Monday, November 20, 2017

A Salute To Christian Zionist Volunteers In Israel | HaYovel

Why is it so important to value Christian individuals who support the State of Israel?
Tommy Waller explains why. Mk Sharren Haskal explains why.
The film, I am Israel, inspired so many people to come and volunteer.
100 years ago, when Lord Balfour signed his famous declaration that ultimately led to an unprecedented resettlement in the Land of Israel.
Today, millions of Jews have settled in the Holy Land. The hundreds and thousands of volunteers who have come from abroad in order to help the resettlement flourish.
The HaYovel organization has been at the forefront of the volunteer movement.
The prophecies from the Bible are indeed coming true today right in front of our eyes.

ELDER OF ZIYON: Fat Hamas terrorist drops dead - but is still a "martyr"

From the Hamas Al Qassam Brigades website:
The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement  Hamas commends one of its heroic Mujahideen of Deir al-Balah in the Gaza Strip, who died after a fatal illness.
The Qassam Brigades said in a statement that Mujahid al-Qasami, Rami Fuad al-Louh, 32, from the Suhaib al-Roumi mosque in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, died on Sunday 19/11/2017.
They stated: "To go to his Lord after a blessed life full of sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice and sacrifice for the sake of Allah, we will count him as the righteous and pure martyrs.
We ask Allah to accept him as a martyr, to paradise...

Didn't it used to mean something to be a martyr? Kill a few Jews, or something?

Now, you can be a martyr from a tunnel collapse, a traffic accident and a heart attack from eating too many Hamasburgers.

Do you think Allah is concerned about martyr inflation? 

Friday, November 17, 2017

NYT: Judge Ruchie, the Hasidic Superwoman of Night Court

Just before the Jewish High Holy Days this fall, Judge Rachel Freier was rushing around her kitchen, as she perpetually is. She had just cooked a salmon dish for Sabbath dinner. She was talking to her daughter in Israel on her headset. She was at a countertop, cutting apples and wrapping tuna salad sandwiches to take to work, because at night court in Brooklyn, where she presides, there’s little to eat that’s kosher.

Stepping outside her townhouse in Borough Park, Brooklyn, she climbed into her purple and white minivan emblazoned with the emblems of the female volunteer emergency medical service she founded in her ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. A trained paramedic, she keeps her medical bags in her vehicle, just in case.

“My car is like my second home,” she said.

This is Ruchie Freier, as friends call her, a 52-year-old Hasidic Jewish grandmother who has blazed a trail in her insular religious community with so much determination that the male authorities have simply had to make room. Eleven years ago, she became one of the first Hasidic female lawyers in Brooklyn, and last November, she was elected as a judge to civil court, making her almost certainly the first female Hasidic elected official in the country. She has done so not by breaking the strict religious rules that govern ultra-Orthodox women’s lives, but by obeying them so scrupulously that there are limited grounds for objection.

“I conformed,” she said in an interview in her spacious living room. “I just found some creative ways to extend what it means to conform.”

Along with her official duties, she serves these days as a kind of diplomat between Hasidic Jews and the secular world, explaining the realities of the courts to the Hasidim and the habits of the Hasidim to the courts. And she has also been using her public platform to warn publicly of what she sees as a grave threat to her community’s survival, an epidemic of lost youth and suicides that is driven, she believes, by an unforgiving culture of judgment among ultra-Orthodox schools and families that she feels needs to change.

Last summer, she wrote a column for Vos Iz Neias, an online Orthodox news source, about Malky Klein, a Hasidic girl who had been expelled from her yeshiva and died of a heroin overdose in June. She quoted anecdotal statistics that estimate 70 Orthodox Jewish children have died of drug overdoses or suicide in the past year.

“What happened in our community; why have so many of our children been cast away — thrown overboard into dangerous and troubled waters?” she wrote. “We need to unite and champion true Torah values to solve our problem.”

Judge Freier speaking with her eldest son in her office at the courthouse. Credit Hilary Swift for The New York Times

Most Hasidic women do not pursue high-profile success in the outside world. They are taught their most sacred role is to maintain the religious sanctity of their home and raise their children. “What a woman does in order to enhance her glory is not put herself out as an example to other people in the public domain, but rather in private, in the home,” said Samuel Heilman, a professor of sociology at City University of New York and an expert on the Orthodox and Hasidic communities.

“The men are in the forefront, they run the world, and we are the power behind the throne,” said Pearl Engelman, 70, a great-grandmother in the Satmar Hasidic sect in Williamsburg, who broke that paradigm several years ago by speaking publicly about a cover-up of child sex-abuse cases in the ultra-Orthodox community.

Women are generally permitted to work outside the home to support their families, so long as they comport with religious rules. And Judge Freier felt she could do all that was expected of her as a Hasidic woman — and be a judge, a paramedic and a voice for change, too.

