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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Z Specialty Food - for Rosh Hashanah and year round [Advertorial]

The following is an advertorial, written by EoZ, for Z Specialty Food.

If you are looking for a great Rosh Hashanah or Sukkot gift, you have just found it.
I am not exactly a "foodie." Don't get me wrong - I love food, but I am no aficionado. My taste buds are stuck somewhere in the fifth grade and I still get enthusiastic about eating Cocoa Puffs for breakfast.
So when Ishai Zeldner asked me to write a post about his food products I admit that I was a little nervous. I want to be honest in what I post, and I was worried that maybe some of his products would not be my style.  
Zeldner's company, Z Specialty Food, is a family-owned gourmet foods business based in California. His products are under the brand name of Moon Shine Trading Company and Cowboy Caviar. Ishai learned how to raise honey bees under the tutelage of one of Israel’s top beekeepers at a kibbutz in 1969.  Zeldner started harvesting and marketing his own honey over 30 years ago, and then added more varieties of honey to his collection. Later his company diversified, bought other small food companies and expanded, and now his whole family is involved. He is proud that his foods are all natural and that his company is environmentally friendly.
When I received a selection of products to review I gathered Mrs. Elder and Daughter of Ziyon to help me out. And the first thing we did was set up a taste test between three of his honeys and two generic honeys.
There is definitely a difference between the honeys that even I could appreciate. The gourmet honeys we tried tend to be a little lighter in color and smoother in taste than the generic brands. The California Orange Blossom Honey had a little citrus-y “kick” that I liked; the womenfolk preferred the High Plains Sweet Clover Honey and the somewhat sweeter California Yellow Star Thistle Honey; Mrs. Elder described the Yellow Star Thistle Honey as having a “perfect texture and taste.” Indeed, that was the honey that started the company.
This is only three of Z-Specialty’s honeys; they sell some 15 different varieties from various regions in the US. Z Specialty Foods is proud that they support American farmers with all of their products.

They also sell “Honey in the Straw” – thin plastic tubes of honey that you can take with you and enjoy any time. (Eating it straight from the tube feels slightly illicit.) You can put it into tea when you are traveling. It is quite good, and they even sell Rosh Hashanah cards that include honey straws!
Next we tried the California Honey Apricot spread. This is simply a mixture of apricot preserves and honey, which is a really great idea, when you think about it. I ate it for breakfast on toast and I also tried it as a substitute for syrup on waffles. It tastes as you would expect – a sweet and tart fruit spread, with the apricot flavor accentuated.  It is very tasty and a nice alternative to jelly.
 A more unusual food that we tried is called Cowboy Caviar, a savory spread, made with fresh vegetables. The one we tried is called Red Bell Pepper Tuscan Style and it is almost like a mild salsa. The company recommends it with eggs. This spread was a hit with all three of us.
The last product I sampled is the one I wanted to try the most:  Chocolate Almond Crunch, a spreadable chocolate nut cream. It is even better than I hoped it would be! You can dip cherries into it, or spread it on cookies, or pour it on ice cream, or eat it straight out of the jar (which I admit I am guilty of.) It’s great on graham crackers too. This stuff is simply awesome. (We are all sneaking tastes every time we open the refrigerator. It did not last long.)
As I said, the honeys especially would make wonderful gifts for your hosts if you are invited out for the holidays.  
If you are more ambitious, you might want to throw a Rosh Hashana honey-tasting party with all 15 varieties – along with a good supply of apples! If you want to have a sweet year, you can’t do better than to start off like that!
All food products are certified kosher by the Igud HaKashrus of Los Angeles (Heart K). (The "royal jelly" and propolis are not certified.) The chocolate and vanilla nut spreads are dairy.

You can save 15% on your order by using the discount code ELDER at checkout.

Shana tova!

Rashid Khalidi's lies in the Chicago Tribune

Rashid Khalidi, the radical Columbia professor who felt that Yasir Arafat was too dovish for his tastes, writes an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune complaining that Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. went on a trip to Israel.

It is a typical combination of false outrage and outright lies:
[I]nstead of going to Americans hard-hit by the economic downturn, this money is used by Israel to subjugate, humiliate and segregate millions of Palestinians.
Is Khalidi equally outspoken about every US expenditure - or only the tiny percentage of the budget that goes to Israel?

Of course, American money to Israel is audited and none of it goes "to subjugate, humiliate and segregate millions of Palestinians."
Rather than spend his time touring Israel, and seeing what the flacks for Israel wanted him to see, Rep. Jackson could have stayed home and met with constituents facing difficult times.
And rather than write tendentious articles for the Chicago Tribune, Rashid Khalidi could be volunteering to help starving kids in Somalia. By his stunningly stupid "logic" he is a heartless SOB for not spending every minute of his day doing things more valuable than writing op-eds filled with lies.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's repeated insistence that Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state is entirely at odds with the principles of the modern-day United States and a throwback to an era in which the U.S. was considered a white state.
This is a baldfaced lie. Jews are a nation, whites aren't. Khalidi's denial of this simple fact, and his comparison of nationalism with racism, is indeed a manifestation of anti-semitism. He is simply denying the Jewish right of self-determination that he so tenaciously ascribes to a people who did not exist as such a hundred years ago.
Recognition of Israel as the Jewish state formally reduces Israel's 1.4 million Palestinian citizens to second-class citizenship.
This is a lie. Citizens have equal rights and would continue to do so.

If Khalidi really believes this, then he must be against the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state where its Declaration of Independence and its constitution both explicitly define the state as being "Arab" - meaning that non-Arabs are second class citizens. Would he ever dare to say so?

No, of course not. Because Khalidi will only say such things about the Jewish state.

