Monday, May 22, 2017

From Ian:

Netanyahu ahead of Trump visit: Israel didn’t occupy Jerusalem, we liberated it
Israel “didn’t occupy Jerusalem fifty years ago, it liberated it,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on the eve of US President Donald Trump’s historic two-day visit to Israel.
“I want to the tell the world in a loud and clear voice: Jerusalem has always been and always will be the capital of Israel,” Netanyahu said at a celebratory event marking the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Israel’s capital city after the Six Day War.
“The Temple Mount and the Western Wall will always remain under Israeli sovereignty,” the prime minister added.
Netanyahu’s words were seen as a direct message to Trump, following Israel’s disappointment that the president appears to have no plans to announce the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem during his two-day trip.
Instead, the subject of Jerusalem has become a divisive issue between Israel and the US, ahead of a visit designed to showcase the close ties between the steadfast allies.
Trump is the first US president to arrive in Israel so quickly after his inauguration, and he will be the first sitting president to visit the Western Wall.
JPost Editorial: Trump in Jerusalem
Never before in human history has Jerusalem been so full of life and free. Unshackled from oppressive Jordanian and Ottoman rule, Jews, Muslims, Christians and other faiths have access to the holy sites. Wandering the streets of downtown Jerusalem one is struck by the incredible diversity. Jews and non-Jews, locals and tourists rub shoulders. A Babel of languages can be heard. Sufi Muslims live with hassidic Jews; Greek Orthodox priests are neighbors to religious Zionist rabbis; religious zealots of all stripes walk the same streets as avowed secularists.
Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy, makes all this possible while offering economic possibilities undreamed of in any neighboring Arab country. Women of all religions are free and literate; higher education is open to all regardless of faith, race or gender; the best medicine in the world provided by doctors, technicians and nurses of all backgrounds is accessible to all.
Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish state, is united as it has never been before in human history. This fact is obvious to anyone with the integrity to acknowledge it.
Is everything perfect? Of course not. Law enforcement, municipal services, the number of classroom in relation to students and other parameters are not equal in Jerusalem’s Jewish and Arab neighborhoods. But judging from the situation in other countries in the region, where the regular flow of clean water and electricity is the exception, equality is greater in Israel’s capital and the chances for further improvement are better in a unified Jerusalem than in a split Jerusalem.
Moving the US Embassy to Israel’s capital would be a symbolic recognition of Jerusalem’s miraculous transformation over the past 50 years. Perhaps during his visit, when he sees firsthand the real Jerusalem, Trump will follow through on his campaign promise, which would be a reflection not only of his own admiration for Israel but also of the reality on the ground and in the streets and neighborhoods of the capital.
PMW: As Trump meets Abbas in Bethlehem, the PA names squares after murderers
In the weeks leading up to his meeting tomorrow with US President Trump, PA Chairman Abbas has done his best to convince Trump and the world that the PA desires peace with Israel.
But words are one thing, and actions are another. While Abbas has been talking about peace, the PA has named two squares after terrorist murderers, behind Trump's back:
The Karim Younes Square in Jenin
The Maher Younes Square in Tulkarem
Karim and Maher Younes are two Israeli Arab cousins who kidnapped and murdered Israeli soldier Avraham Bromberg in 1980. They are each serving a 40-year sentence for this crime.
In this way Abbas' deception continues. Regardless of Trump's visit, the PA carries on its policy of honoring terrorist murderers by naming streets, squares, and schools after them.
While Abbas assures Trump in Bethlehem that there is a genuine Palestinian desire for peace, Palestinians in Jenin and Tulkarem will gather in squares newly named after terrorist murderers.
The naming of the square in Jenin was held under the auspices of District Governor of Jenin Ibrahim Ramadan, the Fatah Movement, and the Jenin Municipality. At the ceremony, greetings from Abbas and the PA leadership expressing "honor and pride" were conveyed to the imprisoned terrorists and murderers:

It’s often useful to try to pry out premises behind the things we believe, especially in situations where reasons exist for considering those beliefs irrational.

For instance, just this months all 50 US governors denounced the BDS movement, a denunciation that has come at the end of a long string of sanctions votes in state houses against organizations participating in boycott, divestment or sanctions activity directed at Israel.

By any measure, this should be being celebrated far and wide as a great victory for our side, and a great defeat for Israel’s foes. In fact, given that the BDSniks would be celebrating with fireworks and torch-lit parades if even one governor took their phone calls, it’s even more phenomenal that our huge recent wins came from just a couple years of effort, vs. the trivialities BDSers have to show for themselves after nearly two decades of constant campaigning to inflict economic damage on the Jewish state. 

Despite this objective reality, our opponents still think of themselves as being on the cusp of tremendous victory, while we still feel vulnerable and besieged – ready to panic whenever some student government passes another toothless divestment resolution (vs. our opponents who let our wins roll right off them).  So why might this be the case?

One explanation is that both sides’ beliefs are actually reasonable since the goal of the BDS movement is not to see boycotts, divestment and sanctions actually implemented, but rather to create a climate in which Israel’s alleged “crimes” are taken for granted (with only the appropriate punishment open to discussion). 

Given this, the boycotters have made strides in making Israeli villainy an incessant talking point in key communities such as college campuses and Mainline progressive churches.  Under this interpretation, the problem is not the imminent success of BDS in achieving its claimed goals (seeing Israel suffer economic punishment a la Apartheid South Africa), but in achieving its real goals of colonizing the Left-end of the political spectrum and turning it permanently against the Jewish state.
I am sympathetic to this argument, although I’d be more comfortable if it rested on data that goes beyond the anecdotal. 

