Palestinian society and the ever present poison

From Elder of Ziyon:

Arabs upset at Abbas for his “condemnation” of terror attack

More and more Palestinian Arabs are angry at Mahmoud Abbas for his supposedly pro-Israel actions, including his “condemnation” of the terror attack in the Har Nof synagogue.

A Facebook group called “Abbas does not represent me” has over 140,000 “Likes” so far. It includes this poster showing Abbas as an IDF soldier:

abbas idf

More here.

This is the reality of Palestinian society: a poisonous well of hate.

For the avoidance of doubt, let it be clearly said that there are those in Israeli society who hate Arabs. But – and it is the big but that defines a stable, compassionate society – such hate is condemned, marginalized and not seen as a fit and proper part of Israeli society.

We are working towards minimizing the hate and the hateful in our midst. We despise incitement. We are striving for peace and toward breaking down barriers.

Palestinian society is working towards maximizing the hate and hateful in their society. Palestinian society glorifies incitement. Palestinian society is striving for war and towards breaking down the barriers that protect Israelis.

That is the reality. In the end, it truly does appear to be all about one thing: Jew hatred. And as I and many others have posted countless time before, until this stops, the prospects for a meaningful peace are a big fat zero.

Behind the curtain

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague (dealing with the assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri) has been going on in the background, largely ignored.

The Jerusalem Post has an interim report as to evidence from Marwan Hamade in the case about Syria’s interference in Lebanon’s affairs, to the extent of barring it from making (or talking) peace with Israel.

Hamade is described as “a Lebanese parliament member, former minister, and close ally of assassinated Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri…”

To amplify the point about Syrian interference in Lebanon’s affairs, especially with Israel, Hamade had other things to say:

Related to his statements about Israel, Hamade said that while Hariri and his block wished to normalize and demilitarize Lebanon after Israel’s 2000 withdrawal from southern Lebanon, Hezbollah and Syria wanted the opposite.

He said that Hezbollah did not accept Israel’s withdrawal and claimed a small portion of land called the Shebaa farms was still occupied.

He added that Syria also made some indications that the “Shebaa farms is Lebanese territory,” but that both claims were merely “to give Hezbollah an argument for keeping up armed resistance.”

However, Hamade said that when some in Lebanon asked Syria to give a formal statement to the UN that it renounced its well-known claims to the Shebaa farms as Syrian territory, Syria declined.

This, said Hamade, proved his point that Syria actually still claimed Shebaa farms for itself, but made enough indirect support for Hezbollah’s claims on the land to help Hezbollah keep its arms.

In short: the Syrians lied. You can read the whole Post piece, here.

The whole picture emerging is confirmation of what most observers thought what was going on behind the Assad curtain.

I don’t see anybody predicting surprise disclosures coming from the Special Tribunal, but I am intrigued as to what the consequences might be. It remains one of the (few) positive developments to put a brake on, or shine a light on, Syria’s nefarious activities that stretch back long before the current civil war. A war, let’s not forget, where the bloodletting and indiscriminate killing has been treated as if it is some kind of provincial bull fight that got out of control, but can be ignored. Efforts to deal with the situation are not efforts; they are tokenism on the international scale. I don’t suggest there are easy solutions lying around to pick up, but refuse to accept it is beyond the capacity of a willing world to do something better. So the conclusion I reach is that the world is not willing.

A slip of the blame

Credit to the Guardian for establishing a live report on this morning’s terror attack. Unfortunately, it was blighted momentarily by this:


They got the headline wrong. It has since been corrected.

Inevitably, Hamas have praised the attack. They claim it is in retaliation for the lynching of an Arab bus driver earlier in the week. The police say the bus driver’s death was suicide. I do not know any reason to doubt the police. However, for the avoidance of doubt, if it were a lynching, that would be a despicable crime and the perpetrators should be hunted down and subject to the full force of the law. But even if it were a lynching, in no way, shape or form does that justify or excuse this morning’s attack.

There will be plenty of blame to go around. If the media – and western politicians – were being honest, they would own up to the root cause being incitement. Incitement by Hamas, but also by Abbas and Fatah. Incitement that has almost entirely been ignored. Kerry’s condemnation is to be welcomed, but it’s late; very late.

It would be good if this were the last such attack. I’m praying that this is the case, and for a full and speedy recovery for the surviving victims.


In January, the American Studies Association (ASA) took a vote to boycott Israel. That’s the high water mark of the BDS achievement there. (Only 16% of the ASA membership voted.) And since then, the ASA has had a bit of a hard time:

  • No American Studies department in the USA has implemented the boycott.
  • The ASA’s branches in California and Northeast joined 250 college Presidents and the largest USA academic organizations in condemnation of the boycott.
  • They had to backpedal furiously when it transpired that implementing the boycott at their conference gathering might contravene civil rights laws.