Jackson explicitly lectured Palestinians for not using nonviolence, ignoring a long tradition of nonviolent resistance by occupied and disenfranchised Palestinians.

A laughable lie that I demolished in great detail here and here.
...Israel's massive apartheid wall, a behemoth (which is both longer and in places higher than the former Berlin Wall) that snakes through Palestinian territory, grabbing land meant for a future Palestinian state.
As Khalidi well knows, the land was always up for negotiation. It was never "meant" for a future Palestinian Arab state. In fact, when it was won in 1967, it was considered by the entire world to be Jordanian. One major objective of the Oslo process was to determine where that border would be, and the path of the security barrier has already changed a number of times.

[H]undreds of unarmed activists acting in the spirit of the U.S. civil rights movement, and who proudly claim to be inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi, have been arrested without charge. Hundreds more have been injured or killed by rubber bullets and high-velocity tear gas canisters.
MLK never advocated throwing boulders, using high velocity slings, dropping boulders onto civilians from a height, or throwing Molotov cocktails - all activities that happen weekly in the territories, often at these "non-violent" protests.
Jackson also approvingly quoted Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has called for the forcible transfer of Israel's Palestinian citizens.
This is an absolute and complete lie. Lieberman called for redrawing borders, ironically giving more land to a Palestinian state, not to forcibly transfer one Palestinian Arab from their home.
It is no wonder then, that peace and security for all in the region is still so elusive.
When professors at Columbia can spout such errant untruths on the pages of a major American newspaper, it allows Palestinian Arab leaders to become even more intransigent and less willing to make the hard compromises necessary for peace.

Khalidi has no interest in peace in the Middle East; he wants Israel to be destroyed and in fact refers to all of Israel as "occupied." He is an extremist, and for him to talk about "peace" is the ultimate of hypocrisy - because his conception of "peace" is the destruction of a nation.

Syrians perform in Edinburgh. Where are the protests?

From Syrian government mouthpiece SANA:
Syrian dramatist Dr. Hannan Kassab Hassan, playwright Omar Abu Saada and dancing designer Osama Hilal participated in Edinburgh Festival for the British Contemporary Arts which was held between August 22nd and 28th.

The Festival presented variety of British contemporary shows and held a number of meetings to provide opportunities of opinions, experiments and knowledge among dramatists from different parts of the world. The Festival also conducted dialogues about the Arab theatre.

Prominent Arab and African dramatists also took part in the international festival, among them Director of Beirut Spring Festival Randa al-Asmar and the Executive Director of Jordan Festival Suha Bawab.

Elizabeth White, Director of the British Council in Syria said that each Summer, Edinburgh embraces new productions and opinions at all streets, halls and theatres where the coffees are crowded with dramatists, playwrights and spectators who enthusiastically discuss the good and bad works.
Somehow, I missed the protests by British "human rights" activists that must have occurred outside the festival, calling attention to Syrian war crimes.

After all, they have determined that the human rights of Arabs is far more important than any arts performance, didn't they?

Iran and Israel sending naval forces into the Red Sea

From UPI:
Iran will send a submarine and another warship from the republic's 15th fleet to the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, Adm. Habibollah Sayyari said.

The navy will continue to maintain a highly active presence in the area to serve the country's interests, Press TV quoted the navy commander as saying Tuesday.

Sayyari did not say when the naval vessels would be dispatched.

Iran's presence will not only enhance security in the area, but will convey a message of peace and friendship to all countries, he said.

Iran's announcement came shortly after Israel said Tuesday it was boosting its naval presence near the border with Egypt Tuesday, following reports Sinai terrorists plan attacks on Israel.

Due to the warnings based on concrete intelligence received by the security establishment, Israel also boosted its ground forces along the border with Egypt and Gaza.

Israel informed the Egyptian authorities of the move.

Al Masry al Youm reports that first Iran made their announcement and then Israel announced that two warships would be deployed in the Red Sea. Predictably, they interview an Egyptian "expert" who says that Israel's move is designed to "provoke Egypt."

"Empty chair" poster

Just a quick graphical reaction to the PLO's "Empty Chair" stunt I mentioned yesterday:



Joseph Goebbel's secretary breaks her silence

From ABC News:
She kept a promise of silence and secrecy for 66 years. A promise made to one of the vilest leaders of Nazi Germany.

Now Brunhilde Pomsel, 100 years old, is talking about her time as secretary to Joseph Goebbels, propaganda chief for Adolph Hitler, a man who railed against Jews and once wrote, “Adolf Hitler, I love you because you are both great and simple at the same time. What one calls a genius.” 
All these years later, his secretary calls him something else.

“I will never forgive Goebbels for what he brought into this world,” Pomsel tells Bild, Germany’s most widely-read paper. “And the fact that he could murder his innocent children in this way.”

She worked for Goebbels from 1942 until May 1, 1945 — a week before V-E Day — when he killed himself in Berlin.

“He got away lightly with suicide,” she says. “He knew he would be condemned to death by the Allies. His suicide was cowardly, but he was also smart because he knew what was coming if he didn’t take that way out.”

Countless books have been written about Goebbels and his role in the war, but none had the benefit of a conversation with Pomsel, whose job was to take down Goebbels’ every word — “The Jews must get out of Germany, indeed out of Europe altogether”, “The Jews ought to please observe the laws of hospitality and not behave as if they were the same as us,” and so on.
Pomsel tells Bild she was asked to work for Goebbels because she was a fast typist. “It was an order to be transferred to work for him. You couldn’t refuse.”

And while Pomsel kept notes on all her boss’ hate-mongering, she also claims — in colorful language — to have never known about the horrors that were underway. “I didn’t know about the Holocaust. I was a stupid, politically uninterested little sausage of simple means. I only learned about the Jewish extermination program after the war.”

