Saturday, October 20, 2012

UK funding for anti-Israel NGOs

The British Government is recklessly allocating taxpayer funds to groups which hope to build a Palestinian state, not alongside Israel, but in place of it.

Alex Ryvchin October 16th 2012 “The Commontator”

When the British taxpayer-funded Hebron Rehabilitation Committee issued a statement in August describing a terror attack by Islamic Jihad as a “heroic operation”, it should have been met with a very swift and severe response from the British Government, and a review of the Foreign Office’s funding practices.

Equally so, when hip-hop artist, Shadia Mansour embarked on a tour of the West Bank on the British taxpayers’ dime, it should have prompted the question: why on earth is the government funding a hip-hop artist’s tour abroad, let alone one to serenade Palestinian children with hateful references to Israel as a “terrorist state” and Judaism as “the hijacked faith”?

Both Mansour and the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee received funding from the Foreign Office, which distributes British taxpayer money through its missions in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The ostensible purpose is to advance the government’s “objectives and policy goals” in the region.

No doubt the Government (and the taxpayer) must be wondering just how the Government’s “objectives” align with those of a hate-filled rapper and a group which lauds terrorists.

But these cases are hardly unique. They are indicative of a broader trend of financing individuals and organisations whose political activities undermine the Government’s own policies promoting peace in the Middle East.

For its part, the government has been unequivocal in its rejection of the unconscionable movement of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, and has steadfastly maintained that peace will only come through negotiations and co-operation. Yet the Foreign Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development continue to fund groups that actively advocate the total isolation of the Jewish state.

This well-financed campaign trivialises and politicises human rights, adds fuel to the conflict and, to be clear, seeks nothing less than the ultimate destruction of Israel.

One leading boycott activist – Ahmed Moor – removed the cloud used to obfuscate the motives of the movement, when he declared: “Boycotts, divestment and sanctions does mean the end of the Jewish state… Ending the occupation doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t mean ending the Jewish state itself.”

Another textbook example of an organisation which receives Government funding by speaking the language of human rights and then proceeds to promote a movement aimed at the destruction of a democratic state is Defence for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI-PS). The organisation is highly active in encouraging anti-Israel boycotts, divestment, and sanctions and frequently accuses Israel of “apartheid" in a bid to justify its calls for Israel’s total isolation.

Perhaps the most damaging aspect of DCI-PS’s use of humanitarian issues to advance a clear political agenda is the manner in which it represents entirely unbalanced, de-contextualised, and often hysterical accusations as fact.

Aside from its frequent references to Israel’s penchant for “deliberate targeting” and “terrorising” of civilians, the group has reported on alleged civilian deaths while admitting that “no reliable evidence could be gathered” to support some of it claims.

The government’s support for such organisations contributes to the dissemination of unreliable and sensationalised information which impacts both on the public discourse and the policy decisions which follow it.

As for DCI-PS and other NGOs more interested in slamming Israel than advancing legitimate humanitarian interests, their impact is twofold. Firstly, their tactics subvert the government’s efforts for peace in the region. Secondly, any measure of objectivity or credibility they may claim is lost amidst their extreme rhetoric and shameless politicisation of human rights.

It is not only humanitarian virtues that are being exploited by organisations with radical political agendas. Indeed, the Holy Land Trust (HLT) uses its position of privilege as a religious group to espouse virulently anti-Israel views under the guise of religious ideals.

HLT is the recipient of numerous government grants. It counsels it’s members to be evasive with Israeli authorities upon entering the country, supports calls for an academic boycott of Israel (another attack on the government’s position that peace is to be achieved through co-operation and not division), and its executive director and founder, Sami Awad, has asserted that non-violent demonstrations are “not a substitute for the armed struggle” in spite of his group’s stated“commitment to the principles of nonviolence,”

Such activities are not only an egregious misuse of donor funds, they do absolutely nothing to serve the interests of peace.

The government’s foreign policy in the Middle East is centered on helping Israel and the Palestinians“find a way back to negotiations as soon as possible.” This is how peace will be achieved. This is how Israel will realise its dream of peaceful co-existence with its neighbours. This is how the Palestinians will realise their dream of statehood.

Yet the government recklessly allocates taxpayer funds to groups which hope to build a Palestinian state not alongside Israel but in place of it, which ignore the relentless campaign of terror against Israeli civilians that demonises Israel through absurd accusations of “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing”.

By doing so, the government is merely eroding its very own vision of a two-state solution and fostering an atmosphere of mutual distrust and animosity at a time when understanding and co-operation are most needed.


UK money pays for Palestinians jailed in Israel

 A report by the watchdog, Palestinian Media Watch, has revealed that every month almost £3 million from the Palestinian Authority goes towards paying salaries to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. These salaries are drawn from the PA general budget, funded by international donors, among them the UK.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Arab Spring and the Israeli enemy


Saturday 6 October 2012

Thirty-nine years ago, on Oct. 6, 1973, the third major war between the Arabs and Israel broke out. The war lasted only 20 days. The two sides were engaged in two other major wars, in 1948 and 1967.

The 1967 War lasted only six days. But, these three wars were not the only Arab-Israel confrontations. From the period of 1948 and to this day many confrontations have taken place. Some of them were small clashes and many of them were full-scale battles, but there were no major wars apart from the ones mentioned above. The Arab-Israeli conflict is the most complicated conflict the world ever experienced. On the anniversary of the 1973 War between the Arab and the Israelis, many people in the Arab world are beginning to ask many questions about the past, present and the future with regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The questions now are: What was the real cost of these wars to the Arab world and its people. And the harder question that no Arab national wants to ask is: What was the real cost for not recognizing Israel in 1948 and why didn’t the Arab states spend their assets on education, health care and the infrastructures instead of wars? But, the hardest question that no Arab national wants to hear is whether Israel is the real enemy of the Arab world and the Arab people

I decided to write this article after I saw photos and reports about a starving child in Yemen, a burned ancient Aleppo souk in Syria, the under developed Sinai in Egypt, car bombs in Iraq and the destroyed buildings in Libya. The photos and the reports were shown on the Al-Arabiya network, which is the most watched and respected news outlet in the Middle East.

The common thing among all what I saw is that the destruction and the atrocities are not done by an outside enemy. The starvation, the killings and the destruction in these Arab countries are done by the same hands that are supposed to protect and build the unity of these countries and safeguard the people of these countries. So, the question now is that who is the real enemy of the Arab world?

The Arab world wasted hundreds of billions of dollars and lost tens of thousands of innocent lives fighting Israel, which they considered is their sworn enemy, an enemy whose existence they never recognized. The Arab world has many enemies and Israel should have been at the bottom of the list. The real enemies of the Arab world are corruption, lack of good education, lack of good health care, lack of freedom, lack of respect for the human lives and finally, the Arab world had many dictators who used the Arab-Israeli conflict to suppress their own people.

These dictators’ atrocities against their own people are far worse than all the full-scale Arab-Israeli wars.

In the past, we have talked about why some Israeli soldiers attack and mistreat Palestinians. Also, we saw Israeli planes and tanks attack various Arab countries. But, do these attacks match the current atrocities being committed by some Arab states against their own people.

In Syria, the atrocities are beyond anybody’s imaginations? And, isn’t the Iraqis are the ones who are destroying their own country? Wasn’t it Tunisia’s dictator who was able to steal 13 billion dollars from the poor Tunisians? And how can a child starve in Yemen if their land is the most fertile land in the world? Why would Iraqi brains leave Iraq in a country that makes 110 billion dollars from oil export? Why do the Lebanese fail to govern one of the tiniest countries in the world? And what made the Arab states start sinking into chaos?

On May 14, 1948 the state of Israel was declared. And just one day after that, on May 15, 1948 the Arabs declared war on Israel to get back Palestine. The war ended on March 10, 1949. It lasted for nine months, three weeks and two days. The Arabs lost the war and called this war Nakbah (catastrophic war). The Arabs gained nothing and thousands of Palestinians became refugees.

And on 1967, the Arabs led by Egypt under the rule of Gamal Abdul Nasser, went in war with Israel and lost more Palestinian land and made more Palestinian refugees who are now on the mercy of the countries that host them. The Arabs called this war Naksah (upset). The Arabs never admitted defeat in both wars and the Palestinian cause got more complicated. And now, with the never ending Arab Spring, the Arab world has no time for the Palestinians refugees or Palestinian cause, because many Arabs are refugees themselves and under constant attacks from their own forces.

Syrians are leaving their own country, not because of the Israeli planes dropping bombs on them. It is the Syrian Air Force which is dropping the bombs. And now, Iraqi Arab Muslims, most intelligent brains, are leaving Iraq for the est. In Yemen, the world’s saddest human tragedy play is being written by the Yemenis. In Egypt, the people in Sinai are forgotten.

Finally, if many of the Arab states are in such disarray, then what happened to the Arabs’ sworn enemy (Israel)? Israel now has the most advanced research facilities, top universities and advanced infrastructure. Many Arabs don’t know that the life expectancy of the Palestinians living in Israel is far longer than many Arab states and they enjoy far better political and social freedom than many of their Arab brothers. Even the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip enjoy more political and social rights than some places in the Arab World. Wasn’t one of the judges who sent a former Israeli president to jail is an Israeli-Palestinian?

The Arab Spring showed the world that the Palestinians are happier and in better situation than their Arab brothers who fought to liberate them from the Israelis. Now, it is time to stop the hatred and wars and start to create better living conditions for the future Arab generations.