maintain the good spirit of the warriors. Consumption of prohibited foods is permitted at war (and some say, even when kosher food is available), to maintain the fitness of the warriors, even though they are prohibited during peacetime. Just so, war removes some of the prohibitions on sexual relations (gilui arayot in the original – YZG), and even though fraternizing with a gentile woman is a very serious matter, it was permitted during wartime (under the specific terms) out of understanding for the hardship endured by the warriors. And since the success of the whole at war is our goal, the Torah permitted the individual to satisfy the evil urge (yetzer ha’ra in the original -YZG), under the conditions mentioned, for the purpose of the success of the whole.

His translation of the answer is accurate - but he knowingly deleted the part of the question that was being answered.

Here is the full question:
I read on this website about the "beautiful woman captive," as well as the laws in the Torah [about her], and my question still remains - in various wars between nations, as the First World War, for example, different nations fought each other, and neither was particularly good for Jews or bad for Jews in particular...but if the [combatants would] conquer a village with Jews and Jewish girls were raped, it is considered, rightly, a disaster and tragedy for the girl and family.

If so, rape in war is considered a horrific thing. How then, as I was told by a rabbi, could a beautiful woman captive be permitted, according to some authorities, even before the process described in the Torah? Do you mean that you surrender to your desire and sleep with her, and only then take her to his house, etc.? This seems contradictory.

After all, if rape of civilians in war is considered shocking, why, apparently, are Jews allowed?

And is it permissible in our times for an IDF soldier, for example, to rape women in warfare, or is that forbidden?
The question was not a soldier asking for permission to rape, as Gurwitz implies. Exactly the opposite.

Now look at Rabbi Qarim's answer. He was answering the question of how the Torah can permit such an act, and Qarim answered that it falls under the category of things that are normally forbidden that are allowed in wartime because victory is a necessity in wartime which subsumes both individual rights and individual responsibilities. He makes clear, twice, that there are very specific conditions and laws that guide a soldier's conduct even when he is overcome with desire in the heat of war.

The point is that Rabbi Qarim was answering the question of how one can justify that the Torah can allow this to happen to begin with. He never answered the question of whether it was allowed today, because the answer is obviously no.

And this is exactly what Rabbi Qarim wrote this week in his clarification that Gurwitz disparages
It is obvious that the Torah never permitted raping a woman. The Comely Woman ruling is intended to make the soldier retract his intention of marrying the prisoner, by a series of actions which diminish her beauty and put the emphasis on her personality and grief. If, by the end of the process, he still wishes to marry her, he is obligated to do so by the usual legal manner.

In addition, the whole essence of the ruling was to soften the situation in the barbaric war world of the time, when a soldier might have done what he wished with a captive, and the goal of the ruling is to prevent the soldier from taking the captive as wife during the storm of battle. It is clear that in our times, when the world has progressed to a level of morality when captives are not taken as wives, this ruling is certainly not to be acted on, particularly as it is completely contrary to the ethics and the orders of the military.

Gurwitz is purposefully twisting the question to make Judaism look monstrous (or, as he says, "Those texts were written mostly in a barbaric period by ignorant people, fuelled by the hatred of mankind which is endemic to Judaism." Is this considered unbiased by 972mag and its funders?) [The article has since been silently changed to tone down that language a little. Original screenshots are available.]

He hypocritically says that "the rabbis did not want their texts to be available for everyone. Control over jargon also grants you some measure of power." And yet he purposefully refused to translate the entire query so his Hebrew-challenged readers could not check his own twisting of the truth to make it look like a rabbi today was supporting raping women captives!

It is possible to question ancient legal rulings in context of today's sensibilities. In fact, such questions should be welcomed. This is exactly what the questioner was doing.  There are even widely divergent views within traditional Judaism of exactly how to interpret this passage of the Torah. But Gurwitz is not interested in finding out how Judaism evolves - even Orthodox Judaism, even today - to deal with issues like this. He does not want to know what Jewish law says about contemporary matters. No, he "knows" that it is a sick belief system. He wants to demonize Judaism to as wide an audience as possible, and he is not above resorting to gross deception to accomplish his goal.

And he relies on his audience's unfamiliarity with Hebrew to accomplish his sickening, and truly anti-semitic, agenda.

Neturei Karta "rabbis" insulted and beaten in Jordan "Global March"

YNet says:
Jordanian news sites have reported Friday afternoon that some 20,000 people are participating in a mass procession in Jordan. The protesters gathered at Jesus's baptism site, and are planning to march towards the border with Israel. Increased security presence was reported in the area.

According to reports, participants were yelling "where is the Arab League on Jerusalem?" and waving Jordanian and Palestinian flags alongside signs with anti-Israeli slogans.

Four rabbis from the extremist anti-Zionist Neturei Karta sect were also taking part in the march and carried signs reading: "Judaism demands the liberation of Jerusalem and all of Palestine."

Several rally participants expressed anger over the presence of Neturei Karta members, and a verbal altercation erupted between the two groups.

A Google search shows several articles that seem to indicate that the Neturei Karta nuts were actually beaten, quoting the official Petra news agency - but those articles have been updated and scrubbed without any mention of the NK members at all!

One comment remains on the Jordanzad site which scrubbed mention of the group. The commenter said "We Arabs will always calculate wrong .. there are rabbis involved with us against the occupation and we beat them and abuse them, how long will we be this stupid?

Similarly, I found a cache of another article, now scrubbed, that had said "Before the start of ceremonial events were four rabbis of the movement of American Jews 'Neturei Karta' who reject the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the State of Israel from the ground up, beaten and insulted by a group of young participants in the march, before the organizers intervened and expelled the rabbis."

Poor, poor NKidiots. Don't you feel sorry for them, being beaten by the people they love so much?

Anti-Israel gay conference on "Homonationalism and Pinkwashing" at CUNY

From Times of Israel:

An academic conference planned for next year in New York will use Israel’s largely positive record on gay rights to denounce its treatment of Palestinians.

