Editor: Rael Jean Isaac

Editorial Board: Ruth King, Rita Kramer

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Trump and Haley Deliver the Goods William Mehlman

In the Orwellian fog rapidly subsuming Western democratic society, what divides the keffiya-clad attacker of a Jewish restaurant in Amsterdam mere hours after Donald Trump’s formal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the 128-9 vote in the UN General Assembly to render that recognition void, is more a matter of style than substance. Both were acts of nullification, the “No!” screamed at objective truth in the hope it can be made to go away.

The President of the United States is being both hailed and vilified for arguably the most courageous act by an American head of state since Harry Truman welcomed Israel into the family of nations. All Donald Trump was doing, in fact, was acknowledging a reality that has stood before the eyes of the world for seven decades. Jerusalem has been the site of Israel’s parliament, its Supreme Court and all but one of its ministries through all of that period. The organs that define its sovereignty have been implanted in Jerusalem’s soil for 3,500 years.

President Trump’s embrace of Jerusalem’s status, moreover, is informed by American law, a 1995 bill passed unanimously by the Senate mandating the transfer of the U.S. embassy to the city from its present domicile in Tel-Aviv. The then-Clinton Administration, pressured by the State Department, strove mightily to dilute the bill’s impact. The State Department ultimately got its way with a codicil giving present and future occupants of the White House continuous six month waivers against implementation if they deemed that doing so would constitute an impediment to the nation’s diplomatic and strategic interests.

Refusing in October to put his signature to yet another six-month waiver, Trump signaled that he was freeing the 22-year old embassy bill of its inherent self-nullification and setting the stage for a new chapter in U.S.-Israel relations. “The idea of Israel being the only country that can’t choose its own capital is ridiculous” he said.

In confronting the “International Community” and its 2017 bi-cameral riff on Orwell’s “Ministry of Truth,” the UN Security Council and General Assembly, the president has at his side former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, the boldest, most combative American ambassador the glass house on Second Avenue has seen since the glory days of Jeane Kirkpatrick and Daniel Patrick Moynihan. It is more than three decades since American interests, from the eastern Mediterranean to the northern Pacific, have been so clearly articulated and vigorously pursued. To her further credit, Haley has invested nearly as much passion in defending Israel against the never-ending hostility of its most predatory UN neighbors. Her value to Israeli ambassador Danny Danon has been immeasurable.


From the Editor Rael Jean Isaac

Europe Votes on Jerusalem

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” Zechariah 12:9

It’s enough to convince you that Europe deserves to be Islamized and that what Douglas Murray calls the strange suicide of Europe is not so strange after all—it’s part and parcel of jettisoning its religious and cultural heritage. The UN General Assembly has voted 138-9 (with 35 abstentions and 21 no-shows) to condemn President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The nine who voted against the resolution, apart from the U.S. and Israel, were Guatemala and Honduras and the tiny Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Togo and Nauru. Almost all EU member states voted for the resolution (Hungary and Czechoslovakia abstained).

The wonderful Nikki Paley scheduled a party on Jan. 3 for those who did not vote for what Prime Minister Netanyahu calls the “ridiculous” resolution; since it would not have been much of a party with only the nine holdouts, she has included in the guest list the 35 abstainers and 21 who stayed away. They may have been cowardly but were indicating they would have preferred to vote “no.”

Guatemala Follows America’s Lead

The BBC, along with most of the mainstream media, has been gleefully rubbing in the isolation of the U.S. in the face of the overwhelming international “consensus.” But lo and behold, the New York Post reports that ten countries, including several in Europe, are talking to Israel about moving their embassies to Jerusalem. And once they break ground, there can be little doubt that many more will line up behind them.

It’s fitting that Guatemala is the first to announce openly its plan to move its embassy to Jerusalem. Guatemala took a leading role at the time of the UN vote for partition in 1947. Jorge Garcia Granados, Guatemala’s ambassador to the UN, was a member of the UN Special Committee for Palestine (UNSCOP) where he took a strong stance for creating a Jewish state. Granados became Guatemala’s first ambassador to Israel where several city streets are named after him.

