November 19, 2018

Rocket Fired at Be’er-Sheva: Is War in Gaza Imminent?

Palestinians celebrate after Hamas said it reached a deal with Palestinian rival Fatah, in Gaza City October 12, 2017. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

1.

Gaza is, again, on the verge of war. Israel has no desire to have such war, but when rockets are fired at Beer Sheva and towards Gush Dan – the urban center of Israel – it might have no choice other than to act. Hamas’ calculations are more complicated. War is dangerous for Hamas, but apparently its leaders concluded that they can no longer sustain the current, miserable economic situation. Egypt is trying to mediate, but a war in Gaza is faraway – a headache, not a crisis. The Palestinian Authority seems to want war. If Gaza burns it puts the Palestinian issue back on the table, it gives the PA a little hope that a Hamas defeat would make it – the PA – the alternative. And of course, a war in Gaza would provide the PA with an opportunity to attack Israel in international forums.

A war in Gaza is a small victory for the Palestinian Authority.

2.

Many critics of the above-mentioned players complain that they have no strategy for Gaza. This is true – because no one wants to have a strategy for Gaza that comes with responsibility for Gaza.

Israel pulled out and wants to have nothing to do with Gaza.

Egypt is wise enough to never take over this mess again.

The PA wants to rule Gaza – but not to pay the price of having to fight for Gaza.

For Hamas, Gaza is merely a launch pad for greater enterprises.

So it’s true: everybody uses tactics, some tactics of delay, some tactics of inflammation. The players have no long-term plan. The critics have no long-term plan. And even in case they have a plan, there is no one to implement a plan.

3.

What Gaza needs is what used to be called – in the good old days – nation building. But we all remember how difficult, unsuccessful, costly, demanding, violent and deadly nation building can be.

Any takers? I didn’t think so. Israel will definitely not be a nation builder in Gaza. If that’s the strategy proposed by outsiders – Israel is likely to stick to tactics. Contain, deter, delay – and from time to time have war.

SJP Worksheet Accuses Zionists of ‘Wiping Out’ Palestinians

Screenshot from Facebook.

The Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter in Houston, Texas held a session at a recent immigrant youth conference that accused Zionists of “wiping out” the Palestinians.

At the United We Dream National Conference, from Oct. 5-7, attendees could “meet with undocumented and immigrant youth from across the country,” according to the conference’s website. Students at the conference provided StandWithUs with the relevant information regarding SJP.

A screenshot of a “Key Terms and Sources” worksheet from the session, titled “Palestine Without Borders,” has Zionism defined as “the ideology that advocates for the establishment of an exclusively Jewish state that necessitates the wiping out the native Palestinian people from their homeland.”

The worksheet goes on to define white supremacy as the “establishment of white dominant empires all over the world from the U.S. to Israel,” adding that Israel is trying to uphold a majority of “white Jewish people.” The worksheet also listed Israel as examples implementing apartheid and “settler colonialism”; the latter was defined as the “type of colonialism materializes through the occupation of a land by completely uprooting and displacing the native population.”

Nofar Salman, an Israel fellow at the Houston Hillel, posted on Facebook, “SJP is targeting the Jewish students on campus and we will NOT be victims of anti-Semitism and twisted lies.”

“We are choosing #LoveOVERHate.”

Shabbat Shalom Y’all. A lot of people have suggested to me not to post the anti-Semitic incidents that happen on our…

Posted by Nofar Israel Fellow on Friday, October 12, 2018

Talia Lerner, StandWithUs’ southern campus coordinator, said in a statement, “American Jews have a long history of supporting immigrants, making it particularly shameful that SJP brought anti-Semitism into this conference. At a time when Americans are so divided, we should be coming together against hate instead of having groups like SJP fan the flames.”

National SJP is scheduled to host its annual conference from Nov. 16-18 at UCLA.

Israeli Court Denies American Student’s Appeal

Screenshot from Twitter.

An Israeli court denied 22-year-old American student Lara Alqasem’s appeal to enter the country, meaning that she can either appeal the decision to the Israeli Supreme Court or be deported back to the United States.

Alqasem has been detained at Ben Gurion Airport for the past 10 days due to her past membership and leadership positions in University of Florida’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which is one of the organizations on Israel’s blacklist that they have barred from entering the country.

Alqasem and her family have downplayed her involvement with the SJP chapter, stating that while she has been critical of some of the Israeli government’s policies, she is not supportive of BDS; she just wants to study at Hebrew University.

However, the district court in Tel Aviv did not find her appeal compelling, according to the Times of Israel:

The judge, Erez Yekuel, found that there was “no disputing” that Alqasem from 2014-17 was a member of an organization that called to boycott Israel, and for two years was the president of its Florida campus chapter, and that the organization allegedly urged the “boycott of Israeli society” and expressed support for those who carried out activities to harm Israel.

He cited contradictions in her testimony, noted that she had wiped her social media history, and found that the state had the right to bar someone who sought to harm the country’s economy and image.

The ruling also stated, “Any self-respecting state defends its own interests and those of its citizens, and has the right to fight against the actions of a boycott… as well as any attacks on its image.”

Gilad Erdan, the Israeli minister of public affairs and security, also stated that Alqasem’s letter to him appealing his decision never actually renounced her past support for BDS.

Hebrew University, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and J Street are among the organizations that are calling for Israel to let Alqasem in.

The United States government has defended the Israeli government’s decision.

As a general principle, we value freedom of expression even in cases where we don’t agree with the political views expressed and this is such a case,” State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said.

More background and nuance on the Israeli law in question and how it relates to Alqasem can be read here.

UN Translation of Abbas Speech Doesn’t Mention Praise of ‘Pay-to-Slay’ Policy

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during Fatah Central Committee meeting in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank October 6, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) has a new report noting that the United Nations’ translation of a recent speech of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas didn’t mention his praise of the PA’s “pay-to-slay” policy.

The report noted Abbas’ speech at the U.N. General Assembly in Arabic translates to him stating, “I pay tribute to our pure martyrs and our heroic prisoners.”

Abbas then says, “Why is the one who murdered [Yitzhak] Rabin considered a hero and we – our people – are criminals whom it is forbidden to pay?”

The United Nations’ translation of Abbas’ speech, on the other hand, states that Abbas said, “I pay tribute to all freedom-loving countries and peoples and our martyrs” and he lamented, “Why is that who killed Rabin is a hero while our people are criminals?”

The authors of the PMW report, Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, called these translation differences “very significant,” noting that the “freedom loving countries” translation made his comments “sound benign.” And the “forbidden to pay” quote was missing altogether from the U.N. translation.

PMW’s report appears to be corroborated by the Times of Israel’s translation of Abbas’ speech:

I pay tribute to our honorable martyrs and courageous prisoners. Israel considers them criminals. Why? It has thousands of people who have attacked everyone? They are heroes. Why is Rabin’s killer considered a hero and we, our group, is considered criminals who should not be paid? I salute our heroic martyrs and heroic prisoners.

Abbas’ speech also included him calling Israel’s “nation-state” racist and that it ill turn Israel into “an apartheid state.” He then referred to Israel as the “occupying power.”

The PMW report comes on the heels of UNESCO calling a couple of Jewish holy sites part of “Occupied Palestine.”

The United Nations has not responded to the Journal’s request for comment.

UNESCO Exec Committee Passes Resolution Calling Jewish Holy Sites Part of ‘Occupied Palestine’

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Executive Committee passed a resolution on Wednesday that labeled two Jewish holy sites – the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb – as part of “Occupied Palestine.”

Section 3 of the resolution, Decision 28, first refers to the aforementioned holy sites as “Palestinian sites”; listed below it is a statement that says that the sites “are an integral part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

Another UNESCO resolution was passed that accused Israel for censoring and destroying Palestinian schools.

The resolutions were voted on and approved of as a non-binding annex, but Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon lambasted the resolutions.

“This is further evidence, for anyone who did not understand why the United States and Israel withdrew from UNESCO, that again proves that UNESCO is a body based on lies and biases, and is deliberately acting against,” Danon said in a statement. “The State of Israel will not be a member of an organization that is trying to rewrite history and willing to be manipulated by our enemies.”

On Sept. 27, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined UNESCO’s invitation for Israel to partake in an event on anti-Semitism, calling out UNESCO’s “persistent and egregious bias against Israel.” Israel and the United States both left UNESCO in 2017.

The Tomb of the Patriarchs, which is located in Hebron, are where the patriarchs and matriarchs of Judaism –– Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and Leah – are buried. Rachel’s Tomb, located in Bethlehem, is where Rachel, another matriarch is buried, since she died there during childbirth.

A Holocaust Education in the Arab World

Morocco recently decided to include Holocaust studies in its educational curriculum. How important is this step, and how is the issue playing out in other Arab countries? 

Morocco’s King Muhammad VI recently decided to integrate the study of the Holocaust into the country’s educational curriculum. Moroccan Education Minister Said Amzazi publicly announced the king’s decision during a roundtable discussion on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week. 

According to Le Desk, a Moroccan news website, Amzazi relayed the king’s message regarding the matter, saying that anti-Semitism is the “antonym of freedom of expression. It manifests the negation of the other and is an admission of failure, insufficiency and the inability to coexist.
“This is the anachronistic return to a mythical past,” the education minister continued. “Is this the past that we want to leave as a legacy for future generations?

“For all that, the battle against this plague cannot be handled carelessly. It is fought neither with the military nor with money; it above all depends on education and culture. This battle has a name: education. And in the interest of our children, it is important for us to win it because they will be the beneficiaries and our ambassadors in the future,” Amzazi concluded. 

Israeli parliamentarian Michael Oren (Kulanu) immediately praised the decision on Twitter, writing: “Morocco’s King Muhammad V (sic) sent a profound moral message to the world. Anti-Semitism & Holocaust denial is rising in the West, the leader of a proud Arab country is introducing Holocaust education into Moroccan schools with the goal of fighting anti-Semitism. There is indeed hope.”

Le Desk also reported that Morocco had considered incorporating Jewish-Moroccan history, as well as Holocaust studies, into its educational system back in 2008. The government, however, failed to devise a concrete plan toward that end. 

