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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.

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, 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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WATCH: What happens when a racist Jewish soccer fan meets an Arab player?

A new show on Channel 2, “The Newsroom,” aired a short segment this week called “To the extreme,” where it brings two people together from different ideological backgrounds. This first week brought a fan from Beitar Jerusalem and a player from Bnei Sakhnin, a club from the Arab town in the Galilee of the same name.

Dudi Mizrahi belongs to La Familia, an extreme fan club of Beitar Jerusalem, one of the capital’s soccer teams. I’ve written about La Familia before, and I’ve heard people like Mizrahi speak like this for years. Decades. But not on prime time TV, where many Israelis got to see the face of the typical Jewish supremacist – of which there are many more than they think.

(Subtitles: Ami Kaufman)

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The top five most hypocritical Mandela eulogies by Israeli politicians

Israeli politicians have begun updating their Facebook pages with eulogies for the late Nelson Mandela. What do statesmen of the Jewish state – one of the last western countries to support the South African apartheid state and which today practices apartheid-like policies between the river and the sea – have to say about the man who brought racism to its knees? Here’s your definitive list (which may expand – I’ll update as the day goes on)

1) Naftali Bennett – Leader of the Jewish Home settler party

“Nelson Mandela
With his willpower he changed the world.
May his memory be a blessing.”


2) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – Ruler of the land between the river and the sea

“Nelson Mandela was one of the most exemplary figures of our time. He was the father of his people, a visionary, a freedom fighter who opposed violence. He set a personal example to his people through the years he sat in jail. He never became haughty.

He worked to mend the tears in South African society and succeeded with his personality to prevent outbursts of hatred based on racism. He will be remembered as the father of the new South Africa and as a leading moral leader.”


3) President Shimon Peres – Symbolic leader of the land between the river and the sea


4) Justice Minister Tzipi Livni – Represents and works for “justice” between the river and the sea.

“Nelson Mandela is gone. The death of a great leader and true warrior for human rights against the racism...

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By all means, François Hollande, fill that Middle East void

With the U.S. once again failing to forge peace in Israel-Palestine, why not give someone else a shot?

French President François Hollande with Israeli PM Netanyahu in Jerusalem, November 17, 2013. (Photo: Kobi Gideon / GPO)

There’s been quite a bit of talk lately on how France and Russia are attempting to exert more influence in the Middle East. The claim is that the U.S. has shown weakness in the region, and there is a void that needs to be filled. The most recent example of this so called “weakness” was Washington’s hesitant and clumsy reaction to recent events in Syria.

French President François Hollande is just wrapping up a visit in Israel and the West Bank. During the visit, Netanyahu hugged the man so often, one would hope they would just quit and get a room already. Hollande, visiting on the heels of nuclear negotiations in which he took a staunch position against easing up on Iran, was hailed as a hero by Netanyahu and his government.

But, to be honest, if Hollande and France are going to fill any void, it should be the void of leadership concerning the occupation. Because let’s face it, the U.S. “leadership” hasn’t brought any results. Au contraire: military rule has deepened, the settlements have tripled in size, not to mention that there are now Israeli ministers telling CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that there’s no occupation to begin with(!).

(And can someone please tell me what the deal is with Naftali Bennett holding things in his hand as he speaks (minute 6:50)?)

So, maybe it would be a good thing if France and some other Europeans finally got off their tushes and did something. Wouldn’t that be a good thing? Especially after 20 years of failed talks, and with the latest round deemed by many a failure already?

I say in that case, François, by all means! Come and fill the void!


Rumor has it Netanyahu has a new single out with his band, the Bibi Boys, about his hatred for Iran. +972 got hold of the lyrics, which were apparently co-written with Beach Boy Brian Wilson. I kid...

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Israeli rapper: 'First burn all jails with Palestinians inside, then destroy Jenin!'

The Facebook status on Subliminal’s page

One of Israel’s most popular hip-hop artists, Subliminal, was pretty angry after a Palestinian teen murdered an IDF soldier in his sleep earlier this week.

Subliminal posted a photo of the Palestinian, who was bandaged after apparently being roughed up during his arrest, and had some harsh words for the lad. Here are just a few of his choice phrases:

“… Now he’ll go into a jail in Israel like a hero! Will study a few degrees and get connected to all the heads of Palestinian terror groups…

Damn all those savages, we should burn the jails with all of them inside! And a second later we should destroy Jenin whose inhabitants gloat that they are the stronghold of terror against Israel…

Another embarrassing moment for me to be an Israeli! The people of Israel – wake up!

And all the lefties who hate what I wrote here – kill yourselves already! I wish what happened yesterday would happen to a relative of yours and you’ll wake up from the zany dream you’re holding on to and splitting and weakening my people!”

Needless to say, the comments were very supportive. But I’ll spare you those…

Instead, I’ll leave you with some of his wonderful, inspiring “music.”

Read more:
Palestinian family targeted by arson in ‘revenge’ for murder of Israeli

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Congressman Keith Ellison to +972: ‘The U.S. may not be able to mediate this dispute’

Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) (photo: Ami Kaufman)

“It has occurred to me that maybe the U.S. is not capable of mediating this dispute,” Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) told +972 Magazine this week, in response to a question on the failure of Israelis and Palestinians to reach a comprehensive peace deal after 20 years of U.S. mediated talks.

“It’s hard to mediate something when you say you’re on the side of one of the participants. But the facts are we’re actually also on the Palestinian side,” added Ellison, the first Muslim to be elected to U.S. Congress. “I don’t believe that America is a neutral broker, but I think it’s the best we’ve got. The problem is that there aren’t too many countries that are willing to step up to the plate. If Britain, France, Germany want to get in this, they can. I don’t think anyone is pushing them out of helping them solve this problem… [Furthermore] this conflict has a lot of American interest, because there are many Israelis with family roots in America.”

As he sat on his desk next to an open Qur’an, Congressman Ellison told of the high hopes he has for the latest round of talks and for Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent efforts to negotiate a deal. “I think that this latest round is good for pragmatic reasons: they got both sides to agree that for nine months – ‘let’s go at it’. I think you’ll agree that it was a big deal for Israelis when those 104 prisoners were to be released. Because some of those people had killed folks. But for the Palestinians this was also a big deal. These are people who were willing to risk it all for the sake of a Palestinian state,” says Ellison.

When asked about the fact that even during peace talks Israel continues to build in the West Bank, Ellison maintains that even though America disagrees with this policy, there is nothing it can do about it. “Do we have the power to stop it? I don’t believe that we do. Israel is a sovereign country that does what it wants. I don’t believe that Israel is a client state of the United States. Israel does as it pleases even when America...

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Dan Rather to +972: U.S. reporting on conflict is Israel-centric

The former CBS news anchor met with me and the rest of my colleagues in the World Press Institute fellowship for a candid talk about life, news – and even the Middle East.

Dan Rather (photo: Ami Kaufman)

It’s kind of strange to see up close someone who has been a familiar television face for me for decades. So, when Dan Rather looked me straight in the eye, I had to look around to see if everybody else was as starstruck as I was. I think they were.

Rather met with us for a candid chat on his career and insights for us Young Turks (some of us not so young, and even more, not very Turkish). He told us about his departure from the network (“I was too hot to handle”), his interview with Saddam Hussein (“He kept trying to hold my hand”) and more.

As expected, I just had to get an Israel/Palestine question in the middle of it all:

How has the coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict changed over the years?

On several levels there have been tremendous changes. But in my personal opinion – which I must add is frequently wrong – the basic narrative is remarkably unchanged. This basic narrative, in my opinion, is that Israel, which is a country in which we have no small responsibility in helping to create — President Truman recognized Israel — is an island of democratic government and freedom. It’s not the mirror image of us, but the closest there is. It is constantly threatened by any number of combinations of its neighbors. And that’s the primary, basic narrative which has not changed.

Now, I would make the argument, and I think a lot of American journalists would, that it hasn’t changed because the facts haven’t changed. But I’m very aware that there are other people with different opinions about that.

But in other ways it has changed. For one thing, I’m old enough to remember that it was very difficult to report from just about any Arab country. Now, there are many more countries you can go in to.

The other difference, having said that I don’t think the spine of the narrative has changed, is that Iran has emerged as probably the...

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Tel Aviv to Lake Wobegon: My heart is in the East

Southwest Minnesota (photo: Ami Kaufman)

Today is one of those days where I remember a poem by the famous Jewish poet of medieval Spain, Rabbi Yehuda Halevi. The first line of Libi Ba’Mizrach, probably his most famous work of art, is: “My heart is in the East, and I am in the uttermost West.”

Rabbi Halevi, of course, was speaking then of his yearning for the Holy Land. I, on the other hand, yearn for my family in Bat Yam.

As I was driving alongside the never ending fields of corn in southwest Minnesota this morning, all I could think of were two things: in just a few hours my eldest daughter will be starting her first day of school in first grade. I’m going to miss that important milestone.

Luckily, I manage to videotape each of my fellowship colleagues wishing Emma “good luck” in their native languages for her first day of school.

They’re a good bunch, and I’m lucky to have met them.

Secondly, the tension in Syria seems to be reaching a peak that could turn into a regional war at any given moment. If the US indeed attacks Assad, and it seems it will, there is a chance (albeit low) he will retaliate against Israel. It doesn’t seem likely, but if the Mideast is anything, it is unpredictable.

The West is also unpredictable. It believes that it’s more moral. That’s why it will stop Bashar from gassing his own men, women and children. But butchering them with good ‘ole fashioned bombs for two years is fair game. That’s OK.

I’m riding in the front of the van with my colleague from Russia, Vera, and we’re trying to find some news on the situation on the radio. Nothing. Every once in a while Vera gets some wifi connection and we get snippets. The State Department is about to release a statement. Surely this will be broadcast live, somewhere on the radio. Nothing. You would think a country on the brink of war would talk about this nonstop, but all we get is Christian rock stations.

Sometimes we get through to Minnesota Public Radio, a voice of sanity...

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Tel Aviv to Lake Wobegon: 'Wined and dined' in the lion's den

It was only two years ago that I was on the streets protesting corporate capitalism, and here I am being hosted by one of the most powerful organizations in the world (photos: Ami Kaufman)

“Life is full of twists and turns” has to be one of the more cliché things one can say, but that’s pretty much the way I felt as my shoes were sinking in the thick carpets lining the corridors of Cargill’s headquarters, situated in a lush French-style chateau outside the Twin Cities. It was only two years ago when I was an active participant in the #J14 summer social protests in Israel, sweating profusely in the Tel Aviv humidity with hundreds of thousands of my brothers and sisters, protesting the evils of corporate capitalism. It was the summer of #occupywallstreet, of #M15 and the Indignants in Spain. It was a summer that gave me hope.

In the picture above I am overlooking the largest demonstration ever to take place in Israel. Over 300,000 people took to the streets in Tel Aviv on September 3, 2011, and a total of 500,000 all over Israel. Seven percent of the population — the largest #ows demo that summer, percentage-wise — were screaming their lungs out that day. How many people is 7 percent in your country?

And here I am today, being wined and dined by a corporation that is most probably the epitome of what made me go to the streets back then. I’m embarrassed to say that I honestly had no clue about Cargill, which deals mainly with agricultural commodities, before I came to Minnesota (disclaimer: Cargill is one of many supporters of the WPI fellowship). One reason, I suppose, is that they have no business in Israel (probably one of the only countries they haven’t “visited” – yet). Seeing as how it’s the world’s largest privately held company – this is shameful on my part. Another reason is that they seem to be quite a low-profile company that’s mainly B2B (business-to-Business). But probably every reader here has consumed something that Cargill produced.

So, although my gut instinct is to despise a company the size of Cargill – it...

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