* “Hardly a day goes by that The Financial Times doesn’t do a hit job on Israel”
* “The use of the word has become commonplace – Google ‘Israel and apartheid’ and you will see that the two are linked in cyberspace, as love and marriage are”
* “The Israel of today and the South Africa of yesterday have almost nothing in common. In South Africa, nonwhites were denied civil rights, and in 1958, were even deprived of citizenship. Israeli Arabs have the same civil and political rights as do Israeli Jews”
* Let’s substitute Israel Apartheid Week with Palestine Democracy Week
This dispatch is split into two for space reasons. The other part can be read here: Delegitimization is a genuine threat for Israel (and so is anti-Semitism).
1. Washington Post writers: The FT should stop its slurs on Israel
2. What Saudi apartheid? asks FT
3. “One wonders what the FT’s views were on the rescue of Jewish children from the Nazis”
4. The Financial Times and its demonization of “only one country: Israel”
5. A platform for racism
6. Pravda criticizes Dubai’s anti-Semitism, but British press has nothing to say
7. Let’s substitute Israel Apartheid Week with Palestine Democracy Week
8. Australian cops investigating Dubai passport case flee Tel Aviv accident scene
9. Michael Foot and Israel: Times have changed for the Left
10. “Israel is no more rogue than America’ (By Andrew Roberts, FT, March 3, 2010)
11. “The Dubai police chief’s outlandish claims” (By Jackson Diehl, Wash. Post, March 3, 2010)
12. “Israel has its faults, but apartheid isn’t one” (By Richard Cohen, WaPo, March 2, 2010)
13. “Another hit job by The Financial Times” (By Marty Peretz, New Republic, March 2, 2010)
14. “Israeli Apartheid Week: A festival of bigotry” (National Post editorial, March 2, 2010)
15. “Hamas: Jordan, Egypt behind Dubai hit” (By Tom Gross, National Post, March 2, 2010)
16. “Israel was not alone in wanting to ‘detonate’ the Hamas missile man” (Irish Examiner)
[All notes below by Tom Gross]
WASHINGTON POST WRITERS: THE FT SHOULD STOP ITS SLURS ON ISRAEL
I attach several articles concerning the delegitimizing of Israel in the form of “Israel apartheid week” – which is actually occurring this year over two weeks (March 1-13) and has spread to as many as 40 major cities throughout the world.
I also attach further articles dealing with the recent death of a senior Hamas terrorist in Dubai. (Please see here for past dispatches on this matter.)
Four of the articles below criticize The Financial Times for its editorial slurs on Israel. (Among past criticism of the FT’s record on Israel, please see item 5 here.)
For example, writing in The Washington Post, Jackson Diehl says: “In an interesting bit of jujitsu, an editorial in London’s Financial Times on Monday lamented what it claimed was the softer standard ‘wimpish’ European leaders apply to Israel for its ‘lawless behavior,’ not to mention ‘possible war crimes’ in Gaza.
“‘If, say Russia’s FSB, or Libyan agents, had carried out a killing… the discussion would have taken a different turn,’ huffed the FT.
“Well put – except, Russia did carry out a killing in Dubai, less than a year ago. The victim was Sulim Yamadayev, a former Chechen general, who was gunned down in the parking lot outside his apartment. Far from trying to disguise the crime, the assassin left behind a golden gun belonging to Ramzan Kadyrov, the gangster who rules Chechnya under the watchful eye of Vladimir Putin.
“To his credit, police chief Tamim tried to subject Russia to the same treatment he has given Israel… The difference, of course, is that the audience for a story about a Russian-sponsored assassination in Dubai is nothing like that for an Israeli hit… there were no angry editorials in the Financial Times…” (Full piece below.)
WHAT SAUDI APARTHEID? ASKS FT
Another of The Washington Post’s leading liberal columnists, Richard Cohen, writes:
“A recent op-ed on Israel in the Financial Times employs the word apartheid several times… Israel’s critics continue to hurl the apartheid epithet at the state when they have to know, or they ought to know, that it is a calumny. Interestingly, they do not use it for Saudi Arabia, which maintains as perfect a system of gender apartheid as can be imagined – women can’t even drive, never mind vote – or elsewhere in the Arab world, where Palestinians sometimes have fewer rights than they do in Israel.” (Full piece below.)
(Tom Gross adds: Please scroll down here for a photo showing Saudi apartheid in action.)
