Thursday 31 March 2011

Petition calls for Royal Visit to Israel

An online petition has been launched requesting a change in official British policy regarding the nation of Israel. The petition calls for an official apology to be offered to Israel for our country's mistreatment of Holocaust survivors and requests that, at long last, the Queen and Royal Family undertake an official visit to Israel. In the early twentieth century, Britain was mandated by the League of Nations to provide a homeland for the Jewish people in what was then Palestine.

The Jewish people were promised not only what is now the state of Israel but also Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan. Due to Arab pressure, Britain turned against the Jews and broke its promise to them, reducing the size of the land originally allotted by almost 70%. Britain now appears to be at pains to reduce the land to a mere 17% of what was originally promised.

The petition charges that during the Holocaust, Britain limited the number of Jews who could return to Palestine to a mere 15,000 a year. At the time Jewish people needed our country's help most desperately, British gunboats turned back ships full of Jewish refugees from the shores of Palestine.

Some historians have estimated that up to one million lives could have been saved if Jews had been allowed to return to their ancient homeland during the War years. The petition protests a specific act of cruelty in 1947 when the SS Exodus (pictured), carrying Holocaust survivors from Germany, was commandeered off the coast of Palestine and the passengers forced to return to a British concentration camp.

The petition protests Britain’s policy appeasement towards the Arabs, the harming of British-Israeli diplomatic ties in favour of British-Arab ties, and the anti-Israel bias of the British media.

Finally, the petition calls for an official Royal Visit to Israel. In spite of numerous invitations by Israeli governments, the Queen has never visited Israel.

Although the petition is not well worded, it deserves the support of all who care about Israel and our own nation. Sign the petition here.

Who's afraid of the Messianic Jews?

Most Israelis tend be indifferent at best toward Messianic Jews, but the attitude and behaviour of the Orthodox Jewish community has resulted in “secular” Israelis coming to the defence of Jewish followers of Jesus.

Over the last few years, the Israeli media has on several occasion portrayed Messianic Israelis in a positive light.

On Wednesday evening, Israel Channel One’s Second Look aired a programme which contrasted Messianic Jews to the anti-missionary group Yad L’Achim, which has dedicated itself to harassing and driving Jews who believe in Jesus out of Israel.

In the opening segment of Second Look, the presenter noted that Yad L’Achim likened Messianic Jews to Hitler. A young Jewish organist who is not a believer in Yeshua told the programme that the only place she could practice her music was a monastery Jerusalem.

She recounted how her parents had received an anonymous written warning from Jewish “anti-missionaries” who told them that their daughter was being “preyed upon” by Christians.

The girl continued to accept the hospitality of the monastery but began receiving anonymous phone calls, and was sure she was being followed and watched. “I felt like I was in a suspense movie,” she said. “I was constantly looking over my shoulder.”

The girl said that neither the priest nor his staff had ever pressurised her to accept Jesus but Yad L’Achim had advised Israel’s Ministry of the Interior to revoke the residency visa of the priest overseeing the facility. Yad L’Achim director Rabbi Shalom Dov Lifschitz told Channel One that if the “missionaries” were not stopped, there would soon be no Jews left in Israel.

The report interviewed several Messianic Jews, including Avner and Rachel Boski who, the presenter said, “believe that the Messiah has already been here, and that his name is Yeshua. They believe there is no problem believing in him and remaining Jews.”

Avner Boski explained, “When we were immigrating, and we came through the Ministry of the Interior, everything was going fine. Then, one day, we were told that there is a problem, that information had come from Yad L’Achim – she said this three times.”

Yad L’Achim views believers in Yeshua as “soul snatchers” who want to turn Jews into “Christians”, thus spiritually destroying the Jewish people.

A promo video, produced by Yad L’Achim, teaches that there are two current efforts to destroy the Jews: the physical, and the spiritual. Messianic Jews are the spiritual killers.

Boski noted that Yad L’Achim has now gone far beyond just targeting those believers in Yeshua who openly evangelise: “Just believing in Yeshua makes us dangerous enough in their eyes.”

However, anyone who drives a car in Israel can testify to how often Israelis are approached by proselytizing Orthodox Jews at stop lights throughout the country.

A number of other Messianic Israelis were interviewed and given a chance to tell their stories, including Pnina Conforti whose popular bakery has been repeatedly targeted by Yad L’Achim.

Following the interviews, the presenter debated with two Israeli lawmakers: Michael Ben-Ari of the religious National Union party, and Nitzan Horovitz of the secular Meretz Party.

Horovitz and the presenter were clearly agitated by the Ben-Ari’s defence of Yad L’Achim’s actions and his insistence that believers in Yeshua pose a threat to the Jewish state by simple virtue of their faith.

“I receive far more complaints about missionary activity by Orthodox Jewish organisations!” Horovitz exclaimed.

The second half of the report was interspersed with clips of Yad L’Achim and its supporters holding hostile and heated rallies, while Messianic Jews were shown praying calmly for Israel at their places of worship.

The message was clear: Messianic Jews are not a threat to Israel or the spirit of the Jewish nation. But Yad L’Achim just might be.

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Mountains of speculation; molehills of fact

On Tuesday night I watched the third and last of Francesca Stavrokopoulou’s mini-series, The Bible’s Buried Secrets.

Titled “The Real Garden of Eden”, the programme set out to prove that that the real Garden of Eden was actually the temple in Jerusalem. Not having had internet access for the last few days, I’ve not been able to post anything until now but the best thing I can say about the programme was that Miss Stavrokopoulou was very easy to watch (and both she and the BBC know it!).