Austria’s Rightwing Government

While the migrant invasion of Europe has led to significant gains by hitherto marginal right wing parties in the EU, Austria is the first Western European country to go all the way, installing a right wing, anti-Muslim mass immigration governing coalition composed of the Austrian People’s Party and the Austrian Freedom Party. The latter has Nazi roots and many Jews are up in arms, the World Jewish Congress calling for Jewish groups to eschew contact with the new government.

But given the abysmal lockstep anti-Israel positions taken by current EU governments (and their failure to stem the flow of Muslims drenched in anti-Semitism) perhaps an attitude of wait-and-see would be more appropriate. The Gatestone Institute’s Soeren Kern points out that the Freedom Party’s current leader Heinz-Christian Strache insists that anti-Semitism has no place in his party and has pledged “to ensure that boycotts [against Israeli products] get taken off the agenda.” During an April 2016 visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem Strache said: “We have a lot in common [with Israel]. I always say, if one defines the Judeo-Christian West, then Israel represents a kind of border. If Israel fails, Europe fails. And if Europe fails, Israel fails.”

Talk is cheap but having taken over on December 18, Austria’s new government will have a chance to prove itself. How will it vote on the next rash of anti-Israel resolutions at the UN? How will it vote in EU councils? The tests will quickly pile up. It’s already flunked the first one, voting on Dec. 21 with the dhimmi European herd in the UN General Assembly to condemn the U.S. moving its embassy to Jerusalem.


Canada: Obsessed with “Islamophobia” by Judith Bergman

In September, the Canadian parliament began its study on how to combat “Islamophobia.” A parliamentary committee, the M-103 committee, was established for that very purpose. Although motion M-103 was not binding, Samer Majzoub, a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate of the Canadian Muslim Forum, tellingly advertised: “Now that Islamophobia has been condemned, this is not the end, but rather the beginning… so that condemnation is followed by comprehensive policies.”

Majzoub’s statement presumably meant that the next steps would be to make M-103 binding. Part of the problem, however, with any study of “Islamophobia”, as with any motions about it, is that it is never clearly defined.

Now fresh statistics released at the end of November 2017, showed that in Canada, hate crimes against Muslims actually fell in 2016, but those against Jews increased:

Hate crimes against Muslims:

2015, there were 159

2016, there were 139

Hate crimes against Jews:

2015, there were 178

2016, there were 221

In Canada, with a population of 36 million people, approximately 330,000 are Jews and slightly more than 1,000,000 are Muslims.

Should not parliament, then—if anything—instead be studying how to combat Jew-hatred? Statistics, of course, do not mention who is behind the rise in hate crimes against Jews. Moreover, the Canadian media is not investigating what might be causing it, or whether the regular preaching of Jew-hatred in many mosques might have something to do with it. Canadian politicians? They are too busy studying “Islamophobia”.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently labelled a question about putting returning ISIS jihadists in jail from Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer part of a pattern of “Islamophobia”. (How can that be, if ISIS supposedly has “nothing to do with Islam”?)


Racing Against History: The 1940 Campaign for a Jewish Army to Fight Hitler by Rick Richman Reviewed by David Isaac

Why wasn’t there a Jewish army in World War II to fight the Nazis? No group had more motivation to do so. Well, it’s not that they didn’t want one. Rick Richman’s Racing Against History skillfully recounts the efforts by three major Zionist leaders to raise a Jewish army in America to fight Hitler. Chaim Weizmann, Vladimir Jabotinsky, and David Ben-Gurion, representing the center, right, and left of the political spectrum, came to the United States on separate missions with the same goal in 1940.

But why go to the United States, which was not then in the war? It was England, which had declared war on Nazi Germany after Hitler invaded Poland in September 1939, that needed manpower. And it was England that had experience in creating a Jewish Legion in World War I. But then, England was on the cusp of creating the Jewish National Home. Now it was shutting it down. England had slammed the gates of Palestine to the desperate Jews of Europe in 1939. Intent on appeasing Middle Eastern Arabs, Britain’s Foreign and Colonial Office were of no mind to alienate them by creating a Jewish army—or to owe the Jews a political debt in a postwar world.

The goal of the Zionist leaders was precisely to create such a debt. In World War I, Jabotinsky, who spearheaded the drive for the Legion, was nearly alone in seeing that if the cause of the Jewish State were to be accepted as a specific war aim and if the Jews wanted a seat at the postwar table, it was important that they fight alongside the Allies under a Jewish flag. When World War II began, all the major Zionist leaders understood this. And they viewed their mission in America as a way to exert pressure on England to allow such an army and to encourage American Jews to demand to join it.