For instance, BDS has been infecting campuses for nearly twenty years, and even before it became the preferred tactic for anti-Israel activists, anti-Israel hostility has been cultivated on those same campuses for close to half a century.  No doubt any of us can point to a string of outrages that have taken place on numerous campuses during that period.  But how much has all that effort shifted public opinion towards Israel vs. her foes during this half century of alleged “indoctrination.”
A second interpretation of why we are so sheepish about our substantial wins while our opponents remain so buoyant about their trivial ones is the level of satisfaction each of us receives based on the nature of the blows we land on our opponents.   

For example, when the BDSers “win,” that usually means they just got to spend hours (if not days, weeks and months) raining insults and calumnies down on the object of their hatred; castigating Israel as racist, murderous, bloodthirsty, indeed guilty of every crime every right-thinking person should loath.  Yet when we get a dozen state house to promise punishment against companies participating in boycotts of Israel, all we tend to claim is that this implies general public agreement that boycotting Israel is unfair and BDS inappropriate (or, at best, immoral). 

But wouldn’t it be more satisfying to see Mondoweiss et al reeling day after day from accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia and reactionary politics – especially given that these are crimes Israel’s foes are actually guilty of?  Many allies have told me for years that we need to start our own version of BDS with the explicit purpose of giving Israel’s enemies a taste of their own medicine.  But (as I’ve talked about ad nauseam) in order to pull this off and genuinely act like our enemies, we would need to become our enemies.

This would involve dedicating not a few nights to postering but years and decades to the non-stop smearing of Palestinians, Arabs, or Muslims (take your pick), a smearing that would continue unabated, regardless of how much damaged it causes various communities (including the communities we would have to recruit to condemn our political foes).

But given the current state of the Arab world (vs. the Jewish one) it’s not clear to me that acting more like Israel’s enemies is the greatest choice, even while I share the frustration of those driven to distraction at having to “play defense” against such immoral and hypocritical foes. 

Which brings me to a third and final possibility as to why the boycotters are perpetually giddy regardless of the scale or nature of wins and losses, while we go into kanipshins every time a BDS protest takes place, even in locales we previously never knew existed.  This has to do with the storylines into which we fit our accomplishments and failures, a subject I’ll dive into next time.  

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  • Monday, May 22, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
Ma'an says:
Palestinian factions in the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah have called upon the Palestinian people to partake in a "Day of Rage" on Tuesday, during the planned visit by US President Donald Trump to the occupied Palestinian territory.

The following day, Trump will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, and then stop in occupied East Jerusalem, to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Western Wall -- reportedly to become the first sitting US president to visit the contested holy site that stands adjacent to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

In a statement released Saturday titled: "A call for unity and assimilation with our brave prisoners,” Ramallah-based Islamist and nationalist factions urged the public to join rallies to express their rejection to the resumption of peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel under US sponsorship.

The statement called for a three-hour strike on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and for a general strike on Monday in the occupied West Bank, the besieged Gaza Strip, and Israel, to coincide with Trump’s visit.

Members of the Higher Follow-up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel have affirmed their support for the strikes, initially called for by the Palestinian national committee set up to support a mass hunger strike in Israeli prisons that entered its 34th day on Saturday.

The hunger strike’s committee also called for activists in West Bank villages and rural areas to continue blocking off roads to traffic, particularly for Israeli settler vehicles, in an expression of solidarity for the hunger strike.
I think they had to postpone their scheduled "Day of Fury" for Palestinian prisoners to have veal every Thursday to make room for this "Day of Rage."

The last official "Day of Rage" was just last Friday.  And May 11.   And April 28. And....

What do these "days of rage" and general strikes accomplish? Well, there are Palestinians who get injured or killed while taking the day seriously enough to attack Jews and soldiers. There are the shopkeepers who are forced to shut their doors and lose money.

On the plus side, they accomplish....well, I'm sure they do something, or else there wouldn't have been hundreds of them over the past hundred years.

I'm reminded of this great graphic from a couple of years ago at Israellycool:

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  • Monday, May 22, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
Quora is a popular website where people ask questions and other people answer them. It claims 100 million monthly users.

A week ago, someone asked: "How do I join the Hamas?"

"I’m Muslim and I wanna go Jihad. How do i join Hamas to fight against Zionist invaders?"

Such a simple question!

There are plenty of not-so-serious answers and a couple of people chiding the questioner for thinking that this was a smart idea.

Is the questioner serious or is this a practical joke?

Using the term "the Hamas" doesn't help us much. Although colloquially, almost no one uses the article "the" with Hamas, it is accurate: Hamas is an acronym for "Islamic Resistance Movement" ("Harakat Al-Muqawama Al-Islamia") but is also an Arabic word meaning "courage." The questioner, if he or she is serious, uses the article in the title but uses "Hamas" without the "the" in the question.

The question has been viewed 11,000 times.

Why Quora thinks that someone asking to join an official terror group is something that should be posted on its site is an open question.  Taken at face value, Quora is supporting potential - if incredibly stupid -  terrorists.

The query does dovetail nicely with Donald Trump listing Hamas as a terror organization along with Al Qaeda and ISIS yesterday, something that upset Hamas greatly as it has been on a PR push to pretend to be moderate within the Arab and Muslim worlds, since it is suffering a cash crunch. (I doubt that our curious wanna-be Hamasnik has the cash that they would prefer; they have lots of people willing to kill themselves already.)

