Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Bibi election day message that no one reports

There have been countless articles about Binyamin Netanyahu's supposedly anti-Arab message on Election Day.

What he said that caused all the backlash is "The right-wing government is in danger. Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls. Left-wing organizations are busing them out."

Joe Klein in Time takes this one sentence and concludes that "he won because he ran as a bigot."

His choice of words was definitely unfortunate, but in context he was more upset over the buses than over the Arabs voting. How do we know?

Because he said so only hours after the first message, while the polls were still open.
I want to clarify: there is nothing illegitimate with citizens voting, Jewish or Arab, as they see fit. What is not legitimate is the funding, the fact that money comes from abroad from NGOs and foreign governments, brings them en masse to the ballot box in an organized fashion, in favor of the left, gives undue power to the extremist Arab list, and weakens the right bloc in such a way that we will be unable to build a government — despite the fact that most citizens of Israel support the national camp and support me as the prime minister from Likud.
Did you see any of the media report on this message, released on the exact same platform and aimed at the exact same audience as the earlier one? Besides some Israeli media and The Blaze, I don't see it anywhere.

Because it doesn't fit the meme of "Bibi as racist."

As I've noted, none of the mainstream media reported that the community with the highest percentage of Likud voters was not a Jewish community or a 'settlement" but Arab al-Naim.

Druze Likud MK Ayoub Kara has said that no one said a word when Arab MKs told their communities that any Arab who votes for a Zionist party is "garbage."

United Arab List member Ahmed Tibi, in the forefront of accusing Bibi of being a racist, was the first one to call on Arabs to vote in droves. No one called that bigoted.

He raised the Palestinian flag on the holiest spot of Judaism in January. Again, the world media ignored his blatant insult to Judaism.

These sorts of statements and actions are expected from Arabs, according to the world media which does not regard it as newsworthy.

Which means that Joe Klein and all the others who insult Bibi while actively suppressing the truth about Israeli Arab extremists like Tibi are the real bigots.

(h/t Asher)

These 230 olive trees really WERE destroyed this weekend - by Arabs

As opposed to the bogus story reported earlier, this is one that really happened - along with video proof.

From 0404:

At least 230 olive trees were uprooted his weekend in Kfar Adumim, a comunity in the northern Judean Desert.

This morning, Boaz Ido, plantation owner, discovered the damage. This is part of a series of vandalism there that has taken place there.

Boaz told the news 0404: "Devastating damage, especially painful. Last three weeks there has been an increase in acts of vandalism here. The Bedouins living in illegal outposts in the area are doing this.

Once they cut the fence, another time they broke a solar panel. We once caught a suspect red-handed cutting the the fence. I called the police and they arrested him, but then he was released. I complained to the police but do not help and they do what they want. "

Boas went on painfully: "The financial damage is huge. Last week they took down 50 meters of fencing ... the police told me to 'leave us alone - we are not a security company.' "

The plantation owner tells of ongoing damage, almost on a daily basis, "solar panels, irrigation system, stealing windows, stones thrown at me out of their vineyard and other incidents. I feel really helpless and there is no one who will help me. Their goal to eliminate me as a Jew here."
The truth is quite a bit different from what you can find reported in the international media, isn't it?

(h/t Bob Knot)

03/29 Links: Bibi: Iran deal worse than Israel feared; Richard Kemp: The US must confront Tehran

From Ian:

Richard Kemp: The US must confront Tehran: Achieving cooperation through coercion
Namely, Iran must stop exporting terrorism; stop destabilizing the Middle East; and stop threatening other countries with annihilation.
Without Iran’s full compliance with those terms, America should not contemplate a deal. Given that existing sanctions caused Iran to capitulate, as regime survival became an increasing concern, intensifying, not removing sanctions will ensure a much better deal.
The talking points being advanced by Obama administration officials – that additional sanctions will deter a deal – are leitmotifs of regime propaganda and should be discounted, unless the US is willing to simply surrender.
As a presumptive Democratic presidential nominee in 2008, Barack Obama visited the Israeli town of Sderot, where he toured the “Kassam Museum” containing the remains of hundreds of rockets fired at that city, courtesy of Iranian sponsorship. Today, in addition to Gaza, Iran effectively controls four Arab capitals: Beirut, Baghdad, Damascus and Sana’a.
An Iranian weapons pipeline into Gaza poses a tactical threat to America’s ally, Israel, as well as to Egypt.
However, the impending Iranian choke-hold on major trade routes in the Middle East underscores a strategic threat to the entire West. It would be a grave mistake to ignore these alarming developments in the context of nuclear negotiations.
Based on US experience battling Iran in Iraq and Afghanistan and beyond, it is clear Iran will respond to the absence of American pressure with increased aggression. The question lawmakers must ask themselves is whether America will push back now or be forced out of the region later. To prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, the US must demonstrate strength, not flexibility.
Sides said to reach tentative nuke deal paring centrifuges
Iran and six world powers have reached provisional agreement on key parts of a deal sharply curtailing Tehran’s nuclear program, Western diplomats in talks in Switzerland said Sunday.
One of these diplomats said Iran had “more or less” agreed to slash the number of its centrifuge machines by more than two-thirds — to under 6,000 centrifuges — and to ship abroad most of its stockpile of nuclear material to Russia.
As negotiators in Lausanne raced to nail down by midnight Tuesday the outlines of a deal, due to be finalized on June 30, the diplomats cautioned, however, that things may change.
Members of the American delegation denied that the sides had reached an agreement on a draft, Israel Radio reported.
Iranian diplomats also denied that any tentative agreement on these points had been struck, saying that any reports of a specific number of centrifuges and exporting its stockpiles were “journalistic speculation.”
Iran deal worse than Israel feared, Netanyahu says
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Sunday against the emerging nuclear deal with Iran, as Iranian and Western officials in Lausanne, Switzerland were rushing to reach a framework agreement by an end-of-month deadline.
“After the Beirut-Damascus-Baghdad axis, Iran is maneuvering from the south to take over the entire Middle East,” Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting, one of the last for his outgoing government. “The Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis is dangerous for mankind and must be stopped.”
Netanyahu told ministers that he had spoken with Republican leaders in the US Senate and “conveyed our serious concern regarding the arrangement with Iran at the nuclear talks. This agreement confirms all our fears and exceeds them.
“While [world powers] convene to sign this deal, Iran’s proxies in Yemen are conquering large swaths of land in an effort to overtake the Bab al-Mandab straits, so that they can change the balance of power in shipping oil,” he said, referring to recent unrest in Yemen.
Defecting Iranian Journalist: U.S. at Nuclear Talks 'to Speak on Iran’s Behalf’
An Iranian journalist who defected from his country while covering its ongoing nuclear talks has revealed startling information regarding America’s position at the negotiating table.
Amir Hossein Motaghi, who reportedly was employed at Iran’s state-run Iran Student Correspondents Association, told a London-based Iranian opposition channel that the U.S. was shilling for Iran in the ongoing negotiations over the regime’s nuclear weapons program.
“The US negotiating team are mainly there to speak on Iran’s behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal,” Mottaghi told Irane Farda, according to UK’s The Telegraph.
Motaghi had previously worked on President Hassan Rouhani’s 2013 election campaign as his public relations manager, before moving over to working as a journalist in the tightly-censored country.
He is now seeking political asylum in Switzerland, after utilizing his opportunity to cover the talks in order to flee his home country.
The Telegraph reports that Motaghi was a friend of imprisoned Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who remains under detention without being charged of any crimes. (h/t Yenta Press)

The Sucker's Game (Mike Lumish)

bad poker hand
If you are smoking a cigarette, pondering your seven-deuce off-suit in the hole, and looking around the table wondering who the sucker is... you're the guy.

The Arabs and their western-left allies have the Jews hooked into a sucker's game.

One thing that should, by this late date, be absolutely clear to anyone who has been paying attention to the ongoing war against the Jews of the Middle East, is that the Arab governments, and their peoples, have no intention whatsoever of allowing the Jews to live in peace within our ancestral homeland.

The success in the Arab-Muslim approach to the conflict is due, in part, to the weight of sheer numbers and the heaviness of time.  It is certainly not due to anything resembling finesse or sophistication. The Arab world is vast, with estimates ranging from between 300 and 400 million people pushing against a small, historically abused, Jewish population of around 6 million and a Christian minority that is being chased out everywhere in the region other than in Israel.

The Arabs, emphatically, do not want those Jews or Christians living there in freedom or in peace.  This is due to millennia-old, Koranically-based anti-Jewish and anti-Christian prejudice and "racism" that is both rife and genocidal in that part of the world.

