Monthly Archives: May 2013

Recognizing Hezbollah as a terrorist group

May 31, 2013

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Rebecca Pritzker:

 “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” –George Orwell

On September 20th, 1984, Hezbollah—the terrorist group based in Lebanon and that is a proxy to Iran—targeted the United States embassy annex in Beirut. The car bomb that the organization planted killed two Americans and twenty-two other individuals.

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In one day’s time, Hezbollah caused the deaths of twenty-four human beings—which is only a fraction of the total murders for which the group is responsible. The September 20th attack is but one example of the organization’s brutal acts.

Hezbollah’s manifesto even states its goal to eliminate Israel, along with itIndeed, since its establishment in 1982, Hezbollah has committed numerous acts of terror, including kidnappings, plane hijackings, bombings, rocket firing, and attacks on United States army quarters.

Hezbollah’s manifesto even states its goal to eliminate Israel, along with its refusal to adopt any mutual peace treaties or cease-fires.

Just last year, in fact, on July 18th, 2012, a bus transporting Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria was bombed. The attack killed five Israelis, one Bulgarian, and injured many others. In February, the interior minister of Bulgaria said that two of the culprits were thought to be members of Hezbollah’s military wing. Just last month, Europol, the police body of the European Union, concurred.

Moreover, three months ago, a criminal court in Cyprus convicted Hossam Taleb Yaacoub for plots targeting Israeli tourists. Yaacoub confessed to his affiliation with Hezbollah and to tracking Israelis in the country. The court explained that his actions put both Israelis and others at risk.

Nonetheless, despite Hezbollah’s ongoing perpetration of acts of terror, few countries officially consider the group a terrorist organization.

According to an IDF Blog Post featured on the Terrorist Organizations page of the CAMERA on Campus website, “Call Hezbollah What It Truly Is – a Terrorist Organization”, “Europe is currently debating placing Hezbollah on its list of global terrorist organizations. Hezbollah meets all the criteria to be defined as a terrorist organization: suicide bombings, using civilians as human shields, and arms-smuggling.” It was not until about two months ago that the parliament of Bahrain formally recognized Hezbollah as such. By doing so, Bahrain joined America, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Egypt, Australia, and select other countries that call Hezbollah the title that it has earned since its establishment.

Why, then, would recognizing the group as a terrorist organization require “debate’?

In George Orwell’s poignant words, Bahrain’s recent decision to do so—along with the decisions of other countries prior—is a “revolutionary act.” It is time that others join the revolution and follow suit.

The Forgotten Refugees

May 30, 2013

On April 18, our CAMERA Fellow at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Max Heller hosted a screening of The Forgotten Refugees on his campus.

The documentary film reveals the story of the approximately 700,000-1,000,000 Jews who were persecuted and expelled from the Arab and Muslim countries in which they lived during and after the founding of Israel.  These Jews were forced out of their homes, and were made to abandon millions of dollars in property and possessions to illegal confiscation by their host countries.  Manyforgottenrefugees Jewish refugees made their way to Israel and were absorbed, but the truth of their expulsions is infrequently discussed in media.

As Max wrote, “I wanted to open students’ eyes to a side of the [Arab-Israeli] conflict that is often neglected, which is the fact that there are Jewish refugees [from Arab and Muslim countries] living around the world.  Much is made of Palestinian refugees in Israel, but few people pay attention to the fact that many Jews lived around the world under brutal conditions.”

Max screened the film to 30 interested students, many of whom had never attended an Israel-related event before.  After the screening, the students heard from an Israeli journalist and author, Ben-Dror Yemini, who spoke via Skype about his family’s exodus from Yemen.  Max reported, “Students were highly engaged in the film and listened intently to Ben-Dror’s story.  Many were genuinely surprised that this Jewish refugee issue even existed.”

Watch the documentary below or order a high quality DVD here:

Israel: The Modern Canary

May 29, 2013

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Rebecca Pritzker (en español)

In the early ages of mining, coal miners brought canaries with them into the depths of the cavernous mines. As they mined, the brightly colored birds sang, filling the otherwise gloomy caves with cheerful song. As long as the birds continued to sing, the miners knew that they were safe.

When the canaries became silent, however, the miners knew that methane, carbon monoxide, or other harmful substances were entering their workspace, meaning they needed to evacuate as soon as possible.