Richman describes the difficult situation the Zionist leaders encountered in the United States. America was in an isolationist mood, anti-Semitism was vocal and popular among certain segments of the public, and American Jews were fearful lest they be accused of leading America into war for their own Jewish interests. The result was that Jews were afraid to speak up. In Hollywood, Jewish-run studios kept quiet about Nazism. Warner Bros.’ Harry Warner was the only one to talk publicly about it, Richman says. As late as September 1941 (only a few months before Pearl Harbor changed everything) he was called before a Senate committee to testify on “war propaganda disseminated by the motion picture industry” and forced to defend the 1939 film Confessions of a Nazi Spy. As Richman notes, the committee was effective in sending the message that even movie executives weren’t immune from the consequences of taking a stand against Nazism.


On Resolution 2334 by Nikki Haley

Editor’s note: Nikki Haley’s response to the UN’s lopsided vote condemning the U.S. for announcing it planned to move its embassy to Jerusalem has received most of the coverage, but her rebuke of Obama’s shameful “abstention” on Resolution 2334—his farewell shaft against Israel—is equally noteworthy.

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the passage of Resolution 2334. On that day, in this Council, in December 2016, the United States elected to abstain, allowing the measure to pass. Now it’s one year and a new administration later. Given the chance to vote again on Resolution 2334, I can say with complete confidence that the United States would vote “no.” We would exercise our veto power. The reasons why are very relevant to the cause of peace in the Middle East.

On the surface, Resolution 2334 described Israeli settlements as impediments to peace. Reasonable people can disagree about that, and in fact, over the years the United States has expressed criticism of Israeli settlement policies many times.

But in truth, it was Resolution 2334 itself that was an impediment to peace. This Security Council put the negotiations between Israelis and the Palestinians further out of reach by injecting itself, yet again, in between the two parties to the conflict. By misplacing the blame for the failure of peace efforts squarely on the Israeli settlements, the resolution gave a pass to Palestinian leaders who for many years rejected one peace proposal after another. It also gave them encouragement to avoid negotiations in the future. It refused to acknowledge the legacy of failed negotiations unrelated to settlements. And the Council passed judgment on issues that must be decided in direct negotiations between the parties.

If the United Nations’ history in the peace efforts proves anything, it is that talking in New York cannot take the place of face-to-face negotiations between the regional parties. It only sets back the cause of peace, not advance it.

As if to make this very point, Resolution 2334 demanded a halt to all Israeli settlement activity in East Jerusalem – even in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. This is something that no responsible person or country would ever expect Israel would do. And in this way, Resolution 2334 did what President Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem as the capital of Israel did not do: It prejudged issues that should be left in final status negotiations.

Given the chance today, the United States would veto Resolution 2334 for another reason. It gave new life to an ugly creation of the Human Rights Council: the database of companies operating in Jewish communities. This is an effort to create a blacklist, plain and simple. It is yet another obstacle to a negotiated peace. It is a stain on America’s conscience that we gave the so-called BDS movement momentum by allowing the passage of Resolution 2334.


The New Israel Fund is Bad News NGO Monitor

Editor’s note: In 1990 AFSI was the first to expose the New Israel Fund in our pamphlet The New Israel Fund: A New Fund for Israel’s Enemies by Joseph Puder. Calling itself “non-partisan” and “non-political” the New Israel Fund, the pamphlet noted, “embraced a startling variety of extremist crusades” for which Puder provided chapter and verse. The Fund has only grown more deceptive since, collecting much more money (over $30 million a year) much of which it siphons to ever more blatantly anti-Israel NGOs within Israel—while claiming its objective is only “to strengthen and expand the pro-democracy, progressive forces in Israel.”

That there are Jews in Israel who have created and staff NGOs whose aim is to defile and destroy their state is a disgrace to Jews and Israel; that there are wealthy American Jews who allow themselves to be taken in by the phony claims of the New Israel Fund to support Israel is equally appalling.

The following are excerpts from NGO Monitor’s recent report on the Fund.

