Associated Press: thousands of Arabs moving into Jewish areas of Jerusalem

September 06, 2009

* Economic growth in Israel this year expected to exceed all other developed countries
* West Bank economy also growing at record rate of 9%
* By 2007, 1,300 of Pisgat Zeev’s 42,000 residents were Arabs
* In nearby French Hill, nearly one-sixth of the population are now Arabs
* Tariq Ramadan sacked in Holland, but still welcome in Britain

This dispatch is split into two for space reasons. The other part is: Iran: “Einstein secretly converted to Shi’a Islam” (& Reuters “terrorist” journalist)

(I will be away on a lecture tour over the next two weeks and there won’t be any more dispatches until later in the month.)

 

CONTENTS

1. Associated Press: thousands of Arabs moving into Jewish areas of Jerusalem
2. Economic growth in Israel this year expected to exceed all other developed countries
3. Credit to Stanley Fischer, who was Ben Bernanke’s doctoral supervisor at Princeton
4. “The Jewish state unwittingly supplies America with sobering food for economic thought”
5. How would a deal benefit ordinary Israelis?
6. Tariq Ramadan, welcome in Britain, sacked in Holland
7. “Israel’s recession started later and ended earlier. Here’s why.” (MarketWatch, Aug. 31, 2009)
8. “Don’t make me laugh” (The Jerusalem Post, Sept. 2, 2009)
9. “Holy city twist: Arabs moving into Jewish areas” (Associated Press, Sept. 5, 2009)
10. “Tariq Ramadan repudiated” (The American Thinker, Aug. 28, 2009)


[All notes below by Tom Gross]

AP: THOUSANDS OF ARABS MOVING INTO JEWISH AREAS OF JERUSALEM

The Associated Press yesterday finally reported on the fact that thousands of Palestinian Arabs continue to move into Jewish areas of Jerusalem. While the world in general (and the Obama administration in particular) made such a fuss when two Jewish families moved into a predominantly Arab area of Jerusalem recently, the daily occurrence of Arabs buying homes and moving into Jewish areas is completely ignored.

I have long reported this phenomenon and questioned why the press never mentions it. While the media (and NGOs, and governments) continuously criticize the (relatively few) number of Jews living in the heart of Arab areas, they have nothing to say about Arabs moving to Jewish areas.

(I am not making a political assessment here about whether this two-way migration will help or hinder an eventual Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement, only making a media analysis of the incredible double standards involved in criticizing only one party, Jews, but not the other.)

“THIS IS MUCH MORE THAN A SIMPLE MATTER OF REAL ESTATE”

The Associated Press (full article attached below) says the thousands of Arabs now living in Jewish areas “represent a potentially volatile twist in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute over the holy city.”

AP notes that “thousands of Arabs have now crossed the housing lines to Pisgat Zeev and neighborhoods like it in a migration that is raising tempers among some Jewish residents… while other Jewish neighbors are warming up to them.”

AP adds: “This is much more than a simple matter of real estate. Demographics could figure heavily in how Jerusalem is partitioned in a future peace deal. If that happens, it is expected the city will be split along ethnic lines – Jewish neighborhoods to Israel, Arab neighborhoods to Palestine.”

“In 2007, the latest year with available statistics, about 1,300 of Pisgat Zeev’s 42,000 residents were Arabs. In nearby French Hill, population 7,000, nearly one-sixth are Arabs, among them students at the neighboring Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Neve Yaakov, with 20,000 people, had 600 Arabs, according to the Israel Center for Jerusalem Studies, a respected think tank.”

***

Tom Gross adds: The AP article suggests the only reason that Arabs are moving to Jewish neighborhoods is because they are more middle class and enjoy better infrastructure. But my Palestinian friends who have moved to the western side of Jerusalem tell me that the prime reason they do so is they fear the city will be split in future under pressure from the U.S. government and if they stay in Arab districts they will be left to live under the dictatorship of the Palestinian Authority. They prefer the political and social freedoms Israel offers.

The AP also fails to mention that Palestinian Arabs live safely in the heart of Jewish neighborhoods, whereas Jews risk their lives if they live in the heart of Arab ones. In my opinion this is an important phenomenon that helps to explain why Middle East peace has yet to be achieved and is well worthy of media attention.