City University of New York last week announced Homonationalism and Pinkwashing, a gathering that will provide “an opportunity to examine Queer Resistance and Complicity globally” — but with a special emphasis on Israel. Hosted by CUNY’s Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, the conference will take Israel to task for “pinkwashing,” a term that accuses the country of promoting its progressive treatment of sexual minorities as a way of diverting attention from its conflict with the Palestinians. “Faced with intensifying criticism and the threat of economic boycott,” the conference website states, “the Israeli government expanded their marketing plan by harnessing Homonationalism to reposition its global image.”

Based on the list of proposed topics, conference organizers don’t plan to examine the persecution of gays in the Muslim world, except as it pertains to generating Islamophobia and to “justify military assault” in Iraq and Iran.

Coordinating the gathering is Sarah Schulman, a humanities professor at CUNY’s College of Staten Island. Schulman raised the profile of the “pinkwashing” accusation last fall in a controversial New York Times op-ed, in which she argued that Israel’s “gay soldiers and the relative openness of Tel Aviv” shouldn’t be used to distract attention from “the Palestinians’ insistence on a land to call home.”

Scheduled speakers include Berkeley professor Judith Butler, a veteran of Israeli Apartheid Week, and Haneen Maikey, the director of Palestinian LGBT group alQaws.

AlQaws, which appears to hold its recurring “Palestinian queer party“ in Israel, is headquartered in Jerusalem Open House, a gay center in the Jewish-majority part of the city.
The official description of the conference is a must-read for its pretentious tone and sheer vacuity.
The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies is pleased to announce a conference “Homonationalism and Pinkwashing” to be held April 10-11, 2013 at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in all configurations around the world have always experienced dramatic differences in representation and power. Today, after generations of sacrifice and organization, some LGBT people have won full legal rights with different degrees of implementation. Once hard to imagine, protection from discrimination, full relationship recognition, and inclusion in representation are now daily possibilities for some. In the United States, lesbian, gay, and bisexual people have been invited into an equality defined, not by rights, but by the ability to participate openly in immoral wars. The co-opting of some LGBT people by anti-immigrant and in particular anti-Muslim political forces is widespread and growing. Rutgers Professor Jasbir Puar has coined the term “Homonationalism” to define collusion between LGBT people and identification with the nation state, re-enforcement of racial and national boundary, and systems of supremacy ideology no longer interrupted by homophobia. Homonationalism has spread far from its roots in European xenophobia and US militarism to become an increasingly potent tool in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Faced with intensifying criticism and the threat of economic boycott, the Israeli government expanded their marketing plan by harnessing Homonationalism to reposition its global image. The campaign intended "to improve Israel's image through the gay community in Israel," The Jerusalem Post quoted one government supporter of the campaign. This deliberate and highly funded program is what anti-occupation activists have named "Pinkwashing."The campaign not only manipulates the hard-won gains of Israel's gay rights movement, but it also ignores the existence of Palestinian gay-rights organizations. These groups rightly note that the oppression of Palestinians crosses the boundary of sexuality; as Haneen Maikay, a keynote speaker at our conference and the director of Al Qaws:For Gender and Sexual Diversity in Palestinian Society, said in a recent lecture tour in the United States, "When you go through a checkpoint it does not matter what the sexuality of the soldier is."

Homonationalism and Pinkwashing mark a crucial turning point for Queer Scholars and Activists. This conference provides an opportunity to examine Queer Resistance and Complicity globally, in all of their complexities, with a political maturity that acknowledges the responsibility of access, the activism of necessity, the potential and impossible communities, identifications, solidarities, unities and consequential calls for action. Acknowledging these conditions make it imperative for Activists and Scholars to convene and bring together the theoretical and the applied, repositioning our resources to focus on a rejuvenated Queer future, movement, movements, efforts, actions, organizing and focus towards a vision of freedom that finally includes us all.

Do you get that? Do you see how a nation that doesn't discriminate against gays is to be held accountable by gays because some of its soldiers are gay? Do you understand how the entire concept of national boundaries is inherently immoral? Finally, do you understand that when Activists and Scholars capitalize certain Words, they show how vitally Critical their pretentious and self-contradictory Ideas are?

But wait - it gets better!

Possible topics we would love to include but are not limited to:

-Expanding our understandings of Queer Resistance and Complicity
-Hindus, Islamaphobia and Queer Emergence [apparently some Queer Adacemics cannot Spell]
-Arab Jews (Mizrachis) and Occupation/Pinkwashing/Diaspora
-Iran, Iraq and the Use of anti-LGBT Persecution to Justify Military Assault
-Transfeminism and the Global LGBT
-Race, Sexuality and the US Military
-Queer and The Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions Movement
-Christian Evangelicals: Differing strategies for Uganda and Israel
-The rise of LGBT wings of European Right Wing Movements
-HRC, GLAAD, and the Gay Corporate Auxilliaries [Again!]
-AIDS, NGO’s and Partnering With Global Pharma
-Homonationalism, Hollywood and Popular Culture
-Pinkwashing and Israeli Queer Cinema

"Pinkwashing" and "homonationalism" as such catchy terms. We need to create a new term to describe people who want to use their sexual orientation as a means to bash states that support them and to support states that bash them.

Homocrites?

(h/t Ian)

British BDSers: "We have no problem with Hebrew, just Israel"

From The Guardian letters section:
We notice with dismay and regret that Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London has invited Israel's National Theatre, Habima, to perform The Merchant of Venice in its Globe to Globe festival this coming May. The general manager of Habima has declared the invitation "an honourable accomplishment for the State of Israel". But Habima has a shameful record of involvement with illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory. Last year, two large Israeli settlements established "halls of culture" and asked Israeli theatre groups to perform there. A number of Israeli theatre professionals – actors, stage directors, playwrights – declared they would not take part.

Habima, however, accepted the invitation with alacrity, and promised the Israeli minister of culture that it would "deal with any problems hindering such performances". By inviting Habima, Shakespeare's Globe is undermining the conscientious Israeli actors and playwrights who have refused to break international law.

