Friday, September 30, 2016

  • Friday, September 30, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon


From The Telegraph:
The world's top female chess players have reacted with horror after being told they must compete at next year's world championship wearing a hijab.

Within hours of Iran being revealed as its host country, the prestigious event was plunged into crisis as it emerged players taking part face arrest if they don't cover up.

In response, Grandmasters lined up to say they would boycott the 64-player knock-out and accused the game's scandal-hit governing body Fide of failing to stand up for women’s rights.

Fide's Commission for Women's Chess, meanwhile, called on participants to respect “cultural differences” and accept the regulations.
The choice of Iran as the venue is even more bizarre because the US has a travel warning to Iran.

What are American chess players to do?

CNN adds:
Iran was the only country which made a proposal to host the event, a World Chess Federation (FIDE) spokeswoman told CNN in a statement.

She added that since there were no objections from any of the other 150 national chess federations -- including the US -- FIDE's General Assembly accepted the proposal.
The justification for the decision by FIDE was bizarre:
Susan Polgar, the Hungarian-born American Grandmaster and chair of Fide's Commission for Women's Chess, responded by defending the federation and saying women should respect "cultural differences".

She said: "I have travelled to nearly 60 countries. When I visited different places with different cultures, I like to show my respect by dressing up in their traditional style of clothing. No one asked me to do it. I just do it out of respect.

"I personally would have no issues with wearing a head scarf (hijab) as long as it is the same to all players. I believe the organisers provided beautiful choices for past participants of Women's Grand Prix.
Polgar is free to act as she wants to out of her views of respect, but to force others to do something against their will doesn't show respect - it shows disrespect.

(h/t Ronald)



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  • Friday, September 30, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
Right after Shimon Peres' death, Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party published this cartoon:



There was controversy among Palestinians about whether Abbas should attend Peres' funeral, and in the end Abbas decided he had to go.

Today, Abbas' Fatah is praising Abbas for making that decision. They cynicism of Abbas' decision is shown in the press release:

The participation of the president to the funeral is the Palestinian message of peace to the world.

The [attendance] of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the funeral of former President Peres is part of the responsibilities of the position of head of state, and it stops attempts by the Netanyahu government to incite against the Palestinian authority and attempts by Israel to convince the world that we are only believe in violence and the gun.

Head of Fatah Movement Information Department Munir al-Jaghoub said the presence of Mr. President and his participation in the funeral has political significance. Palestinians must realize what's behind this participation that it is a strong Palestinian message of peace to the world, specifically in these moments where the international community is watching to see the importance of the position of the state of Palestine and it may be the most important among many of the participating states.

The role played by Mr. President Abu Mazen is one of responsibility amid all the complications in the current Palestinian situation, and we're all confident in the wisdom of brother Abu Mazen to represent the voice of all Palestinians to the world that we have the right to life and to live in peace.
Not a word about Peres being a good person. On the contrary - Abbas is characterized as attending despite Peres, not to honor him. It is a world stage and Abbas must act like a world leader and show up in order to embarrass Netanyahu.

As with everything in an honor/shame society, the decision isn't based on morality - but on how it would look to the world.

UPDATE: The Fatah Youth Movement released a statement calling Peres a war criminal.



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Thursday, September 29, 2016

  • Thursday, September 29, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
Besides the usual obituary talking points about Shimon Peres, there is a lot more that he accomplished in his lifetime. In this EoZTV we discuss some of them - like how he helped fix Israel's severe economic problems, how he was a poet and wrote a song that was recorded earlier this year, how and why he embraced technology, and finally parts of a remarkable interview he gave Tablet Magazine shortly before his stroke, which is excerpted below.





Tablet has the last interview with Shimon Peres. Here are some excerpts, but the whole thing is worth reading.

I was among the first to visit China. And they knew from my biography that I am a graduate of an agricultural school. So the foreign minister says, “Have a look at the Chinese agriculture.” I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was so primitive! So backwards. I said, “What are you doing?”

We suggested to them that we start with seeds: An Israeli seed of wheat gives you a yield that is three times more than the Chinese one. Then they did the same with milk. And we are today the best friends of China.