Given the size of the Arab population in the Middle East, however, it is not difficult for the Arab governments and peoples to place remarkable pressure on the Jews of Israel, or the Christians in the region, without suffering much in the way of uncomfortable blow-black for that hostility.  This is particularly true given the fact that Christians authorities in the West are studiously unconcerned with the fate of the Christian minority in the East.  Just why they are so unconcerned is anyone's guess, but that they are unconcerned is a fact.

Hostility toward Jews, however, is very convenient from a Muslim propaganda stand-point and in no way causes even a ruffle in Arab comfort, outside of the Palestinian-Arab community that, along with the Jews, bear the brunt of the burden.  They can defame the Jews in any way imaginable - I mean, really, spy vultures? - and no one minds and they can use the "Palestinians" as front-line troops against the Jews while suffering no casualties or day-to-day inconveniences, whatsoever.

This, for example, is part of the EU-funded Hamas charter and represents an excellent example of violently-inclined Arab-Muslim anti-Jewish paranoia and hostility that is entirely ignored by their friends in the West:

They (Jews) stood behind the French and the Communist Revolutions and behind most of the revolutions we hear about here and there. They also used the money to establish clandestine organizations which are spreading around the world, in order to destroy societies and carry out Zionist interests. Such organizations are: the Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, B’nai B’rith and the like. All of them are destructive spying organizations. 

They also used the money to take over control of the Imperialist states and made them colonize many countries in order to exploit the wealth of those countries and spread their corruption therein. As regards local and world wars, it has come to pass and no one objects, that they stood behind World War I, so as to wipe out the Islamic Caliphate. They collected material gains and took control of many sources of wealth. They obtained the Balfour Declaration and established the League of Nations in order to rule the world by means of that organization. 

They also stood behind World War II, where they collected immense benefits from trading with war materials and prepared for the establishment of their state. They inspired the establishment of the United Nations and the Security Council to replace the League of Nations, in order to rule the world by their intermediary.
The only people that suffer from the never-ending conflict are the Jews in Israel and the Palestinian-Arabs... but the Jews get all the blame.

Year upon year, decade after decade, the Arab world encourages "Palestinian" youths to throw themselves, and their rocks, with murderous rage upon the Jews of the Middle East and every time they do so - every time that they fling themselves into yet another psycho-orgiastic anti-Semitic round of intifadan violence against Jews - sadistic western "progressives" pull their hair, raise their quivering fists, and scream from the hillsides that Jews are the New Nazis.

For Israel it is a matter of life and death.

For western progressives it is a matter of break-out-the-popcorn and watch them squirm and die while feeling morally superior.

The Jews of the Middle East are a people living under siege by a much larger hostile majority that honestly believes that Allah despises the Jewish people and that Muslims have every right to kill Jews because Jews are said to be the slayers of prophets and the starters of all wars.

Meanwhile, as the Arab world seethes with a crude and genocidal Medieval anti-Semitism, their western-left apologists condemn Israel as a violent, racist, apartheid, colonial, imperial monstrosity.

Within living memory of the Holocaust, the western Left tells itself that the Jewish State is the worst country in the world and deserves whatever beating that Muslims care to dish out, even as Islamists are slaughtering people throughout northern Iraq and Syria under the crazed Islamic State regime.

What this means, as should be obvious by now, is that there will be no negotiated two-state solution to the Arab-Israel conflict.  Not any time in the near future, there will not be.

The Jews of the Middle East have agreed to an additional Arab state within the tiny Jewish homeland since at least the Peel Commission of 1937.  From that day until this the Palestinian-Arabs have never accepted a state for themselves in peace next to the Jewish one, yet Barack Obama and the western Left continually and unjustly blame the Jewish people for Arab intransigence and hatred toward us.

There is no one on this planet who wants peace with the Arabs and the Muslims more than do the Jews of that part of the world.  They are a tiny minority in a savage environment who want nothing so much as to be left the hell alone so that they can go about creating computer software and litigate against one another.