Pomsel recalls eating goose with Goebbels at his home outside Berlin, and receiving dresses from his wife Magda after her own home was destroyed in an allied bombardment. But “you couldn’t get close to him,” she says. “He never once asked me a personal question. Right up until the end I don’t think he knew my name.”

Andrew Roberts notes that Goebbels was the exception - that most Nazi leaders were very kind to their employees as they carried out the most horrific crimes known to man.

Two horrific tales of rape from Libya

From Al Arabiya:
Five female bodyguards of Muammar Qaddafi say they were sexually assaulted by the former Libyan leader in a report published in the Malta Times on Sunday.

The claims have been collected by Benghazi-based psychologist Sehram Sergewa who is compiling a dossier for the International Criminal Court for any criminal proceedings against Qaddafi.

Qaddafi was known for his female bodyguards who were always well groomed and rumored to be up to 400 according to a recent report in Al Arabiya. Qaddafi made his guards take a vow of virginity and renamed all of them Aisha, after his only daughter.

The women who stepped forward to share their experiences, however, speak of horrifying crimes of rape by the leader and then his sons or other officials.

One woman, who said she was raped before becoming a female guard by Qaddafi when she sought his intervention to be re-instated at university, was blackmailed into becoming a bodyguard.

“She was told you either become a bodyguard or your brother [detained on fabricated charges of drug trafficking] will spend the rest of his life in prison,” Dr. Sergewa told the newspaper.

Charges of rape aren’t limited to Qaddafi. When conducting a survey at a refugee camp in Tunisia, Dr. Sergewa spoke to women who said they were raped by Qaddafi troops.

An 18-year-old claimed she was raped in front of her father by a soldier.
And it gets worse:
A father slit the throat of his three teenage daughters in an ‘honour killing’ after they were raped by Gaddafi loyalists during the siege of the port city of Misrata.

Allegations of the shocking executions are contained in a report by the respected Physicians for Human Rights group into war crimes and atrocities in the embattled city, which faced two months of being cut off from the rest of Libya.

The father is said to have carried out the ‘honour killings’ because of his humiliation and shame at the rape of the sisters – aged 15, 17 and 18 – in Tomina, on the outskirts of Misrata. The victims were not named.
(h/t jzaik)

The hidden divide between the Israeli Left and the Palestinian "moderates"

Nothing illustrates  Palestinian Arab intransigence more than their rejection of the concept of "two states for two peoples."

Especially when one remembers that this idea was originally floated by the Israeli Far Left - and it was at one point considered political heresy in mainstream Israeli politics.

One early example of this formulation can be seen in the 1974 book "Land of the Hart" by Israeli pioneer - and super-dove - Arie Eliav, as can be seen in these two snippets:

(Eliav quit the Labor Party over its settlement policy at the time and participated in a series of far-left parties.)

Similarly, a 1989 demonstration organized by Peace Now in Jerusalem used the slogan prominently. That demonstration, which only attracted a few hundred, was overshadowed 13 years later by the famous Peace Now rally of some of 50,000 Israelis in 2002 - featuring that same slogan.

In other words, the concept of "two states for two peoples" has been the mantra of the Israeli "peace camp" for decades.

In what can only be considered a triumph by the leftists, this idea, which was was considered anathema to Israeli governments of both the right and the left, became mainstream Israeli policy. Even Ariel Sharon used that exact phrase in May, 2004 when unveiling the disengagement plan from Gaza (placing him far to the left of Yitzchak Rabin, who never accepted the idea of a "Palestinian state.")

Similarly, that phrase has been highlighted by both George Bush and Barack Obama.

Yet the mainstream, supposedly moderate Palestinian Arab leadership has never accepted this key concept, and has been consistently and adamantly against it. To them, the idea of even accepting the existence of a Jewish people cannot be countenanced - even in private.

Any reasonable observer can see that this is a dealbreaker. The PLO's insistence on trampling the idea of a Jewish people and a Jewish homeland means that real peace can never be achieved. They are the ones who are the true obstacle to peace, far more than anything the Israeli government has ever done. The majority of Israelis have steadily moved to the stated positions of the "peace" movement in the past two decades, while the majority of Palestinian Arabs have remained as obstinate as ever.

However, the Israeli Left, the vanguard of "two states for two peoples," willfully ignores, and even hides, this huge divide between their concept of peace and the red lines drawn in no uncertain terms with their purported "peace partners." They will not publicly castigate Mahmoud Abbas for his repeated insistence on this point, nor on his insistence on "return."

The extremism of the PA and the PLO gets a free pass.

Rather than exposing the PLO for ruining any chance for peace, the Israeli Left instead keeps on blaming the Israeli Right for the lack of progress in the "peace process." They simply cannot admit to themselves that their "two states for two peoples" formulation has no takers on the other side.

So they choose to ignore it. They paper over their differences with their "moderate" counterparts on the Arab side. Perhaps it is out of embarrassment, perhaps it is from a refusal to admit that there is no peace partner.

This has far reaching implications. The world media takes its cue from the Israeli Left, symbolized by Ha'aretz. The Western world has largely subscribed to the ideas of the Israeli Left. As a result, for years, journalists have also failed to highlight the inflexible and obdurate position of the Palestinian Arabs and their leaders.

This is one reason that stunts like the unilateral declaration of independence gain any traction to begin with. If the Israeli Left was as ferocious in denouncing Palestinian Arab inflexibility and intransigence as they are of the Israeli Right, then world leaders would be a lot more skeptical about accepting and facilitating these anti-peace stunts. 

Instead, the Israeli "peace camp" has dropped the ball in its quest for peace. Its voice could have been a powerful ingredient in pressuring the PLO for accepting compromise and coexistence. Instead, Israeli leftists  chose to play political one-upsmanship with the Right and to hide their differences with their supposed Arab counterparts.