That’s the reason why, when I come to China, they still ask for my advice. I sat for three hours with Xi, and I told him, “Look what’s happening to you. You are today economically almost like America. And you smell power as well. But listen to me: You have to decide, either to be a giver or a taker. The biggest mistake is if you’ll use the power to take. The greatest wisdom is if you give.”

I am very good friends with Putin. And I shall give you, in brief, the content of one of our recent discussions.

I told him, “You’re 63 years old, I’m 93 years old. Tell me, what do you want to achieve in the coming 30 years? What are you fighting for? Are you hoping to piss off America?”

He says, “No.”

“America wants a piece of Russia? No. You have trouble discussing things with Obama?”

He says, “Why do you ask?

I said, “Look, I am not a spy, whatever, tell me.”

He says, “What do you think?”

And I said, “America will win no matter what you do.”

“Why?” he asked.

“Because they are lucky, and you are not.” [Laughs.]

I told him more. “When an American wakes up in the morning, what does he see? Mexico in the south, and they accept Mexicans in their country. Canada in the north, they are the best friends in the world. And on the right and on the left, there are fish in the water.

“What does Obama have to worry about? You, you wake up in the morning, whom do you have? Japan, China, Afghanistan? My god! They know that you have plenty of land, and you don’t give them a penny. You have 20 percent of the sweet water, and you give nothing. So when the snow in Siberia melts, the first thing you will see there are Chinese. Because there are plenty of Chinese in the east, and not so many Russians.

The second thing I told him was: “America has the best proportion between the size of the land and the size of the people. You here have the worst. 20 million square kilometers. My god. But what you don’t have are people. Your people are dying. Don’t be impressed by the applause and what people are saying. They won’t forgive you. Why do Russians live for only 62 years, while Americans will live 82 years?

And then I told him: “You behave like a Tsar.”

I am very open.

I said, “What did the Tsars do? They developed two cities, St. Petersburg and Moscow, as a showcase. Whatever you want you will find there. The rest of Russia is like Nigeria covered with snow. Your people are dying. You don’t give them life. You think they’ll forgive you?”

“Why is America great?” I asked him. “Because they were givers. Why is Europe in trouble? Because they are takers. America is giving, people think it’s because they are generous. I think it’s because they are wise. If you give, you create friends. The most beneficial investment is making friends.

“America had the guts to take the Marshall Plan, a huge piece of their GNP that they gave to this dying Europe. And in this way, they have shown that this is the best investment in the world.”

There is no European country that didn’t take an empire. The French and the British, the Portuguese, everybody. And what happened? They were thrown out of there and left with nothing. England, the greatest empire from sunrise to sunset, all the oceans, and the nice, nonviolent Indians threw them out, and left them with nothing but three small islands, they don’t know what to do with them.

“Believe me,” I told Putin, “enemies and animosity are the greatest waste in life. You are investing in a foolish thing.”

The way to peace is not war, and not negotiation. It’s innovation. To be great in science, you don’t have to go to war. You can be a small country in size and a great country in content. And even today, this option exists. And I believe in it. It’s difficult, it may take time, but everything is difficult. I have spent my entire life as a dreamer. And as you said last time, an optimist. I choose to be an optimist.

Yes it was that phrase that I liked. [Laughs.]

I think to deal with the past is a waste of time. You can’t change it anyway. [Laughs.]

People say, you won’t repeat the same mistakes. So you’ll make new ones. [Laughs.]

The past doesn’t need the future, and the future doesn’t need the past.

Better to dream than to remember.