But in more recent years, Moroccan educational authorities began to collaborate with other institutions, notably the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, to develop an appropriate curriculum and pedagogy—one that includes Holocaust studies with the general aim of countering racial hatred. 

“The leader of a proud Arab country is introducing Holocaust education into Moroccan schools with the goal of fighting anti-Semitism. There is indeed hope.” — Michael Oren

Morocco’s decision marks a turning point in what some analysts see as shifting Arab perspectives toward the region’s Jewish community, although it is unclear how teaching about the Holocaust could translate into warmer relations with Israel. The kingdom, like many other Arab countries, does not recognize the Jewish state.  

Professor Meir Litvak, chair of the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University, told The Media Line that in the Arab world the general view on issues surrounding the Holocaust “has always been ‘whatever happened to the Jews in Europe was a European affair. Europeans were perpetrators and the Jews were victims. But the real price was paid by the Arabs when Israel was established.’” 

Therefore, he explained, attitudes among Arabs toward the Holocaust were often seen as part and parcel of the conflict with Israel, and not as an event in itself. This led to various views of the Holocaust on a spectrum from total or what is called “soft” denials of it, to sometimes justification of it, as well as various equations between Zionism, Judaism, and Nazism, or between Israel and Nazi Germany. 

Many Arabs also believed that Israel benefited from the Holocaust, which the Israelis used to gain political support and money. 

“But starting in the 1990s, we see a different and minority view emerging among some Arab intellectuals — especially many liberals, many of whom lived in the West — which held that ‘there was a Holocaust, it was horrible and we should try to understand and accept it,’” Litvak said. 

It happened for two reasons, he explained. First, these intellectuals felt that to be part of the civilized world, Arabs needed to accept and recognize the Holocaust. Second, to make peace with Israel, they deemed it important to understand how Israelis viewed such a tragic event in Jewish history.  

“But this is still, unfortunately, a minority position in the Arab world,” Litvak added. 

Morocco’s decision, he concluded, “is significant because it is the first time an Arab state takes such a courageous decision. But how much impact it will have on other Arab countries remains uncertain as Arab governments now have other matters to attend to. Also, raising the issue would clearly arouse the anger of Islamists.”    

Ido Zelkovitz, an expert on Palestinian history and politics and a Policy Fellow at the Mitvim Institute, told The Media Line that “by and large, the Holocaust has played a major role in Palestinian discourse regarding Israel and Zionism. 

“The Palestinians have used it in the past — and perhaps also in the present—to describe themselves as ‘the victims of the victims,’” Zelkovitz said, adding that “the issue of victimization is a central pillar of modern Palestinian identity.” 

But in the last few years, he added, we are seeing progress among Palestinian elites in the way they are approaching the topic. “We saw delegations of Palestinian activists who came to explore Yad Veshem [Jerusalem’s World Holocaust Remembrance Center] and later even published their impressions of the visit.”   

The Holocaust has also played a large role among Palestinian politicians in their efforts to better understand Israelis, Zelkovitz explained, recalling that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas wrote a 1984 book on how the Nazi-perpetrated Holocaust had been exaggerated by Zionists for political ends. 

“Though he didn’t deny the Holocaust in the book, he vastly underestimated the number of its victims. One can argue that this is a form of Holocaust denial,” he contended. 

“From the Palestinian perspective, I don’t see any true empathy when it comes to the Holocaust and its implications, but there is an understanding of how the Palestinians can use the event in their political calculations with the Israelis,” Zelkovitz concluded.  

“But perhaps this is a sign that in fact the Palestinians already recognize the Holocaust. And maybe in the future, from recognition they can move to the next step of perhaps not compassion, but a deeper understanding of it.”

U Mich President Apologizes to Jewish Students Over Recent Controversies

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Mark Schlissel, the president of the University of Michigan, apologized to Jewish students in a letter sent out to the university community over the recent controversies on campus.

Schlissel first addressed the two instructors, professor John Cheney-Lippold and graduate student instructor Lucy Peterson, who refused to write letters of recommendations to students who wanted to study abroad in Israel.

Refusing to write letters of recommendation for political reasons violates university policy, Schlissel stated.

“U-M strongly opposes a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, and no school, college, department or unit at our university endorses such a boycott,” Schlissel said. “Our view is that educators at a public university have an obligation to support students’ academic growth, and we expect anyone with instructional responsibilities to honor this fundamental university value. Our students deserve to be afforded all of the opportunities they have earned through their academic merit.”

Schlissel added that the university has established “a panel of distinguished faculty members to examine the intersection between political thought/ideology and faculty members’ responsibilities to students.”

The university is also apologized to the two Jewish students who were denied letters and is helping the two students gather everything they need to complete their applications to study abroad in Israel.

On the matter of the required lecture that featured a slide comparing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler, Schlissel noted that the speaker, former Black Panther member Emory Douglas, was invited to campus to discuss his artwork.

“Israel was not singled out here as imagery critical of many other political leaders was also a part of the talk,” Schlissel said. “This was the point of the talk itself – that imagery can be a powerful component of movements aimed at social justice.”

However, Schlissel acknowledged that it was understandable why students would be offended at the Netanyahu-Hitler analogy.

“We are sorry students were hurt by this experience,” Schlissel said.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) praised Schlissel’s statement in a tweet:

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, director of the AMCHA Initiative, also praised Schlissel’s statement as well as the university’s decision to discipline Cheney-Lippold in an email to the Journal: 

“We commend President Schlissel for his strong statement and the welcomed disciplinary measures taken against Cheney-Lippold. We are pleased that U-M has recognized the serious harm that an academic boycott’s implementation causes its own students. U-M has shown leadership in curbing this discriminatory behavior and stood up for all of its students’ civil and academic rights with this precedent. While the public discussion started with one student sharing her misguided professor’s actions, there are more than two dozen U-M professors who have expressed public support for the academic boycott. The problem is bigger than just John Cheney-Lippold, as further evidenced by recent reports of a second, nearly identical incident that harmed another student. We fully commend U-M for the steps taken thus far to discipline Cheney-Lippold, and for establishing a panel that we hope will lead to a clear and comprehensive policy on professors who attempt to use their professional positions to push a personal, political agenda.  Hundreds of faculty serving on U.S. campuses have endorsed an academic boycott of Israel.  We hope other university presidents will follow President Schlissel’s leadership.”  

U Mich Disciplines Professor Who Denied Rec Letter to Student Studying in Israel

Screenshot from Twitter.

The University of Michigan has disciplined professor John Cheney-Lippold for refusing to write a letter of recommendation for a student to study abroad in Israel.

The Michigan Daily, the university’s student newspaper, first reported that they obtained a letter from interim Literature, Science and Arts Dean Elizabeth Cole to Cheney-Lippold the professor for his actions: Cheney-Lippold will not be able to receive a salary increase this academic year and will not be able to accumulate credits for sabbatical until 2020.

The Journal has obtained the letter through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and can confirm that Cheney-Lippold has been disciplined for his actions.

Cole begins the letter by noting that Cheney-Lippold had written letters of recommendation for students who wanted to study in Israel before, which he said was because he didn’t have tenure at the time. She proceeded to point out how he failed to live up to the university’s standards.

“Faculty are not required to write letters for every student who requests them, and have discretion to decline for legitimate reasons such as lack of time, information about the student, and academic assessment; however, that discretion is not unfettered,” Cole wrote. “It does not extend to withholding a letter because of your personal views regarding the student’s place of study and then using the student’s request as a political platform to gain an audience for your own opinions, both in the media and in the classroom.”

Cole then highlighted the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs public statement from Sept. 24 stating that professors at the university are required to judge students based on merit alone.

“Your actions in this matter failed to demonstrate the respect for your student to which was entitled and deserved,” Cole wrote. “You acted on the basis of your personal beliefs rather than in the best interest of the student.”

Cheney-Lippold’s comments to The Washington Post that his “personal stance” didn’t affect Ingber’s academic goals showed “a disregard for the student’s well-being,” Cole argued, since it very well could have been a hindrance to her goal to study abroad in Israel.

Cole also determined that Cheney-Lippold had told her that he spent only 15 minutes of his class time to discuss the controversy and his personal views on the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement; yet she discovered that he had spent “nearly all of class time” in at least one of his digital studies classes to discuss the matter.

“If you felt students in your classes needed an opportunity to discuss the controversy in which you were involved, it would have been more appropriate to either invite a third party to lead that conversation, or to hold a dedicated office hour for students with questions about the matter,” Cole wrote.

Cole concluded the letter by listing out his punishment and noted that this was “a strong warning” for him not deny a letter of recommendation request to a student based on his political beliefs.

“Nothing in this letter is intended to discourage you from speaking on or advocating for matters that are of concern to you, which you are free to do,” Cole wrote. “But interfering with a student’s academic aspirations, as you have done here, is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.”

Cheney-Lippold has not responded to the Journal’s request for comment.

American Student Barred From Israel for Alleged BDS Support

Screenshot from Twitter.

Lara Alqasem, a 22-year-old American student, is currently being detained in Ben Gurion Airport because the Israeli government has barred her from entering the Jewish state due to her support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Alqasem is enrolled to study human rights law for a year at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. But the Israeli government has given her an ultimatum – renounce BDS or go back to the United States.

“If Lara Alqasem will tomorrow in her own voice, not through all kinds of lawyers or statements that can be misconstrued, say that support for BDS is not legitimate and she regrets what she did, we will certainly reconsider our position,” Israeli Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan told Israeli Army Radio.

Alqasem appealed the government’s actions, claiming before a tribunal that she is not a BDS supporter and won’t visit the Palestinian territories during her time in Israel. The tribunal denied her appeal, but gave her an extension.

“This is a 22-year-old who definitely cannot be in support of an academic boycott,” Leora Bechor, one of Alqasem’s Israeli lawyers, told The New York Times. “She wants to study here.”

Hebrew University has even weighed in and called for the Israeli government to let Alqasem study at their university.

“What’s being done regarding this student hurts our activities against BDS,” Hebrew University President Asher Cohen told Army Radio. “She wants to come here and learn … that activity of hers is against BDS.”