I found it frustrating, however, that although there was much of value in what we were told, the facts were given fanciful and erroneous interpretations. Although Miss Stavrokopoulou coyly informed us several times that she was telling us what she thought, it was clear that we were expected to take what she thought as undeniably correct.

Her starting assumption was that Genesis chapter 3 could not be taken at face value, and we were introduced to a “Creationist” (Yes, folks, these intellectual curiosities really do exist!) who was allowed less than a minute to tell us that he believed the Bible from Genesis to Revelation (Tee hee. Such foolishness!).

The programme made clear that the Christian understanding of Christ’s atonement cannot stand without the historicity of the fall of man and the reality of Original Sin. The agenda was therefore transparent: undermine the foundations of Christianity so that, like Christ’s “house built on the sand”, the entire edifice will collapse.

Miss Stavrokopoulou’s second assumption was that Genesis is a late composition, written only 2,500 years ago, and predated by the book of Ezekiel.

The presenter not only has looks; she is clever. By demolishing crude misunderstandings of the story of the fall of man, she knew that most viewers would imagine she was pointing out errors in the biblical text itself. For example, she placed the biblical teaching that the serpent was Satan on the same level as the unbiblical notion that the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was an apple.

Though she told us that four rivers, including the Tigris and the Euphrates, flowed out of Eden, Miss Stavrokopoulou picked on just one of the rivers – the Gihon, of which we know nothing outside the biblical text – and simply assumed it was a reference to the Gihon spring outside Jerusalem.

Although her goal was to prove that the Garden of Eden was nothing more than the temple in Jerusalem, Miss Stavrokopoulou neglected to inform us that the Gihon did not flow out of the temple.

She referred to Ezekiel 28, in which we are told that the king of Tyre was a “cherub” in Eden but then took that line of thought no further because the idea of the garden of Eden being in Lebanon would not have fitted her theory.

There are certainly parallels between the temple and the Garden of Eden but the temple is based on Eden, not vice-versa. The Jerusalem temple was “the garden of God” but it was not the king that “walked” in it; the priests walked in the temple. The king was not even allowed to enter the temple, and certainly not the Holy of Holies.

Miss Stavrokopoulou made the bizarre claim, in an attempt to rehabilitate the serpent of Genesis 3, that the seraphim were “flying serpents”, when in Isaiah 6 they cover their faces and their feet with their six wings!

The fatal flaw in all this speculation, however, is that Francesca Stavrokopoulou does not take the Genesis account in its context. Genesis 3 cannot stand alone. It is part of a seamless account that begins with the creation of the heavens and the earth and is followed by the account of Cain and Abel, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, the calling of Abraham, the births of Isaac and Jacob, and the founding of the Hebrew nation.

Everything that follows in the biblical narrative looks back to the Fall of man in the garden. The temple was a divinely sanctioned way to “get ourselves back to the Garden”. Jews and Christians have always understood Genesis 3 to be about the entrance of sin into the world and the loss of human innocence.

Why would the Bible, which in Kings, Chronicles, Jeremiah, Daniel and elsewhere carries plain and detailed accounts of the fall of the Jerusalem temple and the reasons for it carry an account so heavily disguised that it would not be understood for another 2,500 years?

This pick and mix approach to the biblical text is unsound and utterly unscholarly. Miss Stavrokopoulou obviously wishes to be regarded as an uncommonly clever lady. The irony is that although she wants to get Eve and the serpent off their respective hooks, she appears to have sunk her own teeth firmly into the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and, courtesy of the BBC, has held the fruit out for us to do the same.

Saturday 26 March 2011

As the Crow lies

On Radio 4’s Any Questions last night, the question of whether David Cameron should press for no-fly zones in Syria, Bahrain and Yemen to protect their citizens came up. Bob Crow (pictured), the General Secretary of the Rail and Maritime Union, thought Gaza should be a no-fly zone for Israel. Crow was, of course, likening Israel to Libya and when his egregious comparison was challenged on Any Answers today, Jonathan Dimbleby defended Crow by claiming that over a thousand civilians were killed by Israel during Operation Cast Lead.

The caller was a little flustered by Dimbleby’s figures, obviously unaware (like Dimbleby, presumably) that on 1 November 2010, the interior minister of Hamas, Fathi Hamad, had confirmed Israel’s claim that most of the casualties in its assault on Gaza were combatants rather than civilians.

In an interview with the London-based Al-Hayat, Hamad stated: “It has been said that the [Palestinian] people were harmed by the war, but is Hamas not part of the people? It is a fact that on the first day of the war Israel struck police headquarters and killed 250 members of Hamas and the various factions, in addition to the 200-300 operatives from the [Izz al-Din] al-Qassam Brigades. In addition, 150 security personnel [members of the internal security forces] were killed, and the rest were from the people [i.e., civilians].”

According to Israel, during Operation Cast Lead, 1,166 Palestinians were killed. Six hundred and nine were terrorist operatives who belonged to Hamas’ military wing and its security forces, while 100 more were operatives from other terrorist organizations involved in the fighting. The overall number of terrorist operatives killed in Gaza was 709 (about 60% of the total number of deaths). Of those 709 terrorists, 232 belonged to Hamas’ internal security forces. Of the 457 non-combatant casualties, most of them were harmed by mistake.

The data provided by Fathi Hamad was in accordance with Israel’s very precise figures.

Did you see those figures on BBC News or on the BBC website? Me neither.