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From Ian:

As Hives Collapse Worldwide, Bees Hold Steady in the Land of Milk and Honey
Honeybees across the world are in a sticky situation. Their numbers are dwindling dramatically due to colony collapse disorder (CCD) for reasons that are not fully understood.
Yet the honeybee population in Israel is holding steady.
That’s great news at this time of year, when sweet Jewish New Year dishes push honey demand to its peak. And most importantly, bees play a crucial role in agriculture by pollinating vegetables and fruits.
Israel takes measures to ensure that its bee population declines no more than 10 percent each year, compared to 30%-50% in the United States, where the problem is so severe that Häagen-Dazs ice cream has donated $1 million to honeybee research since 2008, and President Obama initiated a national strategy to promote bee health.
“We try all kinds of things,” Israeli Honey Board CEO Hertzel Avidor tells ISRAEL21c, such as supporting Israeli research into all the biological and botanical angles on CCD, from boosting bees’ immune systems to developing nectar-rich plants.
The council helps Israel’s 500 beekeepers implement innovative tactics to support a collective 110,000 hives. (The slight reduction in bees does not affect Israel’s honey supply because each year more colonies are introduced to offset the loss. Climate is the main variable in reaching an ideal annual yield of 3,000 tons, Avidor says.)
Hillel Neuer: UNHRC: Australian MP Blasts Silence on Syria Massacre & Distorted Focus on Israel
Testimony before the UN Human Rights Council by the Hon. Michael Danby, MP from Australia, September 26, 2016.
Thank you, Mr. President.
My name is Michael Danby, member of the Australian Parliament. I have the honour to take the floor today on behalf of United Nations Watch.
Australia has announced its candidacy next year to join this Human Rights Council. I support this bid, in the firm belief that Australia can contribute to the global protection of human rights—and to this Council’s founding promise, of renouncing the bias, selectivity and politicization of its discredited predecessor.
Australians have a historic connection to the United Nations and its human rights system. After World War II, Australian Foreign Minister Dr. H. V. Evatt played a key role in establishing the UN. As President of the General Assembly in 1948, he helped draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whose core guarantee, reaffirmed by the Vienna Declaration, is the right to life.
Sadly, however, this is being violated. The most glaring example is the massacre of innocent civilians in Syria. As we assemble, over the past few days the world has witnessed the unprecedented escalation of the murder and maiming of hundreds of men, women and children in Aleppo.
When a UN-backed humanitarian convoy—bringing life-saving aid to hundreds of thousands in that besieged city—was deliberately bombed last week by waves of airstrikes, this Council ought to have convened an urgent debate—and still should.
Australian MP Blasts UNHRC Silence Over Syrian Massacre


  • Thursday, September 29, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
This is the time of year that religious Jews wake up early to say Selichot, prayers to prepare for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Many of these prayers are in the form of intricate poetry that draws heavily on astounding knowledge of the entire Hebrew Bible, called piyutim. Every day different piyutim are recited. Unfortunately, they are often said so quickly that the multiple layers of meanings behind them get left behind.

On Wednesday, I was struck by the end of a piyut where the author - who is unknown but certainly lived before the 13th century - almost demanded that God take the Jews out of the Diaspora, using an audacious argument.

The piyut, #13 in the Ashkenaz nusach, is called Khoker HaKol. ends by noting that according to Jewish law, a slave must be freed by the end of a six year period. If the slave decides that he loves his master, he can stay on until the end of a 49-year period (Yovel, or Jubilee.)

The poet says that the Jewish people have gone through many of these six year periods, and they do not love their foreign masters, so we should have been freed long ago, to live back in our land.

However, the author adds, non-Jewish slaveowners do not submit to Jewish law and are not compelled to free Jewish slaves. Yet, he goes on, there is an obligation for Jews, especially family to pay to redeem these slaves and set them free, even if they must pay an exorbitant fee.

Therefore, it is up to God Himself to redeem the prisoners, since the Jews have no other kinsmen to redeem them! (God is variously described as the father or the bridegroom of the Jewish people in the Hebrew scripture and other sources.)

The poet is essentially telling God that according to His own laws, He has no choice but to free His children and return them to their home in Israel!

This is a small example of a fairly obscure Jewish prayer, yet it explains a lot about the Jewish people.

It shows that the yearning to end the state of diaspora has been keen and painful for a very long time.

And it shows that the Jewish people have, even in the worst of times, felt intimate enough with God to approach Him so audaciously.

Yet most stories of such audacious actions that I am aware of have had a common thread - the audacity was tied to saving the Jewish people.

