Wednesday, December 31, 2014

  • Wednesday, December 31, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
Last night I went to a Harlem Globetrotters game. It was enjoyable, although they did not seem to be quite as skilled as the Globetrotters I had seen on TV decades ago when they had Curly Neal and Meadowlark Lemon. There was some excellent passing and alley-oops, but not too much of the trick shots or dazzling dribbling that I recall seeing as a kid.

But I also watched their opponents, the team that always loses, the Washington Generals.

During this year's tour, the shtick is that the Generals have regrouped and are thirsting for revenge, wanting to recapture the glory of their last win, in 1971. It is called the "Washington Generals Revenge Tour."

Of course, the Generals lost. That's what they are meant to do. They are booed when they are introduced, and in this particular show, they openly "cheated" and lost (of course) anyway.

But I was interested in their history, and the history of the Generals has an interesting tie to US Jewish sports history.

The original owner of the Washington Generals was Louis Herman "Red" Klotz, Klotz was an early basketball star in Philadelphia high schools and colleges, winning player of the year in 1939 and 1940. He was part of the Baltimore Bullets championship team in 1948, making him - at 5'7" - the shortest player ever to win an NBA championship.


Afterwards, Klotz bought one of the original basketball teams, the Philadelphia Sphas. of the now defunct American Basketball Association.


"SPHA" was an acronym for South Philadelphia Hebrew Association. Their original uniforms even had those initials in Hebrew!

In the late 1920s and 1930s, the Sphas were the best basketball team in the world.

The original owner and coach, Eddie Gottlieb, sold the Sphas so he could buy the Philadelphia Warriors in the new NBA, and the ABL became a minor league.

In the early 1950s, the Sphas played the Globetrotters a couple of times:

[Klotz] won many games with the Sphas, and one day on the ballroom at the old Broadwood Hotel in Philadelphia they beat the Harlem Globetrotters in a straight up game. The great Goose Tatum, the first clown prince of basketball, the man who invented the skyhook, met Klotz at half-court and said in a threatening voice: “That will never happen again.” And the next time they played, the Sphas won again. And that is about the time when Globetrotters owner Abe Saperstein approached Klotz and asked him to put together a team that would play the Globetrotters night after night all over the country, all over the world. Of course, there would be an understanding. People were coming, after all, to see the World Famous Harlem Globetrotters. It was one of those moments in a man’s life. Red Klotz loved to play basketball. He loved to coach basketball. And he loved to win. The Globetrotters would give him a chance to do the first two.

“We’ll give you a run for your money,” Red Klotz said to Saperstein.

“I’m counting on it,” Saperstein said in return.

Klotz then borrowed some cash to buy a Green De Soto — the Green Hornet, they would all call it — and he began his life as a player, owner, coach, driver, psychiatrist, motivator and inspirational leader for a team he decided to name after Dwight D. Eisenhower: The Washington Generals.

Besides owning and coaching the Generals, Red Klotz was also a player. He would willingly allow the Globetrotters to make a fool out of him. But he always took his role seriously.

There are rules for being a Washington General (to use their most general name).

1. The Generals are allowed — expected, even — to play completely legit on offense. There are no limitations. If they can beat the Globetrotters defense, they can score every single time down the court.

2. The Generals are allowed to play defense as hard as they want when the Globetrotters are not in one of their reams. For about 40% of every Globetrotters game, the basketball is straight up.

3. When the Globetrotters DO go into one of their reams, it is the Generals’ responsibility to play the stooge and make the Globetrotters look as good as possible. They are expected to play their roles with gusto and verve. Red Klotz had his pants pulled down thousands of times — he would always take pants duty first few games of every tour to give the other players time to settle in. He always tried to look as shocked and embarrassed as possible. In his mind, Red often said, his job was to play Ginger Rogers to the Globetrotters’ Fred Astaire, that is to do everything the Globetrotters did with the same joy and expertise but to do it going backward.

Then there was that now legendary game in January, 1971, in Martin, Tennessee - the last game the Generals ever won (possibly under the name the New Jersey Reds; they had a number of different team names even as they never had a home game).

Klotz’s place was not in the paint. He was a shooter, still is a shooter, and on that day in Tennessee he started to make a few long jumpers. Eddie Mahar, a shooting guard from Brooklyn, made a few shots. Sam Sawyer, a forward from Atlantic City and someone who would become one of Klotz’s closest friends, worked hard inside. The Globetrotters seemed weary or uninterested. And nobody noticed the scoreboard.

Nobody noticed, that is, except for Red Klotz.

The game stayed close. The Globetrotters did not do as much show as usual that day in Martin, Tenn. The great dribbler Curly Neal wasn’t playing — he apparently had an injury of some sort — and the showman Meadowlark Lemon seemed to Klotz and others to be in a bit of of a fog. So they played basketball. In the fourth quarter, the New Jersey Reds got hot. Every one of their shots seemed to drop. The Globetrotters kept missing. This much everyone agrees upon. The score tightened.

The Globetrotters could have gone into their show at any point, scored every time down the floor, and put an end to the drama. The Reds would not have been able to do a thing to stop it. But for reasons that were never revealed, and perhaps never quite understood, the Globetrotters played the final minutes straight up. There were 3,600 people in the stands that day, and not one of them was quite sure what was happening. The players themselves were not quite sure what they were doing. Maybe the monotony had simply crumbled their resolve. Maybe they all just wanted something different, something that was unlike the day before and the day before that and the day before that. Whatever, the game grew close.

And then … well, nobody would ever seem to remember the details. In one version of the story, the Reds built a startling 12 point lead in the final minutes and the Globetrotters had to stage a furious comeback. In another, the game was tied at the end of regulation and went into overtime. Fairy tales, you know, have different endings in different parts of the world. The only thing anyone seems certain about is that the Globetrotters led 99-98 with scant seconds left when Red Klotz got the ball about 25 feet away from the basket and fired one of those two-handed set shots that had made him the best in the city and won him the girl and carried him through a war and landed him the childhood dream of traveling around the world. It went in of course, like it went in when he was 12 years old. The Reds led 100-99.

There were, according to the newspapers, three seconds on the clock. The timekeepers stalled the clock long enough for Meadowlark Lemon to take the game-winning shot, a hook shot, the sort he had made about as many times as Red Klotz’s set shot. The buzzer sounded. The ball bounced away. The New Jersey Reds or Washington Generals or International All-Stars or whatever you would like to call them had won the game. It was, mathematically, the greatest upset in the history of sport. Red Klotz and his team ran off the court in triumph. The crowd’s reaction was some mix of shock and uncertainty. In time, Red Klotz would remember them booing (“It was like killing Santa Claus,” he would say many, many times), and certainly most did boo. But in the days afterward, when he talked to the small-town reporters who asked, he would remember that some people cheered too.
Klotz was 50 years old when he made that game-winning shot.

He died this past July, at the age of 93, and I hadn't seen his name in any of the lists of notable people we lost this year. But while he holds the record for the most basketball games lost, he knew exactly what he was doing.

