September 25, 2018

180 Palestinians Reportedly Injured in Latest Gaza Border Riots

REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

Another round of riots at the Israel-Gaza border occurred on August 31, resulting in 180 Palestinians wounded, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry is claiming.

The Times of Israel reported that around 5,000 Palestinians rioted at the border; the rioters threw rocks and burning tires at the border as well as incendiary kites. An incendiary balloon was flown into southern Israel and ignited a fire at the Be’eri Forest, but Israeli firefighters were able to extinguish the fire before it spread.

A grenade was also thrown at an Israeli soldier, although no injuries to Israeli soldiers have been reported.

The rioters are proclaiming that they were able to strike down an Israeli drone that was firing tear gas grenades to control the riot, however the IDF is claiming that the drone simply malfunctioned from a technical error.

“The marches will not end until all goals are achieved,” Deputy Hamas leader Khalil al-Hayya declared at the riot. “As long as the occupation continues, our people have the right to resist in all ways.”

The Hamas-led riots at the border have been occurring since March to protest in favor of the Palestinian Right of Return and attempt to penetrate the Gaza border fence. Israel and Hamas are currently in talks for a long-term truce.

WATCH: 13-Year-Old Gaza Boy Reveals Hamas Torture

Screenshot from Twitter.

A 13-year-old Gazan boy explained in a clip released by Palestinian Media Watch how Hamas fighters subjected him to brutal torture for fighting with the son of a Hamas commander.

The boy, identified as Muhammad Adham Abu Anzah, said in the video as he wiped away with tears with his hand in a cast that the Hamas terrorists smacked him “with daggers and a whip” and “broke my finger.”

“When one finished or tired out, another came and continued to hit me with a belt,” Anzah said. “They broke iron on my neck. Six people – they continued to hit me until the police came.”

The police arrested Anzah and detained him until the police acquiesced to his father’s screaming demands to let him go.

“There is no need for this barbarity,” Anzah’s father said. “To torture him and hit him inside the mosque, to tie him up, to break sticks on him, and to hit him with chains, his soul was broken.”

Anzah’s father acknowledged they were taking a serious risk by speaking out, pointing out that his son has received death threats and that Hamas typically executes people who are critical of them, claiming that they are either prostitutes or Israeli collaborators. But the family felt like they had to speak out to raise awareness about Hamas beating a child.

“I implore the human rights organizations, the Arab states, and all organizations to stand with us,” Anzah’s father said.

State Department Announces More Than $200 Million in Cuts to Palestinians

REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

The State Department announced on August 24 that there are going to be more than $200 million in cuts from Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The announcement states that the department reviewed the aid they are giving to Palestinians at the behest of President Trump and concluded that the millions of dollars will instead go to “high-priority projects elsewhere.”

“This decision takes into account the challenges the international community faces in providing assistance in Gaza, where Hamas control endangers the lives of Gaza’s citizens and degrades an already dire humanitarian and economic situation,” the statement reads.

The Trump administration had initially planned to provide $251 million in funding to the Palestinians in 2018. According to the Washington Free Beacon, the decision to make the cuts came from the administration’s desire to “no longer enable the Palestinian Authority and those in the Hamas terrorist government to use aid dollars in their war against Israel.”

Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’s executive committee, called the cuts “cheap political blackmail.”

“There is no glory in constantly bullying and punishing a people under occupation,” Ashrawi said. “The U.S. administration has already demonstrated meanness of spirit in its collusion with the Israeli occupation and its theft of land and resources; now it is exercising economic meanness by punishing the Palestinian victims of this occupation.”

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), “The PLO was responsible for scores of acts of terrorism from its creation, resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians.”

Palestinian Gunman Targeting Israeli Soldiers May Have Worked for Doctors Without Borders

Photo from Flickr.

After conducting an investigation into a Palestinian gunman who was shot and killed at the Gaza border after he was targeting Israeli soldiers, Israel is saying that the gunman worked for Doctors Without Borders.

Reuters reports that the gunman, identified as 28-year-old Hani Majdalawi, shot at Israeli soldiers and tossed a grenade at them. A spokesman for Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) told Reuters that they would be reaching out to Doctors Without Borders for an explanation.

No Palestinian terror groups have claimed that Majdalawi was one of their members. Majdalawi’s brother said on Facebook that Majdalwai was acting on his own and praised him as a “martyr.”

NGO Monitor researcher Yona Schiffmiller has argued that Doctors Without Borders is biased against Israel, citing their past support for Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian girl who has thrown rocks at Israeli soldiers and even slapped one of them. Tamimi was recently praised by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah; she praised him in return.

Israel Defense Minister Calls on Gazans to Overthrow Hamas

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman is using the recent calm between Israel and Hamas to urge Gazans to overthrow the terror group, arguing that the “peace and quiet” is preferable to Hamas’ constant state of warfare.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Lieberman announced that the Kerem Shalom crossing and a fishing area near the Gaza coast were going to be re-opened, saying that it shows Gazans that “peace and quiet are worth it.”

“The residents of Gaza have much to gain when the citizens of Israel enjoy peace and security, and much to lose when quiet is disturbed,” Lieberman wrote.

Lieberman added that he hopes Gazans realize “that Israel is not the problem, but rather the solution.”

“The problem is the Hamas leadership, which uses civilians as live ammunition and as human shields,” Lieberman wrote.  “We hope for you, the residents of Gaza, that all of the budgets of Hamas and the international community will be channeled towards your welfare and to the development of the Gaza Strip, instead of to terrorism.”

After a recent escalation between Israel and Hamas, there has been relative calm on the border of Israel and Gaza Strip, although a long-term ceasefire agreement has yet to be reached.

The Times of Israel reports that the re-opening of the Kerem Shalom crossing and the fishing was part of a temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas negotiated by Egypt and the United Nations.

However, Israel maintains that no long-term ceasefire agreement can be reached until Hamas agrees to releasing the four Israeli soldiers they have held captive since 2014, two of whom are dead.

Minnesota Congressional Democratic Candidate: ‘Israel Has Hypnotized the World’

Screenshot from Twitter.

One of the Democratic candidates in a Minnesota congressional race has a history of anti-Israel statements, most notably that “Israel has hypnotized the world.”

Ilhan Omar is a Somalian woman who came to the United States through a Kenyan refugee camp at the age of 12 and was elected to the Minnesota House in 2016; she is currently running for Congress in the district vacated by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), who is running for Minnesota attorney general and has past associations with Louis Farrakhan. As she is gaining notoriety, some of her past tweets on Israel are coming under scrutiny.

In 2012, Omar tweeted, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evils of Israel.” When someone on Twitter accused Omar of being “a proud Jew hater” over the tweeted, Omar responded:

Additionally, in 2017, Omar voted against a bill in the Minnesota House that outlawed state vendors and contractors from engaging in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“As many of you know I come from Africa and I wasn’t old enough to know all that was happening in South Africa when the apartheid was prevalent there, when South Africa was apartheid state,” Omar said on the floor of the House. “But I remember my grandfather talking to me about the stories of apartheid South Africa and telling me how that conversation shifted because so many people of conscience, so many people who understood that it was obviously for countries to continue to support South Africa have decided that they were going to engage in boycotts of that government so that that system would go down.”

Omar added that while she is “certainly saddened by the rise of anti-Semitism,” she had to vote against the bill because “what governments do and what is based in systems are very different.”

“I would love to have voted for a bill that would have expanded our ideals of fighting against discrimination and being a body that actually stood up against all discrimination,” Omar said. “I don’t want to be part of a vote that limits the ability of people to fight toward that justice and peace.”

In the foreign policy issues section of her website, Omar expresses her support of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and states that she wants to “uplift the voices of Palestinians demanding an end to the occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and end the siege of Gaza” and is against “the killing of civilians in Gaza and the expansion of settlements into the West Bank.”