The famous Israeli rudeness is because everyone feels like family and you can say things to family you can't say to strangers. The relationship with God Himself is similar throughout Jewish history, where He can be approached with the intimacy of a family member - especially when the purpose is to help save the entire family.




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 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column


This week I would like to wish all of my readers the very best possible year, in the personal, spiritual and economic realms. I would like to thank the Elder of Ziyon for the opportunity to appear on his pages, and wish him continued success. And I beg the pardon of those I have offended.

There are also some other people, most of whom are not my readers, for whom I also have wishes. In no particular order, here they are:

For Barack H. Obama, may Hashem (or Allah as the case may be) grant you the humility to understand the mistakes that you have made; and may he keep you from making any more during the coming lame duck period. May you leave Israel alone and work on becoming the next UN Secretary-General.

For Amos Schocken, Gideon Levy, Rogel Alpher, and Amira Hass, may you learn that despite your distaste for the Jewish people and especially the Israeli public, you are and will remain Jews and Israelis, even if you move to Berlin, and there is still time to do tshuvah for your treason. May your ‘newspaper’ line a thousand cat boxes and wrap ten thousand fishes.

For Ari Shavit, may you be healed of the irrational feelings of Jewish guilt that plague you. We belong here, we did what was necessary to keep from being murdered or expelled, and in the words of Naftali Bennett, we don’t need to apologize.

For Liberal American Jews, may you learn that Israel is not the US, Palestinians are not African-Americans, and you really don’t have a clue about how things work here. 

For Union for Reform Judaism President Rick Jacobs, may it dawn on you that Israelis are not bothered by threats that your membership will stop supporting Israel, because they know that by and large it already doesn’t.

For the New Israel Fund, may you merge with Peace Now.

For Peace Now, may you merge with J Street.

For J Street, may you merge with Jewish Voice for Peace.

For Jewish Voice for Peace, may you merge with Students for Justice in Palestine.

For Students for Justice in Palestine, may you become recognized as the US campus wing of Hamas.

For Peter Beinart, may you realize in time that you will not be comforted in later life by the realization that you have built a career out of helping the enemies of your people.

For those who have uttered the phrase “only a two-state solution can bring peace,” may you be required to study the Palestinian Media Watch website for an hour a day for the next year. 

For Bashar al-Assad, may you be swallowed by the earth and may it close over you without leaving a trace.

For Vladimir Putin, may you start worrying about those Iranian missiles that can reach Moscow.

For Minister Uri Ariel, may you continue to fight for Jews settling the Land of Israel, while leaving the stray cats alone.

For Ehud Barak, may you continue to enjoy your complete retirement from politics.

For Ehud Olmert, may you enjoy your additional 8 months in prison. Use it to think about what it means for a mayor of Jerusalem to sell out his city for envelopes of cash. 

For Minister Miri Regev, may you become even more annoying to the self-styled cultural elite in Israel.

For University professors and administrators, may you remember the difference between politics and academics, and grow the necessary balls to keep them separate. And understand that as the permanent adults on campus, you have a responsibility to maintain the ideals of the academy.

For Israel’s extreme Left, may you get an opportunity to demonstrate your proletarian principles by losing your jobs as professors, columnists and directors of cultural institutions, and being forced to move from North Tel Aviv to the periphery and work as taxi drivers, farmers and security guards.

For Yossi Beilin, in the absence of Shimon Peres, may you make an official announcement that Oslo was an absolutely terrible idea, that you should have known Arafat couldn’t be trusted, and that you are really, really sorry for being such an idiot.

For Neturei Karta and other anti-Zionist Haredim, may you practice what you preach and leave the Jewish state that you oppose.

For Jeremy Corbyn, may you merge with Ken Livingstone.

For European Jews, may you stay safe, and may you think seriously about aliyah. Although most of you will not obtain the standard of living here that you are used to in Europe, your children will thank you in the long run.

For the Kurdish people, may you obtain the independence you have fought for so long and so richly deserve.

For the American people, may you somehow – and it’s not obvious how – get the kind of leadership you need to restore your country to great power status, and reverse the accelerating economic and social decline that it is experiencing.

