* Economic surge in the West Bank
* For first time ever, a Polish president lights a Chanukah candle
* Letters “delivered” to God
* See last (light) item below: “Mariah Carey” sings “All I want for Christmas is... Jews”
Please also read today’s other dispatch by clicking here: New low for British media: Ahmadinejad invited to address UK on Christmas
1. Israel kicks out UN official for comparing Israel to Nazis
2. Conspiracy theories about 9/11 too
3. With hundreds of millions starving in Asia and Africa, it is obscene for the UN to falsely speak of “mass famine” in Gaza
4. Something for Princeton alumni to ponder
5. Economic surge in the West Bank
6. ‘Tis the season for anti-Israel tunes
7. Protests as Hizbullah members speak in Belgian Parliament
8. So this is what an Iranian cultural attaché does
9. Netherlands threatens boycott of UN anti-racism conference
10. Saudi family values
11. Letters “delivered” to God
12. For first time ever, a Polish president lights a Chanukah candle
13. Light item 1: Jews for Christmas
14. Light item 2: Chinese food on Christmas
15. Light item 3: Chanukah in Santa Monica
[All notes below by Tom Gross]
ISRAEL KICKS OUT UN OFFICIAL FOR COMPARING ISRAEL TO NAZIS
Over the years I have written a number of times about Richard Falk, the professor emeritus at Princeton University who has been called one of the world’s leading Jewish self-haters.
For example, last April I wrote of how Falk had told the BBC – who love to grant him regular interviews* – that he stood by previous statements he had made suggesting there was no essential distinction between Israel and Nazi Germany. For instance, in 2007 he had written of “a Palestinian Holocaust” which he maintained the Jews were intending to carry out.
In May this year the UN Human Rights Council – perhaps fondly supposing that such a move would dispel claims that it had become a hotbed of anti-Semitism – appointed Falk (an American Jew) as the UN Human Rights Council’s “Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
This month, Israel took the very unusual step of expelling Falk. Israeli officials said Falk was interested not in constructive measures to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace, but in whipping up hatred of the Jewish state. “If Falk already believes Israel is like the Nazis, how fair will he be?” asked an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman.
Israeli authorities placed Falk on the first available flight back to Geneva, his point of departure.
CONSPIRACY THEORIES ABOUT 9/11 TOO
Falk has also advanced conspiracy theories suggesting Israel and/or the United States government (which he has characterized as “fascist”) carried out the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington. At the same time, while lambasting Israel at every turn, he has failed to properly condemn the Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. (Rockets are flying into Israel every hour as I write.)
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said Israel’s “refusal to allow Richard Falk to transit is without precedent and deeply regrettable.”
(* As I noted in a dispatch in May, to “celebrate” Israel’s 60th year of independence the BBC for days on end, ran promos virtually every hour plugging their half-hour special interview with Falk. In each promo the BBC, citing Falk, compared Israel’s actions to those of the Nazis.)
WITH HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS STARVING IN ASIA AND AFRICA, IT IS OBSCENE FOR THE UN TO FALSELY SPEAK OF “MASS FAMINE” IN GAZA
Writing in relation to one of Prof. Falk’s other lies, that there is “mass starvation” in Gaza (not a single Palestinian has died or even been hospitalized for malnourishment, and indeed there is a greater problem of hunger among poor Israelis according to official data), The Jerusalem Post wrote of the report Falk presented to the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly this year after his most recent visit to Israel in June:
“Falk and the Human Rights Council presented Israel with 100 demands on behalf of the Palestinians. But it made not a single demand of the Palestinians – not even that they stop the violence. We do not claim that life in Gaza is easy, but so much of its misfortune is self-inflicted. And at a time when the people of Zimbabwe and Congo are experiencing a true ‘humanitarian catastrophe,’ is it not obscene to talk of Gaza in those terms?”
The Jerusalem Post continued: “With nearly a billion people today starving in Asia and Africa, is it not unconscionable to speak of ‘mass famine’ in Gaza? Prof. Falk: If you want to help the people of Gaza, stop besmirching Israel and start beseeching Hamas to stop shooting and return the Strip to Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.”
SOMETHING FOR PRINCETON ALUMNI TO PONDER
Almost equally pernicious is the reporting of the Falk case by newspapers such as The Washington Post. In a piece headlined “Israeli Authorities Detain, Expel U.N. Human Rights Envoy,” (by Colum Lynch, Washington Post Staff Writer, December 16, 2008) the Post didn’t once mention why Israel finds Falk’s opinions so objectionable, and left readers with the impression that he is some kind of fair-minded peace envoy.
