May 12, 2009

To all our critics who jhave already written off the Leonard Cohen call which we have made, please read the report below, and reassess your certainties… I really do not believe we have heard the last on this issue.

Anti-Israel activists urge Leonard Cohen to nix T.A. show: Ha’aretz

Anti-Israel activists are stepping up efforts to dissuade Leonard Cohen from performing in Israel in September. The activists urge supporters to “apply pressure during his tour by local groups along his path,” in their most recent appeal, which was circulated on Monday in various pro-Palestinian mailing lists. They added that letters “and various actions” might prove “instrumental in helping him take the decision to cancel his last concert.” This, they explain, is because “it is obvious the situation in Palestine and Israel is quite clear to Leonard Cohen, to judge by his song entitled Questions for Shomrim. The poem begins with the words “And will my people build a new Dachau
and call it love, security, Jewish culture.” It also reads: “You were our singing heroes in ’48, do you dare ask yourselves what you are now” and: “now my son must die for he’s an Arab.” The anti-Israel activists called on supporters to write to Cohen’s manager and leave messages on his official online forum. They published a list of destinations on Cohen’s tour, ending with Israel “if we are not successful.” In the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Leonard Cohen flew to Israel to perform before reserves and regular soldiers fighting in the Sinai desert. Two main letters of protest against the concert have been circulated so far. The most recent one was co-signed by a hundred Israelis and Palestinians, who wrote that Israel’s “ruthless, criminal bashing of the Palestinians has met with little international criticism.” Addressing Cohen and urging him to cancel, the Israelis said: “We cannot envision you cooperating with continued Israeli defiance of justice and morality; we cannot envision you playing a part in the Israeli charade of self-righteousness.” They included the poem Questions for Shomrim in their appeal.
The first letter of protest was published last month by Pro-Palestinian professors from the U.K. from the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, who warned Cohen that he would be performing “for a public that by a very large majority had no qualms about its military forces’ onslaught” in Gaza. The scholars – Haim Bresheeth, Mike Cushman, Hilary Rose and Jonathan Rosenhead, added: “You will perform in a state whose propaganda services will extract every ounce of mileage from your presence. They will use it to whitewash their war crimes.” The authors of the letter explained that Cohen needs to cancel the show in Ramat Gan lest it be attended by Arab-killing Israeli soldiers who are “drinking beer” and “playing backgammon with their mates and going to discotheques.”

Below you can read the letter sent to the Jewish Chronicle, affter they published the article by Mr. Freedland. We have asked them to publish it as a ‘right of reply’ letter, but we got no reply, of course… So much for the openness of the JC to other Jewish voices, apart from their own!

Open Letter to Jonathan Freedland at the Jewish Chronicle:

In a typically snide and self-satisfied article, published in last week’s JC (“A very futile boycott”, April 30th, 2009), the Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland is oozing schadenfreude over the ‘failure of the boycott’ against Israeli institutions. He obviously does not follow the news, or maybe he just ignores it. In gloating over Leonard Cohen’s planned visit to Israel, he manages to carefully disregard the growing success of the boycott, both in the UK and abroad. Only a couple of weeks ago, a motion for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel was passed by the Scottish TUC.  Recently Veolia, the multinational building the Jerusalem tram lines on occupied land held illegally, has lost very large contracts in Sweden and Bordeaux, as a result of the boycott campaign. We could go on.  This success is the result of a number of important factors: Many Jews have joined (or initiated) the local campaigns, and at last, ordinary people feel they can playa role in this endless saga, and act like they did against apartheid, rather than rely on spineless diplomacy delivering only further disasters.