For the Arab citizens of Israel, may you experience growing prosperity as a result of your partnership with the Jewish people. May you get Members of the Knesset to represent you that don’t want to wreck it.

For the Palestinian Arabs, may you understand that the Jews aren’t leaving or committing suicide. May you banish the ghost of Yasser Arafat, his henchmen and his vicious system of inciting racist hatred. May you learn that only death will come from confrontation and rejectionism, and that dignity and self-rule are possible by taking a different path.

For Mahmoud Abbas, may you be prosecuted as the vicious war criminal and murderer that you are.

For Hamas, may your tunnels collapse and your rockets blow up in your faces. 

For the whole gang down at the UN, may Barack H. Obama be your next Secretary-General and run the organization into the ground.

For Benjamin Netanyahu, may your own people finally understand that despite everything that irritates them about you, you are a better leader than they deserve, and they should be grateful for the superhuman job you do.

And for all the rest, they should only have a sweet, charitable and peaceful year.




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From Ian:

President Reuven Rivlin: You were our heart
I am writing to you for the last time, Shimon, "one president to another," as you would say every time you called to lend me support and advice, after I followed you into this office. As a young boy, you proposed adopting the surname "Ben Amotz," the name of the prophet Isaiah, a man of vision.
You, however, were not only a visionary, but a man of action as well.
You had the rare ability to formulate an idea that seemed unbelievable and turn it into reality. Your gaze was affixed far afield, your hands worked ceaselessly, and your feet traveled boundlessly on the path of Zionist and Jewish history. Your steps, Shimon, were always pointed upward and onward.
Like a mountain climber who first plants a stake in the ground and then assaults the summit, you lived your life, Shimon. First you dreamed, picturing the summit in your mind and your soul; and like a professional climber, once you were able to envision the State of Israel on the next summit -- you would begin the arduous climb, dragging us all with you, toward the objective.
You were able to move the most intractable of statesmen and thaw the hearts of our toughest adversaries. You strove toward the pinnacle of the Zionist dream -- an independent country living in peace with its neighbors -- and you received the most distinguished recognition, the Nobel Peace Prize.

Shimon Peres: A Life for Israel
The death of Shimon Peres yesterday at the age of 93 is a moment to take stock not only of one of the most remarkable Jewish figures of the last hundred years but of the history of the state of Israel, which he served for his entire adult life. As a longtime aide to Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, who then went on to serve in just about every significant position of authority in the state, Peres’s story is very much that of his nation. And it is in that context, rather than solely through the prism of some of the policy choices he advocated, that his enormous contributions to Israel must be judged.
As one of Ben Gurion’s “boys,” it was Peres more than any other person, in his capacity as the director general of the Defense Ministry, who helped build Israel’s security infrastructure and its defense industry. His diplomacy was key to the alliance Israel struck with France in this period. That not only led to the Suez Campaign of 1956 (a great success for Israel even if it was a disaster for Britain and France), Israel’s acquisition of its first generation of sophisticated weaponry, and the birth of its nuclear program. He went on to follow his boss out of government and into opposition but he resurfaced as a leader of the Labor Party and served in a variety of posts, including minister of defense and two stints as prime minister despite never winning a national election in his own right.
But it is not for his role as the organizer of Israel’s defense in an era when its security hung by a thread that he is best remembered. Rather, his political legacy rests more on his actions as foreign minister, when he served in the government of his longtime bitter rival Yitzhak Rabin in the early 1990s. Peres was the driving force behind the decision to reach out to the Palestine Liberation Organization and to try and end the conflict with the Arabs that had begun long before Israel’s founding. Though he shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Rabin and the PLO’s Yasir Arafat, he was the one who not only pushed hardest for the agreement that would be known as the Oslo Peace Accords but was also the one who actually believed in what they were doing.
Peres liked to describe himself as more of a philosopher than a politician. This label explained his devotion to the idea that a land-for-peace deal could end decades of warfare in the face of facts that persuaded more sober figures it was bound to fail. His goal was not so much a security agreement as the creation what he hopefully described as a “New Middle East”—the title of the book he wrote about his objectives published in the midst of the post-Oslo euphoria in 1994—in which the dangerous neighborhood in which the Jewish state dwelled would be transformed into a Benelux on the Mediterranean.