The Globe says it wants to "include" the Hebrew language in its festival – we have no problem with that. "Inclusiveness" is a core value of arts policy in Britain, and we support it. But by inviting Habima, the Globe is associating itself with policies of exclusion practised by the Israeli state and endorsed by its national theatre company. We ask the Globe to withdraw the invitation so that the festival is not complicit with human rights violations and the illegal colonisation of occupied land.
David Aukin producer  Poppy Burton-Morgan artistic director, Metta Theatre Leo Butler playwright Niall Buggy actor David Calder actor Jonathan Chadwick director Caryl Churchill playwright Michael Darlow writer, director John Graham Davies actor, writer Trevor Griffiths playwright Annie Firbank actor Paul Freeman actor Matyelok Gibbs actor Tony Graham director Janet Henfrey actor James Ivens artistic director, Flood Theatre Andrew Jarvis actor, director, teacher Neville Jason actor Ursula Jones actor Professor Adah Kay academic, playwright Mike Leigh film-maker, dramatist Sonja Linden playwright, iceandfire theatre Roger Lloyd Pack actor Cherie Lunghi actor Miriam Margolyes actor Kika Markham actor Jonathan Miller director, author and broadcaster Frances Rifkin director Mark Rylance actor Alexei Sayle comedian, writer Farhana Sheikh writer Emma Thompson actor, screenwriter Andy de la Tour actor, director Harriet Walter actor Hilary Westlake director Richard Wilson actor, director Susan Wooldridge actor, writer
So by Habima being willing to perform in front of a group of people - Jews living in their historic homeland -who are vilified and discriminated against worldwide, they are using a "policy of exclusion." But by asking them to be boycotted, that is "inclusiveness."

I was also unaware that performing in a theater in Ariel is a violation of international law. I'd love to see the legal citation for that one.

Especially interesting is their assertion that they have no problem with performances in Hebrew, only from Israel's national theater.

And who are they trying to kid? If the troupe was called the "Anti-Settlement National Theatre" the exact same self-righteous gasbags would write an identical letter decrying the fast that some actors served in the IDF, or don't support boycotting Israel, or something.

Here's a thought experiment. What would happen if a Palestinian Arab theatre in Ramallah would invite Habimah to perform? Would Habimah, those "excluders," accept? Would Palestinian Arabs, those "moderates," allow the performance? Would the director of the theatre get killed? Perhaps then these blowhards can figure out what "politics of exclusion" actually means. Or have they forgotten that it wasn't exactly an Israeli who killed Juliano Mer-Khamis?

There are some known actors  and filmmakers there. Perhaps people might want to visit their Facebook pages and let them know that boycotts can go both ways.

(h/t O)

Weeds, the video

How much have Muslims venerated the Temple Mount throughout history?

Here's a video I made in 2008 that seems appropriate to repost on this day that so many are pretending to love Jerusalem.



Ambulances in Gaza run out of fuel; Hamas in no hurry to procure more

From Ma'an:
The health ministry in Gaza said Thursday that 36 ambulances were offline due to the fuel crisis.

Spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya said the ambulances were parked because the ministry has run out of fuel needed to power them.

The shortage comes despite a deal announced Tuesday by the Palestine Electricity Company Egypt to provide gas to Gaza.

Palestine Electricity Company director in Gaza Walid Saad Sayil signed the agreement with the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation in Cairo on behalf of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority.

Sayil told reporters that Egyptian technicians have been instructed to conduct surveys to find the best route for a network of pipelines to transport gas from Sheikh Zweid to the Rafah crossing on Gaza's border.
First Hamas manufactures a fuel crisis in Gaza, and now it is deliberately keeping it going and causing Gazans to suffer. All because it has political and monetary goals it wants to achieve (getting a permanent supply of fuel from Egypt and being able to tax the fuel as it wants.)

And even if people die in the hospital, Hamas frames it as if it is someone else's fault.

And when push comes to shove, NGOs will bail Gaza out:
The Red Cross will provide the ministry of health in Gaza with 150,000 liters of fuel in the next few days to ease the crisis facings its hospitals, officials said Thursday.

Ayman al-Shehabi, spokesman of the [International committee of the Red Cross]. 
 in Gaza, told Ma’an that the humanitarian situation is difficult in Gaza because of the fuel crisis. Hospitals are particularly affected, he said.
Even though Gazans are grumbling and blame Hamas, it doesn't matter - Hamas is paying no real penalty domestically or internationally for treating its citizens with as much disregard for their lives as Bashir Assad has for his people. The press has been remarkably soft on Hamas' deliberate acts to endanger its citizens, and no Arab state will publicly castigate Hamas while they are hoping for a unity deal. Chances are, Hamas knew all along that it could skate through this and end up getting everything it wants because of the dynamic it created.

It's sort of brilliant in a completely sickening, immoral way.

(I have a feeling that Hamas will find enough gas to bus anti-Israel protesters to the border today, though.)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lebanese and Jordanian security forces say they'll keep the peace at "Global March"

From Lebanon's Daily Star:
A security source told The Daily Star that the Lebanese Army would take measures to prevent demonstrators from crossing into the area to the south of the Litani River, which is in the field of operation of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon.

The source said that security measures which would be put into effect at midnight Thursday, in an effort to prevent a repetition of last May, when Israeli troops opened fire on unarmed Palestinians approaching the border to mark the Nakba Day, killing 10 and wounding around 100.

Sukkarieh said he did not anticipate any security incidents.

“Not at all, we are fully coordinating with Lebanese authorities. We are away from the border fence and there is no physical contact with the enemy’s army,” he said.
They also say there will be no more than 5000 protesters in Lebanon.

From the Jordan Times:
According to the Public Security Department (PSD), authorities will deploy a large-scale security presence in the Jordan Valley in a bid to ensure the safety of participants and secure the border region.

“We are working with organisers and other security services to ensure the march stays peaceful and does not impact the border region,” PSD Spokesperson Lt. Col. Mohammed Khatib told The Jordan Times.
I have not found any articles about preparations for the demonstrations in Egypt or Syria.

