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Monday, 23 June 2008
Tuesday, 11 September 2007
Tuesday, 28 August 2007
by Asaf RomirowskyPhiladelphia Daily NewsDecember 6, 2006
As ex-president Jimmy Carter's new book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," hits the stores, it's worth looking into the infamous UN resolution 242 that he quotes so frequently.
Reading Carter's words gives no indication that Israel was the party that actually accepted 242 and the Arabs and Palestinians were the ones who rejected it.
In fact, after Resolution 242, the Arabs issued the equally infamous three "no's": No peace, no recognition, no negotiation.
None of this matters to Carter, who's built his post-presidency on practicing foreign affairs without an electoral mandate.
Palestinians and Arabs love to quote 242. It's become the foundation for the land-for-peace formula drafted after the Six Day War, and a superficial reading seemingly places Palestinian/Arab brokers of peace in a position of strength. For Arabs, this "legal" prerequisite emphasizes the give and take: If Israel valued peace, it would return land. If Arabs wanted land, they would give peace.
Arabs also love to quote 242 because it is a deceptively simple equation. On one hand, it talks about the exchange of land for peace with Israel, meaning there is room to negotiate. But although we naively believe it also calls for recognition of Israel as the Jewish state, that's not the case.
The resolution calls for "Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict." It deliberately does not call for withdrawal from "all" or "any" because the authors knew that such demands were unreasonable.
As far as "peace" goes, the resolution lays on the bureaucratic boilerplate and calls for "Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force."
The resolution demands that Israel gives up some land in exchange for some, still unspecified, peace. Israel is still waiting.
As historian Michael Oren explains, "Israel accepted the resolution, albeit begrudgingly, as did Jordan. Nasser's response was more equivocal. While endorsing the UN's decision, he reiterated the three no's to his National Assembly... 'that which was taken by force will be regained by force,' and told his generals, 'you don't need to pay attention to anything I may say in public about a peaceful solution.' "
Decades later, in 2000, Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq Al-Shara illustrated the imaginary land-for-peace fantasy in a speech regarding peace with Israel. Al-Shara noted again the return of the Golan Heights as a prerequisites for negotiations with Israel:
"In no way did we agree to discuss any of the elements of peace before the issue of the full withdrawal is settled. In order for the withdrawal to be full, it must be... without leaving any Israelis - either civilian or military, nor any semi-military or semi-civilian; also, no ground station and no Israeli in any ground station. This is what full withdrawal means and we did not give it up."
Any time you raise the notion of "compromise" in the context of an Israel-Palestinians peace agreement it is relative to their fantasy interpretation of 242. To actually abide by the resolution would be anathema.
And, in fact, when it came to implementing 242, Israel did turn over land time and time again: Sinai, the Oslo accords, the withdrawal from Gaza - in exchange for a cold peace at best and open warfare at worst.
During the Oslo years and the al-Aqsa intifada and today under the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, "land-for-peace" really translates into "land-for-talk" because to too many Americans and Europeans, talk - not peace - is all that Israel should expect (and possibly deserve), in exchange for territorial concessions. This is the motivation which drove Hezbollah to attack Israel this summer and what continues to fuel Hamas as it rejects Israel's right to exist.
If the Palestinians really want to talk about Resolution 242 as the basis for anything, they should first get their own territories under control, stop firing rockets at Israeli towns, and start creating a decent civil society.
Until then, Israelis have learned a hard lesson that until the other side stops wanting to wipe Israel off the map, resolutions like 242 really aren't worth the paper they're written on.
Asaf Romirowsky is an associate fellow at the Middle East Forum and manager of Israel & Middle East affairs for the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.
Posted by Rob at 11:19
by Asaf RomirowskyJewish ExponentMarch 22, 2007
"Israeli Apartheid Weeks" are becoming an accepted norm on many college campuses across the nation, during which a series of events staged by anti-Israel activists are held and the Jewish state is equated with the racist regime of apartheid-era South Africa.
Moreover, awareness weeks devoted to Islam are also held in order to "educate" the campus. The problem is that many times these are skewed presentations that teach an alternate reality.
In an effort to counter examples of the above, the pro-Israel community has similarly initiated "Israel Weeks," as well as daylong seminars, devoted to empowering students with the necessary tools to properly advocate for Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state.
In a combined effort of the Center of Israel and Overseas of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Hillel of Greater Philadelphia and the Israeli Consulate in Philadelphia, just such a conference will be taking place at Bryn Mawr College on Sunday, March 25.