(h/t @theadamsegal)

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

  • Sunday, May 21, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

Here is the full text of President Trump's speech in Saudi Arabia.

The Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology sounds like a Saudi idea. They've created initiatives like this before. It is not at all certain what a country that adheres to Sharia law can contribute to fighting extremism while remaining faithful to basic Islamic texts. And I cannot see what America can contribute to this in any way - reform of Islam must come from Muslims themselves.

The massive weapons sale is problematic. Saudi Arabia already buys a huge amount of US weapons.but the concern is whether Israel can maintain its qualitative edge - a promise that the US has held to for decades.

Also, Saudi Arabia but it is only a coup away from becoming another ISIS or Al Qaeda. The thought of Muslim extreme-extremists  having access to these weapons is chilling.

There are some excellent parts of the speech, though. Trump put Hamas and Hezbollah in the same category as Al Qaeda and ISIS. This is a welcome accurate and long-overdue conflation. And to tell Arabs that there is no difference between the terrorists they tacitly support (in the case of Hamas) and their enemies is a gutsy move.

Telling the Arab world to have zero tolerance for terrorist ideologies is also a very welcome message.

Mentioning that Iran is responsible for terror from Hezbollah and in Syria is also welcome.

Altogether, this is a strong speech that played to its audience but pulled no punches towards a vision where Israel would be part of the region.