Tamar Fogel on Israel TV

Tamar Fogel is a remarkable young lady. The 12-year-old girl from the Jewish settlement of Itamar who discovered the bodies of her parents and three siblings after they had been mercilessly slaughtered was interviewed by Israel’s Channel 2 while sitting her shiva, the traditional Jewish seven-day mourning period for close relatives.

Watching the heart-wrenching interview, it is hard to believe that Tamar is just twelve years old. Her maturity, inteligence and composure are truly astonishing. She shows no trace of bitterness about the deaths of her parents. What is evident is a commitment to her peopel and to the land and a determination to follow the example set by her parents.

Pray for Tamar. At the scenes of the funeral of her family there is expressed a longing for the coming of David ben Yeshai (David the son of Jesse), the Messiah. May Tamar and the remaining members of her family, and all in Israel find peace, joy and fulfilment in Messiah Yeshua.

Friday 25 March 2011

Intifada on Facebook

Writing in Commentary (23 March 2011), Alana Goodman asks if Facebook will remove a page which calls for a third Intifada. She writes:

It’s not exactly news that there are anti-Israel and anti-Semitic groups on Facebook, but one of them has the Israeli government particularly concerned. The Minister of Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein sent a letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg today, asking for the removal of a page that calls for a third Intifada, because he believes it could incite violence against Jews. He writes, “There is no need to explain what the outrageous incitement on the page in question can cause – from harming innocent Jews and Israelis and through to an armed struggle against Israel.”

According to, the Facebook group has attracted nearly 250,000 members since it was created less than a month ago. It calls for the launch of a third Intifada on May 15 (Israel’s Independence Day, which is sometimes called Nakba, or “catastrophe” day by the Palestinians).

Edelstein is the most high-profile figure to ask for the page to be taken down, but will Facebook actually remove it? The third Intifada group has also warned the social network that it will launch a Muslim boycott of the site if the page is removed – probably an empty threat, but it could potentially have some ramifications for Facebook.

According to the website’s terms of service, members can’t post content that is “threatening” or “incites violence.” However, Facebook’s decisions about when to enforce this policy have been pretty arbitrary in the past.

The social network removed (and later restored) the official “Everybody Draw Mohammad Day” page, after complaints from Muslim groups. And there are countless pages that can be perceived as racist, sexist or violent that are still up on the site.

But not only does the third Intifada group violate the terms of service, it also has the potential to be a dangerous organizing tool. In light of the terrorist attacks in Israel over the past few days, Facebook should take the necessary precaution and remove the page.

The president of the British Messianic Jewish Alliance, has sent out the following e-mail:

"A Facebook page was created calling for a third Intifada on Israel. They are calling for the Arab world to take over Israel. The number of people clicking on the “Like” button is increasing every hour (currently 300,000). We MUST have Facebook take action and remove this page. Please click [this link] and scroll down the left side of the page where you will see (under where it shows how many people like it) a “Report Page” link. Select that option and choose “Violence or harmful behaviour” and then “Credible threat of violence”.

"If you don’t have a Facebook account, you should still forward this to others."

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Terror returns to Jerusalem

By now, you wil have see the reports of the bomb at a crowded bus stop in Jerusalem, which killed one and injured dozens.

Police said it was a Palestinian "suicide attack" and is the first such bombing in Jerusalem in seven years.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which police said was caused by a bomb planted close to the city's main conference hall and central bus terminal.

There are already suggestions that the bomb was planted in retaliation for the Israeli Air Force attack on Gaza terrorist that tragically reulted in the death of an innocent family.

Melanie Philips has the following astute observation on the Spectator web site:

An interview transmitted a few minutes ago on BBC World with the Editor-in-Chief of the Jerusalem Post, David Horowitz, established what I’m sure will be the signature motif of moral imbecility with which this latest atrocity will be reported by the British and western media. The interviewer asked whether this bomb attack was most likely in response to the recent Israeli attacks on Gaza in which eight civilians, four of them children, had been killed.

After a small but perceptible intake of breath, Horowitz replied correctly that the recent atrocity of note had been the cold-blooded massacre of the Fogel family including a three-month old baby, who had had their throats slit. This had been followed by an enormous rocket and missile barrage from Gaza into southern Israel. The Israeli bombing of Gaza's terror infrastructure had been an attempt to deter further such attacks; regrettably, some Gazan civilians had been killed in the process.

Clearly, there is currently a huge upsurge in murderous violence by Arabs from the disputed territories, of which this bus bombing is but the latest example. It therefore takes a particular degree of bone-headed malevolence to view this latest attack instead as a ‘tit-for-tat' response to Israeli violence. But then, the BBC and other British and western media have all but ignored the rocket attacks, and minimised the Fogel massacre. As usual, Israeli victimisation is thus denied in an obscene moral equivalence – which invariably turns Israel from a victim attempting to defend itself into the aggressor.

But the media’s culpability does not end there with its mere perversion of journalism. The fact that it can be relied upon to blame the Israelis for their own slaughter means that the slaughterers believe they can murder Israelis with impunity – better still, that the more Israelis they murder, the more Israel will be blamed; and if Israel should take military action to stop the attacks, the world will punish Israel and reward its attackers even more.

Thus the western media is not just an observer but an active player in the Middle East tragedy. And Israel should say so.

Gene Simmons kisses Israel

Israeli daily Ha'aretz recently reported that Kiss' Israeli-born lead singer Gene Simmons (above) has called fellow artists who refuse to perform in Israel "fools".