We'll see if this is true in a few hours.

Abbas lies to the Arab League

Some lies are repeated so much that people tend to ignore them due to sheer exhaustion of debunking them. But that only emboldens the liars.

Today's Exhibit A is Mahmoud Abbas, who went in front of the Arab League meeting in Baghdad today to rail against "ethnic cleansing" of Arabs in Jerusalem.
Abbas accused Israel of carrying out a policy of ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem, and said that the occupation authorities are using unprecedented and most brutal means and the most serious in the implementation of what it sees as the final chapter in the fight to remove the Islamic and Christian character of the Holy City through taxes, punitive house demolitions and land confiscation.

He stressed that the PA would not resume negotiations with Israel until it stops settlement activity, particularly in Jerusalem.
Using the term "ethnic cleansing" is now considered part of the normal discourse when referring to Israel. It is not only a lie but a deliberate slander. Yet within the Arab world it is considered as controversial as saying that the sky is blue.

Here is a chart of the Arab population of Jerusalem since Israel reunified it in the Six Day War:


There is no way you can call this "ethnic cleansing."

Not only that, but the proportion of Arabs in Jerusalem have also increased:
The proportion of the Jewish population fell from 74% in 1967 to 72% in 1980, and 65% in 2008. Conversely, the Arab population rose from 26% in 1967 to 28% in 1980, and 35% in 2008.

These are the facts. Abbas is a liar.

And it is usually not a great idea to sign an agreement with a liar.

(Ma'an didn't report his "ethnic cleansing" comments in English.)

Report: Woman thrown into Nile over divorce

From Bikya Masr:
According to news reports on Wednesday, an Egyptian man and his family tied up their daughter and threw her into the Nile river as a result of a divorce to her aging husband, who mistreat her and abused the young woman.

Luckily, a fisherman saw the girl and rescued her before she died, Emirates 24/7 reported.

According to their report, the girl had initially refused to marry the elderly man, but then acquiesced to her family pressure and wed, the report, which cited local Egyptian newspapers said.

After she and the man divorced over abuse, she returned to her family, who when the girl refused to remarry the man, was tossed into the river in an “honor crime.”

Women’s rights groups in Egypt told Bikyamasr.com that they are working with police currently to gather more information about the case and would soon be interviewing and assisting the young woman.

But they could give no further details on the situation, or the woman’s health.
Sounds a little fishy, no pun intended. No names were given and it came from an Emirates newspaper, not an Egyptian paper. The Emirates site said it was in unspecified "Egyptian papers."

Today's blood libel, sponsored by the Syrian opposition

From MEMRI:




Following are excerpts from an interview with Dr. Osama Al-Mallouhi, a member of the Syrian opposition, which aired on Al-Nas TV on March 26, 2012 :
Dr. Osama Al-Mallouhi : Israel is doing everything it can to keep Bashar Al-Assad in power. It is using international lobbies to exert pressure on other countries, to keep Bashar Al-Assad in power and to keep the world on the sidelines, making do with verbal condemnations, which will never amount to real pressure on Bashar to stop the bloodshed. I have said that Israel is delighted to see rivers of blood of Syrian Muslims being spilled at the hand of that arch-murderer, and therefore, it enables him to survive to the end.

So as I said: This is strange. Maybe [there is truth] to the story, attributed by historians to Jewish books, that says that on Passover, the Jews prefer the matzos that they eat to be mixed with the blood of non-Jews. There was an incident in Damascus in the 19th century, in which a non-Jew was killed, so that his blood could be taken and mixed into these matzos and eaten. This is a Jewish tradition.

The Jews have denied this, but if this tradition really isn't true and if they really subscribe to a monotheistic religion, why do they keep silent, encourage [the massacre], silence the world, and prevent it from exerting pressure on Bashar, so that he can continue to spill Syrian blood? Do they want Syrian blood for their matzos of Zion?

Well, we've covered Hamantashen and Matzohs. When will we be accused of using gentile blood in Shavuot cheesecake?

Muslims also seethe at non-Jews visiting Temple Mount

The Al Aqsa Foundation has released statistics on how many non-Muslims have visited the Temple Mount this year, and they aren't happy.

According to their statistics, 1034 religious Jews (what they call "settlers") visited so far this year, as well as 63,887 foreign tourists, and 983 Israeli security forces to protect the visitors from being stoned to death.

Every single visit gets an angry article or two. Sometimes their bizarre press releases where they describe Jews and Israeli security forces "storming Al Aqsa" gets picked up by other media (yesterday Breitbart actually published a press release from Quds Media about it, it has since been taken down.)

More interesting is that they are expanding their vitriol to all foreign tourists. Their latest screed says
The occupation guarding the groups of foreign tourists during their collective tours of Aqsa, which is punctuated by outrageously obscene acts, such as the exchanging kisses, embraces, and other practices, which are contrary to morality. The Israeli occupation prevents any of the worshipers or even al-Aqsa mosque guards from approaching these tour groups, and threatens to arrest and prosecute anyone who tries to prevent tourists from committing such heinous acts. ...the number of tourists who broke into and desecrated the Al Aqsa Mosque in the three months are 63,887 foreign tourists.
They have photos of these outrageous desecrations:





Isn't it comforting to know that they are not merely anti-semitic, but against every non-Muslim too?

But they still are anti-semitic as well. Ahmed Qurei, former PA prime minister, announced yesterday that Jews visiting the Temple Mount are meant to divide the Temple Mount between Jews and Muslims and that their repeated visits are "provocations" that would result in "bloody clashes."

Of the hundreds of photos of Jews visiting the Temple Mount published in Arab media, not one shows the slightest inclination of violence. If anything, they show far more respect for the holy site than Muslims do.

Is US acting to sabotage an Israeli strike on Iran?

