The passport that threatens the peace process

Rick Richman at Commentary magazine gives us this amazing situation in detail:

Now that the Supreme Court has agreed in Zivotofsky v. Kerry to decide the constitutionality of the law allowing Jerusalem-born Americans to have “Israel” on their passports as their place of birth, it bears reiterating that President Obama did not need to make this a federal case, and that he could still take the same approach President Clinton did in 1994, when Congress passed a law allowing Americans born in Taiwan to have “Taiwan” on their passports rather than “China.”

Clinton enforced the law, but declared that America’s “One China” policy (recognizing only the People’s Republic of China) remained unchanged. Obama could uphold the law regarding Menachem Zivotofsky’s passport, but declare that the policy that Jerusalem’s status is subject to negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians remains unchanged. Case closed! It is not clear why this should present a problem: the State Department website identifies Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; so does the CIA website; the Department of Defense website features a 2009 picture of Secretary Gates and Prime Minister Netanyahu meeting in “Jerusalem, Israel,” a 2012 picture of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey with Israeli President Peres in “Jerusalem, Israel,” and Secretary Hagel’s 2013 statement at his meeting with Netanyahu in “Jerusalem, Israel.”

In a nutshell, USA policy is that somebody born in Jerusalem is not born in Israel, and so cannot have that as their country of birth on their passport. Continue reading

Talk like an Egyptian; repeat a blood libel.

The good news is that the latest blood libel is no longer giving the impression of having been sponsored by Visa.

The bad news is that the Egyptians continue to care not one fig about antisemitism.

When will the West (in particular) wake up to the reality that this issue needs to be acknowledged and dealt with?

When will we see an NGO in the Arab world combat the antisemitism there?

 

Calling all journalists

From YNET:

Abbas threatens to dismantle Palestinian Authority
PA president’s proposal to declare West Bank under occupation would annul Oslo Accords, leave Israel with full responsibility over Palestinians.

The era of the two-state solution may soon be rocked by a decision that could signal its demise. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is mulling the merits of a proposal to dismantle the Palestinian Authority, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Sunday morning.

Palestinian sources confirm that the government in Ramallah was considering the unprecedented move. Senior sources in the IDF’s Central Command, who recently met with the heads of the Palestinian security services confirmed their West Bank counterparts were sincerely debating dismantling and disarming the PA’s forces.

I read that and thought, he’s done this before. This is not new. Why isn’t this pointed out? Am I going mad?

Minutes of browsing, courtesy of the irreplaceable Elder of Ziyon, produced the following. Abbas made the same threat in

  • December 2012
  • December 2010
  • November 2009
  • September 2008
  • July 2008
  • June 2007

Where are the real journalists who do things like fact checking?

As for the threat, isn’t this the same PA that has just applied to join several international bodies? How stupid does that make him look if he meant it?

This threat is a nonsense – like much of Abbas posturing – so when will somebody call him on it?

The Haaretz response to a moral dilemma

From the Elder of Ziyon:

Why did Haaretz take down its article on Kansas killer’s admiration for Max Blumenthal?

Haaretz, picking up on a piece in the Washington Free Beacon, briefly posted this article yesterday:

haaretzblumenthalarticle

According to the Washington Free Beacon, an online news source that describes itself as being “dedicated to uncovering the stories that the professional left hopes will never see the light of day, Frazier Glenn Cross, the Hitler admirer and Klansman who is accused of the murders, often praised Blumenthal’s work.

According to the report, a search of the VNN Forum – a prominent white supremacist website run by Cross – finds over 300 references praising Blumenthal’s criticism of the State of Israel and American-Jewish support of Israeli policy.

There is no doubt that leftist Israel-haters like Blumenthal give lots of material – and inspiration – for right wing antisemites like Frazier Glenn Cross. Both groups claim, disingenuously, that their criticisms of Israel are meant to defend human rights when it is the other way around – they use the language of human rights to attack the Jewish state, a nation whose record on human rights would be the envy of any other nation at war in history.

Some antisemites see no contradiction between the extreme right and extreme left manifestations of Jew-hatred. Someone named “Rehmat1″, for example, has hundreds of comments both on Cross’ VNN forum and on Mondoweiss, both linking back to his own blog.

The only difference is that the right-wing antisemites are more willing to admit that they hate Jews. The leftist antisemites prefer to use Israel as a proxy for Jews and are, too often, Jews themselves, which all stripes of Jew-haters love to quote to give their hate an air of authenticity.

Haaretz took down this article very quickly after it was posted online. Why?

Perhaps the reason is that Haaretz has provides at least as much comfort and aid to the VNN antisemites as Blumenthal does!

While Haaretz doesn’t seem to be as explicitly praised as Blumenthal was by Cross, according to Mondoweiss, Haaretz itself is mentioned on the VNN site over 11,000 times and Cross mentions Haaretz himself scores of times in his antisemitic rants! (I did not check either the Free Beacon’s or Mondoweiss’ claims about the number of citations of Blumenthal/Haaretz.)

Haaretz provides at least as much of aid and comfort to antisemites as Blumenthal does, and perhaps that is what prompted it to silently pull this story.

Do you think the editorial board of Haaretz might stop to think about that last observation: Haaretz provides at least as much of aid and comfort to antisemites as Blumenthal does. And will they go that step further and ask themselves if what they are doing is a good thing?

What goes around may reverse

Most sensible people accept that the general standard of driving behavior on Israeli roads is awful. Awfully awful. There is not a single Highway Code rule that is not broken every minute of every day on every main road.

  • Lane discipline? What white lines?
  • Keeping a safe distance? This way he knows I want to overtake.
  • Mirror, signal, maneuver? What’s a signal?
  • Never overtake on a bend? There’s never any oncoming traffic here.
  • Stop at a stop sign? That’s for novice drivers only.

And on it goes. The ironic aspect is that, according to all feedback, the driving test for new young drivers is a long, involved, and demanding process that teaches all the right stuff. But after passing the test…

It’s with this background that you may not be shocked to know that there are several theories why the driving is so poor. This being a popular topic among immigrants (especially) I have heard many, varied excuses. (Or reasons; it depends on your point of view.) This weekend, I heard one that was new to me.

Apparently the 1948 State of Israel had about 400 cars in the entire country. And so, the theory goes, this is not only a young country, but also a young country of drivers. In other words, there are not enough experienced drivers, and certainly not enough experienced generations of drivers, passing on the right driving skills.

I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t convince me. However, it did spring to mind on the journey home from the office tonight.

It happened like this: I approached a roundabout on a single lane road. The car ahead of me went through the roundabout very slowly. I followed. On the exit from the roundabout, I was still behind this slow car. It stopped. It pulled in. (No; no indicator was harmed in that maneuver.) I passed the car carefully – in case it started up again without warning – noting the little old lady in the driver’s seat. The next thing I see is her starting to move her car. In reverse. She reversed into the roundabout and back the way she had come… OMG, where do they come from? I was glad I was going in the opposite direction.

So your challenge, should you accept it, is to come up with an explanation. Just why is the driving so bad here?

Oh good. They are bringing the houses down.

There’s something missing from this Arutz Sheva report:

MK Slams ‘Collective Punishment’ in Yitzhar Demolitions

‘Price tag’ vandalism does not justify punishment against an entire community, MK Orit Struk says.

MK Orit Struk (Jewish Home/Bayit Yehudi) strongly condemned the demolitions in Yitzhar on Tuesday, noting that ‘price tag’ attacks against the IDF do not justify a show of force against the community’s residents.

“Puncturing the tires of vehicles of IDF soldiers and commanders is a criminal act, and the spokesman for Yitzhar, which represents the majority of residents disapproved of it yesterday,” Struk noted. “This does not justify in any way the declaration of war on the whole community because of the actions of some resident youths, especially when police know how and where to find them and bring them to justice, according to the law.”

“Collective punishment and destruction of homes as vengeance has long been rejected as illegal by the High Court in relation to the terrorists, and there is no moral or legal justification to carry it out on civilians,” Struk continued, noting that Yitzhar residents’ “only crime is that criminal acts were carried out near their homes.”

IDF and police forces demolished four homes in the Samaria on Tuesday, as apparent retaliation for ‘price tag’ vandalism on IDF jeeps on Sunday and Monday.

Yitzhar community spokesmen have responded to the demolition with harsh condemnations of the dramatic demolition, slamming “collective punishment.”

“This policy of destruction and collective punishment by authorities against residents of Yitzhar is outrageous,” a statement reads.

“It is unthinkable that the Israeli government and security forces demolished the homes of innocent people and took revenge due to the illegitimate ‘price tag’ actions of individuals, as serious as [these acts] are. We urge the security forces and their head to stop this policy and immediately stop the growing cycle of hostility.”

What’s missing? Here’s a relevant fact from the Times of Israel report:

Residents of the hard-line settlement of Yitzhar clashed with Israeli security forces as several illegal buildings in the West Bank community were demolished before dawn Tuesday.

The buildings that were brought down were illegal. (And you can bet your bottom dollar that the people there know that.) So, if the authorities demolish illegal structures elsewhere – for example, in Jerusalem, as they do – why shouldn’t they demolish them in Yitzhar? Oh, I know the timing is meant to send a message to the extremists in that community, but it’s a bit rich – to put it mildly – to complain of “punishment” or “collective punishment” not being deserved just because somebody knifed a couple of army vehicles.

Stop Press: the buildings were illegal. There’s no justification for building them like that. None. And there’s no justification for crying when they are torn down. Quite the opposite: it is good when the Rule of Law applies. We should celebrate that fact, not complain.

Behind the curtain

From CAMERA, an interesting peek behind the curtain of Palestinian society:

Contradictory Stories from Christ at the Checkpoint

What a difference two years can make!

At the 2012 Christ at the Checkpoint Conference, Munther Isaac, (who recently got his Ph.D. from Oxford Center for Mission Studies), told attendees that Palestinian Christians “have always enjoyed the support of the Palestinian leaders” and that they “worship with freedom and exercise [their] rights like all Palestinians.”

Isaac made this statement while introducing Salaam Fayyad, who was then serving as Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority.

Two years later, attendees heard a different story. The first night of the conference, Munir Kakish, the leader of the Council of Evangelical Churches in the Holy Land called on the Palestinian Authority to recognize Evangelical churches and accord them their civil rights. Here is what he said:

As a religious group, we are still unable to practice our basic civil rights to issue marriage certificates, register our church properties in the name of the church, or even open bank accounts to manage our churches’ financial affairs.

One of these statements cannot be true.

If Christians “worship with freedom” and “exercise rights like all Palestinians,” then why can’t Evangelical churches open bank accounts in Palestinian society?

I don’t doubt the veracity of the more recent statement. It doesn’t come as a surprise, though I remain baffled why there is not more fuss being made.

Assume, for the purposes of illustration, that a proper religious organization operating in Europe was unable to “…practice our basic civil rights to issue marriage certificates, register our church properties in the name of the church, or even open bank accounts to manage our churches’ financial affairs.” How long would that situation be tolerated?

And what if it were to happen in Israeli society? How long would that be tolerated before it were front page news – of the condemnation type?

But here we have a situation, apparently of long standing, enduring in Palestinian society to the detriment of its Christian population. And nobody cares.

The next time somebody decides they want to tackle prejudice and “have to start somewhere”, maybe they could try their luck with the Palestinians? The “Wall at Xmas” people should be ashamed.

Turkey’s not ready

From the Jerusalem Post:

ANKARA/ISTANBUL – Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan declared victory in local polls that had become a referendum on his rule and said he would “enter the lair” of enemies who have accused him of corruption and leaked state secrets.

“They will pay for this,” he said.

It doesn’t sound like Mr Erdogan has quite grasped some of the essentials of modern democracy, like separation of the state and the judiciary. And the responsibility of the elected party for all constituents, not just their supporters. It doesn’t sound like Turkey deserves to be called a modern democracy.

This Turkey is not ready.

No Jews allowed?

From the Jerusalem Post:

White House expresses ‘deep disappointment’ after Saudis deny visa to ‘Post’ journalist

The White House expressed “deep disappointment” on Tuesday over Saudi Arabia’s decision to deny an entry visa to The Jerusalem Post’s Washington bureau chief who was planning to cover President Barack Obama’s visit to the desert kingdom this week.

Riyadh on Monday denied a visa to Michael Wilner, The Jerusalem Post’s Washington bureau chief. Wilner, who was the only journalist denied access to the president’s trip, despite firmly-worded requests from US National Security Advisor Susan Rice and assistant to the president Tony Blinken to Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir.

“We are deeply disappointed that this credible journalist was denied a visa,” US National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said on Tuesday. “We will continue to register our serious concerns about this unfortunate decision.”

Rice and Blinken separately expressed extreme displeasure at the delay and the prospect of a denial, The Jerusalem Post has learned. Members of the National Security Council were made aware of the matter after US officials coordinating the trip failed to reach their Saudi counterparts.

Journalists attending the trip were required to submit visa forms to the White House, and not directly to the Saudi embassy. The Kingdom held Wilner’s passport for two weeks, though their embassy’s website claims turnaround for visas within 24 hours…

It’s important to stress that Mr Wilner is Jewish. He is not Israeli. He holds citizenship from the USA. The whole report is here.

As sharp commentator Brian of London at IsraellyCool pointedly asks:

I have two questions for President Barak Hussein Obama:

Would you visit a country with a sign on the door saying “No Blacks Allowed”?

Why do you choose to visit a country with a sign saying “No Jews Allowed”?

And answer there was none.

They did express ‘deep disappointment‘ after all. I suppose that’s better than ‘shallow disappointment‘ or ‘we couldn’t give a toss‘. I mean, there is a difference, isn’t there? Wait till they are really angry and they express ‘really deeper than deep disappointment‘ – that’ll show them!

When will these powerful people appreciate that allowing stuff like this to happen, may make things easier for them in the short term, but makes it harder to deal with the issue. And the issue, Mr President, needs to be dealt with. It’s not going away. You may be, but the issue isn’t. I think you’re a coward.