The legendary bassist spoke to The Associated Press in Jerusalem on Tuesday, after he arrived in Israel for what he described as an emotional homecoming.

"I'm Israeli. I'm a stranger in America. I'm an outsider," he said. "I was born here and I'm proud of it."

Simmons said artists who avoid Israel - such as Elvis Costello, the Pixies and Roger Waters [see my blog for Friday 18 March], who joined the movement after appearing in Israel in 2006 - would be better served directing their anger at Arab dictators.

"The countries they should be boycotting are the same countries that the populations are rebelling," he said. "People long to be free ... And they sure as hell don't want somebody who's a ruler who hasn't been elected by them."

Simmons was making his first visit to Israel since he left the country more than 50 years ago.

Earlier this month Roger Waters of the iconic Pink Floyd voiced support for a cultural boycott of Israel.

While situations on the show are generally lighthearted, he said his stop in Israel has deep personal significance. "Coming back to Israel is a homecoming."

Simmons was born Chaim Witz and spent his childhood in northern Israel before moving to America. He recalled his father, a carpenter, taking his assault rifle and heading off to military service on weekends. His mother, a Holocaust survivor, taught him that "every day above ground is a good day."

The family was "dirt poor," scraping by on meagre bread and milk rations available in what was then an underdeveloped country. He earned money by selling fruits he collected from cactuses.

Simmons moved with his mother to the United States but still considers Israel his home.

He made local headlines during Israel's 2006 war against Lebanese guerrillas by sending a televised message to a wounded Israeli soldier, calling him a "hero."

Simmons insisted that his busy schedule has been the only reason he never made it back to Israel before.

The war on Israel's civilians

While the eyes of the world are fixed on Libya and other parts of the Arab world (and rightfully so), once again aggression against Israeli civilians is overlooked.

According to the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM), In the last few days Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip have sharply escalated rocket and mortar attacks into Israel with fifty mortar shells being fired at Israel on Saturday alone. This has led to increased violence over the Gaza-Israel border. An Israeli shell fired at the source of a Palestinian rocket launch on Tuesday 22 March inadvertently killed four Palestinian civilians, whilst four Palestinian militants were reported killed in a separate strike.

Whilst Hamas is not believed to be seeking a full-scale escalation, its intentions remain unclear. The organisation faces grassroots pressure for the reunification of Palestinian factions, having rejected President Mahmoud Abbas's call for new elections in September.

Israel's policy is balanced between wanting to avoid escalation, whilst at the same time maintaining the deterrence which has kept the border relatively quiet and protected Israeli civilians since the end of Operation Cast Lead in January 2009.
For a full report, go to the BICOM web site.

Just a few minutes ago, I received the following message from a colleague in Israel:

"...scuds have been shot on Beersheva [pictured]and Ashdod, all the schools and kindergartens in Beersheva are closed today. A family in Gaza, including two children, was killed by an erring missile, which hit their house instead of the scud launching pad in a nearby grove. Things seem to be escalating.

"A newspaper article today reads "Israeli communities near the border are receiving a daily dose of mortars and rockets, and the Israel Air Force has been attacking Gaza. What began as a local escalation is steadily transforming into a broader conflict that the sides will apparently have difficulty stopping, though it's doubtful either side has an interest in reaching that point."

"Please pray for a restoration of peace in our area, and for the protection of innocents on both sides of the green line."

Tuesday 22 March 2011

So you want to boycott Israel? Be consistent.

Anti-Israel organizations like BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) are becoming more aggressive. The 7th Annual Israeli Apartheid Week was held in 50 cities around the world in March, with most events taking place on college campuses.

Shopping centres were also a target. Leaflets featured graphic images of bleeding Jaffa Orange, Israel spelled as “Israhell” and pictures of Palestinian children covered in blood alongside the slogan “Shopping can kill”.

There are a lot of people who want to boycott Israeli goods or avoid anything that originates with Jews. I wouldn’t mind if such people were consistent but it’s very difficult to consistently avoid everything Jewish because almost everything important in life today was either invented or developed by Israelis or Jews.

The world would be poorer without the Jewish contribution to music, film, television and stage. “Yes”, I can hear you say, “but apart from great classical music, jazz, pop music, drama, comedy, and Hollywood blockbusters, what else have the Jews ever done for us?”

How about the discovery of Digitalis by Adolph von Baeyer who synthesized the drug in 1864.

If you have toothache and have to visit the dentist, remember to insist that he doesn’t use cocaine as an anaesthetic, because that was discovered by a Jewish ophthalmologist Karl Koller.

Do you have Diabetes? Have you been using Insulin? You naughty, inconsistent boycotter, you. Better stop taking it right now because insulin was discovered by Oscar Minkowsky, a Jew.

If your kids have never had diphtheria, be grateful to Selman Waksman.

And let’s not get into cures for Syphilis and Gonorrhea!

So, remember, if you are going to proudly and consistently boycott all things Jewish, you’ll have to avoid all Jewish music, movies, plays, discoveries, inventions and wonder drugs.

And, by the way, you’d better get rid of the PC or mobile phone on which you are reading this because the Pentium chip and other inventions that link you to your friends and fellow boycotters were invented by Jews.

Oh! Don’t go to church either, because there you’ll be worshipping the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through the Jewish Messiah, Jesus.

Boycott, Divest and Sanction all you want but at least be consistent. Boycott everything Jewish but know you’ll have to do it without the aid of your laptop and mobile phone, and without the benefit of life saving medication. And when you want to relax, don’t watch a colour TV and don’t go to movies produced by MGM, Warner Brothers, or Twentieth Century Fox. And don’t turn to Jesus as your only hope of forgiveness and salvation; he’s Jewish too.