From Ian:

CAMERA's Top Ten MidEast Media Mangles for 2014
1. Hate-Indoctrination and Incitement Ignored
No issue was more glaringly and indefensibly neglected by most of the media than theoften grotesque demonizing of Israel and the Jewish peopleby the Palestinians and the wider Muslim/Arab world. Instead of reporting the hate-indoctrination prominently and continuously for what it is -- a central driving force for violence and fundamental threat to peace -- media outlets such as The New York Times typically ignored the phenomenon orcharacterized it as merely an accusation by Israelis rather than an objective reality.
Few instances of such media malpractice were as blatant as The Times' censoring of Secretary of State John Kerry's strong denunciation of incitement as the cause of the massacre of Jews at prayer in Jerusalem's Har Nof synagogue. Kerry's emphatic statement was first included in an online version of the New York Times story but later entirely excised by the time the printedaccount reached readers.
Lydda 1948: The Dog That Didn’t Bark
In his July 2014 Mosaic essay, Martin Kramer dismantled Ari Shavit’s assertion that “Zionism carrie[d] out a massacre” at Lydda in 1948 – a claim Shavit has spread not only in his book, My Promised Land, but in his New Yorker article, “Lydda, 1948: A City, a Massacre, and the Middle East Today.” Kramer recently presented his findings to an Israeli audience that included Lydda veterans and others intimately familiar with the 1948 war – who expressed surprise and anger at Shavit’s allegation. This post provides still another reason to doubt Shavit’s claim: in 1948, The New York Times covered the April “massacre” at Deir Yassin and the later operation at Lydda – but reported no “massacre” at Lydda. And for the reasons set forth below, it is virtually certain that the Times would have reported it if it had occurred at Lydda.
Currivan and his editors would have considered a Lydda “massacre” the following day “news fit to print” – to put it mildly. But Currivan’s next report on Lydda, datelined July 12 (published on July 13) reported the capture of Lydda and Ramleh “on this all-important front” and noted that Lydda “had offered considerable resistance at first and suffered heavy casualties as a result.” Currivan’s succeeding report, datelined July 13 (published July 14) reported “the complete capture of Lydda,” with the exception of a holdout of Arab fighters at the police station, and noted that Arab civilians had suddenly departed Lydda after its capture. In none of his reports did Currivan report anything remotely approaching a “massacre.”
This is the journalistic equivalent of the non-barking dog: (1) the Lydda operation occurred three months after Deir Yassin, which the Times had covered; (2) Lydda was a significant strategic site; (3) the Times had an experienced war correspondent covering the Lydda operation; and yet (4) the Times reported no “massacre” there. A massacre at Lydda would have been a major development and important news. But there was no bark from the Times.
Lies and Falestine
A while ago I came across a paper written by Jeremy R. Hammond entitled “The Myth of the U.N. Creation of Israel.” In his diatribe he begins his bitter prolonged discourse based on the assumption, purveyed by those ever so sad losers of Nachba fame, that there was an entity, a “country” if you may, called “Palestine”. So allow me to debunk the false claim of a existence of a country whose sole inhabitants were “unjustly” usurped of “their” land known as “Falestine”.
Here are true historical facts.
The word ‘Palestinian’ is never found in Scripture. The term ‘Palestine’ is used four times in the King James Version (Exodus 15:14) Philistia (פְּלָשֶׁת); Isaiah 14:29, 31 (O Philistia) but never as synonymous with either the land of Canaan or the land of Israel. The Hebrew word is פְּלִשְׁתִּים, Plištim and referred to a small region also known as Philistia (Psalms 60:10, 87:4, 108:10), the land of the Pelishtee, or Philistines. It occurs 286 times in the Masoretic text of the Hebrew bible (of which 152 times in Samuel 1), whereas in the Greek Septuagint version of the Hebrew Bible, the equivalent term phylistiim occurs only 12 times, with the remaining 269 references instead using the term “allophylos” (“of another tribe”).
“In the New Testament, the term Palestine is never used. The term Israel is primarily used to refer to the people of Israel, rather than the Land. However, in at least two passages, Israel is used to refer to the Land: (Matt. 2:20-21)

  • Wednesday, December 31, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
This was on Fatah's Facebook page today:


The text is "We remain on your skulls." I am told that the first word, "baqiya," is often associated with ISIS.

This reminds me of a political cartoon published in Syria during the Six Day War, entitled "The Barricades of Tel Aviv:"


I've seen some people argue that the Fateh Facebook page isn't "official." I have no way of knowing who posts to the page, but I can tell you one thing: not a single fan of that Facebook page, out of 130,000 "Likes," objected to this image, nor to the many other equally militaristic images on the site.

There was another interesting picture posted there, as a bit of nostalgia. Since tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of Fatah's first terror attack, someone dug up a poster celebrating the fifth anniversary:



Then, everyone knew that "occupation" wasn't the issue - Jews having their own country was the issue. And that is just as obvious looking at this latest poster, even if the entire West chooses to be blind on that topic.

Finding offensive pictures like these are not proof that the entire society approves of violence. You can find equally offensive graphics that are racist and anti-Muslim.

The difference is that that there is immediate revulsion and condemnation when it happens in the West. And there is net to none when it happens in Palestinian territories of Arab countries.

But the complete lack of pushback for these images - the almost total lack of Arabs complaining that these are offensive and disgusting - does reveal a lot about Arab society in general and Palestinian Arab society in particular.

(h/t David G, Grant Rumley)

  • Wednesday, December 31, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory

Check out their Facebook page. And congratulate them on making the big time!


Brussels, December 31 - Officials at the European Commission have approved a grant to underwrite the design and manufacture of a better-insulated echo chamber for politicians, activists, and academics who oppose Israel. EC spokesman Wyrol Yessmen told representatives of several anti-Israel organizations today that the Commission had approved their application, and that work on the design and production could begin within weeks.

Critics of Israel have for years complained that they have been unable to insulate themselves completely from information or opinions that do not dovetail with their preconceived negative view of Israel, despite surrounding themselves with like-minded colleagues, blocking social media contact by opponents, and similar strategies to maintain a monolithic, self-congratulatory circle of anti-Zionists. The existing echo chamber was effective in stroking the egos of the personalities inside it, according to the organizations, but its ability to remove all dissenting viewpoints and facts contradictory to their position was less than satisfactory.

To eliminate the penetration of poisonous notions that Israel and its policies might represent positive phenomena, a group of activists, academics, and politicians formed an organization called Progressive Rights and Education Activists Combating Hard Teachings Opposing True, Honest Ethnic Cleansing of Hebrew Occupation in Indigenous Regions (PREACHTOTHECHOIR). PREACHTOTHECHOIR applied for European Commission funding earlier this year as the fighting in and around the Gaza Strip raged and organization members came to realize how difficult it was with their current resources to completely drown out or shout down people or groups who insist on justifying Israeli self-defense and legitimacy.

A more effective echo chamber, argued the proposal, would further European values by allowing critics and enemies of Israel to proceed unimpeded in their quest to pursue the removal of Jews as a significant presence from the map, a quintessentially European endeavor. "The danger posed by dissenting voices can be eliminated by preventing those voices from reaching our ears," wrote linguistics professor Noam Chomsky, in his letter of recommendation supporting the proposal.

PREACHTOTHECHOIR intends to contract with an engineer to develop the chamber. As the appropriate engineering field is acoustics, the proposal naturally mentions as its preferred candidate Professor Arthur Butz of Northwestern University, whose expertise is electrical engineering, completely unrelated to acoustics, but who has used his laurels as an "engineer" to lend credence to his 1976 book denying the Holocaust, in which expertise in electrical engineering is similarly irrelevant.
From Ian:

UN Security Council rejects unilateral Palestinian statehood bid
The resolution needed nine votes in favor (out of 15) to pass. It fell one vote short, obtaining eight votes in favor (Russia, China, France, Jordan, Chad, Luxembourg, Argentina and Chile), two against (the United States and Australia), and five abstentions (Britain, Rwanda, Nigeria, Lithuania and South Korea). However, even if the resolution had passed, the U.S. would have vetoed it.
Before the vote, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with the leaders of three of the nations that ended up abstaining, including Rwanda and Nigeria, and asked them to not vote in favor of the Palestinian resolution.
On Wednesday morning, Netanyahu said, "I want to express appreciation and thanks to the U.S. and Australia, and also special appreciation to the president of Rwanda, my friend Paul Kagame, and the president of Nigeria, my friend Goodluck Jonathan. I spoke with both of them. They personally promised me they would not support this resolution. They stood by their word, and that is what decided this battle. This was very important for the State of Israel."
After Tuesday's vote, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power said, "In recent years, no government has invested more in the effort to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace than the United States. Peace, however difficult it may be to forge, is too important to give up on.
"Regrettably, instead of giving voice to the aspirations of both Palestinians and Israelis, this text [the Palestinian resolution] addresses the concerns of only one side. It is deeply imbalanced and contains many elements that are not conducive to negotiations between the parties, including unconstructive deadlines that take no account of Israel's legitimate security concerns.
"We must proceed responsibly, not take actions that would risk a downward spiral. We voted against this resolution not because we are comfortable with the status quo. We voted against it because we know what everyone here knows as well -- peace will come from hard choices and compromises that must be made at the negotiating table. Today's staged confrontation in the U.N. Security Council will not bring the parties closer to achieving a two-state solution."
Khaled Abu Toameh: Why Palestinians Opposed Abbas's Statehood Bid
The widespread opposition among Palestinians to Abbas's statehood bid at the Security Council is a clear sign that many Palestinians remain opposed to any form of concessions to Israel. It is also an indication of fierce opposition among Palestinians to the resumption of peace talks with Israel.
Those who opposed the Palestinian resolution also argue that Abbas should have gone instead to the International Criminal Court to file "war crimes" charges against Israel. For many Palestinians, punishing Israel should take priority over any peaceful establishment of a Palestinian state.
But the opposition to the resolution, which envisaged a two-state solution, also shows that many Palestinians continue to believe that violence, and not diplomacy, will bring them closer to achieving their goals.
As Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar put it, "This Palestinian resolution is catastrophic and has no future on the land of Palestine. The future belongs to the resistance. We will continue to work to liberate all the land and achieve the right of return for Palestinian refugees. Hamas will not accept anything less than all the lands that were occupied in 1948."
Israel calls Palestinian actions at UN ‘embarrassing’
The Security Council on Tuesday rejected a resolution on Palestinian statehood, with the Palestinians failing to get the minimum nine “yes” votes (required for either adoption by the 15-member council or to prompt a possible veto by one of the five permanent members): Eight voted for the resolution and two voted against, with five abstentions.
“The Palestinians seek — and find — every opportunity to avoid direct negotiations and to walk circumventing paths,” Israel Nitzan of the Israeli mission to the UN said in a short statement. “We’ve become accustomed to their political maneuvers. But today they surpassed themselves by going all the way to the Security Council to make a mockery of it with embarrassing resolutions.
“We have news for the Palestinians – the way to achieve statehood is not paved with provocations,” he said.
Israel's Statement Following the Defeat of the Palestinian Draft Resolution


  • Wednesday, December 31, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
We're reported on Sheik Yassin Al-'Ajlouni, the Jordanian preacher who ruled that Jews should have a place of prayer on the Temple Mount - and then retracted the ruling when he was heavily criticized.

Silly Yassin, thinking that he could get out of trouble by merely repenting for his horrible idea that Jews have a right to worship on their holiest spot.

Sheikh Al-'Ajlouni has been arrested for issuing his original fatwa, on the orders of the Administrative Governor of the Irbid Governorate.

I'm not sure what law he violated.

At the same time, the "General Mufti Department" Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Sheikh Ajlouni demanding that the Ministry of Education take "appropriate administrative action" against him "for issuing random fatwas that hurt the feelings of Muslims, and affected the Jordanian efforts to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque from Zionist attacks."

Ajlouni is a physics teacher,

(h/t Ibn Boutros)

  • Wednesday, December 31, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
Egyptian courts may have decided this week that they don't want Jews to visit the gravesite of Yaakov Abuhatzeira, making up ludicrous excuses to bar Jews from the country, but not all Arab countries are following suit.

There are a series of pilgrimages to the gravesites of famous rabbis in Morocco throughout the year. One of them is happening around now, as Jews of Moroccan origin from around the world are visiting the grave of Rabbi David Ben Baruch Hakohen Azogh.

These pilgrimages are known as hiloulot and they take place on the anniversaries of the rabbi's deaths. Many are also celebrated at Lag B'Omer in the spring.

Moroccan news media are quite supportive of the influx of Jewish pilgrims, even the ones from Israel. There were a number of sympathetic articles about this most recent pilgrimage to the town of Taroudant where Rabbi Azogh's grave is. The articles note how these pilgrimages are opportunities for members of Moroccan Jewish families now spread throughout the world to have reunions.

There is even a ten minute news video about the visits that seems to be very supportive of the influx of Jews to Morocco. Note one interviewee is clearly from Israel.

  • Wednesday, December 31, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon

From The Telegraph:

HarperCollins, one of the world's largest publishing houses, sells English-language atlases to schools in the Middle East that omit Israel.

Collins Middle East Atlases show Jordan and Syria extending to the Mediterranean but do mark the position of the West Bank.

“The publication of this atlas will confirm Israel’s belief that there exists a hostility towards their country from parts of the Arab world. It will not help to build up a spirit of trust leading to peaceful co-existence,” said Bishop Declan Lang, the chairman of the Bishops' Conference Department of International Affairs, to The Tablet.

“Maps can be a very powerful tool in terms of de-legitimising 'the other' and can lead to confusion rather than clarity. We would be keen to see relevant bodies ensure that all atlases anywhere reflect the official United Nations position on nations, boundaries and all political features," added Dr Jane Clements, director of the Council of Christians and Jews.

However, Collins Bartholomew, the subsidiary of HarperCollins that specialises in maps, said that including Israel would have been “unacceptable” to their customers in the Gulf and the amendment incorporated “local preferences”.

The Tablet said it had discovered the customs officers in one unnamed Gulf country only permitting the import of school atlases once Israel had been deleted by hand.
The description of the book at their resellers emphasizes that it is meant only for schools in "Middle East" countries. well, all of them except one:

An ideal school atlas for young primary school geographers. Content is specifically designed for schools in Middle East countries. It enables students to learn about the world today by exploring clear and engaging maps, study satellite imagery, understand key facts and statistics, and learn how maps and atlases work.

The atlas has been developed specifically for schools in the Middle East. It has been designed to stimulate and inspire students with its syllabus specific content.

The maps give in-depth coverage of the region and its issues. Topics included in the atlas help pupils to understand the relationship between the social and physical environment, the regions’s challenges, its socio-economic development and inter-relationships with neighbouring regions and the wider world.
But their main webpage for the book doesn't mention the caveat of its intended audience.

HarperCollins describes itself this way:
We love maps! We have done for almost 200 years, and we've been a leading publisher of maps and atlases all that time. Our focus is to produce clear, up-to-date, and informative map products to enable you to find the information you need quickly and easily.
"Informative" being a relative term.

People who produce schoolbooks, as well as people who create maps, have an obligation to their profession to ensure accuracy. To hear HarperCollins defend itself because the intended audience doesn't like reality is as poor an excuse as one can imagine. Should science textbooks include creationism for that reason?

Here's another map from the book.

