In a recent article in Time magazine, Rabbi David Wolpe takes Stephen Hawking to task for his academic boycott of Israel. In Wolpe’s worlds, “Israel has become the world’s premier non-destination for the smugly self-righteous.” The funny thing about Wolpe’s arguments, however, is that he does not dispute any of the reasons why a morally conscious person would want to boycott Israel (e.g…settlements, violence, systematic discrimination against non-Jews). Rather, Wolpe argues that since the world’s condemnation of Israel is disproportionate to the condemnation of other types of racial discrimination going on in he world–Wolpe specifically lists the Maya people of Guatemala, Tamils in Sri Lanka, Kashmiris in India, Kurds in Turkey, Bahais in Iran, the Shia in Pakistan, Chechens in Russia, and Tibetans in China–attempts to single out Israel are motivated by something darker than moral conscience. Continue reading
Israel says that Google recognizing Palestine will harm the peace process.
When Google changed the tagline for google.ps, its Palestinian domain, from “Palestinian Territories,” to “Palestine,” it stepped right into one of the world’s most controversial political issues. The change, which was effective on May 1, was seen as Google’s recognition of a Palestinian state.
“This is a step in the right direction, a timely step and one that encourages others to join in and give the right definition and name for Palestine instead of Palestinian Territories,” Sabri Saidam, adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told the BBC.
But officials in Israel were not as enthusiastic in embracing the change, going as far as saying the decision harms peace talks in the region.
Palestinian Christians. Land confiscations. Separation wall. Will the Catholic Bishops speaking out make a difference among American Christians?
From Catholic News Agency
Washington D.C., May 8, 2013 / 05:25 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The U.S. bishops have criticized an Israeli plan to re-route a separation wall through the Cremisan Valley in the West Bank, claiming such a move would harm both Christian families and religious orders.
Protesting “in the strongest terms” and in “solidarity with our brother bishops in the Holy Land,” Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, voiced his opposition to an Israeli tribunal’s decision to move the wall and confiscate the surrounding area.
From Fox News:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was welcomed by his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu begins a visit to the eastern financial hub of Shanghai on the same day. Netanyahu is due in Beijing on Wednesday following Abbas’ departure a day earlier.
China has traditionally had a low profile in Middle East diplomacy, but in recent years has tried to play a more active role in the region. It has sought stable relations with both sides in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, while strongly opposing international intervention in Syria.
Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post sees the Syria conflict as a “dress rehearsal for the bigger conflict between Iran and the West.” Rubin applauds Israel for backing up it’s “red line” talk with action by carrying out an air strike against a shipment of missiles bound for Hezbollah, as opposed to President Obama’s “red line” talk, which equal words but no action.
According to Rubin:
Not only does the Israeli action contrast with the U.S. government’s fecklessness, but it also raises the issue of whether the United States would prefer Israel police the Middle East. It is unbecoming for a superpower to let little Israel take on the Iranian surrogates. It will likely unnerve our allies elsewhere and embolden foes in other parts of the world.
As for the Middle East, when a U.S. president is this passive and unwilling to act in accord with its words, the West and the Sunni states can take comfort in knowing that Israel is there to rein in the mullahs and their surrogates.
I found this video via 972 mag.
Noam Sheizaf writes:
Following the murder of a settler from Yitzhar on Tuesday, dozens of Israeli settlers from the region attacked several Palestinian villages. They threw stones at Palestinians, at cars and buses, smashed windows and burned houses. These videos, taken by B’Tselem photographers from the villages Asira al-Qibliya and Urif, show how IDF forces allow the riots against the Palestinian farmers to take place. In several cases the soldiers talk to the rioters or try to shove them away. In others, they simply provide escorts for them as they throw stones or storm the villages.
Video by B’Tselem Continue reading
Brent Sasley at Open Zion makes the case as to why a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict won’t work. His arguments seem to be rooted more in the psychology of the Jewish nation than the practicality of the idea.
What this will do is create an atmosphere of support among the Jewish population for the arguments that the settlers, secular nationalists, and haredi will put forward: namely, that there’s an urgent need to embed in the new state’s institutions and rules the hegemony of Jewish ideas, symbols, and identity before the Arab population is large enough to, through one person, one vote, remove these very things.
We know this is the likely outcome because polls tell us that most Jewish-Israelis like Israel being Jewish, regardless of whatever rights the Arab minority has. A Palestinian population on the verge of becoming a majority of the population would, therefore, likely be viewed simply as a threat, rather than something positive. There’s nothing to suggest any other arguments can work among the bulk of the population, not least because Jewish public opinion is elastic enough to include rights and support for the Arab population while maintaining a Jewish majority in the current state.
Read the rest of the article here.
Alick Isaacs made Aliyah to Israel as a young man. Shortly after immigrating to Israel, he enlisted in the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) and was part of the effort to crush the first intifada. Then, in 2006 during Israel’s war with Lebanon, Alick was back in the IDF occupying Lebanon. After hearing the voice of God–literally–Alick has devoted himself to fostering a peace ethic within Orthodox Judaism.
On Wednesday May 22nd, Noon (Mountain Standard Time) Middle East Experience will be talking with Alick Isaacs live, exclusively to our premium subscribers. To secure your spot on the call, sign up for our premium subscription here. Continue reading
As the gun debate rages in the U.S. in the aftermath of the Newtown massacre, here’s a look at how Israelis are dealing with the issue.
Cross-Posted from Jerusalem Post
Addressing the United Nations on Wednesday, Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor highlighted two key Israeli concerns: the Iranian race for nuclear arms and Palestinian intolerance toward Israel.
“Earlier this month, the Iranian delegate stood in front of the General Assembly to share Iran’s so-called concerns with the Arms Trade Treaty… this is like the mafia complaining that the crime rate in New York is high,” Prosor said.
Prosor noted that following last month’s negotiation attempts with the Islamic Republic, “Iran announced two key infrastructure projects. Surprise, surprise, both of them expanded Iran’s ability to process uranium.”
Prosor further rebuked Iran for sending Hezbollah fighters to help Syrian President Bashar Assad butcher his own people.
Though the bulk of Prosor’s speech centered around the Iranian nuclear problem, he reserved some choice words to address the issue of Palestinian intolerance as a society toward the Israeli people.
“From cradles to kindergarten classrooms, from the fields of summer camps to the fields of football stadiums, messages of intolerance fill Palestinian society,” he said. “It doesn’t take an urban planner to realize that the Palestinians are missing the blueprints to build a peaceful neighborhood.”
Prosor concluded his address by calling on the UN to strengthen its support for “tolerance, mutual recognition, and security [in the Middle East].” Continue reading