It will draw on the six campuses that Hillel of Greater Philadelphia serves, as well as other campuses reaching as far as Lehigh University and the University of Delaware. Keynote speaker will be Charles Krauthammer, winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary and syndicated columnist for The Washington Post.
'Complexities of the Situation'
Andrew Mener, a senior at the University of Pennsylvania and chair of the student committee that helped plan the program, states that the event "will provide students with an understanding of the complexities of Israel's situation from varying perspectives -- all in one day."
The conference will challenge students to think about Israel in a new light and encourage them to ask questions. In fact, the conference agenda has been formulated after careful conversations with student leaders on all the regional campuses, with the explicit goal of providing useful information that speaks to the needs of today's college students.
Unfortunately, opposition is never too far behind and, coincidently or not, three days after this conference wraps up, Norman Finkelstein will be speaking at Bryn Mawr. Finkelstein is a Jew who willingly collaborates with neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites.
In fact, when The New York Times reviewed his book, titled The Holocaust Industry, it described it as "a novel variation on the anti-Semitic forgery, 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.' [The Holocaust Industry] verges on paranoia and would serve anti-Semites around the world."
People like Finkelstein help student campus groups such as "Jews for Justice in Palestine" gain credence as a "Jewish example" of credible criticism of Israel, and so widen the divide within the Jewish community.
Furthermore, such individuals sympathize and support radical Islamist groups like Hezbollah. As Finkelstein has written, "the honorable thing now is to show solidarity with Hezbollah, as the United States and Israel target it for liquidation. Indeed, looking back, my chief regret is that I wasn't even more forceful in publicly defending Hezbollah against terrorist intimidation and attack."
Today, those who are anti-Israel insist that they are not anti-Semitic -- only anti-Zionist. That's the message that Finkelstein helps fuel.
Students must recognize that there is never justice in terrorism. It is unacceptable that some should even speak of eliminating a living and breathing state like Israel.
However, you would be surprised how pervasive such statements have become on campus. These advocates are the ones that should be on the defensive, not those working hard for the good of the Jewish state.
Asaf Romirowsky is the manager of Israel & Middle East Affairs for the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and a Campus Watch Associate Fellow
Posted by Rob at 11:11
Tuesday, 3 July 2007
I hope you are doing well and enjoying the rest of your summer. I am currently still in Israel, volunteering at the StandWithUs office in Jerusalem. Many of you are in the U.S. now, probably reflecting on the time you spent here and the amazing experiences that we shared together. The purpose of this blog is to stay connected, to share our thoughts on the trip and find out what everyone is up to now that they have returned to North America. I can’t wait to tell you about all of the exciting projects that we are working on and read your reactions!
I know that oftentimes it is difficult to go home and re-integrate oneself into one’s own life after a trip like this. Taglit may or may not have changed your outlook completely, but I know that you felt something. Israel is a powerful place that affects each person in a unique way. Maybe you feel a strong connection to the country and would like to come back and visit again soon. You may make lifestyle changes or adopt a new attitude, forming strong opinions and supporting causes you believe in. I know you will share stories and photos from the trip with friends and family back home and encourage other young people to come to Israel. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to travel with such an amazing group of young people and am looking forward to hearing from you in the coming weeks.
Monday, 2 July 2007
Thanks to all the participants of our trip who made the ten days they were in Israel so special.
Here are just some of the many highlights!
If you want to go on one of our unique trips next summer or winter, more information is available at http://www.standwithus.co.il/birthright
Monday, 18 June 2007
Friday, 15 June 2007
StandWithUs is proud to be supporting the anti-boycott moves in the UK. Thousands of SWU supporters have written to the UCU and signed petitions encouraging them to end this policy. Messages The overall campaign message is that boycotts are bad for academic freedom, bad for the Palestinians and bad for Britain. Lorna Fitzsimons and Jeremy Newmark
You can find out more about the anti-boycott campaign and what you can do by clicking here:
Campaign Update 1
Thank you for signing up to support the Stop The Boycott campaign.
Who are we?
The “Stop the Boycott” campaign has been launched as the unified response of tens of organisations and hundreds of academics to the Universities College Union pro-boycott policy.
The campaign is led by the Chief Executives of BICOM and the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) in partnership with the Fair Play Campaign Group, which was set up by the JLC and the Board of Deputies last year.
We aim to obtain and win a full UCU membership ballot to overturn the boycott policy.
Who are our supporters?