“ONE WONDERS WHAT THE FT’S VIEWS WERE ON THE RESCUE OF JEWISH CHILDREN FROM THE NAZIS”
Writing in The New Republic, Marty Peretz notes that “Hardly a day goes by that the Financial Times doesn’t do a hit job on Israel. The otherwise sober pink sheet has such an obsession with the Jewish state that I’ve come to wonder what its views were on the rescue of Jewish children into England during the Nazi onslaught on them and on their parents.”
Peretz criticizes not just the FT’s editorials but the paper’s news coverage: “Tobias Buck is virtually on call full time to twist Israeli reality into his own jaundiced view of Zionism. Last week in the FT, he came to conclusions about Israel’s diplomatic isolation which he himself had trumpeted. Since Buck is the paper’s Israel correspondent, all you have to do is pick up the daily or log on to its web site, and you’re almost sure to find the same story he wrote yesterday or last week and will surely write tomorrow.” (Full piece below.)
THE FINANCIAL TIMES AND ITS DEMONIZATION OF “ONLY ONE COUNTRY: ISRAEL”
Allowed a right of reply in The Financial Times itself, historian Andrew Roberts criticizes The Financial Times for being “violently critical of Israel in the wake of the assassination of the Hamas arms smuggler Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai on 19 January.”
Roberts says: “Far from having any colonial ambitions, Israel wants nothing more than to live peaceably within defensible borders. But equally it demands nothing less.
“… The reason that such double standards still apply – more than six decades after the foundation of the state of Israel – is not because of the nature of that doughty, brave, embattled, tiny, surrounded, yet proudly defiant country, but because of the nature of its foes. Even though one has to be in one’s seventies to remember a time when Israel didn’t exist, nevertheless there are still those who call the country’s legitimacy into question, employing anything that happens to be in the news at the time – such as this latest assassination – to try to argue that Israel is not a real country, and therefore doesn’t really deserve to exist.
“… Are Messrs Siegman and Gardner going to call into question America’s legitimacy? No, that insult is reserved for only one country: Israel.” (Full piece below.)
A PLATFORM FOR RACISM
The Financial Times website has allowed much anti-Semitic bigotry to be posted in the form of readers’ comments under Andrew Roberts’s piece.
Even The Guardian now makes some effort to remove from its website the kind of vile comments the FT has kept up by readers for some days now, despite complaints by the children of Holocaust survivors.
Comments use words like “filthy” and say Israel behaves worse than the Nazis.
PRAVDA CRITICIZES DUBAI’S ANTI-SEMITISM, BUT BRITISH PRESS HAVE NOTHING TO SAY
I also attach an editorial from the leading Canadian paper, The National Post, attacking Israel Apartheid Week (which originated in Canada, incidentally), and a piece of mine from last Tuesday’s National Post, pointing out that Hamas have again alleged that Jordan and Egypt were behind the Dubai assassination.
Will the British, French, German, Irish and Australian governments now summon the ambassadors of Jordan and Egypt?
In my piece I also point out that Dubai has even gone so far as to announce it will ban persons with Israeli (by which it presumably means Jewish) “features” (whatever that means) from entering the country.
Even the Russian publication Pravda has now criticized Dubai for this, saying: “Will the Emirates liken itself to the Third Reich and use rulers and protractors to measure the shape of the nose and the skull structure? If it does, the UAE will lose all of its friends in the West”.
Or perhaps not, since the European press (and in particular that in Britain, Sweden and Greece) which is so quick to condemn Israel, has nothing to say about Dubai’s new anti-Semitic policy.
Many newspapers have adopted themes or, in some cases, copied entire chunks of my writing in their editorials on Dubai. For example, an editorial by The Irish Examiner (reproduced at the end of this dispatch), takes several passages from my three previous dispatches on Dubai, though they do at least credit me at one point. Other papers copied large parts of my text, almost verbatim, without crediting me. I would request that journalists who copy passages from my dispatches in future follow the example set by The Irish Examiner and one or two other papers and cite me.
LET’S SUBSTITUTE ISRAEL APARTHEID WEEK WITH PALESTINE DEMOCRACY WEEK
Here is an extract from a previous dispatch on this list.
Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh wrote:
It is hard to see how organizing events such as “Israel Apartheid Week” on a university campus could help the cause of the Palestinians. Isn’t there already enough anti-Israel incitement that is being spewed out of Arab and Islamic media outlets? ...
