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'Forward' editor: Compare Israel only to Mideast states

Just because Sisi and Assad are close by doesn’t mean their disgusting policies seep through the border and infiltrate the Israeli system, poisoning our minds. Why not compare ourselves to countries we actually want to be more like?

I gotta tell you, I’m really tired of this.

I’m tired of Jewish right wingers in Israel and the U.S. who say things along the lines of, “Christians have it bad here? You should see what goes on next door in Syria and Egypt,” or things like, “you want to talk to me about human rights? Look at how Assad is butchering his own people, then come talk to me.”

Jane Eisner, editor in chief of the Jewish Daily Forward, did just that:

First of all – yes. But my question to Eisner and others who use this weak argument is this: why do you always compare Israeli policies to those in its nearby vicinity? If a country is in a certain region, it gets a green light to act in a certain way?

If one can only compare Israeli society to Egypt and Syria, does that mean one can only compare U.S. society to Canada and Mexico? Can one compare French democracy to Australian democracy, or is that way too far? Can British and American societies be compared, even though the Atlantic separates them?

Do Americans boast about the democracy in their country only in North America? Or do they compare it to the rest of the world (and try to teach others how to do it)?

Why can’t Israeli “democracy” be compared to Germany? To Ghana? To China? to India? To the Maldives? To Russia? To Finland?

What is this ridiculous obsession with comparing ourselves only to those that are geographically close, and not to those you actually want to be more like – even if they’re 10,000 miles away?

Actually, seeing as how it was all those cultured European Jews who founded the state and are still ruling it (as the Ashkenazi elite), shouldn’t Israel be compared to that continent?

Dear Jane Eisner: start comparing Israel to other countries you would like it to resemble more (maybe even your own!). Just because Sisi and Assad are nearby doesn’t mean their disgusting policies seep through the border and infiltrate the Israeli system, unbeknownst to us, and poison our minds.

Israeli policies are wrong. Period. Compare them and react to...

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WATCH: The warped narrative of a settler - and of mainstream Israel

My first post about the settler-turned-YouTube star Orit Arfa ”did very well” – meaning it got a lot of hits. After writing it I felt a bit ambivalent about my “achievement.” Was I giving her too much attention? Was I providing this person with a stage to promote her ideology of justified (in her opinion) colonialism?

Fortunately, I didn’t have to give it too much thought. I was convinced, and still am, that shedding light on people like Orit Arfa is good for the cause.

Because that’s how people get to know that this is not just a problem of “crazy national religious settlers.” It’s also the behavior and narrative of the middle class secular settlers of Ariel, and the typical Israeli center-right set of beliefs inside Israel proper.

It’s the narrative of government after government for decades. The fanatic settlers are simply emissaries, nothing more, executing the Zionist mission.

It is the narrative of a majority of the Jewish population in Israel/Palestine who still believe that after 66 years of occupation and having the most powerful military in the region, that they are still the victims.

So, that’s why I told Arfa back then “don’t stop.” Keep on doing whatever it is you do. Keep making the worst, most obnoxious, vile and racist videos you can.

And she has.

And I’m glad for that. Because she let’s me show you, the reader, the true face of this country.

(I only wish she’d stop tagging me in her tweets every time she posts one of her travesties.)

Here’s the latest installment, which she posted on her Times of Israel channel.

Enjoy.

Related:
Inshallah, the Jews won’t stop
Close your books! We’re having a pop quiz in Hasbara!
The IDF: Strong like… Turkish coffee? 




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By taking a step back, U.S. gives hope to Israel-Palestine

President Obama and Secretary Kerry’s statements on Thursday are the most important – and positive – development to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in decades. Now we’ll have to see if they leave the stage for good.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat address reporters on the Middle East Peace Process Talks at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on July 30, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat address reporters on the Middle East Peace Process Talks at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on July 30, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

After we all dealt with the surprising Hamas-Fatah unity deal for the past few days (is it good, is it bad?), the U.S. on Thursday gave the most important statement in President Barack Obama’s presidency concerning Israel/Palestine. Not only is it the most important, it’s probably the most positive development this region has seen since the Oslo Accords were signed.