The rationale for Freedland’s festive tone is an odd one: a ‘mistake’ made by us because we wrote to Leonard Cohen invoking his Buddhism rather than his Judaism. Freedland could have worked this out for himself. Most of Judaic current sentiment seems to be anchored in that part of the Jewish tradition which is Xenophobic and hateful towards the other, supporting any military excess with nationalistic and racist arguments. Of course, there is in Judaism a very different tradition, not one which Freedland himself appears to support, unfortunately. This is the tradition of Hillel the Elder: “Do not do unto your friend, that which you will not have done unto you”. This is the best of Judaism – a liberal, progressive, and open-minded attitude towards the Ger, the ‘other in your midst’. This attitude was clearly missing from most of Israeli politics and public discourse in the last few decades, and is even more absent now. Would Hillel the Elder have backed the massacre of the innocents which Israel has carried out in Gaza, Lebanon, and so many other places? It seems clear to us what his position would be – support the weak, disenfranchised and dispossessed. If Leonard Cohen, hardly ‘our hero’, as stated by Freedland, also chooses to ignore Hillel the Elder, then he is neither a good Buddhist, nor a good Jew. That would, indeed, be a great pity, as he is held in high regard by many who like his music and enjoy it.

Prof. Haim Bresheeth, UEL
Mike Cushman, LSE
Prof. Jonathan Rosenhead, LSE

Steve Bell, The Guardian, May 12, 2009

Steve Bell, The Guardian, May 12, 2009

Below you can see the letters page of today’s Guardian, with comments about the Max Hastings article on Saturday. While he quite appropriately decribes how ‘he fell out of love’ with Israel, it is important to read his article and realise how misguided he still is, though he now thinks he has already worked things out…

Military myths in the history of Israel: The Guardian

The Guardian,     Tuesday 12 May 2009

Max Hastings proves not just what he set out to do – that Israel no longer should have our support (How I fell out of love with Israel, 9 May). What oozes at us from every line is his biased and one-sided view of the conflict. The Zionist myth which drove him to Israel in 1969 is alive and well in his memory – it is the physical reality which has failed him. In his adulatory description, all Israelis and their deeds seem to him “brilliant”, “stunning” and “bright”, terms he could not apply to any Palestinian, essentially because he relates no meetings he had with any of them, on the same terms he describes his many meetings with Israelis. This gives away some of his political perspective. Arabs and Palestinians are but extras in this narrative, it seems.
When discussing the Israeli occupation army, the so-called IDF, he notes that “morally, if not militarily, it is a shadow of the force that fought in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973″. Well, well … Any reading of Israeli history by the group known as the New Historians, such as Benny Morris and Ilan Pappe, would have proved to him that his misguided view of Israel, Zionism and the IDF was, and is, totally inaccurate. This army, which destroyed Gaza, had also destroyed Beirut. This is the army which set out on a bizarre colonial journey in 1956, together with the dying empires. Time to give up on the militarised myth!
Professor Haim Bresheeth
University of East London

Max Hastings’s account of how he fell in love and then out of love with Israel is certainly touching. But his belief that Amos Oz’s 1979 prophecy to him has been fulfilled, ie that Israel would end up behaving no better than its neighbours, is unjustified, and his reference to “Israeli military excesses in Gaza” wrong. Rather than resign himself to Oz’s negative prognostications, he should heed the words of Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, who during the recent Gaza war gave this assessment of Israel’s operations: “I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF is doing today in Gaza.”
Alastair Albright

Max Hastings has said, far more eloquently than I could, exactly how I feel about Israel. I too was an enthusiast at its creation in 1948 but then the horrors of Auschwitz were still fresh in our minds and we chose to overlook the terrorist activities of the Stern Gang and the Irgun in achieving the Zionist goal of nationhood and to ignore the plight of hundreds of thousands of Arab refugees. Palestinians are living in hopeless misery which can only find expression in the hatred of their oppressors. Only an imposed arbitration can have any prospect of bringing peace, and that would have to involve the return of the occupied territories under UN resolutions 242 and 338.
Harvey Quilliam
Maghull, Merseyside

Below is the link to Max Hastings’ article, for those of you who have missed reading it.

The paradox of Israel’s pursuit of might: The Guardian

My fuller comment has appeared on Comment is Free/The Guardian:

Time to give up the myth!