Instead of investing money and efforts in organizing Israel Apartheid Week, for example, the self-described “pro-Palestinians” could dispatch a delegation of teachers to Palestinian villages and refugee camps to teach young Palestinians English. Or they could send another delegation to the Gaza Strip to monitor human rights violations by the Hamas authorities and help Palestinian women confront Muslim fundamentalists who are trying to limit their role to cooking, raising children and looking after the needs of their husbands.
Here is an idea: Let’s substitute Israel Apartheid Week with Palestine Democracy Week, where Palestinians would be urged and encouraged to demand an end to financial corruption and bad government.
(Khaled Abu Toameh, like Andrew Roberts, Jackson Diehl and Richard Cohen quoted above, are all subscribers to this email list.)
AUSTRALIAN COPS INVESTIGATING DUBAI PASSPORT CASE FLEE TEL AVIV ACCIDENT SCENE
Three Australian police investigators, in Israel to probe the apparent misuse of its citizens’ passports in connection with the Dubai assassination, have themselves become targets of an investigation into a hit-and-run accident in Tel Aviv.
Newspapers in Australia report that after leaving the Australian embassy in Tel Aviv, the car the policemen were traveling in struck an Israeli woman on a bicycle and continued on without stopping to assist the victim, who was slightly injured. No official complaint has been filed but the woman said she would like an apology and for the Australian government to pay for the repair of her bicycle wheel which was damaged. Neither an apology nor an offer of payment has yet been forthcoming from Australian authorities.
MICHAEL FOOT AND ISRAEL: TIMES HAVE CHANGED FOR THE LEFT
A small point in passing. Reading the obituary of former British Labour Party leader Michael Foot in yesterday’s Times, we are reminded that Foot (who died last week aged 96) said in 1947 that if he was a Jew in Palestine he would certainly join the Haganah. Together with another senior Labour politician Richard Crossman, Foot published a pamphlet attacking Ernest Bevin’s anti-Zionist policies, entitled “A Palestine Munich”. This is one more illustration of how much attitudes on the Left have changed over the years.
[All notes above by Tom Gross]
ISRAEL IS NO MORE ROGUE THAN AMERICA
Israel is no more rogue than America
By Andrew Roberts
The Financial Times
March 3, 2010
Is state-sanctioned assassination justifiable, or does it somehow de-legitimise the state that undertakes it? Two articles in this newspaper last week, by Henry Siegman and David Gardner, have been violently critical of Israel in the wake of the assassination of the Hamas arms smuggler Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai on 19 January.
Mr Siegman wrote of how “Israel’s colonial ambitions” and “checkpoints, barbed wire and separation walls” were “turning Israel from a democracy into an apartheid state”, thereby creating a “looming global threat to the country’s legitimacy”. Two days later Mr Gardner wrote of how Israel’s “militarist extroversion” over the Dubai murder demonstrated an “Israeli preference for instantly satisfying executive solutions to complex political and geopolitical problems” which would “widen the international battle-space for tit-for-tat attacks” and “encourage the perception that [Israel] is a rogue state”.
Both commentators are completely wrong. All that the Dubai operation will do is remind the world that the security services of states at war – and Israel’s struggle with Hamas, Fatah and Hizbollah certainly constitutes that – occasionally employ targeted assassination as one of the weapons in their armoury, and that this in no way weakens their legitimacy. As for the “separation walls” and checkpoints that one sees in Israel, the 99 per cent drop in the number of suicide bombings since their erection justifies the policy. There is simply no parallel between apartheid South Africa – where the white minority wielded power over the black majority – and the occupied territories, taken by Israel only after it was invaded by its neighbours. To make such a link is not only inaccurate, but offensive. If Arab Israelis were deprived of civil and franchise rights, that would justify such hyperbole, but of course they have the same rights as every Jewish Israeli.
Far from having any colonial ambitions, Israel wants nothing more than to live peaceably within defensible borders. But equally it demands nothing less.
Furthermore, rather than some kind of knee-jerk “preference for instantly satisfying executive solutions”, the decision to kill Mahmoud al-Mabhouh – assuming it was sanctioned, planned and carried out by Mossad alone, which is anything but clear at this stage – would have been minutely examined from every political and operational angle. Yet sometimes complex political and geopolitical problems do require the cutting of the Gordian knot, and this was one such.
When Britain was at war, Winston Churchill sanctioned the assassination by its Special Operations Executive of the SS General Reinhard Heydrich, the capture (and killing if necessary) of General Heinrich Kreipe on Crete; ditto Erwin Rommel. Just as with some Mossad operations, such as the disaster in Amman in 1997 when agents were captured after failing to kill Khaled Meshal of Hamas, not all Churchill’s hits were successful. But the British state was not de-legitimised in any way as a result.