“Everyone was waiting to see, ‘What is she going to do?” Judge Freier said of the wary attitude toward her after she became a judge. “And I’m the same. I dress the same, I still cook and I still bake and I do whatever I always did. Whatever we consider important traditional Hasidic values, I didn’t let go. So I guess it was an eye-opener for everyone.”

“She is a good barometer of how this community is going through a transition,” Mr. Heilman, the sociologist, said. “It might seem glacially slow from the perspective of the outside world, but clearly she is a sign of the growing power of women, of the impact of democracy and an open society.”

A few minutes before her 5 p.m. shift on a recent evening, Justice Freier arrived at Brooklyn Criminal Court on Schermerhorn Street. She is only 5 feet tall, and slender. She was dressed formally, with a dark wig covering her hair to meet the modesty requirements of her sect, and a tailored business suit, its skirt reaching below her knees.

It was a half-hour drive from her home but a universe away from Borough Park, where men with side curls and women pushing strollers speak Yiddish on the streets. Here there were police officers and court officers in bulletproof vests. In a narrow hallway, Judge Freier conferred briefly with another female judge about a case. She was ushered into an elevator used to transport prisoners, and strode to her chambers through a warren of hallways divided by metal fences.

The Freiers’ three daughters; they also have three sons. Credit Hilary Swift for The New York Times
She will pray, as she does three times a day, before she takes the bench. Her rebbetzin, a female religious mentor such as the wife of a rabbi, had given her a special prayer. “That people shouldn’t malign me or put me in positions, or ask for things I shouldn’t do,” she said. “That I should make the right decisions, because we are all human beings, and don’t have any ability to see the future.”

There are precedents for what Judge Freier has accomplished, but not many. In Israel, a small group of ultra-Orthodox women have formed a political party to run for office, despite opposition from rabbis who still disapprove of women entering public life. In 2013, a Hasidic woman in Montreal ran for a local City Council seat and won. And in the Bible, there is a female judge in the Book of Judges: Devora, or Deborah, a prophetess who calls the Israelites to battle. But there has not been a female ultra-Orthodox judge for centuries, certainly not within the Hasidic movement, which was founded in 18th-century Eastern Europe.

Judge Freier recalled that her rebbetzin told her, “If God gave us Devora, the judge, if we have that in our history, that means that Ruchie Freier should be a judge. That’s it!”

Yet Justice Freier is careful not to call herself a feminist. For her, it is a radical charge that would imply she wants to overstep and reject traditional gender boundaries. That could lead to community members ostracizing her and her family, which could limit her ability, for example, to arrange marriages for her two unmarried daughters.

So she stays away from controversial gender issues. She does not want to be a judge in a religious rabbinical court, a strictly male domain that rules over many civil matters for ultra-Orthodox Jews. She does not pray in the men’s section of the gender-segregated synagogues. She does not want to wear a Tallis, a traditional male prayer shawl, as some Reform Jewish women now do.

“I wanted to succeed, but I wanted to do it from within my community,” she said. “I love Borough Park, I love the people here. I didn’t want to break away.”

Just after 5 p.m., Judge Freier took the bench. She would see a steady stream of turnstile jumpers, low level assault cases, drug users and order-of-protection violators until 1 a.m. A swirl of public defenders, prosecutors and police officers surrounded her.

In addition to her duties at the court, Judge Freier is expected to run her household in Borough Park.

Credit Hilary Swift for The New York Times
Night court is the emergency room of criminal court, a tough shift that tends to fall to new judges. On an average night in the misdemeanor part, she will arraign up to 50 men, deciding whether they should be released while awaiting trial or remanded on bail. On that evening, some cases took 5 minutes — the district attorney recommended release, and she agreed. On others, she asked questions for 20 minutes or more.

Judge Freier never expected to be in criminal court. She won a seat in Civil Court. But in New York, an administrative office decides where to put judges, and she was assigned to criminal court a few weeks before she started in January. She has been nonetheless energized by the task.

The New York City judicial system under Mayor Bill DeBlasio is moving toward alternatives to bail, such as vocational training and supervised release, for low-level crimes. Judge Freier has embraced the trend. A young defendant came up, accused of misdemeanor assault of his girlfriend. Judge Freier inquired into his record, and found out that his past offenses consisted of stealing MetroCards and using marijuana. She reduced his bail from $2,500 to $250.

Another man, obviously mentally ill, stood before her. He had exposed himself and masturbated in a Popeye’s restaurant. She took her time and decided to release him before trial with mandated mental health treatment, even though the district attorney recommended he be held on $5,000 bail.

She is inspired by two things, she said later: the possibility of making a positive change for a defendant, and her own volunteer experiences within the ultra-Orthodox community counseling teenagers who had turned to drugs and other vices. She found time and time again that they were not bad children; they were just doing bad things.

“I want you to understand the importance of what’s being offered to you in court,” she told a 17-year-old who had been charged with possession of a knife, offering to dismiss the charges if he stays out of trouble for six months. “I want you to choose your friends, stay in school, do your schoolwork, and stay out of trouble, because you’ve got potential, but it’s in your hands.”