By Haim Bresheeth
Old myths die hard! One of the most resilient myths in progressive circles is that of the ‘pure Zionist project, which was defiled by late practice. One such example of this myth in action was the recent article by Max Hastings (How I fell out of love with Israel, Guardian, May 9th) where he indeed admits to no longer being hooked by this specific political movement, as he was some decades ago, but in describing his process of reckoning, he is also describing how difficult it is to shake the Zionist habit.
What oozes at us from every line, is his biased and one-sided view of the conflict, without the slightest attempt at balancing it. It is not difficult to see where exactly he got that version of reality – he ‘always liked soldiers and spent many months over the decades speaking to them ‘under the starry skies of the Middle East; it hardly needs saying that the soldiers he was fraternising with were exclusively Israeli – he mentions no others – and from his many expressions of admiration for their deeds and their manner, and the fact that he started dressing in what he calls a ‘thinly-disguised version of the IDF uniform, it is clear that he had a model before him, one he wished to emulate. All this may be understandable in young and impressionable journalist, and Israel has made a science of luring and snaring such people over the decades. What is less obvious is how the myth has stuck, and how even now, some four decades after his first fateful visit to Israel, he still describes an odd Arcadian utopia of soldiery, as the pure and moral Zionism. The Zionist myth which drove him to Israel in 1969, seems to be alive and well in his memoires and memory – it is the physical reality which has failed.
One cannot escape the nagging suspicion that Hastings has avoided reading about Israels wars, which, for a mature journalist is less understandable. When discussing the Israeli occupation army, the so-called IDF, he notes that morally, if not militarily, it is a shadow of the force that fought in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973. So the IDF in those wars, Hastings is telling us, in no uncertain terms, was ‘moral, and superior to the occupation army of today. Well, well…
Any serious reading of Israeli history by members of the group widely known as the ‘New Historians, such as (the racist) Benny Morris and the historian of the ethnic cleaning of Palestine, Ilan Pappe, would have proved to him, once and for all, that his misguided view of Israel, Zionism and the IDF was, and is, highly ideological and imaginary. Which one of those wars was exactly ‘moral? The 1948 war, in which Israel has expelled 760,000 Palestinians from their own country, then denied them a return, as demanded by the UN? Maybe he is not aware of the many massacres which those researchers has unearthed, by simply ploughing through the IDF archives?
Now, could he possibly mean the 1956 war? This is a war in which Israel has joined the two sinking empires of Great Britain and France, a war so colonially outrageous and illegal, that the USSR and the USA have together called it so, and have forced the combatants out of Sinai by a nuclear warning? What reason could Israel possibly have to attack Egypt, but as an accessory to a bizarre colonial adventure, reminiscent of the worst gunboat diplomacy of the 19th century? Was this the moral war Hastings has referred to? Let us also remember that for over three years before that war, a young IDF officer by the name of Ariel Sharon, a commander of Israels death squad named ‘Unit 101, has attacked a number of Palestinian villages, towns and refugee camps, with a terrifying toll in civilian lives? Was this the high moral standard he holds so dear?
Of course, the 1967 war is a candidate for a moral war, we may be told by Hastings, and by other naïve supporters of military Zionism; there is nothing further from the truth. This was a war, which like in 1956, Israel started and shot the ‘first bullet as President De Gaulle has famously put it. President Nasser was unable and unwilling to go to war against Israel, and has indeed asked Israel for a peace treaty a short time beforehand, only to be ignored. The war had two objectives, and achieved both: To break Nasser grip on middle eastern politics, and to gain control of the parts of Palestine still in Arab hands – the 22% of Palestine which Israel did not control. The results of this ‘moral war were the occupation lasting till now, the hundreds of Jewish settlements built in Syria, Palestine (then still part of Jordan) and Egypt, including the Gaza Strip. A campaign of terror has started against Palestinian aspirations for their own country, following UN resolutions to this effect, and it was this highly ‘moral army that has continually quashed Palestinian hopes for some kind of normality in their lifetime.
Time to give up the myth!