 

ECONOMIC GROWTH IN ISRAEL THIS YEAR EXPECTED TO EXCEED ALL OTHER DEVELOPED COUNTRIES

According to statistics released by the Bank of Israel, the projected growth for the Israeli economy is expected to be about 0% in 2009 and 2.5% in 2010. This projection makes Israel the only country in the developed world not to have had negative growth in 2009.

Israel ranks sixth in global economic growth among the world’s top 45 countries. The concern now is that the growth will spark increased interest rates; with some saying it could reach 3% by next summer. Last week, Israel became the first Western nation to raise its interest rates from 0.25% to 0.75%.

The estimates from the Bank of Israel were mirrored in a report released last week by Bank of America Merrill-Lynch, which wrote “we increased our GDP forecasts for Israel last week to 0.0%, and 2.5% for 2009 and 2010 respectively.”

 

CREDIT TO STANLEY FISCHER, WHO WAS BEN BERNANKE’S DOCTORAL SUPERVISOR AT PRINCETON

The Bank of Israel is headed by Professor Stanley Fischer, previously the number two at the American financial institution Citigroup. Zambian-born Fischer was also the doctoral supervisor at Princeton of Ben Bernanke, the current chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board.

Israel is, of course, a tiny player in the world economy, but, as James Lord, an economist with London-based Capital Economics puts it, the response of its central bank to the financial crisis “has been sophisticated ... [and] Bernanke’s preferred method for reversing any inflationary impact ... is essentially what the Bank of Israel has done”.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s luring to Israel of Stanley Fischer five years ago (when Netanyahu served as finance minister under Ariel Sharon) now seems more than ever like a masterstroke.

 

“THE JEWISH STATE UNWITTINGLY SUPPLIES AMERICA WITH SOBERING FOOD FOR ECONOMIC THOUGHT”

Below, in the first article in the “full articles” section I attach a commentary from MarketWatch (by Amotz Asa-El), sub-titled “Israel’s recession started later and ended earlier. Here’s why.”

“The U.S. recession, already its longest since the Depression, has yet to die,” notes the influential financial publication, “but Israel’s is already being eulogized, as the Jewish state unwittingly supplies America with sobering food for economic thought.”

It adds: “America seems headed in the opposite direction of the path Israel took from the economic delinquency of its youth, to the frugality that has now helped it emerge from a global recession almost unscathed.”

***

I attach four articles below. I mentioned two of them above, and there are summaries of the other two first for those of you who don’t have time to read the articles in full.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

HOW WOULD A DEAL BENEFIT ORDINARY ISRAELIS?

Evelyn Gordon writes in The Jerusalem Post:

There must have been something in the air last month: Two prominent Israeli leftists publicly acknowledged fundamental problems in the “peace process” that will make a deal unachievable if not resolved.

Aluf Benn, Ha’aretz’s diplomatic correspondent, articulated one problem in an August 7 column describing a conversation with a “senior European diplomat.” Benn posed one simple question: How would a deal benefit ordinary Israelis? The diplomat was stunned. Wasn’t it obvious? It would create a Palestinian state! “There would be an end to terror.” “Don’t make me laugh,” Benn replied.

When the IDF withdrew from parts of the West Bank and Gaza under the Oslo Accords, Israelis got suicide bombings in their cities. When it quit Gaza entirely, they got rockets on the Negev. But the bombings stopped after the IDF reoccupied the West Bank, and the rockets stopped after January’s Gaza operation. In short, the IDF has done a far better job of securing “peace” as Israelis understand it – i.e., not being killed – than the “peace process” ever has.

… Benn’s conclusion from the conversation was shocking: Thus far, the international community has never thought about how a deal might benefit Israelis; that was considered unimportant.

But to persuade Israelis to back an agreement, he noted, the world is going to have to start thinking. For Israelis already have what they want most, “peace and quiet,” and they will not willingly risk it for “another diplomatic adventure whose prospects are slim and whose dangers are formidable.”

A week later, Prof. Carlo Strenger – a veteran leftist – noted in his Ha’aretz column that for years leftists claimed a deal with the Palestinians would produce “peace now.” Instead, the Palestinian Authority “educated its children with violently anti-Israel and often straightforwardly anti-Semitic textbooks,” failed to prevent (or perhaps even abetted) repeated suicide bombings in 1996, torpedoed the final-status negotiations of 2000-2001 and finally produced the second intifada.