This emboldens the Palestinian Arabs to continue to refuse compromise and say no to negotiations and peace, as they are given political cover by the Israeli Left and the journalists who admire them.

And the entire world will pay the price.

The PLO's "flotilla" stunt - from 1988

This summer's floptilla has a historical antecedent:


As in the more recent example, it failed to sail - and the organizers blamed the Greeks! (WaPo)

A Palestine Liberation Organization plan to sail a ship filled with people deported from the occupied territories to Israel, much as Jewish war refugees did in 1947 aboard the Exodus, has been stalled by a "secret" Israeli dissuasion campaign aimed at Greek merchant shipping, PLO officials charged today. Israel denied the charge.

An Israeli Embassy spokesman here denied the charge today. But in Israel, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir has expressed outrage at and opposition to the PLO plan to copy the Jews' postwar tactics to settle refugees in what was then British-administered Palestine. Greece also denied being pressed by Israel or the United States-as the PLO had alleged-to prevent the sailing.

The PLO plans to load the ship with international observers, reporters and 131 Palestinians who were deported from the Israeli-occupied territories on the West Bank and Gaza and sail it to Haifa in Israel. The ship would make a stopover in Larnaca, Cyprus to pick up more international observers, including a number of Palestinians, the PLO said.
And just like today, anti-Israel stunts are catnip to the media.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Palmer Report finally due on Friday

From JPost:
The Foreign Ministry is drawing up talking points and writing press releases in the run-up to Friday’s expected release of the Palmer Commission report on the Mavi Marmara incident.

The preparations follow Turkey’s rejection of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s proposal that publication of the report be postponed for another six months. Release of the report has been delayed repeatedly since May 15, when it was first scheduled to be published.

According to Israeli officials, the Turks – in addition to demanding an apology for the incident and compensation for the families of the nine Turks killed on the ship – are also interested in seeing the report buried because it upholds Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip and places Ankara in a negative light.

What Netanyahu hoped to do by postponing publication of the report, the officials said, was to give the Turks what they wanted regarding burying the report, as well as to postpone the apology issue.

Israel has already said it would pay compensation through a fund set up by the Turkish government.

According to Israeli officials, the 102-page report comes to the following conclusions:
Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza was legal, as was the interception of vessels trying to break the blockade.

The IHH activists behind the flotilla were looking for a violent provocation.

Turkey had a role with the IHH in the flotilla setting sail.

The IDF soldiers defended themselves after coming up against premeditated violence by those on the ship.

The IDF soldiers used excessive force.

The publication of the report has been delayed for months in the hopes that Israel and Turkey could reach an amicable agreement that would obviate the need for its publication. The concern is that once the report is released – a report that calls on Israel to express “regret” for the incident, but not apologize – it will be more difficult for Israel and Turkey to reach any type of reconciliation.

Israel has already expressed regret for the loss of life in the incident.
It's about time.

But after it is released, and all the findings are made public, you can be sure that the usual anti-Israel idiots will go crazy over the last bullet point and ignore all the other findings that show that after their year of whining about the Mavi Marmara and international law that they were completely and fully wrong.

"Underwear bomber says excessive force used"

From AP:
A Nigerian accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound plane in 2009 claims he was the victim of excessive force after he assaulted several officers.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab filed a request Thursday asking that no excessive force be used against him when he defends his Islamic religion.

In another request, Abdulmutallab wants to be released and be judged by the Quran. He is charged with trying to blow up an Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight on Christmas Day 2009 by detonating explosive chemicals concealed in his underwear.
It is clear bigotry. Non-Muslims who attempt to blow up airplanes and then assault police officers get treated much kinder than Umar was.

Hamas says Abbas is not safe in Gaza - because of Fatah!

Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar says that the security of Mahmoud Abbas cannot be assured if he would visit Gaza. But it is not Hamas that would want to kill him - but Mahmoud Dahlan's Fatah loyalists!

In an interview he also said that any Abbas visit wouldn't further the supposed reconciliation between Hamas and the PA, as they are already meeting on the topic in Cairo and no progress has been made.

Zahar suggested that the PA is the party that is fighting against real unity, and that the meetings they have had so far were on superficial topics like issuing passports in Gaza.

On a possible Abbas visit, Zahar says that there are no plans now and in his opinion " it is not wise to come under these circumstances."

Zahar also said that any proposal that Abbas may give to the UN that involves NATO or other international forces to help with security would be invalid without first discussing it with Hamas and the other Gaza militant factions.

My (censored) letter to HuffPo on UNRWA

I wrote this in response to yet another set of apologetics by Chris Gunness of UNRWA, this one in the Huffington Post. I wrote  it at 10:30 EDT; as of this writing it has not yet been posted.
Many of UNRWA's camps are in Jordan - where most Palestinian Arabs have been citizens for decades. Why are people who are citizens of a state still considered "refugees" by UNRWA?

Many more of UNRWA's camps are in the areas of British Mandate Palestine, in the West Bank and Gaza. If these people are living already in the land that they consider theirs, why are they still considered "refugees" by UNRWA?

UNRWA claims that it is waiting for a full solution for the refugee problem. Yet when it was established in 1950 it actually tried to help resettle the refugees in Arab countries - something that was adamantly refused by the Arab leaders who wanted to perpetuate the problem. Why did UNRWA stop trying to help them resettle and go on with their lives?

On a number of occasions there have been loopholes allowing Palestinian Arabs to become citizens of Lebanon and, most recently, Egypt. Every time that happened there was a huge rush by these Palestinians to become citizens of those states. How can Gunness claim that Palestinian Arabs want to "return" rather than remain stateless when there has been no survey showing that to be true and plenty of evidence that it is false?

In short, what is UNRWA doing to solve the root problem of a perpetually growing problem of stateless Palestinians? Every sane person knows the solution must involve resettlement in Arab countries. Why does UNRWA work so hard instead to perpetuate their misery forever?
I could have kept going, but there is a 250 word limit.

HuffPo had banned my main email address, but I don't remember what I did that caused me to be banned.  I posted it under a different email but it looks like my questions are too subversive for the champions of free speech at HuffPo.

Kuwait shelves lawsuit against Israel over flotilla - because it fears losing!

From Arab Times Online:

KUWAIT CITY: The Ministry of Justice intends to shelve the case which has been filed by MP Dr Waleed Al-Tabtabaei and others against the Israeli government for humiliating and assaulting them while they were aboard the Turkish flotilla which was carrying humanitarian assistance to the people of the Gaza Strip in Palestine, reports Al-Dar daily.

It has been reported the ministry was preparing to file a lawsuit in international courts but was advised by lawyers not to go ahead with the suit because Israel could win the case and Kuwait would end up paying billions of dollars in compensation because the ship had violated international law by entering the Israeli territorial waters without permission.
The legal reasoning is probably garbled for the article; I imagine either the problem is that the blockade would be declared legal or that they have to consider Gaza to be Israeli territory if they are calling it "occupied." I also have no idea of where the lawsuit would have been filed.

There might also be an element of the Arab honor/shame society here. Even if they are confident in their case, they are concerned at the huge embarrassment that they would suffer if they lost and had to pay Israel. Even a small chance of that eventuality is enough to scare off any potential legal action.

Either way, this is very funny.

It appears that the Palestinian Arabs own the media

From AFP:
A hand-made olive-wood chair, fashioned to look like the blue seats at the United Nations, is set to tour Europe to raise support for a Palestinian bid to join the world body.

The chair was commissioned by a Palestinian NGO which is hoping to rally support for the campaign to secure full U.N. membership for a Palestinian state when the General Assembly meets in New York next month.

Made from Jerusalem olive wood and upholstered in crushed velvet in the U.N.'s trademark air force blue, the chair is embossed with the words: "Palestine's Right -- A full membership in the United Nations."

"The wood came from an olive tree in Jerusalem, the olive tree being a symbol of Palestine, while the blue upholstery with white writing came from Nablus," said Sufian al-Qawasmi, the Hebron-based designer who supervised the project.

The chair will begin its tour in Beirut and then head to Qatar, before moving to Europe where it will be taken to London, Paris, Brussels and Madrid.

It will then be flown to New York -- where it will be formally presented to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon in the hope that it will serve as the official U.N. seat for the State of Palestine.
But it's not just AFP. AP has the story as well.

This story is now on literally hundreds of websites.

Is an empty chair with a picture of an empty chair really that newsworthy?

To put it another way: In 2005, the skeletal remains of a bombed Israeli bus went on a tour of the US to push an anti-terror message. Did it receive even one tenth of the news coverage during the weeks it was brought to different cities as this chair did in just a few hours?

The West Bank distortions industry (Missing Peace)

Yesterday I noted a great article by Yochanan Visser and Sharon Shaked of Missing Peace in the Jerusalem Post debunking the PA's lies about water.

Today there's an even better article by Visser and Shaked in Israel Today that exposes the entire infrastructure of lies in the territories. Read the whole thing, but here are some excerpts:

[One] claim that originated from a Palestinian source involved the alleged destruction of 200 olive trees in the village Al Walaja near Bethlehem.

JAI, the Joint Advocacy Initiative, published a report about Na'el Khalid, a Palestinian farmer who claimed that 200 olive trees were destroyed when Israeli authorities started building the security fence on part of his land.

JAI also reported that Khalid would lose his land to Givat Ya'el - a planned Jewish community adjacent to Al Walaja.

We asked the IDF to comment on this report and received the following answer:

"In accordance with Israeli Supreme Court rulings regarding the rerouting of Israel's security fence, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) transplanted trees from Mr. Na'el Khalil's property to an adjacent plot, ensuring that he was able to continue working his land.

"The Israeli court authorities have previously denied several petitions seeking ownership of the land adjacent to the Palestinian village Al-Walajah by the Givat Ya'el community, a private building project in Judea."

A field investigation in Al Walaja where we visited Na'el Whalid's lands confirmed the IDF account of the situation.

And here is an interesting anecdote where Visser follows up on UNRWA claims:

The most shocking example of the distortions industry came from UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness during an interview with the Bethlehem-based Ma'an News Agency.

Reacting to this interview, and a related UNRWA press release, we asked Gunness for additional data and information on the topic of home demolitions.

UNRWA then sent us a report that only contained locations and dates of the West Bank demolitions.

When asked for additional information about the demolitions, such as court orders, Gunness became extremely agitated, used crude language and demanded immediate publication of "the facts."

Facts? Let’s examine this claim in the Ma'an interview:

"Many displacements are taking place where settlements are expanding and with it we are seeing an upturn in vicious attacks by Jewish settlers. Palestinians are being thrown off their ancestral lands to make way for settlers," Gunness told Ma'an.

This suggests two things: First, that settlements are still expanding outside their municipal boundaries, and second that Jews are supplanting Palestinian Arabs.

As Gunness knows very well, since 2005 settlement expansion has only taken place within the existing zoning lines of the municipal boundaries. No Palestinian Arabs have been kicked off their land to be replaced by Jews.

In fact, Gunness was referring here to Bedouins who are illegally squatting. An official with the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) told us that the Bedouin increasingly tend to camp in the vicinity of Jewish settlements and are often paid to do so by pro-Palestinian NGO's.

In the same Ma'an interview Gunness claimed the following:

"There is growing evidence that it (demolitions in Area C of the West Bank) is destroying the very fabric of these communities and ultimately contributing to a demographic shift which is changing the ethnic make-up of the West Bank."

This suggests a slow "ethnic cleansing" of the Palestinian population on the West Bank. 
Of course, Gunness is well aware of the fact that only 3% of the Palestinian population lives in Area C – most of them Bedouins, who mostly live in tents and are used to moving from place to place.

UNRWA's own census from 2007 shows an average population growth of the Palestinian population on the West Bank of 2.5 percent per year.

But there was more. In an e-mail to Missing Peace Gunness wrote the following:
"127 people expelled in Ma'aleh Nikhmas [sic] - displaced for settlement in the last few weeks. Is that enough?"

Really?

The 127 Palestinians expelled from Ma'aleh Michmas "for [Jewish] settlement" were in fact Bedouins who decided to leave, as his own UNRWA press release states.

There is no evidence that Ma'aleh Michmas residents took their place.

In fact, according to a report by the pro-Palestinian organization International Solidarity Movement, 16 Bedouin were evicted in the Ma'aleh Michmas area at the end of July.

This happened after they illegally camped within a closed military zone and received eviction orders two years ago.

By the way, for those coming from HuffPo, here's my comment about UNRWA that they didn't let me post.

Israel wooing Hollywood

From AP:
Israel is tired of Hollywood filming Jesus' crucifixion in Italy and the Crusader invasion of the Holy Land in Morocco.

So Israeli officials are promising better tax breaks, terror attack insurance and handouts of up to $400,000 to lure international movie producers to the holy city of Jerusalem. They want to cash in on the multibillion-dollar industry, and want the real Jerusalem on the silver screen — not Mediterranean stand-ins.

"It's absurd. Movies set in Jerusalem are filmed in Malta, Morocco and Greece," said Yoram Honig, an Israeli film director and 10th-generation Jerusalemite. He heads the Jerusalem Film Fund, which was set up three years ago to encourage more moviemaking in the city.

According to conventional wisdom in Hollywood, Jerusalem is too volatile to ensure smooth filming on location. International insurance companies have traditionally refused to provide terrorism risk coverage, or offered it at exorbitant prices.

For a long time, it didn't make financial sense for the producers. While Israel in the 1980s attracted such star-studded productions as Sylvester Stallone's "Rambo 3" and Chuck Norris' "The Delta Force," it later lost out to other countries that started giving big tax incentives to producers.

"If they think it's expensive and dangerous, they won't want to come," Honig said.

That's why the Israeli government enacted a law in 2008 offering tax breaks to foreign film companies that choose to shoot in Israel. And earlier this year Israel introduced an insurance fund to provide coverage to a production in case of disruptions by acts of war or terrorism, said Zafrir Asas, manager of audio visual industries in Israel's Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor.

...Part of the push to get Jerusalem into movie theaters is to present a more positive image of the city than the conflict seen in the news — "the Jerusalem that more than 3.5 billion people of faith around the world wish to see," said Stephan Miller, spokesman for Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

Honig said the municipal fund is close to signing a contract with a German producer to shoot a film about the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, which took place in Jerusalem in 1961. An Italian producer has also proposed filming a comedy in the city about an Italian nun who falls in love with an ultra-Orthodox Jew.

Other projects the film fund is courting include an Indian-Israeli romance, and "Jerusalem, I Love You," an installment of producer Emmanuel Benbihy's Cities of Love series. A delegation of Bollywood producers also recently visited the city to scout out filming opportunities. And a new animation studio in the city, Animation Lab, has courted Hollywood producers to work on its first feature film, "The Wild Bunch," slated for release in 2012.
But I thought the Jews/Zionists already owned Hollywood! It gets so confusing...

Reuters, BBC and the Guardian celebrate an anti-semite

From Reuters:

His cartoons are edgy, bold, and a thorn in the side of the Arab world's tottering authoritarians -- a gift to protesters from the unlikely setting of an apartment in beach-side Rio de Janeiro.

Carlos Latuff, a 42-year-old leftist whose only family link to the Middle East is a Lebanese grandfather he never knew, has become a hero of the tumultuous Arab Spring with rapid-fire satirical sketches that have helped inspire the uprisings.

All he has needed is his pen, a passion for the region's struggles and a Twitter account that he uses to send out his cartoons.
Reuters is aping earlier stories by the Guardian and the BBC praising Latuff.

Later on Reuters writes:
Latuff's foray into the divisive world of Middle Eastern politics has made him plenty of enemies as well as friends. His uncompromising work depicting Israeli army brutality toward Palestinians -- one cartoon compares soldiers with Nazi Germans -- has drawn allegations that he is anti-Semitic, a charge he strongly denies.


So according to Reuters the only thing he ever drew that was potentially anti-semitic was one single cartoon that compared Israel to Nazis  (which is prima facie anti-semitic anyway.)

Yet his sickening comparison between Jewish soldiers and Nazis is an obsession with Latuff, a theme he has hammered home many times. There is no iconic representation of the Holocaust that he has not appropriated in his zeal to demonize the Jewish state.

Here are just some of his cartoons on that theme:



















Beyond that, he has touched on some other anti-semitic themes:

The all powerful Jewish lobby, controlling the US.


"Edgy."




Classic Nazi motif of Jew-as-octopus



A modern version of the charge of deicide.


These is not merely "edgy" and "bold." This is hate speech. This is incitement. And this is anti-semitism.

Latuff's cartoons against Arab dictators do not go nearly as far as these do; their imagery is typically more abstract. Although they are pointed, there is no hate; they are more in line with typical political cartoons. No dead children, no Holocaust imagery, nothing close to the vitriol he reserves for the Jewish state:






The only people he ever compares to Nazis are, of course, Jews.

In addition, Latuff has cartoons that lionize terrorists and "armed resistance":




Is this someone who should be praised in the pages of the BBC, the Guardian and Reuters?

August rocket calendar

G=Grad
Q=Qassam
M=Mortar
P=Unidentified projectile (includes mortars)
R=Unidentified rocket
S=Fell short in Gaza
E=fell in Egypt
F=Fatality (Green-Gaza, Red-Israel)
[] - Palestinian claims

August 2011


SundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturday



1

1Q
2


3

2G
4

1Q
5


6


7


8


3M

9


10


11


12


13


14

1Q

15

1G
16


17


18

4G
19

30R
20

64R F _F_
21

35R
5M
8RE
1GS

22

6Q
1G
23

[6M]
24

1RE
17R
2M
25

5R

26

2Q
27


28

1G
1Q

29

1Q
30


31

2Q



History is irrelevant: Why Palestinian Arabs can never accept a Jewish State

In the Palestine Papers we find that, already in 2007, the PLO created a memo to fight against the very concept of a Jewish state. It gives a number of reasons, but one stands out:
Recognizing the Jewish state implies recognition of a Jewish people and recognition of its right to self-determination. Those who assert this right also assert that the territory historically associated with this right of self-determination (i.e., the self-determination unit) is all of Historic Palestine. Therefore, recognition of the Jewish people and their right of self-determination may lend credence to the Jewish people’s claim to all of Historic Palestine.
Notice the cynicism on display by the PLO. The actual truth that there is a Jewish people is too inconvenient for them, because if there is a Jewish people then they have the right to self-determination, which conflicts with the Palestinian Arab version of history. So it is better to pretend that there is no such people.

Facts and history are thrown away so that the PLO can strengthen their supposed claims.

A recent article in the Institute for Palestine Studies by former PLO negotiator Ahmad Samih Khalidi takes an even more hardline approach to the topic, and is in some ways even more cynical. It is entitled "Why Can’t the Palestinians Recognize the Jewish State?"

[I]f Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, then the lands that it occupies today (and perhaps more, for there are as yet no borders to this “homeland”) belong to this people by way of right. And if these lands rightfully comprise the Jewish homeland, then the Arab presence there becomes historically aberrant and contingent; the Palestinians effectively become historic interlopers and trespassers—a transient presence on someone else’s national soil.

This is not a moot or exaggerated point. It touches on the very core of the conflict and its genesis. Indeed, it is the heart of the Zionist claim to Palestine: Palestine belongs to the Jews and their right to the land is antecedent and superior to that of the Arabs. This is what Zionism is all about, and what justifies both the Jewish return to the land and the dispossession of its Arab inhabitants.

Clearly, this is not the Palestinian Arab narrative, nor can it be. Palestinians do not believe that the historical Jewish presence in and connection to the land entail a superior claim to it. Palestine as our homeland was established in the course of over fifteen hundred years of continuous Arab-Muslim presence; it was only by superior force and colonial machination that we were eventually dispossessed of it. For us to adopt the Zionist narrative would mean that the homes that our forefathers built, the land that they tilled for centuries, and the sanctuaries they built and prayed at were not really ours at all, and that our defense of them was morally flawed and wrongful: we had no right to any of these to begin with.

The demand for the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people has yet another dimension. It places the moral burden of the conflict on the Palestinians, and consequently, not only exonerates Israel from the dubious moral circumstances of its birth but makes the Palestinians the historical transgressors. Indeed, by refusing to accept the Jewish claim to the land, we are to blame for what has befallen us: had we accepted Israel’s claim during the Mandate years, the entire conflict could have been averted; we should simply have handed the land “back” to its rightful owners from the time that they began to articulate, at the dawn of the twentieth century, their interest in it as an actual—rather than spiritual—homeland. From this perspective, it is Arab rejection that caused the conflict and not the Zionist transgression against Arab land and rights. This is of course precisely why this Israeli government and its most ardent Zionist supporters want to wrest this recognition from the Palestinians, as it would absolve Israel of its “original sin” and delegitimize the Palestinians’ version of their own history.

Taking this reasoning to its logical (if extreme) conclusion, recognition would give Israel the right to demand a measure of retributive justice. If the Palestinians caused the conflict, they should pay for their “sins”: the Palestinian refugees should not be compensated for their dispossession, and the Palestinian people as a whole should lose any claim to equality or equivalence in any political settlement premised on supposedly painful or generous Israeli concessions.
In both these cases the arguments are simple: If the Jewish people have a right to self-determination in their historic homeland, then it places Palestinian Arabs at a political disadvantage. Therefore, they cannot accept it.

Even if it is true.

Facts are not the currency being traded here. History is optional and can be discarded when inconvenient. The overriding concern is not to find the truth, or even a way to reconcile two narratives - it is to utterly reject the ancient, unbroken Jewish claim to the Land of Israel, no matter what the truth is. And in both these examples, the reasons given are not because Palestinian Arabs have a superior claim to the land - it is because  the [implicitly but clearly] superior, antecedent Jewish claim is incompatible with modern Palestinian Arab nationalistic goals.

In short, the truth is not in the Palestinian Arab interest, so it must be discarded.

(See also my earlier essay on this PLO memo.)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Overnight open thread

Blogging may be light Tuesday, as I will be busy during the time I usually write most of my posts.

So here's an open thread until I catch up.

Today's quiz

Arrange the following from highest to lowest values:

A. Number of Palestinian Arabs killed by Israel or Zionists since 1900
B. Number of Palestinian Arabs killed by non-Israelis since 1900
C. Number of Arabs killed by other Arabs in the Arab Spring in 2011

Answer after the jump.

What has Israel ever done for peace? (HonestReporting video)

Cute:

Hamas' cash problems continue

Ma'an Arabic has an article about how the Eid ul-Fitr holiday is not looking too happy for many Gazans, who are in much worse financial shape than they were for last year's Eid.

The reason? Hamas has not paid full salaries since July. And Gazans are worried that the money crunch will continue into the winter months.

There have been multiple reports that Hamas' financial crisis is a result of Iran's withholding cash from the group, because of Tehran's displeasure over Hamas not actively supporting the Syrian regime in murdering thousands. Iran is assumed to give Hamas the bulk of its $540 million budget.

While the media is reporting that the reason for the cutoff is Hamas' actions vis a vis Syria, but it is possible that Western economic sanctions against Iran have played a role as well. .

Any money Syria has been giving Hamas can also be assumed to have dried up, and it is entirely possible that Hamas' support for a truce with Israel even after its own members were targeted is due to their worries about the cost of another war:
Hamas chiefs did not plan or want this confrontation; not now. They were concerned about being blamed that they are pulling the rug from under Mahmoud Abbas ahead of the September independence bid. Moreover, the economic situation in Gaza is worsening. The government is having trouble paying salaries, with the amount of money pouring into the Strip at this time being a fraction of past fund transfers.

There is an important lesson here: terrorists cannot work without money, and their actions can be dictated more by monetary considerations than ideological ones.

The EU sanctions against purchasing Syrian oil are belated but welcome. And economic sanctions against Iran must be more drastic yet. Autocratic, terror supporting regimes are more concerned with staying in power than outsourcing terror.

Imagine the positive effect on Lebanon if Hezbollah loses all its Iranian cash as well! That can only happen if the cash to Iran is stopped, and that includes purchasing Iranian oil.

Money really does make the world go 'round, and the West is only slowly waking up to that.

PA hides mild "condemnation" of TA attack inside condemnation of Israel

You call this a condemnation?

. From WAFA Arabic:
The president condemned all attacks directed against civilians, including the incident that was committed in Tel Aviv early today.

The president stressed in a press statement that he condemns the Israeli attacks on Gaza, and the wave of raids and arrests carried out against our people in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

He reaffirmed his intention to seek membership and recognition of a Palestinian state within 1967 borders and with Jerusalem as its capital in the United Nations.

He said that “no attempts to divert attention will stop us from achieving our goal.”
The vague condemnation of the attack in Tel Aviv took up about 10% of the statement. The rest was a clear condemnation of specific Israeli actions.

Stung by the fact that people noticed that there was no condemnation of the Eilat attacks by the PA, Abbas created the most offensive "condemnation" possible by showing that he has no moral objection to deliberate attacks on civilians by his own people, and his only issue with them are that such attacks might distract from his goal of building a state where the national heroes are Dalal Mughrabi, Samir Kuntar and Yahya Ayyash.

Will "diaspora Palestinians" automatically become citizens of "Palestine"?

There has been an internal Palestinian Arab controversy about whether a declaration of a state would disenfranchise those of Palestinian descent.

A lawyer who helped draft the original Palestinian Declaration of Independence, Francis Boyle,  is peeved at Guy Goodwin-Gill, the lawyer who claims that there is a downside to the unilateral declaration stunt in September:

In the Nov. 15 1988 Palestinian Declaration of Independence that was approved by the Palestinian National Council, representing all Palestinians all over the world, the executive committee of the PLO was set up as the Provisional Government for the State of Palestine --pursuant to my advice.

In addition, the Declaration of Independence also provides that all Palestinians living around the world automatically become citizens of the State of Palestine -- pursuant to my advice. So the executive committee of the PLO in its capacity as the Provisional Government for the State of Palestine will continue to represent the interests of all Palestinians around the world when Palestine becomes a UN member state.

Hence all rights will be preserved: for all Palestinians and for the PLO. No one will be disenfranchised. The PLO will not lose its status. This legal arrangement does not violate the Palestinian Charter, but was approved already by the PNC.

Unfortunately, Oxford professor Guy Goodwill-Gill [sic] has circulated a memo full of distortions. It is based on many erroneous assumptions. This professor is not aware of all the legal and constitutional technicalities that were originally built into the Palestinian Declaration of Independence to make sure that his doomsday scenario does not materialize -- at my advice.
The "Declaration of Independence" is an amusing document, filled with both lies about history and lies about the present, one that simultaneously praises terrorism while claiming to declare a peaceful state. The relevant section about citizenship seems to be this:

The State of Palestine is the state of Palestinians wherever they may be. The state is for them to enjoy in it their collective national and cultural identity, theirs to pursue in it a complete equality of rights.
If this 1988 document is indeed the operative legal declaration of independence for "Palestine" then the "State of Palestine" can never be a democracy. Fair elections cannot be done when most of the citizens live outside the "nation" they are citizens of.

Moreover, having them become citizens means that the government cannot stop them from flooding into Ramallah to demand their rights to live in their country immediately. And there is no doubt that tens of thousand would want to do exactly that.

Boyle goes on to say that the PLO is actually the government of "Palestine" and not the pseudo-democratically elected PA. The West can wave good bye to their appointed darling, Salam Fayyad, who has no place in Boyle's (or anyone's)  conception of "Palestine."

Boyle, of course, fails to mention that the PLO has done nothing for more than half its constituents, quite happy to let them rot as stateless second-class members of Arab countries. The PLO has roundly ignored the wishes of Palestinian Arabs who are sick of being treated like pawns for the singular purpose of pressuring Israel.

The entire September stunt is not good for Israel, but it can easily become a disaster for "Palestine" and possibly the entire Middle East as the millions who have been cowed into silence for decades start to believe they have a say in their own futures.