Hizballah today, Hamas tomorrow: The Electronic Intifada

Shourideh Molavi, 12 May 2009

On 20 March, Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced that he would not use his authority to override a decision by Citizenship and Immigration Canada to bar British MP George Galloway from entering the country. Due to speak in Toronto at a public forum entitled “Resisting War from Gaza to Kandahar,” hosted by the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War, Galloway received the news of his inadmissibility to enter Canada during a speaking tour in the United States. During the tour, Galloway called for a single-state option in Israel/Palestine, one between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, in which Jews, Muslims and Christians could live as equal citizens.
The Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper deemed him a threat to Canada, first citing his opposition to the Afghanistan war, and later Galloway’s material and financial support of Hamas. The decision to ban Galloway on the basis that he represents a threat to national security was sparked by his participation in the Viva Palestina aid convoy bringing medical and pharmaceutical supplies, electrical generators, food, clothing and toys, ambulances and a fire engine to the besieged and devastated Gaza Strip. In fact, some of the non-medial supplies were unloaded and transferred via the Egyptian Red Cross through the Rafah border crossing under Israel’s control after being checked by the Israeli occupation forces.
Immigration minister Kenney’s refusal to override the ban on Galloway came after having received a letter on 16 March by Meir Weinstein, leader of the extremist Jewish Defense League of Canada, calling Galloway a “hater” and accusing him of being a fascist because a poster promoting one of his speeches in 2006 used the colors red and black, as Rabble Online reported on 30 March. While such uncorroborated and baseless accusations are usually ignored, Rabble Online added, Kenney used it as a focus for his refusal, supporting the decision of the Canadian High Commission on the grounds that “Ottawa believes he is a member of a terrorist organization, Hamas.”
Like most Western governments, the Harper government rejected the Hamas leadership from the moment of its sweeping victory in 2006 in the democratic Palestinian elections. But the attitude of pouting in the face of ideological and political opposition from elected groups is an outdated policy that has proved largely ineffective. The reality is that Galloway’s meeting with Hamas is part of a broader political current that is increasingly seeking to engage organized parties in the Middle East previously marginalized and alienated from the international political arena. In fact, a growing chorus of high-profile voices in Europe and North America urge the inclusion of elected representatives in the Middle East holding strongly contrasting ideological and socio-political positions to the West.

Israel’s psychological siege: The Electronic Intifada

David Cronin, 11 May 2009

GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) – Palestinians in Gaza have a colloquial term to describe the buzzing of Israeli warplanes that is an ever-present feature of their lives: zanana.
The gallows humor of likening instruments of death to honey bees might suggest that the people of this crowded sliver of land on the Mediterranean have found a way of coping with the occupation that has lasted more than four decades. Yet the planes also remind Palestinians of what they fear most: that they could come under fresh attack at any time.
The destruction to property caused by the 23-day bombardment which the Gaza Strip endured in December and January remains visible in many parts of its main city. In the Izbet Abed Rabo area last week, a herd of goats was steered through a street where all that remains of many houses is slabs of concrete and girders piled on top of each other. Tents provided by different United Nations agencies are the only shelter that the residents of these flattened buildings now have. Despite pledges running into billions of dollars made at a donors conference in the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh in March, work on transforming this apocalyptic vision into a place where those uprooted can live with a semblance of dignity has not yet begun, because Israel is restricting the importation of sorely-needed building material.
Amidst all this, the psychological effects of the attack are less apparent, but the preliminary findings of an ongoing survey being conducted by the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) suggest that few people, if any, are left unscarred.
In a sample of 374 children studied, more than 73 percent thought they were going to die during the violence. Almost 68 percent of them — all aged between six and 16 — fear that a similar attack will come again, and 41 percent expressed a strong desire for revenge.
Of the parents examined by mental health professionals as part of the same study, 59 percent of fathers and 75 percent of mothers were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Among the symptoms detected were that over 59 percent of these adults were anxious about death, that half of them feared heart attacks, and about 15 percent feared contracting cancer because of exposure to weapons such as white phosphorous.
Meanwhile, 82 percent of parents observed that their children have been behaving aggressively since the attack, and 52 percent reported that their children had emotional problems.