I want to thank King Salman for his extraordinary words, and the magnificent Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for hosting today's summit. I am honored to be received by such gracious hosts. I have always heard about the splendor of your country and the kindness of your citizens, but words do not do justice to the grandeur of this remarkable place and the incredible hospitality you have shown us from the moment we arrived.
You also hosted me in the treasured home of King Abdulaziz, the founder of the Kingdom who united your great people. Working alongside another beloved leader -- American President Franklin Roosevelt -- King Abdulaziz began the enduring partnership between our two countries. King Salman: your father would be so proud to see that you are continuing his legacy -- and just as he opened the first chapter in our partnership, today we begin a new chapter that will bring lasting benefits to our citizens.
Let me now also extend my deep and heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of the distinguished heads of state who made this journey here today. You greatly honor us with your presence, and I send the warmest regards from my country to yours. I know that our time together will bring many blessings to both your people and mine.
I stand before you as a representative of the American People, to deliver a message of friendship and hope. That is why I chose to make my first foreign visit a trip to the heart of the Muslim world, to the nation that serves as custodian of the two holiest sites in the Islamic Faith.
In my inaugural address to the American People, I pledged to strengthen America's oldest friendships, and to build new partnerships in pursuit of peace. I also promised that America will not seek to impose our way of life on others, but to outstretch our hands in the spirit of cooperation and trust.
Our vision is one of peace, security, and prosperity—in this region, and in the world.
Our goal is a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism and providing our children a hopeful future that does honor to God.
And so this historic and unprecedented gathering of leaders—unique in the history of nations—is a symbol to the world of our shared resolve and our mutual respect. To the leaders and citizens of every country assembled here today, I want you to know that the United States is eager to form closer bonds of friendship, security, culture and commerce.
For Americans, this is an exciting time. A new spirit of optimism is sweeping our country: in just a few months, we have created almost a million new jobs, added over 3 trillion dollars of new value, lifted the burdens on American industry, and made record investments in our military that will protect the safety of our people and enhance the security of our wonderful friends and allies -- many of whom are here today.
Now, there is even more blessed news I am pleased to share with you. My meetings with King Salman, the Crown Prince, and the Deputy Crown Prince, have been filled with great warmth, good will, and tremendous cooperation. Yesterday, we signed historic agreements with the Kingdom that will invest almost $400 billion in our two countries and create many thousands of jobs in America and Saudi Arabia.
This landmark agreement includes the announcement of a $110 billion Saudi-funded defense purchase -- and we will be sure to help our Saudi friends to get a good deal from our great American defense companies. This agreement will help the Saudi military to take a greater role in security operations.
We have also started discussions with many of the countries present today on strengthening partnerships, and forming new ones, to advance security and stability across the Middle East and beyond.
Later today, we will make history again with the opening of a new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology -- located right here, in this central part of the Islamic World.
This groundbreaking new center represents a clear declaration that Muslim-majority countries must take the lead in combating radicalization, and I want to express our gratitude to King Salman for this strong demonstration of leadership.
I have had the pleasure of welcoming several of the leaders present today to the White House, and I look forward to working with all of you.
America is a sovereign nation and our first priority is always the safety and security of our citizens. We are not here to lecture—we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship. Instead, we are here to offer partnership -- based on shared interests and values -- to pursue a better future for us all.
Here at this summit we will discuss many interests we share together. But above all we must be united in pursuing the one goal that transcends every other consideration. That goal is to meet history's great test—to conquer extremism and vanquish the forces of terrorism.
Young Muslim boys and girls should be able to grow up free from fear, safe from violence, and innocent of hatred. And young Muslim men and women should have the chance to build a new era of prosperity for themselves and their peoples.
With God's help, this summit will mark the beginning of the end for those who practice terror and spread its vile creed. At the same time, we pray this special gathering may someday be remembered as the beginning of peace in the Middle East -- and maybe, even all over the world.
But this future can only be achieved through defeating terrorism and the ideology that drives it.
Few nations have been spared its violent reach.
America has suffered repeated barbaric attacks -- from the atrocities of September 11th to the devastation of the Boston Bombing, to the horrible killings in San Bernardino and Orlando.
The nations of Europe have also endured unspeakable horror. So too have the nations of Africa and even South America. India, Russia, China and Australia have been victims.
But, in sheer numbers, the deadliest toll has been exacted on the innocent people of Arab, Muslim and Middle Eastern nations. They have borne the brunt of the killings and the worst of the destruction in this wave of fanatical violence.
Some estimates hold that more than 95 percent of the victims of terrorism are themselves Muslim.
We now face a humanitarian and security disaster in this region that is spreading across the planet. It is a tragedy of epic proportions. No description of the suffering and depravity can begin to capture its full measure.
The true toll of ISIS, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and so many others, must be counted not only in the number of dead. It must also be counted in generations of vanished dreams.
The Middle East is rich with natural beauty, vibrant cultures, and massive amounts of historic treasures. It should increasingly become one of the great global centers of commerce and opportunity.
This region should not be a place from which refugees flee, but to which newcomers flock.
Saudi Arabia is home to the holiest sites in one of the world's great faiths. Each year millions of Muslims come from around the world to Saudi Arabia to take part in the Hajj. In addition to ancient wonders, this country is also home to modern ones—including soaring achievements in architecture.
Egypt was a thriving center of learning and achievement thousands of years before other parts of the world. The wonders of Giza, Luxor and Alexandria are proud monuments to that ancient heritage.
All over the world, people dream of walking through the ruins of Petra in Jordan. Iraq was the cradle of civilization and is a land of natural beauty. And the United Arab Emirates has reached incredible heights with glass and steel, and turned earth and water into spectacular works of art.
The entire region is at the center of the key shipping lanes of the Suez Canal, the Red Sea, and the Straits of Hormuz. The potential of this region has never been greater. 65 percent of its population is under the age of 30. Like all young men and women, they seek great futures to build, great national projects to join, and a place for their families to call home.
But this untapped potential, this tremendous cause for optimism, is held at bay by bloodshed and terror. There can be no coexistence with this violence. There can be no tolerating it, no accepting it, no excusing it, and no ignoring it.
Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person, and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith.
Terrorists do not worship God, they worship death.
If we do not act against this organized terror, then we know what will happen. Terrorism's devastation of life will continue to spread. Peaceful societies will become engulfed by violence. And the futures of many generations will be sadly squandered.
If we do not stand in uniform condemnation of this killing—then not only will we be judged by our people, not only will we be judged by history, but we will be judged by God.
This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations.
This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it.
This is a battle between Good and Evil.
When we see the scenes of destruction in the wake of terror, we see no signs that those murdered were Jewish or Christian, Shia or Sunni. When we look upon the streams of innocent blood soaked into the ancient ground, we cannot see the faith or sect or tribe of the victims -- we see only that they were Children of God whose deaths are an insult to all that is holy.
But we can only overcome this evil if the forces of good are united and strong -- and if everyone in this room does their fair share and fulfills their part of the burden.
Terrorism has spread across the world. But the path to peace begins right here, on this ancient soil, in this sacred land.