According to Canary Mission, Alqasem was a member of the University of Florida’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter, serving as the chapter’s president and vice-president at one point. The Canary Mission report on Alqasem states that while she was part of SJP, she participated in an event boycotting Sabra Hummus.

During the event, the then-president of UF’s SJP accused Israel of “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing.”

Also during Alqasem’s tenure with UF’s SJP, the chapter showed support for Rasmea Odeh, who was convicted by an Israeli court for being a key player in a 1969 Jerusalem supermarket bombing that killed two college students. They also showed support for Samer Issawi, who was sentenced to 26 years in prison by an Israeli court for shooting at Israelis and distributing pipe bombs, according to Canary Mission.

Erdan’s ministry has also reportedly said that they are suspicious of Alqasem scrubbing her social media accounts entirely.

In January, Israel blacklisted 20 pro-BDS organizations from entering the country, one of which was SJP.

Second U Mich Instructor Refuses to Write Letter for Student to Study in Israel

Photo from Flickr.

A second instructor at the University of Michigan has denied writing a letter of recommendation for a student to study abroad in Israel, according to The Washington Post.

On Oct. 1, junior Jake Secker, an economics major and entrepreneurial minor, asked teaching assistant Lucy Peterson to write him a letter of recommendation. Peterson at first committed to writing the letter, only to decline when she learned that Secker wanted to study in Israel.

“Along with numerous other academics in the US and elsewhere, I have pledged myself to a boycott of Israeli institutions as a way of showing solidarity with Palestine,” Peterson wrote. “Please know that this decision is not about you as a student or a person, and I would be happy to write a recommendation for you if you end up applying to other programs.”

Secker met with LSA Associate Social Sciences Dean Rosario Caballo on Oct. 5, where she offered to write him the letter of recommendation and pledged that “some sort of change” would come.

Similarly, on Sept. 5, professor John Cheney-Lippold told junior Abigail Ingber, a Literature, Science and Arts major, that he couldn’t write her the letter because “many university departments have pledged an academic boycott against Israel.”

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement that the university needs to take action because such academic boycotts “have a chilling effect on Jewish and pro-Israel students on campus.”

“We are strong supporters of academic freedom. Certainly everyone, including professors, has a right to openly express their views of the policies of the elected Israeli government,” Greenblatt said. “But this should not be at the expense of students seeking to broaden their academic experiences.”

Greenblatt added, “These professors indicated they had no problem writing recommendations for students who might study in any other country in the world.  Singling out Israel alone among all the nations of the world as worthy of boycott, according to the State Department working definition, potentially crosses the line from criticism of Israel to anti-Semitism.”

The university has previously said that they are staunchly opposed to an academic boycott of any kind; Rick Fitzgerald, the assistant vice president for public affairs at the University of Michigan told the Post that he couldn’t comment on the matter of Secker without his permission.

Ambassador Nikki Haley to Resign From UN

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley has announced her intention to resign at the end of the year.

Appearing Tuesday morning in the Oval Office alongside U.S. President Donald Trump, Haley said her accomplishments included combating anti-Israel bias in the United Nations.

According to media reports, her announcement has shocked White House staffers.

She told reporters she does not plan to run for president in 2020 and will support Trump’s reelection campaign.

Trump said he hopes to name a successor in two to three weeks.

Trump’s nominee to succeed Haley will require confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

Haley was beloved in the pro-Israel community, including at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which she addressed during its annual policy conference this year.

“We appreciate the strong leadership of @nikkihaley @USUN,” AIPAC tweeted, following Haley’s announcement. “Thank you for consistently standing up for America’s interest and our democratic ally Israel.”

In response to Haley’s announcement, American Jewish Committee also tweeted, “We will miss her fearless voice.”

In a phone interview, David Makovsky, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said Haley’s rhetoric about the U.N. holding Israel to a double standard, coupled with her star quality, will make her difficult to replace in the eyes of Israel’s supporters.

“When someone like that leaves it clearly is something that is going to be a blow,” he said.

He said that her “articulate yet plain spoken [style]…became her signature approach, and I think she was consistent in the way she delivered that message and that drew many followers and she will be missed.”

Prior to her appointment to the U.N on Jan. 27, 2017, Haley, 46, served as the governor of South Carolina.

In a joint statement, Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of SWC, said, “We will miss this passionate and fearless foe of tyrants and friend of Israel.”

“As an accredited NGO at the United Nations we witnessed first-hand as Nikki Haley showed time and again – in word and deed – to be a passionate, fearless, and unflinching foe of tyrants like Iran’s Ayatollah and terrorists like Hamas and Hezbollah,” they said.

What Haley will do next is anybody’s guess, Makovsky said.

“My sense is she wants to earn some money in the private sector,” he said.

Updated 12:20 p.m. on Oct. 9.

IDF: Palestinian Terrorist Kills Two Israelis at Workplace

Screenshot from Twitter.

A 23-year-old Palestinian terrorist allegedly murdered two Israelis on Sunday, shooting them both to death and wounding another.

The alleged terrorist, who has been identified by the IDF as Ashraf Na’alowa, worked as an electrician at the Alon Group factory in the Barkan Industrial Zone in the Samaria region, according to Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus. He reportedly took a pair of handcuffs at the factory warehouse and slapped them on the factory’s secretary, 29-year-old Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, and shot her to death with an M16 rifle he had hidden in his bag.

Na’alowa then allegedly shot 35-year-old Ziv Hajbi fatally, who was an accountant at the factory; a third woman was also shot, but she survived with a moderate wound in her upper body.

According to the IDF, Na’alowa is still at large and is believed to be from Shuweika village in the northern West Bank. The IDF raided the village and arrested Na’alowa’s brother and detained his sister. Na’alowa wrote on Facebook on Sunday before the shooting that he was “waiting for [Allah].”

Palestinian Media Watch noted that a Fatah official blamed Israel for being “incapable of protecting anyone that steals the Palestinian land.” Hamas and Islamic Jihad both praised the murders, calling them “heroic” and “natural.”

Yehezekel was laid to rest on Sunday, with hundreds attending her funeral.

“I’m sorry I was not there with you,” Yehezekel’s father said during his eulogy. “Unfortunately I couldn’t make it in time. I promise you that Guy [her husband] and Kai [Yehezekel’s 1-year-old son] will have everything they need. I promise I’ll take care of them the same way I used to take care of you. You can rest in peace.”

Hajbi was laid to rest on Monday, leaving behind his wife Natalie and their three children.

“I’m walking and crying,” Hajbi’s brother Or said in his eulogy. “Words are not coming out. I want to awake from this nightmare so much and can’t do it. I didn’t want to become part of the bereaved.”

At Least Three Palestinians Dead in Latest Gaza Riots

Screenshot from Twitter.

Hamas-led riots at the Israel-Gaza border on Friday resulted in at least three Palestinians dead and 124 injured, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.

However, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced in a tweet that “10 armed terrorists” breached the border fence, but the IDF stopped them and then launched retaliatory strikes against Hamas:

According to the Times of Israel, one of the Palestinians that breached the fence threw a grenade, but no Israeli soldiers were injured in the riots.

Additionally, Ynet News reported that there were at least seven fires that were ignited from the incendiary balloons that were launched, but they all appear to have been doused out.

Twenty-thousand Palestinians participated in the riot.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman tweeted a warning to Hamas, who are believed to have been escalating the riots as talks of a long-term ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas have deteriorated.

“We got through the High Holy Days just as we had planned, without a war erupting and while exacting a heavy price from the rioters on the Gaza border,” Lieberman wrote. “But the holidays are now behind us, and I tell the heads of Hamas: ‘Take that into account.'”

Hamas responded by saying, “These are empty words against the Palestinian will to break the blockade on Gaza. The March of Return will intensify. Our people pay no attention to this broken record of the Zionist leadership”

Bolton Tells Reporter That ‘Palestine’ Isn’t A State

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton answers a question from a reporter about how he refers to Palestine during a news conference in the White House briefing room in Washington, U.S., October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

John Bolton, President Trump’s national security adviser, declared that “Palestine” is not a state in an exchange with a reporter on Wednesday.

The reporter asked Bolton during a press briefing if it was “productive” for him to refer to “Palestine” as a “so-called state.” Bolton interjected that it was “accurate” to call it that.

“It’s not a state now,” Bolton said. “It does not meet the customary international law test of statehood. It doesn’t control defined boundaries. It doesn’t fulfill the normal functions of government.”

Bolton added, “It could become a state, as the president said, but that requires diplomatic negotiations with Israel and others. So calling it the ‘so-called State of Palestine’ defines exactly what it has been, a position the United States government has pursued uniformly since 1988 when the Palestinian Authority declared itself as the State of Palestine.”

Bolton also noted that both Republican and Democrat administrations have been against the United Nations recognizing “Palestine” as a state.

Additionally, Bolton stated that Iran has “pursued a policy of hostility toward the United States:

Another Israeli-Palestinian Peace Plan Ready to Clash With Reality

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, might hold the world record in reaching agreements with the wrong people at the wrong time. In the mid-1990s, he drafted an agreement for Israeli-Palestinian peace. His counterpart was Israeli Minister Yossi Beilin.

Alas, Abbas was then still under the boot of his boss, Yasser Arafat. He had no power to deliver. As for Beilin: Half a year after the pact’s draft was ready, Beilin and the labour government of which he was a member was ousted and replaced by the first government headed by the Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu. The Beilin-Abu-Mazen agreement remained on the shelf. 

More than 10 years later, Abbas came close to reaching an agreement with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. But two reasons prevented the agreement from materializing: First, Abbas never said yes (recently, Olmert attempted to paint this negative response in a more positive light by insisting that Abbas “never said no”). And second, by the time these two reached something close to an understanding, Olmert was no longer relevant. He was a weak prime minister, on his way out. He had no chance of getting the agreement he wanted passed in the Knesset. So, again, what the parties had agreed on remained on the shelf.