The intelligence agents of states – sometimes operating with direct authority, sometimes not – have carried out many assassinations and assassination attempts in peacetime without the legitimacy of those states being called into question, or their being described as “rogue”. In 1985 the French Deuxième Bureau sank Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior trawler, killing photographer Fernando Pereira, without anyone denouncing France as a rogue state. Similarly, in 2006, polonium 210 was used to murder Alexander Litvinenko without Putin’s Russia being described as “illegitimate”. That kind of language is only reserved for Israel, even though neither Pereira nor Litvinenko posed the danger to French and Russian citizens that was posed to Israelis by the activities of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.
The reason that such double standards still apply – more than six decades after the foundation of the state of Israel – is not because of the nature of that doughty, brave, embattled, tiny, surrounded, yet proudly defiant country, but because of the nature of its foes. Even though one has to be in one’s seventies to remember a time when Israel didn’t exist, nevertheless there are still those who call the country’s legitimacy into question, employing anything that happens to be in the news at the time – such as this latest assassination – to try to argue that Israel is not a real country, and therefore doesn’t really deserve to exist. Real rogue states such as North Korea might be loathed and criticised, but even they do not have their very legitimacy as a state called into question because of their actions.
Those who wish to understand Israel’s actions and put them in their proper historical context should read Michael Burleigh’s cultural history of terrorism, Blood and Rage. Burleigh quotes a senior Mossad agent saying after the Munich Olympics massacre of 11 Israeli athletes: “If there was intelligence information, the target was reachable and if there was an opportunity, we took it. As far as we were concerned we were creating a deterrence, forcing them to crawl into a defensive shell and not plan offensive attacks against us.”
Is that attitude so very different from the pre-emptive targeted assassination of Taliban leaders that Nato carries out by flying drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan today? Yet are Messrs Siegman and Gardner going to call into question America’s legitimacy? No, that insult is reserved for only one country: Israel.
“THERE WERE NO ANGRY EDITORIALS IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES”
The Dubai police chief’s outlandish claims
By Jackson Diehl
The Washington Post
March 3, 2010
Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim, the police chief of Dubai, certainly knows how to milk a good story for all it’s worth. It’s now been six weeks since Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was found dead in his room in an airport hotel, and most of the world long ago concluded that Israel’s Mossad spy agency was responsible. Yet day after day Tamim continues to make headlines, dribbling out more details of the clumsy and not-so-clandestine operation and issuing grandiose pronouncements.
Today, for example, he was quoted as saying Dubai would issue an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Binjamin Netanyahu and Mossad chief Meir Dagan. Two days ago, he announced that Dubai would begin training immigration officials to spot Israeli faces and accents, so as to prevent citizens of the Jewish state from entering on third-country passports. That followed a press conference last month at which he said he was “99 percent, if not 100 percent sure” that Mossad was behind the killing.
The general has an eager audience for these repetitive and increasingly implausible declarations – especially in the Arab and European media, which revel in excoriating Israel for deeds those media routinely excuse or ignore when practiced by other governments. In an interesting bit of jujitsu, an editorial in London’s Financial Times on Monday lamented what it claimed was the softer standard “wimpish” European leaders apply to Israel for its “lawless behavior,” not to mention “possible war crimes” in Gaza.
“If, say Russia’s FSB, or Libyan agents, had carried out a killing… the discussion would have taken a different turn,” huffed the FT.
Well put – except, Russia did carry out a killing in Dubai, less than a year ago. The victim was Sulim Yamadayev, a former Chechen general, who was gunned down in the parking lot outside his apartment. Far from trying to disguise the crime, the assassin left behind a golden gun belonging to Ramzan Kadyrov, the gangster who rules Chechnya under the watchful eye of Vladimir Putin.
To his credit, police chief Tamim tried to subject Russia to the same treatment he has given Israel. At a press conference last April, he named the author of the crime as Adam Delimkhanov, a Kadyrov associate who is a member of the Russian parliament, and said he would ask Interpol for his arrest. It is, he said, “Russia’s responsibility in front of the world to control these killers from Chechnya.”
The difference, of course, is that the audience for a story about a Russian-sponsored assassination in Dubai is nothing like that for an Israeli hit. Relatively few stories were written about the Yamadayev case; there were no angry editorials in the Financial Times. Perhaps it’s needless to say that Delimkhanov and the other suspects identified by Dubai have not been arrested or extradited. As Shmuel Rosner summed it up in a dispatch for Slate: “The consequences for the assassins? None at all. For the Chechen government? None. For the deputy prime minister? None. For Dubai-Russian relations? None.”