An interesting analysis by Ron Ben Yishai at YNet, after Congress released a large report on the possibilities of an Israeli strike on Iran:

The US Administration recently shifted into high gear in its efforts to avert an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities by the end of the year. The flood of reports in the American media in recent weeks attests not only to the genuine US fear that Israel intends to realize its threats; moreover, it indicates that the Obama Administration has decided to take its gloves off.

Indeed, in recent weeks the Administration shifted from persuasion efforts vis-à-vis decision-makers and Israel’s public opinion to a practical, targeted assassination of potential Israeli operations in Iran. This “surgical strike” is undertaken via reports in the American and British media, but the campaign’s aims are fully operational: To make it more difficult for Israeli decision-makers to order the IDF to carry out a strike, and what’s even graver, to erode the IDF’s capacity to launch such strike with minimal casualties.

The first and most important American objective is to eliminate potential operational options available to the IDF and the State of Israel. I have no intention of detailing or even hinting to the options which the US government aims to eliminate by exposing them in the media. A large part of the reports stem from false information or disinformation, and there is no reason to reveal to the Iranians what’s real and what isn’t. However, it is blatantly clear that reports in the past week alone have caused Israel substantive diplomatic damage, and possibly even military and operational damage.

Another Administration objective is to convince the Israeli public that an Iran strike (including a US attack) will not achieve even the minimum required to justify it; that is, a delay of at least 3-5 years in Iran’s nuclear program. A lengthy postponement would of course justify the suffering on Israel’s home front, while a six-month delay – as argued by a US Congress report – does not justify the risks.

The six-month figure was meant for the Israeli public, so that it would press Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to avoid a strike, whose futility the Americans are trying to prove in every way possible. At the same time, the campaign aims to erode the validity of demands voiced by many members of Congress and Senate – both Democrats and Republicans - who criticize the American president’s inaction.

The Congress report published Wednesday is maligned by several inaccuracies, in terms of both analysis and information. However, this makes no difference. The aim was to make headlines in the Israeli and Washington media, rather than an in-depth analysis, which isn’t possible as Congress researchers in Washington do not have access to all the relevant information, fortunately.

The third objective of the recent publications is to scare the Israeli public via an apocalyptic account of possible retaliation by Iran and its “clients.” This effort also aims to press Israeli decision-makers not to act (including the mention in the Congress report of the accurate fact that Israel’s home front is not adequately prepared to sustain a blow.)

...The damage has to do with the revelation of secret information and assessments that would require an expensive, risky intelligence effort for the Iranians to acquire. Indeed, the Iranians already realize that the West and Israel possess plenty of up-to-date information on Iran’s nuclear project, including centrifuge workshops in Tehran homes. The Ayatollah regime can also predict possible attack routes and methods by Israel and the US.

Any Iranian intelligence analyst who reads the latest US Congress report or the Foreign Policy report will find invaluable information there. The overwhelming majority of the information has already been published, yet instead of forcing the Iranians to piece together all the assessments themselves, the Congress report offers them everything in one place, including detailed analysis.

To sum up, the American publications caused the following damage:
  • Iran now has a decent picture of what Israel’s and America’s intelligence communities know about Tehran’s nuclear program and defense establishment, including its aerial defenses.
  • The Iranians now know about the indications that would be perceived by Washington and Jerusalem as a “nuclear breakthrough”. Hence, Iran can do a better job of concealment.
  • The reports make it more difficult to utilize certain operational options. These options, even if not considered thus far, could have been used by the US in the future, should Iran not thwart them via diplomatic and military means.

Needless to say, this is not how one should be treating an ally, even if this is a relationship between a superpower and a satellite state.
Some evidence for this comes from today's Ha'aretz:
According to a war simulation conducted by the U.S. Central Command, the Iranians could kill 200 Americans with a single missile response to an Israeli attack. An investigative committee would not spare any admiral or general, minister or president. The meaning of this U.S. scenario is that the blood of these 200 would be on Israel's hands.

The moment the public dispute over whether to attack Iran is put in those terms, Israel has no real option to attack in contravention of American declarations and warnings.
It does indeed sound like a deliberate US plan to use any means to stop an Israeli attack, including by "bribing" Israel with more missile defenses - whose effectiveness will be somewhat less than 100%, not the most comforting idea. (The Patriot missiles meant to dissuade an Israeli attack on Iraq in the beginning of the Gulf War were essentially useless.)

Today's article in Foreign Policy from the not-very-reliable Mark Perry saying that Israel is going to use Azeri airfields in an Iranian strike might fit under this campaign as well.

(h/t Joel B)

Lebanese army threatens Israel at "Global March" tomorrow

Israel's Reshet  reports:
Thousands are expected tomorrow morning to march on Israel's borders and the Lebanese army has been threatening against Israel in response if the IDF will act militarily against the demonstrators at the fence. "The military was prepared to deal with any Israeli aggression," said the Lebanese army chief of staff and Walid Salman.

During a tour Salman made along the Israeli-Lebanese border, where he visited the military forces deployed there, the Lebanese chief of staff declared: "We are on full alert, due to the harsh conditions suffered by the region. We are coordinating with the international forces to foil any conspiracy of the enemy."

Salman said that the Lebanese army set what he called "silent procession" which is expected to be held tomorrow at the borders of Israel. "Our goal is to defend the nation," he said. Lebanon noted that Salman's comments come after Israel sent warnings to Lebanon and other neighboring countries, saying it does not intend to exercise restraint if its sovereign borders are breached.
A few days ago the Lebanese organizers of the march denied that they would approach the border:
Despite previous announcements that a planned Land Day march at the end of the month would go to the Israeli-Lebanese border, the Lebanese branch of the Global March to Jerusalem will instead head to Beaufort Castle, east of Nabatieh.Sources close to the march told The Daily Star that the route change was due to a desire on the part of organizers to prevent friction on the border.

Last spring, the Israeli army killed around 10 Palestinians and injured nearly 100 more when protesters split off from the route of a Nakba Day march and rushed to the border at Maroun al-Ras.*

But another source from the committee organizing the march told The Daily Star that the group had submitted three possible end-points for the protest to the Lebanese Army for approval, none of them on the Blue Line: Beaufort Castle, Bint Jbeil and Naqoura. “Given what took place last year, we needed to choose a place that was not so close [to the border] so we don’t repeat last year’s experience,” they said.
*Israel did not kill the protesters at the Lebanese border last year - the Lebanese Army did.