Omar has been endorsed by Democratic congressional candidates Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib.

Omar’s campaign has not responded to the Journal’s request for comment.

Video: Israeli Child Recalls When Hamas Rockets Hit His Home

Screenshot from Twitter.

StandWithUs posted a video of an Israeli boy sharing the details of a Hamas rocket striking his home while he’s in a room with his dad, who was hospitalized in the strike.

The boy, identified in the video as Shalev Levy, said that when the first rocket alarm went off, he and his dad, Avi, stayed in a bomb shelter; when it ended Avi went outside.

Suddenly, another rocket alarm sounded and then Shalev heard a “boom.”

“When I went out to see what was happening, I saw that in my sister’s room there was a smoke and fire and I went to the living room and dad shouted and told me to leave the house quickly,” Shalev said. “When he said that I saw that his arm was bleeding.”

The video ends with Shalev saying that he used a cloth to bandage his father’s arm and then asked his neighbors for help.

According to the UK Guardian, Hamas and other Gaza terror group launched more than 180 projectiles into Israel; Israel has responded with 150 airstrikes into Gaza. Three Palestinians have died and numerous Israelis have been injured.

Hamas is claiming that there is a ceasefire agreement between them and Israel; Israel is denying this but acknowledged “that quiet would be met with quiet,” per the Times of Israel.

To get an idea of the constant barrage of threats those in southern Israel have to had to deal with lately:

Oshrit Sabag, who resides in Nahal Oz, told the Guardian, “We’re mostly scared that there will be another war. We’ve had tens of fires. Houses were burnt. Now rockets and mortar bombs. It’s chaos.”

Latest from Gaza: Hanging by a Thread

REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

On Thursday afternoon, a rocket from Gaza hit the city of Beer Sheeba for the first time since the Gaza war of 2014. This was an escalation of an already tense situation, after a long day and night of fire — an escalation of potentially grave consequences. Israel was forced to make two quick decisions. The first one: How to respond to this provocation? The second: Should an international soccer match, scheduled for this evening in Beer Sheeba, be canceled?

The decisions Israel made could seem contradictory. The match was to be played; the military response was to be immediate and high profile. So, as Israel was taking the risk of having thousands of people under the threat of rockets during a soccer match, it also sent the Israeli Air Force to take down a building in the center of Gaza.

In the last war, taking down two high rises in Gaza was the last straw that led to a ceasefire. It was a message: From now on, if the war doesn’t stop, all hell will break loose.

Today, taking down a building was meant to prevent a war that hasn’t yet started, but could start very soon. Israel does not want this war, but cannot tolerate for much longer the drip drop of fire from Gaza. Thus, it is now in Hamas’ hands.

The building went down in flames. Hamas surely got the message. If this message doesn’t sink in, there could be only one reason for it: Hamas wants war.

Palestinians’ Latest Method of Terror: Burning Condoms!

Screenshot from Twitter.

The Hamas-led riots at the Israel-Gaza border that have occurred at least once a week since March have featured Palestinians launching fiery kites and balloons laced with explosives as a means to terrorize southern Israel. Now they have found a new weapon: condoms.

Yes, you read that correctly. No, it is not a joke.

On June 21, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) shared part a Palestinian video on Twitter that a provided a how-to guide on how to create an explosive condom balloon:

Even though it’s incredibly juvenile, it’s no laughing matter.

According to a June 20 Times of Israel (TOI) report, the use of kites, balloons and condoms as weapons are “dead simple and dirt cheap methods” to cause terror, citing one instance where an explosive balloon emblazoned “I <3 YOU” landed on Israeli highway, forcing that section of the highway to be shut down until the police were able to conduct a controlled detonation of the balloon.

Another instance involved a group of balloons that had an explosive on them landing onto a trampoline in an Eshkol backyard.

Meirav Vidal, who lives in the home where this occurred, told TOI, “Balloons on a trampoline in the backyard — that’s a decorative play area and beckons the most innocent ones, and yet our children have lost their innocence because of this phenomenon.”

In the case of the kites, Israeli farmers have been particularly burdened by them since their fields have been wiped out by the fiery kites.

Israel has responded to these actions of terrors by firing warning shots at the encampments launching them as well as launching strikes against Hamas.

UN General Assembly Censures Israel’s Actions Against Gaza

United Nations General Assembly hall in New York City.

The United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of a draft resolution censuring Israel on Wednesday.

The 193-member body adopted “Protection of the Palestinian Civilian Population,” following heated debate. The resolution, which censured Israel’s recent actions in Gaza, passed with a vote of 120-8, with 45 abstentions, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Prior to the vote, Danny Danon, Israel’s permanent representative to the United Nations, told the General Assembly support for the resolution amounted to support for Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

“By supporting this resolution, you are a supporting a terrorist organization,” Danon said. “You are empowering Hamas.”

Over the last two months, Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip have held weekly demonstrations at the Israel-Gaza border. Israel has responded to the often-violent protests with military force, resulting in the death of more than 120 Palestinians.

Many of the Palestinians who have been killed in the protests are involved with Hamas, a terrorist organization. Hamas has resorted to unconventional tactics in its latest flare-ups with Israel. The organization has flown kites, set ablaze, into Israel, resulting in agricultural damage inside of Israel.

Many of the protests at the Israel-Gaza border coincided with the U.S. relocation of its embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem last month.

On Wednesday, Danon lambasted the General Assembly for putting forth the resolution, which makes no mention of Hamas.

“I have a simple message for those who support this resolution today: You are the ammunition for Hamas’ guns,” he said. “You are the warheads for Hamas’ missiles.”

Opposed to the resolution’s omission of Hamas, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley proposed an amendment to the resolution, one condemning Hamas. Haley’s amendment garnered a simple majority—62-58, with 42 abstentions—but needed a two-thirds majority to pass.

Prior to the vote on the amendment, Algeria’s representative to the U.N. called the amendment irrelevant to the goal of the resolution and called for a no-action motion on the U.S.’s amendment.

Encouraging member states of the General Assembly to support her amendment, Haley called Hamas’ actions against Israel “counterproductive to peace.”

Joanne Adamson, deputy head of the European Union delegation to the United Nations, called on Israel to use more proportional measures when responding to violence at its border.

“Israel must respect the rights to peaceful protests and ensure the use of proportional measures when protecting its legitimate security interests,” Adamson said. “We urge all parties to take immediate steps to deescalate the situation and to act with utmost restraint to avoid further loss of life.”

“We condemn the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel,” Adamson added.

Algeria and Turkey, on behalf of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, put forward the text of the resolution, which condemns Israel’s “excessive use of force” in Gaza.

Low Turnout in Quds Day Gaza Riots

REUTERS/Amir Cohen

The June 8 riots at the Israel-Gaza border were expected to be particularly violent given that June 8 is Quds Day, when Iran celebrates the Palestinian cause. However, turnout was low, prompting the Israel Defense Forces to declare that the protests “failed.”

Approximately 10,000 people attended the Hamas-led riots, when 40,000 people were expected to attend. About 25% of those 10,000 people engaged in clashes at the border fence, most of whom were men.

Those who engaged in violence threw burning tires, kite and balloons as well as grenades at Israeli soldiers and at Israeli territory. An IDF military post was hit by gunfire, although nobody was injured. A total of four Palestinians were killed and over 600 more were injured, according to Hamas’ Gaza Health Ministry.

And yet, the IDF was expecting the violence to be far worse due to Quds Day.

“The determination and professionalism of IDF soldiers on the Gaza border are proving themselves,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman tweeted. “Despite the great efforts of Hamas and Iran, less and less terrorists are coming to our border.”

IDF Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon proclaimed on Facebook that Hamas had “failed twice.”

“First by investing money in terrorism rather than in caring for the needs of the population, and then again through Gazans’ reluctance to join the marches,” Rokon wrote.