I wish you the best of luck for your short, boring, spiritually hopeless and barren life. You’re going to need it.

Monday 21 March 2011

An Historian's History of Israel

I'm grateful to my friend Alan Poyner-Levinson for drawing my attention to the following paper by historian Andrew Roberts (above), which was delivered to a "Friends of Israel" meeting last July. "The State of Israel", says Roberts, "has packed more history into her 62 years on the planet than many other nations have in six hundred."

I would like to speak to you today as an historian, because it seems to me that the State of Israel has packed more history into her 62 years on the planet than many other nations have in six hundred. There are many surprising things about this tiny, feisty, brave nation the size of Wales, but the most astonishing is that she has survived at all. The very day after the new state was established, she was invaded by the armies of no fewer than five Arab countries, and she has been struggling for her right to life ever since. And that is what we are here for today, to reiterate Israel’s right to self-defence, inherent in all legitimate countries.

From Morocco to Afghanistan, from the Caspian Sea to Aden, the 5.25 million square miles of territory belonging to members of the Arab League is home to over 330 million people, whereas Israel covers only eight thousand square miles, and is home to seven million citizens, one-fifth of whom are Arabs. The Jews of the Holy Land are thus surrounded by hostile states 650 times their size in territory and sixty times their population, yet their last, best hope of ending two millennia of international persecution – the State of Israel - has somehow survived. When during the Second World War, the island of Malta came through three terrible years of bombardment and destruction, it was rightly awarded the George Medal for bravery: today Israel should be awarded a similar decoration for defending democracy, tolerance and Western values against a murderous onslaught that has lasted twenty times as long.

Jerusalem is the site of the Temple of Solomon and Herod. The stones of a palace erected by King David himself are even now being unearthed just outside the walls of Jerusalem. Everything that makes a nation state legitimate – bloodshed, soil tilled, two millennia of continuous residence, international agreements – argues for Israel’s right to exist, yet that is still denied by the Arab League. For many of their governments, which are rich enough to have economically solved the Palestinian refugee problem decades ago, it is useful to have Israel as a scapegoat to divert attention from the tyranny, failure and corruption of their own regimes.

The tragic truth is that it suits Arab states very well to have the Palestinians endure permanent refugee status, and whenever Israel puts forward workable solutions they have been stymied by those whose interests put the destruction of Israel before the genuine well-being of the Palestinians. Both King Abdullah I of Jordan and Anwar Sadat of Egypt were assassinated when they attempted to come to some kind of accommodation with a country that most sane people now accept is not going away.

‘We owe to the Jews,’ wrote Winston Churchill in 1920, ‘a system of ethics which, even if it were entirely separated from the supernatural, would be incomparably the most precious possession of mankind, worth in fact the fruits of all wisdom and learning put together.’

The Jewish contribution to finance, science, the arts, academia, commerce and industry, literature, philanthropy and politics has been astonishing relative to their tiny numbers. Although they make up less than half of one per-cent of the world’s population, between 1901 and 1950 Jews won 14 percent of all the Nobel Prizes awarded for Literature and Science, and between 1951 and 2000 Jews won 32 percent of the Nobel Prizes for Medicine, 32 percent for Physics, 39 percent for Economics and 29 percent for Science. This, despite so many of their greatest intellects dying in the gas chambers. Civilization owes Judaism a debt it can never repay, and support for the right of a Jewish homeland to exist is the bare minimum we can provide. Yet we tend to treat Israel like a leper on the international scene, merely for defending herself, and threatening her with academic boycotts if she builds a separation wall that has so far reduced suicide bombings by 95 percent over three years. It is a disgrace that no senior member of the Royal Family has ever undertaken an official visit to Israel, as though the country is still in quarantine after more than six decades.

Her Majesty the Queen has been on the throne for 57 years and in that time has undertaken 250 official visits to 129 countries, yet has not yet set foot in Israel. She has visited 14 Arab countries, so it cannot have been that she wasn’t in the region. Although Prince Philip’s mother Princess Alice is buried on the Mount of Olives because of her status as Righteous Among Gentiles, the Foreign Office ordained that his visit to his mother’s grave in 1994 had to be in a private capacity only. Royal visits are one of the ways legitimacy is conferred on nations, and the Coalition Government should end the Foreign Office’s de facto boycott.

After the Holocaust, the Jewish people recognised that they must have their own state, a homeland where they could forever be safe from a repetition of such horrors. Putting their trust in Western Civilisation was never again going to be enough. Since then, Israel has had to fight no fewer than five major wars for her very existence. She has been on the front line in the War against Terror and has been fighting the West’s battles for it, decades before 9/11 or 7/7 ever happened. Radical Islam is never going to accept the concept of an Israeli State, so the struggle is likely to continue for another sixty years, but the Jews know that that is less dangerous than entrusting their security to anyone else.

Very often in Britain, especially when faced with the overwhelmingly anti-Israeli bias that is endemic in our liberal media and the BBC, we fail to ask ourselves what we would have done placed in their position? The population of the United Kingdom of 63 million is nine times that of Israel. In July 2006, to take one example at random, Hizbollah crossed the border of Lebanon into Israel and killed eight patrolmen and kidnapped two others, and that summer fired four thousand Katyusha rockets into Israel which killed a further forty-three civilians.