  • Thursday, September 29, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
On Twitter, Electronic Intifada's Rania Khalek has an interesting series of tweets trying to draw a distinction between Hamas and ISIS:





Hmmm. Hamas has used Palestinians as human shields by every definition of the term, telling civilians to stay in their homes when the IDF warned them of upcoming bombs and physically forcing Fatah members to stay as human shields.

And while Hamas may not have beheaded people, they certainly executed them. Publicly. Even according to Amnesty.


So why does a pro-Palestinian activist  support the murder and use of human shields of other Palestinians?

Because Hamas' main enemy is Jewish Israelis. And she can forgive a few indiscretions against her own people as long as Hamas' main aim is the righteous murder of Jews.

This is what Rania, and Electronic Intifada, stand for.

(h/t YMikarov)



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  • Thursday, September 29, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon

Israel's MDA emergency services issued a statement on the number of terror attacks since last Rosh Hashanah.

The first attack of the year killed Alexander Levlovich, 64, when the car he was driving after a Rosh Hashanah dinner was hit with rocks, causing him to crash.

Since then, the wave of terror attacks only increased.

The 499 attacks resulted in 40 killed and 459 wounded.

Of those injured, 42 were seriously injured, 12 sustained moderate to severe, 75 moderate injuries, 18 mild to moderate injuries and 312 minor injuries. In addition, MDA teams treated more than 143 people suffering from shock.

Medics and paramedics of MDA medical care documented in 131 incidents of stone throwing, 123 stabbings, 27 car ramming attacks, 25 shooting attacks, a bus bombing and others.

According to MDA Director General Eli Bin, "MDA forces have been on high alert during the past year in response to the wave of terrorist attacks across the country. We are ready and prepared for any scenario and event anywhere and have made every effort for the sake of our mission of saving lives."






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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

  • Wednesday, September 28, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon

From the EU site:
The Iranian nuclear deal reached last July is already bringing concrete results, High Representative Federica Mogherini said on Thursday evening in New York.
...

“I can share that we have seen this year, since the beginning of the year, an increase of 43% of trade between the EU and Iran compared to last year; that several European banks have started to facilitate transactions with Iranian banks. And we have seen an increase, greater than expected, in oil sales to European countries, where Iran has almost reached its pre-sanctions rate of 4 million barrels per day",. Mogherini said.

The High Representative put the success of the deal down to the “political will, determination, commitment” of the countries involved not just to find an agreement, but to ensure its implementation.

She expressed the hope that the success of the JCPOA would have a positive knock-on effect on other issues.

“We all reaffirmed very strongly the political importance, the historic political importance of this agreement that has shown to the world and to ourselves, that even the most difficult issues can be solved through dialogue and diplomacy and with a win-win approach, overcoming the zero-sum game approach that sometimes blocks us in some of our talks and some of our negotiations.

“We all believe that the good results of this agreement can help solving other crises,” Mogherini concluded.
Win-win! No one loses!

Well, except for the nation that Iran is aiming its new missiles at...
A senior commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says Iran is in possession of missiles with a range enough to reach Israel.

“We do not need missiles with a range of over 2,000 kilometers. The longest range required for [Iran’s] missiles is the [Israeli] occupied lands,” Commander of the IRGC’s Aerospace Division Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh told reporters on Tuesday, adding that Iran has already the necessary missiles for this purpose.

Iran is a country capable of producing missiles, the IRGC commander said, adding, “The Zionist regime is our biggest target.”
But who cares about them when the EU is making so much money!

(h/t Irene)




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From Ian:

Eugene Kontorovich: If FIFA kicks Israeli teams out of soccer, it has to also kick out a Korea
The absurdity of the Palestinian reading of FIFA rules is powerfully illustrated by the soccer status of the two Koreas.
Both North and South Korea’s soccer federation’s are FIFA members. Yet the governments of both Koreas claim the entire territory of the other as their own. Indeed, the constitution of the ROK (South Korea) asserts its sole sovereignty over the peninsula.
So FIFA has two member federations whose countries have 100 percent incompatible and overlapping territorial claims. Under the interpretation of FIFA rules being used against Israel, that means it is certain that one of the Koreas is playing on the other’s territory, which in this case can be remedied only by expulsion.
There is a loophole in the FIFA “territorial” statute for matches played with the consent of the other member federation’s consent — but there does not seem to be an evidence of express consent by either Korea. Indeed, if FIFA acts to push out Israel, it is likely that at least Pyongyang will jump on the bandwagon to cause trouble for Seoul, opening a new theater in the “soccer wars.”
Oddly, a global human rights organization, Human Rights Watch, has taken the lead in the effort to kick Israel out of world soccer, citing supposed Israeli human rights violations. HRW doesn’t seem to have ever suggested the expulsion of the North Korean soccer federation, despite that fact that DPRC (North Korean) football is apparently one big human rights violation. (Underperforming players are sent to coal mines — if they’re lucky.) Odder still, HRW has actually reported on North Korean soccer crimes, without suggesting any action be taken against the hermit kingdom’s federation.
“I’m boycotting the occupation, but I support it”: The charade
Those who wax intellectually about the “green line” at cocktail parties and sign petitions and pat themselves on the back for their “heroic” stand against Israel’s policies, are often hypocrites who support the very occupation they oppose. If they don’t support it, they are at least not being realistic, logical, or fair in determining what it is they oppose. There are so many residents, in so many hundreds of Israeli communities in the West Bank, huge cities, massive tunnels, highways, roads, factories, the sheer level of investment is awesome. To oppose it by itself, as if one can just bifurcate it and “Israel proper,” is not realistic.
Everyday Israelis move beyond the Green Line, many of them for economic reasons. Israel has used the communities it built over the line as a release-valve for pressure on its own housing market, for an economic release. Without the housing for the 750,000 residents, the prices would be even more than they are inside the line. Those Jewish residents are never coming back inside the line. Fifty years of Israeli rule in the West Bank is not going to end. There were only 19 years of Jordanian rule and thirty years of British rule. In short: Israel has run the West Bank longer than the last two regimes combined. Think about it.
But the intellectuals and the weekday-warrior boycotters don’t want to think about it. They want to oppose something that is easy to oppose, while they secretly accept it. If they didn’t accept it, if they truly think that everything over the Green Line is unacceptable, then they have to eventually admit Israel is unacceptable. There is no such thing as an investment that has good and bad aspects. There is no bifurcating the investments over the line and within, in a connected, globalized, financial marketplace. Israeli businesses do business on both sides. Banks. Coffeeshops. Gas stations. Road workers. Police.
To boycott one and pretend one can really achieve that is as silly as to boycott air that is over the Green Line. As if the air is not the same air.
WCC Invites Israel-Hating Conspiracy Theorist to Interfaith Event in Switzerland
The World Council of Churches, a Christian ecumenical institution with a long history of beating up on Israel while giving jihadists and killers like Syrian President Bashar al Assad a pass, has invited an antisemitic conspiracy theorist to lecture at an upcoming celebration of interfaith dialogue at an event held near the WCC’s headquarters in Switzerland.
The event will take place at the WCC’s Bossey Institute, located outside of Geneva. The speaker is His Excellency Professor Dr. Ahmad al-Tayyeb, Grand Imam and Shayk of al-Azhar University.
His lecture, titled “The Responsibility of Religious Leaders for Achieving World Peace,” will take place at 4 p.m. on Saturday October 1, 2016.
Tayyeb’s talk is part of the Bossey Institute’s celebration of 70 years of interfaith dialogue at the institution which describes itself as the “international center for encounter, dialogue and formation of the World Council of Churches (WCC).”
For a man asked to speak about the role religious leaders can play in promoting "peace" Tayyeb has said some pretty hateful things.
In September 2014, Tayyeb declared in reference to ISIS that “fundamentalist terror groups, whatever their names, and their backers are colonial creations that serve Zionism in its plot to destroy the Arab world." Earlier in 2014, Tayyeb dishonestly accused Israel of committing genocide in the Gaza Strip.
Christian criticism of Israel is myopic
A Methodist church in Hinde Street, London, is exhibiting ‘You cannot pass today: Life through a dividing wall’, a reconstruction of a border control point between Israel and the occupied territories. The purpose, needless to say, is not to show how to deal with a terrorist threat, but to attack Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. A Jewish human rights group which has written to protest has been told, soapily, by the minister, ‘I respect your passionate concern for these issues…This exhibition… has been carefully curated… to promote reflection and prayers for peace.’ I have noticed these wall protests popping up on campuses etc., and they never seem either reflective or prayerful. They are propaganda. Serious, bitter issues certainly surround the whole question of Israel and its wall, but for churches to focus on this in the Middle East at this time is myopic. Not many miles away, their fellow Christians are being persecuted, expelled and murdered by Isis, their cries virtually unheard in our comfortable pews.

  • Wednesday, September 28, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
  • ,


Shimon Peres is gone. For two weeks, we held our tongues and our collective breath, knowing  this would likely be the end. You don't curse someone on death's edge, but bless him. You think of anything you can that will serve in his merit, because that's what we do as Jews. You go gentle.
We care about each other, as a people, as a nation. We know that when death hovers, judgment surrounds us, and we try to soften things however we can, lend support and balance. As a result, no one in my social circles engaged in nasty banter or worked to dredge up dirt on the former president.

No one smeared him.

And this shows our strength and might as a nation, our unity. We tried to beam good thoughts his way, Shimon's way. Our hearts and minds went out to his family, and we kept them close in our thoughts.

And we waited.

I shared with my small circle that Shimon Peres always consulted the rabbis on any matter of importance. He would always go to the rabbis, irrespective of whether they were Ashkenazi like him, or Sephardi, like Rabbi Yosef (z"l). Shimon's respect for the wise men of our nation was genuine and palpable.

Today, memories of Shimon Peres came flitted before my mind's eye as I tried to concentrate on my work and on my pre-holiday cooking. Sometimes I smiled thinking back. The man was funny.

Twice I had the privilege of watching David Horovitz of the Times of Israel interview him.

The first time, David had all these questions prepared and every time he tried to ask one of them, Shimon Peres would interrupt, essentially pwning that interview, leading the interview right back to where he wanted it to go, and where he wanted it to go, was where he, as was his right, played the part of the nonagenarian grandfather, giving folksy advice to the young.

And why shouldn't he? Next to him, heck, EVERYONE was young.

He'd earned the right to play the grandfather. He had the right sort of Yiddish-inflected manner of speech, in which everything sounded like a question or a punch line.

And yet he was young at heart. You could see it. He remained interested in things. He liked meeting celebrities, pretty women, Sharon Stone.

The second time I saw David Horovitz interview Shimon Peres, it was a more intimate meeting. This time, Peres was funny, not by design but by accident. The subject was Israel's treatment by the media. Shimon Peres wanted to speak about the psychological impact of media and Israel advocacy (hasbara). He was fascinated by the workings of the mind.  

He used one of Horovitz's questions as a springboard to talk about just that and declared with much rolling of r's, pointing a finger at us, his audience, "The human brain is a very strange orgasm."
(He meant "organism," of course.)

Will you believe me if I tell you that not a single audience member laughed? Out of respect for the man, his office, his age. We all struggled mightily as one not to crack even so much as a one-sided smile.

Because it would have embarrassed him.

And that wouldn't have been nice.

Afterwards, at a little reception in the hall, we giggled a bit quietly, but agreed that at his age, Shimon was entitled to a malapropism, or even two or three. He'd earned the right. And we respected that.

With this one final year, Shimon Peres received one last gift from the Man Upstairs. He made it almost to the very last day.

May his memory be a blessing for Klal Yisrael and may his family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

The author, flanked by Yisrael Medad and Toby Klein Greenwald,
waiting to hear Shimon Peres speak at the 2014 Jewish Media Summit.



All photos courtesy of The Real Jerusalem Streets.



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