It is the beginning of Washington leaving the stage.

For the past few months, Obama has been playing “bad cop,” showing little interest in an issue he saw as hopeless. Yet Secretary of State John Kerry, a.k.a. “good cop” (despite a few clashes with Netanyhu here and there), has been the one who claimed he will never give up.

Read +972′s full coverage of the peace process

But today, finally(!), they’re on the same page. First, Obama from Seoul:

And then the State Department:

As I wrote earlier, this current stream of events was a perfect chance, a perfect storm of sorts, for the U.S. to end its embarrassing, damaging handling of the conflict. The Washington-enabled occupation, with generous assistance from AIPAC, has deepened so much that the presence of apartheid in the West Bank can no longer be doubted. In all possible ways to measure success – the U.S. has failed miserably in bringing a solution to the region, or the sides any closer.

In fact, as the years went by the U.S. made things worse. It’s as simple as that.

It seems like the U.S. might be using this chance to...

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Carpe diem, America! Your chance to ditch the Is/Pal conflict is here!

President Barack Obama (White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama (White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Sometimes you just have to wait for the right opportunity.

It could be a sports game, where you wait for your rival to make a mistake.

It could be a blind date gone bad, where you wait for that phone call you planned earlier with your best friend.

It could be that windfall you needed to finally buy that house.

It’s always about a set of conditions that finally, at the right time, converge to make an opportunity.

That opportunity has come for the United States.

John Kerry has blamed the Israelis (or did he?) for the recent impasse. The Israelis are blaming the Palestinians, of course. And the Palestinians blame anyone they can (as they should).

It doesn’t really matter, since the whole blame game has no right to exist to begin with.

There is no way one can put equal blame on Israeli occupiers and occupied Palestinians. Were blacks to blame for Apartheid?

So blaming isn’t really important.

What’s important is the opportunity. This an opportunity for the U.S. to finish its job as “mediator.”

I put that word in quotes, since we all know the best mediator is one who is impartial.

The U.S. was never that.

In fact, in its 20 years as “mediator” under the framework of the Oslo Accords, the U.S. has not only failed in bringing the sides any closer – it has enabled the deepening of the colonization process in the West Bank on every front.

If the U.S. had been a CEO of an enterprise, the board of directors would have kicked it out the door years ago for horrific management and results.

So, the U.S. is bad at this. It’s really that simple.

It also has other things on its mind.

President Barack Obama has proved again and again that he is much more a domestic affairs leader than a foreign affairs one.

Israel has proven again and again that it is not truly interested in ending the occupation.

The media, wrongfully so, is playing it out as if both sides don’t want to fix this.

But who cares?

You shouldn’t, America. It makes you look good. It makes it look like it’s their fault (even though...

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Looking closely at Israeli eyes, to see if they know

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:My_eye.jpg

Lately I’ve been looking at Israelis closely.

I’ve been looking them straight in the eye, to see if they know.

If they have a clue.

Any clue.

About what’s in their future.

The not too distant future.

Most probably in the lifetimes of many of them.

I look at them closely.

And in particular places.

Places that are theirs, and theirs alone.

At least, what they think are theirs.

What they believe are theirs.

And I wonder to myself: do they know that soon they will have to share all this?

All this wealth, this land, these resources?

These rights?

Do they have any clue, that sooner or later, millions of people – who have been denied basic civil rights by them for almost 50 years – will be just like them?

Walking right next to them?

I look at the people I work with in the shiny, glossy buildings in the hi-tech hubs of our start-up nation and wonder: do they know that one day this will all belong to the “enemy,” too?

I look at them when I walk on the sunny boardwalks in Bat Yam and Tel Aviv. They look so happy. Do they know their kids will soon be running on the hot sands with young children from Tulkarem?

Are they ready for it?

Can they even grasp it?

Shouldn’t they start to?

Because that’s where this is going. Either a bi-national state, or a two-entity confederacy of some sorts.

But either way, the land will eventually be shared.

And rights will be granted.

So, I look at them, and I try to find some clue that they know where they’re headed.

Do they know that the water bill be shared?

That Yitzhak Tshuva will be stealing gas from a few more million people?

He already is, actually.