At times, Abbas seems to misread the political headwinds. An understanding with Beilin was no more than an intellectual exercise. An understanding with Olmert was no more than an illusion. Last week, on his way to making his annual speech at the United Nations, Abbas had more great meaningless meetings. He met Olmert, now a convicted felon with no political future, in London. He then met with opposition leader Tzipi Livni in New York. And yes, Livni is still a player in Israel’s political arena but is unlikely to have the power to make crucial decisions for Israel under any foreseeable political scenario. 

The two men he must talk to — Netanyahu, and President Donald Trump — did not get the honor. Both signaled that they are ready to sit down and talk. Trump even mentioned a possible “two-state solution.” Netanyahu was smart enough to respond positively to Trump’s unclear message, by reminding observers that a “state” can mean many things. “Everyone defines the term ‘state’ differently,” he said. “I am willing for the Palestinians to have the authority to rule themselves without the authority to harm us,” Netanyahu said on Sept. 26 after meeting with Trump in New York. So he did not rule out the option that such self-rule will be called a state.

What was Abbas’ response to these messages of a relative conciliatory tone? He said that the Palestinians now see the United States “with new eyes.” They don’t consider the U.S. to be a fair mediator for peace. “This administration has reneged on all previous U.S. commitments and undermined the two-state solution,” Abbas said. For Netanyahu’s Israel, Abbas reserved even harsher words, not the words of a leader preparing its people for negotiation and reconciliation.

Twenty-five years after the Oslo Accords — a plan for peace that Israelis and Palestinians drafted on their own in the early 1990s — there is now another plan for peace, one drafted by Americans. Since the beginning of the peace process, whenever the parties seemed to lose their footing and get off track, Americans felt the need to come to the rescue. Plans were drawn during the Bill Clinton years, the George W. Bush years and the Barack Obama years. To the presidents’ credit, their intentions were always good and their plans got neither better nor worse results than the initial plan drafted by Israelis and Palestinians —  that being no results. All sides seem to be much better at planning for peace than at making peace. 

Much like the Palestinians, Israel wants peace on its terms. It wants peace along with Jerusalem. It wants peace without refugees. It wants peace as a Jewish state.

And now there is another plan authored by a team of Americans that Trump assembled to write the “ultimate deal.” And don’t worry: While he still thinks that Israel and Palestine peace is a “real-estate deal”; while he one day preaches for a two-state solution and the next says a one state is also a possibility; while he still believes that “we’re going to make a deal” — his team knows better than all that. The plan is nuanced, it is coherent and it is basically ready to be released. Ready for failure.

It could lead to a Palestinian state. And yet, Netanyahu seems confident that the plan is compatible with the concept of “letting them rule themselves without the ability to harm Israel.” In other words: Ask not will they have a “state” — ask what you mean by a “state.” Call it a “state,” call it a “giraffe” or a “tiara,” Israel does not much care as long as it preserves its ability to defend the border and prevent it from becoming another Palestinian enclave of terrorism such as Gaza. The Palestinians want a flag? They can have a flag. They can have a government, a border, a president, they can make decisions, develop their towns, grow their economy, maintain internal security. They can have a lot more than they have now. All this is in the plan, but for a price the Palestinians don’t seem willing to pay.  

The plan is still under wraps because there are currently no credible buyers. The three-pronged maneuver by Trump’s administration was met with tough resistance. What were Trump’s tools? Using the Arab world to make the deal of the century a regional deal rather than an Israeli-Palestinian deal; using economic sanctions and enticements to make the Palestinians cooperate; shatter some of the orthodoxies that became an obstacle to any progress in all previous peace processes. 

Arab leaders were asked by the Trump administration — senior adviser Jared Kushner, adviser on Israel Jason Greenblatt and their team — to get on board and guarantee support for the plan. They were informed of some of the principles, and some of them responded somewhat positively. But a commitment was not granted. Trump was hoping to pressure the Palestinians, assisted by the Egyptians and Saudis. But these hopes met the reality of a Middle East where commitments are rare, and their fulfilment even rarer. 

The Palestinians were hit in the pocketbook by the administration and then told that they can get a lot more than they lost if only they’d accept certain terms and go back to the negotiating table. 

And of course, the boldest and most visible acts were those aiming to kill a few unrealistic dreams once and for all: Jerusalem was recognized as Israel’s capital, and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees was cut off from funds whose ultimate objective is to perpetuate and exacerbate the problem of Palestinian refugees. 

Abbas responded to all three moves with one powerful sentence: “Jerusalem is not for sale and the Palestinian people’s rights are not up for bargaining.” “Jerusalem” is the battle cry that can deter Arab leaders from jumping on the Trump bandwagon. “For sale” is to clarify that the Palestinians will not let economic hardships or economic incentives divert them from their ultimate goal. “Rights” is to signal that Trump was wrong to boast that Jerusalem and the refugees are now off the table. It might be off Trump’s table, and off Netanyahu’s — but that’s exactly why Abbas sees no point in negotiating with these leaders. That’s exactly why he called for “the convening of an international peace conference based on the relevant U.N. resolutions and the internationally endorsed terms of reference and parameters.” He called for the conference, to hint that, for him, the Trump plan is off the table.

 

All sides seem to be much better at planning for peace than at making peace. 

Not that Israel is in any rush to sign an accord with the Palestinians. It is not. Much like the Palestinians, Israel wants peace on its terms. It wants peace along with Jerusalem. It wants peace without refugees. It wants peace as a Jewish state. It wants peace that the other side is not willing to grant. 

Yes, Netanyahu knows that one day, somehow, the Palestinian issue will need a remedy. But he does not see this problem as urgent. Not when the neighborhood is preoccupied with Iranian aggressiveness, Russian interventionism, Syrian bloodshed, Islamic radicalism. 

Netanyahu is quite confident about the Trump plan. But he is not overly confident because of two reasons: the erratic nature of the president, and the dynamics of negotiation, if these ever materialize. Trump dislikes failure, and by declaring a deal between Israel and Palestine to be his goal — a goal he still says is likely to be achieved — he put himself in the hands of Abbas and Netanyahu. They can make him fail. They can make him seem like a loser. 

The prime minister is aware of the danger that Trump, because of this commitment that he had made, might fall in love with the idea of peacemaking, and that such emotion proved problematic in past rounds of negotiations (former Secretary of State John Kerry and the Iran deal is recent example). The prime minister also knows that negotiation is something that could lead to many unexpected results: What if his coalition crumbles? What if his only choice is reliance on opposition parties who want him to be more accommodating toward the Palestinians? What if the public suddenly begins to pressure him to give more? What if Israel is diplomatically outmaneuvered? 

Of course, there is no danger of any of this happening as long as Abbas prefers to make deals with imaginary leaders of imaginary states, rather than real leaders of real states. If Abbas’ game is a waiting game — forget about Trump and wait for a more sympathetic U.S. president in 2020; forget about Netanyahu and wait for his legal troubles to take him down — the Israeli prime minister is also in no rush. As his U.N. speech on Sept. 27 showed, the Palestinians are relatively low on his agenda. They are a nuisance, not an existential threat. They are a diversion, not the real Middle East game of power. In fact, a main worry for Israel is the risk that the U.S. will get diverted from these important topics onto playing the game of a futile peace process. 

Netanyahu’s and Abbas’ speeches on Sept. 27 at the U.N. were merely a preseason practice. As is always true in this arena, the next couple of months could be dramatic. Abbas is slated to speak within a few weeks to the leaders of the PLO — his home crowd. This will be his more important speech, where he will present his strategy for the future. If he has a plan featuring truly bold moves, this will when he announces it. 

What can he do? He can go as far as dismantling the Palestinian Authority (PA). That is, cutting off his own nose to punish Israel. In such a case, the burden of having to take care of the Palestinian population in the West Bank will fall on Israel’s shoulders. But Israel’s main worry is not such a move. It’s a much likelier move of cutting all Palestinian Authority funds to Gaza. 

Most observers of the Abbas U.N. speech — not many Americans were watching, as most viewers were riveted by the Christine Blasey Ford-Brett Kavanaugh hearing on Capitol Hill — focused on his denunciation of Trump, his denigration of Israel’s nation-state law (a law that Netanyahu brilliantly defended), his insistence on the need to reverse the U.S. policy on Jerusalem. The Palestinians themselves focused no less attention on Abbas’ impatient message to the leaders of Hamas. 

“We made a deal,” Abbas said at the U.N. “The Palestinian government assumes its responsibilities in Gaza as it has in the West Bank. Then we build our state on the basis of one law, one authority, one system and one legitimate weapon. We do not accept a state of militias.”

The deal — unfortunately — has one unresolved problem. Hamas, in the words of Abbas, “did not agree to implement it.” In other words: Hamas would not let Abbas control Gaza. In fact, as part of the ongoing strife between these two Palestinian factions, Hamas parliamentarians convened in Gaza two weeks ago and declared that Abbas’ presidency is unlawful.

Gaza is a bomb to which Abbas holds one safety latch. Almost every day, thousands of Gazans engage in violent demonstrations near the Erez crossing to Israel. The economic situation has again reached a low, stoking rage among the residents of the strip — rage against Israel, against Hamas, against the PA. Abbas can turn this rage into a weapon by deciding to cut $96 million that the PA sends to Gaza each month. He can turn this rage into a weapon that is most likely to fire the opening shot in another Israel-Gaza war.

Twenty-five years after the Oslo Accords — the anniversary was just two weeks ago — it is not easy to remember that Gaza is where it all started. I was there the day Arafat crossed the border to take over the territory — and then when he moved to Jericho, his second stop. 

In Gaza, the history of the peace process easily can be condensed. Step one: euphoria and the beginning of a Palestinian rule. Step two: violence and terror. Step three: an Israeli pullout. Step four: Hamas take over. Step five: continuous eruptions of violence. All this, in twenty-five years. All this, with only a fraction of time when the situation looked hopeful.

The Palestinians got their first chance at making Gaza a better place and ruined it in an Intifada. They then got a second chance, when Israel left, and turned to internal violence. Then Hamas got a chance. It had the territory all to itself, and decided to use it as a launching pad for war against Israel. And now Abbas wants it back.

The likely result: another war. We seem to always be ready for that.


Shmuel Rosner is senior political editor. For more analysis of Israeli and international politics, visit Rosner’s Domain.

