Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Africa wants renewed ties more than Israel realizes

Jerusalem needs to respond with all due haste!

In late September, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood at the podium of the United Nations and delivered a shocking message: “Israel has a bright future at the UN.” Indeed the world body has bullied and condemned Israel for decades, yet he now has good reason to believe things are changing. As an example Netanyahu cited his recent visit to East Africa, where he was warmly welcomed by numerous national leaders and large crowds of admirers. Even at the UN Opening Assembly, the Israeli premier held a side summit with leaders from 15 African nations. So Netanyahu and other Israeli officials know there is a major opportunity right now to strengthen relations with Africa.

Still, I am not so sure the Israeli government fully realizes yet just how eager many African countries are to restore and expand their historic ties to Israel.

The truth is that some of these capitals have been signaling this desire to Israeli officials for several years now and are actually frustrated that the response from Jerusalem has not been quicker.

The Israeli government must seize this chance now while the iron is hot, lest the window of opportunity close. It has the potential even to eliminate some of the UNESCO fiascoes of recent days.

In recent years, I and my senior colleagues at the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem have been traveling and speaking all across Africa and we can report firsthand that the continent is ripe for renewed ties with Israel. We first saw the huge diplomatic potential for Israel in Africa in 2011 when our ICEJ branch in Nigeria successfully lobbied their president, Goodluck Jonathan, not to recognize a unilateral Palestinian state in the UN Security Council, thereby blocking that diplomatic initiative.

Since then, we have met with leaders of numerous African nations, including some with Muslim majorities, who have all expressed interest in restoring relations with Israel – a message we have faithfully conveyed to Israeli officials.

Even Muslim leaders from black African countries have told us they are tired of Arabs bringing only trouble, weapons and terrorism, and would much rather have Israel’s technology.

The time is ripe for Israel in Africa for several reasons. First, the people of Africa know what Israel has to offer in terms of technology, agricultural innovations and water conservation and recycling methods. Second, Africa needs help fighting terrorism and they know Israel excels at counterterrorism and cybersecurity.

Third, the number of Evangelical Christians in Africa has grown exponentially in recent decades and thus there is a huge groundswell of grassroots support for Israel among the African people.

Their leaders are aware of all these developments and are actually trying to outrace each other in restoring and deepening relations with Israel.

Tanzania, for instance, will be opening a new embassy in Israel in November and a high-level delegation will be here for the ceremonies as well as for a fourth summit of business leaders from both countries to work on increased trade and joint projects. One such project is a 100- acre model Israeli farm being developed in Tanzania which will showcase all of the agricultural innovations available from the Jewish state. They expect government officials and farmers from all across Africa to visit the model farm in coming years.

In West Africa, negotiations are already underway for an economic cooperation agreement between Israel and over a dozen nations. Many in the region still remember with longing the days when Israelis had a lead role in helping them develop their nations, before these mutually beneficial relationships were severed under pressure from the Arab oil powers after the 1967 and 1973 Middle East wars. In Sierra Leone, for instance, a drive around the capital Freetown would reveal that to this day the parliament, central bank and postal service are all housed in buildings constructed by Israeli firms before the diplomatic breakup.

This is all happening at the same time that the Arab/Islamic nations are slowly losing their stranglehold over the regional voting blocs at the UN. This slippage is partly due to the disunity and waning influence of the Arab League in the wake of the Arab Spring and especially the carnage of the Syrian civil war. Another factor is the ongoing discoveries of massive oil and natural gas deposits in non-Arab and non-Islamic countries, diminishing OPEC’s leverage over global decision-makers. A third factor is the discrediting of Islam due to the atrocities being committed by jihadist terrorists.

Some Western leaders may be reluctant to identify the problem as radical Islamic terrorism, but many developing nations are not hemmed in by this self-imposed political correctness.

So the opportunity is there for Israel to break free of its diplomatic isolation, deal a serious blow to the boycott and delegitimization campaigns, and bust up the Arab monopoly at the UN and its various organs. Besides these diplomatic fruits, many African nations also have incredible natural resources and are just looking for reliable partners to help harvest this wealth for their own people.

Too often in recent decades, foreign interests have come in and siphoned off these resources for their own gain, but many Africans now believe the Israelis can be trusted to help them secure their future prosperity.