The violence at the Gaza border has been ongoing since March under the guise of the Palestinians’ “Right to Return” to Israel; in actuality Hamas is attempting to breach the border fence with the hope of launching terror attacks against Israelis.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently defended the IDF’s handling of the violence at the Gaza border.

“When I talk with European leaders, I always say ‘What would you do?’” Netanyahu said in London. “The last thing we want is any violence, or casualties.”

Hamas to Incite Gazans to Dress As Concentration Camp Victims for Border Riots

Screenshot from Twitter.

With another batch of riots set to occur at the Israel-Gaza border on June 8, Hamas plans on inciting Gazans to dress up as concentration camp victims.

Israel’s Channel 2 news is reporting that the protesters will be dressed in black-and-white striped uniforms in order to replicate what Jewish prisoners in the Nazi concentration camps were forced to wear:

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper condemned the “macabre ploy” in a statement.

“By dressing up kids as Nazi victims, proves the only god this terrorist organization [Hamas] worships is Moloch, the pagan god of child sacrifice, for whom children’s lives are worthless,” Hier and Cooper said. “When will NGOs and U.N. agencies devoted to protecting children finally raise their voices in protests against Hamas’ barbaric tactics, including the use of civilians, children nonetheless, as human shields and cannon fodder for their endless terrorist campaigns? When will the nations like Japan, who supplied beautiful kites for Palestinian children, protest the use of these kites to set fires in Israeli nature preserves and fields?”

The June 8 riots are expected to be particularly violent, as at least 1,500 flaming kites are reportedly being prepared and Hamas is inciting Gazans to breach the border fence. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have already begun warning Gazans to stay away from the border fence and is preparing to strike Hamas targets in Gaza.

IDF: Killed Palestinian Medic Threw a Smoke Grenade, Declared Herself As a ‘Human Shield’

Much attention has been given to Razan Najjar, the 21-year-old Palestinian medic who was killed by Israeli gunfire on June 1. Israel’s critics have claimed that her death was a war crime. However, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are claiming that she was not the “angel” that her defenders make her out to be.

According to a June 7 video released by the IDF, Najjar can be seen throwing a smoke grenade during a riot at the Israel-Gaza border and proclaiming herself as a “human shield.”

“The fact we see her in front of the cameras protecting demonstrators with her body proves how Hamas exploits all classes of Gazan society to its ends and to Iran’s ends,” IDF Arabic Language Spokesperson Avichai Adraee tweeted. “Do medical personnel around the world throw grenades and participate in riots and call themselves human shields?”

Joe Dyke, the Palestinian correspondent for Agence-France Presse (AFP), argued that the IDF took the video out of context, stating that the full quote was her saying that she’s “a human shield and rescuer for the injured on the front lines.”

Regardless, in their examination of the incident the IDF concluded that Najjar’s death was not intentional, claiming that “a small number of bullets were fired during the incident, and that no shots were deliberately or directly aimed toward her.”

The violence at the Israel-Gaza border has been ongoing since March as part of Hamas’ plan to breach the border fence and terrorize Israelis. Protesters have been documented as flying fiery kites into Israeli territory, burning tires and throwing rocks at IDF soldiers. Despite the criticism the IDF has faced, most of the Palestinians killed by Israeli gunfire have been Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists.

IDF Warns That They Could Strike Back Against Hamas for Use of Fiery Kites

REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) warned on June 5 that they may have to launch retaliatory strikes against Hamas for their use of fiery kites against Israel.

According to Haaretz, IDF Brig. Gen. Yossi Bachar gave senior United States military official to opportunity to survey the damage from the kites at the Gaza border, suggesting that the military is preparing for action.

Ever since the riots at the Israel-Gaza border started, protesters used kites that were either lit on fire or had attached explosives on them and flew them into Israeli territory. The result has been 9,000 dunams (approximately 2200 acres) of land destroyed in Israel, according to Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Firefighters have had to deal with at least nine fires raging in Israel on June 5 from the kites, most of which were in the Eshkol region.

Consequently, Israeli military officials think they can’t show any more “restraint,” per Haaretz.

“We will settle accounts with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the rest of the terrorists acting against us from the Gaza Strip,” Lieberman said in a speech in the Knesset.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on June 3 that funds allocated to the Palestinian Authority would instead be diverted to Israeli farmers whose fields were destroyed by the fires.

Farmers have seen their wheat and irrigation lines destroyed by the fires and there has been some serious damage to forests and parks, prompting the Jewish National Fund to sue Hamas for “environment terrorism” under international law.

“It’s not easy, but we have strength and it won’t break us,” Daniel Rahamim, who supervises irrigation at Kibbutz Nahal Oz, told the Jerusalem Post. “We know we are here because this is our mission – to raise children here and live our lives. It is our home and we won’t give up.”

Haley Calls U.N. Security Council’s Refusal to Condemn Hamas ‘Outrageous’

Screenshot from YouTube.

United State Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called it “outrageous” that the U.N. Security Council refused to condemn Hamas for firing missiles and mortars into Israel.

Haley had attempted to pass the condemnation at the Security Council’s May 30 emergency meeting on Hamas’s actions but Kuwait prevented the condemnation from happening.

“You might think that the rest of the security council would join us in condemning a terrorist organization like Hamas,” Haley said. “There shouldn’t be any debate about this. But of course, since this attack involves Israel, the standard is different.”

Haley said it was a “no-brainer” to call out Hamas for “aiming to cause as much civilian death and destruction as possible” and pointed out that the Security Council likes to criticize Israel even before knowing all the facts.

“Hamas’ stated purpose is the destruction of Israel,” Haley said. “That is its purpose when it fires rockets into Israel. That is its purpose when it builds terror tunnels underneath Israeli territory. And that is its purpose when it orchestrates violent protests and riots at the boundary fence calling for a march for return.”

Haley added that Hamas is what endangers Palestinians, not Israel, pointing to Hamas rockets destroying power lines that resulted in several Gazans losing power.

“To allow Hamas to continue to get away with its terrorist acts and to somehow expect Israel to sit on its hands when it is attacked is the height of hypocrisy,” Haley said. “To continue to condemn Israel with actually acknowledging what is coming from the leaders of Gaza makes me question who actually cares about the welfare of the Palestinian people.”

The full speech can be seen below:

H/T: Washington Free Beacon

When Jews Turn On Each Other

Screenshot from Facebook.

Arguing is part of the Jewish DNA, from the time that Korach stood against Moses. The Talmud devotes far more space to disputes than to agreement.  Sessions of Knesset never, ever can be misconstrued as the local chapter of the Oxford Debating Society. Jews are used to arguing with each other. They can’t be expected, however, to politely cede the mike to those working – intentionally or not – for our undoing.

Suddenly we’ve experienced some developments where Jews may be endangering our collective future. No,​ we speak not of lunatics like Neturei Karta, who kiss-up to Iranians working feverishly to nuke Israel.

But rather we are experiencing the drilling of holes under the collective ship of the Jewish future.

First example: A Jewish summer camp. Traditionally, camps have provided our kids with exposure to Jewish values – and many other things that inspired Jewish novelists and filmmakers. Many camps have strong ideological bents that differed entirely from the next one down the rural road. That was part of the “differences-within-the-family”. But no one – until recently – trained​ young Jews to work for the weakening and possible destruction of the Jewish State.

But it’s happening now. IfNotNow hosted counselors from around the country on May 27 to teach the occupation and Palestinian narratives. They tweeted: “Today counselors from 8 Jewish summer camps are coming together for a first-of-its-kind Camp Counselor Training on the Occupation. These courageous leaders are committed to teaching the Occupation and Palestinian narratives to other staff and their campers this summer. Following ongoing Israeli violence on Palestinian protesters in Gaza, this education has never felt more urgent.”

