Tag Archives: terrorism

Sequencing the Peace Process

This past winter break, I was able to see with my own eyes the various components of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I was able to get a firsthand account of many of the things that both sides must strive for in order to achieve peace. As I drove through the West Bank, encountering settlements deep in the territory and speaking with Palestinians in the heart of Ramallah, I fully realized the necessity of a two-state solution to attain the resolution to this century-old animosity. Two states for two peoples – maintaining the Zionist dream of a Jewish and democratic state while the Palestinians simultaneously declare their sovereignty – is really the only conclusion where the conflict will fully come to its end. But with this wholesome vision for peace, I was able to see more clearly and with more conviction what the first step toward this achievement must be – an understanding solidified just two Fridays ago in Jerusalem.

Everyone involved in the conversation about how to get to this final status obviously has very good intentions. We are all human beings, and the innate human instinct is that when we see suffering we want to do anything we can to stop it. That’s why on both sides of the political spectrum in Israel and within the pro-Israel community, our end goal is a peaceful resolution of two states for two peoples where both have the same exact Natural Rights that John Locke laid out hundreds of years ago and that the United Nations (zichronam livracha) declared in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Optimism has decreased as the situation on the ground has deteriorated; still, most Israelis would agree that peace will come when both sides ultimately have their own state. To achieve this peace through statehood, there are two overarching narratives, with the difference between them simple but glaring.

One of the general narratives believes that the order should go: remove the settlements, leave the West Bank, end the terrorism, then achieve peace. The second general narrative believes that the order should go: remove the terror, remove the settlements, leave the West Bank, then achieve peace. The blatant difference between the two is that they are exactly opposite and contradictory to each other. The problem found with the first general narrative, that settlement removal comes first, and therefore settlements intrinsically represent the main obstacle to peace, is that it retroactively inverts history. There was not one single settlement and not one single Israeli soldier in any part of the West Bank (or in other captured lands but we will keep it to this territory for the sake of the contemporary international conversation) prior to 1967. Despite there being zero Israeli presence in this territory, violence and terrorism still rained down on the Jewish state from there. Only after the 1967 War did Israel enter the West Bank, as a direct result of the terror and war against Israel. So with this backdrop, how is it possible that the removal of this presence, an effect of the Palestinian terror and violence, be the kick starter to the end of the same terror? An effect of something cannot also be its cause.

The Arab riots in 1929 were certainly not caused by settlements

Some claim that we must hold on to our original Zionist ambitions by democratizing and Jewishize-ing Israel first (through the removal of Israeli presence from the West Bank) and then if an attack happens against Israel we will have every right to enter the West Bank and reclaim it. This is a very tempting narrative to pursue because it guides us to quick Palestinian control and holds the prospect and the expectation that if the Palestinians stop all of their terror activities, peace for Israelis is fast in it tracks. Think about what that actually means: this suggests that the entire peace is predicated on the loss of Israeli life, with absolutely no evidence from the words in the Palestinian textbooks or the squares named after glorified Palestinian martyrs that this expectation will actually be realized. It is saying that we are willing to lose Israeli life for the potential for peace. It suggests that the human rights of Palestinians are more valuable than the human rights of Israelis. But even further, this puts at risk the lives of Palestinians too, and arguably even more so than the risk put to the lives of the Israelis. Look no further than the HD photograph of this dangerous scenario unfolding in Gaza, where just two year ago countless innocent lives of Palestinians were lost as a result of this concept. But who knows what the Palestinian attack will be THAT time. What if, during the waiting period to see if Palestinian independence of Israeli settlements will lead to true peace, it’s not a Friday truck-ramming that kills “just” 4 Israelis? What if it’s a massive bomb set off in the Tel Aviv Azrieli Towers that kills 400 Israelis? This suggests that it is okay to gamble with the lives of Israelis. That it is okay to say their lives just aren’t as important, whether that is the explicit or implicit statement.

Israelis have seen what happens when you withdraw from a land with people who have always been committed to terrorism against you without ending the terrorism first: Hezbollah filled the vacuum in southern Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. But at the same time, Israelis have witnessed what can happen when a nation first ends its anti-Israel violence and then extends a peaceful hand: when Egyptian President Anwar Sadat called for an end to the bloody war against Israel and came for peace negotiations in Israel, Israelis lined the streets to Jerusalem waving Egyptian flags.

Anwar Sadat speaking to the Knesset during his visit in 1978, when he called for an end to hostilities.

Israelis know very well from their history that long-lasting peace starts with the extinguishing of the terrorism against them. Now it is time for the world to understand this as well. But until then, no Israeli is going to risk our lives anymore. Benjamin Netanyahu won’t do it, nor will Yair Lapid or Tzipi Livni or Isaac Herzog, and neither will Michal in Tel Aviv or Baruch in Beer Sheba. For thousands of years, the lives of the Jewish people have been used as gambling chips – inquisitions, expulsions, massacres, blood libels, pogroms, the Holocaust. Israelis want peace just as much as anyone else does, but they will never do so at the expense of Jewish life again.

The end of the terror must come first. The peace will soon follow it.

Originally published at Times of Israel Blogs

Contributed by Tal Edelstein, former President of Mustangs United for Israel, a CAMERA-supported group

United States learning from Israel how to combat terrorism

CAMERA Fellow Deborah Shamilov

CAMERA Fellow Deborah Shamilov

According to a Fox News Network article published in March 2016, deaths due to terrorism have increased eight-fold over the past decade and violence in Europe is expected to increase over the next two years as extremists continue to take advantage of the European Union’s immigration system. Analysts predict that global terrorism will not only increase in 2016 and beyond, but that it will also expand in countries like Thailand, the Philippines and India. These findings are extremely frightening and show that this is a vital time for the global community to improve its strategies for combating terrorism.

A persuasive speech about improving global communication standards and practices I had to write for my public speaking class last semester prompted me to look further into the topic of how the United States is responding to the rise in terrorism and what it is doing to ensure it is well prepared to prevent and respond to it. Since I wrote this speech, there have been several more terrorist attacks — including the recent attacks in New York, New Jersey and Minnesota.