And so, for the early miners, canaries served as a symbol of what was to come.Canary

The State of Israel is often considered a canary in a coalmine, from a global perspective.

When Israel—the lone democracy in the Middle East—is threatened, other countries and individuals who share her western ideals will soon face threats, as well.

Immediately after Israel’s reestablishment in 1948, five nearby Arab countries attacked her, refusing to welcome the renewed state into the region. This war set the stage for years of hostility that Israel has faced from her Arab neighbors.

Life in Sderot, Israel exemplifies this very hostility. For years, citizens of the city have endured an almost daily onslaught of rocket fire from Hamas, the governing body in Gaza. When Sderot children run to shelters, they often sing in order to drown out the terrifying explosions with cheerful song, much like the canaries in the mines.

And indeed, within the past decade or so, westernized countries around the world have faced increased terrorism.

Here in America, for example, as soon as the airplanes hijacked by Al Qaeda terrorists destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center—icons of the New York City landscape—America fundamentally changed. Countless individuals were killed and injured. And all citizens of the United States learned what it means to face terror.  Sderot_boys

More recently, Boston faced terror for the very first time when two brothers who had lived in America decided to target the Boston Marathon. The bombs that they planted killed three civilians and seriously injured countless others, some of whom are still recovering from the trauma.

And just yesterday, Islamic terrorists murdered a British soldier donning a “Help for Heroes” T-shirt. They first hit the soldier with their car, and they proceeded to maim him with knives and meat cleavers.

These instances are only a sampling of the terrorism that has occurred around the world in recent years.

The chilling contrast between the benevolent message imprinted on the British soldier’s shirt and the malevolent acts of his extremist attackers, though, is a microcosm of the ongoing disparity between the acts of terrorists and the values of their victims.

Indeed, Israel, the United States, and England alike value liberty, freedom, diversity, and varied forms of democracy. These ideals unite them, especially in the face of terrorism.

In their op-ed, “Moral Nations Stand with Israel,” Mia Appelbaum, Michael Harris, and Blair Hart Newman express the importance of supporting Israel in her commitment to moral ideals. In their words, Israel is “a light unto the nations that can, and will, protect itself and all innocent civilians from the horrors of war.”

Despite mounting terrorism, Israel continuously upholds her unequivocal moral code.

And so, Israel deserves the support of those who share her ethical values, as Mia Appelbaum, Michael Harris, and Blair Hart Newman poignantly explain. Only then can like-minded countries, organizations, and individuals begin to fight the rise of terror.

For generations, Israelis have sung “Am Yisrael Chai,” The Nation of Israel Lives. The song celebrates years upon years of the nation’s prosperity—and, therefore, the perpetuation of the values that Israel, along with her western allies, hold dear.

Let’s just hope that the champions of ethics will sing together, united as allies, with Israel—the canary—leading the way.

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This piece has since been picked up by the Connecticut Jewish Ledger. Read it here.

Spoon Feeding

May 28, 2013

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Rachel Wolf:

In the United States and other western democracies, children’s educational TV largely features shows like Sesame Street and Barney that are focused on teaching the alphabet, numbers, colors
memri_kids
memri-children1 Memri-ss1and even basic social skills. 

Palestinian educational TV, however, has a somewhat different focus.  The comparison to Jewish-American offerings, such as Shalom Sesame, a spin off of Sesame Street for Jewish children, is instructive.  Hamas-approved equivalents, such as Pioneers of Tomorrow, claim to focus on Arabic culture. Pioneers of Tomorrow, though, offers instruction in hate.

The show features a girl named Saraa with a series of co-hosts. One of the show’s co-hosts is a Mickey Mouse look-alike named Farfur, who teaches children about the importance of martyrdom for Palestine. There is another co-host, a teddy bear named Nassur, who also preaches martyrdom. In one song that Nassur sings ends by saying, “I am willing to sacrifice my blood for my country. Without Palestine our childhood means nothing.” Lyrics like these direct the young audience to an indifference to loss of human life.

Other Hamas television shows often depict racist cartoons, costumed characters, or relatable children who tell children that Israelis, whom they all regard as Jews despite the number of Arab-Israelis, have stolen Palestine from them. They teach that Jews must be punished, alongside Americans. Children who watch these shows are demonstrate an increased desire to grow up to be a Shahada (a martyr) and die for Palestine.

These programs brainwash children into believing lies that they will preach, and act on, as adults. The problem with these types of programs is that they contribute to not only ignorant children, but ignorant adults. While we teach our children how to sing their ABCs, Hamas is teaches their children to kill. Children absorb this information like a sponge in water, and just like a sponge, all the water (or hate) must all be let out. Unfortunately, when they let this hate out it is often in the form of violence.

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This piece was republished in The Algemeiner.

You can help create awareness to this issue by bringing the Less Hamas More Hummus campaign to your campus. Put on a great event with a CAMERA on Campus provided DVD with translated footage of television that is shown on Palestinian and mainstream Arab channels, along with delicious hummus and a CAMERA recommended expert speaker on the topic.

A Hero in Heaven at Drexel

May 24, 2013

Contributed by Shoshana Weiss, CAMERA’s Dragons for Israel CCAP liaison

A Hero In Heaven is a highly impactful film for university students of any kind. While focusing on the life of Michael Levin, a young man from Philadelphia who volunteered for the Israeli army, this film inspires Zionism, a deep love for Israel, and an appreciation for Michael’s life. The film truly resonates with students as they can connect with his seemingly normal American childhood. Specifically, this documentary is a great fit for universities in the Delaware Valley as there are many references to Michael’s hometown area that further relates with students.

At Drexel, we paired the film with a question and answer session with Michael’s older sister. This allowed students to engage and unwind after the poignant documentary. Immediately after the film, students were overwhelmed with emotion and sorrow as they learn of Michael’s passing. However, by the time they left they were rejuvenated with a newfound sense of Zionism as they remember Michael’s steadfast love of Israel.

The film, below, was shown as part of DFI’s Israel Peace Week, in which over 100 students took part.

Israel Amplified 2013

May 23, 2013

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Rachel Wolf:

On August 6, 2013 students from various Greek organizations will come together to discuss the importance of Israel activism on their respective campuses. They will meet at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City for Alpha Epsilon Pi’s annual Israel Amplified conference (co-sponsored by CAMERA). These students are looking to create change on their college campuses, many of which are plagued with an anti-Israel climate.

Israelampli

The three day one-of-a-kind highly subsidized event will include networking with peers, touring New York City and plenty of discussion about Israel. Additionally, the event will have guest speakers from CAMERA and various other organizations, and over 125 Jewish and non-Jewish Greek leaders from all over the nation.

This display of passion for Israel is a monumental step forward for a age demographic that is often seen as being unfriendly towards Israel. Even more exciting is that these students are in many different fraternities and sororities, giving this event a greater feeling of unity.

If you would like to sign up for Israel Amplified, let us know and also please click here.

Ishmael Khaldi on life as a Bedouin in Israel at the University of Chicago

May 22, 2013

On April 7th, the University of Chicago’s CCAP- funded organization, Chicago Friends of Israel, hosted Ishmael Khaldi on campus. Khaldi is the first Bedouin vice consul of Israel and the first high ranking Muslim diplomat in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

blake ishmael

CCAP Liaison and Friends of Israel President, Blake Fleisher with Ishmael Khaldi

Khaldi delivered a lecture entitled Life as a Bedouin in Israel, based on his book, A Shepherd’s Journey, during which he spoke to the campus community about Israel’s treatment of ethnic and religious minorities. In his lecture, he reiterated an important point that he touches on in many of his speeches on college campuses and interviews with the press: “Many of us [Israeli Arabs] are proud to describe ourselves as Israelis. Everyone who lives here is an Israeli.”

Khaldi’s lecture was co-sponsored by the University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Department of Political Science.

By Samantha Mandeles

Misguided SodaStream Protestors at American University

May 21, 2013

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Rachel Wolf:

On February 24, 2013 a group of American University students, along with various Washington, DC activists, gathered in front of the local Best Buy to protest SodaStream, an Israeli company that produces an at home carbonation system.

These protesters, led by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), were there because they believe that one of the SodaStream factories is illegally located in the West Bank.