The New Israel Fund (NIF) is headquartered in New York, and maintains offices throughout the U.S. as well as in Canada, the UK, Switzerland, and Germany. Since its founding in 1979, NIF has provided over $300 million to more than 900 Israeli organizations.

Shatil is the Israel-based “operating arm” of the NIF,” that creates and nurtures coalitions of NGOs, attempts to influence laws and bills in Israel, and holds workshops for staffers of NIF-funded NGOs.

Approximately 20% of grants go to 25 advocacy NGOs active in political campaigns that involve, to different degrees, demonization of Israel, including BDS and lawfare, under the headings of “Civil & Human Rights;” “Religious Freedom;” “Social & Economic Justice.”

The NIF claims that it “will not fund global BDS activities against Israel nor support organizations that have global BDS programs.” The NIF claims that it “firmly opposes attempts to prosecute Israeli officials in foreign courts [so-called lawfare.]

In practice, NIF continues to fund NGOs such as Adalah, Breaking the Silence, +972 Magazine, and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel that are primarily active in campaigns that contribute to BDS and [Israel’s] delegitimization.

On June 29-30, 2015, Adalah co-sponsored and participated in two side events at the UN Human Rights Council along with pro-BDS and lawfare NGOs. Two of Adalah’s co-sponsors, Badil and Medical Aid for Palestinians, in addition to extreme demonization of Israel, have also engaged in overt antisemitism.

During the wave of terrorism that began in October 2015, NIF grantees Adalah and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) released statements criticizing Israeli policy and actions without even noting the attacks against Israeli civilians.

Adalah’s rejection of the legitimacy of the Jewish State and its attempt to portray Israel as racist are integral components of the Durban Strategy that it helped formulate. Consistent with its political goal of eliminating Israel’s Jewish character, in 2007 Adalah drafted a “Democratic Constitution” that called for replacing the Jewish foundation of Israel with a “democratic, bilingual, and multicultural” framework.

NIF grantee Breaking the Silence makes repeated allegations of [Israeli] “war crimes” and “violations of international law.” Despite claiming to address Israeli society, BtS’ lobbying and media advocacy focus on international audiences, including appearances in Europe and the United States.


Hatikvah by Ruth King

In 1897, at the First Zionist Congress in Basel, delegates sang a song called “Hatikvah,” set to the music of Bedrick Smetana’s “The Moldau.” Smetana was a Czech composer closely identified with his nation’s aspirations to sovereignty. It was fitting music for the poem entitled “Tikvatenu” (“Our Hope”) written two decades earlier, in 1878, by Naftali Hertz Imber, who was inspired by fellow Zionist dreamers in Romania.

The delegates could not, in their wildest imagination, have guessed that the song would in subsequent years be sung by Jews from Bulawayo, Rhodesia to Melbourne, Australia, to Buenos Aires, Argentina—indeed wherever Jews congregated in schools, conferences, organizations in the Diaspora. They might have been equally surprised that given the huge impact of the song, it would take over fifty years after the state of Israel was established for Hatikvah to be formally designated the national anthem in 2004.

Why did the song take so long to be recognized as the national anthem? Herein hangs a dramatic tale of intrigue, infighting and politics.

First, there was the controversial character of the author, Naftali Imber, who settled in Palestine in 1882. He was a wanderer, eccentric, a mystic, and an alcoholic. He left Palestine in 1888 to dabble in hopeless ventures in England, Boston and New York. That left Samuel Cohen, the composer who had blended Imber’s poem to the music derived from the Moldau, to promote Hatikvah in Palestine.

The secular Zionists of Palestine liked the song because it was not religious. But not all Zionists were so enchanted. In fact, Theodore Herzl despised Imber and offered contests in hopes of coming up with a better anthem.

Religious Zionists faulted the song for the absence of God in the lyrics. Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, the chief rabbi of British Mandatory Palestine, submitted a substitute poem “Ha-Emunah” which included faith, return and God. The secularists swiftly rejected it for being “messianic.”

Other Zionists objected to the music as unoriginal and inspired by a Christian nationalist composer. Another contest was organized, this time for composers and musicians to submit different melodies. Again, none were successful.

The Zionist Congress in 1933 adopted Hatikvah as its anthem. But the rancorous debates continued even after statehood.


Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Herbert Zweibon, Ruth King

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December 2017
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