My research had led me to Israel, a country that is smaller than the size of New Jersey, yet has been capable of surviving constant terrorist attacks since its creation in 1948. Due to its placement in the most unstable region on the planet — perfectly surrounded by the Middle East and Egypt and the rest of Africa on the West — Israel’s existence has been depending on highly developed counterterrorism and intelligence practices. Out of necessity, Israel has created a cutting-edge security industry that consists of advanced counterterrorism technologies. According to JewishVirtualLibrary.org, since last October there have been 41 Israelis and Americans, one of whom was 18-year-old Ezra Schwartz who planned to attend Rutgers this year, murdered in civilian areas. Israel’s experiencing every form of terrorism, including suicide bombings, vehicle rammings, stabbing attacks and rockets, has resulted in its being far ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to security.

For years, Israel has been assisting the United States government and the private sector by sharing its techniques and technologies for homeland security and counterterrorism. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lists several of the many ways Israel has been lending a helping hand to the United States when it comes to security. American aviation security has improved drastically since the U.S. Transportation Security Administration began working with world-renowned security experts at Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport. The Israeli-developed Screening Passengers by Observation Technique (SPOT), a behavior observation and analysis program designed to provide a means of identifying suspicious persons by focusing on behaviors indicative of high levels of stress, fear, or deception —  is one of the many practices Israel has shared with the U.S. Additionally, Israel has helped America to improve its preparedness. American observers from the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) and the National Guard travel to Israel annually to participate in Israeli homeland security drills. Border security has also been improved. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security hired Israeli defense firm Elbit Systems to build surveillance towers for the Arizona-Mexico border equipped with radar and cameras to detect human movement. Israeli company NICE Systems is being used on the Port of Miami to improve its monitoring equipment. Police cooperation has also benefited. Israel has provided counterterrorism training techniques, security procedures and means of mass casualty emergency preparation to multiple American law enforcement agencies.

Mass transportation, emergency management, bomb detection — you name it. Israel has been helping the U.S. improve its counterterrorism practices and standards in every sector.

The benefits of this cooperation have even hit close to home. Next time you travel from Newark and JFK Airports, keep in mind that the American Verint video surveillance security system functioning there is made possible by the company’s extensive assistance from and operations in Israel.

This article was originally published on The Daily Targum.

Contributed by Rutgers University CAMERA Fellow Deborah Shamilov.

From 9/11 to Today: Countering Terror Online

Extremism is reaching people across the world through social media. Terrorists can sift through a population using social media and reach people susceptible to ideas of extremism. Luring people to their cause, extremists spread their ideas from the ease of their desktop and as quickly as their internet bandwidth will allow. To say the least, radicalism is spreading rapidly through the internet.

Mainstram media could once marginalize radical, dangerous groups from dispersing their ideas to the general public. Journalists could decide, and still do, what is appropriate to publish in a newspaper or on a news site. Now, however, extremists are not concerned with using established media sites for spreading their ideas. They can extend their thoughts to the public by creating sources and sites of their own. Through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram etc., mainstream media is not necessarily the default source for information.

Source: itv article: Britain is facing 'relentless battle for hearts and minds' to stop youngsters joining Islamic State, MPs warn (March, 2015).

Source: itv article, Britain is facing ‘relentless battle for hearts and minds’ to stop youngsters joining Islamic State, MPs warn (March, 2015).

Extremists on the internet include jihadists, neo-Nazis, and Islamic State (IS) members. Among extremist groups, White supremacists and IS in particular have proliferated in social media.

It is difficult to believe that individuals from the average American town, who would never otherwise be exposed to jihadists or IS members, are becoming extremists themselves. As the film, Losing Our Sons presents, targeted Americans are falling to Muslim extremism. With each terror attack, there are casualties. But leading up to any terror attack are the individuals who are seduced into a seemingly noble cause of extremism, are brainwashed by terrorists, and eventually become radical terrorists themselves.

Left and right, fathers of two US veterans (center) who fell to Jihadist terrorist ideas. Source: Americans for Peace and Tolerance trailer. Source: Americans for Peace and Tolerance

Left and right, fathers of two US veterans (center) who fell to Jihadist terrorist ideas. Source: Americans for Peace and Tolerance film, Losing our Sons

Following 9/11, counter-terrorism was developed and the laws regarding information-sharing and accesses for the FBI, CIA, and other counter-terror groups were broadened. With easier access to critical information, counter terrorists could work more efficiently and prevent 9/11-like terror attacks.

However, the internet still puts counter-terrorists in a difficult situation. In a democracy, the internet cannot be fully monitored. While stopping terrorism is nothing short of essential for upholding security, many argue that this amounts to prying too, undermining the rights of a democratic state.

Ironically, while government and counter-terror units do not want to invade the public’s privacy, and rightly so, extremists can already do exactly that. Through cyber attacks, intellectual-property theft, and invasions of nuclear-plants or military systems to name a few, terrorists can turn society over by hacking away at their computers. The threats of the virtual age are extremely high. Since 2001, after 9/11, counter-terrorists have been working within the limits of the law persistently to stop terrorism on the ground and online.

Just as America has been developing its counter-terror capabilities since 9/11, Israel has been advancing its military technology in order to uphold state security.

IDF Brigadier General Danny Bren, former head of IDF technology unit. Source: israeldefense.co.il

IDF Brigadier General Danny Bren, former head of IDF technology unit. Source: israeldefense.co.il

Extremism is intertwined with the rapidly advancing virtual world. No simple feat, stopping terrorism in this day and age leaves counter-terrorist experts with multiplying questions and immense challenges.

As PJ Crowley, academic, former US spokesman and US Air Force veteran explained in 2011, persistence is key. Reflecting upon the decade following 9/11, Crowley argued that stopping terrorism is an overwhelming task that will “take a generation.” For each terrorist or terror attack stopped, counter-terror experts deserve utmost respect and appreciation but by no means does that suggest their work is close to done.

In 2016, counter-terror experts still know that persistence is the name of the game. Extremism is spreading across the internet like a toxic virus and counter-terror experts are working hard to fight it.

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Penina Simkovitz.

Munich Massacre Commemorated As Anti-Semitism at Olympics Continues

44 years ago on September 5th, at the 1972 Olympic Games in Germany, the Palestinian terrorist group Black September took hostage and murdered 11 members of the Israeli Olympic Team. 