And then, to quote John Haber at

“With that spotlight upon them (not to mention scrutiny of whatever press they could not freeze out of their event), we saw the final unraveling of the policy as ASA’s leadership (which clung to the notion that the boycott was in effect if Israelis who attended their conference did not do so as representatives of their institutions) had to swallow hard as the remaining shred of their boycott was mocked as it went unenforced.”

Jon has now followed up the ASA tale with an open challenge. This is the background:

“With the ASA’s squalid little policy reduced to a mass of contradictions the organization was too incompetent to untangle, it was just a matter of time before the leaders of that organization took to the airwaves to try to regain the initiative. And what better way to do so than to roll out the old “death threat” trope which claims that critics of the boycotters are so hysterical (and potentially dangerous) that they have been showering the organization with calls for blood.”

I don’t know any right minded person who would accept that it was legitimate to issue a death threat against someone, no matter the extreme nature of their political action, hate, or bigotry. But it wouldn’t have surprised me if such things happened, based primarily on the activities of online commenters. People lose the rag. They hide behind pseudonyms, remain anonymous, and hate.

So, this part from was especially interesting, recounting earlier accusations of death threats at the time of the Olympia co-operative BDS attempt:

“It was only when they were pressed to explain how opponents of the boycott even knew where to send these supposed hundreds (if not thousands) of threats or asked what steps the boycotters took with local law enforcement to deal with what was supposedly a life-threatening emergency that the those hurling “death threat” accusations actually went underground (avoiding any request for evidence of their claims).”

So, ASA’s president Lisa Duggan, has now got this to chew over:

“Given that no security measures were taken during the ASA conference itself (as opposed to cops I had to hire when the new Israeli Consul visited my temple earlier this year to support his own security staff), I’m going to go with option (2) and say that Lisa Duggan’s claims to face threat to life and limb for her courageous stance is just one more clumsy attempt to throw her political opponents off balance and disguise the abject cowardice of everything and everyone involved with the ASA’s boycott.”

Let’s see what happens.

You can read the relevant post, here.

[Separately, it appears BDS has had some impact on ZIM’s operations in California. Expect further developments there, too.]

Hamas! Hamas! A barrel full of laughs!

Ahmed Yousef is senior political adviser to the former Hamas prime minister of Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh. I tend to agree with the Elder of Ziyon that he doubles up as a comedy writer. You don’t believe me? Try this:

Hamas is a Palestinian liberation movement that uses traditional Islamic teaching as its point of reference. Israeli media and many of the western channels that mimic it have far too easily succumbed to the Israeli establishment’s propaganda that the group is akin to al-Qaida and/or a front for Iran and/or a combination thereof. Were pundits to truly scrutinise Hamas’s actions since its inception, they would find not a single official statement or position that is based on denigrating another faith, certainly neither Judaism nor Christianity. Nor can anyone produce a shred of evidence that Hamas formally encourages prejudice against anyone’s ethnicity. And the group has been far more conscious of avoiding civilian casualties than the Israelis. We in Gaza are witnesses to the deaths of scores of our children, while Israeli television has largely been able to parade only the coffins of soldiers.

I must be imagining things. Like when they said “Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah.”

Like when they said:

“Whoever is killed by a Jew receives the reward of two martyrs, because the very thing that the Jews did to the prophets was done to him.”

Like when they said:

“The Jews are the most despicable and contemptible nation to crawl upon the face of the Earth, because they have displayed hostility to Allah.”

Like when they said:

“Allah will kill the Jews in the hell of the world to come, just like they killed the believers in the hell of this world.”

Like when they said:

“The Jews kill anyone who believes in Allah. They do not want to see any peace whatsoever on Earth.”

Just my imagination. And that is the tip of the iceberg.

And the explanation given for their charter – which they clearly recognize is a problem – is straight out of Alice in Wonderland:  they do not want to kill Jews. But they need to say that so as to attract members. There is no explanation of why a member attracted to an organization that says it wants to kill Jews, should suddenly change his attitude to Jews. Maybe I missed that…

If you want to read this entire piece of comic invention, you can find it, where else, but at the Guardian.

This publication is the act of a cowardly publisher. They give Hamas a free platform. Instead of a so-called opinion piece, why not an interview? Why not some proper questions to answer? Why not put to their comedy writer spokesman the evidence that nullifies 99% of his apologia? For that, the Guardian is to be condemned.

To add insult to injury, they promote this:

One of these people is an apologist spokesman for a terrorist organization. But the Guardian thinks it is appropriate to give them a free shot of propaganda.

One of these people is an apologist spokesman for a terrorist organization. But the Guardian thinks it is appropriate to give them a free shot of propaganda.

I wonder how Hadley Freeman, Maurice Saatchi, and Jessica Valentio felt about being selected contributors alongside Ahmed Yousef?