(h/t Adam Levick)


UPDATE: HarperCollins responds:
HarperCollins regrets the omission of the name Israel from their Collins Middle East Atlas. This product has now been removed from sale in all territories and all remaining stock will be pulped. HarperCollins sincerely apologises for this omission and for any offence caused.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

From Ian:

PA official news and Fatah: Synagogue killers glorified as Islamic Martyrs
Posting a picture of the graves of the two terrorists who murdered 5 Israelis in a synagogue in West Jerusalem last month, Abbas’ Fatah movement glorified them with the supreme Islamic status of Shahids - “Martyrs... who ascended [to heaven]”:
“This is the place of eternal rest of Martyrs (Shahids) Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal of Jabel Mukaber [neighborhood] in occupied Jerusalem, who ascended [to heaven] a month and a half ago during an operation (i.e., terror attack) at an occupation synagogue in occupied Jerusalem. Early morning today, they were escorted to their graves at Al-Sawahreh Al- Sharqiyeh.”
[Fatah’s Facebook page, “Fatah - The Main Page”, Dec. 25, 2014]
Fatah called the terror attack “an operation at an occupation synagogue in occupied Jerusalem.” On Nov. 18, 2014, the two Arab terrorists from East Jerusalem entered a synagogue in Jerusalem and attacked worshippers with guns, knives and axes, killing 4 worshippers and a police officer. 7 people were injured, 3 of them seriously. The terrorists were killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli police that arrived on the scene.
The Palestinian Authority’s official news agency WAFA likewise honored the murderers with the supreme Islamic status of “Shahids” who were “escorted... to the place of their final rest”:
“Yesterday [Dec. 25, 2014], the citizens of Jerusalem escorted the bodies of Martyrs (Shahids) Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal, from the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood of south-east Jerusalem, to the place of their final rest in the Al-Sawahreh Al-Sharqiyeh cemetery, after they were held by the occupation for 37 days, and transferred to their relatives after midnight.” [From WAFA, official PA news agency, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 26, 2014]
Is Israel an apartheid state? Answers from someone who’d know
Today living in Jerusalem, [Benjamin] Pogrund, 81, is arguably the most vocal — and perhaps best placed — critic of equating Israel with apartheid South Africa. “The apartheid accusation is a deadly one,” he said. “It’s something that people can relate to. It sounds so straightforward and direct and easy. The fact that it’s built on a foundation of simple untruths and exaggeration and distortion is another matter.”
Pogrund knows apartheid up close, the original kind. One of the most prominent Jewish opponents of the South African apartheid regime, he was a close confidant and personal friend of Nelson Mandela. In 1961, as his paper’s African affairs reporter, Pogrund helped the future president organize an illegal strike.
“Mandela and I met secretly and regularly,” Pogrund recalled in David Saks’s 2011 book “Jewish Memories of Mandela.” “We had a system of sending messages to arrange to meet, which would either be at a friend’s house in Fordsburg, or when I would drive to a street corner at night, pick up Mandela — his worker’s overalls disguise did little to hide his tall, imposing figure — and we would sit in my car in a dark street and talk about the strike campaign.”
In “Drawing Fire: Investigating the Accusations of Apartheid in Israel,” which came out in July, Pogrund ardently argues against comparing South Africa with the Jewish state. At the same time, he makes plain his utter disapproval of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.
 Western leftists stand up for their comrades in Islam
Islamic State’s totalitarian ideology is clarified in Dabiq magazine and Flames of War, a documentary that justifies its genocidal barbarity using propaganda concocted by the 1960s communist Left. In socialist and Islamist propaganda, the West is portrayed as an imperialist colonial leviathan that stands between eternally oppressed minorities and the second coming of international socialism. The utopian socialists and Islamists both promise world peace — after their bloody revolutions, of course.
Reality is an enduring irritant in the smooth passage of totalitarian propaganda from its political elite to the masses. The internet has revealed the intimate violence of life in socialist and Islamist states, whose totalitarian ethos descends on the wings of a promise of peace and equality.
North Korea uses the UN to market itself as a champion of peace. Islamists claim to represent a religion of peace. Socialism is sold as the politics of peace. On December 16, as Australians mourned our first victims of Islamic State terror on home soil, the jihadist who terrorised our nation, Monis, could be found on Wikipedia’s list of peace activists, cited as an “Australian Muslim cleric, anti-war activist”. The list includes socialist Noam Chomsky, pedophilia advocate Allen Ginsberg and anarchist Emma Goldman.
In November, members of Britain’s socialist-communist party Left Unity proclaimed that the Islamic State caliphate had “progressive potential” because it opposed “Western-imposed nation-states” in the Middle East. Repeating the ignoble lie that “Western domination” gave rise to Islamic State, Left Unity socialists John Tummon and Mark Anthony France issued a diktat: “The European Left has to acknowledge and accept the widespread call for a caliphate among Muslims” as “an authentic expression of their emancipatory, anti-imperialist aspirations”. They praised the caliphate for its “strong internationalism” while heaping criticism on the West for its dedication to secularism. (h/t Alexi)

  • Tuesday, December 30, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
Palestine Today reports that while some 350 truckfuls of goods were scheduled to be imported into Gaza from Israel today, there is no fuel being pumped for the Gaza power plant, for the third day in a row.

This is not because of any Israeli limitations on fuel. Gasoline and cooking gas are being pumped today. It is all a question of whether there are any buyers in Gaza who are paying for it.

Hamas and the PA have been arguing for weeks over the price of fuel for the power plant. It appears that sometimes, some other nations have been paying for the fuel for Gaza.

Right now, it seems, no one is paying.

COGAT tells me that so far this year, 62,888,584 liters of fuel have been transferred from Israel to Gaza for the power plant, including 7,276,227 liters in December alone.

When the Gaza power plant does not have fuel, electricity outages reach 12 hours a day in Gaza. Israel provides 125 MW a day and Egypt another 32 MW a day.

  • Tuesday, December 30, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
Did you hear the news? Hamas is turning moderate!

Hamas is reviewing its strategy with the changing times. It is conducting an internal debate, with proposals which have had to be officially refuted.

One such proposal was for direct negotiations with the Israelis, currently forbidden by the movement’s constitution. A statement was issued saying direct negotiations with Israel is not the movement’s policy and is not on the table for discussion. The call, however, had come from none other than Mousa Abu Marzouk, the deputy political chief of Hamas. “We have negotiated with Israel using weapons; so it is possible to negotiate with words,” he stressed.

There is a need, say some senior figures, to break entirely from old precepts in foreign relations. Sheikh Ahmad Yousef, one of the movement’s ideologues, told me that direct talks should not only be held with Israel but the West as well. “We have to acknowledge that there is a negative image of us among some in Europe and America. We can carry on and let that continue, or we can talk to these countries, put forward our case, exchange ideas: that seems to us to be the practical way forward.”

Hamas needs to rethink its whole strategy, held Sheikh Ahmad, looking at what has been learnt from successive rounds of conflicts and negotiations and also be prepared to make changes to its 27-year-old manifesto, especially the parts in it which can be viewed as anti-Semitic. At the same time everything possible must be done to distance the movement from al-Qaeda and Isis, “making it very clear that the Islam we believe in is very different from theirs”.
Wow, this sounds familiar...oh yes. It happens every year or so. Hamas says something that sounds potentially not genocidal, and reporters eat it up, reporting how peaceful Hamas is. The Guardian had this meme as early as 2006. In 2011 the NYT said, without proof, that Hamas accepts Israel as a state. NPR talks about a mythical 100 year hudna that Hamas is supposedly willing to adhere to.

But none of these media outlets and pundits bother to consider that Hamas, explicitly and publicly, forcefully rejects  any idea of accepting Israel every single day. They ignore Hamas' words in favor of believing and reporting  the lies.

Here are all Hamas leaders on the podium of their anniversary rally just this month:



Khalil Al-Hayya: Our basic principles are: Palestine, all of Palestine, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, is pure Arab Islamic land, which we will share with no one.

Hamas member: Allah Akbar! All praise to Allah!

Khalil Al-Hayya: Our principles say that the land of Palestine belongs to its residents – the Palestinians, the progeny of the Prophet's companions, his disciples, and the early Muslims. There is no solution for these Palestinians, who were dispersed hither and thither, and there is no possible solution for them other than return of them all to the land of Palestine. This is an axiom.