Judge Freier was raised in a traditional ultra-Orthodox home in Borough Park, graduating from an ultra-Orthodox high school for girls that discouraged college. Shortly afterward, she married a Hasidic man, David Freier, and became a legal secretary to support his Judaic studies.

Judge Freier arriving for the night shift at Kings County Criminal Court near Downtown Brooklyn. Credit Hilary Swift for The New York Times
Then Mr. Freier, who is now a mortgage broker, decided to go to college so he could earn money for the family. That was already a groundbreaking decision among the insular ultra-Orthodox, where even for a man to enroll in a secular university was rare. At his graduation, Mrs. Freier remembers saying to herself, “It’s my turn,” she recounted in a speech to an Orthodox Union women’s group in June. Her husband agreed. Over the next 10 years, she graduated from Touro College, and Brooklyn Law School. By then, she was 40, with six children.

More opportunities have opened up for Hasidic women in recent years, with some women pursuing flexible or online degrees in fields like accounting or special education, even as some ultra-Orthodox rabbis continue to disapprove of college for women. Law school, however, had little precedent.

“At every stage, everyone said, it’s never going to happen,” she told the women’s group.

Even Hasidic women have had mixed feelings about her choices.

“O.K., she’s a superwoman, Ruchie Freier, she’s great, she dresses modestly, her deportment is modest,” said Mrs. Engelman, the Satmar great-grandmother from Williamsburg, explaining the more conservative view of her generation.

“She’s one in a million. But there isn’t this tremendous yearning to want to be like her. We think, ‘I have my career at home, I want to excel in what I am doing.’”

Yet when Judge Freier passed the bar in 2006, her first clients were Hasidic men from the ultra-strict Satmar sect, who needed help with real estate transactions and liked that she spoke Yiddish, she recalled. (Judge Freier, by marriage, is part of the Bobov Hasidic sect.)

Her real estate practice grew. Still, the idea that she could parlay her experience to win a local judicial election was unthinkable. So many factors fell into place to make it happen that her oldest son, Moshe, 30, said he didn’t expect to see such a thing again in his lifetime.

Judge Freier, presiding in Brooklyn’s night court.

For one, it was actually her uncle and mentor, Judge David I. Schmidt, who held the seat she would win in her judicial district, which includes Borough Park. He retired in 2015, after his legal secretary sued him, claiming she was fired in 2014 for complaining about his inappropriate sexual comments in the office.

Then her opponents in the Democratic primary both had legal trouble. The Daily News reported before the September vote that Morton M. Avigdor, who had the support of local Democratic elected officials, had misused more than $500,000 from an estate of which he was an executor. Her other opponent, Jill Epstein, a secular Jew, had been censured by a panel of judges for failing to respond to inquiries on an ethical matter.

Voters “must go with Freier,” The Daily News urged in an editorial.

She ran a spirited but careful campaign. Her Yiddish theme song, broadcast from four S.U.V.’s covered with fliers on Election Day, referred to her as Mrs. Freier, not by her first name. Her fliers didn’t feature her photograph, to avoid charges of immodesty. Her husband, not she, gathered the endorsements of 10 local rabbis, who praised both “Mr. and Mrs. Freier” in a letter for their good works in the community.

Mr. Freier, 56, a soft-spoken man with a graying beard who jokes that he is now referred to as the judge’s husband, said that he thinks her record of service made the difference. “They liked what she did with the ambulance service, the at-risk youth,” he said.

Of all her causes, it is the EMS service about which Judge Freier seems most passionate, perhaps because of the ongoing struggle to keep it alive. Ultra-Orthodox women in Brooklyn had tried to form an all-female emergency service since the 1980s, mostly to help women in emergency birthing situations, she said. But it never happened.

Judge Freier pushed for it. In the years that she worked as an attorney in private practice, she signed up for an emergency medical technician course with her mother, who had always told her she could do anything, “unless it’s illegal, immoral or against the Torah,” she said.

When the powerful male-run Jewish ambulance service, Hatzolah, declined to open to female volunteers at her request in 2011, Judge Freier applied for a license for a separate female EMS service, Ezras Nashim. It opened with some 20 volunteers in 2014. When local rabbis were reluctant to support it publicly, her husband went to Israel and filmed himself getting rabbinical approval from senior sages.

Ezras Nashim, she said, is not about being a feminist, but about reclaiming the traditional role of women to help in their own God-given way. It is the same sentiment that drives her other work. “We aren’t saying the men aren’t good,” Judge Freier said. “But there is something different about us just by the fact that we’re women. We are bringing something that you can’t give.”

The service, which she still leads as director, was recently named EMS agency of the year by the city and state emergency medical service councils. Right now, its women respond in their own cars to emergencies, and they help the 911 ambulance dispatched to the scene. But it is now applying for its own ambulance license and in the coming months will face a public hearing at which Hatzolah and other services can object.

Judge Freier is girding herself for the hearing, even looking forward to it. She has been practicing what she will say.

“I want someone to look me in the face and say that religious women can’t do it,” she said, as she drove to court in her minivan. “I want to see who is going to have the nerve to face me and say, ‘Jewish women aren’t capable.’ I feel bad; I am going to make mincemeat out of that guy.”

Kuwait Airways can ban Israeli passengers, German court rules

(JTA)  — Kuwait Airways may bar Israeli citizens from boarding its planes in Germany, a Frankfurt court ruled.
Jewish and political leaders in Germany criticized the ruling handed down Thursday by the district court. The plaintiff, an Israeli student living in Frankfurt, will appeal, his lawyer said.
“This is a shameful ruling for democracy and for Germany,” attorney Nathan Gelbart told the German news agency dpa. “This ruling cannot be allowed to stand.” Gelbart is the German counsel for The Lawfare Project, a New York-based litigation fund for Israelis who allege civil rights violations.
The student, identified in court documents as Adar M., had sued the airline over its cancellation of his flight to Bangkok in the summer of 2016. The flight was to originate in Frankfurt with a stopover in Kuwait. When the state-owned airline found out the student’s nationality, it canceled his ticket, referring to a 1964 law that bars any agreements with Israeli citizens.
Adar M. demanded damages.
In rejecting the charges, the court said it was unreasonable to expect an airline to “fulfill a contract if it means going against the laws of its state” and having to face legal consequences at home. The court added that it was not within its jurisdiction to decide whether Kuwaiti law was reasonable.
But Frankfurt Mayor Uwe Becker said in a statement that “an airline that practices discrimination and anti-Semitism by refusing to fly Israeli passengers should not be allowed to take off or land in Frankfurt, or at any other airport in Germany. This Kuwaiti law, that is deeply anti-Semitic and that forbids the transport of Israelis, cannot be legal grounds for the violation of international standards.”
Deidre Berger, head of the American Jewish Committee’s office in Berlin, told the Bild newspaper that Germany should follow the example of the United States and Switzerland: “If an airline refuses to take Israeli passengers on board, it should not be allowed to operate in Germany. Politicians should not shirk their duties and simply blame the courts,” she said, adding that they should stand up against the discrimination aimed at Israelis.
In January 2016, Kuwait Airways dropped its 35-year-old route between New York City and London after the U.S. Department of Transportation found the airline was breaking American law by barring passengers based on nationality. The decision followed an appeal by an Israeli citizen against a negative ruling by the department.
In late October, Germany’s minister of transport, Alexander Dobrindt, ordered a Transport Ministry investigation into whether Kuwait Airway’s discriminatory policy violates German air traffic laws.

WATCH: British Activist Shows Ignorance of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

In a recent interview, one of the UK’s best known pro-Palestinian activists Damian James Reed demonstrates his lack of knowledge of the Jewish people and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
An Englishman who has organized countless anti-Israel protests gave the most naive and uninformed reasons for his opposition to Israel and demonstrated his complete lack of knowledge about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He was also clueless about the history of the Middle East, the Jewish people, and the current reality in Israel.
Perhaps if he had been exposed to less biased information, he could have become an ambassador for peace rather than fighting Israel.
Watch the fascinating interview here!

BCC & Noah Pollak, an American political writer specializing in issues concerning foreign policy, Israel, and the Jewish people

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BCC & Noah Pollak, an American political writer specializing in issues concerning foreign policy, Israel, and the Jewish people, at the StandWithUs JD Fellowship Inaugural Legal Networking Reception in BelAir.

Noah was instrumental in advancing the Taylor Force Act: Congress' attempt to address a serious problem that has gone unchecked for decades: The Palestinian Authority is using western aid money to pay salaries and benefits to terrorists and their families, including to terrorists who have killed Americans. These are not envelopes of cash slipped to a handful of people – the “pay to slay” program is codified in detail by PA law, is administered by two ministries with hundreds of staff, and pays tens of thousands of people a total of $315 million per year, or nearly 8 percent of the PA’s $4 billion budget.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says he would rather lose the presidency than stop the pay-for-slay program. “Even if I will have to leave my position,” he declared this week in response to US and Israeli pressure, “I will not compromise on the salary of a martyr or a prisoner.”

Noah Pollak, a strong supporter of the Taylor Force Act, tells us: “The administration doesn't oppose TFA in principle, but it does view its timing as inconvenient to the effort to restart negotiations. This White House, like past White Houses, wishes to pursue its foreign policy goals without interference from Congress. But every exemption that is added to the bill frees up money for the PA to spend on terrorism, and communicates to the Palestinians that the US doesn't really mean it when we say terrorism is unacceptable. I believe the only morally and politically defensible position is zero exemptions.”

 — withNoah Pollak.

BCC & Yishai Fleisher ישי פליישר international spokesman for the Jewish community in Hebron

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BCC & Yishai Fleisher ישי פליישר international spokesman for the Jewish community in Hebron, an Israeli radio show host, and writer. Fleisher is a contributing editor at and the founder and director of "Kumah" a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening Israel's global narrative through strategic communications. Fleisher was also the Director of Programming and a broadcaster at the Voice of Israel network, which operated between 2014-2015, and author of a New York Times opinion piece on alternatives to the two-state solution called “A Settler’s View of Israel’s Future.”