It looks like the Iranian contingents and their proxies are the ones to watch out for, as they seem to be the ones who are most interested in bloodshed tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Arab News reports that ordinary Palestinian Arabs are not too keen on these events:

This year’s planned massive demonstration is coming at a time when the Palestinian issue has fallen off the political table and may quite possibly not generate much support from the Palestinians themselves who live in the West Bank and who prefer the current economic prosperity and security calm to renewed violence with Israel.

In the West Bank, organizer Said Yakin said there were two main marches: One at the Qalandya crossing between Ramallah and Jerusalem; and one at Rachel’s Tomb, separating Jerusalem from Bethlehem. Smaller demonstrations were also expected in surrounding villages.

“We are against violence,” Yakin told The Media Line. “We do not choose to clash with the Israeli soldiers and are calling on them to be careful because we are without weapons. We are under occupation and we look to live in peace without settlements and checkpoints, blood and discrimination.”
Here is the website to get all the latest information on the seamy underside of the Global March to Jerusalem.

(h/t Yoel)

Freedom of the press, PA-style: Reporter arrested for "slander"

From Ma'an:
A Palestinian court has extended the remand of a journalist arrested Monday over allegations of slander and defamation, officials in Ramallah said Wednesday.

The Palestinian Authority will continue to hold Yousef al-Shayeb, who was arrested Monday, for another 15 days, the court ruled. He has not yet been charged with a crime.

The journalist was first questioned in late January over his reporting on allegations against the Palestinian diplomatic delegation in France, the Palestinian National Fund and the foreign minister. Al-Shayeb's arrest on Monday followed a complaint filed by Foreign Minister Riyad Malki and Hael al-Fahoum, the envoy in Paris.

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate on Wednesday organized a sit-in strike to protest the arrest.

The union also expressed astonishment at the government's demand that al-Shayeb pay $6 million in restitution.

Reporters Without Borders ranked Palestine 153 out of 179 countries on its latest press freedom index, down three places from last year.

This latest arrest came days before the Palestinian Authority was set to unveil a prize called the "Press Freedom Award." The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate is calling on journalists to boycott the award.
Hey, cut the PA some slack. The definition of Arab moderation is comparing it to Syria, so by that standard they are stellar.

More seriously, the danger of governmental clampdown on press freedoms has serious ramifications. The world is deprived of any objective news from the "moderate" PA, which means that the public perception of the dictatorial gang that runs the PA is completely at odds with the truth. This false perception filters through the public and Western governments. Since Israel has a robust free press, all its warts are revealed and amplified (and, often, fabricated - see a classic example from yesterday at 972mag.) At the same time, the PA's corruption and crimes are largely unreported. The cumulative effect is that people think that the PA is a modern democracy that treats its citizens with respect and the rule of law - when it is in fact a dictatorship run by a corrupt, unelected liar and his handpicked cronies.

Arabs translating the Talmud to understand the evil that is Israel

From JPost:
A think tank on Middle East affairs in Jordan has for the first time published a translation of the Babylonian Talmud in Arabic.

Middle East Studies Center based in Amman produced the 20-volume work, which took six years to complete and is the labor of 95 translators, language experts and editors.

The center’s director Jawad Ahmad refused to speak about the project with The Jerusalem Post and a member of the staff said that Ahmad would not speak with the Israeli press.

Information on the project available on the think tank’s website describes the Babylonian Talmud as “the most important work of historical Judaism and its religious teachings and theories of Jewish groups.” The center took on the Arabic translation of the Babylonian Talmud, it says, to understand the religious and philosophical roots and thought of the Orthodox Jewish mentality and will “open broad horizons for academic researchers to understand Jewish religious thought and to understand its ramifications throughout history.”

According to Dr. Mordechai Kedar, director of a new center for Middle East and Islamic Studies at Bar-Ilan University and an expert in Arabic literature and Middle East affairs, the Talmud is usually portrayed very negatively in the Muslim and Arab world.

“I doubt this new translation was done out of the goodness of their heart,” he told The Jerusalem Post. “The Muslim world generally looks upon the Talmud as a kind of prototype for the Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” Kedar said in reference to the early 20th century fabrication purporting to contain Jewish plans for world domination.

The difference, Kedar explained, is that Jews do not deny the authenticity of the Talmud and therefore those looking for evidence in Jewish culture of hatred of Arabs, Muslims and non-Jews can take selective quotations and passages from the text to show how Jews denigrate and disparage these groups.

Dr. Esther Webman, an expert in Muslim-Jewish Relations and Arab anti-Semitism at Tel Aviv University’s Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, largely concurred with this analysis.

“The Talmud in the Muslim world is considered to be the main source of Jewish iniquity,” she said. “They highlight aspects of it which are not so flattering and put it at the forefront of their presentation of it. Essentially, they use the Talmud as a tool to accuse Jews of certain habits and traits, so it is portrayed as the epitome of the Jewish and the Zionist mentality.

“It is part and parcel of the expansion of anti-Semitism into the Arab world,” Webman said.

According to Kedar, Islamic scholars are generally unfamiliar with Jewish sources, but academics in the Muslim world use the Talmud to “explain” Jewish behavior.

“Israel is a puzzle for the Muslim world,” Kedar said. “It’s a small country made by refugees who built a successful Western-style state, with high GDP per capita, which has won wars and where Arabs enjoy a much better lifestyle than most other places.

“They don’t understand how this can work; it looks like some kind of satanic enterprise to them when most Arab states are more or less failures, so they want to understand the cultural and religious roots of their enemy, to maybe solve this puzzle one day and perhaps in the end defeat Israel.”perhaps in the end defeat Israel.”
A poked around a little and saw some earlier attempts to translate the Talmud into Arabic. One Arabic scholar named Nabil Fayyad translated some of it; here is his translation of the first few Mishnayot of Avodah Zarah along with portions of the Gemara.

