Bringing down the house

To put it as simply as I can, I am opposed to the demolition of homes as a punishment in any shape, manner, or form. It’s often a collective punishment – the legality of which under international law is probably, at best, questionable – and there’s no evidence that it actually is an effective deterrent. To the contrary, the effect seems to be a radicalization and hardening of attitudes that does absolutely nothing positive for Israel. It does not make it safer. It does not reduce the pool of attackers – but increases them.

I understand the argument that you cannot show weakness to your enemy in this part of the world, and that to win you must constantly show power, strength, resolve, and so on. But home demolitions are not a show of power or strength; they are a bullying response, and expose an almost childish, immature motive of having the last say.

Whatever doubts exist about the folly of home demolitions should be eliminated by this:

Family of E. Jerusalem Arab teen petitions court to demolish homes of his killers

Muhammed Abu Khdeir was the East Jerusalem teen brutally murdered by Jewish extremists in 2014. The homes of the murderers remain untouched. Was the killing a terrorist action? For sure. So why are their homes still intact?

The Time of Israel continues the story:

… the Abu Khdeir family has demanded the state demolish their homes, as it does for Palestinian terrorists.

“The state needs to operate in the same way against Jewish terrorists as it does against Palestinians. Just like the homes of Palestinian terrorists are sealed, the same should be done to Jews,” the family said in its plea.

I agree. However…

Last month, the Defense Ministry told the family in a letter that there was no need to demolish the homes of Jewish terrorists at this stage, as the attacks are too infrequent to warrant the deterrent action.

According to the official letter seen by The Times of Israel last month, the ministry’s legal adviser told the Abu Khdeir family: “Given the scale of the phenomenon of seriously hostile crimes in the Jewish community, the need to implement this [deterrent] power does not arise.”

That’s a dreadful excuse. It’s a fig leaf to cover a nasty attitude, and in my opinion it is unacceptable. One law for all, or no law exists. The state should demolish the homes of Muhammed Abu Khdeir’s killers, or it should stop all home demolitions permanently. It’s time for the authorities to take a good long hard look at their attitude, admit they are wrong, and bring the sad saga of home demolitions to an end, once and for all.


They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity

Following on publication of the Rami Levy mall development story (about the first Israeli-Palestinian mall near Ramallah), the Elder of Ziyon reports that – almost unbelievably – the Palestinian response was to reject co-existence, and jobs, and goods at low prices:

How are Palestinian officials responding to a chance at hundreds of jobs and the prospect of co-existence, while at the same time serving tens of thousands of Arabs with services that they have not had easy access to?

The head of the Palestinian Consumer Protection Association, Salah Haniyeh, said his group will create a blacklist of any Palestinian shop that agrees to open at that mall, and consumers will be urged to boycott them. He said that the principle of boycotting “settlement” businesses is more important than the “few shekels” of economic benefit such a mall would bring to the region.

There you go.

Truly, they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity for peace.


Elie Wiesel’s victory, and our ongoing war


Today’s Israel HaYom newspaper leads with the death of Elie Wiesel. The headline there says:

“A symbol of the victory of the human spirit over evil.”

It is somewhat poignant that this shares the front page with coverage of the drive-by murder of Rabbi Michael Mark, and the Gaza launched rocket that hit a kindergarten in Sderot. Because, to my mind, regardless of previous victories, we must not lose sight of the fact that today true evil remains at large.

To put it another way: the war against the Jews continues.


Should Zoabi be silenced?

Whether we like it or not, Hanin Zoabi is an elected representative, a member of the Knesset. So long as she doesn’t break the law, she is entitled to participate in the democratic process. Even if she calls Israeli soldiers “murderers.” Unlike some, I don’t see incitement in those words.

But, if anyone thought she was a serious politician, with a shred of honesty or integrity, that was rather blown away by her silence in the aftermath of the brutal murder of Hallel Yaffa in Kiryat Arba. For if anyone truly deserved to be branded a murderer, it was Hallel Yaffa’s killer. Zoabi’s silence (somewhat ironically) marks her true character as a hypocritical grandstander, with evil in her heart. Perhaps the question should not be whether Zoabi should be silenced, but whether Zoabi is a true representative? Is hers a constituency with murder in their hearts? What are the prospects for true peace in such circumstances?


Tweet of the week

After Jeremy Corbyn‘s ‘obscene comparison‘ (and in my book, that is a restrained use of language) the following tweet by Tzipi Livini was one of the best, and funniest, responses:


Take that, Jeremy Corbyn!

As I tweeted, earlier today:

Tweet of the week! destined to become the favorite party for supporters of ?



UNHRC calling?

From the Jerusalem Post article about the address by Eviatar Manor, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, speaking to the Human Rights Council on day two of its 32nd session:

In a short, but highly charged speech he accused the UNHRC of overly focusing on Israel’s actions against the Palestinians at the expense of other more serious human rights situations in the Middle East.

“Politicized debates, biased resolutions, preposterous reports, discriminatory conduct and unfounded accusations characterize the attitude of this Council and of the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights towards Israel,” Manor said.