Despite this, the Obama administration, the EU, the UN, and their terroristically-inclined friends in the PLO and Hamas are ratcheting up pressure on Israel to accept what we Jews have always accepted, a "Palestinian" state carved out of the Jewish homeland, if it is willing to live in peace next to Israel.  For some inexplicable reason they cannot seem to take "yes" for an answer and will continue to pressure Israel until such a time as it agrees to what it has long ago already agreed to.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is endeavoring to wound Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, because Netanyahu dared to suggest that an Iranian nuclear bomb could very well be unhealthy to daisies and small children.  He also suggested that given Arab intransigence there would not likely be another Arab state superimposed upon Judea and Samaria any time soon and this is correct.  There will not likely be another Arab state because they refuse offer after offer for such a state, in peace next Israel, and then point the trembling finger of blame at the Jews.

Well, as my dear old ma used to say, enough is enough.

The Palestinian-Arabs have no intention whatsoever of coming to a negotiated conclusion of hostilities and this means that the only alternative is unilateral action.

I do not wish to conjure the ghost of Ariel Sharon, but Israel needs to declare its final borders.

What those borders should be is, in my view, entirely up to them.

Finally, while it is true that in the game of Texas Hold 'Em a seven-deuce off-suit is a terrible hand, it can only actually hurt you if you play it.

You do not have to.

Michael Lumish is a blogger at the Israel Thrives blog as well as a regular contributor/blogger at Times of Israel and Jews Down Under.

Cash strapped PA spent $100K at 5-star hotel in Gaza

Felesteen reports that last weekend PA prime minister Rami Hamdallah spent two days in Gaza along with an entourage - and that they weren't exactly parsimonious.

According to the article quoting PA sources, the delegation spent the two days in the five-star Movenpick (Al Mashtal) Hotel. It is the only five-star hotel in Gaza. 

They took over 40 rooms and other parts of the hotel. The rooms cost $400-$600 a night and the suites go for up to $1400 a night, for a charge of $70,000 for room rentals. In addition, they spent $20,000 for food and $10,000 for transportation, for a total of about $100,000 for a two day stay. (I imagine that there were some additional security costs for them to visit Gaza.)

There is a bit of criticism in Arabic media from Arabs who have not been receiving their full salaries who are seeing the leaders of the PA spend money so extravagantly.

Palestinians accuse religious Jews of uprooting olive trees - on Shabbat

From Ma'an:

Israeli settlers on Saturday destroyed more than 1,000 olive trees near the village of al-Shuyukh north of Hebron, in the third such attack on the villagers' livelihood in recent memory.

Local activist Ahmad al-Halayqa told Ma'an that Israelis from the nearby settlement of Asfar, also known as Metzad, attacked the village and destroyed 1,200 trees.

He said that all of the destroyed trees had been recently planted following a similar attack by individuals from the same settlement which had destroyed trees in the area last month.

He said that the trees in the area belonged to local Palestinian farmer, Muhammad Abu Shanab al-Ayaydah as well as the children of Abd al-Qader Abu Shanab al-Ayaydah and Mousa Abu Shanab al-Ayayadah.

Al-Halayqa told Ma'an that the settlement of Asfar is located on land confiscated by Israeli authorities from Palestinian residents of al-Shuyukh, and now they hope to expand the land under their control by taking over the area where the olive trees were targeted.

Metzad is a haredi Jewish community. The idea that their members are uprooting olive trees on the Sabbath is beyond absurd.

And since "Local activist Ahmad al-Halayqa" is lying about that, he is probably lying about everything else.

As is nearly always the case, there are no photographs of these destroyed 1,200 olive trees, just as there weren't any photos of the 500 trees allegedly destroyed last month and 70 the week before that.

These numbers are now added to the absurd figure of 800,000 olive trees that the PA and an anti-Israel NGO have reported as being destroyed since 1967.

Of course, Ma'an reports the obvious lies as fact.

OCHA-OPT, which has its own problems with the truth, when in reporting on the alleged February incident, notes that the 500 "trees" were planted in a "donor-funded project," meaning that some Europeans had been paying for Arabs to plant these saplings in public lands illegally.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Virginia State Bar boycotts Israel

All members of the Virginian State Bar received this email early this morning:

Dear Fellow Members of the Virginia State Bar,

Certain members of the Virginia State Bar and other individuals have expressed objections to the VSB’s plan to take the Midyear Legal Seminar trip in November to Jerusalem. It was stated that there are some unacceptable discriminatory policies and practices pertaining to border security that affect travelers to the nation. Upon review of U.S. State Department advisories and other research, and after consultation with our leaders, it has been determined that there is enough legitimate concern to warrant cancellation of the Israel trip and exploration of alternative locations.

