They just don’t get it

David Horovitz has an excellent op-ed at the Times of Israel here. It’s a must read. If you are too lazy to do that, at least note the following extract, starting with the situation of the Second Intifada:

As bombers and gunmen targeted our buses and our shopping malls and our hotels and our colleges and our restaurants, we did two things that France, the US and the rest of the free world will have to do if they want to defeat this latest, particularly despicable Islamist terror iteration: We learned how to reduce our vulnerability to terrorism, and we tackled the killers in their centers of operation. Short-sightedly, hypocritically, and abidingly, the international community, including most of the Western world, barely understood the need for the former strategy, and castigated us for the latter.

Note, in particular, the last point. I would express this as a continuation of the theme They didn’t understand then.

He continues:

We made it harder for terrorists to kill us by doing what those CNN experts are saying is impossible: yes, protecting all our cafes, and restaurants, and shopping malls, and hotel entrances, and buses, and every other public place where our citizens gather, with barriers and metal detectors and security guards; all these years later, suicide bombers still can’t just walk into our theaters and concert halls. We bolstered our intelligence-gathering in the viciously hostile Palestinian territories, notably including the West Bank cities from which we had withdrawn years before in the vain quest for peaceful coexistence. And to the ongoing fury of misguided critics everywhere, we built a security barrier — a mix of fences and sections of wall — so that Palestinian suicide bombers could not just drive into Israel and blow us up. We became a nation of domestic security analysts, gauging where to shop and whether or not to take the bus as we sought to minimize our exposure to the killers. And we toughed it out.

Who remembers the wall? The life saving wall. Every person opposed to it, was in effect against the protection of Israeli citizens. Unforgivable.

He also says this:

At the very least, however, I do recommend that the leaders and security chiefs of France and the rest of Europe and North America reach out to those Israeli counterparts they’ve so often judged and critiqued, to benefit from our bitterly accumulated experience in fighting Islamist terrorism.

And his piece is entitled with a question:

Will the West now adopt Israel’s anti-terror strategies?

I’m guessing they won’t. Why? It’s that theme, brought up to date: They didn’t understand then, and they don’t understand now. They just don’t get it.


Paris is burning

Notwithstanding the expected operation by Western security forces against those they identify as fundamentalist Islamist terrorists, I do not expect the situation to be materially different or better for the foreseeable future. To put it simply, I don’t think the people in charge (or their advisers) understand what is going on.

A shorter summary may be my tweet from yesterday.


Meantime, any reasonable, independent, objective observer of matters in the Middle East, would surely take note of these two stories:

The inevitable conclusion should be (another) wake up call to those who see Iran as a potential force for good, and those who see the PA as a mature, responsible, peaceful body.

Finally, the post by Paul M at Harry’s PlaceWhat will not be said – is a must read. He concludes:

“This is not schadenfreude; there’s no pleasure in France’s pain, no grim triumph. My thoughts and sympathy are completely with the French people. Jews overwhelmingly will be wishing France well and safely through this. Israel will be offering not only sympathy but whatever practical support it can. Jews en masse have consistently sided with western, liberal democratic values against their brutal enemies, not only because we would be the first victims but because that is the just cause. It would be so refreshing if Europeans would repay the compliment. If it’s too much to hope that they would do it out of idealism, at least let them understand that it’s the same ideology of hate that is gunning, literally, for both of us, two fronts in the same war.”

It may be too much to hope. As I said at the start, they do not understand.


Guardian guarding its old guard

UK Media Watch has an on target post about the Guardian‘s latest media manipulation. Adam Levick does a great job of sorting through the rubbish to clearly portray what is going on.

This sets the background:

To sum up: Palestinians violated two fundamental principles of political freedom:

<> They denied access to a journalist due to her nationality and/or religious background.

<> They responded to Johnson’s contrary political views not by engaging in an argument with him, but by dis-inviting him and creating an atmosphere whereby his physical safety couldn’t be guaranteed.

What happened?

…how did the Guardian’s Peter Beaumont – who presumably supports absolute freedom of the press and free speech more broadly – cover the row?

First, he completely ignored the Palestinian discrimination against a Jewish-Israeli reporter.