Envisioning a better future: Activist Mazin Qumsiyeh interviewed

Ida Audeh, The Electronic Intifada, 11 May 2009

Mazin Qumsiyeh is a tireless activist for Palestinian human rights who returned to his hometown of Beit Sahour in the Israeli-occupied West Bank last year and now teaches at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities. The author of Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle (2004), Qumsiyeh is both a human rights activist and a scientist who has a lengthy list of publications on genetics to his credit. The Electronic Intifada contributor Ida Audeh met with him in April and discussed advocating the Palestinian cause in the United States and his impressions about the current direction of the Palestinian struggle.
During the 29 years he lived in the United States, Qumsiyeh earned masters and doctoral degrees; taught at several prestigious universities, including Duke and Yale; co-founded activist organizations (Al-Awda, the Palestinian Right to Return Coalition and the Wheels of Justice Tour — a traveling tour bus that stops at different communities to educate them about Palestine and Iraq); and was a board member for numerous organizations. Since the mid-1990s, he has maintained email lists that focus on human rights and international law. His weekly postings now reach approximately 50,000 individuals and include reports of events and comments that are informed by a deep understanding of common struggles in other parts of the world. An optimist who advocates “having joyful participation in the sorrows of this world,” he includes in every e-mail at least one action that the reader can take to make a difference.
Ida Audeh: How would you describe the evolution of perceptions of the Palestinian question and advocacy efforts over the 29 years in which you lived in the United States?
Mazin Qumsiyeh: When I went to the US in August 1979, my impression was that the Zionist narrative was dominant in the churches, the synagogues, the media, community centers, everywhere. There were only a few heroic voices of opposition — people like Edward Said, Naseer Aruri and Elaine Hagopian — who influenced me a lot in those early years. They really envisioned changing perceptions by speaking about human rights and international law and actual facts on the ground. Things have changed significantly over the years as more people became informed and educated. Nonprofit organizations have been set up and people are doing good work, including meeting with their congressional representatives.
IA: There has been undeniable progress, but are we doing what needs to be done?
MQ: The question I would ask is, are we doing enough? Of course not. Are we doing well? I think we are doing fairly well. We are moving in the right direction, I’d say that that’s probably more relevant than anything else. It is not easy. We are faced with an enemy that is very well organized, well financed, and well entrenched into the system of Western government, as we saw most recently in the Durban Review Conference in Geneva, where the representatives of the US, Canada, Australia and white European countries walked out of the conference hall when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke. Those are the countries where the work needs to be done. The question for me is what can I do, and where do I fit as an individual. I don’t want to change the world, I just want to push in the direction of justice and human rights.

Haaretz reporter Amira Hass arrested upon leaving Gaza: Haaretzamira

Israel Police on Tuesday detained Haaretz correspondent Amira Hass upon her exit from the Gaza Strip, where she had been living and reporting over the last few months. Hass was arrested and taken in for questioning immediately after crossing the border, for violating a law which forbids residence in an enemy state. She was released on bail after promising not to enter the Gaza Strip over the next 30 days. Hass is the first Israeli journalist to enter the Gaza Strip in more than two years, since the Israel Defense Forces issued an entry ban following the abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in a 2006 cross-border raid by Palestinian militants. Last December, Hass was arrested by soldiers at the Erez Checkpoint as she tried to cross into Israel after having entered the Gaza Strip aboard a ship run by peace activists from Europe. Upon discovering that she had no permit to be in Gaza, the soldiers transferred her to the Sderot police.
When questioned, Hass pointed out that no one had stopped her from entering the Strip, which she did for work purposes. Hass was released then under restriction, and Nahmani said her case would be sent to court. Israel Press Council chairwoman Dalia Dorner, a former Supreme Court justice, commented then that even journalists are subject to the law and the council cannot defend a reporter who breaks the law. Instead, she said, local journalists ought to petition the High Court of Justice against the army’s order.