Undoubtedly, this news will disappoint some VSB members. But we are a state agency that strives for maximum inclusion and equality, and that explains this action. Fortunately, we still anticipate being able to find a suitable location for the November seminar trip, and we will send out further news very soon.

Finally, we are pleased that our members and citizens feel able to express concerns and look to us to protect rights. In the end, we are all part of the same team, and the VSB will continue to stay focused on advancing its primary objectives—public protection, access to justice, and improvement of the profession.

As always, I appreciate having the honor of serving as your president.

Best regards,

Kevin E. Martingayle,

President, Virginia State Bar
The Volokh Conspiracy blog in the Washington Post notes:

(1) The American Bar Association has recently held meetings in Israel, for example here and here [update: along with hundreds of international conferences that are held in Israel every year, including, for example, a conference on Arabic literature with Muslim attendees from abroad.]  Virginia has a state agency called the Virginia Israel Advisory Board “that proactively serves as the bridge and facilitator between Israeli companies and the Commonwealth of Virginia.” The idea that either the state bar as an attorney organization or as a state agency has some obligation to avoid Israel is nonsense. Surely Martingayle and colleagues can’t be so naive and out-of-touch to think that the concerns raised are not part of the broader divestment, sanctions, and boycott movement meant to delegitimize Israel.
(2) If the Virginia State Bar is in effect boycotting Israel, I, and I suspect many others, will henceforth be boycotting the State Bar, in my case beyond what is necessary to assist my students, which is my professional obligation. I would hope that no Virginia attorneys who are supporters of Israel will attend whatever alternative venue the State Bar settles on.
(3) As near as I can tell, the only public discussion of all this before Martingayle’s letter was a petition circulated three days ago by anonymous“Concerned Members of the Virginia State Bar” that, as of this writing, has received a grand total of thirty-four signatures. It’s hard to imagine that the Martingayle and colleagues canceled a planned event that already had a hotel booked, a CLE program, and even optional tours set up based on those objections. Who are the “other individuals” mentioned by Martingayle who objected?
(4) Relatedly, as a state agency, the Virginia State Bar is subject to FOIA. If no enterprising journalist is already FOIAing the relevant correspondence that led to this decision, I’m sure somebody else will be.
Legal Insurrection adds:

This clearly was a well-planned, under-the-radar move, and it is odd that the email was circulated on a Friday night long after the seminar was planned.The VA State Bar already had a hotel reserved for the event, which was well-advertised, and had registration and travel procedures in place.Virginia State Bar Mid Year Legal Seminar Brochure Jerusalem topThere was a full brochure produced for the trip:Virginia State Bar Mid Year Legal Seminar Brochure Jerusalem.pdf

I have a feeling that many are going to quit the Virginia Bar Association after this debacle. (UPDATE: See comments; they can't without losing their ability to practice in VA.) But perhaps this publicity is what they want. As lawyer David Schraub comments on his blog, maybe Martingayle had no idea what he was supporting the antisemitic BDS movement, but just maybe - he did:
The second possibility, though, is that Mr. Martingayle is going in with eyes wide open. He knows the backlash that will emerge, and he fully expects it, and he fully expects it to win. Again, given what I know about Virginia and Virginia state politics, I do not believe that Mr. Martingayle has the political backing to take a stance like this and survive the fallout. But provoking an overreaction is a form of strategy too. A too-vitriolic response by the rest of the Virginia government -- a direct encroachment on the Bar's autonomy, for instance -- could have disastrous long-term consequences even if it ousts Martingayle in the short-term. And more generally, Mr. Martingayle benefits from the truth of any political controversy that has Jews at the center: If he wins, he's the man who boldly stood up to Jewish power. If he loses, he's the martyr who sacrificed himself before the unstoppable juggernaut of Jewish power. We still live in a polity where the exercise of Jewish political agency is presumptively illegitimate insofar as it clashes with gentile preferences. One reason that Jews Lose is that any situation where we don't lose is coded as a system failure. Jews losing means the system is working properly, Jews winning means we've successfully subverted the system. It creates a severe double-bind, and means that someone who comes in and is willing to play the martyr to demonstrate the malevolence of the big bad Jewish lobby will have little difficulty succeeding.
Finally, as Volokh Conspiracy notes, literally hundreds of thousands of Arabs have visited Israel in recent years without incident. Israel's profiling isn't against Arabs but against potential troublemakers - plenty of which are not semitic at all.