For Rifka Lebowitz, Money Is Her Mitzvah

As a child, Rifka Lebowitz’s answer to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” was vastly different than those of her eight siblings, who expressed, among other things, desires to be a lawyer or a mom: “I always knew I wanted to help people with their money,” she said.

It would be many more years before she would arrive at her current career as a financial consultant.

When she was 15 years old, Lebowitz was an avid reader of the Financial Times but had to wait until she was 18 to legally buy company stocks for the first time. Her parents, who had moved their family from Glasgow, Scotland, to Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Har Nof when she was 8, were opposed to her studying for a degree because it would be in a co-ed environment. So, Lebowitz ended up taking a course in portfolio management at Bar Ilan University, in which, ironically, only men had enrolled. 

Years later, when she was a mother of two and pregnant with her third child, Lebowitz earned a bachelor’s degree in business and finance. The stories she recounts from her years in the banking industry are the stuff of sexist legends. She had already been employed at a national bank for a number of years as a licensed investment adviser when she was tasked with training a junior employee for his own license. That employee was subsequently promoted to branch signatory — a prestigious position in the Israeli banking world. Furious, Lebowitz demanded to know why she was overlooked in favor of her trainee. “The branch manager said to me, ‘Oh, you’re female. You do not want this promotion. You want to be with the kids in the kitchen.’”

“It genuinely hurts me when I see people struggling financially. I’m like, ‘Come on, let’s figure this out together.’ ” — Rifka Lebowitz

That exchange and a plethora of Kafkaesque experiences that unfortunately are ubiquitous in the Israeli banking world prompted Lebowitz to author a book for people making aliyah, called “Smarter Israeli Banking.” Published in 2017, the book was hailed as a banking bible, and this past summer Nefesh B’Nefesh, the nonprofit that assists people in making aliyah, gave copies of the book to 1,000 new immigrants upon their arrival in Israel.   

Lebowitz maintains that, financially speaking, life in Israel is better today than ever before. Hackneyed jokes like “How do you make a small fortune in Israel? By coming here with a large one,” don’t elicit so much as a smirk from Lebowitz.

Such notions may have been true in the recession years of the 1980s and even the 1990s, but the same cannot be said in 2018. “You look around and people are driving better cars, the malls are full, and the airport is always packed with Israelis going away [on vacation],” she said. While people may complain of constantly being in overdraft, their expectations from life are far higher than in the past.

Lebowitz helps people hone in on what those expectations are and how they can achieve them — without breaking the bank. Her Facebook group, “Living Financially Smarter in Israel,” has more than 24,500 members and has had a major impact on the lives of the Anglo community.

“It genuinely hurts me when I see people struggling financially. I’m like, ‘Come on, let’s figure this out together,’” she said.

Her theory is that as long as people have the right knowledge and abilities and there aren’t any extenuating circumstances such as illness, there is no impediment to being in control of their financial destinies. She says many of her clients are stuck simply because they lack the confidence to change their situation but once they shift their mindset, the money invariably follows. 

“People think I sit on people’s budgets and tell them not to buy coffee every day but that’s really not the focus,” she said. “The focus is a much broader understanding of, and a healthier attitude toward money and an understanding of what sort of life they want to lead and how they can get there.”

Israel, the U.S. and Partisanship

There’s a trendy view these days that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has committed the grave sin of turning support of Israel partisan. This is the view of many on the Democratic left, who seem perturbed at Netanyahu’s close relationship with President Donald Trump. “Netanyahu refuses to even pretend that he cares what liberal American Jews think or feel about Israel,” sneers Eric Alterman of The Nation. 

But what, precisely, is Netanyahu supposed to do in the face of the left’s gradual move against Israel over the past two decades? Alterman, for all his sneering, is a harsh anti-Israel critic — he says that Israel is either practicing apartheid today or on the verge of doing so, and has endorsed the idea behind boycott, divestment, and sanctions of Israel on the international stage. Can that be attributed to Netanyahu?

The left’s anti-Israel move has been brewing for decades. Republicans have been somewhat more pro-Israel than Democrats since the Six-Day War — Israel’s victory in that war led to an onslaught of Soviet propaganda against the Jewish state as the Soviets attempted to consolidate the support of Muslim states. Still, until 2001, the two parties remained largely pro-Israel; in 2001, 38 percent of Democrats supported Israel against the Palestinians, with 50 percent of Republicans doing so.

Then 9/11 hit. Suddenly Republican support for Israel began to climb and Democratic support for Israel began to drop. That drop was exacerbated by the advent of former President Barack Obama’s administration, which took the line that Israel’s failure to achieve peace with the Palestinians lay at the heart of broader conflicts in the region. The American left began to parrot the line of the European left that Israel’s intransigence represented the root of imperialistic Western power politics. 

After 9/11, Republican support for Israel began to climb and Democratic support for Israel began to drop.

I attended the Democratic National Convention in 2012, where constituents booed Jerusalem in the Democratic National Committee platform; there was no doubt in the room which way the Democratic Party was moving. The Obama administration established a “daylight with Israel” policy and ran roughshod over Israel’s concerns about Iranian terrorism in promotion of a hollow Iranian nuclear deal. Today, just 27 percent of Democrats say they support Israel as opposed to the Palestinians — even though the Palestinians are governed by a three-headed terrorist monster in the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Islamic Jihad — as compared with 25 percent who support the Palestinians. Controversial Louis Farrakhan acolyte Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) nearly became the head of the DNC last year with the support of supposed pro-Israel advocate Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). 

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader in Britain, is openly anti-Semitic. He took tea with Raed Salah, a man he called an “honoured citizen” despite Salah’s use of the actual Blood Libel; he wrote a letter defending Stephen Sizer, a now-retired vicar who blamed Israel for the 9/11 attacks; and he hosted “his friends” from Hamas and Hezbollah in parliament. Now, Corbyn has attempted to cover his tracks. But he’s fooling no one.

Meanwhile, the American right continues to embrace Israel at record rates. Republicans favor the Israelis over the Palestinians at a rate of 79 percent to 6 percent. Contrary to self-flattering left-wing opinion, that isn’t because of Christian millenarianism — it’s not because Christians think that support for Israel will immanentize the eschaton. It’s because religious Christians in the United States truly believe that those who bless Israel will be blessed and those who curse Israel will be cursed; they see Israel as a representative of Western ideals in a brutal region of the world; they recognize in Israel ideological allies and religious kin. Even those on the right who aren’t particularly religious support Israel because they recognize that Israel represents the canary in the coal mine for the West; Israel’s battle against Islamic terror is part of a broader battle the West must fight.

That’s not Netanyahu’s fault. Perhaps those on the left who remain pro-Israel ought to consider that the problem isn’t Israel or Netanyahu: It’s a left wing that has lost touch with reality in favor of multicultural utopianism and flattered itself into believing that sympathizing with some of the world’s worst regimes represents standing up for human rights.


Ben Shapiro is a best-selling author and editor-in-chief at The Daily Wire.

Why Are Israeli Voters So Stubborn?

Photo by Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Critics of Israel have trouble understanding why Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu remains the most popular politician in Israel. He is under constant threat of indictment; his unsavory compromises with his coalition partners have led to policies that have alienated many Jews of the Diaspora; and he shows no signs of resolving a century-old conflict with the Palestinians that continues to hurt, fairly or not, Israel’s reputation.

On top of that, there’s Bibi fatigue. The man won’t go away. He’s the only prime minister in Israel’s history to have been elected three times in a row, and if his current government lasts a full term, he’ll become the longest-serving Israeli prime minister.

How to explain such staying power?

For many of his critics, it’s simple: Bibi is a “fearmonger” who exploits the fundamental human need for physical safety. Instead of practicing the politics of hope, they say, he practices the politics of fear. That is a powerful argument because, in the abstract, hope is always more noble and inspiring than fear.

But if you listened to his speech last week at the United Nations, you could see why so many Israelis support him. When Bibi laid out in excruciating detail the growing security threats against the Jewish state, his supporters didn’t see fearmongering, they saw reality.

Bibi’s genius has been to convince enough Israelis, year after year, that he understands their reality better than anyone else.

“We in America may hate their choices, but they are the ones who have to live with the consequences.”

His U.N. speech was brutal and factual. Even the leftist Haaretz called it “one of his most convincing and effective performances,” which included “a precise and credible indictment against Iran.” In fact, the speech included precise and credible indictments against all kinds of threats facing Israel, from terror rockets pointed at Israel to European appeasement of Iran to anti-Israel lies at the U.N. 

It’s difficult for Americans to fully comprehend the transcendent importance Israelis place on their security. From a safe distance, while we may see conflicts to resolve, Israelis see enemies at their doorstep sworn to their destruction. While we may preach democratic ideals, they see their democracy in a continuous state of war.

This kind of existential danger has a tendency to elicit visceral, primal reactions rather than the civilized, sophisticated reactions we much prefer in America. After all, it’s difficult to be quite so civilized when you are walking down a street fully aware that, at any moment, an enemy may stab you in the back. 

If you ask me, the real miracle of Israel is precisely that it has managed to create a thriving and open civil society despite being under siege from genocidal enemies. This is a resilient society whose culture of innovation influences virtually the entire planet and that consistently beats the U.S., the U.K. and France on the U.N.’s annual “Happiness Report.” 

As Zev Chafets wrote earlier this year on Bloomberg, “Even [Bibi’s] enemies concede that Israel is more secure and prosperous than it was when he came to power.” 

I know that this contextual view of Israel is not popular among American Jews who are sick and tired of an Israeli government that constantly disappoints them, that can’t make peace with the Palestinians, that allows a power-hungry chief rabbinate to ignore non-Orthodox streams of Judaism, and that is often accused of threatening the democratic ideals in Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

These are genuine grievances, and American Jews haven’t been shy about publicly criticizing the Israeli government to redress them. Whether these protests actually influence Israeli policies is secondary to the right of American Jews to speak up and hold Israel to account. 

But while we speak up here in America, let’s not forget all those who speak up in Israel through the ballot box. These are the Israeli voters who, for better or for worse, have put their faith in Bibi and his government. Isn’t it time we show a little deference to these voters and their democratic choices? We in America may hate their choices, but they are the ones who have to live with the consequences.

