Friday, June 23, 2017

Satirical Piece on Uri Blau

After Blau published this piece,

Exclusive Firebrand Anti-leftist Group, Which Slams Foreign Funding of Israeli NGOs, Received Over $1M From U.S. Donors
Majority of funding in 2015 to Im Tirtzu, a frequent and outspoken critic of Israeli human rights organizations, came from two U.S. groups close to Netanyahu and the GOP
which is BS as the money is not from foreign governments like all the leftist NGOs and there is no comparison, I was sent this satirical piece:

Seeking to rebuild his reputation after a conviction for leaking classified information, Uri Blau has set out on a courageous mission to show how right wing political groups in Israel are in fact foreign political agents. This bold moves comes as the investigation into possible collusion between President Trumps campaign team and the Russian Government, and the possibility this may have undermined democracy by impacting the US election, continues to make headlines across the world. Blau has has made a bold effort to borrow from reporting on the US scandal littering his piece with references to the GOP. 

Blau's creative article shows how leading American Jews with right of center views play leading roles in supporting both right of center American causes and in supporting right of center Israeli causes. He even reveals that Israel's Prime Minister, Bibi Netanyahu, who heads a right of center party is close to people heading the American friends of his party. This will no doubt come as a shocking revelation to many, Blau has made an extraordinary contribution to journalism in exposing these connection. He should share any journalism prizes for this contribution with the source, revealed in his article, who gave him that critical breakthrough by suggesting he use the Google Search Engine to find the answers to his questions. 

Unfortunately neither the comparison to the alleged involvement of the Russian state in influencing the US election, nor the comparison to the very real direct foreign government funding of political NGOs in Israel and their efforts to influence Israeli domestic politics compares well to the situation Blau discovered at the right of center Israeli NGO Im Tirtzu. For a start, the majority of Im Tirtzu's funding came from Israelis. Compare this to... (insert content). For another things, the foreign funding Im Tirtzu received came not from governments but from individual charitable donations. 

What Blau's article titled "Exclusive Firebrand Anti-leftist Group, Which Slams Foreign Funding of Israeli NGOs, Received Over $1M From U.S. Donors" actually exposes is the fact that Jewish community leaders in the US support Israel. Just as left of center community leaders in the United States run left of center groups and raise funds for left of center Israeli NGOs, so do right of center groups run right of center groups and collect money for right of center Israeli NGOS. What it fails to highlight is that these donations on the right, coming from individuals, are a boost to civil society in Israel and not the hijacking of civil society that has occurred in response to payments from foreign governments who have through their funding taken control of the activities of much of the left of civil society. 

^

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Muslim Report with Good News

An impressive 40+ page report is out.  I found it published at Al-Quds City and its theme is that the Haram Al-Sharif is in danger and its Muslim protection is 'collapsing'.



And a part of that 'collapse' is a reduced number of worshipers.

Translating the abstract informs us that:

On the 50th anniversary of the occupation of Al-Aqsa Mosque, this study presents a historical reading of the development of the elements threatening the identity of the mosque...the study identified four basic elements: the first turning the nature of the political elite [of Israel] to the right, and the rise of the temple groups - the mission to build the temple in the place of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the entire area - to seize the parliamentary and government influence until it reached a quarter of seats Netanyahu's fourth government, The Jewish religious rules that forbade the entry of Jews to the mosque [altered]...so that more than 50% of the Jews of the state follow the references advocating the entry of Jews to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the third was changing the American position from a position conforming to international law sees the mosque occupied land as not disputed. The fourth of which is the excavation of archeological sites and points of archaeological excavation to an integrated tourist city under the mosque that steals its underground space and tells a false story about its history of three million visitors annually. And the expansion of changes in the perimeter of the mosque from the demolition and removal of Arab and Islamic landmarks in 1967, to the establishment of facilities and landmarks of Judaic change the identity of the perimeter of the mosque number eight. The reading concludes in this direction that the self-imposed and international restraints of the Zionists towards the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque are eroding to the point of melting, which explains the new attack to change its identity.
...

The study concluded that Al-Aqsa Mosque was the epicenter of the conflict for which the last three popular confrontations were launched over the past three decades. This trend is continuing, and with the assessment of the reflection of these tours on the mosque, the status of the mosque was steadily declining...The third element was the Jordanian Endowments Department of the mosque, which is acquired to preserve its Islamic identity and the regularity of the presence of departments that represent it, but it tends to reduce its ceilings in successive after each round new pressures on them. 


The fourth element is the repeated international condemnation of any attack on the identity of the mosque as null and void, both in 1968 and 1969 after it was burned or after the decision to annex Jerusalem in 1980 or after the massacre of al-Aqsa in 1990 or after the tunnel award in 1996 or after Sharon's invasion of al-Aqsa in 2000. The Arab countries did not take the issue of al-Aqsa to the decision-making bodies of the United Nations - the General Assembly and the Security Council - and not only once, but only to keep the debate within UNESCO, which is a specialized executive body of the United Nations, The fourth ring of its own troops have stopped worshiping there.


The study pointed out that the two trends observed in the same outcome towards the further Judaization of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the threat of its Islamic identity, and that the heart of this historical process can not be done between day and night and has no direct solutions. The first is to stop the reduction of losses and prolong the life of the conflict by trying to monitor its future battles and to fight each one until the end despite the realization of the possibility of losing, and the second is to try to change the environment to reduce the risks and restore the tugs and elements of force against them...


Finally, some good news.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Why Isn't He Causing an 'Explosion'


Jibril Rajoub, a senior official in the Palestinian Authority, has said that the Western Wall should remain under Israeli sovereignty.

“We understand that the wall he [U.S. President Donald Trump] visited is sacred to the Jews and ultimately it has to remain under Jewish sovereignty,” Rajoub said on Channel 2’s "Meet the Press."

"There is no argument over this. Obviously, it’s a holy place for Jews," he added.

Rajoub linked sovereignty over the Western Wall to sovereignty over the Temple Mount. “The Temple Mount is ours, not yours, and I think you should stop talking as if it’s yours. That’s the status quo since 1967, as established by [Israeli general] Moshe Dayan, and we both have to strive for that. If you want to create an explosion just say ‘it’s ours, it’s ours,’” he said.

Just a moment.

How come when he says "The Temple Mount is ours", the reaction is he is not creating an explosion?

______________

UPDATE

On Saturday, Fatah Central Committee Secretary Jibril Rajoub gave an interview in Hebrew to Israeli TV Channel 2. Rajoub stated that Palestinians understand that the Western Wall is "holy for the Jews," and that it should be "under Jewish sovereignty... We have no argument with that."
 However, addressing Palestinians in Arabic, Rajoub denies having made this statement. Rather, he claims to have said that the site should be "under Jewish religious supervision," and wrote explicitly on his personal Facebook page: "I did not mention the word sovereignty or Israel." He also accused Israeli TV of editing out parts of the interview with him.




Thursday, June 01, 2017

Jordan's Piece of Paper and What to Do with It

Jordan's official Petra News agency reports:


The Ministry of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs handed the Israeli Embassy in Amman a memo to protest allowing Jewish extremists into the Al Aqsa Mosque/Haram Al Sharif under the protection of the Israeli police.  The Jordanian government asked the Israeli government in the memo to immediately put an end to such acts of aggression and provocation and respect the Jordanian role in caring for Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem 


Jordan’s 1994 peace treaty with Israel recognizes Jordan’s role as custodian of Muslim and Christian shrines in the city, which was occupied by Israel during the 1967 war.  The ministry said that such acts inflame the feelings of Muslims around the world, violate Article 9 of the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel and are not in line with Israeli’s legal obligations, as the occupying power, in accordance with international law.


The memo said that such actions harm relations between the two countries and undermine efforts to reduce tension and preserve the status quo in the Al Aqsa Mosque/ Haram Al Sharif.

Article 9?

"Custodian"?

The text:

PLACES OF HISTORICAL AND RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE
Each party will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance.In this regard, in accordance with the Washington Declaration, Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem. When negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines.The Parties will act together to promote interfaith relations among the three monotheistic religions, with the aim of working towards religious understanding, moral commitment, freedom of religious worship, and tolerance and peace.

I hope the Embassy staff told the messenger just what to do with that piece of paper the memo was written on.





Monday, May 29, 2017

Book Review: Three Weeks and Six Days Memoir

The 28th of Iyar
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman
Feldheim Publishers, Jerusalem, 176 pgs.




As Atlanta's Rabbi Emanuel Feldman was winding down his sabbatical year from Congregation Beth Jacob as a lecturer at Israel's Bar-Ilan University at the end of the 1966-1967 academic year, residing in Bnei Brak with his wife and four children, the events that would lead to the Six Days War were being wound up.  The journal he kept of those few weeks, first published in 1968, has been reissued and presents us with a gem of an insight into the events of that time.

This is not a diplomatic history; nor an analysis of the military moves and neither is it a sociological commentary.  It is a daily ordinary record of what Rabbi Feldman's life was.  And because of its simplicity in being a reflection of what an "ordinary citizen" was going through, it is a book that succeeds.

His students leave classes for reserve duty. His brother who has made aliyah attempts to convince him to leave. The conversations in synagogues and the broadcasts from the radio are all laid out as they happened with almost no post-production hindsight. It is as it happened.

Being the result of a Rabbi's pen, the book resonates, of course, with the religiously observant public. Virtually all the personalities whose voices, to varying extents, we hear, are all from the non-secular world.  This is limiting, in one aspect, but is unique in another for as far as I can recollect, the concerns, thoughts and actions of this 15% of Israel's populace at the time is largely missing.  The religious Zionist voice was also censored out of the famous "The Seventh Day" compilation of reflections on the war by the combat soldiers who liberated the Old City and fought the Arab armies on three fronts. And his living in Bnei Brak also allows us a peek at the ultra-Orthodox community.

What I did find interesting was that while Feldman reports the contents of radio broadcasts and what he hears in the streets and the synagogues, his reminisces contain very little of the politics at the time. And to the extent that there is such discussions of politics it appears to be quite shallow.

It is claimed that the National Unity Government coalition formed on June 1, the Thursday before the war, was a result of a groundswell of public opinion increasingly becoming quite unsatisfied with Prime Minister Levy Eshkol's leadership. There is passing mention of the intra-political tensions but I found little in the book to confirm the view that Eshkol yielded to the need to shore up public confidence in a firm way. 

The name Menachem Begin doesn’t appear. Was Feldman unaware of the significance of his cooption to the government and his coming in from the political wilderness? Was it not seen to be important? Was the event not reflected in the news he was hearing? As this is a second edition, he could have added a more complete and reflective chapter to deal with this and other issues.

Many pages are devoted to a tisch on the Shabbat at the Vishnitz Chassidic court as well as elucidations of Zoharic texts supposedly connected to the period than other histories but this certainly reflects the religious audience for whom the book is intended foremost as well as Feldman’s own milieu.

On the other hand, the book serves to inform us what was actually known and discussed by the man-in-the-street. Rumors from the political establishment, the army, international news and more abound in its pages. As such, it serves as a genuine resonator of what was the atmosphere within his sphere of contacts and that is an important contribution to the history of those three weeks and six days.

One linguistic comment: on page 27, I would have employed the word "pharmacy" instead of drugstore which, as an American, I would understand to also include a snack shop, especially malteds. 

^

Friday, May 26, 2017

Sylvia Plath and I

I just read a report on the discovery of two unknown poems of the poetess Sylvia Plath - whose husband, Ted Hughes, betrayed her with a Jewish Palestinian (Israel had not yet been declared), Assia Gutman Wevill -






via carbon paper hidden in the back of an old notebook. The poems were deciphered from a carbon paper on which Plath had also typed up a table of contents for Hughes’s groundbreaking collection The Hawk in the Rain.

And therein lies a tale.

Some 20 years ago, I was contacted by the op-ed page editor of the Los Angeles Times and asked, for payment, to compose a 750-word column. But it had to be done within five hours.

I agreed.

I sat down and found out that my computer was not at all cooperative.

No problem, I thought.

I went up into the attic and hauled down an old portable typewriter.  I put in paper and began to bang away.  I typed with my head fixed at the keyboard and only at the end of three lines did I look up.

To see nothing.

The carbon ribbon had worn out.

Almost one hour gone.

A quarter of an hour later, I had my solution.

I took out two pieces of paper, placed carbon copy between them and typed, basically blind. At the end of every line I would halt, open up to the second underneath page and see what appeared and make the necessary corrections.

It worked, while a bit slow, but I finished, sent it by fax and received payment after it was published.

Carbon paper can come in quite handy.

^

Thursday, May 25, 2017

IfNotNow is NotReallyNew

The Peter Beinart-spawned IfNotNow's demo * on Jerusalem Day (here, too)





reminded me of Joseph Berger-Barzilai of which this source records.

JBB (original name Joseph Isaac Zilsnik, other form Zeliaznik) was a founding member and secretary of the Communist Party of Palestine.  He later was a victim of Stalin’s purges.

Born in Cracow, Poland in 1904, he grew up in Vienna and was brought up as an orthodox Jew and a Zionist. In 1919 he emigrated to Palestine. There he worked first on road construction and then as a translator in an enginering firm.  Originally a member of the leftist Zionist organization Hashomer Hatzair, he became soon a communist, took part in the founding of the Palestine Communist Party. The party had to operate under illegal conditions since the British Mandate Authority had outlawed all communist activities in 1921 as a result of the Arab riots, partially initiated by a May Day fight between various leftist groups.

His family, that included a son, Joseph, lived in the Arab village, Beit Safafa, then on Jerusalem's outskirts, under false identity.  In the spring of 1929, he was again called to Moscow. There he had a five-hour meeting with Stalin on May 5 and received the order to severe the ties with the Arab Executive Committee and other parts of the Arab nationalist movement. He returned to Palestine to take command of the party after the August 1929  riots in Palestine. In a statement the party had characterized the troubles as a result of colonialism: that Britain, afraid of the unity of Arab and Jewish workers, had instigated racial hatred to divide the communities, and this was aided by Arab effendis and Zionist leaders. According to Moscow’s instruction, Berger had to change this line as an Arab anti-imperialist rebellion against Britain and the Zionists and demanded unconditional support of the party for the “revolutionary Arab toilers,” notwithstanding their nationalist and religious slogans and their subordination under the violent anti-Jewish policy of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin El-Husseini. Following the ECCI directive, Berger helped to reorganize the party to include an
Arab leadership. See, too, here. And here:

Within the Yishuv, the Jewish community of Palestine, the party devoted itself to a continuous fight against Zionism. This was the main concern of the party, as Berger frequently explained in his meetings with Comintern officials in Moscow or elsewhere. Karl Radek told him that the slogan “The success of the party depends on its becoming an Arab mass party” should become the guiding principle of political action. It was soon called “Arabisation”. Berger, the liaison between the ECCI and the Palestine Communist Party, was told frequently that “the center of gravity of the PCP’s activity must be among the Arab toiling masses.”

In a statement of Berger, on behalf of the party after the riots, it was

claimed that the riots originated from the protest of expropriated and exploited Arab toiling masses against their deteriorating social conditions. It also stated that it was the British mandate administration that was able to succeed in transforming what was originally a radical anti-colonial movement into an anti-Jewish pogrom. Jewish and Arab reactionary leaders had contributed their share to what turned out to be a religious struggle by turning the Western Wall into a symbol of power.

He was then ordered to arrange the appointment of a Central Committee that would constitute an Arab majority.

He later was arrested as a Trotskyite and spent some 20 years in the Soviet Gulag.

The lesson of Berger-Barzilai (p. 10) vis-a-vis IfNotNow?

Arrival in Palestine for some leftist Jews brought the realization that the Zionist project was in fact colonialist rather than socialist. When seeing that the land was not empty, as they had been told, but in fact was very much inhabited and cultivated by Arabs deeply opposed to their “project,” many Jewish communists and socialists left.

In the next phase of the anti-Zionist struggle of 1936-39,

The Comintern continued to support the Arab Revolt with relative consistency until early 1939, when the fascist threat against the Soviet Union began to overshadow other considerations. When the momentum of the revolt was fading and the AHC leaders adopted more “terrorist” methods, the Comintern denounced them as “traitors.” The new policy was declared in January 1939 in the Communist International, the central organ of the Comintern, which wrote: “Eli Chusein [Haj Amin al-Husayni] and his mysterious men . . . are wreckers and traitors to the true national movement of the Arabian people.”

IfNotNow is basically following in the the footsteps of those on the far left of over 80 years ago.

Only now, the Arab terror is not that much a problem, it would appear.



* Update: According to Leanne Gale, the spokeswoman for the protest, three organizations took part: IfNotNow, its Israeli counterpart All That’s Left, and Free Jerusalem, which describes itself as a solidarity group of Jewish Israelis working with Palestinian partners to combat the occupation in East Jerusalem.

^