In 2010, Al Masry al Youm had an essay about the origins of the Talmud, mentioning the irony that Arabs used to know the Talmud in the era of their prophets. That article only spoke about the Mishnah, though, so a professor of Talmudic studies at Ain Shams University wrote another article to set the record straight. In it she claims that the Gemara was written down only after the rise of Islam and as a reaction to it -and that the rabbis then excised all mentions of Islam! (This is of course false; the Koran has some influence from the Talmud.) She also says that there was an Arabic translation of Mishnah Kedushin in 1982, she translated the Mishnah of Ketubot in 1995, and she was about to introduce a translation of Berachot.

I also found a book called "The Battle of Existence Between the Koran and the Talmud."

(h/t/ Norman)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

US State Dept. dodging question of Jerusalem in briefing (updated)



Transcript:

QUESTION: Yesterday there was a bit of a kerfuffle over an announcement that was made by the Department about the travel of your boss.
MS. NULAND: Yes.
QUESTION: Is it the State Department’s position that Jerusalem is not part of Israel?
MS. NULAND: Well, you know that our position on Jerusalem has not changed. The first Media Note was issued in error without appropriate clearances. We reissued the note to make clear that Under Secretary – Acting Under Secretary for R, Kathy Stephens, will be traveling to Algiers, Doha, Amman, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem. With regard to our Jerusalem policy, it’s a permanent status issue; it’s got to be resolved through negotiations between the parties.
QUESTION: Is it the view of the United States that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, notwithstanding the question about the Embassy, the location of the U.S. Embassy?
MS. NULAND: We are not going to prejudge the outcome of those negotiations, including the final status of Jerusalem.
QUESTION: Does that mean that you do not regard Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?
MS. NULAND: Jerusalem is a permanent status issue; it’s got to be resolved through negotiations.
QUESTION: That seems to suggest that you do not regard Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Is that correct or not?
MS. NULAND: I have just spoken to this issue --
QUESTION: No, no. But --
MS. NULAND: -- and I have nothing further to say on it.
QUESTION: You’ve spoken to the issue but didn’t answer the question, and I think there’s a lot of people out there who are interested in hearing a real answer and not saying – and not trying to duck and say that this has got to be resolved by negotiations between the two sides.
MS. NULAND: That is our --
QUESTION: What is the capital of Israel?
MS. NULAND: Our policy with regard to Jerusalem is it has to be solved through negotiations. That’s all I have to say on this issue.
QUESTION: What is the capital of Israel?
MS. NULAND: Our Embassy, as you know, is located in Tel Aviv.
QUESTION: So does that mean that you regard Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel?
MS. NULAND: The issue on Jerusalem has to be settled through negotiations.
Lalit, thank you.
...
QUESTION: I just want to go back to – I want to clarify something.
MS. NULAND: Yeah.
QUESTION: Perhaps give you an out on your Jerusalem answer. Is it your position that all of Jerusalem is a final status issue or do you think – or is it just East Jerusalem?
MS. NULAND: Matt, I don’t have anything further to what I said 17 times on that subject. Okay?
QUESTION: All right. So hold on – so – I just want to make sure, you’re saying that all of Jerusalem, not just East Jerusalem, is a final status issue?
MS. NULAND: Matt, I don’t have anything further on Jerusalem to what I’ve already said.
Please.

This has been the US' long standing position across the decades and many administrations. It appears that the official US position is that Jerusalem was meant to be a corpus separatum, an international city, in the 1947 partition plan and as such its status - including the Israeli side of the Green Line - is still up in the air. This is in marked contradiction to the other US position that everything west of the Green Line is part of Israel. Nevertheless, the US refused to recognize Israel's declaration of Jerusalem as its capital in 1949, and that remains in effect.


In response, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, made a statement:
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today called on the Administration to publically recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel. During today’s Department of State press briefing, the Department’s spokesperson refused to answer whether Jerusalem is located in Israel and whether it is the capital of Israel. The questions were related to a press release issued Monday by the Department that noted ongoing travel by a Department official to “Algeria, Qatar, Jordan, Jerusalem, and Israel,” implying that Jerusalem and Israel are two distinct entities. State later issued a release noting the official’s travel to “Algiers, Doha, Amman, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv.” Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“For more than three years, the Obama Administration has followed in the flawed footsteps of its predecessors by refusing to fully implement U.S. law and move our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

“Now, the Administration has gone even further. A mistake on a press release is understandable, but today the Administration doubled down on its determination to treat Jerusalem as separate from Israel. Where does the Administration think Jerusalem is? On Mars?

“Legitimizing the myth that Jerusalem isn’t part of Israel undermines our ally Israel’s sovereign right to designate its own capital, and lends credibility to efforts by Palestinian leaders and extremists who continue to deny the connection of the Jewish people to their historic capital, Jerusalem.

“The Administration needs to face reality, recognize publicly that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel, and fully enforce U.S. law by moving our embassy to Jerusalem.”
Israel's Foreign Ministry also responded:
“Jerusalem is Israel’s capital by decision of the Knesset and nothing can change that,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said. “Every country is entitled to choose its own capital and it is not for others to designate any one else’s capital. It’s our capital, no matter what anyone else is saying.”
Keep in mind though that if the long-dead "international city" idea is part of the reason for the US' position, then that means that Bethlehem, which was meant to be part of it as well, is also up for negotiations. In fact, the area of Jerusalem envisioned in the 1947 partition plan is much larger than greater Jerusalem is today, in (almost) all directions (today's Jerusalem goes further north, h/t Elliot)


I have never yet heard any State Department spokesperson say that Bethlehem - most of which is in Area A, under full PA control - is up for final-status negotiations. But if you follow the logic, it must be. (Maybe Ramallah is also a final-status issue.)

Perhaps that would be a good follow-up question for Ms. Nuland. Or is the State Department more worried about angering Arabs than angering Jews?