“Bibi’s genius has been to convince enough Israelis, year after year, that he understands their reality better than anyone else.”

We can rail, for example, against the failure of Israel to make peace with the Palestinians, but it’s not as if Israelis don’t want peace. Maybe they’re more in tune with the existential danger of the West Bank turning into another terror state, or the reality that Jew-hating Palestinian leaders are loath to sign any deal that recognizes a Jewish state, regardless of where the borders are drawn. It’s OK to respect these views, even as we challenge them.

Israelis are hardly blind to Bibi’s flaws, but they also see how he has led their country with a steady hand under extremely difficult and treacherous circumstances. That’s why so many Israelis stubbornly continue to support him.

Considering the dysfunctional state of America these days, I wonder if, when Israelis hear all the criticism of Israel coming from American Jews, they ever feel like responding: “Hey, why don’t you look in the mirror?”

We should be grateful that they’re sophisticated enough to go easy on us.

PA Doubles Down on Terror Payments

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stands before his address to the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 27, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The Palestinian Authority (PA) will not abandon their policy of providing payments to terrorists and their families, according to a translation of PA leaders’ recent speeches by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW).

PMW highlighted a Sept. 21 quote from the PA’s daily newspaper, Al-Hayat al-Jadidia, where Qadri Abu Bakr, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Director of Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners’ Affairs, stating that PA President Mahmoud Abbas and other PA leadership “will not succumb to the Israeli and American pressures calling to stop the Martyrs’ (Shahids) and prisoners’ salaries (rawatib) and allowances.”

The PMW report also pointed to Abbas stating on Palestinian Authority TV on July 24 that “even if we have only a penny left, it will only be spent on the families of the Martyrs and the prisoners, and only afterwards will it be spent on the rest of the people,” adding that the “Martyrs” and “prisoners” are “stars in the sky of the Palestinian people and the sky of the Palestinian people’s struggle.”

Both the United States and Israel have passed laws in attempts to end what has been called the PA’s “pay-to-slay” policy. President Trump signed the Taylor Force Act into law on March 23, which zeroes out payments to the PA until they end the “pay-to-slay” policy. The Israeli Knesset passed a law in July that freezes their funding to the PA.

As the Journal has reported, Palestinian terrorists can receive up to $3,400 per month from the PA if they murder Jews; by contrast, the average Palestinian earns $150 per month. The PA spent $355 million on such terror payments in 2017.

H/T: Investigative Project for Terrorism

U of Michigan Senate Advisory Committee Says Letter Recs Should Be Merit-Based, Not Personal

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

University of Michigan’s Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA) issued a resolution on Monday that indirectly rebuked Professor John Cheney-Lippold for refusing to write a letter of recommendation for a student to study abroad in Israel for political reasons.

The resolution states that professors should base their decisions on whether or not to write a letter of recommendation solely on “merit”:

“Within the guidelines set forth by the American Association of University Professors [AAUP], and ‘demonstrate(ing) respect for students,’ faculty should let a student’s merit be the primary guide for determining how and whether to provide such a letter.”

The AAUP guidelines cited state that professors should “make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct and to ensure that their evaluations of students reflect each student’s true merit” and “avoid any exploitation, harassment, or discriminatory treatment of students.”

Cheney-Lippold told the student, Abigail Ingber, in a Sept. 5 email that he won’t write her a letter because he is part of an “academic boycott” against Israel. He told the Michigan Daily, “I was following a call by representatives of Palestinian civil society to boycott Israel in a very similar tactical frame as South Africa.”

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel said in a Sept. 20 statement that the university is opposed to any academics boycott against Israel; however, several Jewish groups have said that Schlissel’s didn’t go far enough and that Cheney-Lippold should be disciplined for refusing to write the letter.

H/T: Algemeiner

Six Palestinians Dead in Latest Gaza Riots

A Palestinian hurls stones at Israeli troops during a protest calling for lifting the Israeli blockade on Gaza and demanding the right to return to their homeland, at the Israel-Gaza border fence east of Gaza City September 28, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

At least six Palestinians died, and more than 500 were injured, during Friday’s Hamas-led riots at the Gaza border, including a 14-year-old and a 15-year-old, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The Israel Defense Force (IDF) has stated that there were 20,000 Palestinians at the riots, many of whom threw rocks, burning tires and explosives at IDF soldiers. No IDF injuries were reported.

Additionally, the IDF said that there were Palestinians who breached the border fence, but retreated to the Gaza side of the border.

The 20,000 rioters were an increase from the more than 10,000 rioters in the week prior, as Hamas called for more Palestinians to riot at the border. Israel has stated that the increase stems from deteriorating ceasefire negotiations with Hamas.

Israel Says IAEA Failed to Act After Being Notified of Iranian Nuclear Site

FILE PHOTO: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano waits for the start of a board of governors meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria June 4, 2018. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

A senior Israeli official told Israel’s Channel 10 that Israel told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about the Iranian nuclear site that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed at the United Nations on Thursday, but the agency failed to act.

The official added that the IAEA had no idea what was going on at the site, and when they didn’t take any action, the Israeli government decided the best course of action was to reveal the site to the public in Netanyahu’s U.N. speech.

“We wanted to wake up the world and pressure the IAEA to act against the suspected facilities in Iran,” the official said.

Israel also told the United States about the nuclear site. The United States joined Israel in calling for the IAEA to investigate the site, although a U.S. intelligence official told Reuters that it was “somewhat misleading” to call it a nuclear site.

“We have known about this facility for some time, and it’s full of file cabinets and paper, not aluminum tubes for centrifuges, and second, so far as anyone knows, there is nothing in it that would allow Iran to break out of the JCPOA [the Iran nuclear deal] any faster than it otherwise could,” the official said.

A different U.S. official said that the facility stored records of Iran’s nuclear program.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif told an Iranian news agency on Friday that Netanyahu is a “liar who would not stop lying.”

The IAEA has yet to react to Netanyahu’s speech.

IAC for Action, UCLA Student Speak Out Against SJP Conference to UC Regents

Screenshot from YouTube.

At a Sept. 27 UC Boards of Regent meeting at UCLA, the Israeli-American Coalition for Action and a third-year student at UCLA spoke out against UCLA for its plan to host the National Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) conference in November.

The student, Justin Feldman, accused SJP of aiming to demonize Israel through “resolutions to boycott Israel, claiming that Israel is an apartheid state, and even comparing Israel to Nazi Germany –– all of which are officially defined as anti-Semitism by the United States State Department.”

Feldman proceeded to highlight what he called “disturbing” statements from various SJP members, including desires to “stuff some Jews in the oven” as well as inviting “speakers with proven connection to terrorist organizations such as Hamas.”

“Some are even convicted terrorists themselves, like Rasmea Odeh, who was convicted [in Israeli courts] and jailed for the murder of two Israelis and many more wounded,” Feldman said. “These are SJP’s role models. Does this sound like a human rights conference to you?”

Feldman added that the SJP conference will be closed to the public, arguing that this violates UCLA policy and that pro-Israel students should be allowed to attend in order to defend Israel and expose any instances of anti-Semitism that occurs at the conference.

“I ask you, the UC regents, to either prevent SJP from hosting this conference at UCLA… or alternatively, require SJP to open its conference to all students,” Feldman said.

Subsequently, Jonathan Harris, director of the IAC for Action, cited tweets from SJP members that read, “May Allah curse the Jews, and that’s all,” “Where do Black Jews sit? Wait for it…IN THE BACK OF THE OVEN,” and “Give me a weapon and send me to Gaza.”

“Would a group dedicated to the hatred of African-Americans be as welcome?” — Jonathan Harris

Harris added that 36 percent of Facebook and Twitter posts from people affiliated with SJP at an unnamed American university “endorsed terrorism and violence against Jews,” arguing that this showed that SJP is “anti-Semitic at its core.”

“A group rooted in hatred for Zionism and the rights of the Jewish people is coming to UCLA to celebrate itself and seek legitimacy in the realm of public discourse,” Harris said. “Would a group dedicated to the hatred of African-Americans be as welcome? Or perhaps a group routinely justifying violence against women? Such groups, clearly, would not be allowed, yet a national network promoting hatred and violence against Jews will come to UCLA. “

By allowing SJP to hold a conference that is closed to the public, Harris argued that UCLA is failing to abide by its anti-discrimination policy for Jewish and Israeli students.

“SJP’s hatred of Jews and Israel is racism,” Harris said, “Violent, rationalized racism. And this conference in Los Angeles sends one clear signal to anti-Semites: ‘Come to UCLA – you are welcome here.’”

After the two spoke, UC Regent Sherry Lansing said that she had thought that UCLA required all conferences to be open and that it was “very concerning” that SJP’s conference is going to be closed to the public.

In an emailed statement to the Journal, the university noted that SJP’s national conference is still “in the early planning stages,” so it’s not yet clear if the event is going to be closed to the public.

“If the conference is not open to the entire campus community, it will not be eligible for University funding,” the statement read. “However, if the conference foregoes University funding, there is no systemwide or UCLA policy that would require the event to be open to the entire campus community.”

“There is a systemwide UC Policy that requires that certain Registered Campus Organization (RCO) events be open to all university community members. However, that policy applies only to events where compulsory campus-based student fees are used for the activity.”

UCLA has come under fire for agreeing to host the SJP conference; for instance, a petition from the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) has called on UCLA to reverse its decision. More than 1,600 people have signed the petition as of publication time.

The description of the conference on SJP’s national website called for the destruction of Zionism and accused it of promoting “ethnic cleansing, destruction, mass expulsion, apartheid, and death.”

Letters to the Editor: Sukkot Invitation, People With Special Needs and Ford Versus Kavanaugh

Sukkot Invitation
Concerning who I’d invite to Sukkot: hands down my maternal grandparents (“Ushpizin: Who Would You Invite Into Your Sukkah?” Sept. 21). My grandfather died when I was 7, so I never knew him well; I want that remedied. My grandmother died when I was 21, so I knew her much better, and in addition to seeing and talking with her, I want her homemade chopped liver again.
Stephen Meyers, Woodland Hills

Editorial Cartoon
The liberal bias of most alternative and mainstream publications, including the Journal, extends to editorial cartoons.