But instead of admitting it had erred in expecting territorial withdrawals to bring peace, Strenger wrote, the Left blamed Israel as if the Palestinians weren’t responsible for their incitement and violence…

Because the world placed the onus on Israel, Palestinians never felt any pressure to amend their behavior... Israel has repeatedly upped its offers over the past 16 years, but the Palestinians have yet to budge an inch…

 

TARIQ RAMADAN, WELCOME IN BRITAIN, SACKED IN HOLLAND

Stephen Schwartz, who is a Muslim and serves as executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, writes:

In an important development for the fight against extremist Islam in the West, the Dutch city of Rotterdam and Erasmus University Rotterdam have dismissed Tariq Ramadan, the Swiss-born Islamist academic, from his two local jobs.

Born in Switzerland, Ramadan is the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the radical Muslim Brotherhood. He is a close associate of the fundamentalist Muslim theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the leading theorist of a “European Islam” that would abuse Western standards of religious freedom by erecting a parallel system of Shariah law alongside established civil law, coupled with aggressive da’wa or Islamic proselytizing. Ramadan has endorsed this strategy.

Ramadan has been barred from entry into the U.S. since 2004, after he made financial contributions to fundraising agencies for Hamas. Early in July of this year, however, given the new atmosphere of outreach to Muslim radicals under President Barack Obama, the Second Circuit U.S. Appeals Court reversed the lower-court ruling, effectively nullifying the prohibition on an American visa for Ramadan.

Meanwhile, Britain in 2005 allowed Ramadan to take up a position at Oxford University, where he holds the His Highness Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Chair in Contemporary Islamic Studies.

Yet while the U.S. authorities now seem inclined to allow him on our shores, and Britain appears untroubled by his presence the Dutch have taken action to curb Ramadan’s ambitions.

He has been dismissed from the Rotterdam city post and Erasmus University because of his continuing involvement with the Iranian television channel Press TV, which continues to broadcast vile anti-Semitic and homophobic propaganda...


FULL ARTICLES

“IT TAKES NO ECONOMIST TO FEEL THE RENEWED OPTIMISM”

Lost U.S. Protestant ethic found in Jewish state
Israel’s recession started later and ended earlier. Here’s why.
By Amotz Asa-El
MarketWatch
August 31, 2009

www.marketwatch.com/story/lost-us-protestant-ethic-found-in-jewish-state-2009-08-31

The U.S. recession, already its longest since the Depression, has yet to die, but Israel’s is already being eulogized, as the Jewish state unwittingly supplies America with sobering food for economic thought.

Last week, the Commerce Department reported a fourth consecutive quarter of negative growth, while in Jerusalem the Central Bureau of Statistics reported that the Israeli economy grew 1% in the second quarter after two quarters of shrinkage.

Not only did Israel’s recession end earlier and begin later than most others, it was also milder, with its lone quarterly contractions measuring 3.2% and 1%. By contrast, the American economy shrank once by 5.4% and once by 6.4%.

It takes no economist to feel the renewed optimism. Customers crowd realty agencies, car dealerships, appliance stores and gourmet restaurants, while at Ben-Gurion Airport thousands flock every hour to vacations abroad. No wonder, then, that private consumption rose 2.7% in the second quarter after slumping 5.6% in the first quarter, while purchases of durable goods soared 19% after sinking 40% during the first three months. The burgeoning turnaround became so obvious that the July consumer-price index rose 1.1%.

Faced with all this, the Bank of Israel last week changed course after a year of monetary expansion, and pulled up interest rates 0.25 percentage point from their historic low of 0.5%. Gov. Stanley Fischer, the first among the world’s central bankers to raise rates this year, and the first to cut them last year, now says the worst is behind us.

True, over the past two years unemployment has mushroomed to 8% from less than 6%, but the Israeli economy has clearly suffered less than others in this crisis, and whatever ailments it experienced were imported rather than self-produced. What, then, explains this defiance of the global trend, and what lesson, if any, does it hold for other economies?