America is prepared to stand with you -- in pursuit of shared interests and common security.
But the nations of the Middle East cannot wait for American power to crush this enemy for them. The nations of the Middle East will have to decide what kind of future they want for themselves, for their countries, and for their children.
It is a choice between two futures -- and it is a choice America CANNOT make for you.
A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and extremists. Drive. Them. Out.
DRIVE THEM OUT of your places of worship.
DRIVE THEM OUT of your communities.
DRIVE THEM OUT of your holy land, and
For our part, America is committed to adjusting our strategies to meet evolving threats and new facts. We will discard those strategies that have not worked—and will apply new approaches informed by experience and judgment. We are adopting a Principled Realism, rooted in common values and shared interests.
Our friends will never question our support, and our enemies will never doubt our determination. Our partnerships will advance security through stability, not through radical disruption. We will make decisions based on real-world outcomes -- not inflexible ideology. We will be guided by the lessons of experience, not the confines of rigid thinking. And, wherever possible, we will seek gradual reforms -- not sudden intervention.
We must seek partners, not perfection—and to make allies of all who share our goals.
Above all, America seeks peace -- not war.
Muslim nations must be willing to take on the burden, if we are going to defeat terrorism and send its wicked ideology into oblivion.
The first task in this joint effort is for your nations to deny all territory to the foot soldiers of evil. Every country in the region has an absolute duty to ensure that terrorists find no sanctuary on their soil.
Many are already making significant contributions to regional security: Jordanian pilots are crucial partners against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Saudi Arabia and a regional coalition have taken strong action against Houthi militants in Yemen. The Lebanese Army is hunting ISIS operatives who try to infiltrate their territory. Emirati troops are supporting our Afghan partners. In Mosul, American troops are supporting Kurds, Sunnis and Shias fighting together for their homeland. Qatar, which hosts the U.S. Central Command, is a crucial strategic partner. Our longstanding partnership with Kuwait and Bahrain continue to enhance security in the region. And courageous Afghan soldiers are making tremendous sacrifices in the fight against the Taliban, and others, in the fight for their country.
As we deny terrorist organizations control of territory and populations, we must also strip them of their access to funds. We must cut off the financial channels that let ISIS sell oil, let extremists pay their fighters, and help terrorists smuggle their reinforcements.
I am proud to announce that the nations here today will be signing an agreement to prevent the financing of terrorism, called the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center -- co-chaired by the United States and Saudi Arabia, and joined by every member of the Gulf Cooperation Council. It is another historic step in a day that will be long remembered.
I also applaud the Gulf Cooperation Council for blocking funders from using their countries as a financial base for terror, and designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization last year. Saudi Arabia also joined us this week in placing sanctions on one of the most senior leaders of Hezbollah.
Of course, there is still much work to do.
That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires. And it means standing together against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians.
Religious leaders must make this absolutely clear: Barbarism will deliver you no glory -- piety to evil will bring you no dignity. If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, your life will be brief, and YOUR SOUL WILL BE CONDEMNED.
And political leaders must speak out to affirm the same idea: heroes don't kill innocents; they save them. Many nations here today have taken important steps to raise up that message. Saudi Arabia's Vision for 2030 is an important and encouraging statement of tolerance, respect, empowering women, and economic development.
The United Arab Emirates has also engaged in the battle for hearts and souls—and with the U.S., launched a center to counter the online spread of hate. Bahrain too is working to undermine recruitment and radicalism.
I also applaud Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon for their role in hosting refugees. The surge of migrants and refugees leaving the Middle East depletes the human capital needed to build stable societies and economies. Instead of depriving this region of so much human potential, Middle Eastern countries can give young people hope for a brighter future in their home nations and regions.
That means promoting the aspirations and dreams of all citizens who seek a better life -- including women, children, and followers of all faiths. Numerous Arab and Islamic scholars have eloquently argued that protecting equality strengthens Arab and Muslim communities.
For many centuries the Middle East has been home to Christians, Muslims and Jews living side-by-side. We must practice tolerance and respect for each other once again—and make this region a place where every man and woman, no matter their faith or ethnicity, can enjoy a life of dignity and hope.
In that spirit, after concluding my visit in Riyadh, I will travel to Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and then to the Vatican -- visiting many of the holiest places in the three Abrahamic Faiths. If these three faiths can join together in cooperation, then peace in this world is possible -- including peace between Israelis and Palestinians. I will be meeting with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Starving terrorists of their territory, their funding, and the false allure of their craven ideology, will be the basis for defeating them.
But no discussion of stamping out this threat would be complete without mentioning the government that gives terrorists all three—safe harbor, financial backing, and the social standing needed for recruitment. It is a regime that is responsible for so much instability in the region. I am speaking of course of Iran.
From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region. For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror.
It is a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of Israel, death to America, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.
Among Iran's most tragic and destabilizing interventions have been in Syria. Bolstered by Iran, Assad has committed unspeakable crimes, and the United States has taken firm action in response to the use of banned chemical weapons by the Assad Regime -- launching 59 tomahawk missiles at the Syrian air base from where that murderous attack originated.
Responsible nations must work together to end the humanitarian crisis in Syria, eradicate ISIS, and restore stability to the region. The Iranian regime's longest-suffering victims are its own people. Iran has a rich history and culture, but the people of Iran have endured hardship and despair under their leaders' reckless pursuit of conflict and terror.
Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism, and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve.
The decisions we make will affect countless lives.
King Salman, I thank you for the creation of this great moment in history, and for your massive investment in America, its industry and its jobs. I also thank you for investing in the future of this part of the world.
This fertile region has all the ingredients for extraordinary success -- a rich history and culture, a young and vibrant people, a thriving spirit of enterprise. But you can only unlock this future if the citizens of the Middle East are freed from extremism, terror and violence.
We in this room are the leaders of our peoples. They look to us for answers, and for action. And when we look back at their faces, behind every pair of eyes is a soul that yearns for justice.
Today, billions of faces are now looking at us, waiting for us to act on the great question of our time.
Will we be indifferent in the presence of evil? Will we protect our citizens from its violent ideology? Will we let its venom spread through our societies? Will we let it destroy the most holy sites on earth? If we do not confront this deadly terror, we know what the future will bring—more suffering and despair. But if we act—if we leave this magnificent room unified and determined to do what it takes to destroy the terror that threatens the world—then there is no limit to the great future our citizens will have.
The birthplace of civilization is waiting to begin a new renaissance. Just imagine what tomorrow could bring.
Glorious wonders of science, art, medicine and commerce to inspire humankind. Great cities built on the ruins of shattered towns. New jobs and industries that will lift up millions of people. Parents who no longer worry for their children, families who no longer mourn for their loved ones, and the faithful who finally worship without fear.
These are the blessings of prosperity and peace. These are the desires that burn with a righteous flame in every human heart. And these are the just demands of our beloved peoples.
I ask you to join me, to join together, to work together, and to FIGHT together— BECAUSE UNITED, WE WILL NOT FAIL.
Thank you. God Bless You. God Bless Your Countries. And God Bless the United States of America.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
From Ian:

Trump tells Muslim leaders to fight ‘Islamic extremism,’ ‘drive terror’ from their lands
US President Donald Trump called on Middle Eastern leaders to combat a “crisis of Islamic extremism” emanating from the region, casting the fight against terrorism as a “battle between good and evil,” not a clash between the West and Islam.
Trump’s address Sunday was the centerpiece of his two-day visit to Saudi Arabia, his first stop overseas as president. During a meeting of more than 50 Arab and Muslim leaders, he sought to chart a new course for America’s role in the region, one aimed squarely on rooting out terrorism, with less focus on promoting human rights and democratic reforms.
“We are not here to lecture — we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship,” Trump said, speaking in an ornate, multi-chandeliered room. “Instead, we are here to offer partnership — based on shared interests and values — to pursue a better future for us all.”
He urged Muslim countries to ensure that “terrorists find no sanctuary on their soil” and announced an agreement with Gulf countries to fight financing for extremists. Full text of Donald Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia

Palestinians: Tomorrow's Secret 'Day of Rage'
What is really driving this Palestinian hatred of Trump and the U.S.? The Palestinians and the Arabs have long been at war with what they regard as U.S. bias in favor of Israel. What they mean is that U.S. support for Israel stands in their way of destroying Israel.
Abbas is not going to tell Trump about the "Day of Rage" because it flies in the face of his repeated claim that Palestinians are ready for peace and are even raising their children in a culture of peace.
Once again, Abbas is playing Americans and other Westerners for fools. His people remain unwilling to recognize Israel's very right to exist as a state for Jews. And so, Abbas will talk peace and coexistence while his people organize yet another "Day of Rage."
Red Cross closes its office in Ramallah over 'threats'
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) late Tuesday closed its office in Israel-occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, citing "threats".
In a statement, the ICRC attributed the move to "the serious threats against the staff, and the office in Ramallah."
“A group of people stormed the office, this [Tuesday] evening, threatened the safety of staff, and violently demanded them stop work and leave the office,” it added.
Christian Cardon, head of mission for the ICRC in Jerusalem and the West Bank, emphasized that “these acts are unacceptable and should be stopped immediately."
“In the recent weeks our employees and offices have been subjected to similar incidents in the West Bank,” Cardon said.
“The closure of Ramallah office, however, will not affect the work of the ICRC offices in the rest of the West Bank,” he stressed.

  • Sunday, May 21, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
Letty Cottin Pogrebin writes in Haaretz:
I’ve been an unapologetic, indefatigable peacenik for more than 30 years, advocating, agitating, writing, and lobbying for the United States to use its power and influence to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Yet I do not want Donald Trump to come home with a deal.

I haven’t given up on the peace process. I’ve given up on this president -because I want the two-state solution to succeed.

Some center-left American Jewish leaders are giving Trump the benefit of the doubt – no doubt a wishful fantasy fueled by years of frustrated longing for peace. For me, it all boils down to trust.
No deal brokered by Trump can be trusted because the man himself can’t be trusted and neither can his word.
I'm as much of a peace skeptic as anyone, but this little rant reveals (yet again) the intellectual bankruptcy of the Left.

In the slight chance that Trump brokers a deal, the parties who sign the deal are the ones who are obligated to uphold it - not the facilitator. Trump's "word" has nothing to do with upholding a peace agreement - that it strictly between the parties.

When the Camp David Accords were signed, Jimmy Carter added his signature - as a witness, not as a party to the deal.

What Pogrebin is saying is that the idea of a Trump-brokered peace is so repugnant, that she would rather have no peace at all.

Which means that she hates Trump more than she wants peace.

Some "peacenik"!

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  • Sunday, May 21, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
This video of the Left's darling Linda Sarsour was taken during a panel discussion a year ago at New York's Union Theological Seminary called "Standing Up for Justice: Muslim Women in Action." It just popped up on social media.


To cheers from the audience, Sarsour said, "Our prophet was a racial justice activist, a human rights activist, a feminist in his own right. He was a man that cared about the environment. He cared about animal rights...He was also the first victim of Islamophobia."


Robert Spencer fisks each of these claims based on Quranic sources, but such a takedown is hardly necessary. It is obvious that Sarsour wants to whitewash (greenwash?) Islam and align the most socially repressive and backwards political movement in the world with the Left. 

The real question is, why does the Left buy this utter hogwash? 

The answer, which is no surprise, is that today's Left has left liberalism far, far behind, while pretending to be it's champion. 

And there are too few real liberals willing to publicly call them on it.

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  • Sunday, May 21, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon
It is now apparent that Donald Trump will not keep his oft-repeated campaign (and post-campaign) promise to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

The whiplash from Trump's statement on the even of his inauguration "You know that I am not a person who breaks promises" to his waffling only a week later to the apparent decision to not move the embassy at this time is in line with the chaos that the White House is engulfed in daily.

According to Haaretz, in a story that seems credible, the battle over the issue is mostly between Trump's close advisors and his cabinet.

There is an irony here.

The promise of a Trump administration was to throw out the old playbook and question the conventional wisdom. And on the Middle East, this strategy has not been too bad so far - Arab leaders, anxious to get on Trump's good side, have been far more forthcoming in showing flexibility than they were under Obama's regime. The Arab plan floated to improve relations with Israel in the absence of even a full settlement freeze is, in many ways, a vindication of Trump's eagerness to reset the playbook and to embrace a regional alliance between Israel and Sunni states.

Even Mahmoud Abbas has made cosmetic conciliatory moves that he would never have done under Obama, whom he saw as someone who would put all the pressure on Israel for him.

The narrative of Israel as an occupier and the inevitability of a Palestinian state has been shaken by Trump, who still has not as far as I can tell uttered the words "Palestinian state."

Which is why his caving on the Jerusalem embassy issue is so disappointing.

The idea that the Arab street would erupt if the US moves the embassy is just another vapor threat, and Trump's vacillating on the issue has emboldened those whose entire careers have been built on threatening the West with violence if they don't get their way. Like Palestinian liar-in-chief Saeb Erekat, who said yesterday “We believe that moving the US embassy to Jerusalem would mean the end of the peace process,”

The Green Line isn't the reason the US doesn't have the embassy in Jerusalem today. It is the longstanding and illogical US policy that Jerusalem itself is not part of Israel, a vestige of the 1947 partition plan where Jerusalem would be an international city under UN auspices, an idea which was dead already in 1948.