Hass needs a permit to be in Gaza and report. The IOF does not need sucha permit in order to murder 1500 people, obviously. If you wonder why she was arrested, all you have to do is read what she published yesterday in Ha’aretz…

Amira Hass / Israel knows that peace just doesn’t pay: Ha’aretz

Successive Israeli governments since 1993 certainly must have known what they were doing, being in no hurry to make peace with the Palestinians. As representatives of Israeli society, these governments understood that peace would involve serious damage to national interests.
Economic damage:
The security industry is an important export branch – weapons, ammunition and refinements that are tested daily in Gaza and the West Bank. The Oslo process – negotiations that were never meant to end – allowed Israel to shake off its status as occupying power (obligated to the welfare of the occupied people) and treat the Palestinian territories as independent entities. That is, to use weapons and ammunition at a magnitude Israel could not have otherwise used on the Palestinians after 1967. Protecting the settlements requires constant development of security, surveillance and deterrence equipment such as fences, roadblocks, electronic surveillance, cameras and robots. These are security’s cutting edge in the developed world, and serve banks, companies and luxury neighborhoods next to shantytowns and ethnic enclaves where rebellions must be suppressed.
Below you can read an entertainment item: The Chief Rabbi of Israel is pleading with the Pope to send Jews from all over the world top Israel. It seems all the other methods to get them have failed, and only the Pope can help… in the past, the Catholic Church had some excellent ways to persuade Jews to do just about anything. It normally involved an auto-da-fe, and the use of metal implements by the inuiring celrgy of the Inquisition… should one go back to those methods, then?Maybe the Pope just needs to hint, that Jews will do a wise thing by leaving Europe?

The collective Israeli creativity in security is fertilized by a state of constant friction between most Israelis and a population defined as hostile. A state of combat over a low flame, and sometimes over a high one, brings together a variety of Israeli temperaments: rambos, computer wizards, people with gifted hands, inventors. Under peace, their chances of meeting would be greatly reduced.
Damage to careers:
Maintaining the occupation and a state of non-peace employs hundreds of thousands of Israelis. Some 70,000 people work in the security industry. Each year, tens of thousands finish their army service with special skills or a desirable sideline. For thousands it becomes their main career: professional soldiers, Shin Bet operatives, foreign consultants, mercenaries, weapons dealers. Therefore peace endangers the careers and professional futures of an important and prestigious stratum of Israelis, a stratum that has a major influence on the government.
Damage to quality of life:
A peace agreement would require equal distribution of water resources throughout the country (from the river to the sea) between Jews and Palestinians, regardless of the desalination of seawater and water-saving techniques. Even now it’s hard for Israelis to get used to saving water because of the drought. It’s not difficult to guess how traumatic a slash in water consumption to equalize distribution would be.
Damage to welfare:
As the past 30 years have shown, settlements flourish as the welfare state contracts. They offer ordinary people what their salaries would not allow them in sovereign Israel, within the borders of June 4, 1967: cheap land, large homes, benefits, subsidies, wide-open spaces, a view, a superior road network and quality education. Even for those Israeli Jews who have not moved there, the settlements illuminate their horizon as an option for a social and economic upgrade. That option is more real than the vague promises of peacetime improvements, an unknown situation.
Peace will also reduce, if not erase entirely, the security pretext for discriminating against Palestinian Israelis – in land distribution, development resources, education, health employment and civil rights (such as marriage and citizenship). People who have gotten used to privilege under a system based on ethnic discrimination see its abrogation as a threat to their welfare.