We are delighted at the overwhelming support we have received. UK supporters include The Board of Deputies; Trade Union Friends of Israel, Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel, the ‘Friends Of’ the various Israeli Universities, the Union of Jewish Students, and the Zionist Federation.
Beyond the Jewish Community some 300 senior academics have signed newspaper advertisements; 76 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion; and many members of the UCU are involved.
The influential Russell and 1994 university groupings, Universities UK; the National Union of Students, The British Academy; Senior Government Ministers and Opposition Spokespeople have all echoed our campaign messages.
We have received huge support from Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks and Head of the Reform Movement Rabbi Tony Bayfield.
We also proud to have the support of the Israeli Government through the Ambassador in London as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
What are we doing?
An advert appeared in The Guardian and The Times on Wednesday 13th June. Click here to see the advert - http://www.stoptheboycott.org/pdf/stoptheboycott_times.pdf
An Early Day Motion in Parliament (number 1603)
Question to the Prime Minister from Andrew Dismore MP on Wednesday 6th June
Editorials have appeared in all the main UK broadsheet newspapers against the boycott.
Meetings have taken place with Israel’s Prime Minister’s office and the Foreign Secretary herself.
For UCU members, the priority message is that of academic freedom.
Our message is simple. Do something today, to support this campaign.
What do we need you to do?There is no magic bullet. To succeed we must be prepared for a series of hard-fought tactical battles over many months. We need your help to:
Find out who your local MP is here: http://www.writetothem.com/?creativeid=605235279
Lobby your MP to sign EDM 1603: http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=33409&SESSION=885
Ask your MP to meet with local universities/colleges to enlist support and get joint statements denouncing the boycott.
Get UCU branch members in local universities/colleges to propose motions supporting a membership ballot and condemning the motion, before the summer holidays.
If you are a UCU member write to the NEC asking them for a ballot
Sign up to, and get your friends and family to sign up to, regular updates at http://www.stoptheboycott.org/
WebsitePlease visit http://www.stoptheboycott.org/ for more information about this important campaign.
Stop the Boycott
The overall campaign message is that boycotts are bad for academic freedom, bad for the Palestinians and bad for Britain.
Lorna Fitzsimons and Jeremy Newmark
Wednesday, 13 June 2007
By Charles Levinson in Ashkelon, Sunday Telegraph
In the Gaza Strip's Jab aliya refugee camp, Aref Suleiman was raised on Palestinian struggle against the Jewish state. Today he lies in an Israeli hospital bed, his body riddled with Palestinian bullets, his wounds tended daily by Israeli nurses.
For the 22-year-old Mr Suleiman, who was shot five times point blank by Hamas militants last month during a renewed bout of Palestinian infighting, this is not the Arab-Israeli conflict he learnt about as a child growing up in Gaza's desperate, rubbish-strewn alleys.
"Palestinians shoot me and Jews treat me," he laughs bitterly. "It was supposed to be different."
The Barzilai Hospital sits on a sandy hilltop above the Mediterranean Sea in the southern Israeli port city of Ashkelon. In recent months, five Palestinian rockets have landed in the grassy dunes that encircle it, just six miles from the Gaza Strip.
Barzilai, however, has become a rare bastion of civility in an increasingly hate-filled conflict and a unique meeting ground for two peoples who otherwise have little direct contact.
Wounded Palestinians who get permission from the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli army are allowed into Israel to seek medical treatment that is not available at Gaza's rudimentary clinics. Here, Israelis and Palestinians meet their erstwhile foe, in many cases for the first time in their lives.
Mr Suleiman, who was only 15 when the second intifada erupted in 2000, had never been to Israel or met an Israeli. Suleiman, a guard in the Palestinian security services who was a devoted follower of the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.
As he flirts with the Israeli nurses who bring him lunch, check his wounds and blood pressure and empty his bed pan, Suleiman seems, at least for the time being, to have forgotten historical grievances.
"The Jews are like honey, like flowers," he says theatrically. "They wash me, clean me, and change my gown every day. Even in my home, my own family wouldn't change me every day."
"Here, everything is beseder," he adds, using the Hebrew word for "okay".
For the young Israeli nurses, most from nearby communities that live in constant fear of the Palestinian rocket fire, the cultural exchange flows both ways. The Palestinian patients they treat put a human face on the conflict. Nurse and patient can even find a shred of common cause now that the Islamist Hamas movement, which has killed dozens of Israelis in suicide bombings, is locked in a deadly power struggle with the more moderate Fatah movement.