If the German government and their rescue team had worked succinctly and responsibly, the captured Israelis could have been saved, rather than murdered.

In what came to be known as the Munich Massacre, Ankie Spitzer lost her husband, Israel’s fencing coach Andre Spitzer, as well as her faith in the integrity of the Olympics.

“If this is what happened to that peace-loving man, my husband, who wanted nothing more than to take part in the Olympics, then I will never shut up, never stop talking about the travesty to the Olympic ideals,” she swears.

And indeed she has not. Since 1972, Ankie Spitzer has been responding to the events of the Munich Massacre and working to memorialize the victims.

Israeli Olympic Team members being held captive by Black September before their eventual deaths during the Munich Massacre in 1972. Source: oldpicz.com

Israeli Olympic Team members being held captive by Black September before their eventual murders during the Munich Massacre of 1972. Source: oldpicz.com

In 2003, Ankie Spitzer took the German government to court. While no amount of money can compensate for the tragic loss of her husband and the ten other victims, justice was served when the German government had to finally claim responsibility for its criminal negligence during the attack.

Aside from holding guilty parties responsible, Ankie Spitzer also strives to ensure that the victims are properly remembered and that the tragic events of 1972 are duly commemorated.

From the time of the attack up until this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio, only private memorials had been held for the victims. The International Olympic Committee (IOC), recognized the 1972 victims of terrorism and representatives of the IOC attended memorial events. But the IOC had not officially memorialized the Munich Massacre at any Olympic Games.

During the London 2012 Summer Olympics, for example, a memorial was held in Guildhall, separate from the games. Jacques Rogge, the IOC President at the time, rejected the idea of holding a minute of silence for the Munich Massacre victims. He tried to silence the idea, stating that, “The IOC has officially paid tribute to the memory of the athletes on several occasions,” suggesting this was sufficient. However, the death of athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili was recognized as were the 9/11 terrorist attacks during the Olympic games.

Memorial for luger Nodar Kumaritashvili of Georgia is placed under the Olympic Rings in the Whistler Village during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. Source: ottawacitizen.com

Memorial for luger Nodar Kumaritashvili of Georgia is placed under the Olympic Rings in the Whistler Village during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. Source: ottawacitizen.com

Until this August, the IOC did not want to fully memorialize the Munich Massacre. Ankie Spitzer discovered that they were worried about such a memorial causing trouble for the Olympic games. Before the 2012 London Games, Ankie Spitzer persisted with IOC President Rogge, asking why the IOC really could not memorialize the murder of the 11 Israeli Olympians. Rogge eventually explained that there were 46 Arab and Muslim countries that would threaten to boycott the Games if the IOC agreed to include such a memorial.

Every time Ankie Spitzer received a response like this, she took it personally, not for herself but for her husband. IOC officials worried about boycotts, while Ankie’s husband and 10 other Israelis had been victimized and killed by terrorism. Rather than respecting the dead and standing up against terrorism, the IOC was pathetically allowing the threats and bullying of anti-Semitic countries to control them.

Finally, during this past Summer Olympic Games in Rio, the IOC hosted an official memorial for the 11 Israelis who were killed 44 years ago.

After reading the names of the 11 victims at a ceremony in the Rio Olympic village, IOC Chief Thomas Bach spoke on the importance of the memorial event:

“We commemorate them because this was an attack not only on our fellow Olympians, but also an assault on the values that the Olympic Village stands for. It was an attack on the universal power of sport to unite all of humanity in peace and solidarity.

“The Olympic Games are always an affirmation of life so let our commemoration today also be an affirmation of their lives. Through this act of remembrance, the spirit of those who have departed continues to live on.”

Ilana Rimano (left) and Ankie Spitzer – widows of two of the murdered Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics – at memorial event in Rio. Source: Reuters, via JPost

Ilana Rimano (left) and Ankie Spitzer – widows of two of the murdered Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics – at memorial event in Rio. Source: Reuters, via JPost

Following the ceremony, Ankie Spitzer expressed that the first memorial at the Olympic Games was a historic step, with the IOC taking the responsibility to organize the event inside the Olympic Village. She – and the Israeli people as a whole – finally felt a sense of closure after over 40 years.

This summer, Israeli Olympic athletes also commemorated the 1972 Munich Massacre victims in their own ways. The Israeli athletes came to the Rio Olympics to win, and in doing so, they were also able to pay their respects to the 1972 Israeli Team victims of terror by dedicating their success to the victims or simply by standing strong in the face of anti-Semitism at Olympic Games.

Following her win, Israeli Judoka Yarden Gerbi exclaimed that winning a bronze medal at the recent Rio Olympic Games is nothing short of “a dream come true.” But she also recognized the honor of earning this medal with two widows of the Munich Massacre victims, Ilana Romano and Ankie Spitzer, by her side during the games. After her win, Gerbi decided to specifically dedicate her success to the victims of the Munich Massacre.

Israeli Judoka Olympic medal winner, Yarden Gerbi. Source: fromthegrapevine.com

Israeli Judoka Olympic medal winner, Yarden Gerbi. Source: fromthegrapevine.com

Anti-Semitic Palestinian terrorists murdered the 1972 Israeli Olympic Team members. Fast forward to 2016, and many members of the 2016 Summer Olympics Israeli team also experienced discrimination in Rio. The Israelis stood strong in the face of all the hatred, only responding with success and pride in competing for Israel at the Olympic Games. For example, Or Sasson did not let the refusal of Egyptian Islam el-Shahabi to shake his hand affect his joy and pride in winning two medals for Israel. Thankfully, anti-Semitic incidents at this year’s Games were followed through by the IOC with public reprimands, providing a glimmer of hope that shaming discriminatory athletes will prompt them into behaving appropriately at future professional sporting events.

Or Sasson, Israeli Judoka, two-time medal winner Olympian. Source: Haaretz

Or Sasson, Israeli Judoka, two-time medal winner Olympian. Source: Haaretz

Just as Israelis are known to not let terrorism keep them from celebrating happy occasions, the team was not discouraged by anti-Semitism at the 2016 Rio Olympic games. The Israeli team came to win and stayed focused on their goal regardless of the bigotry thrown at them by other teams.