For example, the Sept. 21 cartoon by Steve Greenberg depicts a dutiful Gov. Jerry Brown at his desk, decked with an inbox filled with “Climate Change Action” and an outbox, occupied by a scowling President Donald Trump.

The outbox should have been stamped “Immigration and Population” — the engines that drive every economic, environmental and social problem in a sanctuary state that is predicted to have 65 million people by the year 2050.
Les Hammer, via email

People With Special Needs
Michelle K. Wolf wrote about a 72-year-old man named Steven who needed help from Jewish Family Service (“People With Special Needs Also Need Trusts,” Sept. 14). She stated that Supplemental Security Income rules prohibit single beneficiaries from having more than $2,000 in assets. That is true. As a 72-year-old, he would be collecting Social Security, either from his work record or his parents’ record. And he would be covered by Medicare. Medi-Cal would be paying the premiums. And if you collect Social Security, there is no limit to assets with Medi-Cal. Social Security pays more than Medi-Cal. Yes, it is impossible to live on the small amount of money disability insurance pays. The Jewish Los Angeles Trust is most necessary.
Barbara Polisky, Westlake Village

Why Jews Succeed
Writer Henry Ong speculates on why Jews are successful out of proportion to our numbers (“Finance Lessons for the Whole World,” Sept. 21). He concludes that Jews have had to prove their worth despite millennia of persecution.  I think he omits another reason, perhaps two.

Christians have historically valued celibacy and have therefore selected smart, young men for the priesthood, taking them out of the gene pool. By contrast, Jews have valued scholars of the Torah who became preferential marriage partners in villages and cities throughout Jewish Europe.

In ancient times, everyone valued tall, fierce warriors with long arms for hand-to-hand combat. Even the Hebrews did so, as told in the David-and-Goliath story. A disciplined army carrying swords and shields (e.g., Roman legions) would defeat an army armed with projectiles (Agincourt being an exception). After Jews lost title to their lands, they no longer selected big warriors. Modern Israel, as do most technological countries, fights  wars with smart men and women.

Another reason Ong did not cite is that Judaism emphasizes action to improve the world while most other religions have elaborate doctrines to be learned by adherents.
Myron Kayton, via email

Israel Benefits From Republican Leaders
David Suissa is supposed to be a conservative voice for the Journal, yet his holiday message was dripping with anti-Donald Trump hatred, spreading the “resistance” message of prominent left-wing rabbis and adding his own “march on Washington” comments (“Speaking Truth to Power — Ours,” Sept. 21). As the old year wraps up, we are grateful for a pro-Israel president, who opened the American Embassy in Jerusalem; a president who is giving Iranians sanctions instead of planeloads of cash; a president who has an Orthodox-Jewish daughter and Jewish grandchildren; a Republican-majority Congress that blesses Israel and funds Israeli military; and an administration that defunds the PLO so it can’t use our money to pay terrorists’ families. My heart breaks that Suissa and his ilk can’t see the blessings that are right in front of his eyes for this country and for Israel.
Marsha Roseman, Van Nuys

Love the new Jewish Journal, developed under the wise and creative guidance of Editor-in-Chief David Suissa. As a now-devoted subscriber, I always look forward to reading Suissa’s engaging “Editor’s Notes,” which are so elegantly written and so filled with warmth, compassion, understanding and welcome truths. Thank you for this exceptional publication.
Susan Ehrlich, via email

SJP at UCLA
Regarding “SJP to Host Anti-Zionist Event at UCLA” (Sept. 14), when the speakers preach Jew-hatred and Holocaust-denial as expected, college administrators probably won’t interfere, since criticism of Islam is forbidden on the left, while demonization of Israel is common.
Rueben Gordon, via email  

Stabbing Death of Ari Fuld
The Palestinian AARP is not like our AARP (“Remembering the ‘Lion of Zion,’” Sept. 21). It’s an abbreviation for Arab Assassins Retirement Plan.

Under this plan, if you murder a Jew, any Jew, and you are killed in the process, your family members are compensated for the rest of their lives for having done the world the favor of giving birth to a child who rid the planet of an undesirable person.

If the murderer doesn’t die in the attack but is imprisoned for life, then a lifetime monthly pension is paid. The killer’s family gets the money anyway because it can’t be spent in prison. The latest beneficiary of this ghoulish system will be the suspected killer of Ari Fuld (z”l).

It doesn’t stop there. Thanks to the generosity of many governments, including ours, this blood money costs the Arab Palestinians nothing because it comes from donations by others.

The educational system that feeds hate to Arab-Palestinian youth, and of course parental support, gives wings to this system. And thanks to the gullibility of millions, and an unhealthy dose of anti-Semitic sentiment around the world, the funding of the Palestinian “AARP” seems destined to continue unless Donald Trump stays in the White House. How awkward.
Desmond Tuck, via email

Ford Versus Kavanaugh
In the ongoing battle of professor Christine Blasey Ford versus Judge Brett Kavanaugh, one seems to be faced with the challenging decision on which “conspiracy” to believe.
To liberals/Democrats on the left, the saga of Kavanaugh is “obviously“ a conspiracy by old, Republican, white men to fail to protect women from sexual predators and thoroughly investigate such charges.

To conservatives/Republicans on the right, this is an obvious “ploy” by anti-Donald Trump operatives, and the “usual suspects” (leftist/activist citizens and lawyers) to drag up some obscure “accusation” of 30-plus years ago, and try desperately to give it some authenticity; hence, railroading or at least delaying installing a new judge until after the midterm elections.
Pick your poison?
Rick Solomon, Lake Balboa


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Roseanne: Between the ‘Sacred and the Profane’

From left: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Roseanne Barr and David Suissa discuss “Is America a Forgiving Nation?” (Photo courtesy of World Values Network)

On Sept. 17, the night before Erev Yom Kippur, at the same time as the 70th Primetime Emmys Awards ceremony, comedian and actress Roseanne Barr was participating in a discussion titled, “Is America a Forgiving Nation?” 

Appearing at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, Barr addressed the event that torpedoed her career: In May, Barr wrote a racist tweet about former President Barack Obama aide Valerie Jarrett. 

During the onstage discussion at the Saban with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, which was moderated by Journal Publisher and Editor-in-Chief David Suissa, Barr said the fallout from the tweet, including ABC’s cancellation of its hit reboot of her show “Roseanne,” was devastating.

“It was so hard I thought I was going to die,” the 66-year-old said. “And it physically defeated me, and I was just leveled. And still it has been two months … but I still can’t. I feel like I have been psychically attacked and I have trouble staying awake. I went into a really bad place.”

Barr said her tweet arose from frustration with former President Barack Obama’s administration’s handling of the Iran deal, among other things. 

The sympathetic audience of close to 200 people applauded when Barr said, “I apologized for the hurt it caused people, but also I tried to clarify it and this has been quite a battle in which the right to clarify what I meant has been denied to me.”  

“That’s what I regret,” she added, “that I was not absolutely clear in what I meant.”

Boteach, who has been a friend of Barr’s for 20 years, and regularly studies Torah with her, said he reached out to her in the wake of the fallout, because of the strength of her Jewish character. 

“I wish people could be exposed to the depth of the conversations that Roseanne and I have had over the past few months,” he said, “because America knows Roseanne as an extremely funny woman, who created one of television’s most successful sitcoms and last season dominated the ratings, but what they don’t know is what a profound student of Torah she is. I mean, profound.” 

Boteach added, “She is a phenomenal, ferocious lioness for the Jewish people, and she deserved our steadfast support while making it clear she should make this right, because we Jews have values.”

Much of the evening centered on Barr’s commitment to Judaism. Raised in a Jewish home in Salt Lake City, Barr said Judaism plays a central role in her life. “My main passion and joy and compulsion is the study of Torah,” she said.

When Suissa asked how Barr reconciles her love of Torah with her irreverent comedy, Barr said her life is a balancing act between “the sacred and the profane.”

The Man Who Makes Tech Go ‘Boom’

Hillel Fuld

Editor’s note: This interview was conducted before the death of Fuld’s brother, Ari, who was stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist on Sept. 16. Fuld tweeted shortly after Ari’s murder: “He lived as a hero and died as a hero. My big bro is gone. Thanks for the messages. Really. Just looking for oxygen now …”

In the summer of 2014, Steve Wozniak ­­— the man who helped develop the personal computer — visited Israel for 24 hours. He invited Hillel Fuld, a keen-eyed, peppy Jerusalemite who takes the term “tech aficionado” to a new level, to a breakfast meeting at the David InterContinental in Tel Aviv. It was the height of the Gaza War, and in the middle of their meeting, a siren blared, warning of an incoming missile.

“I had to rush the founder of Apple to the bomb shelter,” Fuld breathlessly recounted. “It was so surreal.”

Wozniak is one of Fuld’s 34,200 followers on Twitter, along with Ellen DeGeneres, Yoko Ono, Ashton Kutcher, Arianna Huffington, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and a host of brands including Coca Cola, Tommy Hilfiger, United Airlines and Windows. 

Today, Fuld is the strategic adviser to around 20 Israeli tech companies, advising on all things growth, from social media, content, PR and fundraising, to the art of pitching. He also collaborates with tech giants including Google, Oracle and Microsoft as a mentor and influencer. 

 “I help Israeli tech go ‘boom,’ ” is Fuld’s self-styled tagline. 

When he was 15, Fuld made aliyah from Queens, N.Y., to Jerusalem. For as long as he can remember, he has had a passion for technology, although his wife prefers the term obsession. After completing his military service and receiving a degree in political science anthropology, Fuld wanted to pursue something in the tech arena. At the suggestion of a friend, he took a job as a technical writer at Comverse Technology but was totally unaware that the position entailed drafting user manuals. 

Still, his experience at Comverse — which at the time was the biggest tech company in Israel — was invaluable, he said. At the same time, he began scribbling his thoughts on tech for what he called a “diary on the internet.”