The Israeli Ambassador took particular issue with a UNHRC mandate that alleged Israeli human rights violations must be addressed at every session under Agenda Item 7. Israel is the only country that is singled out in this way. All other human rights issues around the world are addressed under Agenda Item 4.

“This Council’s priorities are wide off the mark,” said Manor.

How is it, that it has “an agenda item specifically dedicated to my country when the tragedies of Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, to name but a few, are unfolding and producing a tsunami of refugees about to engulf Europe?” Manor said.

“And you expect us to take you seriously?,” he asked.

On target!

Note the cracking sting in the tail:

He ended with a few lines of attack against the council charging that it “has never cared for the human rights of Israelis.”

Manor further charged that the UNHRC “needs a moral compass” and that it “does not and will not contribute to peace in our region.”

He urged the UNHRC members to weigh his words.

“Think about it, and call me if you change your minds. You can find me at +972 -77-430-4703,” Manor said.

UNHRC calling? I doubt it.

Read it all here.


Free speech of the week


On a whim, I bought this week’s print edition of the Economist. As usual, it is full of well written, well edited, informative and interesting material from across the world. In general, its opinion pieces are solid and well argued. Although its Israeli coverage has become too much of a Guardian imitator, it remains the best quality print journalism I have read.

This week’s edition leads on free speech and censorship. The opinion piece Under attack includes this gem:

One strongman who has enjoyed tweaking the West for hypocrisy is Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of Turkey. At home, he will tolerate no insults to his person, faith or policies. Abroad, he demands the same courtesy – and in Germany he has found it. In March a German comedian recited a satirical poem about him “shagging goats and oppressing minorities” (only the more serious charge is true). Mr Erdogan invoked an old, neglected German law against insulting foreign heads of state. Amazingly, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has let the prosecution proceed. Even more amazingly, nine other European countries still have similar laws, and 13 bar insults against their own head of state.

Think about the highlighted text. It’s a clever swipe at Erdogan; one that will have his political opponents smirking, and the man himself fuming. And, at the same time, it adds to the points being made about freedom of speech. Well done to the Economist.


Jerusalem, Jerusalem

There are many (many) reasons to admire the work of the Elder of Ziyon. One reason is his talent at asking pointed and relevant questions about anti-Israel propaganda; questions that should make a neutral, objective observer (if there is such a beast) stop, think, and admit: he’s right. One of his recent posts – Jerusalem, quod erat demonstrandum and Daniel Seidemann  – is a perfect example.

It starts with a tweet by Seidemann, contrasting Bibi’s declaration of support for a two state solution with his other declaration about never giving up Jerusalem. Seidemann tweeted that the appropriate conclusion is that Bibi does not support a two state solution.

So, the Elder tweeted a simple question: why do the Palestinians need Jerusalem for a state? They may want it, they may like it, but why do they need it?

Answer came there none.

The Elder (whose whole post is here) concludes his analysis as follows:

“Arabs aren’t afraid of Jews like Seidemann who say they want to give up Jerusalem for peace. They are afraid of Jews – even secular Jews like Netanyahu – who would rather die than lose the Old City.

Beggars can’t be choosers, yet Palestinians who are supposedly living in stateless misery are making preconditions for a state that have nothing to do with statehood.

Because their goal isn’t the creation of a state but the destruction of one.

And the proof is because they insist, without a shred of proof, that there can be no Palestinian state without Jerusalem.


So, quod erat demonstrandum. Or, quintessential Elder demolition.


Hypocrisy Watch – USA Edition

The USA is not happy about Lieberman’s appointment. Put to one side whether it’s any business of theirs, or Lieberman is a nice guy or not. Just contrast and compare with the USA’s attitude to the appointment of an Iranian leader (Ahmad Jannati – of the Death to Israel! Death to the USA! type) and what do you get? Silence. Here’s the excellent David Horovitz on the position:

“Raising questions about Israel’s direction, after Liberman, promising a commitment to peacemaking, joins the coalition. But staying silent about Iran’s direction, after Jannati, a man who declaredly seeks the destruction of the United States, is elected to head the Assembly of Experts.

Have at it, guys.”

Read the whole thing here, and cringe at the cheek, the arrogance, and the hypocrisy. Whatever has happened to the USA?


A Haaretz Antidote

The media inside Israel is, generally, left wing. Haaretz is the worst (by far) from my perspective, but the collective vision they have is so negative, that they all share the blame for the way Israel is viewed by the foreign press. Fortunately there are exceptions. And while Israel HaYom is far too close to Bibi for my liking, it is often on target with its critique of the other media. This, for example, is absolutely right:

“In the reality in which we live, a senior officer (major general) who compares processes taking place here to the Germans in the 1930s is a man of values, but an officer who invites his soldiers to pray before an action in Gaza? That’s darker, even reminiscent of Iran. It’s a shame that Albert Einstein isn’t here to test the theory of moral relativism in our country. Perhaps we should recall Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s command prior to the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, when he called on all Allied soldiers to “beseech the blessing of Almighty God” before the operation?”

Of course, the current Lieberman and Herzog adventures in the cabinet, or out of the cabinet, have inspired some shrieking commentary. The Israel Hayom piece is a good antidote to the poison put out by Haaretz and others, and skewers their howls of angry commentary fairly easily.

Do read the whole thing, here.