UNRWA = Unwilling and Not Really Wanting Accountability?

From the Times of Israel:

Five months on, no answers on how rockets got into Gaza schools

The UN’s Human Rights Council and Ban Ki-moon have launched probes into this summer’s war. But the UN agency in charge of Gazan refugees is in no rush to follow suit, despite numerous promises

In a nutshell, UNRWA is evading its responsibilities.

In response to one rocket cache being found on its premises, it said it was carrying out an investigation. Nobody knows what that means and what, if anything, happened. UNRWA are ignoring inquiries about that investigation, if there ever was such a thing.

About another discovery of rockets, they said there would be an investigation. Now they seem to be living up to past form by ignoring the issue and hoping it will go away:

…Gunness [UNRWA’s director of advocacy and strategic communications] has been refusing to respond to Times of Israel queries regarding the matter, specifically about the makeup of the inquiry UNRWA promised to establish. Asked several times who is conducting the investigation and whether UNRWA intends on publishing the results, he simply referred to the agency’s website, which provides no information whatsoever on the promised probe.

After this reporter turned to other UNRWA officials in the search for information about the inquiry, Gunness instructed all other UNRWA and UN spokespersons to ignore these queries and refer them to him.

So, a director of communications is refusing to communicate. A cynic might think those past statements about investigations held or to be held were purely communicated so as to satisfy the immediate need to say something responsible, without any connection to actuality or intent. Accountability? Not on their agenda.

It might be good viewing for Christopher Gunness to cry, but that act did not achieve anything except misdirect the audience. It was theater – intentional or otherwise – without substance. It was a gesture of a particular moment. But now? Where’s the action? Where’s the living up to responsibilities?

UNRWA’s attitude here underlines their status – as per this post – as a problem. When are the mainstream media going to tackle the issue? When are the funders going to take some responsibility and force UNRWA to be accountable? Or is this badly behaving organization always going to be just another one of the UN’s untouchable beasts of badness?

The problem that is UNRWA

UNRWA is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

As Wikipedia puts it:

…originally intended to provide jobs on public works projects and direct relief for 652,000 Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes during the fighting that followed the end of the British mandate over the region of Palestine.

So far, so good.

It also provided relief to Jewish and Arab Palestine refugees inside the state of Israel following the 1948 conflict until the Israeli government took over responsibility for Jewish refugees in 1952.

Warning bells should be ringing now. Since 1952, Israel has taken responsibility for Jewish refugees. Since 1952, however, no country – not a single one – has taken responsibility for Palestinian refugees. Not one.

It is generally accepted that the main reason for this is to use the refugees as a political weapon against Israel. Bugger the welfare of the people, let’s bash Israel.

In the absence of a solution to the Palestine refugee problem, the General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA’s mandate, most recently extending it until 30 June 2017.

Today, UNRWA provides education, health care and social services to the 5 million registered Palestinian refugees, including survivors from the 1948 and 1967 wars and their descendants. Aid is provided to Palestinian refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, as well as those in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It is the only agency dedicated to helping refugees from a specific region or conflict, and is separate from UNHCR…

Nowhere else does refugee status become a hereditary right. Nowhere else is there such naked dependence for political reasons.

And in places like Gaza – though probably it is the same elsewhere – UNRWA has become a terrorist enabler. Some may see it as more than that.

How is it a terrorist enabler? It is riddled with Hamas people. Its premises are used as part of the tunnel network in Gaza. Its premises are used to store weapons. Its premises are used as command centers. Its premises are used to train terrorists. Its schools are used to teach anti-semitism and hate. It celebrates terrorism and terrorists. It does nothing to promote peace. Funded by UN money, it is a block to progress.

But the problem with UNRWA is not what it does (or doesn’t do) or the culture of dependency it has cultivated, encouraged, and helped become embedded in those parts of the world. The problem with UNRWA is that if it didn’t exist, who would fill its shoes? Would the nation states currently housing so called refugees suddenly step into the breach? Would they offer citizenship and freedom from discrimination? Apparently the consequences of UNRWA disappearing is one reason why Israel doesn’t make more of an issue about disbanding the horror show that is UNRWA. The USA would not want to be part of the creation of a humanitarian disaster or crisis.

And if you think a Palestinian state would solve the problem, think again. Why should UNRWA modify its behavior in anyway in such circumstances. We would only see and expect more of the same.

Ideally, there would be more efforts made to curb the behavior with penalties by way of withdrawal of funding. That won’t happen. So, how can the situation be fixed?

My suggestion is that UNRWA is not disbanded – at least not immediately. Instead, I propose a complex but desirable revolution.