I look at them in the cafes. But most of them have Ray Bans or Gucci, so I can’t see their eyes.

I look at them in the posh shopping centers, sprouting like mushrooms in every town.

I look closely in their eyes at the airport.

I look at the security guards who won’t racially...

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Ladies and gentlemen, the prime minister of Israel: Mr. Iran Holocaust

I recently saw the above video of Prime Minister Netanyahu visiting a field hospital in northern Israel that treats the wounded from the war in Syria. As I watched, I realized something: there seems to be two recurring topics in the PM’s messages, two topics that are mentioned in just about every sentence he has uttered since taking office.

I requested an interview with the prime minister to ask him about his focus on those two things, and was surprised to get a “yes” from his office. So, here it is, +972 Magazine’s exclusive interview with the Israeli prime minister:

Ami Kaufman: Mr. Prime Minister, thank you so much for this interview, it’s a real pleasure.

Prime Minister: The Holocaust is all mine.

AK: Excuse me?

PM: I said, the Holocaust is mine, glad to have you.

AK: OK…

PM: 

AK: Anyway, let’s get started. Prime Minister, how are the negotiations with the Palestinians going these days? There seems to be a lot of pessimism in the air, is there something we should know?

PM: Iran.

AK: Iran?

PM: Yes.

AK: What about Iran?

PM: Holocaust.

AK: Excuse me?

PM: Holocaust.

AK: I see… Prime Minister, the cost of living in Israel is continuing to rise and putting huge stress on the middle class. Your government has basically done nothing to remedy the situation, what’s your response to that?

PM: Well…

AK: …Yes…?

PM: Iran.

AK: Iran is to blame for the cost of living.

PM: And the Holocaust.

AK: Iran is to blame for the Holocaust?

PM: …

AK: Sir?

PM: Iran?

AK: You don’t seem to be answering my questions.

PM: Iran Holocaust Iran.

AK: No, you’re not.

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Israel crosses the tipping point, becomes an economic liability

Over the past three months Israel has seen a surge in European firms adjusting their business ties with the Jewish State. The knee-jerk response of its politicians is telling: the point of no return has been reached.

Boycott Apartheid Israel sign at protest in al Ma'asara (activestills)

Boycott Apartheid Israel sign at protest in al Ma’asara (activestills)

There’s been a lot of talk lately about how the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement against Israel is gaining traction. It’s pretty much a fact no one can dispute – those three letters are seen more and more in just about every news item about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But there has also been some speculation about a certain “tipping point” concerning the campaign, and when exactly it will arrive.

That point has been reached over the past three months, based not only the number and weight of businesses imposing various sanctions, but also on Israeli reactions to them.

This Economist piece from February 8th has an excellent summary of some of the latest developments, mainly the decision of Denmark’s largest bank, Danske Bank, to blacklist Israel’s Bank Hapoalim due to its involvement in the funding of settlement construction; the decision of the Norwegian Ministry of Finance in January to exclude the Israeli firms Africa Israel Investments and Danya Cebus from its Government Pension Fund Global; and Dutch water company Vitens decision from December, which provides water to 5.4 million people in the Netherlands, to discontinue all joint ventures with Israel’s national water supplier Mekorot, in protest over the Israeli company’s operations in the West Bank.

The Economist also quickly mentions the Sodastream-Scarlett Johansenn affair –  which brought unprecedented scrutiny to the apartheid reality that exists in the West Bank. The Sodastream affair was one of the biggest smacks to the faces against the occupation in recent memory. I personally found my own Facebook feed full of many who were indeed aware of the occupation, but were extremely surprised to find that Israel and its businesses were using the good ol’ colonialist theme of “we’re good for the natives.”

However, Since the Economist piece was published, there have been some more developments – and more importantly, Israeli reaction showing real nervousness. Just this morning, Haaretz reported that boycott pressure has caused two foreign...

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Bennett goes berserk in response to facts in German

Leader of national-religious Jewish Home party Naftali Bennett (photo: Yotam Ronen / Activestills.org)

Leader of national-religious Jewish Home party Naftali Bennett (photo: Yotam Ronen / Activestills.org)

Jewish Home leader and Economics Minister Naftali Bennett could not stand it when European Parliament President Martin Schulz criticized Israeli policy earlier this week. But what ticked him off even more was that Schulz told “lies,” such as that Palestinians have less water than Israelis – and in German!

Apparently, Mr. Bennett can’t bear to hear facts, let alone in the German language. But to make sure, I met with the minister in the Knesset for a quick interview to check this thesis, with the help of Google Translate. The following is the transcript of our (imaginary) meeting:

Ami Kaufman: Mr. Bennet, thank you for taking the time to meet me.

Naftali Bennett: I’m not meeting you, you just barged into my office. Get the fuck out of here, you self hating Jew.

AK: I will, if I can just quickly ask you a few questions, I’ll—

NB: —Security!! There’s a leftist in my office!

AK: OK, OK, I’m going. I just want your response to this: “Die Welt ist rund”.

NB: Take that back. Take that back right away.

AK: “Zwei plus zwei gleich vier”.

NB: Security will be here any second, you better apologize for that one. Now!

AK: “Wasser gefriert bei null Grad Celsius”.

NB: Lies! Lies, I tell you!

AK: “Israel praktiziert Apartheid in der Westbank”.

NB: Get over here you—

AK: —Achhh… ugggg… you’re choking me… accchhhh…Mr. Bennet…

Related:
When reality becomes hate speech: President of EU Parliament visits Israel
In Israel, Holocaust obsession prevents real change

(This post is satire.)



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Israel's new motto: ‘Never trust a smiling Iranian’

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (World Economic Forum)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (World Economic Forum)

There’s something that’s bothering Israelis these days, besides the Iranian nuclear program. It’s the Iranian Smile Assault.

I’m not kidding. That’s what the Israeli government and Israeli media are labeling the appearances of Iranian officials in various international forums.

When it was Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the talks for curbing Tehran’s nukes, Israelis couldn’t stand the sight of him smiling. “The Smile Assault of Zarif,” the headlines shouted in Israel.

And just yesterday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani got the same treatment in the Israeli media. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the goal of the “regime of the ayatollahs hiding behind Rouhani’s smiles” is to ease sanctions without giving up nukes.

That’s right, never trust a smiling Iranian, folks. Because if an Iranian is smiling there’s obviously something behind it. It’s not just a smile because that person might like to… ummm… smile. Or happens to be a nice guy. Or thought something was funny at the moment.

Nope. Persians smile because they’re liars. They’re devious motherfu…

And that, folks, is racism.

An Israeli Racism Assault.

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U.S.: 'Ya’alon surprised us - Israel never bit the hand that feeds it before'

Anonymous sources in the Obama administration have told +972 magazine they have no clue how to respond to Defense Minister Ya’alon’s remarks about Secretary of State Kerry. (Satire)

President Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at Ben-Gurion airport (photo: Avi Ochayon / Government Press Office)

WASHINGTON — One day after Israeli Defense Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon said that Secretary John Kerry is “messianic and obsessed,” sources in the U.S. administration told +972 Magazine they “did not see THAT coming. Whoa.”

The source said that until now, Israel had always known its place on the totem pole. “They basically owe their existence to us, so that’s why they’ve always done what we’ve asked them to.”

“For example,” a senior White House staffer explained, “when we told them to stop building in the West Bank, they immediately brought the construction to a halt. To my recollection, this is the first time Israel has bitten the hand that feeds it. And that’s a no-no. We won’t take that sitting down. Nuh-uh.”

Another source said that, “seeing as how the relations between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu have always been so great, we’re surprised to suddenly see this attitude from Jerusalem. I mean, everything up until now has shown that Israel knows who’s running the show around here.”

Indeed, looking back at the relations between the two countries, Israel has over the years always shown the utmost respect and compliance with its “big brother” from the West.

Another senior administration in the Oval Office said that relations had grown even closer recently during efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear program. “I mean, we were totally in sync with these guys – what the fuck happened?” he asked.

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Israeli reality TV could not be further from reality

There’s been a string of victories for minorities on Israeli reality TV – does it mean anything?