Chief Rabbi to Pope: Tell the world Jews belong in Israel: Ha’aretz

Israel’s leading rabbis on Tuesday told Pope Benedict XVI that it was his duty to spread the message that the Jewish people belong in the Land of Israel. “You represent a large nation of believers that knows what the Bible is, and it is your duty to pass on the message that the Jewish people deserve a renaissance, and a little respect – to live in this land,” Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar told the pope. The pope met with Amar and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger in Jerusalem on Tuesday, on the second day of his pilgrimage to Israel. Benedict told the chief rabbis during the meeting that he is committed to reconciliation between Christian and Jews.
He said he has delivered a prayer to God to help enact the command that one love their neighbor as they do themselves. Metzger told the pope that he regretted that such meetings had not been held earlier in history. “I thought to myself, if only a historic meeting like this in which the head of the biggest religion in the world meets in Jerusalem with the heads of Judaism, if this had happened many years earlier, so much innocent blood could have been saved,” Metzger said. “So much senseless hatred could have been prevented in the world,” he said.
The pope continued his historic pilgrimage through the Holy Land earlier Tuesday, visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem. He recited a prayer in Latin, before placing a note in the cracks of the wall, as is the custom. The Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinovich, also recited a prayer. Earlier, Benedict visited the Temple Mount, where he shook hands with the mufti of Jerusalem and senior Islamic Waqf officials.
The German-born pope stood in prayer for several minutes at the Western Wall, a remnant of the Roman-era Temple complex that is Judaism’s holiest place, after meeting the Grand Mufti, Palestinians’ senior Muslim cleric, at the Dome of the Rock which dominates the Old City.
With the mufti, he recalled the common roots of all three monotheistic religions in the story of Abraham and Jerusalem. He placed a written prayer in the Western Wall, a traditional gesture, and then met Israel’s two chief rabbis. “Send your peace upon this Holy Land, upon the Middle East, upon the entire human family,” the prayer said, according to text provided by the Vatican. Palestinians later released balloons over Jerusalem’s Old City in the colors of the Palestinian flag while the pope was at the Western Wall.

Sounds that dear old Benedict has got his knickers in a twist over this assistance to Zionism he is now charged with… Could it all be connected to this piece below?

New envoy to U.S.: Soon Jews won’t want to live in Israel: Haaretz

Suppose a Jewish couple considering immigration to Israel were to ask a bored Jewish Agency emissary for background material on the situation here. “It just so happens I received something today that might interest you,” the emissary might reply, pulling out the most recent article written by Dr. Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador-designate to the United States.
This article might well deter the potential immigrants from ever bothering the agency’s emissary again. Under the title “Seven Existential Threats,” published in the latest issue of the conservative Jewish publication “Commentary,” Oren wrote that Israel has no competition in the modern era when it comes to the number and variety of threats that endanger the Jewish state’s existence. Oren, a historian from the Shalem Center whom Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tapped for Israel’s top diplomatic post, described a country rotten to the core, riddled by everything from drug dealing to white slavery, from money laundering to illegal arms trading. He reported that not even the army has escaped the clutches of corruption, thus weakening Israelis’ will to fight for their country, or even to live in it. Moreover, Oren complained, Israel’s best and brightest are being persecuted around the world for what the country’s detractors term “war crimes.”
Upon reading this article (which was written before he was appointed to his ambassadorial post), American Jews will also learn that the Jewish people will soon lose Jerusalem as its eternal capital, as this city, too, is under existential threat: A majority of Jerusalem’s inhabitants (272,000 Arabs and 200,000 ultra-Orthodox, out of a total of 800,000 residents) are not Zionists; secular Jews are fleeing the city; and fully half of Israel’s youth have never even visited the holy city. According to Oren, “if this trend continues, [Israeli founding father David] Ben Gurion’s nightmare will materialize and Israel will be rendered soulless, a country in which a great many Jews may not want to live or for which they may not be willing to give their lives.” Next on the list are the existential demographic threat, the existential terrorist threat and the existential threat of Iran’s nuclear capability. Interspersed throughout the article are a few rather existential historical inaccuracies, such as the claim that no Arab leader has ever recognized Israel as a Jewish state (the 1988 Palestinian declaration of independence recognized the Jewish state), or that between 1957 and 1967, hundreds of Jews were killed in acts of terror (the number is less than two dozen).

I don’t know about you, but this sounds quite right to me… Jews already refuse to go there! It is a good idea to read the whole piece, as it gets better as he gets into his argument… I think he will have no problem in persuading the US Jewry not to emigrate to Israel!

Guerrilla Ad Campaign Replaces “Study in Israel” Billboards

by the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel
Students and community members near the UC Berkeley campus were surprised one weekend to see a series of bus shelter billboards asking, “What country uses live ammunition against unarmed children?”  Below a photo of identically dressed schoolboys in front of a barbed wire fence is the answer: Israel.


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