Another example: When a Chabad outreach worker offered to put tefillin on a passerby at Ben-Gurion Airport recently, one person readily agreed. According to this man’s Facebook page, “a woman with a crazy look jumped up and began to abuse, harass and disturb!” The woman was Professor Penina Peri, who teaches at the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies at the University of Maryland, and the American University in DC. She is an expert on multi-culturalism and authored, Education in Multi-Cultured Society: Pluralism and Congruence Among Cultural Divisions.  Her husband, who directs the Institute, is a former head of the New Israel Fund.

Apparently religious Jews didn’t make the cut in Peri’s universe of multi-culturalism. Should our young people be exposed to this especially in an Israel Studies department?

Third example: Hebrew Union College (HUC). Its leadership is anything but anti-Israel. Which is why it is impossible – not just difficult – to understand why it invited – (and then defended) – Michael Chabon to deliver the commencement speech to its graduates. Chabon is a well-known author and Israel basher. He shared his core beliefs with HUC and the Jewish world. He used the lectern to sermonize on the evils of Israel, mock the Bible, and advocate that Jews should preferably marry non-Jews. One graduate walked out, and wrote about the event in the Jewish Journal, “As I heard Chabon’s simplified takedown of my country, the room began to spin. I turned back to look at my brother, who served in a combat unit in the Israel Defense Forces. He looked sick to his stomach…I asked my mother if not seeing me graduate would disappoint her. She responded that she would feel ashamed to see me walk on that stage after what had been said. We stood up and left the sanctuary. Standing outside, I was nearly brought to tears as I heard the crowd of Jews give Chabon a thunderous applause.”

Perhaps the most shocking example was the recent gatherings of young Jews to say Kaddish for Hamas terrorists trying to topple the international border with the Jewish State. Hamas has made clear the goal of their riots are not about “occupied territories” but murdering Jews in Israel proper.

Today, these Jews abandon the world’s largest Jewish community, with the largest number of Shoah survivors and their families. They no longer share the destiny of the Jewish people.

Without realizing it, those who said Kaddish were not saying it for innocent, peaceful Gazan protesters. They were saying Kaddish for themselves – and the others like them, who have traded a proud legacy for the vagaries of self-loathing, and compromising the safety of their brothers and sisters as well as the Jewish State. We weep for their loss—and for ours.


Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein is Interfaith Director for the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Hamas, Islamic Jihad Launch Over 60 Missiles Toward Israel

Black smoke is seen near the Israel-Gaza border, east of Gaza city May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Hamas and Islamic Jihad launched over 60 mortars and missiles from Gaza toward Israel on May 29, resulting in at least three Israeli soldiers and one civilian injured, all of whom are expected to survive.

Additionally, the Netivot town suffered minor damage after parts of a rocket struck down by the Iron Dome hit part of the town.

According to The Times of Israel, Hamas and Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the attacks launched from Gaza in a joint statement, claiming that they were retaliatory measures for Israeli strikes.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) responded by launching over 35 strikes against Hamas and Islamic Jihad strongholds in Gaza, followed by strikes against 25 Hamas military targets.

“We will work in every way to ensure security and calm for the citizens of Israel,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman tweeted.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted:

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called for the U.N. Security Council to hold an emergency meeting on Hamas and Islamic Jihad’s attacks against Israel.

“The Security Council should be outraged and respond to this latest bout of violence directed at innocent Israeli civilians, and the Palestinian leadership needs to be held accountable for what they’re allowing to happen in Gaza,” Haley said.

The meeting is set to occur on Wednesday.

The strikes against Israel have been roundly condemned by the international community.

“The rocket and mortar fire by Palestinian militants from Gaza towards Israel must stop immediately,” the European Union said in a statement. “Indiscriminate attacks against civilians are completely unacceptable under any circumstances.”

The ‘Blame Game’ Doesn’t Alleviate Palestinian Suffering

A proposal drafted by Kuwait to deploy an international force to protect Palestinians along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip currently is circulating among member-states of the United Nations Security Council. This, after the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voted overwhelmingly to establish a commission of inquiry into allegations of possible war crimes committed by the Israeli military during the recent chaos along the frontier, which resulted in the deaths of at least 60 Gazans and injuries to some 2,000. Kuwait also pushed for the Security Council to adopt a statement expressing “outrage and sorrow at the killing of Palestinian civilians” and reiterating the call for an independent investigation, although the United States vetoed the move.

In response, Israel’s U.N. ambassador issued a statement decrying the “shameful … attempts to distort reality,” while declaring that Israel’s military “will continue to defend its sovereignty and the security of its citizens against the terror and murderous violence of Hamas.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the UNHRC a “biased body whose goal is to harm Israel and to back terrorism.”

Indeed, many independent observers have agreed with Israel’s supporters regarding what they see as elements of hypocrisy in the international community’s treatment of Israel when viewed against the backdrop of the carnage taking place in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp, located south of Damascus, where Syrian regime forces have for weeks been waging a fierce campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS). The camp was once home to more than 200,000 Palestinians, yet today only a few thousand remain, many on the brink of starvation. An estimated 4,000 Palestinian civilians have been killed during the Syria civil war, more than the combined death toll in all of Israel’s conflicts with Hamas over the past decade.

Despite this seemingly abject abuse of Palestinian refugees, there are no concerted calls for any probes into the ongoing devastation in Yarmouk, nor is Syrian President Bashar Assad in the crosshairs of the International Criminal Court despite clear evidence that he has perpetrated crimes against humanity by repeatedly using chemical weapons against his own citizens.

In the same vein, ISIS, arguably one of the most insidious terrorist groups of modern times, is virtually being ignored vis-à-vis its Yarmouk travesties in stark contrast to the across-the-board condemnations of the ISIS massacre of Yazidis in Iraq, for example. This apparent “exception” blurs another peculiar reality: namely, the widely drawn distinction between ISIS and Hamas, even though both are incarnations of the same radical Sunni Islamic ideology.

That Kuwait is leading the drive to place Israel in the docket is also paradoxical given that it expelled some 400,000 Palestinians during and after the first Gulf War because of former Palestinian chief Yasser Arafat’s support at the time for Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

While it is clear to many that Israel is not without responsibility and that its policies have contributed to Palestinian suffering, many also assert that decades of attributing blame exclusively to the Jewish state for all Palestinian suffering has in no way furthered the Palestinian cause.

“The question is not whether the response from the international community is right or wrong, but if it solves the problem,” according to Maj. Gen. (Res.) Nathan Sharony, president of the Tel Aviv-based Council for Peace and Security, which promotes a sustainable political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “And the only way to do so,” he told The Media Line, “is to elevate the standard of living in Gaza from the absolute minimum to something substantial. Once the people are relieved from the daily trouble they are experiencing they have something to lose and their motivations become different.

For Israelis, the singular focus on the Jewish state’s alleged crimes only reinforces their world-against-us mentality.

“Years have gone by, though, and there has been nothing but military collisions,” Sharony concluded, “so with no water and no electricity the situation in the Strip has become critical and needs to be solved now. This has to be an international effort, but Israel has to show that it means business.”

But a growing number of sources suggest that the UNHRC offers merely symbolic condemnations of Jerusalem, which, predictably, reacts with Pavlovian-like fury, while the U.S. is forced to go it alone and defend its ally by wielding its veto power in the Security Council. In other words, the status quo is effectively propagated, thereby ensuring that the cycle of violence repeats itself, even as other causes of Palestinian suffering are obfuscated.

This includes, for instance, the obvious deleterious impact of Hamas’ iron-fist rule, manifest in the crushing of all internal dissent and the pursuit of an external strategy of unending war, which, taken together, greatly reduces the possibility of improving the humanitarian situation in the enclave and thus the lives of Palestinians. Also overlooked are the millions of Palestinians who continue to languish in refugee camps throughout the Middle East — as opposed to being integrated into their host countries — a reality that has denied them any personal agency, thus leaving them totally vulnerable to assaults such as in Yarmouk.