We shall never agree to compromise on this, nor shall we accept any agreement with the enemy with regard to it. We shall not accept any agreement with the Zionist entity with regard to the return of the refugees. It is our right for all of us to return, and the Zionists will compensate us after we drive them out in humiliation, for all the years that we have suffered in the wilderness of oppression and injustice.

Our principle is that Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque belong to us, and there is no room for the Zionists there. There is no room for the occupation of even a single inch of it. Jerusalem is the untied capital of the Arab Islamic Palestine. Jerusalem is the focal point of the Islamic-Zionist conflict. This is an unchangeable principle, and as we have been taught by the annals of history and its lessons, the occupation will come to an end only by means of the gun and of resistance.
When Hamas leaders say this to crowds of thousands of people, they are just posturing. When they speak to Western reporters parroting what the reporters want to hear and to misinterpret - that's the reality, if you believe the Independent and NPR and the New York Times. No matter how many terror attacks and rockets have been launched since the previous "peaceful Hamas" reports.

That is the fantasy that the media has been pushing on its readers for a decade now. And they will never admit that they have been wrong.

The PLO spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on public relations, Hamas doesn't need to, because the worlds major media outlets are happy to burnish Hamas' reputation for free.
From Ian:

Mahmoud Abbas is again insisting on failure
What could explain such maneuvering? Some diplomats suspect Mr. Abbas wants his maximalist resolution to be voted down — just as previous Palestinian attempts failed to obtain the necessary eight of 15 votes. By not forcing the United States into a veto, the Palestinian leader could preserve his lines of communication with Washington while obtaining a pretext to move on to his next pointless initiative — which could be seeking Palestinian membership in the International Criminal Court.
Accession to the court wouldn’t bring Palestinians any closer to statehood, and it might expose the Hamas movement to war crimes prosecution. It could cause Congress to cut off the U.S. aid that now sustains the Palestinian Authority. But Mr. Abbas and his aides have recently been suggesting they would have “no choice” but to proceed if they obtain no satisfaction from the Security Council.
Mr. Abbas does, of course, have a choice. He could endorse the framework laboriously negotiated by Secretary of State John F. Kerry and challenge Mr. Netanyahu — or his successor after Israel’s upcoming election — to resume negotiations. Statehood would then be on the table — but the 79-year-old Palestinian leader would have to commit himself formally to compromises he has until now discussed only in private with U.S. and Israeli leaders. Rather than lobby at the United Nations, he would have to attempt for the first time to sell those concessions to his own people.
Mr. Abbas has, on several previous occasions, dodged that challenge. So no one should be surprised if he now insists on losing another vote at the United Nations.
Israel’s enemies reload
Continuing to show utter contempt for Israel as it seeks a durable peace with its neighbors, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are again working to perpetuate an endless war with the Jewish state.
Monday, Jordan submitted to the UN Security Council, on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas’ PA, a draft resolution creating a strict timeline for Israeli withdrawal to pre-1967 borders.
Never mind profound and legitimate Israeli fears about security — rubbed raw by an elaborate network of Gaza terror tunnels exposed during this year’s hostilities with Hamas, followed by a fresh wave of PA-incited terrorist attacks against innocent civilians in recent weeks.
Never mind that Israel has been ready and willing to negotiate a deal in good faith — only to run head-first into a Palestinian leadership with no interest whatsoever in coexistence.
Fortunately, the United States sees through the ruse, with the State Department condemning the resolution for setting “arbitrary deadlines,” which are “more likely to curtail useful negotiations than to bring them to a successful conclusion.”
Former Swedish PM tweets satire as news
The official Twitter account of the former prime minister of Sweden tweeted a satirical news report about an Israeli travel warning to Sweden as fact on Monday.
Carl Bildt, who served as Sweden’s prime minister from 1991-1994 and as foreign minister between 2006 and September of this year, tweeted the article by the Onion-style blog PreOccupied Territory, titled “Israel Issues Travel Warning For US, France, Sweden,” saying: “Israel has officially warned its citizens not to travel to Sweden. That’s somewhat of an overreaction.”
After about an hour, during which many users tweeted at him to tell him that the article was satirical, Bildt removed the link.
The report, published on Thursday, fictitiously reported that Jerusalem’s Foreign Ministry had issued a travel warning for Israeli tourists to stay out of several First World countries for fear of ethnic violence, highlighting internal turmoil in the United States, France and Sweden.

  • Tuesday, December 30, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Gulf News:
Foreigners who practice the Jewish faith are allowed to work in Saudi Arabia, a labour ministry source said.

“The ministry does not mind issuing employment visas to Jews as it deals with nationalities, and not with religions,” the source said, quoted by local daily Al Watan on Tuesday.

“Saudi Arabia does not oppose dealing with any religion and this is clearly demonstrated in the King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue.”

The centre, located in the Austrian capital Vienna, was founded to enable, empower and encourage dialogue among followers of different religions and cultures around the world. It introduces itself on its site as “an independent and autonomous international organisation, free of political or economic influence.”

“For example, if a worker has the Yemeni nationality and the Jewish faith, he is allowed to work in the kingdom because the ministry does not look at religions, but at nationalities,” the source said.

The ministry’s website lists Judaism among the 10 religions whose practitioners can fill in working applications.

Shura Council Member Sadaqa Bin Yahya Fadhel said that the labour ministry’s decision to allow Jewish workers was “correct.”

“We Muslims do not have a problem with Jews or Christians,” he said. Our major issue is with the Zionist Movement which exploits the Jewish faith to promote and serve its own agenda.”

He added the distinction between Jews and Zionists should always be made clear.

“We can deal with anyone from any religion, and the ministry is right as long as it does not deal with Israelis. As a kingdom, we do welcome all religions, but we cannot accept Israelis because they are linked to Zionism, a colonialist movement that uses and takes advantage of the Jewish faith. Judaism has nothing to do with this movement,” he told the Saudi daily.
This story is getting a lot of play in Arabic media.

In 2004, a Saudi tourism website listed the categories of people who could not visit, including Israeli passport holders or those with a passport containing an Israeli stamp; "those who don't abide by the Saudi traditions concerning appearance and behaviours"; "those under the influence of alcohol"; and "Jewish people". That last part was quickly deleted after an outcry.

Joshua Muravchik actually visited Saudi Arabia in 2007, and he wrote that he was Jewish in his visa application. He sneaked in a Jewish prayer book but his luggage was not inspected. People say being caught with any religious items will cause one to be banned on entry.

On the other hand, earlier this year a Jewish American journalist for the Jerusalem Post, who does not hold Israeli citizenship, was denied a visa by Saudi Arabia even after some While House arm-twisting. (Saudi Arabia no longer issues tourist visas.)

It is interesting that this is being publicized now. I wonder if Saudi Arabia is trying to engage in some PR.


  • Tuesday, December 30, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
  • ,
Here is a scan of a page from the New York Times Magazine this past weekend, using a Gaza child named Tala Akram al-Atawi ,who was killed over the summer, to symbolize all children killed in war:


From looking at this page, one would get the impression that except for South Sudan, more children were killed in Gaza than in any other conflict this year, and that over 20% of all child deaths - the very large-font  2,500 - were caused by Israel.

When you look a little closer, you see that the Times didn't bother to even estimate the number of children killed in Syria or Pakistan. Which is very interesting, given that this article was published soon after 132 children were brutally murdered in a Pakistan school in a single day. They weren't killed accidentally, not as part of a larger operation: they were targeted for death.

But none of those children merit having the New York Times write about the anguish of their families or their doctors.

The Syria Observatory for Human Rights counted 251 children killed in Syria - in October alone. Another 152 in November. From April through July, over 1000 children were killed. It seems a reasonable estimate of over 2500 children killed in Syria this year alone, making the "2500" graphic a joke. It is well over double that number just including Pakistan and Syria, and publishing even a low estimate would have made the story much more effective - if the goal of the story was to show how widespread children's deaths were.