03/28 Links: We don't need another failure; Prosor: 'Break silence' on minority persecution in ME

From Ian:

Ben-Dror Yemini: We don't need another failure
Given the upheaval in the Arab world, Obama needs to ask himself why he thinks a Palestinian state is viable right now; meanwhile, Israel's right needs to understand that its actions are leading to a bi-national state.
The Muslim world is undergoing a massive upheaval. Arab identity is disappearing. National identity is falling apart. The identity on the rise is Islamic, tribal and sectarian. Death and destruction have reached monumental proportions.
Muslims are murdering hundreds of thousands of Muslims. None of the bloody conflicts – between Shias and Sunnis, and between Sunnis and Sunnis – have anything to do with Israel or the Palestinians. Most of those perpetrating the killings don't even know where Israel is on the map.
The Palestinians are deep in the picture. According to a study carried out by a research institute in Qatar, they lead the way in terms of support for Islamic State and the implementation of Sharia law. And just like everywhere else where radical Islam rears its head, Hamas, too, is sowing death and destruction.
The most peaceful place in the Middle East is the Israeli-controlled West Bank. Over the past six years, 122 Palestinians have been killed there. So when Obama talks about the chaos in the Middle East because of Israel, he appears to be living in a world of his own. Because of Israel? How does Obama come up with such an assessment of the situation?
Anne Bayefsky: UN says Israel, not Iran, North Korea or Syria worst violator of human rights
What country deserves more condemnation for violating human rights than any other nation on earth? According to the U.N.’s top human rights body, that would be Israel.
Last week, Israel was the U.N.’s number one women’s rights violator. This week it is the U.N.’s all-round human rights villain.
The U.N. Human Rights Council wrapped up its latest session in Geneva on Friday, March 27 by adopting four resolutions condemning Israel. That’s four times more than any of the other 192 UN member states.
There were four resolutions on Israel. And one on North Korea -- a country that is home to government policies of torture, starvation, enslavement, rape, disappearances, and murder – to name just a few of its human rights violations.
Four resolutions on Israel. And one on Syria. Where the death toll of four years of war is 100,000 civilians, ten million people are displaced, and barrel bombs containing chemical agents like chlorine gas are back in action.
Four resolutions on Israel. And one on Iran. Where there is no rule of law, no free elections, no freedom of speech, corruption is endemic, protestors are jailed and tortured, religious minorities are persecuted, and pedophilia is state-run. At last count, in 2012 Iranian courts ordered more than 30,000 girls ages 14 and under to be “married.”
Prosor to UN Security Council: 'Break silence' on 'plague' of minority persecution in Mideast
Israel's envoy to the United Nations Ron Prosor on Friday called on the UN Security Council to "break its silence" on the "plague" of persecution of minorities in the Middle East.
Prosor noted the upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover and the escape of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, saying the phenomenon of persecution continues "without interruption and under the nose of the international community."
In a meeting of the 15-nation body on minorities in the region, Prosor warned that millions of Christian, Kurds, Yazidis, Baha'i and Jews are still facing persecution in the Middle East.
"It doesn't matter where you come from, what faith you belong to, or what politics you preach, no decent human being can ignore the calamity facing minorities in the Middle East," Prosor told the council.
Amb. Prossor at UNSC on on attacks and abuses on ethnic or religious grounds in the Middle East

Friday, March 27, 2015

03/27 Links Pt2: UN Bookshop stocks anti-Semitic books; The J Street Challenge - Full Film

From Ian:

UN Watch: World body urged to investigate anti-Jewish books in U.N. Bookshop
UN Watch is deeply concerned by the highly suspect selection of books featured in the United Nations Bookshop, and we urge you to investigate.
Perusing the shelf displays, one cannot miss the carefully orchestrated line-up of anti- American and anti-Israeli book titles, from “Reflections on Israel’s War Against Palestinians” to “The Punishment of Gaza.” Worse, the UN bookshop—situated just below the Human Rights Council prominently displays a book entitled “How I Stopped Being a Jew.” The author accuses the Jewish religion of a “genocidal Yahwestic tradition.”
Let us be clear: under no circumstances whatsoever would we presume to dictate to the UN bookshop which books to sell. We unflinchingly support the freedom of expression and full exchange of ideas, good and bad. Yet the unmistakable pattern of anti-American, anti-Israel and anti-Jewish books is a matter that requires your attention. We recall the promise of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the historic 2004 United Nations gathering against anti- Semitism: “The fight against anti-Semitism must be our fight,” said Mr. Annan, “and Jews everywhere must feel that the United Nations is their home, too.” As I am sure you will agree, the selective offering of one-sided and inflammatory books that demean Israelis and Jews does not contribute to the culture of acceptance promised by Mr. Annan.
At a time when Jews across Europe are being targeted by violent attacks and incitement, it is deeply distressing that the United Nations Headquarters in Europe would promote books on “how to stop being a Jew.” Significantly, we note there are no other books in the shop targeting or criticizing any other religious or ethnic group.
Anti-Israel Activist ‘Fact-Checks’ Hirsi Ali
Max Blumenthal, the David Duke-endorsed anti-Israel writer who is best known for being the son of long-time Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal, launched a barrage of twitter attacks on the Somali-American women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Tuesday.
Blumenthal also took issue with a recent column in the Wall Street Journal in which Hirsi Ali, a critic of radical Islam, said that “at least 70% of all the fatalities in armed conflicts around the world last year were in wars involving Muslims.” In the essay, Hirsi Ali cited an International Institute for Strategic Studies analysis.
Blumenthal questioned the stat in an email to Hirsi Ali’s foundation on Tuesday:
The J Street Challenge - Full Film in HD
The J Street Challenge is an important and timely documentary about a significant issue facing the American Jewish community.
Since it was founded in 2008, J Street's idealistic message has attracted many Jews, young and old, who are frustrated by the Middle East conflict and sincerely want peace between Arabs and Jews. J Street has been a subject of controversy. Critics claim that J Street has divided the Jewish community and weakened American Jewish support for Israel. "The J Street Challenge" lets viewers hear both sides of this important debate over the elusive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The film explores the reasons for J Street's appeal, as well as the diverse and at times contradictory motivations of its leaders and followers. The film is being released at a critical time for the American Jewish community given the intense efforts by the United States to resolve the conflict and influence the community's leadership to support these efforts. The Kerry peace initiative has further divided the Jewish community, with J Street working to weaken the influence of AIPAC while strongly backing the administration.
The film includes distinguished scholars and writers from a wide political spectrum, including Harvard professors Alan Dershowitz and Ruth Wisse, Rabbi Daniel Gordis of the Shalem College in Jerusalem, Caroline Glick, Managing Editor of the Jerusalem Post, Professor Richard Landes of Boston University, Lenny Ben David -- former Israeli diplomat and author, and Bret Stephens, Pulitzer prize winning columnist for The Wall Street Journal.

"Methuselah" date palm from 2000 year old seed has a "child"

When Methuselah was very young*
From National Geographic:
A male date palm tree named Methuselah that sprouted from a 2,000-year-old seed nearly a decade ago is thriving today, according to the Israeli researcher who is cultivating the historic plant.

The plant was sprouted in a laboratory in 2005, and when a National Geographic news story about the event resurfaced this week on the social media website Reddit, we decided to check in on Methuselah and see how it's doing. (See our 2005 story: “2,000-Year-Old Seed Sprouts, Sapling Is Thriving"He is a big boy now," says Elaine Solowey, the director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies at Kibbutz Ketura in Israel.

"He is over three meters [ten feet] tall, he's got a few offshoots, he has flowers, and his pollen is good," she says. "We pollinated a female with his pollen, a wild [modern] female, and yeah, he can make dates."

In 2005, Solowey, an expert in desert agriculture, germinated the ancient seed, which was recovered decades earlier from an archaeological excavation at Masada, a historic mountainside fortress. The seed had spent years in a researcher's drawer in Tel Aviv.

In the years since Methuselah first sprouted, Solowey has successfully germinated a handful of other date palms from ancient seeds recovered at archaeological sites around the Dead Sea. "I'm trying to figure out how to plant an ancient date grove," she says.

To do that, she'll need to grow a female plant from an ancient seed as a mate for Methuselah. So far, at least two of the other ancient seeds that have sprouted are female.

If Solowey succeeds, she notes, "we would know what kind of dates they ate in those days and what they were like. That would be very exciting."

In 2012, scientists in Russia were able to grow a plant from 32,000-year-old seeds that had been buried by an Ice Age squirrel in Siberia. (See "32,000-Year-Old Plant Brought Back to Life—Oldest Yet.")