Think about that for a moment. This reporter ignored a blatant case of discrimination. He pretended it did not exist. Why? There are several potential reasons, but none of them do Mr Beaumont or the Guardian any credit. By their behavior they are taking sides, and not with the good guys.

Additionally, he framed the dis-invitation and threats of violence against Johnson not as an offense against the principles of free speech and a free press, but as a faux pas by mayor known for his “flippancy” and “hyperbolic enthusiasm for Israel”.

On this part, the criticism is valid, but the Guardian’s perspective is at least defensible. However, only if they hadn’t ignored the free speech issues. In other words, they should have mentioned both, and let the reader decide.

Beaumont also conveniently omitted the part of Johnson’s statement to the media where he noted one other fact inconsistent with the Guardian narrative on boycotting the Jewish state. As The Independent, Daily Mail, and other papers noted, Johnson reminded Palestinians that Mahmoud Abbas himself “said very clearly and several times that he was opposed to a boycott of Israel.”

Beaumont would likely be familiar with Abbas’s opposition to BDS, as the Guardian reported the news when the story broke in late 2013.

Now that is funny. Beaumont had to engage in cherry picking what Johnson said, so as to guard the Guardian’s world view. That is not journalism. Adam Levick makes this point very well:

But, of course, this is more than simply one example of a biased journalist covering for Palestinians based on his personal sympathy for their political cause. Rather, it’s a small part of a larger pattern, prevalent in within the opinion elite, of denying Palestinians moral agency and failing to hold them to the same political standards Israelis are held to – a view which demands that Palestinians only exist as passive victims of Israeli oppression and Western arrogance.

Whatever you say about Boris Johnson, his rejection of such a patronizing view of Palestinians almost guaranteed such coverage by the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent.

If Beaumont and other reporters based in the region want to be a political activists that’s of course their right. However, those who read such reports from Israel and the Palestinian territories must understand that what they’re reading is advocacy, not professional journalism as it’s normally understood.

Read the whole post, here. And do what you can to spread the word. This material deserves a much higher circulation. Just like the Guardian deserves a much lower circulation, given its abominable non adherence to standards, and its activism based campaigning, or whatever you want to call it. It’s not journalism. It’s guarding their world view, just for the sake of it.


Polish defense minister has a problem

Credit to the Guardian is due for covering the following:

Polish defence minister condemned over Jewish conspiracy theory

Newly appointed Antoni Macierewicz criticised for saying hoax document about plan for world domination could be real

The article discloses that:

Macierewicz told listeners to Radio Maryja in 2002 that he had read Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a pamphlet that purports to be a Jewish plan to control the global economy and media, but which has been exposed as a hoax.

He acknowledged there was debate about the pamphlet’s authenticity, but told a listener: “Experience shows that there are such groups in Jewish circles.”

Debate about its authenticity?

Experience has shown that there are such groups in Jewish circles?

What a nasty piece of work.

You can read the Guardian coverage, here. There’s no sign of anything at the BBC.


Silence is killing

In his trademark style, Elder of Ziyon cuts through the crap and gets straight to the point in his post Palestinian society is truly sick. After noting that, earlier today in Jerusalem, two Palestinian kids (aged 12 and 13) attempted to stab and kill a security guard, he asks the question:

“What causes a 12-year old to want to risk being killed just to have a chance at wounding a Jew?”

He then answers his own question as follows:

“Incitement is part of the problem, but it is not the main issue.

True, Palestinian news outlets and social media are filled with photos, videos, songs and cartoons that all advocate murder and terror, images that make heroes of the attackers and that dehumanize the victims.

But to truly understand the sickness that is Palestinian society, you need to look beyond the words and images and music. You need to look at what is not being said.”

Let us pause for a moment for reflection. Think on that last point. What is not being said?

The Elder continues:

“You will not find any examples of people telling children not to attack Jews. You won’t find any stories of parents who try to raise their kids to respect all human beings. You will not find any stories about Israeli victims. You will not see anything about teachers telling their students that their lives are too valuable to waste on randomly stabbing people. You won’t find anyone saying that murder is bad no matter who does it.

You won’t find a single voice opposed to the current wave of children sacrificing themselves for a chance to stab Jews.”

As the next part clarifies, he is not talking about about Israeli media – within which there have been several sensible pleas to stop the stabbings and other terrorist attacks. He is talking about the Palestinian Arab media. For example:

“If there has been any opposition to children stabbing Jews in Palestinian Arab media, I have yet to see a single example. On the contrary, the stories are neutral at best and often cheerleading – and then using Israeli efforts to protect themselves as reason to encourage more attacks.”

I don’t have the resources to check that claim, but I dare say we would have seen evidence on social media, were there such opposition.

Crucially, he notes:

“I am not saying that Palestinian Arabs are all united in their support for sending their children out on suicide missions. I have no doubt that most parents are aghast at the idea that their kids might join the fad.

But because of the sick nature of Palestinian society, publicly coming out against terror is simply not possible. There is far more fear of saying anything against the politically-correct message of supporting terror than there is of the “oppressive occupation” itself.”

In other words, instead of opposition from – presumably – the majority, there is silence. As it is suggested, however, the fear is that the price of speaking out would seem to be too high. I’m not sure if the Elder or I were in the shoes of a Palestinian family member with kids, we would be able to risk the consequences of speaking out in public. We might (as many do) make sure our kids knew not to get involved, but that might be as far as we could go. So, although the Elder’s identification of a key part of the problem is accurate, there is no readily available solution, other than building bridges, hoping, and trying to keep on doing the right thing. No matter what the terrorists may get up to.

Until there’a breakthrough or radical change, the silence will continue to kill.

You can read the complete post by the Elder of Ziyon, here.


In a class of her own

On the other side of the wall, far, far, away on the fringes, I give you MK Hanin Zoabi of the Joint (Arab) List party, as summarized by the Times of Israel:

Classy. Click the graphic to see the TOI article.

Classy. Click the graphic to see the TOI article.

It’s not a pretty read. She very definitely falls into the haters club, in the majority “It’s all Israel’s fault” section of that club’s membership. Hers is the type of leadership that is unlikely to achieve anything positive for the Palestinian people. But it does not seem that is a concern for her and her supporters.


Following up the own goal

By way of follow up to Bibi’s own goal is in a class of its own, note the following:

  • At My Right Word, there was an attempt to push back against the USA with Netanyahu to Kerry: First Fire The Official Who Called Me Chickenshit. Doubtless a point worth making. However, there is a universal truth that two wrongs do not make a right, and it applies here, for sure. The gross offense caused by the USA official does not give Israel’s officials the right to engage in that ridiculous name calling. By all means, highlight the hypocrisy, but do try and remember the relative bargaining positions. Standing firm, so to speak, is only going to make things worse.
  • At PreOccupied Territory, they are on firmer (albeit satirical) ground with: Baratz Retracts: ‘OK, Kerry DOESN’T Have Brains Of 12-Year-Old’ and “I apologize to twelve-year-olds everywhere for my insensitivity.” Ouch!
  • Finally, the ever reliable Times of Israel has David Horovitz to thank for the usual dose of common sense, entitled: Netanyahu, Obama and an offensive media adviser who must be dropped now. And the strapline doesn’t spare Bibi: “Op-ed: There is no acceptable explanation for the PM’s failure to immediately cancel the appointment of a senior official who branded the US president anti-Semitic.” Spot on.

People talk about peace, but war is good business.


Thus begins a PR piece on the Globes website about Roboteam. After setting the scene by giving statistics about the size of the global arms market, it goes on to specifics about the company:

One of the Israeli players in the arms industry is Roboteam, founded in Israel, which currently also operates in the US. The company recently signed a $25 million strategic contract with the US Air Force. “We have signed a series of contracts recently,” says Roboteam co-CEO Yosi Wolf, who jointly founded the company with co-CEO Elad Levy in December 2009. “The US Air Force issued a tender that generated intense competition,” Wolf explains. “They have infantry forces, and they issued a tender for robots that a soldier could carry. They wanted the best system in the world, and cost was not a very significant factor.

“It was the opportunity of a lifetime,” he adds. “We’re not the only ones in the market; we competed with very large US companies that make military robots. We worked very hard. They did technical tests that took a long time, and issued their opinion a few weeks ago. We really won first place. It’s a five-year project with an option for two more years. In addition, we have now learned that we are in the top 10 of Deloitte’s Fast 50 list of growing companies.”

The contract with the US army includes not only the robot systems being developed and manufactured by Roboteam, but also regular maintenance of those systems. “This applies to every location in the world where the US army is, for example South Korea, Kuwait, Africa, and Europe. They have a large base on every continent we have to get to. For example, we have a US subsidiary for this purpose that is our field service representative (FSR). They work for us. There are 10 employees in Maryland who travel all over the world and in the US in order to install the systems,” Wolf says.

There are some cool videos at the Roboteam website. The robots look like souped up model sci-fi kits that would be fun to try out. More importantly, it’s easy to see the huge benefits these devices can deliver to the soldiers on the ground, if they operate as adevrtised.

Although it is a sales and marketing promotional piece, you can take enough out of the Globes article to recognize Roboteam‘s genuine achievement in breaking into a lucrative, and highly competitive and demanding field. It’s good to see an Israeli company doing well. Long may it continue.

You can read the whole piece, here.


Bibi’s own goal is in a class of its own

Judging by the front end of the Times of Israel, Bibi’s appointment of Ran Baratz as a media adviser, ranks as one of the worst political own goals of all time.


Let us see what this is about, shall we:

  1. Baratz did not disclose his past problematic social media posts. He should have. He wouldn’t have got the job, but that’s right. (See point number 6, below.)
  2. It appears nobody checked Baratz’s social media. (How unprofessional is that?)
  3. Baratz called Obama an anti-Semite. He’s not the only one holding that opinion, and while there is much to say about Obama that is valid and critical, Obama doesn’t deserve that particular label.
  4. Baratz said John “Kerry can look forward to a flourishing career in one of the comedy clubs in Kansas City.” I’m with him on that one. It’s not a smart thing to say if you are in the media field, but it’s fair comment about that man.
  5. Baratz criticized his future boss last year for not giving interviews or holding press conferences with Israeli media for more than a year. The criticism seems valid. However, I do not have access to the actual wording. So, for example, it may be a matter of interpretation. He might have written something like he did not agree with the media strategy at that time, and that – since he is in that field – must be perfectly legitimate and acceptable. But if the criticism were unprofessional – abusive, personal, overstated, sniping, or similar – that would be unacceptable conduct.
  6. Baratz has apologized. In my opinion, that is not good enough. If a professional media adviser is so exposed by his own social media actions, how can he be suitable for the post?
  7. Given the USA has taken up the issue, this is unlikely to go away. Until Baratz ‘goes away.’
  8. The last point highlights the unfortunate timing. It exacerbates the damage and makes it worth Bibi and company considering that they never make a new appointment immediately before such a diplomatic trip. It could have waited. There would still have been damage, but it would have been less, and more easily stopped. (Of course, while waiting they could have done something radical, like do a better job of checking the appointee’s background!)

Baratz should go. Those responsible for the nitty-gritty of appointing him are culpable and should, at the very least, be reprimanded with sanctions.


Strictly kosher?


A plug in the Guardian:

Strictly kosher: Jewish slogan tees become a cult fashion fascination

A pair of designers have come up with a range of T-shirts that combine Yiddish expressions and Jewish culture with meme linguistics. Will they catch on?

Don’t they need to catch on first, before they become a cult fashion fascination?

Here’s some more:

It’s tough, when you’re a self-deprecating Jewish hipster of mid-level means, to find humourous Hanukkah presents (dreidel fillers?) for your like-minded friends. Or at least it was until the launch of Unkosher Market, a range of lolzy T-shirts that combine Yiddish expressions and Jewish culture with the meme-linguistics of the day. So there’s “Totes Koshe”, “Matzah Ballin” and an alternative to Taylor Swift’s advice on dealing with tsauris: “Schvitz It Out”. They’re not laugh-out-loud funny, but quite good shitck.

Lolzy? That’s a stretch. Regardless, you can read it all, here.

This way for Unkosher Market.  (Aren’t their prices outrageous?)

Why do I have this gut feeling that the Guardian’s publication of this piece is at least partly intended as a shield against certain criticism?