We believe this is a time of great favor for Israel in Africa. Jerusalem needs to respond with all due haste!

Video of the week: Benjamin Netanyahu talks about Israel's new engagement with Africa -


Friday, October 21, 2016

The Fruits of Lying to the Public

Published October 10, 2016

Back in July, trying to make sense of developments like the Brexit vote and the rise of Donald Trump, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen argued that we live in an age when people are indifferent to truth–when facts are “little annoyances easily upended.” That, however, is a self-serving excuse. The real problem is that people no longer trust the media and other gatekeeping institutions to tell them the truth, and therefore feel the “facts” provided by these institutions are unreliable things on which to base decisions. And that distrust is merited, as two recent examples show.

The first is the obituary for Shimon Peres that ran in the print edition of the International New York Times. It described the collapse of the Oslo peace process as follows:
Mr. Peres, Mr. Rabin and Arafat were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994.

But the era of good feelings did not last. It was shattered in 2000 after a visit by the opposition leader Ariel Sharon to the sacred plaza in Jerusalem known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The next day, the Israeli police fired on stone-throwing protesters, inaugurating a new round of violence that became known as the second intifada.

Needless to say, this picture of events is totally false. The “era of good feelings” didn’t sail serenely on until Sharon “shattered” it by visiting the Temple Mount. It was actually shattered almost immediately after the Oslo Accords were signed by a wave of Palestinian terror that claimed more Israeli victims in two and a half years than all the terror attacks of the preceding decade.

Yet two things make this warped presentation of reality particularly remarkable. First, in an obituary for Shimon Peres, you’d think it would be hard to ignore facts that played a seminal role in his political career. The multiple suicide bombings of early 1996, which the obituary omits, were the direct cause of his narrow loss to Benjamin Netanyahu in the 1996 election, a loss that permanently ended his prime ministerial ambitions.

Second, this wasn’t an innocent mistake stemming from ignorance. The obituary’s online version actually does include a paragraph about the bombings and the election, right after the paragraph about the Nobel Prize. It also correctly says that the violence “accelerated” after Sharon’s visit to the Mount, rather than depicting this visit as shattering a nonexistent calm.

In other words, some editor in the Times’ European offices deliberately distorted the obituary writer’s facts to present a false picture of how the Oslo Accords collapsed. He or she cut any mention of the 1996 bombings; substituted the false sentence about “the era of good feelings,” which doesn’t appear in the online version; and then replaced the “acceleration” of the conflict with the false assertion that Sharon’s visit “shattered” the peace.

Nor is the reason for this distortion any mystery. The standard narrative in most of Europe, and also at the Times, is that Oslo’s collapse was Israel’s fault, while the Palestinians were largely blameless. Informing readers that massive suicide bombings began immediately when Oslo’s architects—Rabin and Peres—were still in office contradicts that narrative. So faced with a conflict between the facts and his or her preferred narrative, an editor at one of the world’s most prestigious newspapers chose to rewrite the facts. And then Cohen wonders why so many people are indifferent to the “facts” as promulgated by his profession.

The second example was last week’s astonishing report by the Council of Europe’s human rights agency, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, which effectively urged the British media stop informing readers that terrorist attacks committed by Islamic extremists are in fact committed by Islamic extremists. Granted, it didn’t say so explicitly. If you read the recommendations devoid of context, they merely urge “more rigorous training for journalists to ensure better compliance with ethical standards” and that “the authorities find a way to establish an independent press regulator.” But it’s quite clear what ECRI intends by these seemingly innocuous recommendations because they are immediately preceded by the following paragraph:

ECRI urges the media to take stock of the importance of responsible reporting, not only to avoid perpetuating prejudice and biased information, but also to avoid harm to targeted persons or vulnerable groups. ECRI considers that, in light of the fact that Muslims are increasingly under the spotlight as a result of recent ISIS-related terrorist acts around the world, fueling prejudice against Muslims shows a reckless disregard, not only for the dignity of the great majority of Muslims in the United Kingdom, but also for their safety. In this context, it draws attention to a recent study by Teeside University suggesting that where the media stress the Muslim background of perpetrators of terrorist acts, and devote significant coverage to it, the violent backlash against Muslims is likely to be greater than in cases where the perpetrators’ motivation is downplayed or rejected in favour of alternative explanations.