It could be that, in the end, Israel too will suffer little from Tamim’s offensive. It will certainly be interesting to see if Dubai, a would-be regional entrepot sinking under its own debt, begins pulling aside travelers at its airport who it deems to resemble Israelis. For now, it seems clear enough that, for whatever reason, stories about the Mossad’s skullduggery are much more interesting to the rest of the world than tales about the Russian FSB --- or Libya, for that matter.
GOOGLE “ISRAEL AND APARTHEID” AND THEY ARE LINKED IN CYBERSPACE, AS LOVE AND MARRIAGE
Israel has its faults, but apartheid isn’t one of them
By Richard Cohen
The Washington Post
March 2, 2010
Toward the end of last year, Jimmy Carter apologized for some of his very harsh statements about Israel. In an “open letter to the Jewish community” – and with a vagueness that ill becomes him – he airily mentioned criticisms that “stigmatize Israel” but omitted his own contribution: the implication that Israel is, like the racist South Africa of old, an “apartheid” state.
Carter used the term in his book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.” It could be argued that he meant the label to apply only to the West Bank, but even so the use of the term was incorrect and deliberatively provocative. Carter was waving the bloody shirt of racism, and he knew it.
What can be said about others who apply the term to Israel in general? No apology has come from them – and the way things are going, none will be forthcoming. The use of the word has become commonplace – Google “Israel and apartheid” and you will see that the two are linked in cyberspace, as love and marriage are in at least one song. The meaning is clear: Israel is a state where political and civil rights are withheld on the basis of race and race alone. This is not the case.
The Israel of today and the South Africa of yesterday have almost nothing in common. In South Africa, the minority white population harshly ruled the majority black population. Nonwhites were denied civil rights, and in 1958, they were even deprived of citizenship. In contrast, Israeli Arabs, about one-fifth of the country, have the same civil and political rights as do Israeli Jews. Arabs sit in the Knesset and serve in the military, although most are exempt from the draft. Whatever this is – and it looks suspiciously like a liberal democracy – it cannot be apartheid.
The West Bank, more or less under Israeli military rule, is a different matter. But it is not part of Israel proper, and under every conceivable peace plan – including those proposed by Israeli governments – almost all of it will revert to the Palestinian Authority and become the heartland of a Palestinian state.
Yet Israel’s critics continue to hurl the apartheid epithet at the state when they have to know, or they ought to know, that it is a calumny. Interestingly, they do not use it for Saudi Arabia, which maintains as perfect a system of gender apartheid as can be imagined – women can’t even drive, never mind vote – or elsewhere in the Arab world, where Palestinians sometimes have fewer rights than they do in Israel.
A recent op-ed on Israel in the Financial Times employs the word apartheid several times. Some of the time it seems to be applied to the West Bank, but other times it is applied to Israel proper. Either way, this shoe doesn’t fit. (Security concerns are not rooted in racism.) The author of the piece is Henry Siegman, a harsh critic of Israeli policies and a former executive director of the American Jewish Congress, so anti-Semitism is not the issue here – just sound judgment. Sometimes impatience can lead to imprudence.
But anti-Semitism is not so easily dismissed with others. This is “Israeli Apartheid Week” on campuses across the world, and it is clear that what furiously animates many of the protesters are not legitimate grievances but imaginary ones. Israel is not above criticism and the Palestinians have their case, but when that case is constructed out of lies about the Jewish state, it not only represents a wholly unoriginal cover of some old anti-Semitic ditties but also denigrates the Palestinian cause. It does not need lies.
As for Israel, its critics do it no good when they couch their criticism in insults. Years of this sort of stuff have made Israel tone-deaf to legitimate criticism and exasperated with any attempt to find fault. That’s why Israel refused to cooperate with the South African jurist Richard Goldstone when, on behalf of the United Nations, he looked into alleged war crimes. The United Nations had once equated Zionism with racism. After that, it was hard to care what the United Nations thought.
To Carter’s credit, he must have understood that a hunk of his audience had stopped listening. He was right to apologize, wrong not to have been more specific and a bit late in appreciating the damage he’s done. Israel has its faults, (don’t get me started), but it is not motivated by racism. That’s more than can be said for many of its critics.