There are probably a lot of people in Israel today who are really proud of their country. Last night, a Filipina cleaning lady won the final of the Israeli X-Factor – one of the highest rating shows in the country. Israelis are probably saying to themselves: “See, we just voted for a 47-year-old, lesbian Filipina – have you ever seen such a liberal and modern society?”

And, it’s not the first time Israelis have voted en masse for a minority figure in the top reality shows.

Sorry to rain on your parade, but the problem is that the love Israelis show for those people pretty much ends there.

I mean, Rose Fostanes had a pretty good night singing Sinatra.

But in the morning, Filipino children better be careful not to be taken from their homes, arrested and deported by Israeli authorities.

Sure, Tahuniya, the beautiful model of Ethiopian descent was a refreshing win for the Israeli version of Big Brother,

And another Ethiopian representative, Hagit Yaso, won a couple of years ago Israel’s “A Star is Born” (our American Idol),

And even though it’s not exactly a reality show, Titi Aynaw last year was anointed Miss Israel,

But let’s just hope all three of them won’t have any problems finding a place to live, since some neighborhoods in Israel don’t really like black people.

And how can we forget the amazing Lina Makhoul, a Christian Arab who dazzled us with her angelic voice in the Israeli “The Voice” and beat everyone at the finals.

Well, I don’t really have to tell you about discrimination against Arabs in Israel, do I?

Bottom line? Israelis love their minorities looking gorgeous and singing beautifully. Not when they demand their rights.

Related:
Home Field: Visiting agriculture workers in Israel, part 2


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According to the Pixies, the occupation has ended

Band canceled earlier performance – saying it would come back when things get better. Now they’re coming to perform in Israel. Is there something I should know?

The Pixies (photo: Bradalmanac/CC)


So, one of my favorite bands of all times, Pixies, has decided to come to Israel to perform.

The Pixies are the band of my late teens, army years and post-service days. I truly think they’re geniuses.

In 2010 they canceled their planned performance in Israel after the events of the Mavi Marmara, when Israeli commando forces killed nine activists aboard a Gaza-bound aid ship. Back then, they said in a statement:

I’m so happy that the occupation is over and that peace has come to this troubled land so that now the Pixies feel they can come.

I just wish someone had told me!


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Inshallah, the Jews won’t stop

How the ‘worst video ever made’ can help clarify things for people who are yet undecided about Israeli policies.

What you’re about to watch is, as Heeb Magazine correctly points out, the worst video ever made. It was apparently produced by Orit Arfa, who lives in the mega settlement of Ariel.

I’m sorry you had to go through that.

But here’s some more anyway:

Orit also has a way with words. In an op-ed she wrote for the Jewish Journal on Jewishjournal.com, she criticized Jeffery Goldberg’s critique of Miley Cyrus and said that “He makes Miley’s famous tongue look really short from the way he wields his own up the behind of Obama and his officials.”

Inshallah, I hope Orit keeps making this crap.

Inshallah, I hope she continues to write drivel.

And inshallah, as Orit hopes, the Jews won’t stop. Because the more you do these things, the more the world sees what assholes live here.

Inshallah, Jews will continue to pole dance on land stolen from a Palestinian. Don’t stop!

Inshallah, Jews will continue to twerk on tractors that just uprooted hundred-year-old olive trees that a Palestinian farmer has harvested for years, that his father harvested for years, that his grandfather, and great grandfather harvested way before you were born in L.A. and came back easily because of the Law of Return, while his Palestinian relatives are probably dying generation after generation in a refugee camp in Jordan somewhere. Don’t stop!

Inshallah, Jews will continue to come to springs in the West Bank that used to irrigate Palestinian farmland but can’t be reached now because a settler wants to get wet and lick stones in her bathing suit because that’s just what people do. Don’t stop!

Inshallah more Jews from Brooklyn, from upstate NY, from Jersey, from LA and more will go on Birthright tours and feel the love for apartheid and the need to come practice it themselves cuz it just ain’t the same discriminating through AIPAC from afar, they want to feel the segregation on their skin while telling everybody back home how cool it is to live in Start-up Nation. Don’t stop!

Inshallah, Orit, keep it up. Because the world is finally waking up to what’s going on here....

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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