So unless you assume the recommendations have no connection to the paragraph immediately preceding them, it’s hard to avoid concluding that ECRI, in fact, wants the press to hide the Muslim identity of Islamic terrorists and attribute their motive to something other than Islamist ideology. In other words, it wants the press to lie to the public about who the terrorists are and why they’re committing attacks. And then Cohen wonders why so many people are indifferent to the “facts” as promulgated by the European Union.

I don’t like our brave new fact-free world any better than Cohen does. But it’s the inevitable result of one very ugly fact: Institutions people used to trust, like the media and the EU, have forfeited that trust by repeatedly lying to the public in order to promote their own agendas. And the only way to start repairing the damage is for these institutions to acknowledge their own role in destroying the credibility of “facts” and then finally start telling the truth as it is, rather than as they would like it to be.

Originally published in Commentary   by Evelyn Gordon, on October 10, 2016

Video of the week: Understanding Antisemitism


Monday, October 10, 2016

Abbas’s Fatah party honors Jerusalem killer as ‘martyr’

From the times of Israel, by Stuart Winer 10-10- 2016,
For the full article go to:
PA leader’s faction declares day of mourning for terrorist who shot dead two Israelis; Hamas leader congratulates his parents in phone call
The political faction of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas honored as a “martyr” a gunman who killed two Israelis in Jerusalem on Sunday, and called for a general strike and public mourning in his memory.
Israeli monitor group Palestinian Media Watch noted that the praise for the terrorist, whose identity remains under gag order in Israel, was posted on Fatah’s official Facebook page.
“The one who carried out the operation today in Jerusalem is a pilgrim [to Mecca] martyr, one of the most prominent people in Jerusalem and the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, and a released prisoner,” Fatah said, according to an English translation of the Arabic provided by PMW.
Israeli officials have long complained that incitement and support from the Palestinian Authority in the form of praise, honorifics, and cash payments to the families of Palestinians killed during attacks encourages further terrorism.
According to PMW, “Fatah referred to the murderer as a “shahid,” an Islamic martyr, a status often depicted by official Palestinian Authority media as the highest achievement to which a Muslim can aspire.
In another post to the Facebook page, the Jerusalem branch of Fatah announced a general strike “in Jerusalem in memory of the souls of the martyrs of Palestine and this morning’s martyr.”
The message quoted a section from the Koran that said, “Permission [to fight] has been given to those who are being fought, because they were wronged. And indeed, Allah is competent to give them victory.”
erusalem resident Levana Malihi, 60, and police officer First Sergeant Yosef Kirma, 29, were killed and six others injured after the terrorist sprayed bullets at passersby from a moving car on Sunday morning near Ammunition Hill in the north of the capital. The shooter, a resident of Silwan in East Jerusalem, was shot dead by police.
Hamas claimed the man as one of its members. After apparently taking credit for the attack, the Gaza-based terror group also praised the shooting as “heroic” and “brave.”
The group’s Qatar-based leader, Khaled Mashaal, called the parents of the terrorist on Sunday evening and congratulated him, saying his actions “defended the Palestinian people.”
According to Palestinian reports, he added that Palestinians were “proud” of their son, whom he praised as an “example” to his contemporaries. “Hamas will carry on it its jihad until Palestine and the Al-Aqsa Mosque are liberated from the impurity of the occupation,” he said.
In a separate statement, Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum called the attack “a natural reaction to the crimes and violations of the occupation against our people.”
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement also praised that attack, calling it “heroic.”
The US State Department condemned the attack, saying “there is absolutely no justification for the taking of innocent lives. We also condemn the statements glorifying this reprehensible and cowardly attack.”
The gunman opened fire at a group of people waiting at a light rail stop on Haim Bar-Lev Street, hitting one woman before speeding off toward Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau Street where he shot and fatally wounded Malihi.
After shooting at civilians twice, the assailant continued toward the Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. In a shootout with police, he killed Kirma before officers gunned him down.



Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Israel, not the West, stands for international law

For the full article by Melanie Philips go to:
The West maintains that Israel occupies Palestinian territory in the “West Bank.” This is untrue. There has never been any “Palestinian territory.”
After the death of Shimon Peres, BBC  radio’s flagship current affairs show Today interviewed Israel’s ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev.