“HARDLY A DAY GOES BY THAT THE FINANCIAL TIMES DOESN’T DO A HIT JOB ON ISRAEL”
Another hit job by The Financial Times
By Marty Peretz
The New Republic
March 2, 2010
Hardly a day goes by that the Financial Times doesn’t do a hit job on Israel. The otherwise sober pink sheet has such an obsession with the Jewish state that I’ve come to wonder what its views were on the rescue of Jewish children into England during the Nazi onslaught on them and on their parents.
Tobias Buck is virtually on call full time to twist Israeli reality into his own jaundiced view of Zionism. Last week in the FT, he came to conclusions about Israel’s diplomatic isolation which he himself had trumpeted. Since Buck is the paper’s Israel correspondent, all you have to do is pick up the daily or log on to its web site, and you’re almost sure to find the same story he wrote yesterday or last week and will surely write tomorrow.
Sometimes the FT sinks so low that it will even ask Henry Siegman, a dreary old Jewish bureaucrat who found glory in being asked to speak at gentile soirees and left-wing “getting-to-yes” talkfests, to write. So, on the very same day, Siegman picked up Buck’s theme and argued that “for Israel, defiance comes at the cost of legitimacy.”
Both of them wrote on the occasion of the killing – very plausibly by the Mossad – of a Hamas terrorist. He was smothered in his hotel room a month ago. But the anti-Israel crowd can’t let up. And the FT has dismissed his importance by calling him “a Hamas gun-runner in Dubai.” This is so far from the truth that it is actually laughable. He was a murderer, a certified murderer, and is an official of the far-flung Hamas movement, which specializes in the murder of Israelis. He is more than a gun-runner. But even gun- running for Hamas, recipient of military hardware from Iran and Syria, cannot be seen with indifference by Jerusalem.
Which brings me to another FT habit that I’ve written about before. The paper simply refuses to name Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. But it’s much worse than that. The Financial Times writes about the “government in Tel Aviv.’ This is not just weird. It is a lie. The FT wants to rewrite the history of the Middle East. If it can’t tell the truth about a simple geographical fact, on what, pray tell, can it be trusted?
A FESTIVAL OF BIGOTRY
A festival of bigotry
Israeli Apartheid Week is a disgrace that our leaders are correct to denounce
The National Post (Canada)
March 2, 2010
Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), which began on Monday on dozens of university campuses, is an odious and bigoted annual ritual. While organizers bill it as an exercise in “Palestine solidarity,” it typically features rabid expressions of hatred against Israel and its Jewish inhabitants. As a general principle, it goes without saying that criticism of Israel is not automatically tantamount to anti-Semitism. But the atmosphere at some IAW events blurs the line – with extremist speakers whipping crowds into the sort of frenzy one more usually sees in newsreel footage from the streets of Cairo or Gaza City. As a result, many Jewish students often report feeling intimidated on their own campuses.
In its very conception, IAW is offensive for two related reasons. First, it directs participants to vilify a single country, an inherently bigoted exercise. Unlike, say, “anti-racism week” or “diversity awareness week,” IAW does not champion a concept – rather, it targets a particular group of people defined by religion and citizenship. Second, it does so with a false and poisonous analogy between Israel and apartheid-era South Africa. Taken together, the combined message is more or less the same one communicated by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hamas – that Israel is a uniquely evil and fundamentally illegitimate nation. While IAW speakers generally are careful not to call for Israel’s destruction explicitly, they don’t need to: That message follows naturally from the claim that the nation is fundamentally illegitimate.
Defenders of IAW will protest this description and insist they are merely human rights advocates looking to protect Palestinians from Israeli predation. (They will even trot out a few self-hating Israelis and left-wing Jewish rabbis to prove their point.) But if that is so, then why do these same advocates ignore the dozens of other nations whose human rights records are far worse than Israel’s? Where is, say, North Korean Gulag Week or Zimbabwean Idi Amin Week?
Nowhere, because IAW types don’t care about human rights. They care about smearing the Jewish state.
In recent years, some Jewish leaders have urged university administrators to ban IAW. That’s a bad idea. Obviously, the powers that be must ensure that everyone on Canadian campuses feels safe, and that truly criminal hatemongers from overseas are kept out of the country. But otherwise, in a free society, the antidote to toxic speech isn’t censorship; it’s intelligent speech.
That’s why we applaud Ontario MPP Peter Shurman, who has successfully tabled a motion to denounce IAW. The motion received unanimous support from all 30 of the MPPs who were present when it was introduced – including, to our surprise and delight, those from the NDP. “What we need to build peace ... are not inflammatory words like ‘apartheid,’ particularly used inappropriately in the case of Israel,” NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo told the Toronto Star. “What we like to speak about is the occupation [of Palestinian territory], the [security] wall, other issues that face us.”
We suspect that this newspaper doesn’t have a lot of common ground with Ms. DiNovo when it comes to the “occupation” of the West Bank. But whatever our differences, we’re glad to see that she is responsible about recognizing proper rhetorical boundaries on this issue – something left-wing Canadian politicians have not always done.
Mr. Shurman’s motion is part of a larger move toward support of Israel among Canadian politicians. In May, Dalton McGuinty will take part in a trade mission to Israel – an unprecedented move for an Ontario premier since the 2000 Intifada broke out.
Last week, Conservative MP Tim Uppal announced that he would soon introduce a motion declaring “that this House considers itself to be a friend of the State of Israel; that this House is concerned about expressions of anti-Semitism under the guise of ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’; and that this House explicitly condemns any action in Canada as well as internationally that would equate the State of Israel with the rejected and racist policy of apartheid.” On Monday, Michael Ignatieff declared that Israeli Apartheid Week “should be condemned unequivocally and absolutely.” Even Jack Layton has kept a tight lid on the anti-Zionists in his party. As a result, anti-Israel activists – including not only the IAW crowd, but also those who campaigned against last year’s Israeli-themed Toronto Film Festival – have been shunned, or even denounced, by politicians.
This is the proper response to hatemongers in general, and the IAW crowd in particular. Campus revolutionaries can rail against Israel as much as they like – it’s a free country. But our elected officials must send the message that their campaign is an affront to Canadian values.
HAMAS: JORDAN, EGYPT BEHIND DUBAI ASSASSINATION
Hamas: Jordan, Egypt behind Dubai assassination
By Tom Gross
The National Post
March 2, 2010
Over the past two weeks, much of the world media has been engrossed with the story of the assassination of a senior Hamas terrorist in Dubai. (See past dispatches for background.)
Almost all western media have rushed to blame Israel (without any concrete evidence at all), resulting in Israeli ambassadors being summoned by the governments of Britain, France, Germany, Ireland and Australia. French President Nicolas Sarkozy called the killing an “outrage”.
Yesterday Dubai even went so far as to announce it will ban persons with Israeli (by which it presumably means Jewish) “features” (whatever that means) from entering the country.
But today the Al-Quds Al-Araby daily reports, according to Reuters, that Hamas suspects the security forces of Jordan or Egypt of being behind the assassination. Mahmoud Nasser, a member of Hamas’ bureau, told the newspaper that slain commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was in possession of information “dangerous” to the Jordanian and Egyptian regimes.
So much for the hysterical way many western journalists and governments rushed to blame Israel.
The right-hand man of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, Damascus-based Mohammed Nassar, has also now told Hamas’s Al-Aqsa Radio in Gaza that “the security forces of an Arab country were behind the killing.”
“IRELAND BEHAVED AS THOUGH IT WERE AN OPEN AND SHUT CASE”
Israel was not alone in wanting to ‘detonate’ the Hamas missile man
By Stephen King
The Irish Examiner
March 3, 2010
I was in Dubai at the weekend. Nice enough place if you like that kind of thing: glitzy, a bit soulless, but after the weather we’ve been having at home, who’s complaining?
Well, some of the people who live there without any say in the way it’s run actually. But if you ask no questions, the Emiratis won’t ask you any either. You get the picture.
That’s why Mahmoud Mabhouh dropped by presumably. No one quite knows why he was there. Some say he was also just passing through; others that he was buying arms. He was one of the military leaders of Hamas, after all. We don’t know. Nor do we know which of his five passports he was travelling on.
Only one thing is for certain: he left his hotel room in a body bag. Much of the Irish media, without much in the way of evidence, has jumped to the unreserved conclusion that his assassination was a Mossad operation.
Certainly, RTÉ’s Primetime last Thursday behaved as though it were an open and shut case. Maybe it was: the Israelis, as usual, are not commenting one way or the other. They are just glad he’s gone.
That’s hardly surprising. Mabhouh’s crimes date back at least as far as 1989 when he masterminded the kidnapping and murder of two young Israelis.
In more recent years, he played a key role coordinating the smuggling of missiles and other weapons from Iran to Gaza. These have been used to kill and maim dozens of civilians.
But looked at from the perspective of the Middle East, rather than Donnybrook, it seems a whole lot of people – not just the Israelis – wanted Mabhouh out of the way.
Hamas themselves don’t seem sure who killed Mabhouh. Some of their officials are pointing the finger at one or other of the Arab governments. He was wanted by the authorities in Jordan and Egypt, for instance.
Some Arab media have reported that the operation against Mabhouh may have been carried out by a rival Palestinian group; others that Dubai’s intelligence services tipped off the Jordanians. There has also been speculation that (Sunni) Saudi Arabia has an interest in limiting the regional power of (Shia) Iran and its proxies.
Who knows, perhaps his untimely death was due to a split within Hamas? They, presumably, knew his whereabouts and his plans at all times, as did the Iranians. The Syrians too – he had flown in from Damascus. Frankly, any Arab government trying to avoid a repeat of last year’s war in Gaza had an interest in bumping off Mabhouh. But, rather than keeping an open mind, governments in Europe have been egged into behaving as though only Israel is in the frame. The Israeli ambassador was invited by Iveagh House for a (not very enlightening) chat and, for sure, just because the Israelis have not said that they did it doesn’t mean for a minute that they weren’t responsible.
As political commentator Tom Gross points out, the Dubai authorities themselves have not actually provided any forensic evidence that points to Israel, just a series of photos and videos of random hotel guests.
Besides, the persons shown in these images are not shown committing any crime. Nor has anyone come forward and said they recognise any of these people. To be honest, finding and adopting the identities of a few Israelis would not be very difficult. Any government’s intelligence arm could have done this in the hope Israel would be blamed and attention diverted away from the true perpetrators.
Still, you can understand why the Dubai authorities are not happy about the killing of a Hamas senior military commander in one of their hotel rooms. The United Arab Emirates tries to stay out of the Arab-Israeli conflict. There, money is all and it doesn’t matter whose it is: unlike most Arab countries you can fly in with an Israeli stamp on your passport.
But it does make you wonder. There is an almighty stink about “passport fraud”, but no western government has much to say about the fact that the terrorist in charge of illegally smuggling missiles from Iran to Hamas apparently had an open invite to hang out in Dubai. Funny that, isn’t it?
Given the degree of rumpus you could be forgiven for thinking Mabhouh was some UN official or a foreign statesman. On the contrary, he lived by terrorism. He could hardly complain when a hit squad brought his life to a swift end. To say he had it coming is an understatement.
Yes, Dubai needs to carry out its investigations and the issue of passport security needs to be looked at, but is such a fuss strictly called for?
Mabhouh was on a mission to acquire Iranian weapons for use against civilians. He was a combatant. Unlike his victims, he was fair game for whoever crept into his hotel room that night.
In fact, as a combatant he would even have been fair game for Israel if they had killed him by means of an air strike on Gaza. It does not violate international law to kill a combatant, regardless of where the combatant is found, whether he is awake or asleep and whether or not he is engaged in active combat at the moment of his demise.
But Mabhouh was not killed in Gaza. He was killed in Dubai. It is against the law of Dubai for any foreign agent to kill a combatant while he is in Dubai. So the people who engaged in the killing presumptively violated the domestic law of Dubai.
Obviously, it would have been better if Mabhouh could have been captured and put on trial. But so long as he stayed out of Israel proper, what chance was there of that?
WOULD the Irish, British, French or Australian governments – let alone any Arab government – have issued arrest warrants and extradited Mabhouh to Israel? With what consequences for their own security? This case is merely the latest example of the failure of the international legal system and the UN to provide a remedy to mass terror.
The world is full of cold-blooded murderers but international law provides no means for stopping the likes of Mabhouh.
So, if Israel took him out it’s because they had just two options: turn a blind eye to his murderous activities or kill him, preferably without harming any of the civilians around him. That’s ‘proportional’.
If Israel was responsible – and that allegation has to be treated with plenty of caution – it would be an indication of how strongly Israel feels it was between a rock and a hard place.
All the governments have in effect told the Israelis they cannot defend themselves when attacked by missiles from Gaza so perhaps they decided they had no choice but to try and prevent those missiles reaching Gaza in the first place.
Whoever wiped out Mabhouh, it was a daring operation. True, they got filmed but they got into Dubai, killed Mabhouh and got out. No drama, nobody captured, and nobody knows who the team were or where they are now.
And Hamas has been shown that their people aren’t safe anywhere – even in the heart of the Arab world. A sloppy miscalculation? I’m not so sure.