Victims on both sides of the war's de facto frontline are treated side by side here. Five doors down from Mr Suleiman, Ludmilla Visiptzky, 60, awaits her third session of surgery to patch up the shrapnel wounds she suffered when a Palestinian Qassam rocket struck her home in mid-May.
Both confined to their hospital beds, the two patients have had little contact, but each knows the other is within shouting distance. Meanwhile Nurse Kokhava Kohi, says gleefully of her patient, Mr Suleiman: "He's going to go home and shoot Hamas in the head," - as if that alone would justify her daily ministrations.
Monday, 11 June 2007
London Rally organiser Jonathan Hoffman blogs about a heated day in Trafalgar Square:
What other city but London could host 5 demonstrations in one day? These included 250 naked cyclists who seemed to be protesting not about the price of clothing but about car drivers (whether clothed or ‘in the buff’) and thousands of Orange Loyalists, complete with a massed band, marching to celebrate an anniversary of their Order.
Our demonstration, “Dayenu”, was to counter “Enough!”, a group of some 50 organisations marching to protest about 40 years of occupation of the Territories by Israel. “Enough!” included 5 trade unions including Amicus, GMB, TGWU; Friends of the Earth; War on Want; as well as all the usual suspects. The marchers were marching to Trafalgar Square to listen to such luminaries as George Galloway; the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, Riah Abu El Assal (who “has falsified Jewish history” – Melanie Phillips); Lord Phillips of Sudbury who wrote in the Times on March 26 2004: "If terrorism is 'the systematic use of violence and intimidation', then Israel, too, is guilty of it”; Dr Azzam Tamimi, who has supported suicide bombings against Israelis and was denounced in Parliament for inciting hatred against the Jews (again thanks to Melanie Phillips). Miriam Margolyes apparently made an unscheduled speech as well. There was also a video message from the Palestinian Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. The Hamas Covenant urges Muslims to kill Jews.
The purpose of our “Dayenu!” (= “It is Enough”) demonstration was to publicise Israel's willingness to give up territory – as shown by the return of Gaza - but only for a secure peace. We wanted to tell the “Enough!” marchers the truth – how Israel gave back Gaza, only to be rewarded with Kassam rockets raining down on Sderot. Our group included Jews, Christians, people of other faiths and indeed of no faith. We were honoured and deeply moved to have a Holocaust survivor, Freddie Knoller, with us, as well as Liberal Rabbi Sidney Brichto and Tony Pearce who leads The Bridge Christian Fellowship. We also had people there from the Campaign for Vigilant Freedom. http://www.vigilantfreedom.org/ The one thing we had in common was that we loathed the idea of thousands of misinformed and misled marchers on the streets of our capital city with free rein to attack and lie about Israel. Our name – ‘Dayenu’ – was in response to ‘Enough’. “Enough lies, enough Kassams, enough anti-Zionism, enough anti-Semitism, enough boycotts, enough double standards imposed on Israel”.
There were around 150 at our demonstration – a great turnout given that it was Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath) – meaning (i) that neither the Jewish communal organisations nor the Embassy could sponsor the event and promote it (though individuals at those organisations were extremely supportive) and (ii) many observant Jews who would not travel on Shabbat were unable to be there. By contrast the “Enough!” marchers – who hoped that they would get 10,000 – got around 3,000 (they began passing us at 2.30pm and by 3.10pm they had all passed by).
Our group was passionate but dignified. We sang “Evenu Shalom Aleichem” and “Hine Ma Tov” and asked the “Enough!” marchers “Where’s Alan Johnson?” We had a special welcome for Neturei Karta and for “Jews for Justice for Palestinians”.
Their numbers included one man who gave us Nazi salutes and pretended to be Hitler (The police were onto him very fast). I was told that two women from “Enough!” came over to apologise to some of our group for the behaviour of their fellow marchers. We had some powerful signs (many thanks to StandWithUs http://www.standwithus.com/ for your support) – in particular one of our group is a sign maker and made a banner “Enough Rockets On Sderot”.
What was the significance of 9 June 2007?:
· Despite Shabbat and the consequent lack of publicity 150 were prepared to come on the streets of London to support Israel. It takes courage to do that, in the face of some very militant people.
· “Enough!” did not get nearly the support they had hoped for. Those that did come were the usual alliance of militant Islamists and ageing SWP throwbacks from the 1960s, joined at the hip to their tired-looking SWP banners, as well as dour young Trotskyites and a sprinkling of self-haters.