DEFYING A GLOBAL CRISIS

This is not the first time the Promised Land has defied a global economic crisis. It happened during the Great Depression and during the Bush recession in 1990-91, when waves of immigrants stimulated local consumption and construction, and it happened during World War II, when Britain used Palestine as a production center and shipping hub.

However, there was no such context this time around, as the previous decade’s post-Soviet immigration had ended long before Lehman Brothers went under. Instead, Israel benefited from the kind of governmental prudence, corporate poise and middle-class caution that once, when they had yet to take root in Israel, were synonymous with American finance.

It’s only been one generation since the Bank of Israel became independent, and less than that since it became illegal for the Treasury to breach a set budget deficit. Back when the two lacked such constraints, the former habitually printed billions and the latter spent them at will, thus feeding hyperinflation, which in turn obstructed investment and growth.

At the same time, the public gambled in a stock market where a banking cartel manipulated shares until the entire system - the stock exchange, the major banks and the public that abandoned its inflated money to their devices - collapsed.

That was Israel’s equivalent of America’s subprime crisis as well as the political and corporate dereliction that inspired it. That era and the painful recovery plan that ended it are recalled vividly by a whole generation of Israelis. No wonder, then, that this decade Israelis were much less likely to either manufacture or consume toxic financial assets.

Israelis had generally become suspicious borrowers moving in a marketplace governed by strict regulators.

This attitude began with the government itself, which halved the public debt, to 78% last year from 158% of GDP in 1986, while over the course of this decade shrinking the budget’s share of GDP to 43% from more than 50% and reducing the budget deficit in 0% in 2007 from 5.3%.

With such leadership by example, Israeli regulators could proceed to establish financial prudence as a national value. While the American credit-card industry seduced retailers to borrow more and more for things they needed less and less, Israel’s central bank tightened households’ financial leeway by banning bank overdrafts. Since Israelis pay their credit-card deals not by writing checks but through automatic deductions from their bank accounts, this drastically reduced their ability to embark on shopping binges beyond their means.

This explains the Bank of Israel’s confidence as it responded to the global crisis, which included not only its global leadership in expanding and tightening monetary policy but also its decision at the height of the crisis to buy $100 million daily to weaken the shekel and thus help Israeli exporters. Having helped to depreciate the shekel some 20% from a peak of nearly 3.2 to the dollar, the bank has now ceased the daily purchases, and the shekel began appreciating again.
The corporate side

Corporate Israel also traversed the crisis impressively.

Yes, there have been failures, like the announcement Sunday by real estate tycoon Lev Leviev that his holding company, Africa-Israel, is seeking to restructure its 21-billion-shekel ($5.52 billion) debt, or the Zim container-shipping company, which is now grappling with a 15% decline in its far-flung fleet’s activity.

However, while affecting average Israelis who bought their securities, these companies’ travails do not reflect, for better or worse, the Israeli economy’s performance: Neither is a major local manufacturer or employer, and both got into trouble abroad, where Leviev bought American and Russian real estate on the eve of the meltdown and Zim saw international commerce plunge with the global economy.

The hard core of Israeli industry performed entirely differently, benefitting from its dominance by the technology, biomedicine and defense sectors, whose products remain highly in demand even in times as hard as these. Israel Aerospace Industries, the largest defense manufacturer, saw a 25% drop in first-half sales to $1.44 billion but remained firmly in the black with $50 million of net income, while software giant Check Point’s second-quarter sales rose 12% to $223 million, netting $75 million, and pharmaceutical trendsetter Teva’s sales in the quarter jumped 20% to $3.4 billion while net climbed 25% to $742 million.

Yes, not everyone fared as impressively, but this recession saw no Israeli equivalent of General Motors, a labor-intensive Godzilla whose insolvency affects the entire economy. It’s been two decades since such a species last roamed the Israeli economic landscape, when holding company Koor, then Israel’s largest employer and carrying a heavy debt burden, was sold to private investors who turned it around while presiding over the biggest layoffs the country had ever seen.

Does all this mean that Israelis have become more economically responsible than the meltdown’s many protagonists, from the management of Bear Stearns to the government of Iceland? Of course not. Israeli real estate’s 10.8% appreciation during the first half, the steepest rise in the world, serves as a reminder that a critical mass of gamblers is still out there, ready to dive into the unknown with millions strapped around their waists. The question is where their leaders are while they climb the diving board.