Genetic tests indicate that Methuselah is most closely related to an ancient variety of date palm from Egypt known as Hayany, which fits with a legend that says dates came to Israel with the children of the Exodus, Solowey says.

"It is pretty clear that Methuselah is a western date from North Africa rather than from Iraq, Iran, Babylon," she explains. "You can't confirm a legend, of course."

In addition to Solowey's hopes of establishing an orchard of ancient dates, she and colleagues are interested in studying the plants to see if they have any unique medicinal properties.
The tree has its own web page, but unfortunately I couldn't find a recent photo.

(h/t JW)

*Photo credit: "JudeanDatePalmMethuselah" by Benjitheijneb - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:JudeanDatePalmMethuselah.JPG#/media/File:JudeanDatePalmMethuselah.JPG

Do states really have to be contiguous?

Whenever anyone tells you that territorial contiguity is a requirement for viability of a governed area, you can do one of two things:

1) Refer to one of my favorite sarcastic infographics.

2) Have them watch this video.

(h/t Irene)

03/27 Links Pt1: Managing Obama’s war against Israel; Reassessing the Two State Solution

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Managing Obama’s war against Israel
On Wednesday, the Jerusalem Municipality announced it is shelving plans to build 1,500 apartments in the Har Homa neighborhood. Officials gave no explanation for its sudden move. But none was needed.
Obviously the construction of apartments for Jews in Jerusalem was blocked in the hopes of appeasing US President Barack Obama.
But is there any reason to believe he can be appeased? Today the White House is issuing condemnations of Israel faster than the UN.
To determine how to handle what is happening, we need to understand the nature of what is happening.
First we need to understand that the administration’s hostility has little to do with Israel’s actions.
As Max Boot explained Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, the administration’s animosity toward Israel is a function of Obama’s twin strategic aims, both evident since he entered office: realigning US policy in the Middle East toward Iran and away from its traditional allies Israel and the Sunni Arab states, and ending the US’s strategic alliance with Israel.
Rethinking Israel's Position on the Palestinian Authority
There will also be a cost to Israel, including an attempted surge of terrorism against the Jews of Judea and Samaria, as well as inside the Green Line. The Israeli government must be prepared to take severe measures to prevent it.
The United Nations, the European Union and the Obama Administration will also be furious, but it will pass, as there will be nothing they can do to create a Palestinian state once the Palestinian Authority no longer exists.
The collapse of the Palestinian Authority will not be cost free to Israel, which is why Abbas frequently issues empty threats to dismantle the Palestinian Authority himself. It would be delusional to believe that Israel can avoid the imposition of a Palestinian state without paying a price. Such a price, however, is small change compared to the catastrophe that would result from the creation of a Palestinian state and the benefit of terminating that threat once and for all.
It is unrealistic, of course, to expect that the Israeli government will declare the termination of Israel's cooperation with the Palestinian Authority at this time without provocation. The Prime Minister's cautious nature precludes such a bold move. Nevertheless, the possibility that Israel will take this step in response to any change in support by the United States for Israel in various international bodies should be floated.
Simply put, if the Obama Administration can reassess its position with regard to Israel, the Netanyahu government can reassess its position with regard to the Palestinian Authority. The street runs two ways.
 Israel’s UN Envoy Says Hamas Would ‘Gladly Create’ Terror State in Judea and Samaria
Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor said on Thursday that, given the opportunity, Gaza-based terror group Hamas would eagerly create a terrorist entity in Judea and Samaria, the West Bank, like they did in the Gaza Strip.
“Iran’s proxy, Hamas, took over the Gaza Strip and created a terror stronghold. It has used this stronghold to fire tens of thousands of rockets into Israel. Given the chance, Hamas would gladly create a second terror state in Judea and Samaria,” Prosor said at a press conference at the UN. “You don’t have to be a political scientist to look at the Middle East and see a region in chaos…The region is in turmoil – and the very last thing Israel can afford is another terror state in its backyard.”
The envoy’s comments came as the White House escalated criticism of Israel’s newly reelected Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu over comments he made questioning if the security climate was right for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Prosor appeared to be reinforcing Netanyahu’s position.
Prosor said the new “terror state” could be called ISIL – standing for Iran, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon – because, he said, the entity would be sponsored by the Islamic Republic and be “as volatile” as the other Middle East countries.
Amb. Prosor statement following UNSC debate on the Middle East