UPDATE: A good article on the evolution of US attitudes towards Jerusalem is here.

(h/t Omri, CHA, JE Dyer )

Egyptian paper says Jews make pastries from gentile blood on Purim

From MEMRI:
In a March 14, 2012 article in the Egyptian daily Al-Wafd, columnist Fikriya Ahmad wrote that the Jews, throughout their history, used to celebrate Purim by wreaking murderous vengeance on non-Jews and using their slaughtered victims' blood to make Purim sweets. She added that, today, they continue this custom by perpetrating attacks and assassinations against the Palestinians.

In ancient times, [around] 400 BCE or earlier, groups of Jews lived in Persia under the patronage of Ahasuerus, king of Persia and India. [These Jews] spread evil and destruction, as well as their dishonest and treacherous ways. Thus, they deservedly [incurred] the hatred of the state minister Haman, who incited the king of Persia against them and killed them. He picked a day by lottery on which to massacre the corrupt Jews and thus rid the country of their evil. The Jews, as is their wont, resorted to the cheapest trick [possible] and took revenge on him by ways of spying and seduction. Knowing that Ahasuerus couldn't resist beautiful women, they sent him one of their daughters, Esther, in order to trap and seduce him, and eventually the two of them got married. [Esther, now] controlling the king, caused him to quarrel with Haman, and persecuted Haman until he was [eventually] hanged and his 10 children were killed. That is how Esther saved her people, the Jews. Esther even persuaded the king to arm the Jews, so they could take revenge on their Babylonian enemies. The king did so, and [the Jews] exterminated the Babylonians, to the last one. The Jews defeated their enemies through cunning plots and by sparking internecine wars and quarrels.

[Later, the Jews] turned the anniversary of the lottery day, on which they escaped massacre, into a major religious festival... They dedicate this [festival] to murderous [acts of] vengeance against anyone who isn't Jewish. On this day, the Jews read one of their scrolls, the Scroll of Esther, and the flame of their hatred towards all non-Jews grows even hotter. Their children put on scary costumes, to fan their hostility and hate. The sweets they eat on this day are made from the body parts of Haman. There are sweets [shaped like] Haman's ear, hand or head, in order to take revenge upon him, [and celebrate] his execution and the delivery of their people.

Anyone who follows the murderous actions of the Israeli army, its intensive assassination [policy], and its physical extermination of the Palestinian owners of the land, as well as the cruel attacks by the Jewish settlers, will find that most [of the attacks take place] on the Jewish festival of Purim... They usually choose March 13 or 14 to perform their strange rituals.

Jewish history documents murderous actions [perpetrated as part] of Purim celebrations. On this festival, the extremists among them used to hunt down or abduct a non-Jew, slaughter him, and then hang him up like a sacrifice to drain his blood. Alternatively, they would subject him to barbaric torture by stabbing him deeply and letting him bleed into a container, while they took pleasure in his screams and his pain. The blood would be dried into a powder, which they would mix with flour to make into pastries..."
This is what peace looks like.

Here's the original article.

(h/t tall midget)

Palestinian Arabs in Iraq complain of discrimination

Apartheid, anyone?
Palestinian refugees in Iraq say they face widespread discrimination and have appealed to President Mahmoud Abbas to intervene.

The Iraqi Palestinian Brothers Association said Tuesday that it sent a letter to Abbas, who is in Baghdad to attend the Arab League summit, detailing their plight.

The association said Palestinians have been refused medical care in Iraqi government hospitals and must use fake ID cards to receive treatment. The Palestinian Red Crescent lacks support from the PLO and cannot provide adequate medical care, it added.

Meanwhile, some 90 percent of Palestinians in Iraq are unemployed, Palestinians are refused government jobs and young male Palestinians face particular discrimination in finding work, the association said.

The group said Palestinians were arbitrarily detained because of their nationality or because they are Sunni Muslims. Palestinian students are treated as terrorists and some have left school over fears they will be kidnapped, it said.

They said pressuring the government would not be enough to resolve the problems, and that Abbas should ask the Iraqi government to issue passports to Palestinian refugees, most of whom were born in Iraq, so they can travel internationally.

They also urged Abbas to coordinate with the UN and the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government to transfer Palestinians to Kurdistan, which it said had agreed to receive them.
By any objective measure, Palestinian Arabs in Iraq are treated worse than those in the territories (with the possible exception of Fatah members in Gaza.)

So where are the "pro-Palestinian" rallies outside Iraqi embassies? Where are the anguished articles by Arabs worried that Iraq is turning into an apartheid state? Where are the dozens of books begging Iraq to save its soul by treating its minorities equally? When is the Global March to Baghdad?

I could have sworn that the world was filled with people who are so very dedicated to the Palestinian Arab cause who would move heaven and earth for them.

I guess they are all spending all their free time to ensure that  grocery stores don't stock hummus made by a company with partial Israeli ownership. Well, that's important too, I guess.

Don't call the Global March to Jerusalem anti-semitic!

Here is a picture on the Facebook page of the Global March to Jerusalem - Australian National Committee:


But don't call them anti-semitic! They really hate that!

This is actually a slightly edited version of a cartoon by known anti-semitic cartoonist Emad Hajjaj, a Palestinian Jordanian.

The Global March to Jerusalem is planned for this Friday. Thousands of supposedly "peaceful" people from all over the world will approach Israel's borders, and their mob mentality will ensure that dozens will attempt to enter Israel.

They'll be shot as any hostile person approaching any country illegally would be shot. Some might be killed by land-mines on the Arab sides of the borders. Headlines will scream about how Israel kills innocent, unarmed civilians.

It's street theater with people willing to get themselves killed.

Which is exactly what they are hoping for. Sacrificing a few hotheads is a small price to pay for some juicy headlines. And if no one gets killed, no one would care.

By the way, it seems most interesting that on a week when Israel is going to be effectively attacked from all directions, the Guardian decides that they want to write an article about how the fences Israel builds on its borders are somehow sucking the soul of the nation, or something.

(h/t Emet, Norman)