The presenter persistently suggested to him that Peres’s record as a peacemaker ran contrary to Israel’s subsequent record of failure to make peace with the Palestinians, and that the absence of a two-state solution was all the fault of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Her questioning reflected the grotesque false assumption underlying Western hostility toward Israel: that if only it wasn’t so belligerent there would be peace. Repeatedly challenged with this claim, Regev refused to engage. Instead he mouthed platitudes about how Peres would always have answered such a question with hope and optimism about a peaceful solution.

This was a missed opportunity. The overwhelming requirement for Israel is always to nail the big lie behind the questions thrown at it.

Regev should have said that the reason for the absence of a two-state solution was displayed last week at the UN, where the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas made a speech expressing hostility to Israel’s very existence.

He falsely presented the Jews of Israel as squatters in the Palestinians’ own land. He even demanded that Britain apologize for the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which first committed Britain to reestablish the Jewish homeland in what was then called Palestine.

Through this declaration, said Abbas, Britain had given “without any right, authority or consent from anyone, the land of Palestine to another people.”

This preposterous speech was notable for three things. First, it rewrote the Jews out of their own history by fabricating an entirely fictitious Palestinian story. The only people for whom the Land of Israel and the disputed territories have ever been their national kingdom are the Jews.

Second, Abbas blamed Israel for his own people’s aggression and murderous violence over the Temple Mount.

Third, his speech showed that the Palestinians’ complaint is not about the absence of a state of their own. It is about the existence of Israel which they want gone.

The full speech received no mainstream coverage in the West. Abbas could be confident, however, that it reflected two entirely false Western beliefs: that Israel acts in contravention of international law, and that the land originally belonged to the Palestinians.

With the West duly softened up, Abbas is thought to be planning a maneuver at the UN. He says he will be pushing a UN Security Council resolution against the settlements. What worries Israel more is the rumor that President Obama will refuse to veto a proposed French UN resolution recognizing a Palestinian state.

If Obama does this, the US will be complicit in tearing up international law and bringing into being a terrorist state whose existential purpose is the extermination of Israel.

As the international law expert Prof. Eugene Kontorovich argued in The Washington Post in September, the proposed French measure repudiates UN Security Council Resolution 242, passed in the wake of the Six Day War. Resolution 242 represented a territorial compromise, with Israel agreeing to cede some but not all the territories it seized during the Six Day War in return for peace.

According to Kontorovich the French resolution, which would push Israel back behind the 1949 “Auschwitz” armistice lines, would repudiate 242 and amount to “a fundamental reversal of 50 years of Middle East diplomacy.”

Instead of a negotiated settlement, the US would therefore not only be aiding the unilateral imposition of a new terrorist entity in the Middle East but would also show its contempt for international law.

In fact the US, Britain and Europe have long displayed this contempt by supporting the big lie that Israel behaves illegally or belligerently.

The West maintains that Israel occupies Palestinian territory in the “West Bank.” This is untrue. There has never been any “Palestinian territory.”

Israel’s presence in the disputed territories cannot be legally defined as an occupation. Under the Hague and Geneva conventions, an occupation can only take place on sovereign land. The territories were never anyone’s sovereign land.

Israel is furthermore entitled under international law to continue to hold onto them as a defensive measure as long as its Arab aggressors continue to use them for belligerent ends.

The West says Israel’s settlements are illegal. This is also untrue.

In the 20s, the Mandate for Palestine gave Britain the legally binding duty to settle the Jews throughout what is now not just Israel but the disputed territories too. That Jewish right has never been abrogated.

The Geneva conventions, cited as the reason the settlements are illegal, prohibit an occupying power from transferring people en masse into occupied territory. This was drafted after World War II to prevent any repetition of the Nazis’ forced displacement of peoples. Israelis resident in the disputed territories, however, have not been transferred but moved there through their own free choice.

Kontorovich has looked at every modern example where occupied territories have been settled. In none of them did the international community denounce such action as illegal or demand that settlers had to vacate the land as a condition for peace or independence. If world powers asked the occupying force to withdraw, they referred only to the army and not the settler population. The only exception has been Israel.

The West makes a fetish of international law. Yet it denounces Israel, the one Middle East state that upholds it. It’s time to call out the US, Britain and Europe for aiding the repudiation of law and justice and thus helping promote the Arab agenda of exterminating Israel.

Melanie Phillips is a columnist for The Times (UK).