“Today we call that a blog and it turns out that was set to become a thing,” Fuld noted. He amassed a large following and entrepreneurs soon began approaching him for advice. He had no business model and refused to take a dime. “People kept telling me to monetize but I said no. I’m happy to help and money will follow,” he said. 

“I had to rush the founder of Apple to the bomb shelter. It was so surreal.” — Hillel Fuld

He kept his job at Comverse and blogged on the side. “In time, those two things merged and my job became my passion and my passion became my job,” he said. 

“Now I’m living my dream,” Fuld said. “I wake up in the morning, I head to Tel Aviv and meet with truly legendary entrepreneurs who are building world-changing technology. It still makes me pinch myself that they’re taking my advice.”

He credits Twitter for contributing to his success. “I was able to leverage Twitter’s culture of openness 10 levels above what I ever could have dreamed of,” he said. Through the social media giant, Fuld met and interviewed his idol, Marc Andreessen, the billionaire entrepreneur credited with inventing the first web browser. He also met his teenage crush, “Who’s the Boss?” actor Alyssa Milano, with whom he talks regularly. He was recently named the 15th most influential tech blogger on the internet.

“The amount of influence that you can have sitting in your living room wherever you are in the world is phenomenal,” he said.

Fuld is selective about the companies he chooses to work with but said the most important aspect is the people. “At the end of the day, technology doesn’t win, people win.”

Where does he plan to go from here?

“If I won the lottery tomorrow, I wouldn’t change a thing,” he said.

Trump Backs Two-State Solution in Press Conference With Netanyahu

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a bilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

President Trump voiced his support for a two-state solution in the Israel-Palestinian conflict in a Wednesday press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations General Assembly.

Trump was asked by a reporter if his peace plan would involve a two-state solution, prompting Trump to respond, “I like two-state solution.”

“That’s what I think works best,” Trump said. “I don’t even have to speak to anybody, that’s my feeling. Now, you may have a different feeling — I don’t think so — but I think two-state solution works best.”

Trump later added that his peace plan would be presented in two-to-four months and that he hoped to accomplish a deal between the two sides before the end of his first term as president.

The president also said during the press conference that he was confident that the Palestinians would come back to the negotiating table, pointing out that the United States has leverage by zeroing out funding to the Palestinians and that the biggest roadblock to a deal, Jerusalem, has now been taken off the table.

“By taking off the table the embassy moving to Jerusalem, that was always the primary ingredient as to why deals couldn’t get done,” Trump said. “I spoke to many of the negotiating teams, and they said they could never get past the embassy moving into Jerusalem and all of what that meant, which you know what that meant. That meant everything. And now, that’s off the table.”

Netanyahu later told reporters that any deal would allow Israel to maintain its “security control from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea,” according to the Times of Israel.

“Make no mistake: Israel will not give up on security control west of the Jordan as long as I am prime minister,” Netanyahu said. “I think the Americans accept that principle.”

And in Other Campus News … A Year In Review

Photo by Pexels

Another academic year is upon us, and if you’re feeling dejected about the treatment of Israel on American campuses, here’s a list of lesser-known student activity from last year that can help:

At Duke, a student group calling itself Students for Justice in Syria (SJS) held a protest against Syrian President Bashar Assad and the civil war in in that country, which has resulted in nearly 400,000 deaths. SJS created a mock “Refugee Experience” display, wherein students had a chance to experience the discrimination faced by asylum seekers who are seeking to flee the violence-stricken country. 

The student government at Vassar passed a resolution condemning Italy and the European Union for refusing to allow nongovernmental agencies to help rescue desperate Libyans fleeing that country by sea, leaving these refugees and migrants at the mercy of the Libyan coast guard and cruel smugglers. 

In response to “Diversity Days” at the dining commons at Oklahoma State, a group of students protested a planned “Cuisine of Bolivia” menu, citing human rights violations by Bolivia, which is the first country to legalize work by 10-year-olds, with Bolivian government officials arguing that “children like to work.”

A fundraiser was held by the Free Iran! student group at UC Irvine to help support human rights organizations in Iran. More than $6,000 worth of alcoholic drinks was sold at the event, with organizers claiming that they wanted to show solidarity for a 24-year-old Iranian man who was chained to a tree and suffered 80 lashes for having consumed alcohol at a wedding when he was 14 years old. 

In advance of the World Cup games in Russia, students at Emory University in Atlanta published an editorial in student-run The Emory Wheel against Russia’s multitude of human rights abuses, including imprisonment of dissidents. Protest signs included the faces of Crimean filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who is on a hunger strike after bogus charges of terrorism led to his 20-year sentence, and human rights activist Oyub Titiev, who is facing falsified drug possession charges and is on trial in Chechnya.

At Columbia, a campus talk by the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China was disrupted by more than a dozen students who stood up from their chairs, raised rainbow flags, and condemned a decision by Hong Kong authorities to hide LGBT-themed books at public libraries. The students were promptly escorted out of the lecture hall by campus security, enabling the diplomat to continue his remarks on China-U.S. relations in the wake of a potential trade war. 

Nearly 50 protestors gathered outside of the Faculty Club at UCLA, where a luncheon was being held for the new Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud Chair in International Sovereignty Studies, an endowed position sponsored by Saudi Arabia. Angry students declared that in establishing the program, the kingdom is only seeking to validate its position that other countries should not interfere in its internal affairs, including the arrests of women’s rights activists and beheadings of criminals, whose headless bodies are then dangled in public as a warning sign to others. 

Impressed by all of these events because they signal a critical shift away from college campuses’ seeming obsession with Israel — and Israel alone? I was impressed, too. I was very impressed that I managed to make it all up and convince some readers that it actually happened. 

Why is all this imaginary? Perhaps because at some point, students thought to themselves:

Syria? It’s sad, but what can we do? It’s the government against its own people.

Saudi Arabia? It’s unfortunate, but we have no business meddling in its sovereign affairs, especially if its faith endorses beheadings (Sura: 5:32-34). To each his own. 

Italy? I visited last summer and didn’t even see any asylum seekers! But the fresh cheese was incredible. 

Russia? OK, it’s awful, but before looking at what it does to their own people, we have to talk about what it did right here in the United States. 

And so on and so on. 

I don’t know what it’ll take for college students to condemn any country other than Israel, but it would have to be unprecedentedly tragic and immoral. And that, perhaps, is the  most tragic hypocrisy of all.  


Tabby Refael is a Los Angeles-based writer.

Sarsour Calls ADL ‘Purveyor of Islamophobia,’ Report Says

Screenshot from Twitter.

UPDATE:

The ADL responded to Linda Sarsour in a statement sent to the Journal:

ADL fights hate in all its forms including anti-Semitism, racism and Islamophobia. We do this through tracking extremists and white supremacists, through our anti-bias programs and through enacting federal and state hate crimes laws across the country. We advocate at the local, state and federal level on a range of issues related to ending racial bias and discrimination in policing and the criminal justice system.

Linda Sarsour has completely mischaracterized and distorted what our law enforcement programs actually do. We are proud to work with law enforcement in the U.S. in an effort to counter terrorism, domestic extremism, hate crimes and implicit bias. Our annual law enforcement mission to Israel provides a few dozen senior law enforcement officials with an opportunity to learn first-hand how police in Israel respond to terror attacks. The curriculum includes trips to Yad Vashem and meeting with a diverse group of members of Israeli civil society. 

ORIGINAL:

Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour criticized the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as a “purveyor of Islamophobia” earlier in the month, according to a new report from the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).

Sarsour uttered the aforementioned statement about the ADL during a panel at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)’s 2018 convention and criticized the ADL for bringing police officers to Israel for training.

“If you are part of a criminal justice reform movement, if you believe in the idea of ending police brutality and the misconduct of law enforcement officers across the country, then you do not support an organization that takes police officers from America, funds their trips, takes them to Israel so they can be trained by the Israeli police and military, and then they come back here and do what?” Sarsour said. “Stop and frisk, killing unarmed black people across the country.”

Chris McIlvain, the assistant police chief in Austin, Texas, told IPT that he attended the 2015 training that Sarsour was referencing and that what she described was not accurate:

There was no tactical training and no discussion of forceful or coercive techniques, he said. Police departments must maintain “a state of readiness” for all kinds of threats, from mass shootings to terrorist attacks. Israel has experience with these challenges that can be helpful to police departments here.

“The ADL is a good partner of law enforcement combating hate crimes of all types,” McIlvain said. “The idea is not to divert hate from one group to another, it’s to eliminate it.”

Sarsour called the ADL “an anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian organization that peddles Islamophobia and attacks America’s prominent Muslim orgs and activists” in an April Facebook post when it was announced that the ADL was going to take part in Starbucks’ anti-bias training.

Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah, told the Times of Israel, “The ADL has always understood that fighting anti-Semitism is inherently tied to fighting racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia.”

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt has criticized Sarsour and other Women’s March leaders for their connection to Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam.

The ADL has not responded to the Journal’s request for comment.

Iran Blames U.S., Israel for Attack on Military Parade

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani departs after speaking at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit during the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The Iranian regime is blaming the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia for an attack on a military parade over the weekend.

On Saturday, four gunmen opened fire on a military parade in Ahvaz, a city in southwest Iran, killing 25 people. At least eight of the deceased were members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, others included a disabled war veteran and a 4-year-old girl, according to the BBC.

Iran’s intelligence ministry announced on Monday that 22 people were arrested in connection to Saturday’s attack; Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that the attack was levied by a group supported by a Gulf Arab state that is allied with the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

“The small puppet countries in the region are backed by America, and the U.S. is provoking them and giving them the necessary capabilities,” Rouhani said.

Gen. Hossein Salami, the acting commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, said at the funeral for the deceased that the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia “will face the repercussions.”

We warn all of those behind the story, we will take revenge,” Salami said.

The United States has denied that they were behind the attack.

He [Rouhani] can blame us all he wants,” United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said on CNN. “The thing he’s got to do is look in the mirror.”

Two groups have claimed responsibility for the attack: ISIS and the Ahvaz National Resistance, an anti-government organization that is aiming for Iran’s Khuzestan province to be its own state.