Monthly Archives: February 2017

Will the Anti-Israel Bias at the UN End?

February 28, 2017

The United Nations is often guilty of a clear anti-Israel bias. There are countless examples of this: This past December, at one General Assembly Session, 20 resolutions condemning Israel were passed, with six resolutions condemning all the countries in the rest of the world combined. Some of those 20 resolutions had been proposed by none other than Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad. The Human Rights Council is one of the worst offenders, having condemned Israel more times than the rest of the world combined. The former UN Secretary, Ban Ki Moon, admitted that Israel does face discrimination and bias at the UN.

But this week, the UN was called out for its bias by new US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley. When she emerged from the monthly Security Council meeting on the Middle East, she spoke to reporters, and issued a blistering critique of what had just occurred; she said that the meeting was “A bit strange,” as they ignored the true threats in the region – Iran, Hezbollah and Bashar Al-Assad, and instead only criticized the one true democracy in the region — Israel.

Haley then went on to say that the US will not allow this bias to go unchallenged, and that, “We will never repeat the terrible mistake of Resolution 2334, and allow one-sided Security Council Resolutions to condemn Israel.”

Hopefully Ambassador Haley can help bring to light the UN’s outrageous bias (unfortunately, her speech this week was not widely covered by the press) and begin bringing an end the shameful anti-Israel bias that harms the credibility of the UN.

Contributed by Aron White, CAMERA intern

 

 

Netanyahu Makes History in Australia and Singapore

February 27, 2017

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made history, not once, but twice. Last Monday, he became the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit Singapore, and the next day, he made the first visit to Australia by an Israeli Prime Minister.

Israel and Singapore enjoy excellent relations, that in fact go back decades. The countries are actually quite similar in a number of ways – both of them are geographically small, and have faced the threat of invasion and war since their independence. When the newly independent Singapore was looking to build its army in 1965, Israel sent a delegation to help them, and the Israel Defense Forces became the model for their armed forces. In April, the Prime Minister of Singapore made a historic first visit to Israel, and now Prime Minister Netanyahu has made a visit of his own. Israel and Singapore also work together in the area of technological innovation, with an official organization being in charge of collaboration between the two countries.

PM Netanyahu then traveled to Australia for a four day visit there. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is a strong supporter of Israel. He recently condemned UN Security Council Resolution 2334 as being one-sided, and in an op-ed that the Prime Minister wrote in honor of Netanyahu’s visit, he condemned BDS, stating that “We deplore the boycott campaigns designed to delegitimize the Jewish State.” Netanyahu noted the historic connection that Australia has with Israel, going all the way back to Australia’s critical role in the Battle of Beersheba in World War I.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Prime Minister Turnbull at their press conference

Prime Minister Netanyahu has stressed over the past year that Israel’s foreign relations continue to improve, as more countries, like Singapore and Australia, form ever stronger alliances and partnerships with Israel, for the betterment of all peoples.

Contributed by Aron White, CAMERA intern.

On Valentine’s Day, Saving Children’s Hearts

February 24, 2017

On Valentine’s Day, a number of CAMERA-supported groups ran events raising awareness about Save a Child’s Heart (SACH), SACH is an incredible Israeli charity that offers free heart surgeries to children from the Middle East and around the world, providing operations to children from poor regions of the world who otherwise would have no access to advanced medical treatment. To date, Save A Child’s Heart has saved more than 4000 children’s lives.

At Boston University, CAMERA-supported group BU Students for Israel set up a table on campus, where they gave out food and spread the word about SACH, telling the story of the incredible charity.

Saving hearts on Valentine’s Day with CAMERA-supported group BU Students for Israel.

At New York University, CAMERA-supported group Realize Israel also held an event called “Spread The Love” to raise awareness about Save A Child’s Heart. In the middle of the cold New York winter, they gave out free hot chocolate, as they told students about the incredible impact SACH has had on so many lives.

Spreading the love in New York with CAMERA-supported group Realize Israel NYU.