The Palestinian insistence on the issue is not based on international law or on anything real - just the old playbook of threatening violence when they don't get their way.

The willingness of Arab leaders to please Trump in the first months of his term was the exact time to make this move, to explode the myth of the Arab street once and for all.

Netanyahu is right that an embassy move would help peace. It would show that the US is not hostage to the threats of the Palestinians. An assertive stance from the beginning, instead of the early waffling, would have shut up the critics on this largely symbolic issue. Not moving the embassy shows the Palestinians that their old playbook of threats still works in Washington, which is the worst message that the Trump White House could ever give.

It was a missed opportunity by any measure.

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

From Ian:

Michael Lumish: The Galling Hypocrisy of Jewish Trump Haters
There are a few reasons for this. One is the obvious hypocrisy of your position. You honestly do not care that Obama supported the Muslim Brotherhood despite the fact that the Brotherhood has been screaming for the genocide of the Jews since the time of Hassan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb who wrote "Our Struggle Against the Jews."
Anyway, let's start a list and we can add to it each time that you spread around your toxic hatred.
1) Obama supported the Brotherhood.
2) Obama lobbied for UN 2334 which robs the Jewish people of our patrimony on the land of our ancestors.
And, for the moment, let's add:
3) Obama supported the empowerment of Iran and normalized their gaining of nuclear weaponry within the coming few years.
But the thing of it is since I know that Eron and the Haters are doing everything they possibly can to derail this presidency no matter what he does, it creates considerable sympathy in my heart for the guy.
So, I have to say, you're doing a terrific job.
I did not vote for either Trump or Hillary, but now I am beginning to wish that I had voted for Trump out of sympathy for the poor bastard due to the fact that poisonous wretches puke vomit on him on a daily basis.
From where I sit, by throwing such garbage at the guy continually you have essentially immunized him from criticism.
The United Nations and the Palestinians
Book Excerpt: David Brog, 'Reclaiming Israel's History: Roots, Rights, and the Struggle for Peace'
There is one way in which the Palestinian refugees are unique. The United Nations has created a special organization for Palestinian refugees that both defines them differently and cares for them separately from every other refugee population on earth. In so doing, the international community has been a full partner in helping the Palestinian refugees preserve their status and nurture their grievances.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is the body that cares for all of the world's refugees except for the Palestinians. The UNHCR defines a "refugee" as someone who is driven from "the country of his nationality" by a well-founded fear of persecution. This definition imposes two important limitations on the category it creates. First, refugees do not transfer this status with their genes: any children born to them in exile are not considered refugees. Second, refugees lose their refugee status as soon as they are granted citizenship in a new country.
After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the United Nations established a new organization dedicated exclusively to the Palestinian refugees: the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). UNRWA defines a "Palestine refugee" as anyone who was displaced by the 1948 War plus the "descendants of Palestine refugee males, including legally adopted children." In other words, Palestinian refugees pass their refugee status to their children in perpetuity.
In addition, UNRWA continues to recognize a Palestinian refugee as such even if he or she has obtained citizenship in another country. For example, there are approximately two million Palestinian refugees currently living in Jordan. They are all counted as refugees even though over ninety percent of these individuals are full Jordanian citizens.

Who's Standing in the Way of Peace in the Middle East? Hint: It's Not Israel
The conventional wisdom about resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict goes something like this: "If Israel would just give the Palestinians land for their own state, there would be peace in the Middle East. Israel is the party standing in the way of lasting peace in the region."
United Nations ambassadors, world leaders, diplomats and even U.S. presidents have all touted a two-state solution as the way to bring lasting peace to the Middle East, and many repeat the familiar narrative that Israel is the main obstacle to that two-state, peaceful solution. But author David Brog says the problem with that narrative is that it's just not true.
Five times since 1937, Jews in the region have agreed to proposals to divide territory into two states – one Jewish, one Palestinian – living side-by-side in peace.
Every one of those offers has been rejected by Arab leaders.
The last land-for-peace offer was made by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008, in which the Palestinians would have received 93 percent of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) for a state, and eastern Jerusalem as its capital. That offer was flatly rejected by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Brog says it's time to set the record straight on this and other myths about Israel. He does that in a new book, Reclaiming Israel's History: Roots, Rights and the Struggle for Peace.

Friday, May 19, 2017

From Ian:

Douglas Murray: The British broadcaster brave enough to discuss Islamic violence
Last night Channel 4 broadcast a deep and seriously important programme. ‘Isis: The Origins of Violence’ was written and presented by the historian Tom Holland and can be viewed (by British viewers) here.
Five years ago, to coincide with his book ‘In The Shadow of the Sword’ about the early years of Islam, Holland presented a documentary for Channel 4 titled ‘Islam: The Untold Story’. That was something of a landmark in UK television. For while there had previously been some heated and angry studio discussions about Islam and plenty of fawningly hagiographic programmes about the religion’s founder presented by his apologists, here was a grown-up and scholarly treatment which looked at the issue as though there weren’t blasphemy police around every corner.
Sadly, part of the reception of that programme, and numerous events in the years since have kept such displays of scholarly truthfulness nearly as much of a rarity since as they were before. Which is one reason why Tom Holland deserves even more praise for returning to the subject of his earlier documentary.
And not just returning to it, but – in ‘Isis: The Origins of Violence’ – returning to the hardest part of that subject. In a nutshell he posed the question ‘Why do Isis, and groups like Isis, do what they do?’ And he answers this with the only honest answer anybody interested in truth could possibly come back with – which is that although they may be inspired by many things, their most important inspiration is a version of Islam whose roots can be traced to the origins of the religion, its foundational texts and the behaviour of Mohammed.
Response to Daniel Pipes: Why Palestinian Statehood Obviates Israeli Victory
With commendable daring, Pipes — an international scholar of repute — has opened up the mainstream discourse for the use of terms previously thought of as beyond-the-pale in “polite company.”
He unabashedly called for subjecting the Palestinians to “the bitter crucible of defeat, with all its deprivation, destruction, and despair” and does not shy away from prescribing that Israel “dismantle the PA’s security infrastructure…reduce and then shut off the water and electricity that Israel supplies…occupy and control the areas from which…gunfire, mortar shelling, and rockets…originate.”
This language is refreshing, beneficial and will contribute greatly to breaking up the semantic “logjam” that the tyranny of political correctness has imposed on the discussion of Israeli policy options. By dispelling semantic taboos that restrict open debate, the CIVC rhetoric can contribute greatly to a more robust and unfettered appraisal of such options.
Debating disagreement
Pipes concisely sums up the principal point of disagreement between us: “Sherman and I directly disagree on only one point — Israel accepting the possibility of a Palestinian state.” He goes on to speculate that “the allure of a state after the conflict ends offers benefits to both sides. Israelis will be free of ruling unwanted subjects. Palestinians have a reason to behave.”
He elaborates on the benefits he envisions emerging from the establishment of a Palestinian state, pursuant to an Israeli victory, writing that “when Palestinians do finally give up the fight against Israel, their centrality to the conflict will enfeeble anti-Zionism from Morocco to Indonesia.” He admits “[t]hat shift won’t happen instantly, to be sure,” but somewhat optimistically suggests that “sustaining a more-Catholic-than-the-pope position gets harder over time. A Palestinian defeat marks the beginning of the end of the wider Arab and Muslim war on Israel.”
I confess to a certain amount of surprise at encountering this view from someone as knowledgeable and well-informed as Pipes, for he appears to be embracing the unfounded thesis that Arab/Muslim enmity towards the Jewish state centers solely on the issue of self-determination for the Palestinian-Arabs.
Sadly, this is demonstrably untrue, or at least only very partially true.
Amos Oz wants to talk
It has been 50 years since Israel's glorious victory in the Six-Day War -- a victory that drastically changed Israel and flooded its discourse with the kind of spiritual, cultural and political energy that had not been seen here before. Author Amos Oz is an obvious spokesman for the camp that supports the division of Israel into two states, as he has been since the moment that war ended. Recently, Oz published his latest book, "Dear Zealot," which includes "three pleas" on the key issues that spark Israel's emotions.
I am well aware of the Right's hurt feelings over some of the very critical things that Oz has said and written over the years. Over the course of our conversation, however, I learned that he is also terribly hurt by the things that many in the Right have said about him. It is not the insults or the rage he elicits that hurt, but rather deeper sentiments. But before we delve into the heart of our conversation, I will say that in the current landscape of superficial news media discourse and amid the social media circus, it is comforting to know that there are other arenas for serious debate about our identity and our future.
My copy of Oz's latest book is interspersed with handwritten comments. I strongly urge my friends within the Israeli Right to read it and argue about it. Oz's curiosity about his rivals is an encouraging blast from the past. One of the socio-historical observations I have often written about is the current Left's loss of curiosity about its rivals on the Right, while the Right continues to actively study the Left and remains eager to argue. So Amos Oz invited me -- why would I refuse? (h/t Elder of Lobby)

  • Friday, May 19, 2017
  • Elder of Ziyon

From the World Economic Forum:
The World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa will be held at the Dead Sea in Jordan on 19-21 May 2017, in partnership with the King Abdullah II Fund for Development (KAFD). The meeting will convene over 1,000 government, business and civil society leaders from more than 50 countries.

Reflecting the central role of Jordan in the region, and with the continued support and participation of Their Majesties King Abdullah II and Queen Rania Al Abdullah, as well as the Government of Jordan, the meeting will provide a collaborative platform for shaping the future of the Middle East and North Africa through public-private cooperation.

“If the hope is fulfilled that the region during the next months will have some kind of stability, it is essential to stimulate the economy through public-private cooperation to make any peace effort realistic and sustained,” said Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.
I can find no indication that Israel is part of this conference.

However much it might be accepted as just the way things are nowadays, it seems more than strange that an esteemed world body like the WEF could not make an effort to include an economic powerhouse like Israel that can contribute so much to the topics being discussed - especially since the Forum is being hosted by a country that Israel is at peace with.

The three conference  focuses are:
1. To seize the innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities that are powered by the digital revolution. 2. To work with government and business leaders to create actionable solutions to accelerate economic reforms and build inclusive economies.3. Last (and just as crucial) is to support humanitarian efforts and diplomatic dialogue towards de-escalating conflicts and achieving a vision for shared stability. 
How can WEF not invite Israel for this???

It is great to talk about normalization, but Israel needs to push to be included in these sorts of events. As the Arab world is already warming up to Israel and increasing under-the-table ties, the time is ripe for Israel to make efforts to be included. It makes Arab states realize that Israel is permanent, and there is nothing that can bring peace better than that realization.

And the WEF should be forced to answer why they would not invite Israel. The answer that "it angers the Arabs" never was an acceptable response, and even less so now as there is so much Israel can contribute to the topics being discussed - and the host is ostensibly at peace with Israel.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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