The Eagle, American University’s student newspaper, published an article entitled SodaStream protested at Tenleytown Best Buy, in which reporter, Devin Mitchell, interviewed American University SJP president, Damián Fontanez, who said, “ ‘Companies that make illegal products should not be patronized by retailers.’” These students are under the impression that the factory’s location somehow disenfranchises Palestinians. However, this is not the case. In fact, the company’s main factory is located in Mishor Adumim, an area that is under Israeli military and civilian control in accordance with the Oslo Accords.

Many Palestinians call this SodaStream factory their workplace. In Al Monitor, an Arabic Sodastreampublication, an article entitled Embarrassment at Israeli President Shimon Peres’s House, the reporter, Shlomi Eldar, describes the ceremony honoring the CEO of SodaStream, Daniel Birnbaum with the Outstanding Exporter Award.  He claimed that at the West Bank factory they, “‘employ some 900 Arabs from the Palestinian Authority.’” The company that the allegedly pro-Palestinian movement has worked so hard to demonize is actually benefiting the very people that this movement claims to defend.

Furthermore, when describing the work environment, Birnbaum says, “ ‘We practice equality and full cooperation both on the job and off it. Our factory has a synagogue, but it also has a small mosque. We all eat the same food in the same dining hall, and if necessary, we will go through the same security inspection.’ ” Once again, this statement demonstrates the company’s commitment to equality among all of its employees, Palestinian and Israeli.

While these American University students may think that they have found the next “hot button” issue when it comes to Israel defamation, they have only stumbled upon something of which they cannot grasp the true implications.

Play the clip below to learn more about Soda Stream’s operations in the West Bank.

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Read more about the Boycott Divest Sanction movement here.

This piece has been republished here by the Algemeiner.

BDS event at Brooklyn College in detail

May 20, 2013

In addition to dealing with hostile anti Israel students, Brooklyn College’s Israel group, a CCAP (CAMERA Supported) group, has had a challenging second semester dealing with their college administration.

In February the Brooklyn College political science department co-sponsored an event devoted to BDS. Some pro-Israel students at the event were expelled from the event despite being quiet and brooklyn collegerespectful audience members. Click here to read a personal account from one of the students.

The college recently published a report about the incident, which the students responded to, writing that the college’s report on the handling of the event “‘does not reach a conclusion as to why the students were expelled’, it does ‘not include recommendations for disciplinary action against the perpetrators’; and it ‘fails to acknowledge that a public statement made by a Brooklyn College spokesman in the immediate aftermath of the event . . . was wrong and mishandled.”

Read more about the evicted students here or read the April 30th article about the issue on Israel Campus Beat. Check out Abuse of Academic Freedom at Brooklyn College to learn more at CAMERA.org’s Snapshot blog or read the op-ed Free Speech a Principle, Not an Instrument about the issue by CAMERA’s Christian Media Analyst Dexter Van Zile.

Read another In Focus posting about CAMERA at Brooklyn College.

By Gilad Skolnick

Honoring Carter

May 17, 2013

Yeshiva University’s Cardozo Law School honored former President Jimmy Carter on April 10th 2013. Carter has spread inaccurate information about Israel and the Middle East. Read Jesse Shore’s latest piece on the issue here. A CAMERA monograph, Bearing False Witness, details the falsehoods and cartererrors about Israel by former US President Jimmy Carter and discusses his quest to demonize the Jewish State.

Moreover, both The Anti-Defamation League and The Simon Wiesenthal Center have blasted the decision to honor him. Professor Alan Dershowitz, interviewed here in the Jewish Press, stated that if invited he would come at his own expense to debate Carter, stating, “by encouraging and supporting Hamas, and always placing the blame on Israel, Carter has guaranteed the continuation of terrorism. . . .“Carter has embraced Arafat, he’s embraced Mashaal, why, he’s never met a terrorist he didn’t love, and never met an Israeli whom he did,” adding that “it was Carter who was responsible for not acting to prevent the death of two million Cambodians at the hands of Pol Pot.  Carter was the president of the United States and yet he did not intervene in that slaughter, he did not lead and prod the United Nations to take action”

Read more about this issue in the blog Shame on Cardozo, devoted to the incident and launched by a group of concerned alumni. In their latest posting CAMERA is mentioned: “Carter’s record of slandering Israel is so voluminous that both CAMERA and Alan Dershowitz have written books refuting his lies.”

By Gilad Skolnick