While the Israeli team stood proud of their success for Israel, the anti-Semitism did put a damper on the Rio Olympic Games in general. “Committed to building a better world through sport,” the IOC strives for good sportsmanship. Unfortunately, some countries chose to abuse the esteemed Olympic sense of sportsmanship. They used the games as a catalyst for political statements and expressions of anti-Semitism.

There were many highs and lows for Israel at the recent Rio Olympic Games. While nothing can make up for the tragic loss of 11 Israelis at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, at least their memory has now been fully respected by the IOC community. And similarly, while the anti-Semitism at the recent Rio games is uncanny and absolutely unacceptable just as it was at the 1972 Munich games, the Israeli Olympic Team at least was able to compete and represent Israel on an international level.

Though long overdue, following the IOC’s public ceremony for the Munich Massacre victims and its public punishments of racist athletes, there is hope for the future. While some countries bully Israeli Olympic athletes, they turn around and smile with pride after giving it their all in every competition and succeeding in the face of hate.

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Penina Simkovitz.

Guardian again whitewashes the extremism of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)

This post was written by Managing Editor of UK Media Watch, Adam Levick and was originally posted here.

For the second time in little over a year, the Guardian has managed to portray the radical, regressive anti-Zionist group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) in a sympathetic light.  The latest article, which appeared in the Guardian on Aug. 24th and is titled ‘GOP mega-donor funds group calling pro-Palestine US students ‘Jew haters‘, reports on a Sheldon Adelson funded group which targets BDS and accuses some individual pro-Palestinian students of supporting terrorism and promoting antisemitism.

Whilst the article correctly suggests that the group, Stop the Jew Hatred on Campus (SJHC), is quite extreme in some of its rhetoric, the Guardian journalist, Sam Levin, grossly misleads readers by suggesting that SJP in particular is being smeared with the ‘false’ charges of being pro-terror and engaging in Jew hatred.

Here are the relevant passages.

“They [SJHC] are trying to cast us as antisemitic, that we are somehow a discriminatory group,” said the political science student, who is a member of the college’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organization. “That is a completely spurious accusation. One of our core principles is anti-oppression and anti-racism.”

Tensions surrounding Israel-Palestine campus activism have escalated in recent years, but SJP leaders said the posters identifying specific students were particularly aggressive and had led some of them to face online harassment and death threats.

“This definitely felt like a more direct escalation,” said Omar Zahzah, a 28-year-old graduate student at UCLA who was also named in the recent posters. “It wasn’t just slandering SJP anymore. It was attacking specific individuals.”

Zahzah, a comparative literature student, who is Palestinian, added: “It’s easy to joke about and dismiss. But at the end of the day, it’s still pretty intimidating, which is the point.”

The inversion of reality by Levin is extraordinary – suggesting that SJP members are the ones being targeted, intimidated and harassed by aggressive and threatening tactics.

Here are some facts:

  • SJP was founded in 2001 by Hatem Bazian, an extremist who’s engaged in antisemitic rhetoric, has endorsed an intifada in Palestine and in the US, and expressed support for jihadist attacks on American soldiers in Iraq.
  • SJP chapters hosted antisemitic speakers.
  • An internal SJP document revealed that disrupting Israel-related events was part of their broader strategy of countering “Zionist normalization efforts”.
  • A (failed) SJP initiative at the UCLA Undergraduate Students Association Council demanded that “candidates for student government positions sign a statement pledging that they would not go on any trip to Israel sponsored by three Jewish organizations”.
  • SJP tactics include “the mock eviction notices against Jewish students on dormitory doors”.
  • SJP members have been condemned for using social media site to post antisemitic graphics, including a Nazi propaganda poster, captioned “Liberators”, seen here:

vassar-sjp-twitter-nazi-poster-screen-shot-2014-05-12-at-12-03-51-am

If the Guardian journalist engaged in even a minimal amount of research, he would have easily established that SJP not only is guilty of the very intimidation it’s accusing others of engaging in, but is in fact an extremist group which endorses violence, promotes antisemitism and harasses Jews on college campuses.

SJP Glorifies Terrorist Leila Khaled

The word resistance is defined as the ‘refusal to accept or comply with something.’

legal definition of the word is “the opposition of force to force,” which can either be “lawful or unlawful.” Resistance can be associated with defiance, independence, and strength in times of struggle. However, resistance also indicates rebellion, and is frequently used by those who sympathize with Palestinian terrorists to sugarcoat attacks against innocent civilians.

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)’s hashtag #ExistenceisResistance could be a fine concept. Through solidarity with Palestinians, through protests, through dialogue and advocacy—through the mere existence and reassurance provided by a pro-Palestinian group—pro-Palestinian activists could strengthen the Palestinian resistance to any sense of being downtrodden and could reinforce Palestinian defiance to hardships.

With SJP, any sentiment of non-violence with the use of their hashtag “#ExistenceisResistance” is hard to come by.

Image captured from Facebook by Legal Insurrection.

Image captured from Facebook page of Students for Justice in Palestine at Vassar College.

SJP’s decision to write “#ExistenceisRestistance” in a post alongside a t-shirt with an image of Leila Khaled suggests they are defining resistance for themselves in a very unlawful sense of the word, despite the t-shirt’s wording that “resistance is not terrorism.”

In order to fully understand SJP’s horrific act of printing Leila Khaled’s face on their t-shirts and glorifying her, you must know who she is:

Leila Khaled was born in Haifa, Israel to Palestinian parents in 1944. At the age of 15, she became part of the Arab Nationalist Movement, which would later develop into the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLFP).

With time, Leila Khaled grew more dedicated to her people and more passionate about implementing terrorism as a means of Palestinian ‘resistance.’

On this very day in 1969, on August 29th, Khaled took part in the plane hijacking of TWA Flight 840. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, known for his arduous efforts to make peace with the Arabs, was said to be on this particular flight. Khaled and a few other terrorists took over the plane and to their dismay, Rabin never showed up. This PLFP hijacking mission to attack Rabin failed, but they still did damage, blowing up a section of the plane.

TWA Flight 840 being partially blown up as part of the hijacking. Source: adst.org

TWA Flight 840 being partially blown up as part of the hijacking. Source: adst.org

A picture of terrorist Leila Khaled wearing a kaffiyeh and holding a gun, was publicized following the hijacking.

Leila Khaled after the airplane hijacking. Source: alchetron.com

Leila Khaled after the airplane hijacking. Source: alchetron.com

Following this failed attack, Khaled went through many plastic surgeries so that she would not be identified in the future as the TWA Flight 840 hijacker and could continue her terrorism work, in peace. With an unidentifiable face, Khaled went on to participate in other hijackings.

While Khaled tried to strategically distance herself from this photo, SJP decided to print this photo on their own t-shirts, juxtaposing this photo of the kaffiyeh-adorned hijacker with their disturbing hashtag, “#ExistenceisResistance.”

With the definition of resistance in mind, it is clear that Leila Khaled does not represent “the refusal to accept or comply with something” in any lawful sense of the word. The resistance represented by Leila Khaled is only a refusal to partake in dialogue, to pursue justice, to follow laws, or to strive for peace. Her resistance is not an indication of strength or defiance but rather, radicalism and violence in the form of terror.

What exact message is SJP trying to convey with this t-shirt? That unlawful “resistance” and terrorism are key to Palestinian existence?

The t-shirt shows us that the kind of “justice in Palestine” that Students for Justice in Palestine aspires to is indeed violence.

Justice, as a legal term, is not said to have any association with terrorism. Justice is “the proper administration of the law; the fair and equitable treatment of all individuals under the law.”

Terrorism, on the other hand, is defined as “the unlawful use or force of violence against persons or property in order to coerce or intimidate.”

By definition terrorism and justice do not go hand in hand and are quite the opposite of one another. That said, it seems that SJP needs to either remove “justice” from their name, or they ought to discontinue their associations with terrorists such as Leila Khaled.

Regarding their concept of “resistance,” Students for Justice in Palestine needs to fully acknowledge the events of this day in history. The TWA Flight 840 hijacking is an example of “resistance” fighters taking “justice” into her own hands by terrorizing innocent people.

SJP's T-shirt print. Source: legalinsurrection.com

SJP’s T-shirt print. Source: legalinsurrection.com

Any claim that “resistance is not terrorism” with relation to Leila Khaled or the August 29th hijacking is factually incorrect. While SJP can be a “resistance” group if they like, Leila Khaled is not an example of non-violent resistance.

SJP needs to reconsider how figures like Leila Khaled represent their values. While SJP is not recognized as a terrorist group, it is already a “resistance” group in the negative sense. Rather than partaking in dialogue, they focus on demonizing Israel, and their interactions with Zionist students are very antagonistic and unproductive.

While ceasing to glorify terrorist Leila Khaled is a great start, perhaps SJP should also reconsider how to be a more actively positive “resistance” group in the future. For example, SJP can stop  “resistance” work against Israel, a place where Palestinians who chose to have Israeli citizenship are employed, live freely, and vote.

In short, SJP should take note of the fact that many Palestinians prefer to live in an Israeli country rather than a Palestinian-run country. The BDS movement against Israel, for example, only serves to hurt the Palestinian standard of living.

Instead of focusing on resistance to Israel, SJP could focus on critical issues, such as terrorist groups which steal aid funds from Gazans or the ongoing crisis in Syria. If sticking to the idea that “resistance is not terrorism,” Students for Justice in Palestine must refocus its efforts to truly implement the concept. In turn, Palestinians might actually be helped by this fiery student movement.

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Penina Simkovitz.

Alleged “humanitarian” workers in Gaza support Hamas terror

This month, the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security and intelligence agency, busted an alleged humanitarian aid UN employee, Wahid Abdullah Burash, for his support of terrorism. As an engineer of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Burash used UNDP funding which was designated for developing Gaza infrastructure, his knowledge from this project, and his access as an UN employee in order to assist Hamas in terrorism.

United Nations aid worker Wahid Abdullah Burash was arrested by the Shin Bet. Photo: Shin Bet security force, via the Algemeiner

United Nations aid worker Wahid Abdullah Burash was arrested by the Shin Bet. Photo: Shin Bet security force, via the Algemeiner

In another recent scandal discovered this August, the Shin Bet arrested Mohammed El Halabi, the chief executive of Christian aid group World Vision, for assisting Hamas with millions of dollars worth of “aid” money designated for Gazans. El Halabi has reportedly confessed that World Vision has been funding Hamas terror tunnels and Islamist militants. This supposed “aid” worker has now been exposed as a life-long member of Hamas. Sadly, El Halabi is only one example of Hamas’s tactics to exploit well-meaning NGO aid efforts in order to advance their terrorist work in Gaza.

Supposed aid workers who in reality support terrorism prevent much-needed development in Gaza and discourage future aid work in Gaza–how can anyone support a “humanitarian” program that may be directly supporting terrorism? As human rights activist Bassem Eid sadly acknowledges, this scandal “will prevent other [NGOs] from working in the West Bank as well as in Gaza.”

As Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the head of the Israeli Law Center, explains, the arrest of El Halibi is “a turning point in the struggle to deprive terrorists from the oxygen they receive in the form of aid.”

The graph depicts the number of truckloads that entered Gaza via all Israeli-controlled crossings from October 2009 onwards. Source: PalTrade, OCHA-OPT and UNSCO. These figures include truckloads of goods entering the Gaza Strip other than fuel and gas. Source: Gisha, Legal Center for Freedom of Movement

The graph depicts the number of truckloads that entered Gaza via all Israeli-controlled crossings from October 2009 onwards. Source: PalTrade, OCHA-OPT and UNSCO. These figures include truckloads of goods entering the Gaza Strip other than fuel and gas. Source: Gisha, Legal Center for Freedom of Movement

Despite Hamas’ terror tunnels infiltrating into Israel, rockets launched into Israel, and abuse of aid work, Israel constantly assists the inhabitants of Gaza. Even during times of war, Israeli soldiers risk their lives in order to deliver goods and supplies to Gazans.

Sadly, as journalist Ariel Bolstein explains, many organizations including the UN, World Vision, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International, have been tricked into funding terrorism or have been betrayed by employees who use their positions to support terror activities. We can only hope that the Shin Bet’s recent discoveries will prompt justice to be served, resulting in the restoration of proper aid to Gaza.

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Penina Simkovitz

Airport Terrorism: Remembering Entebbe

Airports around the world —places thought to be highly secure—have been hit with terror attacks.

In March, ISIS terrorists killed 34 people and injured over 270 people as part of an airport ambush in Brussels, Belgium. More recently, ISIS terrorists attacked civilians at the Istanbul airport, killing over 40 people.

Passengers embrace each other as they wait outside Istanbul's Ataturk airport. Source: The Guardian

Passengers embrace each other as they wait outside Istanbul’s Ataturk airport. Source: The Guardian

Unfortunately, airport terrorism is not a new phenomenon. Airports are the ideal setting for terrorists. They can sneak in weapons, and once inside, thousands of people are at their disposal.

When an airport is attacked, it is symbolic of violating a society’s sense of overall security. In other words, penetrating an airport’s security is optimal psychological warfare. Israel has the tightest airport security in the world. Sadly, this is the result of multiple terror attacks involving Israelis over the years.

On June 27th, 1976, German and Palestinian terrorists hijacked Air France Flight 139 flying from Tel Aviv to Paris. During a stopover in Athens, the terrorists managed to sneak onto the plane. They then landed the plane in Entebbe, Uganda.

The terrorists held a “selection” process, freeing all non-Jewish passengers and holding all Jewish passengers captive. Immediately, Israel tried to negotiate with the infamous and murderous Ugandan President Idi Amin to no avail. A leader who was running genocide himself in his own country, Idi Amin collaborated with the terrorists.

Israel knew negotiations would not suffice and that the captured passengers lives could be taken at any moment. Gathering intelligence on the Entebbe Airport, Israeli forces quickly prepared an operation to save the captives. Swiftly taking action on July 3rd, the Israeli government chose not to negotiate with terrorists and instead sent four transport aircrafts to Uganda in order to save the passengers.

Pretending to be Idi Amin and his accompanying security entourage, an Israeli Commando unit rolled out of the transport aircrafts in a black Mercedes and Land Rovers.

Unfortunately, two Ugandan sentries caught on quickly and were not deceived. They knew Idi Amin’s new Mercedes was white, not black. As a result, Lt. Col. Yoni Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s brother, was tragically killed in action while shooting down the sentries. Despite this unexpected and fatal obstacle upon passing through security, the mission was successful.

By midday on July 4th, the Israeli captives were already freed and flown out of Entebbe back to Israel’s Ben Gurion airport.

An Israeli hostage is greeted on her return to Israel after Operation Entebbe. Source: The Telegraph

An Israeli hostage is greeted on her return to Israel after Operation Entebbe. Source: The Telegraph

In total, four casualties were lost during the operation. Operation Entebbe is also named Operation Yonatan in honor of Yoni Netnayahu. The IDF’s victory in Operation Entebbe is a poignant reminder that terrorism, especially in airports, can, and must be defeated.

Israel is known worldwide for its impressive and effective airport security. Since the terror attack in Belgium, the country has looked to Israel for advice on strengthening its own airport security. Vehicles pass through a security checkpoint before arriving at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport, and armed security guards constantly patrol its terminals. Since Israel’s airport is unfortunately a common target for terrorists, it is prepared for the worst. Sadly, international airports now need to do the same if they want to uphold security for travelers and truly be prepared for further terror attacks.

The black Mercedes the Commando used in the operation. Source: Historama

The black Mercedes the Commando used in Operation Entebbe. Source: Historama

A top commando military man, Yoni Netanyahu also wrote in his free time. His pieces were compiled into a book, The Letters of Jonathan Netanyahu, and a film, Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story.

Amongst his writings are many personal and insightful thoughts. Netanyahu wrote the following in 1969:

On me, on us rests the duty of keeping our country safe…we are united by something that is above and beyond political outlook. What unites us produces a feeling of brotherhood, of mutual responsibility, a recognition of the value of man and his life, a strong and sincere desire for peace, a readiness to stand in the breach, and much more. I believe in myself, my country, my family and my future. This is a special people, and it’s good to belong to it.

This short passage reflects Netanyahu’s desire to protect innocent individuals in the face of terrorism and his hope to share in the responsibility for the survival of his people, which inevitably cost him his life in Entebbe.

Every year, Yoni Netanyahu’s story along with the entire story of Operation Entebbe is commemorated. July 4th will always be a day of inspiration and military accomplishment for the Israeli people.

Contributed by CAMERA Intern Penina Simkovitz

23 Reasons Why BDS is Antisemitic

This post was written by Professor Dr. David Hirsh, at the University of London and originally published at Engage.

1. BDS singles out Israel

BDS is a global campaign against Israel and only Israel. It seeks to foment sufficient emotional anger with Israel, and with only Israel, so that people around the world will want to punish Israel, and only Israel.

2. BDS seeks to exclude Israel, and only Israel, from the global community

BDS

We are free to criticize whoever we want to criticize and people attracted by BDS are critical about other human rights abuses too; but this specific punishment, exclusion from the global community, is proposed only against Israel. BDS cannot be defended as free speech; it goes beyond speech into action. See this debate for more on the issues of singling out Israel; the debate continues here.

3. BDS discriminates against the Israeli people, not simply “Israeli institutions”

BDS says that it seeks to punish only Israeli institutions and not to silence or exclude Israeli individuals. This is not true. Israeli individuals, academics, athletes, artists, actors, film-makers, work inside Israeli institutions; where else could they work? If BDS demands that Israelis should not be part of institutions then it puts an eccentric demand on Israelis. Follow this link for what happened when the BDS movement tried to disrupt a Hebrew production of Merchant of Venice in London.

4. BDS seeks to delegitimize the State of Israel

The BDS demand that for Israelis to be accepted in the global community they have to emigrate, and so not be part of Israeli institutions, is a claim about the essential illegitimacy of the Israeli state. See ‘The Myth of the Institutional Boycott‘ for more on this.

5. BDS expects Jews to prove themselves politically ‘clean’

The BDS movement tried to"coerce (Matisyahu) into political statements" before his performance in Spain. Source: Haaretz

The BDS movement tried to”coerce Matisyahu into political statements” before his performance in Spain. Source: Haaretz

Sometimes BDS argues that there should be a political test rather than an institutional test. For example Israelis have been challenged to criticize Israeli ‘apartheid’ – and if they fail to do so in the terms required of them then they are excluded. But proponents of BDS never explain what kind of machinery would be set up in a university in Britain, say, or America, to test the political cleanliness of an Israeli. And they never explain why such a McCarthyite blacklist would only be set up for Israelis. For more on McCarthyism and BDS, see Steve Cohen here.

6. BDS messaging is intentionally ambiguous

BDS is careful to remain ambiguous on the question of Israel’s legitimacy. It says that it is appropriate for people who oppose only the post 1967 occupation but it also refuses to make a distinction between Israeli institutions within Israel and within the West Bank. BDS refuses clarity on what it means by the Palestinian ‘right of return’ and it thinks about the creation of the state of Israel itself as the root of the problem.

7. BDS does not recognize Israel as a home for Jews

Jewish refugees fled Iraq in 1951.

Jewish refugees fled Iraq in 1951.

BDS talks about Israel as a colonial settler state or an apartheid state but it allows no conception of Israel as a life-raft state, a haven for the un-dead of Europe, a home for Jews ethnically cleansed from the great cities of the Middle East, or as an asylum for the Jews who limped away from the carcass of the Soviet Union. For more on the progressive case for Israel, see this link.

8. BDS falsely portrays Israelis as ‘white foreigners’

Image by Philippe Assouline. Taken from the blog post: http://www.israellycool.com/2014/01/09/israel-palestine-whos-indigenous/

Image by Philippe Assouline. Credit: Israellycool

BDS constructs Israelis as white foreigners, who came from outside to settle the land and it constructs Palestinians as indigenous, who have a natural right to the land. In truth many Jews and Arabs have always lived in Palestine; and both Jews and Arabs moved into the area as it became more developed in the late Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. There is a historical connection between Jews and the land of Israel. In any case, the splitting of peoples into ‘foreigners’ and ‘indigenous’, the notion that some people have a natural right to land while others are impostors, is profoundly reactionary. Moreover the idea, put about by BDS that Israelis are ‘white’ is also highly misleading. About half of Israelis are descended from people who came from the Middle East; the other Israelis are descended from people who were defined and treated as a racial infection in white Europe.

9. BDS does not care that Jews need Israel as a safe haven

Children in a concentration camp during the Holocaust.

Children in a concentration camp during the Holocaust.

BDS remains unimpressed about Israel’s role as a potential haven for Jews around the world, if that should become necessary.

10. BDS disregards the heart of the conflict and ignorantly labels it as ‘apartheid’

Source: elderofziyon.blogspot.com

Source: elderofziyon.blogspot.com

BDS says that Israel is an apartheid state. This analogy mis-states the key problem, which is a conflict between two peoples, not a racist state which seeks to exploit the black majority. This analogy again refuses to make a distinction between Israel itself, which is fundamentally a multi-ethnic democracy in which everyone is equal before the law; and the occupied territories, in which there are two different legal systems. Israelis and Palestinians need to find a peace agreement; we need to support those in both nations who recognize the independence of the other. The apartheid analogy is weaponized by BDS as a thought-free short-cut to the conclusion of boycott. See this piece by Alan Johnson on the apartheid analogy.

11. BDS mislabels Jews as the ‘enemies’ of Palestinians

Jewish palestinian friends. Source: jmsmith.org

Jewish Palestinian friends. Source: jmsmith.org

BDS does not impact much against Israel; it impacts hard against Jews around the world where BDS takes a hold. BDS constructs friends and enemies of the Palestinians in such a way that the overwhelming majority of democratic and anti-racist Jews cannot be recognized as friends of the Palestinians. BDS sets up an assumption against Jews, on campus, amongst progressives and in the Labour movement, that they are enemies of Palestinians and therefore enemies of those who want to support the Palestinians. BDS sets itself up in opposition to the overwhelming majority of Jews. See this debate with Claire Potter on the question of antisemitism.

12. BDS does not recognize the antisemitic history of boycotting Israel

"Do not buy from Jews" protestors in Germany. Source: pinterest.

“Do not buy from Jews” protestors in Germany. Source: pinterest.

BDS situates itself in the tradition of the boycott of apartheid South Africa but it always remains silent about the other traditions in which it follows. The boycott of Israel organized by the Arab Nationalist States was formally established in 1945, within a year of the gas chambers in Europe going cold. Boycotts of Jews from universities and campaigns to ‘not buy from the Jews’ have been integral to antisemitic movements for centuries.

13. BDS encourages Jew-baiting

To teach people to relate to the overwhelming majority of Jews, that is Jews who do not agree with BDS, as apologists for apartheid, Nazism or colonialism is to teach people to relate to those Jews in an antisemitic way. If BDS says that Israel is apartheid and that anybody who does not agree with boycotting Israel is a supporter of apartheid, then it is setting up a framework for Jew-baiting. If anti-Zionists say that Israel is genocidal, is like the Nazis, that Zionism is similar to Nazism, then they are inciting people to treat Jews as though they were Nazis.

14. BDS disregards the constrant threats made by terrorist organizations to eliminate Israel

BDS operates as though there was no threat to the State of Israel. Yet in 1948, 1967 and 1973 there were military attempts by Israel’s neighbouring states to wipe it off the map. The Iranian state continues to argue for and to work for the elimination of Israel and it finances and arms Hamas and Hezbollah in their campaigns against Israeli civilians. Israel may be strong compared to the Palestinians, but in the world as a whole it is a small state surrounded by states and political movements which want it eliminated.

15. BDS uses old-school antisemitic conspiracies

Source: The Israeli Cartoon Project. By Vladnik Sandler

Source: The Israeli Cartoon Project. By Vladnik Sandler

BDS is a campaign to make people angry with Israel and with Israelis and with those people around the world who are suspected of supporting Israel. It would be extraordinary if such a campaign did not sometimes bring with it antisemitic emotions and if it did not sometimes draw upon antisemitic tropes. Experience tells us that BDS does precisely that. Israel is portrayed as a blood-thirsty child-murdering state; it is said that it is racist because the Torah, with its talk of ‘chosen people’ is racist; it is said that Jews were behind the slave trade; it is said that the Rothschilds financed the state of Israel by stealing diamonds from South Africa; it is said that Israel steals and trades in body parts; it is said that Israel is genocidal like the Nazis; it is said that Israel controls politics and the media around the world. In these ways old antisemitic tropes, including blood libel and conspiracy, have a tendency to emerge, recycled, out of the BDS movement.

16. BDS supporters should expect to be involved in antisemitism

BDS is only thinkable for people who have no fear of antisemitism. But if we look at the political movements and the states and the militias which seek the destruction of Israel and if we look at the culture which BDS always brings with it into a social space, then having no fear of antisemitism is eccentric indeed. See this critique of Naomi Klein’s argument for more on this.

17. BDS uses ‘debates’ as a cover for racism

BDSers sometimes say that there is nothing to fear from debate. This is not always the case. Sometimes there is much to fear from debate. Some debating questions are racist questions. For example we would fear a debate on whether the Holocaust really happened; we would fear a debate on whether women should remain in the kitchen; we would fear a debate on whether black people are more aggressive than white people. In the same way, I fear a debate on whether Israelis, and only Israelis, should be excluded from the global academic, sporting, artistic and economic community. Antisemitism and racism never opens debate, it always closes off free speech.

18.  Put simply, antisemitism is instrinsic to the BDS movement

It is sometimes said that the claim that BDS is antisemitic is an ad hominem argument, aimed at smearing those activists who are in favour of it. The truth is the opposite. The truth is that antisemitism is not a characteristic of people who push BDS, but it is a characteristic of the movement itself. Antisemitism is not only a hatred of Jews; it is also norms, practices and discourses which discriminate against Jews.

19. BDS cares more about antisemitic groups than confronting concerns that they are antisemitic

The claim that Jews raise the issue of antisemitism as a dirty trick to silence the BDS movement is itself an antisemitic claim. It teaches people to recognize someone who raises the issue of antisemitism as being part of a Jewish conspiracy to play the antisemitism card or to mobilize the power of Holocaust victimhood in a disgraceful way. Usually when people say they have experienced racism or sexism or bigotry, we take that seriously. But BDS trains activists not to take that seriously when it comes out of the mouths of Jews or Jewish communities. BDS trains activists to assume that Jews lie. BDS refuses to teach activists about the history and tropes of antisemitism. BDS is happy to be in a global coalition with antisemitic movements which hate Israel, such as Hamas and Hezbollah. BDS treats people who worry about antisemitism as being more of a threat than people who are antisemitic. Follow this link more on the Livingstone Formulation, the counter-charge that somebody who says they experiences antisemitism is really lying for Israel.

20. Jews who defend hostility towards Israel do not legitimize BDS

It is understandable when Jews have a special connection to Israel. Sometimes this is manifested in a special horror or even shame concerning the crimes of Israel, both real and imagined. This becomes problematic when Jews export their own specifically Jewish obsession with what Israel does wrong into civil society, campus debate and the Labour movement. It becomes more problematic still when they offer guarantees to non-Jewish institutions and individuals that a focused hostility to Israel, and only to Israel, is not antisemitic. It is problematic when Jews educate non-Jews to think in antisemitic ways and to support antisemitic movements. Read more on anti-Zionism, and particularly Jewish anti-Zionism here.

21. BDS masks its antisemitism with the term “Anti-Zionism”

Anti-Zionism forms the intellectual and the emotional underpinnings of the culture in which antisemitic speech and actions are tolerated. Anti-Zionism is not simply criticism of this or that policy or characteristic of Israel. It is a political movement which takes hostility to one particular state and it makes it into an ‘-ism’, a worldview; one which has a tendency to position the Jewish state as being central to all that is wrong with the world. Everything bad that happens in Israel is constructed, within this ideology, as the necessary result of the supposedly racist essence of Zionism. The aspiration to dismantle the state of Israel, against the will of its citizens, leaving them defenseless against military and political forces which threaten their lives, is part of the antisemitism problem.

22. BDS presents Jews as the crux of the world’s problems

Antisemitism has always constructed ‘the Jews’ as being at the centre of all that is wrong in the world. BDS mirrors this characteristic of antisemitism by putting Israel as the very centre of the political activity of ‘good people’ all round the world. It trains people to think of Israel as the key question of emancipation in our age. But Israel isn’t key. It is just one rather small, rather unremarkable local conflict. It is far from being the most important and it is far from being the most urgent and it is far from being the greatest injustice.

23. BDS proliferates hate instead of peace for Israelis and Palestinians

For more on the kind of movement which we should be building, a genuine solidarity movement with Israelis and Palestinians who fight for peace, follow this link.

Source: www.redletterchristians.org

Source: www.redletterchristians.org

From the Journal of an Israeli Girl in Jerusalem

Eilat Aviv

Eilat Aviv

From the journal of an Israeli girl in Jerusalem:

It starts out of nowhere. You just hear sirens, a lot of sirens. And you know – something bad happened. Something major.

Something that makes your spine shiver. And you start to worry, worry about your family. Your loved ones. Your friends. You know, you will hear it soon in the news. And within this gap – where you know something happened, but you don’t know yet what – you’re numb.

You turn off the music you heard on YouTube, because it just doesn’t feel right. You sit, and wait. And stare at the air, numb. That’s how it feels.

And then, news flashes, messages, people are looking for you, and trying to figure out if you’re okay.

You worry, you start thinking, “What if?” What if I was there, my family, or my friends. And then you get a bit angry with yourself because it’s someone else’s loved one.

And then the sirens are slowly fading… and life goes on. Like this, like nothing happened. Dogs are barking, birds are chirping, my cats are asleep, cars are running… and I am still numb.


Even when it’s not a terror attack, that’s what goes through your head. And you can’t help it, because you keep thinking what’s next? When will the next terrible thing will show up?

This is the Israeli reality.

Firefighters and rescue personnel at the scene of a bus bombing in Jerusalem, on April 18, 2016, leaving at least 21 people injured. (Nati Shohat/FLash90)

Firefighters and rescue personnel at the scene of a bus bombing in Jerusalem, on April 18, 2016, leaving at least 21 people injured. (Nati Shohat/FLash90)

Contributed by Eilat Aviv, member of CAMERA – supported group CAMERA at Hebrew U.

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