Falk’s repulsive comments also appear on left-wing conspiracy theorist and neo-Nazi websites the world over. Why such an illustrious institution as Princeton – and those alumni and others who give money to it – allow themselves to be associated with this kind of “education” is beyond me.
Why don’t they ask him about his near-silence with regard to real genocides committed elsewhere – in Cambodia, for instance, or Sudan?
At this rate we could soon see the UN Human Rights Council inviting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to investigate whether the Holocaust occurred.
Those journalists, news agencies and diplomats shamefully claiming that there is “starvation” in Gaza are telling one of the biggest lies in the world today. Here, for example, is unedited film from this month in Gaza.
The only widespread repression going on is that of women by men.
Contrast the situation with the Israeli town of Sderot where people spend much of the day in bomb shelters and over half the population have received medical or psychiatric treatment for Palestinian Qassam rocket attacks in the last seven years.
ECONOMIC SURGE IN THE WEST BANK
While most of the rest of the world’s economies continue to plunge, the increased security measures taken by Israel that have led to a marked decline in violence in the West Bank have resulted in an economic upsurge there.
Since January 2008, Palestinian unemployment has dropped three percent (although it still remains high at 16%), and the Palestinian average daily wage has gone up by 24%.
These statistics were collated by the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations International Labor Organization. As security improved (largely thanks to the Israeli-built barrier that has stopped suicide bombing), the IDF has also removed 113 roadblocks throughout the West Bank this year, enabling easier travel between Palestinian cities.
There was also a record olive harvest this year. Revenue from olives jumped from NIS 200 million in 2007 to NIS 517.5 million (almost $150m) in 2008. There was also a 10% increase in the permits issued for Palestinians working in Israel compared to 2007.
Naturally the BBC and others have been careful not to report this as it might spoil their agenda.
‘TIS THE SEASON FOR ANTI-ISRAEL TUNES
Five years ago on this email list, I revealed that a London-based organization calling themselves “Jews for Justice for Palestinians” were composing some Christmas carols with references to Israeli “terror,” “war crimes,” “iron cages,” and “Just like in Chechnya.” The carols made no reference to the hundreds of Jews murdered and thousands maimed in Palestinian terror attacks at that time.
Please see the dispatch of Dec. 20, 2003, titled “On the twelfth day of Christmas, Arik Sharon sent me...”
For the last five years, the carols have been sung on the streets of London, notably in Trafalgar Square, by a group led by Deborah Fink, a professional singer and the founder of “Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods.”
Now one of the most prestigious churches in London, St James’s, Piccadilly, has hosted a special service using slightly updated versions of these carols. (Ehud Olmert’s name has been substituted for Ariel Sharon’s, and so on.)
Writing in The Times of London, Michael Gove (a prominent British Member of Parliament and a founding subscriber to this email list) called it a “festival of anti-Semitism.”
Other Christians have denounced the occasion as reminiscent of the Jew-baiting at Christmas in medieval times.
After complaints from the current and past Archbishops of Canterbury as well as from Jewish groups, the church’s rector said he would “think twice” before hosting a similar event.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, said that the rewriting of traditional carols for anti-Israeli purposes was “deeply offensive”.
Among those attending the sham “carol” service was Liberal Democrat peer, Baroness Tonge. Tonge was sacked from the party’s front bench in 2004 after saying she “understood” why Palestinians became suicide bombers. (See previous dispatches on this list for more about Tonge.)
Bruce Kent, the former head of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament also attended the sham carol service, which attracted a lot of press attention as CNN sent a camera crew to cover the event.
PROTESTS AS HIZBULLAH MEMBERS SPEAK IN BELGIAN PARLIAMENT
The Belgian Jewish community and others have condemned the presence of Hizbullah representatives at a conference held in the Belgian Parliament in Brussels last week. The conference was organized by the International Union of Parliamentarians for Palestine.
Hussein Al Haj Hassan, who is one of the founders of Hizbullah, and Abdullah Kassir, head of the Al-Manar television station run by Hizbullah, were among the speakers. Al-Manar has been banned from broadcasting by several European governments, including France and Germany, “for inciting murder, racism and hate propaganda.”
The conference room in the Palace of the Nation, where the Chamber of Representatives of Belgium and the Belgian Senate are located, was booked by the Belgian Green parliamentarian, Fouad Lahssaini.
Speakers at the gathering compared the “resistance of Hizbullah against Israeli Nazism to the resistance of the Belgian people against the Nazis.” The umbrella body of Belgian Jewish organizations denounced the speeches of some at the meeting as “violently anti-Semitic”.
American Jewish Committee director David Harris (who is a subscriber to this email list), said “Hizbullah has the blood of thousands of American, French, Israeli, Lebanese and other citizens on its hands. It is simply disgraceful that Hizbullah officials were permitted to address a meeting in the parliament building of a leading European democracy.”