In the past, Israeli leaders not only failed to block such divers, they joined them. Now they stand in their way, in this case by raising interest rates, and therefore also mortgage prices, and in another case, after a large bank made particularly ill-conceived deals abroad, by forcing its chief executive to resign.

So, after some two decades of prudent economic leadership, most Israeli managers, regulators and households behave as if inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s advice to work hard, save patiently, borrow responsibly and repay punctually, dictums that sociologist Max Weber later depicted as epitomizing the Protestant ethic that, as he saw it, gave rise to capitalism in general and American economic values in particular.

It remains to be seen to what extent America’s current leaders will uphold the financial ethic that until recently was seen as their mighty economy’s hallmark.

U.S. public debt is expected this year to reach 55% of GDP, roughly double its level a generation ago, and the U.S. budget deficit is expected to total $1.6 trillion this year and a cumulative $9 trillion over the next decade. Both threaten the dollar’s future as the world’s dominant currency. In addition, President Barack Obama is nationalizing ailing companies while demanding astronomic social spending without showing how it will be financed.

In sum, America seems headed in the opposite direction of the path Israel took from the economic delinquency of its youth, to the frugality that has now helped it emerge from a global recession almost unscathed.

 

“NO PEACE DEAL IS LIKELY UNLESS THE WEST STARTS LISTENING TO ORDINARY ISRAELIS”

Civil Fights: Don’t make me laugh
By Evelyn Gordon
The Jerusalem Post
Sept. 2, 2009

There must have been something in the air last month: Two prominent Israeli leftists publicly acknowledged fundamental problems in the “peace process” that will make a deal unachievable if not resolved.

Aluf Benn, Ha’aretz’s diplomatic correspondent, articulated one problem in an August 7 column describing a conversation with a “senior European diplomat.” Benn posed one simple question: How would a deal benefit ordinary Israelis? The diplomat was stunned. Wasn’t it obvious? It would create a Palestinian state! After Benn pointed out that most Israelis care very little about the Palestinians; they want to know how peace would benefit them, the diplomat tried again: “There would be an end to terror.” “Don’t make me laugh,” Benn replied.

When the IDF withdrew from parts of the West Bank and Gaza under the Oslo Accords, Israelis got suicide bombings in their cities. When it quit Gaza entirely, they got rockets on the Negev. But the bombings stopped after the IDF reoccupied the West Bank, and the rockets stopped after January’s Gaza operation. In short, the IDF has done a far better job of securing “peace” as Israelis understand it – i.e., not being killed – than the “peace process” ever has.

Normalization with the Arab world is also scant attraction, Benn noted; most Israelis “have no inherent desire to fly El Al through Saudi Arabian airspace or visit Morocco’s ‘interests section.’” And the downsides of a deal – financing the evacuation of tens of thousands of settlers and “the frightening prospect of violent internal schisms” – are substantial.

Benn’s conclusion from the conversation was shocking: Thus far, the international community has never thought about how a deal might benefit Israelis; that was considered unimportant.

But to persuade Israelis to back an agreement, he noted, the world is going to have to start thinking. For Israelis already have what they want most, “peace and quiet,” and they will not willingly risk it for “another diplomatic adventure whose prospects are slim and whose dangers are formidable.”

A week later, Prof. Carlo Strenger – a veteran leftist who, as he wrote, thinks “the occupation must end as quickly as possible” – addressed a second problem in his semi-regular Ha’aretz column. Seeking to explain why Israel’s Left has virtually disappeared, he concluded that this happened because leftists “failed to provide a realistic picture of the conflict with the Palestinians.”

For years, he noted, leftists claimed a deal with the Palestinians would produce “peace now.” Instead, the Palestinian Authority “educated its children with violently anti-Israel and often straightforwardly anti-Semitic textbooks,” failed to prevent (or perhaps even abetted) repeated suicide bombings in 1996, torpedoed the final-status negotiations of 2000-2001 and finally produced the second intifada.

But instead of admitting it had erred in expecting territorial withdrawals to bring peace, Strenger wrote, the Left blamed Israel: The 1996 bombings happened “because the Oslo process was too slow”; the talks failed because Israel’s offers were insufficient; the second intifada began because Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount.