Other campuses also held Israel-themed events on Valentines Day. At York University, CAMERA-supported group Israeli Students Association (ISA) tabled throughout the day, giving out roses and chocolates and engaging students, informing them about Israel and the events run by ISA on campus. Generally on Valentine’s Day, people show their love for the significant people in their lives. But these CAMERA-supported groups also showed their love for the significant country in their lives – Israel!

Spreading the love at York University with CAMERA-supported group Israeli Students Association – Israeli style!

Contributed by Aron White, CAMERA intern.

Seth Siegel and the Global Water Crisis

February 23, 2017

Seth Siegel lectures at Cornell University Photo: Cameron Pollack / Cornell Daily Sun Photography Editor

The world may be close to experiencing a global water crisis. More than seven billion gallons of water are wasted a day in the United States alone. This month, Cornell hosted a lecture featuring Seth Siegel, entitled “A Global Water Crisis Is Coming: What Can We Do To Avoid It?” Seth is an alumnus of both ILR ‘74 and the Law School ‘78, and is the author of New York Times bestseller Let There Be Water. The event was sponsored by CAMERA-supported group Cornellians For Israel, CAMERA, ZOA, Cornell’s Near Eastern Studies Department, Hillel and Chabad. 200 people came out to hear Siegel address the global water crisis.

In his book, Siegel writes about Israel’s enormous success in the water conservation industry, and how countries from around the world can adapt techniques to restructure their water maintenance infrastructure. For example, Israel has been successful in treating ninety-five percent of its sewage and redirecting it towards agricultural purposes such as watering crops and increasing the water volume of rivers. Desalination plants throughout Israel purify millions of gallons a day. The world’s largest desalination plant is located in Israel, and produces 165 millions of gallons of fresh water per day. In contrast, the U.S. reuses less than ten percent of its overall wastewater. These techniques can have a substantial effect in developing countries without great water supply, to help sustain life in those countries.

A MASHAV specialist teaches irrigation techniques in Nigeria. Source: MASHAV

Another useful way Israel is assisting with the global water crisis is through one of its state departments, MASHAV. This department sends Israeli agricultural specialists into over one hundred developing countries, of which twenty-nine are in Africa. These professionals train locals on the ground to utilize techniques such as irrigation and water management. Places like China, Jordan, and even California have learned from Israeli water professionals on how to implement these innovative desalination techniques.

These water relationships have extended to India. In the years following India’s establishment, the country refused to have any sort of diplomatic ties with Israel and was a leader in the anti-Western Non-Aligned Movement, a movement which historically has been at odds with Israel. However, in 1992, diplomatic relations were established, and in 1994, India partnered with TAHAL, an Israeli water company, to redesign its water and sewage systems. Among other things, a water desalination plant was built, producing 106 million gallons a day. Although their interests within the UN do not always line up, Israel and India continue to work together to improve Indian water systems. In 2013, along with other water companies, TAHAL entered an agreement to help build additional water infrastructure in two neighborhoods Delhi. There is hope that in the future, if this project is a success, it will extend to other parts of Delhi, and perhaps other cities in India.

In his lecture, Seth Siegel referred to Israel being a world leader in water conservation. The facts in “Let There Be Water” not only illustrate this truth, but also reflect Israel’s dedication to conserving water globally. Through the newly created relationship between Cornell and the Technion Institute, as well as our internationally recognized agricultural school, there is a tremendous opportunity for both entrepreneurial and agricultural students to be at the forefront of innovation in the Agri-Tech industry. Even within the local community of Ithaca, which just experienced a drought, techniques for water conservation can be adopted.

Perhaps, as Seth Siegel remarked to one student in the audience, we really can change the world.

Contributed by Cornell University CAMERA Fellow Josh Elkouby, treasurer of CAMERA-supported group Cornellians for Israel (CFI).

When Apartheid Week Goes Low, We Go High

February 22, 2017

This week, Kings College London Israel Society, a CAMERA-supported group, is hosting an event entitled “Forbidden Lines, New Friendships – The Case for Humanitarian Diplomacy in Syria”. The event may also make a small piece of history, as it is believed to be the first time that an Israeli and a Syrian have ever appeared together at a UK campus event.

The event at Kings University could make a little piece of history

The event will discuss the ongoing war in Syria, and how to provide humanitarian aid despite all the complications caused by politics. The two speakers at the event are Dr. Nir Boms and Issam Zeitoun. Dr Nir Boms is a lecturer at Hebrew University, and is an expert on civil disobedience and freedom of expression in the Arab world, the Arab Spring, and the role of the internet and technology in the uprising. Issam Zeitoun is from the village of Bet Jan in the Syrian portion of the Golan Heights, a few miles from Israel. He is an international liaison for the Syrian residents of the Golan, who calls for the creation of an international safe zone to protect residents of that area. We are very excited to be hosting an event that will discuss the civil war in Syria, it is crucial for us to outline the part Israel has to play in the humanitarian side of the conflict. Hadar Langerman, the head of Kings College London Israel Society said, “We are very excited to be hosting an event that will discuss the civil war in Syria, it is crucial for us to outline the part Israel has to play in the humanitarian side of the conflict.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu with a Syrian patient in an Israeli hospital

The timing of the event could not be more significant, seeing as next week sees the beginning of the hateful Israel Apartheid Week on UK campuses. Beyond its long term goal of destroying the Jewish state, in the short term it aims to demonize and spread hatred about Israel. As opposed to this one-sided narrative, the event at Kings College will focus on the positive influence Israel does and can have on the region. An Israeli and a Syrian, talking about how to better the lives of Syrians – just remember, that if Israel Apartheid Week, and the BDS movement had its way, this important conversation would never happen. Whereas the organizers of Israel Apartheid Week are motivated by a hatred for Israel, the organizers of this event at Kings College are looking for how Israel can be a force for good, not only for the Jewish people, and for its Arab citizens, but for the people of the Middle East as a whole. Apartheid Week goes really low – and Kings Israel Society is going high.

Contributed by Aron White, CAMERA intern

Jerusalem’s Student Ambassadors for Israel

February 21, 2017

It is important to speak up for Israel around the world. We want the true story of our land to be known worldwide and to ensure that there is a response when falsehoods about Israel are spread. International opinion can influence government policy, sometimes even in wartime decisions, and therefore it is crucial for Israel to be engaging people with its story, around the world.

CAMERA is an international media watchdog active in confronting biased media coverage of Israel, and prompting corrections when falsehoods or inaccuracies are presented as news. The organization is 35 years old, and it prompts tens of corrections a month. CAMERA on Campus is a subsidiary of the organization, and it is active on 70 campuses around the world – last year, CAMERA organized more than 600 Israel-themed events on campus. About a year ago, together with a group of motivated and visionary students, CAMERA founded FOCUS at HUJI, the first Israeli student group of its kind, dedicated exclusively to telling Israel’s story both within and outside Israel. The group is different than other Israeli student groups (which are often political in nature) because it is heterogeneous, with students with various political views, but who all share a commitment to sharing the truth about Israel. “We felt that there is a vacuum here – how can it be that we Israelis are not doing more to help Diaspora Jewish communities, and supporters of Israel around the world, to fight delegitimization of Israel?” said CAMERA Fellow Lee-El Hayun, Director of External Relations for FOCUS.

Introducing the first CAMERA-sponsored group in Israel

FOCUS, now in its second year of existence, contains fifty students, who receive professional training on how to represent Israel, engage students groups from around the world through joint events, and are also active in telling Israel’s story on social media.

On January 5th, FOCUS hosted a talk by Member of Knesset Michael Oren, former Israeli Ambassador to the US, on the topic of the Security Council Resolution 2334. The talk was for students from Hebrew University, as well as a delegation from the University of Kansas, allowing students from the USA and Israel to meet one another. “The build we can bridge between us allows for a flow of new ideas and activities to make real change,” said CAMERA Fellow Eden Adler, President of FOCUS.

MK Michael Oren speaking at the packed FOCUS event

On the educational front, FOCUS hosted a lecture by Dr. David Gurevitch, a researcher and lecturer in the field of Media and Communications, who explained how Israeli history is perceived by anti-Israel groups, deepening students’ understanding of those who seek to harm Israel’s image around the world.

Dr. Gurevitch speaking to Hebrew University students

On International Holocaust Memorial Day (which often is not marked in Israel, as Israel has its own Holocaust Memorial Day) FOCUS members took part in a lecture hosted by The Israel Project. Dr. Ephraim Zuroff gave a unique and important lecture on his life’s work as a Nazi hunter.

The group uses social media, particularly Facebook, to expose students to blatant errors that are made in the international media about Israel, something which is not covered too often in the Israeli media. Recently, a Danish journalist made false claims about Elor Azaria, and FOCUS students responded online, and their response was also shared on social media.

FOCUS provides students the opportunities to receive practical training in the field of Israel activism, hear engaging lectures about Israel, interact with students and campuses around the world, take part in delegations to campuses around the world, and most importantly, to engage international students in direct, face to face conversation.

Contributed by Bar Sheleg, member of CAMERA-supported group FOCUS at HUJI.

Jewish Voice for Peace To Host Convicted Palestinian Terrorist

February 20, 2017

Editor’s note: Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) in an organization that plays a significant role in stirring up anti-Israel rhetoric. JVP supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel, supports Students for Justice in Palestine events including Israel Apartheid Week, and calls for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel.

Jewish Voice for Peace, the misnamed anti-Israel organization, will be hosting a convicted Palestinian terrorist at its upcoming conference in Chicago on March 31 to April 2, 2017.

Rasmea Odeh, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a U.S.-designated terrorist group will be a featured speaker at the event, according to an Algemeiner report by Lea Spyer (“Jewish Voice for Peace to Host Convicted Palestinian Terrorist at Upcoming National Conference,” Feb. 6, 2017).

Convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh.

Odeh will be speaking, along with three other speakers, during a workshop titled “All In!” In addition to Odeh, another panelist at the JVP conference is Linda Sarsour, an anti-Israel speaker who, among other things, has called to remove the vaginas of her female critics (“#WomensMarch Co-Chair Linda Sarour’s Twitter attack on victim of female genital mutilation,” Legal Insurrection, Jan. 27, 2016).

Odeh was convicted for her role in two terrorist attacks: In 1969, she set up explosives in a grocery store, murdering two Hebrew University students and wounding nine others. Four days later, she set up explosives targeting the British consulate. In 1970 she was sentenced to life in an Israeli prison for her crimes, only to be freed in a prisoner swap ten years later.

The Anti-Defamation League has described JVP as the “most influential anti-Zionist group in the United States.” ADL has asserted that JVP’s role in the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) effort is to provide the movement with a “veneer of legitimacy” and camouflage against identification as antisemitic.

Despite ADL’s apt characterization, JVP is often misleadingly described as a “left-leaning” or “progressive” Jewish group by many major U.S. news outlets. As CAMERA has noted, JVP has often been given Op-Ed space by The Washington Post, The Hill, and others (“Jewish Voice for Peace Repeats anti-Israel Clichés; Post Provides a Platform,” June 29, 2016).

Members of JVP support a boycott of Israel.

Similarly, Sarsour, a co-organizer of the Jan. 21, 2017 “Women’s March on Washington D.C.,” has been feted by journalists who often fail to disclose her history of inflammatory statements, including accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing and dismissing reports of al-Qaeda terror attacks as conspiracy theories (see, for example “CAMERA Rebuts Zogby Op-Ed in The Hill,” Aug. 27, 2015).

A Jan. 23, 2017 article in Elle Magazine, for instance, claimed that “conservative news sites” and “Islamophobes” were attacking Sarsour for her role in organizing the women’s march. However, the article by Mattie Kahn failed to note Sarsour’s decidedly anti-feminist, anti-human rights exhortations.

It remains to be seen if future news reports treating JVP as a credible source will inform readers of the group’s associations and advocates.

Originally published at CAMERA.org

Owls for Israel Get Artistic for Israel

February 17, 2017

Students are always coming up with creative ways to run pro-Israel events, and for the second year running, Owls for Israel, CAMERA-supported group at Florida Atlantic University, held an Artists 4 Israel event on campus.

FAU students posing with T shirts made by Artists 4 Israel

Artists 4 Israel describe their mission as using art to bring social change, and use their events to tell Israel’s story. At the FAU event, the artists made customized T-shirts for the students, as Owls for Israel members engaged students in discussion about Israel, telling students more about the country. They handed out materials containing facts about Israel, as well as flyers containing information about Owls for Israel. In particular, Owls for Israel students focused on telling the story of Israeli innovation.

This is not the first time that CAMERA-supported groups have held events with Artists 4 Israel. In the past, CAMERA-supported group 49ers for Israel brought Artists 4 Israel’s Peace Wall to California State University Long Beach (CSULB), and CAMERA-supported group Great Danes for Israel ran an event at SUNY Albany, where the artists set up a giant Israel-themed graffiti mural.

Artists 4 Israel hard at work designing T shirts!

The Artists 4 Israel event was the opening event in an exciting series at FAU – February at FAU is Israel Awareness Month! Events this month include an Israeli style Shabbat dinner, a lunch and learn with Israeli medical students, and a karaoke evening to raise money for the incredible Israeli humanitarian group, Save a Child’s Heart. Through all these events, students at FAU can continue to educate more people about Israel’s story, and show their support for the amazing projects going on within the country.

Israel Awareness Month is full of exciting events

Contributed by Aron White, CAMERA intern

The Media Only Cares About Palestinians in West Bank, Gaza

February 16, 2017

The media often reports on what it would describe as “the Palestinian cause,” “the suffering of the Palestinian people” and “the breach of Palestinian rights.” Yet often stories come to light, which challenge this categorization. In reality, media attention is not focused on the suffering of the Palestinians, but on the supposed evil of the Israelis.

Last week it was announced that fifty Palestinian houses were going to be demolished in order to construct a road connecting two cities, so they evicted the fifty Palestinian families living in their homes.

The media however, did not report on this story, and few if any human rights organizations protested. The reason? Because these Palestinians live in Lebanon, not the West Bank, and it was the Lebanese government and not the Israeli government evicting them. Radio silence.

Al Qasamiyah refugee camp, where residents face eviction by Lebanese authorities

Why is there no comment when Palestinians are mistreated by the Lebanese government? Were Israel to announce the demolition of Palestinian homes, a smorgasbord of condemnations from international bodies, human rights groups, and world leaders would be heard, making international headlines.

There are also crucial differences between Lebanese and Israeli evictions which make the recent Lebanese announcement far more serious. Home demolitions by the Israeli government occur for one of two reasons: Firstly, homes, both Jewish and Palestinian, that are built without planning permission in Area C and East Jerusalem are often demolished, although sometimes, both Jewish and Palestinian homes are retroactively legalized.

Secondly, homes are often destroyed for security related reasons. For example, if a Palestinian home is being used for terrorist activity, or belongs to a terrorist (in which case it is destroyed as a deterrent not to commit attacks). Israel’s deterrent policy has been debated domestically and around the world, but without a doubt, demolitions in Area C of the West Bank and East Jerusalem for security purposes have a more reasonable basis than the desire to build a road. Yet when the Lebanese government destroys Palestinian homes for no reason other than ease of transportation, it barely causes a ripple of media or NGO attention.

Egypt destroyed over 1,000 homes near the Gazan border

Again and again, the phenomenon of ignoring Palestinian grievances when Israel is not involved is evident.  A few months ago, the Lebanese government announced it was building a security wall around a Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon (This is one of the Palestinian refugee camps outside of Israel; there are camps in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon). Yet there was no international outcry. When Israel built a security barrier (that included sections of wall) in parts of the West Bank, the world was sure to publicly condemn Israel. Egypt has also evicted Palestinians to build a security wall along its border with Gaza; but once again, did not face an international barrage of criticism. Beyond these instances, there are far more serious issues of double standards when it comes to media attention on Palestinians living in the West Bank versus elsewhere – Palestinian refugees in Lebanon face genuine apartheid. They are banned from working in twenty professions and are forbidden from attending public schools or owning property.

If the media genuinely wants to bring light to the condition of the Palestinian people, then it should focus on perceived wrongs perpetrated against Palestinians, regardless of who the perpetrator is. If, on the other hand, the media only reports what it perceives to be Israeli crimes against the Palestinians – then it can be said to have ceased being pro-Palestinian, and has become simply anti-Israeli.

Contributed by CAMERA staff.

PBS Hosts Extremist Miko Peled on Talk Show

February 15, 2017

On February 2, PBS’s Tavis Smiley hosted Miko Peled on his talk show. Peled is a radical anti-Israel activist who has, in the past, falsely described Israel as an apartheid state, referred to Israeli airport security officers as the “Smiling Gestapo,” and defended terrorists.

On Smiley’s program, Peled:

  • called Jewish history a myth,
  • called Israel an illegitimate state, saying Jews have no right to self-determination there,
  • called the Haganah a terrorist group, but justified terrorism against Israelis, and
  • perpetuated falsehoods about Israel, including the ubiquitous water libel.

Yet, his host failed to aggressively challenge his assertions.

Miko Peled (left) during his interview with Tavis Smiley on PBS.

When Smiley asked Peled how he responds to allegations that he is antisemitic, Peled responded, in essence, that he can’t be antisemitic, first, because he is Jewish, and second, because he is not racist against African Americans or other racial minorities. Peled then claims that opposing the State of Israel – not its policies, but the State itself – is not antisemitic. In fact, the Obama State Department declared that it is. This, too, is ignored by his host.

Neither Smiley nor a second guest, apparently brought on in an attempt at “balance,” unraveled the falsehoods promoted by Peled. Real journalism requires real facts, not narratives spun by advocates. PBS should do better.

If Tavis Smiley had researched his subject prior to the interview, he would have found that Peled has falsely described Israel as an apartheid state, and called Israeli airport security officers the “Smiling Gestapo.” In the anti-Israel website Electronic Intifada, Peled wrote that “Israel is an illegitimate creation brought about by a union between racism and colonialism,” and that “criticizing Palestinian resistance [i.e., terrorism] is unconscionable.” He has described terrorists serving time in Israeli prisons – some for murder – as “political prisoners.”

The Obama State Department defined antisemitism to include “justifying the killing or harming of Jews (often in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion),” as well as “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis,” and “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist.” Prior to appearing on Smiley’s show, Peled had engaged in all three of these behaviors. Yet, during the program, Smiley failed to aggressively challenge Peled when he continued his open delegitimization of the State of Israel, when he dismissed historical fact as a “mythical narrative,” or when he promoted a narrative that is not based in fact at all.

Peled began the discussion by calling “the return of the Jewish people, the building of a Jewish state after 2,000 years” a mythical narrative. He continued,

Legitimizing the idea that Jews have a right to come from Europe, take over a land that is inhabited by other people, kick those people away and establish their own state there, I don’t see how you legitimize that. But these were different times.

These were times where Europeans thought they could come to the countries of people who are not white and do whatever they wanted, and that’s what really Zionism was about. The idea was for white European Jews to go to go to Palestine that was inhabited by Arabs, which means they’re probably just Bedouins and poor people and who cares, and establish a state for the Jewish people.

There are numerous problems with this statement. First, Peled ignores the ample historical evidence that Jews are in fact indigenous to the land of present-day Israel, and ignores that Jews have maintained a continuous presence in Jerusalem since 1004 BCE. Second, referring to Jews simply as “white Europeans” ignores the history of Jewish oppression in Europe, as well as the fact that many Jewish Israelis arrived in the country as refugees from Arab lands. And, as CAMERA has shown before, “many of those who today identify as Palestinians descend from relatively recent migrations from surrounding territories.”

It’s also inaccurate to generally describe the Arabs living in Mandatory Palestine as having been “kicked away.” While there were some instances in which the Arabs of Palestine were forced from their homes during the 1948 War of Independence, in most cases, those who became refugees fled from actual or anticipated fighting.

In one of his more disturbing comments, Peled refers to the Haganah as a terrorist group. In fact, the Haganah was formed for the defense of the Jewish communities of Mandatory Palestine, after British forces failed to protect those communities from attack. A few minutes later in the interview, however, Peled justifies terrorism when it is committed against Israelis, saying “if they’re Palestinians and they live there and you come and declare that it’s a Jewish state, what are they supposed to do, you know? They’re going to resist. They’re going to fight. You’re going to put them in prison, you’re going to call them terrorists.” Again, Smiley fails to challenge either the inaccurate characterization of the Haganah, or the defense of the murder of civilians.

Smiley gives Peled an opening for the delegitimization of Israel when he asks, “tell me why you no longer believe that a two-state solution is even viable.” Peled responds at some length, but never mentions that Palestinians have turned down Israeli offers to withdraw, allowing them to create their own state, three times since 2000. Instead, he absurdly claims that the fact that people refer to the region as “Judea and Samaria” somehow prevents the establishment of a Palestinian state. In discussing the close proximity in which Jews and Palestinians live in the West Bank, he also relies on the assumption that Jews won’t be able to live in a future Palestinian state, without questioning whether or why, this is so –namely, that they would likely be targeted with violence. Finally, he cites the descendants of Palestinian refugees, without questioning why they are the only refugee group that passes down refugee status from one generation to the next, rather than being resettled in their host countries.

During the interview, Peled says explicitly, “I don’t accept that there’s a need for a Jewish state…. You cannot have a Jewish state in an Arab country unless you are going to infringe upon the rights of the local people. You have to kick them out because they won’t have rights.” Peled – and Smiley – both ignore the fact that two million Arabs live in Israel with full and equal rights. Here, however, Peled does get a little bit of push-back from his host, when Smiley asks, “why are Jews not entitled to their own homeland, to their own state, to their own borders? Why are they not entitled to that?” Peled’s response is telling: “Because Jews have their states. They have American Jews in America. They’ve got French Jews in Germany. You’ve got, you know, Australian Jews in Australia.”

Peled’s claim that Israel is unnecessary because they’ve “got French Jews in Germany,” ignores the fact that for most of the history of European Jewry, Jews were persecuted, culminating in the Holocaust. It ignores that in the Middle East, Jews lived in second-class, or dhimmi, status. It ignores the current flight of French Jews into Israel, to escape anti-Jewish violence there.

Smiley misses those points in his response, in which he asserts “that’s like saying Americans, we shouldn’t have a US of A because there are Americans all around the globe.” His comparison to America is specious. European colonists who came to the US were not indigenous to this land, as Jews are to Israel, and there was no American nation living in exile for 2,000 years.

Finally, Peled repeats the thoroughly-debunked water libel, saying, Palestinians “get 12 hours of water per week,” and implying that this is Israel’s fault. As CAMERA has noted before, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) has dispelled this canard:

Water shortages in the Palestinian Authority are the result of Palestinian policies that deliberately waste water and destroy the regional water ecology. The Palestinians refuse to develop their own significant underground water resources, build a seawater desalination plant, fix massive leakage from their municipal water pipes, build sewage treatment plants, irrigate land with treated sewage effluents or modern water-saving devices, or bill their own citizens for consumer water usage, leading to enormous waste.

At the same time, they drill illegally into Israel’s water resources, and send their sewage flowing into the valleys and streams of central Israel. In short, the Palestinian Authority is using water as a weapon against the State of Israel. It is not interested in practical solutions to solve the Palestinian people’s water shortages, but rather perpetuation of the shortages and the besmirching of Israel.

CAMERA’s Tricia Miller has written:

Israel supplies Palestinian communities with water from Israeli wells and has laid hundreds of kilometers of new water mains and connected hundreds of Palestinian villages and towns to the newly built water system. Villages and towns not hooked up to the new system have refused the service for political reasons, believing that acceptance of Israel’s offer of a new water supply would legitimize the “occupation.”

The guest that followed Peled on the program, Rabbi Steve Leder, was presumably intended to give an appearance of balance. Rabbi Leder did disagree with Peled about the need for a two-state solution and for Jewish self-determination, and did note that, according to former US envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations Martin Indyk, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has “checked out.” Rabbi Leder did not, however, debunk any of Peled’s falsehoods and he did not note that the Palestinians have rejected three Israeli peace offers. Thus, many of Peled’s claims went unchallenged.