First, the UN should be restructured. All current states would have to reapply for membership. Membership would only be open to those with a functioning democracy and full human rights: freedom of speech, equality for women, gays, lesbians, and minorities, a ban on discrimination, and so on. Countries that cannot pass the test do not get a voting membership, only the status of an observer. They can get a vote when they grow into mature states. In short, the UN should only be directed and guided by the democracies of the world.

Such a revolution would put right some of the gross injustice in the world. It would reinstate the right values. We should not be giving tin pot dictatorships and religious regimes and all the other bad states of governance any voice in the affairs of the civilized world. They should have no rights – beyond that of being treated fairly – until they pass muster.

Replacing the UN with a sensible set of states should freshen the approach in a number of areas. Fresh eyes, fresh appraisal, and fresh ideas. Like the following.

Second, the reworked UN should go to each place that UNRWA operates and negotiate with the local power to gradually absorb the refugees. Take the money from UNRWA and give it to the local authorities. With the money there may come a change of heart about what can and cannot be done. (Of course, while budget transfer would be dependent on certain conditions, having the conditions and enforcing the conditions are two separate issues.)

In other words, take UNRWA out of the picture, country by country, by passing the money on. Gradually, funding needs should decline. (That would have to be part of the negotiation.) Gradually, the UNRWA dependents would become part of their host and start contributing to that society. And, given that it is a fresh start, it should be easier to impose standards of education. No anti-semitism, no hate, no promotion of terror.

I know it’s a dream. I know there are huge obstacles I have ignored. I know it won’t happen. But that doesn’t stop me wishing for a change for the better. A world without UNRWA could be a better place. I am open to alternative suggestions.

PS: want to know the reality of UNRWA?

Look here and see:

  • UNRWA’s union officially denies the Holocaust
  • UNRWA teachers really love terrorists
  • UNRWA school logos erase Israel
  • UNRWA school deputy principal is a fan of Hamas terrorists
  • UNRWA teacher fervently supports terror on Facebook (UPDATES)
  • UNRWA teaches first graders to call for Israel’s destruction
  • Holocaust denial and antisemitism from UNRWA teachers
  • For the THIRD time, UNRWA engages in a coverup of its hate
  • UNRWA site, quoting hadith, says Jews are dirty (UPDATE)
  • COVERUP: UNRWA removes “human rights” webpage after hate and lies exposed
  • Plenty of hate and lies in the UNRWA “human rights” curriculum
  • Current UNRWA “human rights” website includes antisemitism
  • Corrupt, pro-Hamas UN offers to “monitor” cement imports into Gaza
  • UNRWA supplies found in terror tunnel
  • UNRWA praised the smuggling of cement into Gaza in 2011. What did they know then?
  • UNRWA’s second rocket cache and their zeal to redirect anger at Israel (UPDATE)

And lots more.

Economist goes from bad to worse

In response to this article at the Economist, the Elder of Ziyon posted the following comment:

The right for Jews to pray on the Temple Mount is enshrined in numerous UN resolutions like the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. It is a basic civil and human right for Jews to be allowed to peacefully visit and pray on their holiest spot.

It is curious that The Economist is coming out against civil rights for Jews.

Why is that? Because the Muslims there threaten violence – and now they are murdering Jews in the name of Islam!

Civil rights are not dependent on the veto power of extremists to threaten violence. There are numerous videos of Jews visiting the Temple Mount, and not one of them shows any of them doing anything the least bit provocative. On the other hand, their quiet strolls are greeted with screams, threats and occasional violence.

Yet The Economist seems determined to label the Jews who want equal rights as the agitators and the Muslim rioters as the victims of Israeli aggression.

The Economist’s idea of the “status quo” is completely wrong. Before 2000, Jews were able to visit the Mount and no one objected if visitors quietly prayed. Before 1967, of course, Jews were forbidden altogether. Perhaps that is the “status quo” that The Economist prefers to see.

Modern liberals are supposed to defend civil rights, to stand up for those being threatened by bigots. One must wonder why The Economist believes that in this case those making the threats are in the right and civil rights for Jews are not important.

When you pick and choose which human rights you are in favor of, you can no longer call yourself an advocate for human rights.

As you can see here, after getting 50+ approvals, the moderators removed it. Like the Elder, I could not and cannot see any good reason for this action. (I did read their terms of use.) So, I posted his comment on my own account. I also added this from the Elder:

“Apparently, The Economist’s interest in freedom of expression is exactly as strong as its support for human rights.”

Now my posts have been removed, too. I have been censored. The Elder has been censored.

I will gladly stand corrected if anyone at the Economist would point out what is – allegedly – wrong with the material. It appears, in the absence of any explanation, that somebody has made a bad mistake – with the article in the first place – and is trying to cover their tracks in a cack handed fashion. Or there’s a genuine – albeit misguided – belief that the censorship is appropriate. But until there is an explanation, my hunch is that, to quote a certain fictional soldier: they don’t like it up em