In short, the Left adopted two faulty premises: First, “anything aggressive or destructive a non-Western group says or does must be explained by Western dominance or oppression,” hence “they are not responsible for their deeds.” Second, “if you are nice to people, all conflicts will disappear”; other basic human motivations, like the desire for “dominance, power and... self-respect,” are irrelevant.

Strenger concluded that if the Left “wants to regain some credibility and convince voters that it has a role to play, it needs to give the public a reasonable picture of reality.”

But the same could be said of the international community, which has also blamed every failure of the peace process on Israeli actions: settlement construction, “excessive force” against Palestinian terror, insufficient concessions, etc.

Though Benn and Strenger were ostensibly addressing different issues, they are closely related. Leftists reinforced the West’s habit of blaming Israel for every failure, because they are the only Israelis that Western politicians and journalists take seriously. And this habit contributed greatly to mainstream Israelis’ view of the peace process as all pain, no gain.

First, because the world placed the onus on Israel, Palestinians never felt any pressure to amend their behavior, whether by stopping terror or by making concessions on final-status issues vital to Israelis. Israel has repeatedly upped its offers over the past 16 years, but the Palestinians have yet to budge an inch: Not only will they not concede the right of return, they refuse to even acknowledge the Jews’ historic connection to this land.

Second, while Israelis care very little about relations with the Arab world, they care greatly about relations with the West. Thus a major attraction of the peace process was the prospect of enhancing this relationship.

Instead, Israel’s standing, especially in Europe, has plummeted since 1993. Europeans now deem Israel the greatest threat to world peace. Anti-Semitic violence in Europe has surged. European and American leftists routinely deny Israel’s very right to exist, and calls for sanctions and divestment are gaining momentum. All this would have been unthinkable 16 years ago.

And this nosedive in status is directly connected to the fact that every time something goes wrong with the peace process, most of the West blames Israel. Indeed, the fact that Washington (pre-Barack Obama) was the one exception to this rule goes far toward explaining why Israel’s standing remains strong in America.

Because this knee-jerk response has remained unchanged for 16 years, Israelis are now convinced it will continue even after a final-status agreement is signed: The moment Palestinians voice a new demand post-agreement or engage in anti-Israel terror, the West will insist that Israel accede to the demand or refrain from responding to the terror, and vituperate it for not doing so. In short, Israel is liable to make all the concessions entailed by an agreement and still see its relationship with the West deteriorate.

The bottom line that emerges from both Benn and Strenger is that no peace deal is likely unless both the West and Israel’s Left radically alter their behavior. The million-dollar question is whether anyone in either camp is listening.

 

HOLY CITY TWIST: ARABS MOVING INTO JEWISH AREAS

Holy city twist: Arabs moving into Jewish areas
By Ben Hubbard
The Associated Press
September 5, 2009

JERUSALEM -- Yousef Majlaton moved into the Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev for such comforts as proper running water and regular garbage pickup. But he represents a potentially volatile twist in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute over the holy city.

The hillside sprawl of townhouses and apartment blocks was built for Jews, and Majlaton is a Palestinian.

Pisgat Zeev is part of Israel’s effort to fortify its presence in Jerusalem’s eastern half which it captured in the 1967 war.

But Majlaton, his wife and three kids are among thousands who have crossed the housing lines to Pisgat Zeev and neighborhoods like it in a migration that is raising tempers among some Jewish residents.

It wasn’t so much the politics of this contested city that drew Majlaton to Pisgat Zeev, however; it was the prospect of escaping the potholed roads and scant municipal services he endured for 19 years while renting in an Arab neighborhood.

“You see that air conditioner?” he said, pointing to the large wall unit cooling his living room. “In the Arab areas, the electricity is too weak to run one that big.”

Majlaton, 50, says some Jewish neighbors are warming up to him, but the influx bothers others, who say they’re thinking of moving out or refuse to sell or rent to Arabs.

This is much more than a simple matter of real estate. Demographics could figure heavily in how Jerusalem is partitioned in a future peace deal. If that happens, it is expected the city will be split along ethnic lines – Jewish neighborhoods to Israel, Arab neighborhoods to Palestine.