SO THIS IS WHAT AN IRANIAN CULTURAL ATTACHÉ DOES
An Argentinean court last week ordered the seizure of property belonging to Mohsen Rabbani, the former Iranian cultural attaché to Argentina, for his role in the bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish center in 1994 that killed 85 and wounded hundreds. (That bombing was thought to have been carried out by the Iranian government with help from its client militia Hizbullah.)
In September Argentine President Cristina Fernandez told the UN General Assembly that her government sought six Iranian government officials on murder charges for their role in the bomb attacks against Argentinean Jews. They include Rabbani, and also the former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani.
In November 2007, following 13 years of investigations, Interpol issued Red Notices for former Iranian Intelligence Minister, Ali Fallahian; former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Mohsen Rezai; the current Deputy Minister of Defense and former commander of the Qods force, Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi; Mohsen Rabbani, Iran’s former cultural attaché in Argentina; and Ahmad Reza Asghari, third secretary in the regime’s embassy in Argentina.
Rabbani had managed to acquire six independent stores, while working as a diplomat in Argentina. The Argentinean government said these will now be sold and proceeds will help provide monetary compensation to the victims of the attack.
In October federal judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral placed an embargo on the assets of the Lebanese group Hizbullah and of other former Iranian officials in Argentina. Another embargo is already effective on four bank accounts in Germany and Switzerland, estimated to be worth nearly $50 million, which reportedly belong to former Iranian president Rafsanjani and to the former commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Mohsen Rezahi.
NETHERLANDS THREATENS BOYCOTT OF UN ANTI-RACISM CONFERENCE
This is a follow-up to the item about Canada and Israel pulling out of next year’s charade of a UN anti-racism conference in the dispatch Jimmy Carter pleads with Hizbullah to meet him, but Hizbullah refuse (Dec. 12, 2008).
The Netherlands became the latest country to say that it will boycott the conference if anti-Israel and anti-Semitic statements are not scrapped from draft texts currently being circulated.
Dutch foreign minister Maxime Verhagen told Dutch radio he would not “be involved in anti-Semitism” at the meeting planned for April in Geneva. Israel and Canada have already withdrawn from the forum, which is a follow-up to the 2001 UN anti-racism conference in Durban, South Africa, which degenerated into an anti-Semitic debacle. The United States has protested against the conference, but has not yet decided if it will attend.
In 2001, then Secretary of State Colin Powell withdrew the U.S. delegation, telling the UN organizers that you don’t combat racism by singling out “only one country in the world – Israel – for endless censure and abuse.”
SAUDI FAMILY VALUES
Under a headline “Saudi court tells girl aged EIGHT she cannot divorce husband who is 50 years her senior,” The (London) Daily Mail reports:
A Saudi court has rejected a plea for divorce on behalf of an eight year-old girl married off by her father to a man who is 58, saying the case should wait until the girl reaches puberty.
The divorce plea was filed in August by the girl’s divorced mother with a court at Unayzah, 135 miles north of Riyadh just after the marriage contract was signed by the father and the groom.
Lawyer Abdullar Jtili said: “The judge has dismissed the plea, filed by the mother, because she does not have the right to file such a case, and ordered that the plea should be filed by the girl herself when she reaches puberty.” …
The girl’s father was in court and he remained adamantly in favor of the marriage, it was added.
In Yemen in April, another girl aged eight was granted a divorce after her unemployed father forced her to marry a man of 28.
As noted in the last dispatch (“Protecting against dirty bombs; questions over Hillary; colorful Islamic fashion”), it was revealed last week that the Saudi government was the single largest donor to the William J. Clinton Foundation.
LETTERS “DELIVERED” TO GOD
The Israeli Postal Authority had deposited a large quantity of letters that it received addressed to God, between the stones of the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitz and Israel Postal Company Director-General Avi Hochman supervised the placing of the letters between the stones of the Western Wall.
FOR FIRST TIME EVER, A POLISH PRESIDENT LIGHTS A CHANUKAH CANDLE
The President of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, this week lit a candle in a Warsaw synagogue to celebrate the first night of Chanukah. It was the first time ever that a Polish president had participated in a Jewish religious ceremony. A children’s choir sang “Shalom Aleichem” to welcome the president for the Jewish festival of lights. Poland was once home to the world’s largest Jewish community.
LIGHT ITEM 1: JEWS FOR CHRISTMAS
Mariah Carey sings “All I want for Christmas is... Jews”
LIGHT ITEM 2: CHINESE FOOD ON CHRISTMAS
LIGHT ITEM 3: CHANUKAH IN SANTA MONICA