The Metropolitan Police provided some truly inspirational policing of an event that could so easily have turned nasty. They even managed to keep the naked cyclists out of the sight of both the devout Muslims and Neturei Karta …….
And the CST must be thanked for standing with us, despite the short notice and despite Shabbat.
StandWithUs salutes Jonathan and his associates for the great work in pulling together the counter rally. We are pleased to be working with the UK community to actively engage in the fight against the boycott, anti-Israel movements.
Thursday, 7 June 2007
Monday, 4 June 2007
Thursday, 31 May 2007
Wednesday, 30 May 2007
Boycott motion passes at UCU conference
UCU conference just passed a motion to support the campaign for an academic boycott of Israel. 158 for, 99 against, 17 abstentions.
1 This is not a decision to institute a boycott. That decision can only be made by the whole membership through a ballot. That was the commitment on which Sally Hunt was elected as General Secretary. Congress also backed a policy which does not allow a boycott of Israeli academic institutions unless it is called for by Israeli campus trade unions.
2 UCU conference has today voted for a roadshow touring colleges and universities drumming up support for an exclusion of Israelis - and only Israelis - from our campuses, our conferences and our journals. UCU can still be rescued by its membership. But this vote demonstrates that we live in dangerous times. The zeitgeist is now such that a representative body of the British intelligentsia is prepared to say, in all seriousness and after due consideration, that criticism of Israel can never be antisemitic.
Monday, 16 April 2007
Thursday, 29 March 2007
Monday, 26 March 2007
This evening of fun enabled people to hear the stories of Israeli's—first hand—in a setting where brotherhood and possibility prevailed.
While in the UK or South Africa (and many other places in the world), at the age of 18 when young adults are getting ready for "the best times of their life" in university, their Israeli counterparts are getting ready to go to the army, face challenges they have never faced before (defending their country), and being responsible for their own life as well as the lives of other men and women in their units.
Many moving stories were shared this evening—professional and personal alike. The winner of the UK based educational program created by StandWithUs Associate Director Michael Dickson (based on a famous TV show), The Ambassador, Gabby Nejad, shared her compelling story of her struggles and encounters with anti-Israel propaganda throughout her upbringing in the UK and how StandWithUs gave her the tools to effectively counter and conquer it. She was able to show her Israeli counterparts the realities that students abroad have to face, though not with their lives in the army, but rather by constantly having to defend their Judaism to those unfriendly to the entire concept.
Israeli student speaker, Tal Frankfurt, divulged a chilling story of an experience he had in the army that should have left him dead—the day he was supposed to be on id duty. Because there is an obligatory army duty in Israel at age 18, Tal was dealing with this kind of scenario while other 18 year olds around the world were completely oblivious to the harsh reality of being a young person within this nation
The IDF requires all soldiers to hand in their ID tags as they head for a day in the field to protect their country. Upon their return, they pick up their tags. This system serves as a checks and balance system to identify those who do not return in the evening and are considered M.I.A.
Tal's commander volunteered to sit at the post that day and be on ID duty for a change of pace. Little did he know that that would be his last day to ever see his soldiers fight for him and his country. A terrorist came up to his commander and shot him in the head point- blank. It was supposed to have been Tal sitting there; it could have been Tal that died that day. He reflected on the cost that Israeli's pay and the perspective that it builds in the lives of students in this nation.
It is crucial for students to continuously have these "mifgashim" (meetings) between Israeli's and those from abroad because Jews are fighting equally crucial battles daily in every part of the world. Some sacrifice with their lives on the front lines defending this nation, and some defend it with ideology confronting hatred and lies about this nation that we all have come to call HOME.
The evening concluded with more barbequing and roasting of marshmallows over the fire. As students inquisitively asked about one another's lives while heading down to the buses, the latest StandWithUs books, Israel 101, were distributed which cover the conflict and toughest questions about Israel in a concise palatable way appropriate for those in sticky situations on campus. Students left with lifetime friendships and a hope for more strategic partnerships and broader perspective to be able to face "the music" together through different roles in varies areas of the world.
Tuesday, 20 March 2007
Friday, 16 March 2007
Know what Zionism is, or only the propoganda?
With Israel's enemies long-using Zionism as an insult, it's time to get eduacted about what Zionism acutally is. Lots of useful information, plus internet links, tips and the lowdown on anti-Zionist hackers at http://www.zionismontheweb.org