A former resident of the Ma’aleh Zeitim neighborhood on the Mount of Olives, now of Efrat, Fleisher is running in a primary for a top slot on the list of the new Zehut Party formed by former Likud MK Moshe Feiglin.

Why a growing number of religious women want to serve in the Israeli military

 Within a few weeks of starting their military service, many Israeli women head to a tailor to have their oversize uniforms altered to be more form-fitting or more fashionable. 
But a cadre of women soldiers instead is opting for flowing pants or a modest knee-length skirt. They are religiously observant recruits, and although they are eligible for a faith-based exemption, their numbers are growing.
All Israelis are drafted into the military at age 18, with a few exceptions. Israeli Arabs, both male and female, are not required to serve, and the same goes for the ultra-Orthodox. Young, religiously observant women, known in Israel as modern Orthodox, traditionally have opted to enroll in national service, volunteering in schools or the community for a year or two, instead of the military. 
But that is changing.
Since 2010, the Israel Defense Forces has recorded a surge in the number of religious women who want to serve. These figures have almost tripled, from 935 in 2010 to 2,499 last year — a welcome development for a military whose recent efforts to draft ultra-Orthodox men have been largely unsuccessful.
Bat Tzion Michlashvili, a combat soldier who was raised in a religious household, is one of a growing number of “modern Orthodox” women who opted to serve in the military . (IDF)
The IDF has become more flexible in accommodating modern-Orthodox women, who increasingly are choosing to serve in the military out of a sense of duty to defend Israel, military officials and soldiers say.
But the path from a modest, observant life to the military is not easy. Within the modern-Orthodox community, many frown upon women who want to serve, even as men are encouraged to try out for the most competitive units. 

If women manage to overcome pressure within their family or community, they still face the challenge of practicing their faith while serving in a secular military. 
“I was the only person in my unit who observed Shabbat [the Sabbath], and I had no place to light my candles,” said Netta Asner, who immigrated to Israel from the United States with her family when she was 8. 
But she said the hardest part of her military service was fulfilling her duties on a Friday night or Saturday — the 24 hours when religious Jews observe the Sabbath and must refrain from writing, using electronics or doing anything that might constitute work. 
“The first time in my life that I picked up the phone on a Saturday, I had to switch something in my brain,” said Asner, who served in the military spokesman’s unit from 2014 to 2016. “It was a very weird feeling.”
She also opted to wear a skirt. 
“There were certain people in my neighborhood who did not approve of me choosing to serve, but my immediate family was supportive,” Asner said. She said her experience has inspired her two younger sisters to sign up.

Not every Orthodox woman’s story is as smooth.  
In the city of Safed, Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu has spoken out against allowing women to serve in certain combat units and is especially critical about drafting religious women. They will be corrupted, he said. 
“The belief that men and women are the same is popular but not accurate,” he said. “The beauty of the world is that there are different kinds of people, with different views, different assets and different strengths. If we put men and women together in the same operation, it makes the world unhealthy.” 
And, he said, it is impossible for Orthodox women to remain religious and modest while in the military. 
Twenty-one-year-old Bat Tzion Michlashvili disagrees. She is one of only a handful of religious women serving in a mixed-gender combat unit.
“All over the world, people have realized that whatever boys do, girls can do it, too,” said Michlashvili. “I don’t see why I should give up on doing what I love: sports and exercise.”
As for compromising her religious beliefs, Michlashvili said that if anything, the military has made her feel closer to her Judaism: “If I thought it was important before to defend Israel’s borders, now I am doing the things I learned about in the Torah, and I see my job as even more important.” 
Women make up roughly a third of Israel’s military, compared with about 14 percent in the U.S. armed forces. They are required to serve two years, while the requirement for men is 32 months. Since the 1990s, women have been allowed to take on combat roles, and the IDF says that today around 90 percent of all military jobs are open to women. There are three co-ed combat units. 
Brig. Gen. Sharon Nir, the adviser on gender affairs to the IDF chief of staff, said that while it might have been difficult for Orthodox women to feel comfortable in uniform in the past, the military is becoming more accommodating.  
“These women have realized the army is a very important component of feeling part of Israeli society, and they want to contribute to the state,” Nir said. “They are religious Zionists — their brothers serve, and now they want to, too.”
In September, the army’s computer and communication unit launched a course for Orthodox women. The 23 women who signed up will spend 18 months studying computers, engineering and cyberwarfare and another 18 months in active service. 
A growing number of religious leaders have voiced support for religious women who want to serve in the military.
“While Israel still has enemies all around it, it is the duty of every person, no matter if they are male, female, Jew or non-Jew, to serve the country,” said Rabbi Binyamin Lau, a modern-Orthodox rabbi in Jerusalem.

“All the reasons given as to why women should not serve have nothing to do with religion. They are either based on principle or politics,” he said. “We need to support these girls while at the same time helping them remain religious.”  

PMW Bulletins The PA libel lives on: "Israel poisoned Arafat" - and the US helped

  • PA TV: "Israel... assassinated and murdered President Yasser Arafat... when it reached him and poisoned him" 
  • Abbas' advisor: "The Israelis killed him with poison. I have no doubt of that" 
  • Op-ed in official PA daily: "They [Israel]... poisoned him... with a green light from the US"
By Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Maintaining its long-lived tradition, the Palestinian Authority continued this year to spread the libel that Israel murdered Yasser Arafat with poison. On the occasion of the 13th anniversary of Arafat's death, a PA TV host stated:

Official PA TV host: "All the signs show that Israel is the one that assassinated and murdered [PA] President Yasser Arafat in some way, when it reached him and poisoned him."
[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Nov. 11, 2017]
The official PA daily also repeated the libel:

"The most prominent [Israeli assassination] was the assassination of Yasser Arafat with poison after laying siege to his headquarters in Ramallah."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 28, 2017]
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' advisor on Foreign Affairs and International Relations Nabil Shaath stated earlier this year that he knows for a fact - without "a millionth of a doubt" - that the Israelis killed Arafat "with poison": 

Al-Arabiya TV host: "Did [Yasser Arafat] die due to the consequences of the [Israeli] siege, or was he killed by poison during the siege?"
PA Chairman Abbas' advisor Nabil Shaath: "No, the Israelis killed him with poison. I have no doubt of that, not even a millionth of a doubt!"
TV host: "Why are you so certain? Do you have information?" ...
Nabil Shaath: "...All food came through the Israelis. They besieged him from outside. Every cup of water came through the Israelis. Every pill of medicine... You can check the water before you give it to him... You can check the food, but the medicines?"
[Al-Arabiya TV, Political Memoirs, Aug. 25, 2017]
A columnist in the official PA daily added an extra twist to the libel, saying that the US had authorized Israel's alleged assassination of Arafat. PA and Fatah leaders have voiced this allegation in the past, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch
"Thirteen years have passed since the death of leader [and] symbol [former PLO and PA Chairman] Yasser Arafat. They [Israel] forced him to vacate the scene and poisoned him. The ones who were responsible for his treatment in France did not find the necessary antidote for his recovery from the premeditated murder, which was committed by the leaders of the Israeli ethnic cleansing state...
[Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon and the heads of his colonialist leadership are the ones who poisoned the Palestinian national symbol and murdered him, with a green light from the US."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Op-ed by Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul, 
Nov. 11, 2017]
Fatah Movement Central Committee member and Director of the Yasser Arafat Institution Nasser Al-Qidwa also reiterated the claim, stating that Israel has "full political and criminal responsibility for the assassination of Martyr Yasser Arafat." He mentioned the "clear and repeated Israeli statements that demanded the removal of Martyr Yasser Arafat from the Palestinian political arena" as proof of his allegation. [Ma'an, independent Palestinian news agency, Nov. 9, 2017]

Following PLO and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat's death in November 2004, the PA created the libel that 
Israel murdered Arafat, and PA and Fatah leaders have been spreading it ever since, as PMW has documented. Swiss, Russian, and French medical teams have studied these claims. In 2012, samples were taken from Arafat's remains to be tested for poisoning, and Swiss and Russian teams afterwards published the results of their tests: The Swiss team concluded that the tests were "coherent with a hypothesis of poisoning" - but a member of the team also stated that "our study did not permit us to demonstrate categorically the hypothesis of poisoning by polonium." The Russian report concluded that "there was insufficient evidence to support the theory that Yasser Arafat died in 2004 by polonium poisoning." [Reuters, Nov. 8, 2013] In March 2015, three French judges ruled that "it has not been demonstrated that Mr. Yasser Arafat was murdered by polonium-210 poisoning." The French prosecutor stated that there was "not sufficient evidence of an intervention by a third party who could have attempted to take his life." [France 24, Sept. 2, 2015] The French prosecutor also explained that the polonium and lead found in Arafat's grave were "of an environmental nature." [Jerusalem Post, March 17, 2015].

Despite these results, the PA continues to blame Israel for Arafat's death without any proof or backing for this claim.

The following are longer excerpts of the statements above:

Headline: "The 17th anniversary of the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada (i.e., PA terror campaign 2000-2005)"
"Martyr [former PLO and PA Chairman Yasser] Arafat was accused of not making concessions that could lead to the signing of an agreement that outlined the character of the independent Palestinian state. On Thursday afternoon, Sept. 28, 2000, confrontations were recorded between [Palestinian] worshippers and young angry people and the occupation police, its border guard, and its special forces,
which broke into the Al-Aqsa Mosque plaza in order to guard its defilement by the leader of the extremist Likud party, [later Israeli Prime Minister] Ariel Sharon, and a number of right-wing people from his party... The occupation escalated the type of confrontations, and its airplanes killed a prominent leader in the Fatah Movement, Hussein Abayat (i.e., terrorist, involved in numerous attacks), on Nov. 9, [2000,] after his car was blown up by rockets in Bethlehem... Later the rate of Israeli assassinations - including most of the Palestinian factions and their commanders - increased, the most prominent being the assassination of Yasser Arafat with poison after laying siege to his headquarters in Ramallah."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 28, 2017]
Excerpt of an op-ed by Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul, regular columnist for the official PA daily
Headline: "Arafat who remains among us"
"Thirteen years have passed since the death of leader [and] symbol [former PLO and PA Chairman] Yasser Arafat. They forced him to vacate the scene and poisoned him (see note below -Ed.). The ones who were responsible for his treatment in France did not find the necessary antidote for his recovery from the premeditated murder, which was committed by the leaders of the Israeli ethnic cleansing state...
[Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon and the heads of his colonialist leadership are the ones who poisoned the Palestinian national symbol and murdered him, with a green light from the US."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 11, 2017]
Headline: "Nasser Al-Qidwa: Israel is politically and criminally responsible for the murder of Arafat"
"Fatah Movement Central Committee member, Director of the Yasser Arafat Institution, [and Fatah Commissioner of Information, Culture, and Indoctrination] Nasser Al-Qidwa said that 13 years after the assassination of leader [and] symbol [PLO and PA Chairman] Yasser Arafat, Israel's full political and criminal responsibility for the assassination of Martyr (Shahid) Yasser Arafat shouldn't be diminished - especially in the shadow of the clear and repeated Israeli statements that demanded the removal of Martyr Yasser Arafat from the Palestinian political arena."
[Ma'an, independent Palestinian news agency, Nov. 9, 2017]
Official PA TV host: "Of course we will not forget that all these years an open issue has remained regarding the murder of late Martyr [Yasser Arafat]. Naturally all the signs show that Israel is the one that assassinated and murdered [PA] President Yasser Arafat in some way, when it reached him and poisoned him. But this issue remains on the agenda until Israel is put on trial and gives an accounting for this crime that led to the Martyrdom-death of President Yasser Arafat."
[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Nov. 11, 2017]
In the interview with Abbas' advisor Nabil Shaath, the interviewer referred to "the siege." In response to the many suicide bombings during the PA terror campaign in 2000-2005 (the second Intifada), and as an attempt to destroy the Palestinian terror infrastructure, Israel launched Operation Defensive Shield in April 2002 - a large Israeli military operation - during which Israel also put Arafat under siege in the PA headquarters in Ramallah and invaded six of the largest West Bank cities.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Learn How to Make the Case for Israel, with Professor Alan Dershowitz

The Story of a Jewish Palestinian Grandma!

Meet Shulamit, a Jewish woman born in Jerusalem four years before the State of Israel declared independence.
Shulamit’s family lived in Kfar Shiloach, a village in eastern Jerusalem that was occupied by Jordan between 1948 and 1967.
Today most people know Kfar Shiloach by its Arabic name, Silwan, due to an orchestrated campaign to remove any connection of the Jewish people to this area.
What Shulamit shares about the Arab neighbors she grew up with in Silwan will amaze you.
Watch and gain a new perspective, other than that promoted by mainstream media, on the “settlers” returning to their Jewish roots in eastern Jerusalem and throughout the Land of Israel.

ELDER OF ZIYON: The Line Between Criticism and Demonization of Israel (Daled Amos)

Monday, my daughter asked me to help her with her homework. She needed help with a project on Antisemitism. The assignment was to take 4 cartoons -- 2 antisemitic cartoons from the Nazi era and 2 current anti-Israel/antisemitic cartoons -- and compare them..

She wanted my help to find them.

The first two cartoons were easy to find online. Der Stürmer cartoons are easy enough to find.

Nazi cartoon
Title: Brood of Serpents  
Caption (not shown): “The Jew’s symbol is a worm, not without reason. 
He seeks to creep up on what he wants.”
Nazi cartoon
Title: Don't Let Go. 
Text: Do not grow weary, do not loosen the grip, 
This poisonous serpent may not slip away. 
Better that one strangles it to death 
Than that our misery begin anew.

Nazi cartoon
Title: Insatiable  
The lead article is on the Moscow show trials. 
The cartoon caption: “Far be it from the Jews to enslave a single people. 
Their goal is to devour the entire world.”
There is no problem or argument in seeing these cartoons for what they are. They portray Jews as ugly, threatening and outright dangerous.

According to Wikipedia, the Nazis themselves found Streicher's cartoons downright embarrassing:
Since the late 1920s, Streicher's vulgar and inconsiderate style was increasingly a cause of embarrassment for the Nazi party. In 1936 the sale of the Der Stürmer in Berlin was restricted during the Olympic Games. Joseph Goebbels tried to ban the newspaper in 1938. Hermann Göring forbade Der Stürmer in all of his departments, and Baldur von Schirach banned it as a means of education in the Hitler Youth hostels and other education facilities by a "Reichsbefehl" ("Reich command").
Though Hitler supported him, Streicher's luck finally ran out after the war when he was tried at Nuremberg. According to the prosecutors, Streicher's paper incited Germans to kill the Jews, thus making him an accessory to murder. He was found guilty of crimes against humanity and hanged.

Fast forward to today.

If the Nazis themselves realized that Streicher was going too far, can we assume that today's antisemites are equally aware of lines that cannot be crossed?

Not if you are Rutgers Professor Michael Chikindas

Michael Chikindas' tweet

Over two weeks later and Rutgers is still trying to figure what to do about this.

Let's face it: we will always have people who get deranged over Der Sturmer.

Those older cartoons demonized Jews, and did it in a way that was so obvious and so over-the-top that a time came that the Nazis themselves had a sense they had gone to far.

Are people more sensitive to antisemitism and anti-Israel propaganda today?

How about the cartoon below from a Berkeley editorial. I gave it to my daughter as a current example of an anti-Israel/antisemitic cartoon.

Raphael Magarik at the Forward justified the cartoon and claimed it wasn't antisemitic at all, but to do so he had to resort to proving his point by avoiding it.

He picked up on the accusation that this was a "blood libel" -- and defended the cartoon because the whole issue was that blood is being spilled. He then goes on to defend the cartoon by claiming that the various implied attacks in the cartoon on Dershowitz and his politics are justified, which is actually besides the point.

Overlooked was the fact that the image was not of Alan Dershowitz, but of Dershowitz with the body of a spider, an image used in Nazi cartoons, with all that image implies.

I pointed out to my daughter the demonization in the cartoon and I think she understood the point.

A few years ago, the Economist printed a cartoon that it then retracted as being antisemitic:

In the cartoon, the US and Iran, symbolized by Obama and Khamenei are being prevented from completing the Iran deal. Iranian hardliners are holding Khamenei back. Congress is holding Obama back. But one of those stars on that emblem of Congress is a Jewish star.

The issue is not the implication that Jews in the US were trying to prevent the Iran deal. As citizens they had the right to oppose it. The implication was that Jews (or Israel) controlled Congress. It may be more subtle than the Dershowitz cartoon, but there that implication was an element of demonization of Jews -- and it was a point that was brought home when even the New York Times attempted to make opposition to the Iran deal into a "Jewish" issue.

In another cartoon, at the beginning of the year, The New York State Education Department apologized for including a political cartoon on its global studies Regents exam that critics claimed was anti-Israel propaganda.

Here is the exam question:

Considering the correct answer is (3) Negotiations have failed, the cartoon -- which criticizes Israel and only Israel -- is a poor illustration of the point. Using Natan Sharansky's 3 D's for determining antisemitism -- demonization, double standard and delegitimization -- none of those 3 factors seem to exist in the cartoon in a blatant hyperbolic way.

The AJC condemned the cartoon as being
“blatantly anti-Israel, disparaging of Israeli soldiers … and is entirely inappropriate to include on a test administered to young minds.”
Granted the cartoon is "blatantly anti-Israel" and "disparaging of Israeli soldiers," does that make it "inappropriate"?

The exam was in New York.
What would have happened if this appeared on a test in Iowa?

Antisemitic and anti-Israel cartoons may not be as blatant as this one attack Ariel Sharon and Israel:

But this Ariel Sharon cartoon was "cleared" of being antisemitic by a UK press watchdog. More than that,  the cartoon went on to win the UK's "Political Cartoon of the Year Award for 2003" of the Political Cartoon Society. 

But what about the resemblance to the Nazi cartoon above of a Jew eating people? Someone decided the cartoon was criticism, not demonization. Does over-the-top criticism automatically become demonization, antisemitism and anti-Israel propaganda?

Fourteen years later, how do we distinguish antisemitic cartoons from criticism -- valid or not -- of Jews or Israel, especially when those cartoons can sometimes be more nuanced?

Dershowitz opens what may be a Pandora's Box when he quotes approvingly from a letter to the editor from students from a pro-Israel organization at Berkeley printed in the Daily Cal:
To a Jewish student on this campus, seeing this cartoon [of Dershowitz] in the Daily Cal is a reminder that we are not always welcome in the spaces we call home…

Telling Jews that we can or cannot define what is offensive to us, because of our status as privileged minority in the United States, is antisemitic.
Considering that this strategy is being used by other groups on campuses across the US, Jewish students should be able to use it too -- especially when the antisemitism on campus is such a threat.

Not to mention antisemitic crime incidents over the years as tracked by the FBI:

But do we really want to have to resort to the "safe spaces" argument?

If we demand the right to define what is offensive to us as Jews, as opposed to seeing it as mere criticism, are we validating the claim that Jews deliberately define criticism of Israel as antisemitism?

Safe spaces are not the answer.
The line between criticism and demonization of Israel may not always be so clear.
We have little choice but to stand our ground.