UPDATE: The SOHR says that 3501 children were killed in Syria alone in 2014. (h/t Conormel)

While the 538 killed in Gaza is probably accurate and may even be high (there were some 17 year olds killed who were voluntary militants,) , the other numbers are ridiculously low. In South Sudan, between 50,000 and 100,000 people were killed this year - so chances are very good that far, far more than 600 children were killed. it is not out of the realm of possibility that closer to 6000 were killed.

In Iraq, some 16,000 civilians were killed this year. Historically, children have been about 9% of the civilian casualties. So it is reasonable to estimate that closer to 1500 children were killed this year in Iraq, instead of "416."

The NYTimes could have provided estimates, or even a low estimate, if the goal was to highlight how horrible the problem of children in war zones is.

It gets worse. Because the NYT only chose certain conflicts to bother to mention. The UN lists over 20 nations that have seen children killed or recruited as soldiers over the past couple of years - as opposed to the NYT's 8 nations.


So why would the New York Times put up this gigantic graphic of the number "2,500" when the actual number of children killed this year from war is probably closer to (and possibly much higher than) 10,000?

Here's a guess.

Anne Barnard had a great, tear-jerker of a story about a Gaza girl. She didn't want to highlight it in the end of year issue without any context because CAMERA would start a letter writing campaign about their anti-Israel bias. So the Times decided to do a half-assed job of pretending that Tala al-Atawi is somehow representative of the children who have been beheaded in Iraq and Syria, raped, and slaughtered in so many other countries.

No one, outside of Hamas and its supporters, is happy that Tala Akram al-Atawi was killed, She was not a target and Israelis don't celebrate her death.. If you are going to write a story about the horrors of war for children, in a world where children are being recruited as soldiers and targeted by crazed Islamists, she is a very poor example.

But if the real goal is to demonize Israel - and to make a half hearted attempt to hide that demonization from behind a flurry of artificially low casualty numbers from other conflicts - then the New York Times succeeded quite well.

(h/t DM and EBoZ)

  • Tuesday, December 30, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
Saudi anchor
From Arab News:

The Shoura Council is expected to discuss amendments to the audiovisual law on Tuesday that would impose a mandatory dress code for TV presenters on Saudi-funded private channels, including an abaya and scarf for women news readers and anchors.

Noura Al-Odwan, a woman member of the Shoura, has reportedly convinced the culture and media affairs committee to present the controversial proposal at the consultative council for discussion.

The new move comes a few weeks after Al-Odwan criticized the appearance of some presenters, saying they used too much makeup, drawing flak from the male Shoura members and female anchors.

The proposal demands adding an article on the dress code to the country’s audiovisual media law.

Al-Odwan insisted that the appearance of some female anchors on official channels, where she said they are showing off their beauty, would have a negative impact on the Kingdom’s international reputation.
When the idea was first floated, Saudi women anchors were mixed in their reactions:
Several Saudi female TV anchors have reacted angrily to a recent statement by a Shoura Council member in which she criticized the anchors as being too “extravagant and wearing too much makeup.”

They said Nora Al-Adwan’s criticism is unacceptable and degrades the work these women are doing for their country. “Those who criticize Saudi media only want to put down the accomplishments of Saudi women and destroy the image of our country,” said presenter Afaf Al-Mohsin in response to the remarks.

She added that the colorful, yet modest, jilbabs and abayas worn by them are no different from others as long as they both cover the body and are conservative.

Afrah Jaafar, also a presenter, agreed, arguing that “all the clothing choices made by female Saudi presenters are very modest, since Saudi television represents the country as an Islamic state and so they are keen not to cross any red lines.”

Presenter Arafat Al-Majid said she is in favor of setting uniform standards, such as the abaya, for Saudi presenters, because varied outfits may create jealousy and problems between presenters.

“I agree that some presenters go overboard with the makeup, but there are many others who do not,” she said. “Makeup is required for the camera and lighting.”
In August, a female anchor who went on Saudi TV with her hair uncovered caused a huge backlash which may be what prompted Noura al-Odwan to begin her crusade.

Monday, December 29, 2014

From Ian:

Wiesenthal Center top 10 list: Worst global anti-Semitic/anti-Israel incidents of 2014
The Simon Wiesenthal Center has ranked the 10 worst outbreaks of anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism in 2014. Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the human rights organization, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that this year’s list seeks to show how anti-Semitic “rhetoric at the top has filtered down to average people.”
Hier said the center deliberately chose not to include principal Arab leaders and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan because the ranking system reveals the spread of hate on a grassroots level.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the center’s associate dean, told the Post that Europe dominated the list of incidents of Israel hatred and anti-Semitic violence, with six mentions.
The No. 1 slot went to a doctor in Belgium who refused to provide medical care to a 90-year-old Jewish woman with a fractured rib. He told her son, who had requested the care: “Send her to Gaza for a few hours, then she will get rid of the pain. I’m not coming,” and hung up.
The tale of 2014, told in 14 Times of Israel stories
The year began with hopes that 2014 would see peace talks with the Palestinians bear fruit, lawmakers broker deals to manage the economy, Syria end its civil war, Europe remain a safe place for Jews, the Arab world open up to us and Iran’s nuclear plans get thwarted. A year later, little has been resolved and many new tears have been opened in the fabric of Israeli and Jewish society, not to mention around the world.
Yet even in the darkest times, there was light and there was humanity. Grassroots efforts to spread understanding and heal rifts were ubiquitous, even in unexpected places, like the West Bank junction where three teens were kidnapped or the mourning tent of a Palestinian boy killed in revenge. The deaths of lone soldiers in Gaza brought out the best in tens of thousands, who escorted those they never knew on their final journeys. A Jewish man, in prison for years in Cuba, was freed amid a historic détente.
Through it all, The Times of Israel has attempted to bring a deeper understanding of Israel, the Jewish world and the wider universe to our readers. Looking back, these 14 stories, culled from some 20,000 published over the year, paint a picture of our year, the good, the bad, the parts we’d rather forget and those we will cherish as we move into the maw of 2015’s great unknown.
Alan Dershowitz: A Brandeis student refuses to show sympathy for assassinated policemen – and her critic is attacked
As I watched, with tears in my eyes, the funeral of police officer Rafael Ramos who was ambushed along with fellow officer, Wenjian Liu, in revenge for the deaths of two black young men who were killed by policemen, I could not help thinking of the following horrible words tweeted by a bigoted young woman named Khadijah Lynch, on the day the police officers were murdered in cold blood:
“I have no sympathy for the NYPD officers who were murdered today. IMAO, all I just really don’t have sympathy for the cops who were shot. I hate this racist, f…ing country.”
Khadijah Lynch is a Brandeis University junior who at the time she wrote the tweet was the undergraduate representative in the Brandeis African and Afro-American studies department.
Nor was this her first bigoted tweet. She has apparently described her college as “a social themed institution grounded in Zionism. Word. That a f…ing fanny dooly.” And she cannot understand why “black people have not burned this country down….” She describes herself as “in riot mode. F… this f…ing country.” She has apparently said that she would like to get a gun and has called for an intifada: “Amerikkka needs an intifada. Enough is enough. “ “What the f… even IS ‘non-violence’. “
Ms. Lynch is certainly entitled to express such despicable views- either in public or in private - just as Nazis, Klansmen and other bigots are entitled to express theirs. But when another Brandeis student, named Daniel Mael, decided to post her public tweets on a website, Lynch threatened to sue him for “slander”. Republishing someone’s own published words could not possibly constitute slander, libel or any other form of defamation, because you can’t be slandered, by your own words. You can, of course, be embarrassed, condemned, ostracized or “unfriended” by your own words, as Donald Sterling, the former owner of the LA Clippers, was. But Sterling’s bigoted words were never intended to be public, whereas Lynch’s tweets were publically circulated.

  • Monday, December 29, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
The ever hilarious PressTV reports:(video story begins about 1:00)



Saudi Arabia and Western governments have for decades remained silent on the occupation of Saudi islands by Israel, Press TV reports.

Tiran and Sanafir islands, with respective areas of 80 and 33 sq kilometers, are located at the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba, east of the Saudi territory.

They belonged to Saudi Arabia until 1967 when King Faisal gave control of the islands to Egypt to prevent Israel from sending its ships to Eilat station during the Six-Day war. The islands were then occupied by Israel.
Actually, Saudi Arabia gave control of the islands to Egypt in 1949, specifically to allow Egypt to blockade Israel.

Yes, Arab nations hated Israel so much that they would willingly give up their own territory to hurt Israel, just as Syria no longer asserts claims to the Shebaa Farms in order to allow Lebanon to continue to claim that Israel occupies its territory and give Hezbollah pretexts to attack,
Following the war, when Egypt’s Anwar Sadat signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1978, he refused to mention the status of the islands as part of the agreement, saying they belonged to Saudi Arabia. But interestingly, Riyadh has not commented on the status of the islands since.

Some say the islands are just too small for Saudi Arabia to raise a claim on, but some argue that it is not the case as Saudis have fought with Yemen over the control of Hanish Islands that are approximately the same size.

The islands of Tiran and Sanafir are strategically very important as the control over them effectively means the control over the entrance to Gulf of Aqaba and this is Israel’s only way to the Red Sea.
Isn't it heartwarming that Iran cares so much about Saudi Arabia to let them know that they seem to have misplaced some islands?

So what's the truth?

In 1951, Egypt declared that it would allow sea traffic of "friendly countries" through the straits and it would seize "enemy" vessels.

In 1955 Israel announced that it was completing the port of Eilat and that it intended to use the Straits in order to access the Indian Ocean, and it will do whatever is necessary to ensure safe passage. In response, Egypt tightened the rules of who could pass, and gave the sole authority for allowing ships to pass to the - get this - "Regional Boycotting Office for Israel."

During the 1956 Sinai campaign, Israel occupied the islands, and gave control over to UNEF in 1957. Nasser, of course, expelled UNEF in May 1967 and took over the islands again.

Israel did occupy the two islands in 1967 - but they gave control over to the Multinational Force (meant to keep the peace between Israel and Egypt, mostly in the Sinai) in 1982. They control the islands today.

From Global Security:
Observation Post 3-11 is located on Tiran Island, five miles off Sinai's coast in the Gulf of Aqaba. OP 3-11 is manned by U.S. troops who monitor Israeli and Egyptian naval and maritime activities in the strategically vital area where the Gulf meets the Red Sea. Tiran Island now belongs to Saudi Arabia and is leased by Egypt so that the observation post can be operated there. The actual OP is located on the island's western edge, more than 800 feet tip a cliff wall overlooking heavily mined beaches. The island is accessible from the water in a few locations, but the OP's location and the treacherous slopes leading up to it make resupply by any combination of sea and ground transport almost impossible. The OP 3-11 troops therefore rely on the slingload missions flown on Thursday and Sunday mornings by UH-1's of the South Camp Aviation Platoon for their transportation to and from work, as well as for food, water, mail, fuel and just about everything else.

Observation Point 3-11 is about as big as Paradise Shoppette. It contains everything a Soldier needs, plus a few luxuries -- hot showers, full service kitchen and a day room. While on watch, Soldiers worked in three-man teams. The teams consisted of one noncommissioned officer, and two junior enlisted Soldiers. They rotated between three different shifts, pulling the same shift for two days, then rotating to another shift for two days. Once the Soldiers completed the third shift, they had a day off from guard watch.
One of those slingload missions can be seen on YouTube along with a slideshow of the island:



PressTV didn't even think up of this lie on their own. This entire report, including the "Google search" part on the video, was in this 2010 article from the equally unreliable Middle East Monitor.

(h/t Lawrence)


  • Monday, December 29, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Egypt Independent:
The Alexandria Administrative Court has banned the celebration of the Abu Hasira [Abuhatzeira]  festival saying it violates public orders.

“The Jews have not had any particular impact on the Egyptian civilization. They did not contribute to the human knowledge of history of the civilization,” the court said.

According to the verdict, the court canceled the culture minister's 2001 decision considering the mausoleum, the surrounding Jewish tombs and the hill in the village of Damtu, outside Damanhour, among other Islamic and Coptic monuments.

It also ordered the minister in charge of monuments affairs to remove the mausoleum from Islamic and Coptic monuments records as it does not enjoy all of the archaeological characteristics and informing the UNESCO’s international heritage committee to remove it from the records.

The verdict also rejected the Israeli request to the UNESCO requesting the transfer of the mortal remains to Jerusalem, saying that Islam refuses to dig up the graves and that Jerusalem is occupied by Israel, which means that existence of such mausoleum on the Arab land of Palestine would add legitimacy of the Israel.

The festival, scheduled for 9 to 10 January, is held on the annual anniversary of the death of a 19th-century Jewish rabbi Abu Hasira, who was born in Egypt and traveled to Morocco, according to the Jewish folklore.
So because they respect graves so much they will remove the site from any international cultural protection so the residents of the village, who are overwhelmingly antisemitic, can do what they want to the shrine.

Now, that's respect.

More from Reuters:
The court said its decision was due to "moral offences" committed in previous years at the three-day festival celebrating the birth of Rabbi Jacob Abu Hasira. It did not elaborate on what the offences were.

Jews, mostly from outside Egypt, have congregated every year at the 19th century tomb around Jan. 1 even though the festival was canceled for security reasons after the 2011 uprising that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak.

Monday's ruling would make the ban permanent unless a higher court overturns it on appeal.
What were these "moral offenses?"

Egyptians have been making ludicrous claims about the celebrants for years. For example, in 2008:
[Jews] often start the celebration that get out of hand, where there is an auction for who will enter his tomb first , followed by alcoholic operations spilled over the cemetery, and then the slaughter of sacrifices that are often sheep or pigs, roasting meat, and dancing. Celebrants then hysterically sing Jewish melodies as they become almost naked, and then say some prayers, entreaties and tears to the tomb, burning, beating their heads in the Wailing Wall and asked for their needs, according to witnesses.
In 2011:
A female residents said that the Jews drink alcohol, which is forbidden in Islam, to be blessed as part of their veneration of the rabbi.

"The Jewish visitors usually get drunk and engage in obscene dancing during the celebrations," the woman, who asked not to be identified, said, demanding that the Abu Hasira festival should be cancelled after the revolution and the deposing of Mubarak, whom she dismissed as Israel's friend.
2013:
The Jewish men and women dance together while listening to jazz music.

Afterwards, the tourists make lots of noise and would bring sheep and goats. They slaughter them from the top of the neck, "contrary to Islamic law." (Kosher slaughter is not done that way.)

The meat is eaten together with "all kinds of imported wines next to a cocktail of cigarettes stuffed full of drugs."

The, naturally, the Jews turn off the lights and have an orgy, with sex being freely practiced in the tomb itself.
Those wild Jews!

In 2010, Jews visiting the grave were greeted with signs from local residents, in Hebrew, saying "Death to the Jews." So we know they will treat the shrine with all the respect that they can muster.

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: What the Palestinian Authority Did Not Tell the UN Security Council
Last week, Jordan submitted to the Security Council a Palestinian-drafted resolution calling for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories by the end of 2017 and a peace deal within a year.
But what the Palestinians did not tell the Security Council is that the state they seek to establish is one that does not respect public freedoms, first and foremost freedom of expression.
This would be a state where people are detained and intimidated for using social media to express their views. It will also be a state where the president or any of his senior officials could order the arrest of anyone who dares to speak out against lack of democracy and reforms.
The draft resolution that was submitted to the Security Council fails to mention the fact that the Palestinian Authority is harassing and persecuting political opponents and critics, including Facebook users.
Moreover, the PA does not want the Security Council and the rest of the international community to know that, in the future Palestinian state, female journalists, writers and political activists can be detained for interrogation and threatened because of their work.
Two east Jerusalem brothers indicted for planning terrorist attack in capital
The Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office on Monday filed an indictment against two east Jerusalem brothers for working with Hamas to carry out a major terrorist attack in the capital.
According to the indictment, the brothers, aged 28 and 23, were recruited by a Hamas operative in the Gaza Strip to form a terror cell in Jerusalem to carry out the unspecified attack at a public venue.
While the details of the planned attack and the investigation into it remain unclear, the brothers have been charged with joining a terrorist organization, conspiracy, theft and other offenses.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said security personnel continue to investigate potential accomplices of the suspects.
PA minister legitimizes murdering Israelis
Ali Sa’ada, a terrorist prisoner who murdered a father and his one-year-old baby, was fined 3.5 million shekels by Israel. That fine is “delegitimizing ‎the [Palestinian] national resistance,” says Prisoners’ Affairs Authority Director ‎and PA Parliament Member Issa Karake. According to Karake, who holds the rank of ‎minister, the killing of one-year-old Israelis is legitimate “resistance.”‎
In his capacity as Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs, Issa Karake has a long history of glorifying terrorist murderers, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch.
Karake defines being a victim of Palestinian terror as “being exposed to resistance by Palestinians”:
“[Israeli] courts have been... passing sentences on prisoners that force them to pay large sums in financial compensation to Israelis who have been exposed to resistance by Palestinians.” [WAFA (the official Palestinian news agency), Dec. 16, 2014]

  • Monday, December 29, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
Gisha is an Israel-based NGO that calls itself the "legal center for freedom of movement" concentrating on the rights of Gazans and goods to go in and out of Gaza.

While it has a website, a blog and a Twitter account, somehow it missed this widely reported story:
A group of 37 orphans from Gaza Strip were prevented from crossing into Israel Sunday after Hamas backtracked from a deal reached to allow the kids to tour the Jewish state, saying the tour was an attempt to "brainwash" the kids. The indicent took place amid claims of clashes along the border between the IDF and Palestinians.

The group, comprised of children aged 5 to 12 whose fathers were killed in the 50-day summer war between Hamas and Israel, were all ready to go at the border crossing with Israel when Hamas rescinded its initial agreement to the visit.
Wouldn't this be right up Gisha's alley - Gazans being denied the right to freely travel? Not to mention that they are orphans! How could Gisha miss this?

A look through their archives finds that it missed some other stories as well: my story earlier today of Hamas blocking certain Israeli items from being imported, Hamas not allowing sick Gaza children from traveling to Egypt, Hamas stopping human rights workers from leaving Gaza, Hamas banning Fatah politicians from going to the West Bank, and others - all that involve daily violations of the rights of movement by Hamas against Gazans that are even more restrictive than Israeli regulations. 

Gisha will talk about Egyptian closures of the Rafah crossing. But as far as I can tell, this Israeli NGO cannot find a negative thing to say about Hamas actions hurting the freedom of movement of people and goods from and to Gaza!

Gisha has a budget of about a million dollars a year, and is funded by donors such as the European Commission, United Kingdom, Oxfam GB, Trocaire, Oxfam Novib (the Netherlands), Irish Aid, Norway, UNDP, Broederlijk Delen, and NDC (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands).

Isn't it interesting that such a lavishly funded NGO will not say anything against a terror group that violates every aspect of freedom of movement in Gaza that Gisha supposedly monitors?

Gisha claims to be non-partisan - yet it cannot find anything wrong with Hamas actions in Gaza against its people. That is a pretty large blind spot for a "non-partisan" organization.

UPDATE: I guess I embarrassed them. Two days after I wrote this post, and four days after Hamas denied the children from exiting, Gisha reported on the story, saying "it’s unfortunate that Hamas officials also obstruct travel for political reasons."
  • Monday, December 29, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
The most recent report of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA to the UN, covering 2013, includes this head-scratcher of a line:

"The situation also affected the 1.9 million registered Palestine refugees in the State of Palestine."

So on one hand the UN and UNRWA recognize the "State of Palestine." On the other hand, they consider citizens of this state to be refugees from that same state!

A week ago, I had a brief Twitter discussion with Rex Brynen, an UNRWA apologist professor at McGill University, who claimed that UNHCR and UNRWA definitions for "refugees" were virtually identical.

UPDATE: As Brynen points out in a response, since he admits that Jordanian citizens wouldn't be considered refugees, it is not accurate for me to characterize his views of the definitions as "virtually identical." He did, in this Twitter discussion before he disappeared, seem to try hard to equate the two and to defend UNRWA's indefensible definition.

He said that all of todays' UNRWA refugees would be considered "derivative refugees" under UNHCR rules, pointing out a tiny minority of third-generation refugees under UNHCR auspices in Afghanistan (I believe there are some in Somalia as well.)

When I asked why he considers those in the West Bank and Gaza to be refugees even though they live in  "Palestine," he replied that they were stateless.


(He never answered that, nor my many follow-up questions about UNRWA.and his fawning article supporting the Chris Gunness article I thoroughly fisked.)

So (at least according to Brynen) the reason that 1.9 million people in the "State of Palestine" are refugees is because they are stateless - at the very same time that UNRWA claims that they are citizens of a state called Palestine!

As far as I can tell, there is no official definition of "citizen" under PA law. Their Basic Law, article 7, just says "Palestinian citizenship shall be regulated by law" without defining what it is. A 1995 draft law for defining citizenship is noteworthy: someone is considered a citizen if he/she "(1) was a holder of Palestinian citizenship (other than Jews) before 15 May 1948; (2) was born to a Palestinian father; (3) was born in Palestine to a Palestinian mother even if the citizenship of the father is not known; (4) was born in Palestine to unknown parents; and (5) was born outside of Palestine to a Palestinian mother and to a father whose nationality was not known – provided that this person opts for Palestinian citizenship within one year after reaching maturity, that he notifies the minister of interior of his intention to become a Palestinian citizen, that he becomes habitually a resident of Palestine, and that the minister does not object to this applicant within one year from the time he receives the notice from the applicant."

At any rate, it seems clear that the PA considers all residents to be citizens of a UN-recognized state. To say that 1.9 million of them are "refugees" is the height of absurdity.

And one that UNRWA is happy to say publicly.

(We're not even talking about the 1.8 million or so with Jordanian citizenship, which even Brynen admits are clearly not refugees - so about 75% of the 5 million so-called UNRWA registered "refugees" have UN-recognized citizenship.)


  • Monday, December 29, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
Palestine Press reports that Hamas has banned the import of various electric and electronic devices from Israel, including batteries, refrigerators, washing machines, computer monitors and CRTs.

The reason given is because of the environmental impact of disposing of them.

And another reason: because they are not energy-efficient.

An additional reason was given: "The import fees benefit only the Israeli treasury without any returns on the Palestinian national economy."

There is an old rule of thumb that when someone gives multiple reasons for doing something, chances are that none of them are true. If I had to guess, I'd think that Hamas is worried about Israel inserting spy equipment in electronic devices.

The impact to Gazans for this new rule?

Oh, since when does Hamas care about the people it rules?

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