For Israelis, the singular focus on the Jewish state’s alleged crimes only reinforces their world-against-us mentality, which, in turn, expresses itself through increasingly right-wing governments with more and more members that reject Palestinian statehood outright.

According to Gershon Baskin, an expert on Israeli-Palestinian affairs, “what we are seeing is a lot of the same-old, same-old because there are not many viable options. The international community is trying to figure out how to address the humanitarian situation in Gaza but, given the rivalry between Hamas and the PA [Palestinian Authority] and the fact that many countries do not deal with [the former] as it is considered a terrorist organization, there is only so much that can be done.

“I don’t see any solution coming from the U.S., Europe or, of course, Israel,” he told The Media Line. “One possible initiative could come from the Arab world, such as when countries sent a joint force to Lebanon to end the civil war there.”

Many agree that a change of approach is sorely needed. But as things stand, the headlines about Gaza will, as they have in the past, inevitably be pushed to the back pages. Given historical precedent, Israel will have weathered the storm and be left as it was, if not stronger because of its growing economic and military clout coupled with the diplomatic protection afforded by its alliance with the U.S.

The Palestinians, meanwhile, will have little to show other than additional suffering.

A Tribute to Terrorists

As a New York City parent, I knew something like this was in the offing. I just never thought it would be this egregious.

The Beacon School, a “highly selective” public high school in Hell’s Kitchen, held a moment of silence last week for the 62 Gazans killed trying to storm Israel’s border, 50 of whom were confirmed as Hamas terrorists while several others allegedly were part of Islamic jihad.

Before jumping to conclusions, we should put this into the proper context.

The Beacon School never had a moment of silence for the dozens of Syrian children gassed to death by President Bashar al-Assad, nor for the scores of Palestinians slaughtered in Syrian refugee camps. Though the school bills itself as progressive, it has never mourned the gay men that the Iranian theocracy has executed by hanging, nor Pakistan’s enforced honor killings or its stoning of women.

In fact, silent tributes at the school are very rare. So, just like the United Nations, the mainstream media and an alarming number of universities across the country, the Beacon School has a “social conscience” only when the perpetrators are Israelis, and even if the victims are mostly terrorists.

As one Jewish father put it: “I did not send my child to a New York City public school to pray for Hamas operatives.”

Principal Ruth Lacey has yet to be available for comment. A Department of Education spokesman told the New York Post: “We support civic engagement and advocacy amongst students, and encourage schools to provide inclusive environments where students are able to respectfully discuss current events.”

But there was no discussion before or after the moment of silence. And from what I heard, many Jewish students at the school did not feel respected at all.

As one Jewish father put it: “I did not send my child to a New York City public school to pray for Hamas operatives.”

Jewish parents at my son’s elementary school — all Upper East Side Democrats — were aghast at Beacon’s illiberal political act. It was the only reassuring aspect about the incident.

Hearing the truth straight from the terrorists’ mouths doesn’t seem to matter to most progressives. Hamas asserts time and again its intent to murder “every Jew,” and it makes little difference.

The Forward published a bizarre piece on the Beacon controversy that literally made no mention of Hamas. Who was killed? “Dozens of Palestinians.” It’s almost as if they are trying to signal Hamas: “Don’t worry; let us do the talking.” How progressive.

Progressives buy into every lie about Israel because they have been taught to replace critical thinking with victimhood ideology, and victimhood ideology teaches that Israel is the absolute worst “white colonialist offender.” The fact that Israelis are not white; that Jews have been occupied, persecuted and slaughtered en masse throughout history; that Israel has made repeated offers for peace that have been rebuffed; and that Israel doesn’t start wars but defends itself against forces indoctrinated to hate Jews — all of this is conveniently ignored.

I hope someday someone examines how Israel came to be seen as the worst “white colonialist” offender. Was it a coincidence, or perhaps the remarkable success of the propagandistic theories espoused by people like Edward Said, a Palestinian American professor at Columbia University, 70 blocks north of Beacon? Said is best known for wiping away centuries of Arab conquest and occupation and blaming it on the West.

None of this, of course, is to suggest that Israel is immune to criticism. The sharpest criticism can be found in Israel’s vibrant media, something sorely missing in its neighborhood. I wonder if students at Beacon have been taught this balanced perspective.

Meanwhile, about a week after Beacon’s “tribute” to Hamas, the third grade at my son Alexander’s school had a special “Journey to America” musical performance. Unlike Beacon’s moment of silence, this was completely apolitical: they told the story of immigrants’ journeys to America, an essential part of the American story.

So, the question remains: Why can’t progressive administrators in high schools and progressive professors in academia understand the difference between blatant politicization and proper education? I don’t know the answer, but for America’s sake, I just hope it’s not that their goal is indoctrination.


Karen Lehrman Bloch is an author and cultural critic.

Should Jews Feel Guilty About Gaza?

A Palestinian demonstrator uses a slingshot to hurl stones as another takes cover during a protest demanding the right to return to their homeland, at the Israel-Gaza border, east of Gaza City May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Whatever your politics, the violence that unfolded last week on the border between Israel and Gaza should provoke a collective Jewish experience of soul-searching and empathy. That the maintenance of our precious homeland sometimes demands violence and death is something to lament and interrogate, not justify.

It is understood that Israel does what it must to defend itself. During a visit to Los Angeles last week, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak — who offered the Palestinians more than any other Israeli leader in history in the way of a two-state solution (which Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat rejected) — said the Israel Defense Forces had no other recourse to manage the recent border protests than the method they chose.

“We have extremely sophisticated means and tools to suppress and control riots when the riots are about the size of several hundred [people] and from distances of 10 to 30 yards,” Barak said. “But there are no effective means as of now to suppress riots when the audience is many thousands [of people] and the distance is 300 yards. It’s a pity we have not developed it.”

This pity left many of us helpless but to watch with deep concern and aching hearts as the Hamas-led suicide protest, intent on transgressing Israel’s border, forced Israeli soldiers to take up arms. The wrenching scene and misguided international outrage that followed placed many of us in an uncomfortable liminal space between defensiveness and empathy; blame and responsibility; justification for war and heartache in the face of tragedy.

But must we feel guilty? To what extent is the humanitarian crisis in Gaza the result of Israeli policy and how much responsibility should be laid at the feet of Hamas and its frenemy in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority (PA)?

For Palestinians and much of the world, the Jewish original “sin” is that Israel was born at all.

“There’s a joint responsibility for the current situation in Gaza,” Avi Issacharoff, an Israeli journalist and co-creator of the Netflix show “Fauda,” told me.

It’s no secret that Gaza is in dire straits, swiftly careening toward an iceberg of uninhabitability: Water quality is poor; food insecurity affects most of the population; unemployment is ferociously high; hospitals lack life-saving materials; and Gazans subsist on only a few hours of electricty per day. For stated security reasons, Israel restricts the flow of people and goods going into and out of Gaza through the Rafah and Kerem Shalom border crossings. But sometimes those restrictions do not relate to security at all, like the barring of apricots and avocados as “luxury” items, or Israel’s inexplicable and unconscionable refusal in 2008 to allow Gazan students awarded Fulbright scholarships to leave the Strip. That kind of policy ensures that an alternative to Hamas will never emerge. In more ways that I can elucidate here, Israel has contributed to Gaza’s worsening problems. But it is not responsible for them.

“The greatest responsibility falls on Hamas,” said Issacharoff, who has covered Gaza and the West Bank for many years. “If Hamas would stop building their military force and start building infrastructure, there wouldn’t be any humanitarian crisis. If Hamas would change its ideology and strategy, suddenly you’d see Gaza flourishing.”

That may be overstating things since the West Bank — which is not run by Hamas — is hardly flourishing under Israeli occupation. Still, by comparison, quality of life there is better. And even though there is cooperation between the PA and Israel, the leadership in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip share the same delusion that Israel will one day vanish and that the Palestinian right of return is a viable negotiating option.