Now, if we multiply those numbers by nine to get the British equivalent, just imagine what we would do if a terrorist organization based as close as Calais were to fire thirty-six thousand rockets into Sussex and Kent, killing 387 British civilians, after killing seventy-two British servicemen in an ambush and capturing eighteen. There is absolutely no lengths to which our Government would not go to protect British subjects under those circumstances, and quite right too. Why should Israel be expected to behave any differently?

In the course of researching my latest book on the Second World War, I recently visited Auschwitz-Birkenau. Walking along a line of huts and the railway siding where their forebears had been worked and starved and beaten and frozen and gassed to death, were a group of Jewish schoolchildren, one of whom was carrying over his shoulder the Israeli flag, a blue star of David on white background.

It was a profoundly moving sight, for it was the sovereign independence represented by that flag which guarantees that the obscenity of genocide – which killed six million people in Auschwitz and camps like it - will never again befall the Jewish people, to whom the rest of Civilisation owes so much. I said at the start that I was speaking to you as an historian, and so I say: No people in History have needed the right to self-defence and legitimacy more than the Jews of Israel, and that is what we in the Friends of Israel Initiative demand here today.

Andrew Roberts’ acclaimed book, The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War, came out in paperback in April 2010

Guess who's responsible for the murder of the Fogels? That's right: Israel.

The murder of the Fogel family in the Israeli settlement of Itamar on 12 March provoked reactions in the Palestinian media. A number of columnists in the Palestinian Authority daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, condemned the murder of children which, they said, contradicted Palestinian moral values. However, the same columnists laid the ultimate blame for the murders at the feet of the Israeli government. Israel habitually murders children, they said, and added that it was Israeli policy that triggered the attack, and that Israel was exploiting the murders as political capital. It was also suggested that the attack may have been perpetrated by an Israeli settler.

The Israeli Government Would Rather Dig Graves Than Build Homes

Hafez Al-Barghouti wrote: “Condemning the murder of settler children, even if their presence on our land is illegal, means condemning the settlement [enterprise] itself, which uses blood to fuel for the bulldozers of the settlements. With its current policy, the right-wing [Israeli] government is itself an accessory to the crime of murder. Moreover, it covers for every act of insanity against the settlers – as if it itself placed the knife in the murderer’s hand.

“The settlement [enterprise] is the cradle of all the barbaric deeds and inhuman operations, because it is, at its root, an inhuman operation that is against international law and against the way of life, and that disrupts any progress toward a peace arrangement...

“The insanity of the settlement [enterprise] is no less grave than the insanity of the murderer who slaughtered the children in Itamar, and it is the same insanity that wrought destruction on hundreds of our children, infants, and unborn due to the occupation’s insistence on continuing in its delusions rather than taking the path of peace. Maybe a government with such superficial thinking, which exploits the blood of children in order to spill the blood of the land and its inhabitants, is [actually] striving to move things to the point of no return in the path of violence.”

Saleh Masharqa wrote: “Netanyahu... hates to think of the future of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. He hates to think of the construction of a home for Hadas and her Jewish family in an agricultural kibbutz within Israel... This thinking is not of constructing homes, but of digging the graves of the children of settlers in the West Bank and the graves of Palestinian children everywhere.”

Column On Hamas-Affiliated Website: Itamar Murders “A Heroic Act”

Sawsan Al-Barghouti, a columnist for a website affiliated with Hamas, called the Itamar murders a “heroic act”: “The heroic act in Nablus struck stunning blows, the first of which was against the supporters of coexistence [between the Palestinians] and the Jews on the holy and proud land of Palestine. Stability, security, freedom and independence cannot prevail as long as there are recruits [in Palestine], each and every one armed from head to toe and supported by their thieving and plundering government.

“The second blow was to ‘Abbas and the Palestinian Authority: The resistance in the West Bank exists and is strong, despite the persecution, arrest, and assassination of the mujahideen [there]...

“This heroic deed, and ones like it, have successfully sabotaged the Arab initiative [i.e. the Saudi Arab peace initiative], which is not worth a single glance. Our heroes in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank... will sabotage all plans against the legitimate ‘violence,’ and they will come out against the enemy, from under the ground, from across the borders, and from places so distant as to be unimaginable by the Mossad, the occupation forces, and their entire army of defeat and disappointment.”

Read more at Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

Friday 18 March 2011

Roger Waters’ thoughts controlled

In the week that five members of the Jewish Fogel family were slaughtered in their own home, Britain’s most prominent Christian Palestinianist blogger chooses to focus on Roger Water’s opposition to the “inhumane barrier".

In a "Comment is Free" column in The Guardian, the Pink Floyd frontman tells how in 1980 Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 was banned by the South African government. “That apartheid government”, says Waters, “imposed a cultural blockade, so to speak, on certain songs, including mine.” Note the wording: “That apartheid government …”, a clear implication that Israel is another apartheid regime”.

Has it not occurred to Waters that Israel has never banned any Pink Floyd albums or any of his songs? Indeed, Waters was invited to perform in Tel Aviv to non-segregated audiences. He pulled out because a movement “advocating an academic and cultural boycott of Israel” urged him to reconsider. He thereupon cancelled his Tel Aviv gig and moved it to Neve Shalom which, incidentally, is a town in Israel situated between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

“Sadly”, says Waters, “the Israeli government has made no attempt to implement legislation that would grant rights to Israeli Arabs equal to those enjoyed by Israeli Jews.” Waters ought to have spent some time talking to Arabs in Israel rather than exclusively to those in the Palestinian authority who have an axe to grind. Three weeks ago, I had lunch with the Arab pastor of a Messianic Jewish congregation in Haifa who told me that he enjoys the same rights as any Jewish citizen.