Palestinians see east Jerusalem as their future capital. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vows the whole city will remain united as Israel’s capital.

Palestinians have long accused those among them who sell land to Jews of betraying their homeland, and last week similar language was heard from a group of rabbis. Meeting in Pisgat Zeev, they issued an edict denouncing Jews who sell land to Arabs as “traitors” and barring them from participating in communal prayers.

“This is a war, and if the Arabs conquer one neighborhood, they will conquer others and they will strangle the Jews,” said Hillel Weiss, a spokesman for the “New Sanhedrin,” which takes its name from the supreme court of ancient Israel.

In 2007, the latest year with available statistics, about 1,300 of Pisgat Zeev’s 42,000 residents were Arabs. In nearby French Hill, population 7,000, nearly one-sixth are Arabs, among them students at the neighboring Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Neve Yaakov, with 20,000 people, had 600 Arabs, according to the Israel Center for Jerusalem Studies, a respected think tank.

Weeks after the 1967 war, Israel annexed east Jerusalem with its major Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites in a move recognized by no other country. It continues to build housing in sensitive areas in defiance of U.S. protests.

Netanyahu says Arabs have the right to live anywhere in the city, and so should Jews, though the Old City’s Jewish Quarter is closed to Arabs.

Jerusalem’s mayor and city councilors are all Jewish. Almost all the city’s Arabs refuse to vote or run in municipal elections, saying that would be recognition of Israeli rule. But it deprives them of clout in competition for city spending.

Today, while west Jerusalem is overwhelmingly Jewish, the eastern half is an ethnic checkerboard. More than 180,000 Jews live there, most in places like Pisgat Zeev but also in enclaves in Arab areas. Nearly all the city’s 220,000 Palestinians live in eastern neighborhoods.

Ironically, much of the Arab migration was set off by the separation barrier which Israel started building through the West Bank in 2002 during a wave of suicide bombings. Its Jerusalem segment meanders to scoop up as many Jewish areas as possible and make several Arab neighborhoods a part of the West Bank.

The wall stranded tens of thousands of Jerusalem Arabs on the “West Bank side,” and many moved to Arab neighborhoods on the Jerusalem side for easier access to jobs and schools. But a housing shortage in those districts is pushing the overflow into Jewish areas, residents and real estate agents said.

These areas are “less crowded, you can live in a house, and there are streets, parks and places to play,” said Moukhless Abu el-Hof, an Israeli Arab lawyer who owns a home in Pisgat Zeev. “In the Arab neighborhoods, there’s nothing.”

Jewish resident Shlomi Cohen, 37, said the Arab influx made him sell up and move elsewhere in Pisgat Zeev. “If an Arab comes to live in the building and someone wants to buy and he knows there is an Arab there, he will not buy,” he said.

Yael Antebi, editor of the Pisgat Zeev community newspaper and a Jerusalem city council member, said Arab and Jewish teens sometimes brawl, Arab youth often harass Jewish girls, and parents fear their daughters will date Arabs.

Majlaton and his wife are both Hebrew-speaking Christians. He said his new neighbors cold-shouldered them when they arrived in 2002, but gradually became friendlier.

He said he has since helped about 30 Arab families to move in and gets calls from prospective renters almost every day.

While his primary motivation was quality of life, he says living in Pisgat Zeev is “a nationalistic act” – a way to cement Arab presence in the city of his birth.

He said Palestinian leaders should follow his lead.

“They should bring all the Arabs to Pisgat Zeev,” he said. “I’ll help them find homes one by one.”

 

TARIQ RAMADAN DISMISSED AND REPUDIATED

Tariq Ramadan repudiated
By Stephen Schwartz
The American Thinker
August 28, 2009

In an important development for the fight against extremist Islam in the West, the Dutch city of Rotterdam and Erasmus University Rotterdam have dismissed Tariq Ramadan, the Swiss-born Islamist academic, from his two local jobs.

Born in Switzerland, Ramadan is the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the radical Muslim Brotherhood. He is a close associate of the fundamentalist Muslim theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi, with whom he collaborates in the so-called European Council for Fatwas and Research [ECFR], a Brotherhood-oriented body. Al-Qaradawi is the leading theorist of a “European Islam” that would abuse Western standards of religious freedom by erecting a parallel system of Shariah law alongside established civil law, coupled with aggressive da’wa or Islamic proselytizing. Ramadan has endorsed this strategy. The ECFR scheme, and Tariq Ramadan’s involvement in it, are documented in the recent Center for Islamic Pluralism report, A Guide to Shariah Law and Islamist Ideology in Western Europe, 2007-2009.

Ramadan has been barred from entry into the U.S. since 2004, when he was invited by the University of Notre Dame to become the Henry R. Luce Professor at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. That ruling was based on Ramadan’s financial contributions to two Palestinian groups designated by the U.S. Treasury as fundraising agencies for the terrorists of Hamas. Early in July of this year, however, given the new atmosphere of outreach to Muslim radicals under President Barack Obama, the Second Circuit U.S. Appeals Court reversed the lower-court ruling, effectively nullifying the prohibition on an American visa for Ramadan.

Meanwhile, Britain in 2005 allowed Ramadan to take up a position at Oxford University, where he holds the His Highness Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Chair in Contemporary Islamic Studies.

Ramadan is an indefatigable self-promoter. Few who have observed him paid attention to his work in The Netherlands as an integration adviser for the city of Rotterdam and a professor of “Citizenship and Identity” at Erasmus University.

Yet while the U.S. authorities now seem inclined to allow him on our shores, and Britain appears untroubled by his presence - although the UK bars his associate al-Qaradawi - the Dutch have taken action to curb Ramadan’s ambitions.

His simultaneous dismissal from the Rotterdam city post and the Erasmus appointment was announced on August 19. The specific reason: his weekly television program on PressTV, an Iranian government media network which operates studios in Britain and the U.S. in addition, of course, to the Middle East. PressTV also employs British politician George Galloway of the leftist-Islamist electoral alliance known as the Respect Party, and Yvonne Ridley, a former captive of the Taliban who became Muslim after her kidnapping.

Ramadan’s PressTV show was titled “Islam and Life” -- not very different, one might note, from the notorious “Shariah and Life” feature run by al-Qaradawi on Al-Jazeera. Al-Qaradawi has used that platform for outrageous sermons against Jews and Judaism, among other objectionable opinions that support the British decision to keep him out.

In an official statement, Erasmus University stated:

“The Municipality of Rotterdam and the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) have decided to terminate the appointment of Dr. Tariq Ramadan... The reason for this is his involvement in the Iranian television channel PressTV, which is considered to be irreconcilable with his positions in Rotterdam...

“Press TV is a channel financed by the Iranian government. The excessive force used by this government in June against demonstrators, many of whom were students, prompted a number of journalists to cut their ties with the channel. However, Tariq Ramadan chose not to do so, and has since justified his decision in a statement... [T]here is no longer the essential public support for the contribution to the city and the university and... the credibility of Dr. Ramadan’s continued work for the city and the university has suffered lasting damage.”

Tariq Ramadan has always been extremely capable in his manipulation of Western public opinion, but the problematical items on his CV are not limited to his link with PressTV. As if his association with Al-Qaradawi were insufficient, Ramadan was also criticized in France in 2003 when he published a Jew-baiting attack on several leading French intellectuals, including Bernard-Henri Lévy and André Glucksmann. Ramadan claimed it was “curious” that that these two individuals were the most important Western European defenders of the Bosnian Muslims during the Balkan Wars of the 1990s, as well as of the human rights of the Chechens, but also supported the U.S. intervention in Iraq. According to Ramadan, the removal of Saddam Hussein was intended to guarantee “a greater security for Israel with assured economic advantages.”

In the same article, Ramadan falsely alleged that Israeli military advisers participated in the Iraq war, and labeled Paul Wolfowitz the “notorious Zionist” allegedly responsible for the invasion of Iraq in the interest of Israel. He accused Lévy and Glucksmann of abandoning universal principles and acting “as Jews, or nationalists, as defenders of Israel.” Publication of this screed was refused by the Parisian dailies Le Monde and Libération, but it was eventually posted on an Islamist website, www.oumma.com.

Tariq Ramadan hides his extremist views in plain sight. Why do the British and now, unfortunately, the American authorities fail to comprehend the evidence in front of them? The U.S. ban on him should be reviewed again... and upheld.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.