“Hamas is not saying, ‘OK, give us two states,’ ” Issacharoff said. “Hamas is saying, ‘Without the right of return, we cannot even talk about a ceasefire; we cannot talk about anything.’ They know that the right of return is the end of the Israeli state, and this is their vision.”

One of the most worrying things about Hamas is that its existence has emboldened Israel’s one-state hardliners. “I think Israelis and Palestinians share the same fantasy,” Issacharoff said. “Make the other side disappear.”

For Palestinians and much of the world, the Jewish original “sin” is that Israel was born at all. Both by flight and by force, Palestinians were consequently displaced.

Should Jews feel bad about that? Of course. But should we undo what was necessary to reclaim our home?

Simon Wiesenthal Center Calls On European Countries to Denounce Abbas for Anti-Semitic Cartoon

(PPO)/Handout via REUTERS

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is calling on the European Union – specifically France and Germany – to condemn Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for displaying an anti-Semitic cartoon on social media.

Abbas, who is currently hospitalized in Ramallah for pneumonia, can be seen in a picture posted to social media on May 21 reading a newspaper that featured a cartoon of an Israeli soldier taking away a baby’s milk bottle and forcing it to drink poison.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper said in a statement that the photo “shows how deep the cancer of hatred the Palestinian Authority President harbors for the Jewish State, her people and values.”

“The validation of that cartoon by him exposes how little difference there is between the PA and Hamas,” Hier and Cooper said. “Both continue to brainwash a new generation of children that Israelis are interlopers and latter-day Nazis.”

They added, “The big lie tactics employed in the so-called marches of return, gained the Palestinians nothing of practical value, with the exception that the man in street in Turkey and elsewhere in the Middle East is convinced that Jews are baby killers, cold blooded murderers who deserve whatever terrorist or other bombing attacks on inflicted on Jews, inside in Israel and/or around the world.”

It’s not known if Abbas had intentionally posed for the photo with the cartoon showing, but it would be in line with some of his most recent rhetoric.

The cartoon is based on the reports of an 8-month-old baby dying at the recent Gaza riots, however there is reason to believe that the baby died from a pre-existing medical condition and not from the tear gas deployed by the Israel Defense Force (IDF).

Abbas is could be discharged from the hospital as soon as May 23.

When Good PR Means Dead Jews

REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

The stubborn refusal of Jews to go to their slaughter is hurting Israel’s image. Had Israel allowed Palestinian rioters to breach the Gaza border and murder a few Israelis, instead of seeing headlines about Israel killing Palestinians, we might have seen headlines such as this one:

“Palestinians Kill 17 Israelis After Breaching Border”

Now that would have been a resounding PR victory for Israel.

First, the world would have seen with their own eyes that when Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar said on April 6 that the goal of the protests was to “take down the border [with Israel] and we will tear their hearts from their bodies,” he wasn’t kidding.

Second, the world would better have appreciated that the protests were not against an Israeli “occupation” but against the very existence of the Jewish state. The Gaza rioters were fighting the borders of 1948, not the borders of 1967.

Finally, the world would have seen how difficult it was to stop thousands of rioters who were determined to invade an enemy country.

Of course, the fence was not breached. No Jews died. Israel held its ground and successfully defended its sovereign border and its citizens.

It always amazes me that Israel’s critics completely overlook that it’s not in Israel’s interest to kill Palestinians and lose the war of public opinion.

From the horrified reaction of Israel’s critics, you would think they’re upset that no Jews died, as if this accomplishment merits punishment and is proof of Israel’s guilt. This has been a recurring problem for Israel every time it defends itself — the country’s reputation takes a beating because it doesn’t suffer enough casualties.

It’s the opposite with terror groups like Hamas: The more they can get their people killed, the more media attention and prestige they earn. Hamas has figured out that the mainstream media worships victims, especially Third World victims who are up against successful, Western-style democracies.

It works like magic. While Hamas leaders stay safe in their bunkers, they send violent militants who create havoc and hide behind women and children. In this perverted worldview, the tragedy of just one child dying in a cloud of tear gas is seen as a PR bonanza. The global media run with it, the United Nations calls for hearings and critics jump to condemn yet another “Israeli war crime.”

Alan Dershowitz calls this the “dead baby strategy.” In a recent piece in the Washington Examiner, he wrote: “Hamas’s goal is to have Israel kill as many Gazans as possible so the headlines always begin, and often end, with the body count. Hamas deliberately sends women and children to the front line while their own fighters hide behind these human shields.”

By blaming only Israel for Palestinian deaths and ignoring the Hamas cowards who send them to their deaths, the media empower the terrorists and prolong the misery of the Palestinian people.

What’s crazy is that Hamas doesn’t even deny this strategy. Dershowitz quotes Fathi Hammad, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, who stated as far back as 2008:

“For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahedin and the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly and the mujahedin, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine.”

Even the revelation that most of the Palestinians killed were members of Hamas hasn’t reduced the media bias against Israel. As long as the only dead victims are Palestinians, that is enough to carry the well-worn, off-the-shelf narrative of big, bad Israel killing poor, helpless Palestinians.

The real tragedy here is one we rarely discuss: By blaming only Israel for Palestinian deaths and ignoring the Hamas cowards who send them to their deaths, the media empower the terrorists and prolong the misery of the Palestinian people.

Palestinians must know that you can’t feed a family with media victories. A media victory won’t generate jobs or clean water or better health care. After the headlines die out, the Palestinians are back in their living hell while their leaders are back in their beachfront villas, knowing they’ve bought themselves more time by sucking the world media into blaming the Jews for Palestinian misery.

Israelis seem to have figured this game out. The media are effectively offering them a deal they find repulsive: “You want better headlines? Then we need more Israeli casualties.”

For lovers of life, this is an unacceptable bargain. As much as Israelis would love to have better PR, and as much as they strive to make themselves better understood, if the price of PR victories is more Israeli casualties, they much prefer to stay alive.

It always amazes me that Israel’s critics completely overlook that it’s not in Israel’s interest to kill Palestinians and lose the war of public opinion. After all, if killing Palestinians leads to a PR disaster and the prospect of being dragged into international criminal courts, why would Israel do it if not as an absolute necessity to protect its citizens?

Maybe that is the disconnect right there — for people biased against Israel, protecting Israeli lives is simply not a high priority. But for the extended families and friends of Israeli soldiers, which represents most of Israeli society, I can assure you that it is.

New York School Holds Moment of Silence for Gaza Fatalities

Palestinian demonstrators run from tear gas fired by Israeli troops during a protest marking the 70th anniversary of Nakba, at the Israel-Gaza border in the southern Gaza Strip May 15, 2018. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

A school in New York City held a moment of silence for those who died in the recent Gaza violence, which angered numerous parents.

According to the New York Post, on May 15 the Beacon High School announced that students should stop and be silent for a moment to honor the Gaza fatalities. A student at the school, Sophie Steinberg, told the Post that she noticed her Jewish friends were uncomfortable at the moment of silence.

“They don’t know how to feel,” Steinberg said. “They don’t know how to fit into all of this.”

Parents expressed their outrage over the moment of silence to the Post.

“I did not send my child to a New York City public school to pray for Hamas operatives,” an unidentified Jewish parent told the Post.

Another Jewish parent told the Post that no “school should be promoting a moment of silence for terrorists.”

“What if it was Islamic terrorists in ISIS?” the parent said. “No school would be having that over the loudspeakers.”

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) told the Post that the moment of silence was “disgraceful” and they would be demanding an apology from the school.

The school’s principal, Ruth Lacey, has reportedly been unresponsive to inquiries on the matter.

Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad have admitted that most the dead Palestinians in the recent Gaza riots were part of their respective terror organizations. Hamas, which organized the riots, forced civilians to participate in the riots as human shields in the hopes of launching terror attacks against Israelis.

Jewish Chronicle Writer Admits He Was Wrong to Criticize Israel’s Handling of Gaza Violence

Screenshot from YouTube.

A writer for the Jewish Chronicle wrote a column on Tuesday criticizing Israel’s handling of the Gaza violence. He recanted that criticism in a May 17 column.

The writer, Daniel Sugarman, initially wrote that Israel was wrong to use “live fire” at the Gaza rioters.

“Every bullet Israel fires, every life Israel takes, makes this situation worse. There are ways to disperse crowds which do not include live fire,” Sugarman wrote. “But the IDF has made an active choice to fire live rounds and kill scores of people. You cannot tell me that Israel, a land of technological miracles which have to be seen to be truly believed, is incapable of coming up with a way of incapacitating protestors that does not include gunning dozens of them down.”

Sugarman added that Israel was playing into Hamas’ hands by killing these rioters.

In his May 17 column, Sugarman wrote that he began to reconsider his criticism when confronted with arguments about how he shouldn’t deal in hypotheticals.

“The traditional crowd stopping technology would not have worked effectively. Rubber bullets are only short range,” Sugarman said. “The same with water cannons. And with tens of thousands of people rushing the border, this would have been extremely unlikely to work effectively. The border would have been broken through. And then, without much of a doubt, a lot of people in Israel would have died.  That was, after all, Hamas’s stated aim.”

After Hamas and Islamic Jihad claimed that most the dead rioters were members of their respective terror organizations, Sugarman realized that his criticism was completely invalid.

“I failed to acknowledge that, either way, Israel would be giving Hamas what it wanted,” Sugarman wrote. “Shoot at those charging at you and Hamas would have its martyrs. Fail to shoot and Hamas would break through the barrier and bring suffering and death – its stated aim – to Israelis living only a few hundred metres away from that barrier.”

Sugarman concluded his column with the words, “I said that Israel should be ashamed of its actions. But today I am the one ashamed.”

The full column can be read here.

18 Pro-Palestinian Protesters Arrested for Disrupting Ehud Barak Event

Screenshot from Facebook.

Eighteen pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested on May 16 when they disrupted an event featuring former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak as a speaker.

The event took place at the JCC of San Francisco as part of Barak’s book tour for his new memoir “My Country, My Life.” In middle of the event, protesters interrupted Barak with chants of “Free free Palestine!” and called him “a war criminal.” The protesters also shouted “not one more” as they accused Israel of murdering innocent civilians.

Among the protesters were people from the Palestine Action Network (PAN), who highlighted in a press release that protester Lauren Holtzman from Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) shouted during the speech, “Ehud Barak gave the order to kill 1400 Palestinians in Gaza, with 344 children dead,” referencing Operation Cast Lead in 2008.

The protesters were escorted out of the building by the San Francisco police and JCC security.

“We stood in solidarity with the people of Gaza, as well as with all Palestinians fighting for freedom,” Wassim Hage, a member of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, said in the press release. “As soon as I spoke up, the audience erupted, and several people tried to hit me. One man was successful but was pushed away by security. We demonstrated that war criminals will not be tolerated here in the Bay Area community.”

The Jewish News of Northern California’s Dan Pine reported that Barak was “unflappable through the disruptions, almost as if he expected them.”

“After the first, he told the audience members they were lucky to live in a country where people feel comfortable to express their views,” Pine wrote. “Then he went back to addressing the issues.”

Activists Shout Down Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in San Francisco for War Crimes

18 Arrested as Activists Shout Down Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in San Francisco for War CrimesAs former Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak promoted his new memoir at an event in San Francisco Wednesday night, members of Bay Area Arab, Jewish, LGBTQ, antiwar and student communities shouted him down, condemning Barak for war crimes committed against Palestinians.

Posted by Palestine Action Network on Thursday, May 17, 2018

According to Jewish Virtual Library, Operation Cast Lead involved Israel retaliating to Hamas after the terror organization violated a ceasefire agreement and tormented southern Israel with a barrage of rockets over the next few months. Barak was the Minister of Defense at the time overseeing the operation.

As for the current Gaza violence, Hamas has admitted that most of the dead Gazans are Hamas terrorists. Islamic Jihad also admitted that some of the dead Gazans are members of its terror organization as well.

UC Program Cancels Israel Event Due to Gaza Violence [UPDATED]

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

UPDATE: The UC Education Aboard Program sent to the Journal the message they’ve been sending to people questioning the decision to cancel the June 2 event.

“We had been hoping for a large turnout to the reception but there had been a low response to our initial invitation, which prompted us to send a reminder email,” the statement reads. “In response to that email, the UCEAP Alumni Relations Department began receiving messages from alumni questioning the decision to hold the reception in light of recent events in Gaza and elsewhere in Israel.”

“In addition to considering these alumni messages, we reassessed other aspects including the time and day, whether the low attendance would have a negative impact on our partners in Israel, whether we were competing with other personal events that some of our alumni may have already scheduled, and the financial costs of continuing as scheduled with a low turnout vs. rescheduling. All of these factors contributed to our decision to reschedule the June 2 event.”

The statement proceeded to acknowledge that they did a poor job communicating why they canceled the event and that they would reschedule it for sometime in the 2018-2019 academic year. The October events will go on as planned.

ORIGINAL:

The violence at the Israel-Gaza border has prompted the UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) to cancel a June 2 event that would have celebrated the 50th anniversary of the UC study abroad program in Israel.

Jenny, the catering coordinator of a kosher catering company, told the Journal in a phone interview that the company was scheduled to cater UCEAP’s June 2 at the UCLA Hillel only to be told on May 16 that UCEAP was canceling the event.

“Like many of you, we have observed the increasing tension on the Gaza-Israel border with sadness and deep concern,” Elizabeth Perl, the Alumni Engagement and Development director, told Jenny in an email. “After careful consideration, UCEAP has decided to cancel the event recognizing 50 years of study abroad in Israel that was scheduled for Saturday, June 2. While we fully understand the value and impact that study abroad in Israel has had on the lives of UC students since 1968, we feel it would be inappropriate to host a celebratory event at this time. Thank you for understanding.”

The same statement is on UCEAP’s Israel 50th Alumni Events Page.

“It was kind of like taking a political stance without taking a political stance,” Jenny told the Journal.

Jenny – speaking for herself – asked Perl in an email for the UCEAP to reconsider their decision.

“It’s really upsetting that this would impact a wonderful event or decision as Israel is the only real democracy in the region and is doing everything in its power to prevent 40,000 rioters with meat cleavers/weapons who are sending burning flags – at least one emblazoned with the Nazi symbol- over the border to cause destruction and chaos with the SOLE mission to hurt/kill any Jew or Israeli in the way,” Jenny wrote. “I hope that as a rational, thinking person you can see this and also that a prestigious university official program and group this is counter-productive to peace and unity as well as to the furthering of understanding of issues impacting Israelis on a daily basis- including Arab citizens living peacefully in Israel.”

Jenny added that she hopes UCEAP recognizes “the misled understanding of the truth and the consequences of the actions and words your organization is by making this decision.”

Jenny told the Journal that Perl hasn’t gotten back to her. Perl also did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment.

Rabbi Aaron Lerner, the executive director of UCLA Hillel, told the Journal in an email that they would be proceeding with the event anyway.

“We are working with American Friends of Hebrew University to continue with the celebration regardless of UCEAP’s involvement,” Lerner wrote. “The event will proceed in spite of political grandstanding.”

UCEAP’s event page for the 50th anniversary of the UC Israel study abroad program still shows two events scheduled for October. It’s not clear if the June 2 event cancellation will have any impact on those events.

Jerusalem Celebrates, Gaza Burns

FILE PHOTO: A worker on a crane hangs a U.S. flag next to an Israeli flag, next to the entrance to the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, May 7, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo

On the night of May 14, the leading headline of The Washington Post said, “More than 50 killed in Gaza protests as U.S. opens its new embassy in Jerusalem.” Headlines of other newspapers were not much different.

There is no doubt the headlines were factually accurate. But so would a headline saying, “More than 50 killed in Gaza as the moon was a waning crescent,” or “More than 50 killed in Gaza as Arambulo named co-anchor of NBC4’s ‘Today in LA.’ ” Were they unbiased? Not quite. They suggested a causation: The U.S. opens an embassy and hence people get killed. But the causation is faulty: Gazans were killed last week, when the United States had not yet opened its embassy. Gazans were killed for a simple reason: Ignoring warnings, thousands of them decided to get too close to the Israeli border.

There are arguments one could make against President Donald Trump’s decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem. People in Gaza getting killed is not one of them. A country such as the United States, a country such as Israel, cannot curb strategic decisions because of inconveniences such as demonstrations. Small things can be postponed to prevent anger. Small decisions can be altered to avoid violent incidents. But not important, historic moves.

At the end of this week, no matter the final tally of Gazans getting hurt, only one event will be counted as “historic.” The opening of a U.S. embassy in Jerusalem is a historic decision of great symbolic significance. Lives lost for no good reason in Gaza — as saddening as it is — is routine. Eleven years ago, on  May 16, 2007, I wrote this about Gaza: “The Gaza Strip is burning, drifting into chaos, turning into hell — and nobody seems to have a way out of this mess. Dozens of people were killed in Gaza in the last couple of weeks, the victims of lawlessness and power struggles between clans and families, gangsters and militias.” Sounds familiar? I assume it does. This is what routine looks like. This is what disregard for human life feels like. And that was 11 years to the week before a U.S. embassy was moved to Jerusalem.

A legitimate country is allowed to defend its border. A legitimate country is allowed to choose its capital.

Why were so many lives lost in Gaza? To give a straight answer, one must begin with the obvious: The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has no interest in having more Gazans killed, yet its mission is not to save Gazans’ lives. Its mission — remember, the IDF is a military serving a country — is to defeat an enemy. And in the case of Gaza this past week, the meaning of this was preventing unauthorized, possibly dangerous people from crossing the fence separating Israel from the Gaza Strip.

As this column was written, the afternoon of May 15, the IDF had achieved its objective: No one was able to cross the border into Israel. The price was high. It was high for the Palestinians. Israel will get its unfair share of criticism from people who have nothing to offer but words of condemnation. This was also to be expected. And also to be ignored. Again, not because criticism means nothing, but rather because there are things of higher importance to worry about. Such as not letting unauthorized hostile people cross into Israel.

Of course, any bloodshed is regretful. Yet to achieve its objectives, the IDF had to use lethal force. Circumstances on the ground dictate using such measures. The winds made tear gas ineffective. The proximity of the border made it essential to stop Gazan demonstrators from getting too close, lest thousands of them flood the fence, thus forcing the IDF to use even more lethal means. Leaflets warned them not to go near the fence. Media outlets were used to clarify that consequences could be dire. Hence, an unbiased, sincere newspaper headline should have said, “More than 50 killed in Gaza while Hamas leaders ignored warnings.”

So, yes, Jerusalem celebrated while Gaza burned. Not because Gaza burned. And, yes, the U.S. moved its embassy while Gaza burned. But this is not what made Gaza burn.

It all comes down to legitimacy. Having embassies move to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, is about legitimacy. Letting Israel keep the integrity of its borders is about legitimacy. President Donald Trump gained the respect and appreciation of Israelis because of his no-nonsense acceptance of a reality, and because of his no-nonsense rejection of delegitimization masqueraded as policy differences. A legitimate country is allowed to defend its border. A legitimate country is allowed to choose its capital.

When the Timely Fights the Timeless

What do the riots at the Gaza border have to do with the Jewish festival of Shavuot? What does the dramatic and historic move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem have to do with the custom of baking cheesecakes for Shavuot, or the ritual of learning Torah all night?

One of the dilemmas of Jewish journalism is what to do when the timely interferes with the timeless. We decided several months ago that Shavuot would be our cover story for this week. Since the festival commemorates the receiving of the Torah at Sinai some 3,300 years ago, it coincided perfectly with the release of Dennis Prager’s new book, “The Rational Bible.”

So, that was the plan — we would honor a holiday of Torah by reviewing a new book about the Torah.

And then, of course, reality intruded. The timeless Torah got ambushed by the timely news.

In fact, rarely do I recall a time period with so much consequential news — from the U.S. backing out of the Iran nuclear deal to the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem to the violent riots at the Gaza border, and, yes, even to Israel’s victory at the Eurovision Song Contest, when 200 million viewers watched Netta Barzilai take home the grand prize with an irresistible song that featured the memorable line, “I’m not your toy, you stupid boy.”

As we shoot down the rapids of this never-ending news cycle, Judaism comes to remind us that there are little coves on the side of the river that are waiting for us to pitch a tent, light a fire and appreciate the beauty and complexity around us.

Can a cover that commemorates an event from 3,300 years ago survive so much hot news? I can think of at least three timely cover stories we could have done instead of the one on Shavuot.

And yet, we decided to stick with the Shavuot cover. Why? For one thing, it reminds us that there’s more to life than news. News is sexy. It’s an adrenalin rush, a sugar high. I have a few trusted news sites that I know will give me a news hit every 15 minutes or so.

And when I don’t go to them, they come to me, either through a Twitter feed or an email blast or any other number of digital bursts.

All day long, I get hit with news items, mostly about politics, the Jewish world and Hollywood. And here’s the crazy part — I don’t complain. I’m used to it. It makes me feel like I’m always in the know. When I meet people, I feel empowered because I know “what’s going on” about the important issues in the world.

How can a 3,300-year-old story compete with all those hot news stories, especially an ancient story that offers us the same traditions and rituals year after year, without fault? Is there value to a story that is always there, a story that is rooted in eternity?

One of the best metaphors I ever heard about the challenge of parenting was, “Give your kids roots and wings.” As I interpret that statement, the “timeless” provides the roots and the “timely” provides the wings.

In a crazy world that keeps going faster and faster, the timeless is what keeps us grounded. Perhaps the best example is Shabbat, that ancient ritual that compels us to slow down and reconnect with our roots and our humanity.

Maybe that is one essential question of Shavuot — trying to understand why and how a news story can still be newsworthy after 3,300 years.

At the recent Milken Global Summit, I was immersed in a throng of high-achieving innovation junkies who offered smart and sophisticated answers to society’s ills. It was impressive. And yet, one of the most popular panels was one about life longevity — how to slow down and learn habits that will increase both the quality and length of your life.

When I spoke to one of the panelists, Arianna Huffington, after her talk, one of the first words out of her mouth was, “Shabbat.” She told me that her new movement, Thrive Global, is eager to start a “Shabbat track” because this Jewish ritual of weekly renewal is just what the world needs right now.

The news will keep coming at us, whether we like it or not. We’ll celebrate when the news is good, we’ll be sad when it’s bad, we’ll be confused when it’s good and bad, we’ll argue over whether it’s good or bad, and then we’ll all wait for the next hit.

As we shoot down the rapids of this never-ending news cycle, Judaism comes to remind us that there are little coves on the side of the river that are waiting for us to pitch a tent, light a fire and appreciate the beauty and complexity around us.

One of those little coves is the festival of Shavuot, when we recall that day when our ancestors gathered in a desert and accepted a book that we still study today. Maybe that is one essential question of Shavuot — trying to understand why and how a news story can still be newsworthy after 3,300 years.

Week of May 18, 2018

Shmuel Rosner: In the Mideast, a dangerous summer ahead

Jewish Journal Political Editor and New York Times contributor Shmuel Rosner helps us make sense of a Middle East that is getting more dangerous and complicated by the day.

Check out this episode!