But it gets worse. Walters speaks of the citizens of Gaza being “locked in a virtual prison behind the wall of Israel's illegal blockade … children go to sleep hungry, many chronically malnourished.”

Has Waters been to Gaza lately?

Some of Gaza’s children may indeed go to sleep hungry but that is not due to an Israeli blockade. Gaza has well stocked supermarkets, shopping malls, gourmet restaurants and an Olympic size swimming pool (see the photos at Tom Gross’ website). If Gaza’s children are malnourished, the fault lies with the Hamas government, not Israel. It is ironic that the Guardian chose to publish Roger Waters denouncing the “illegal” Israeli blockade in a week when a ship full of weapons from Iran was captured by the Israeli navy and when members of a Jewish family were butchered in their beds. Does Israel have no right to protect its own citizens?

In Waters’ view, “fair-minded people around the world” should join the campaign of Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions against Israel “until the day comes – and it surely will come – when the wall of occupation falls and Palestinians live alongside Israelis in the peace, freedom, justice and dignity that they all deserve.”

The security wall (not the "exclusion" or "apartheid" wall), more accurately, the security fence, could come down next week if the Palestinian Authority gave Israel a bona fide assurance that they would do all in their power to prevent terrorists crossing the border to murder Israeli citizens. Israel is a small country with neighbours who have repeatedly attacked her. About 70 percent of Israel’s population and 80 percent of its industrial base are situated in the narrow coastal plain between the disputed territories of the West Bank and the Mediterranean Sea. Over and over, Palestinian Arabs have crossed into Israel to kill and injure civilians, including innocent women, children and old people. Over and over, Israeli drivers have been shot by snipers from vantage points in Palestinian Arab villages. Some Arab villages in the West Bank are just hundreds of feet from Israeli roads and centres of population.

The route of the fence follows the route of the “Green Line”, the truce lines left over from the 1948 war of independence. In some places, the fence deviates from that line in order to enclose areas of Jewish towns that are east of the line, especially around Ariel in the narrow waist of central Israel. A map of Israel shows Ariel’s strategic location 12 miles inside the West Bank and opposite Israel’s narrowest and most heavily populated waist line. In that area the distance from the Green Line to the Mediterranean is a mere ten miles.

Of course the security fence has caused hardship for some Palestinian Arabs. For some, it limits their employment opportunities in Israel. For others it splits farms or separates farm land from the owner’s home. But these are all problems brought about by terrorist activities that are widely supported by Palestinian Arabs.

The Palestinian Arabs have referred to the barrier as a “land grab”, outraged that construction around Jewish settlements does not follow the Green Line. The fence is not a political border and its status is open for negotiation if there is ever a stable, trusted government among the Palestinian Arabs. Meanwhile, the project has the overwhelming support of the Israeli public which sees the barrier as vital to their security.

I do not doubt the sincerity of Roger Waters. If he knew as much about the Israel/Palestine situation as he does about playing the guitar, his "Comment is Free" piece might be worth our attention. He records in his Guardian article that he impotently scrawled on the Security Wall: “We don’t need no thought control”. He might as well have written, equally impotently: “We don’t need no education”.

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Israel Navy intercepts weapons ship bound for Gaza

The following news come from BICOM, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre. It highlights the need for Israel's continued blockade on Gaza.

Yesterday morning the Israeli Navy found several anti-ship missiles on board the cargo ship Victoria that was intercepted off the coast of Gaza. The ship was seized by an Israeli navy commando unit who boarded the Gaza bound vessel after receiving permission from the ship's captain. The commandos checked the cargo's certificates which originated from the Syrian port of Latakia. The ship departed from Syria, via Turkey, and was heading to the port of Alexandria in Egypt. The weapons from there were then to be unloaded and smuggled into Gaza. Following the interception, The IDF emphasised that neither Turkey nor Egypt were involved in the smuggling process.

Israel Navy Deputy Commander Rani Ben-Yehuda confirmed that the Navy found two Chinese made C-704 missiles that have a range of 35 kilometres onboard the ship. They also found instruction manuals in Farsi, which added evidence to the assumption that the missiles came from Iran. The army estimates that the ammunition on board the ship could reach 50 tons worth of weapons.

The cargo ship docked early this morning in the Israeli port of Ashdod and the IDF searched all the ship's contents which will be displayed to the media later today.

Should the source of these weapons prove to be Iran, it will show how Tehran is using political unrest in the Middle East to further increase its influence and back extremists in the region.

In related news, Egyptian security officials seized five trucks carrying weapons that came from Sudan and were heading to Gaza. The vehicles were intercepted on Egyptian territory near the border with Sudan. The trucks were carrying mortars, rocket propelled grenades, rifles and explosives.

For more details on the story go to the BICOM Briefing.

Monday 14 March 2011

Phyllis Chesler on the murder of the Fogel family

There's a perceptive piece by Prof Phyllis Chesler at Newsrealblog about the muders in Samaria AKA West Bank.

The natural disasters: an earthquake which may have killed more than 10,000 people in Japan and an unintended Japanese nuclear meltdown are fully matched by the moral and man-made disasters in Libya and in Itamar, the West Bank town in which Palestinians slaughtered five members of the same Israeli family. In addition to the 35 and 36 year old parents, Udi and Ruth, the child victims were thee months old Hadas, 4 years old Elad, and 11 years old Yoav.

Palestinians were seen giving out candy to celebrate this Cowardly Kill. The President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, refused to condemn this cowardly attack. He mumbled something in English about “all violence leading to violence” which means the violence of the alleged Israeli “occupation” of the disputed territories is what caused these murders. Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, condemned the attack and, excellent propagandist that he is, insisted that “There ought to be no doubt on where we stand on violence. We reject it, and we have always condemned it.”

And my grandmother is a bicycle as they say. I really wonder what these Palestinian leaders have been saying in Arabic.

Palestinian terrorists are Baby Killers par excellence. From the beginning of the Second Intifada in 2000, they have killed at least 123 Israeli children—on purpose, not accidentally. They have shot up teenagers while studying, have tried to kill children in nursery schools and child care centers. Palestinian terrorists have even killed children at Itamar. In 2002, Habash Hanani did so, and he is currently being glorified by the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinian terrorists are Baby Killers and yet Arab, Islamist, and liberal fascist propaganda have managed to convince the world that Israelis and Jews are Baby Killers—Israel, a country whose military never uses civilians as hostages and which, contrary to Big Lie myth, is exquisitely restrained when it comes to avoiding civilian casualties during urban battle.

Arab and Muslim terrorists are Baby Killers. They kill their own in order to kill the babies of their enemies. The Taliban in Pakistan specialize in grooming 5-10 year old orphan boys to blow themselves up. Muslims, Arabs, Islamist terrorists in general, and Palestinians and Iranians in particular, brainwash, exploit, mere children and teenagers as jihadists and as suicide killers.

Today, sickeningly, the western mainstream media, and some Jewish and Israeli anti-Zionists as well, are implicitly, essentially, blaming the settlers for their own murders! They are “settlers,” “radical settlers,” “living beyond the green line,” not human beings, not Jews, not Israelis, not even real victims. Real victims should not have been living there, their geographical presence comprises an (understandable) “provocation.” Similarly, women’s uncovered faces, infidel women especially, constitute a “provocation” too so that they have only themselves to blame when Allah-fearing Muslim men rape, gang-rape, and assault them.

Real victims are the Palestinian terrorists who are forced to murder babies in response to being “illegally,” and immorally Occupied.

In its firstpiece about this crime, the New York Times characterized Itamar as “home to some of Israel’s most radical settlers.”

Shoot that radical settler. No, stab him while he’s asleep in his bed, better yet, why not stab his whole family? The international community will not care.

Demonize settlers, isolate Israelis, insist that “Islamophobia,” not Islamic terrorism, is the problem, (do so in the American Congress), refuse to stop the wholesale slaughter of Muslims by Muslims (think Libya, think Darfur), instead, blame Israel because the Palestinians do not want a Palestinian state, lean on Israel to negotiate harder, give up even more, give up every city, including Jerusalem and then simply wait for the law-of-returning Palestinians to overcome the last “settlement” standing: Tel Aviv—do so, even as the entire Arab Muslim Middle East is exploding over non-Israel specific problems--and inevitably, the Palestinian fiends will be emboldened to act and will slaughter an innocent, peaceful Jewish family in their beds and of course, on the Jewish Sabbath.

For more on this appalling incident visit the Arutz Sheva website.

Arab Terrorist Slaughters Jewish Family

Last Friday night, the eve of the Jewish Sabbath, a Palestinian terrorist slipped into the home of the Fogel family in the Samarian Jewish community of Itamar and butchered five members of the family.

The terrorist broke in through a living room window and proceeded to a nearby bedroom where he slashed the throats of Uri Fogel and his three-month-old Hadas. Ruth, the mother, was apparently in the bathroom but was murdered as returned to the bedroom where she would have looked on the bodies of her husband and daughter. The killer then murdered 11-year-old Yoav and stabbed three-year-old Elad twice in the heart.

The terrorist missed He missed eight-year-old Roi, who was sleeping on the couch in the living room, two-year-old Shai and 12-year-old Tamar who returned from the home of a friend after the attack was over.

The Israeli army immediately launched a manhunt for the perpetrator and any possible accomplices but announced that, due to the extreme severity of the attack, the operation would be “blue-and-white” only, meaning Israel would not be working with Palestinian security forces.

In the past, Palestinian terrorists who were caught first by Palestinian police spent a short time in jail before being released to resume their attacks on Israelis. The IDF is determined that the butcher of the Fogel family will not be given that luxury.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad issued condemnations of the attack and reiterating that they are against all violence that targeted civilians, while at the same time trying to draw a parallel between the slaughter of the Fogel family and Israeli anti-terror military operations.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted that while Abbas and Fayyad say what they must for international consumption, it is the anti-Jewish incitement they permit and even facilitate in Palestinian society that leads to such atrocities.

“A society that allows wild incitement like this, leads to the murder of children,” said Netanyahu. Palestinian television, schoolbooks and performances regularly demonise the Jews, while summer camps and public squares are named after the most successful of Palestinian terrorists.

A group affiliated with Abbas’ own Fatah faction later came forward and claimed responsibility for the attack. The group, known as the Al Aqsa Brigades, released a statement calling the brutal slaughter of the Fogel family a “natural response” to “Israeli crimes.”

In cold, unsympathetic tones the statement referred to the killer as a “combatant” who “killed all five Zionists who were in the house” and then “returned home safely after conducting his mission successfully.”

The Fogel family has given permission for photographs of the scene to be posted and redistributed online to show people around the world the cruelty with which Jews are targeted in their own homeland. The pictures can be viewed at Picasaweb but – be warned – they are brutal and graphic: