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Posts tagged "Israel"
Conservative radio host Erik Rush blames Obama for Kansas City shootings (via Raw Story )

Conservative radio host and commentator Erik Rush claimed on Tuesday that President Barack Obama’s “anti-Israel sentiment” is to blame for the shooting rampage in Kansas City, KS that left three dead over the weekend. Right Wing Watch reported…



Michele Bachmann and Tony Perkins show their true colors when Jews don’t behave in accordance with right-wing interests.

Just two days after Israel’s cabinet approved a new policy extending government abortion subsidies to all women ages 20-33, the staunchly anti-choice Liberty Counsel released an alert entitled, “Stand With Israel Now,” complete with a photograph of Benjamin Netanyahu with Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver.

“There has never been a more critical time for you to show your support to Israel and its Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu! Become a Liberty Ambassador to Israel and have your faith strengthened and your resolve fortified to stand for Israel,” the group writes. “In light of the failed foreign policies of our current American administration, it has never been a more important time to express our unwavering resolve to stand united with Israel.”

Matt Barber, Staver’s deputy at Liberty Counsel, has praised Netanyahu as the “Leader of the Free World” who turned Israel into “the shining city on the hill,” unlike President Obama whom the group regularly berates as “one of the world’s immoral leaders.”

The group accuses Obama of implementing “forced abortion funding” and “rubbing the aborted babies in the face of every single American.” They also argue that God will punish America for Obama’s “self-destructive” pro-choice stance, and have linked abortion rights to SatanslaveryNazism and the Holocaust.

Just a few months ago, Staver and Barber insisted that if they were to remain silent in their opposition to abortion rights, they would be just as bad as “those who silently stood by and allowed the Nazis to murder millions of Jews.” “Silence is affirmation,” Staver said. “If you are silent on this issue, you are affirming that this is something that is acceptable.”

“Posterity will view those who stood in silence or who tacitly accepted this abortion holocaust just as history views those who silently stood by and allowed the Nazis to murder millions of Jews,” Barber said, adding: “Are we comparing the pro-choice movement to the Nazi movement? Yes! Absolutely.”

Now, imagine if it was the Obama administration rather than Netanyahu’s cabinet which adopted a far-reaching policy that the Times of Israel calls one of the “most liberal abortion coverage [policies] in the world”?

But so far from Liberty Counsel, there are no calls for Netanyahu’s ouster, no comparisons to Nazism and no warnings of divine wrath.

Instead just a statement entitled, “Stand With Israel Now.”

h/t: RWW

After attacking Pope Francis, anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller is now going after the New York Times for reporting that the high rate of breast cancer among Israeli women has led to calls for a “national screening campaign to test women for cancer-causing genetic mutations common among Jews.”

“Jews of Ashkenazi, or central and eastern European, backgrounds, who make up about half the Jews in Israel and the vast majority of those in the United States, are much more likely to carry mutations that increase the risks for both breast and ovarian cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute,” the Times reported.

But according to Geller, such reporting means the Times is sending the message that “Jews = cancer.”


h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

"Radical Islamsists wants a caliphate to regulate every aspect of our lives based on Islamic law," Hagee said, while “the Left wants to tell us what to eat, what to drink, what to drive, what to say, and what to think.”

On top of that, both groups hate America and Israel.





Next week, former President George W. Bush is scheduled to keynote a fundraiser in Irving, Texas, for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, a group that trains people in the United States, Israel, and around the world to convince Jews to accept Jesus as the Messiah. The organization’s goal: to “restore” Israel and the Jews and bring about about the second coming of Christ.

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I’ve always found it odd that the very People who were supposedly witness to all the miracles in the bible stories, including the dramatic resurrection, were perhaps the least convinced that anything special had happened. Now, a couple thousand years later, people from other places have to try and convince them that their messiah already came and they missed it. The Jews are like, nope, we were there and we obviously weren’t impressed.

This guy threw away millions of tax payer money for his faith based initiative when President. I really don’t know how it was considered legal and constitutional. So this does not surprise me one bit. Bush is a religious nut.

(via kingof40thieves)

JERUSALEM — Israel’s centrist Yesh Atid Party introduced civil union legislation on Tuesday that would give same-sex couples access to the rights of marriage and free heterosexual ones from the religious strictures imposed on marriage.

Israel has no civil marriages, and some experts estimate that in recent years a quarter of Jewish couples have chosen to either marry abroad or live together without marrying rather than adhere to the chief rabbinate’s requirements for, among other things, proving Jewish ancestry. Hiddush, an Israeli group that promotes religious pluralism, recently placed Israel among the 45 nations in the world with “severe restrictions” on marriage; most of the other 44 are governed by Islamic law.

Arab citizens of Israel are married through either Christian or Islamic authorities, and encounter problems if they wish to marry outside their faith.

Supporters of the rabbinate’s control over marriage, divorce and other family matters say it is essential for the unity of the Jewish people. Jewish law prohibits certain unions — for example, descendants of the ancient tribe of priests cannot marry divorced women — so allowing civil marriage could create problems for religious marriage in future generations.

American Jewish leaders have strongly urged the adoption of a civil marriage law, fearing that many of their constituents would otherwise be unable to marry in Israel because their family histories do not fulfill the rabbinate’s requirements.

H/T: The New York Times


Black and North African workers were excluded from Paris’s main railway station during a visit by Israel’s President amid fears they might be Muslim, it has been alleged.

The decision was reportedly made ahead of Shimon Peres’s arrival in the city on March 8 to discuss the Middle East peace process with President François Hollande.

The Telegraph reports Peres and his delegation were greeted at Paris Gare du Nord by non-excluded staff from France’s state-owned railway SNCF, and their baggage handling subsidiary, ITIREMIA.

The allegations are made in an official complaint by the left-wing SUD-Rail transport union, which claims deliberate steps were taken to ensure there were “no Muslim employees to welcome the Head of State of Israel.”

It adds the decision was “based on the appearance of employees”.

SUD-Rail spokesman Monique Dabat told Radio Internationale Française: “The employees noticed that anyone who was black or Arab was excluded from the job and when afterwards they demanded an explanation from the site boss they received the reply that it wasn’t because they were black or Arab but there couldn’t be any Muslims getting close to Shimon Peres.”

According to the SUD-Rail statement, employees were initially told by SNCF the measure was taken following “security demands” from the French Interior Ministry and the Israeli Embassy in Paris, both of which have denied all knowledge of the ban.

The Telegraph says SNCF has since admitted the order came from management, with a spokesman promising “a full investigation”.

The incident is being branded by Twitter users as “shocking”, “racist” and “shameful”.

There are an estimated six million Muslims in France, of which around 100,000 are thought to be converts, the New York Times reports.

The country, which has a population of around 65 million, defines itself as secular and publishes no official statistics on race or creed.

The incident is particularly embarrassing for the SNCF because it played a role in the deportation of Jews during the Second World War.

In 2011 it released a statement expressing “sorrow and regret” in which it conceded the SNCF’s equipment and staff were used to haul 76,000 French and other European Jews to Germany, where they were sent to death camps.

Fewer than 3,000 returned alive.

The railroad has repeatedly reiterated it was requisitioned for the Nazi war effort and had no choice in the matter, the Associated Press reports.

The Huffington Post

(via rapunzels-inquisition-deactivat)


Obama in West Bank: Palestinians ‘deserve a state of their own’

(Photo: NBC News)

President Barack Obama spoke critically of Israeli settlement activity in Palestinian territories and reaffirmed his commitment to the creation of “an independent and sovereign state of Palestine” in a Thursday news conference in the West Bank. 

Read the complete story.

About time that the two-state solution works.

Barack Obama is due to land at Tel Aviv airport on Wednesday for a three-day visit to Israel and Palestine that the White House – anxious to set low-to-zero expectations of tangible outcomes – has billed primarily as a listening exercise.

Talks between the US president and the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, are expected to focus on Iran, Syria and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The president will also travel to Ramallah to meet Palestinian leaders.

Israeli air space will close for about an hour for the arrival of Air Force One. Obama will be greeted by Netanyahu, who was sworn in this week as leader of the new Israeli government; President Shimon Peres; other senior politicians and dignitaries; a contingent of Israeli soldiers; and a military orchestra.

The US president’s first task is to inspect an Iron Dome mobile missile defence unit – funded by the US – that has been brought to Ben Gurion airport. He will then fly to Jerusalem by helicopter, though most of his entourage of 600 will travel by road, requiring the closure of the main Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway.

The day will be dominated by at least five hours of talks between Obama and Netanyahu. Despite the lack of personal warmth between the two leaders it will be the tenth time they have met face to face since both took office in early 2008. No other world leader has clocked up as many meetings with Obama.

Some US and Israeli officials say the trip is also aimed at recalibrating the tetchy relationship between the two leaders at the start of their second terms and building trust on both sides.

The White House has said it is a “chance to connect with the Israeli people”, who are largely distrustful of Obama. A poll published last week in the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv found that only 10% of Israelis had a favourable attitude towards Obama, with 17% defining their attitude towards the US president as “hateful”.

As part of his overture, Obama will deliver his keynote speech of the visit to an invited audience of Israeli university students at the International Convention Centre in Jerusalem on Thursday.

He will travel to Ramallah to meet the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and the prime minister, Salaam Fayyad. The seven-mile journey will be made by heliicopter, thus avoiding crossing the 24ft-high concrete separation wall that snakes through Jerusalem, separating off parts of the east of the city and the West Bank. However, the president will have a bird’s-eye view of the barrier and some of the 130-plus Jewish settlements that punctuate the West Bank landscape.

Many Palestinians are hostile to Obama, believing he failed to live up to early pledges to halt Israeli colonisation of the West Bank and tried to obstruct their quest for recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations. On Tuesday, scuffles broke out between anti-Obama protesters and police near the Muqata, the presidential compound in Ramallah where Thursday’s meeting is due to take place. Many posters bearing Obama’s face have been torn or painted over.

Both Israelis and Palestinians are sceptical about the chances of any real movement on the decades-old conflict. A poll published in the Jerusalem Post on Tuesday suggested eight out of 10 Israelis do not believe that Obama will succeed in brokering a peace deal in the next four years.

Obama’s itinerary for his 50-hour visit includes visits to the Israel Museum to view the Dead Sea Scrolls, Israel’s haunting Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem, and the graves of Theodor Herzl, the father of Zionism, and the assassinated Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Obama will make a second trip – again by helicopter – to the Palestinian territories on Friday to visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

His entourage has taken over the historic King David hotel, which overlooks the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City.

h/t: The Guardian

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, made an interesting observation on his radio show yesterday. Speaking about the confirmation of Chuck Hagel, Perkins mused about the ‘irony’ that Hagel, whom he considers to be anti-Israel, was backed by Democratic senators who are “mostly aligned with a lot of the Jewish lobby” and “enjoy the money coming from the Jewish community.” Hmmm, “Jewish lobby,” where have I heard that before?

Hagel has been savaged in recent weeks for having used the phrase in a 2006 interview. He has since apologized and said he should phrased his comments differently. In case it isn’t obvious, the ADL’s Abe Foxman explains the many problems with saying “Jewish lobby.”

Notwithstanding Hagel’s apology, Sen. Lindsey Graham grilled him about his use of the phrase during his confirmation hearing. FRC also cited Hagel’s use of “Jewish lobby” in its background document opposing his confirmation. Meanwhile over at the website of the American Family Association, which broadcasts Perkins’ show, David Limbaugh railed against Hagel’s “bigoted accusation” about the “Jewish lobby” and said he failed to provide a “satisfactory explanation for his disgraceful terminology – because there is none.”

“Bigoted” and “disgraceful” sounds about right, but don’t hold your breath waiting for conservatives to denounce Perkins’ comments.

Perkins seems mystified as to why most American Jews support Democrats, but his right-hand man thinks he knows the reason. FRC’s Executive Vice President Jerry Boykin has argued that Hitler was “an extraordinarily off the scale leftist” but “many Jews in America, for example, can’t identify with the Republican Party because they’re called the party of the Right, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth.”

This is the same Boykin who was rebuked by the ADL in 2003 and believes that the “Jews must be lead to Christ.” And this is the same FRC – a certified hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center – that warned yesterday that Hagel’s confirmation may bring God’s judgment on America. So I guess we shouldn’t be suprised.

- See more at: RWW

For the vast majority of readers who tune into Israel every so often but are not obsessive about it, the country’s election on Tuesday appears to have delivered a rare moment of mild encouragement. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, deservedly cast as a peace rejectionist, has been weakened and the overall right-wing bloc unexpectedly lost seats, creating the narrowest margin of victory of the right over the non-right of 61–59 (down from 65–55 in the previous Knesset), when polls had predicted the margin to grow further (although describing the split this way is not a helpful guide, of which more later).

Moderate Israel has also found itself a new champion in the staggering success of newbie centrist party leader Yair Lapid, whose Yesh Atid (There Is a Future) party claimed nineteen seats. If one counts Labor as being left (despite its protestations to the contrary), then the Meretz-Labor left camp has scored an impressive revival, from sixteen to twenty-one seats. By this accounting, Israel’s rightward march appears to have been stalled, at least for the time being, itself quite a feat given Israeli demographic trends (higher ultra-Orthodox and national-religious birthrates) and the debilitating disunity among the non-rightist opposition, which failed to agree on an alternative candidate to Netanyahu in this election.

This is where a pause from breathless optimism (or a read of Max Blumenthal’s take on the election) is very much in order. First of all, the right may have shrunk slightly, but the remaining and significant cohort has veered appreciably rightward. Far more of the Knesset’s now forty-three Zionist-right MKs take an overtly anti-democratic approach toward Israel’s non-Jewish minority and dissenting voices, prioritize settlement expansion and support annexation of a large part or all of the occupied territories. These views are represented in both the much-enlarged national religious Jewish Home party, led by Naftali Bennett, and within the Likud faction itself.

More important still, it is the Zionist right that will form the next government and be a clear majority of Netanyahu’s next coalition—yes, that Netanyahu. He will still be PM. But if the Zionist right is again not a majority and has lost seats, and the non-right beats the right by forty-eight seats to forty-three, why is it that a non-right government is so inconceivable?

At this point, a word of explanation is required regarding Israel’s political camps. In addition to the Zionist right and the non-right, the remaining seats needed to form a governing majority are split between the other two blocs in Israeli politics: the ultra-Orthodox, or Haredim (Knesset seats: eighteen), and the largely Palestinian Arab parties (eleven).

The ultra-Orthodox parties (Shas and United Torah Judaism) make for more natural partners of the Zionist right—a discourse of universal rights is alien to them, certainly as applied to Palestinians, and they are socially very conservative. But the ultra-Orthodox can also switch sides. Their economic outlook more approximates that of the left—they see a role for government and social safety nets, and their greatest focus is financial benefits and allowances and a degree of autonomy for their own community (for instance, running their own education system). Anyone willing to pay that price is a potential ally. The ultra-Urthodox parties are also, strictly speaking, not Zionist. Their interpretation of Jewish law makes for an uneasy relationship with the idea of a sovereign Jewish state in pre-messianic times; this is partly why their rabbinical leaders vehemently oppose military service for their community. Other than a (not unproblematic) tendency toward intolerance and racism, and the fact that the two largest settlements (Betar Ilit and Modi’in Ilit) provide cheap housing near Jerusalem for the ultra-Orthodox, ideologically they are not really part of the settlements and Greater Israel camp. Territorial pragmatism and peace overtures have been justified by Haredi rabbinical authorities in the past—mostly predicated on the command to save lives and even on the need to avoid confrontation with the world—and there’s no reason why they couldn’t do so in the future.

From the perspective of centrist Zionist Israeli Jews, the non-Zionism of Israel’s Palestinian citizens is apparently much harder to accept than the non-Zionism of the ultra-Orthodox. Yair Lapid, the new face of moderate Israel, used his first post-election appearance in front of the TV cameras to rule out forming any kind of parliamentary bloc with the Arab parties, even one that might put him in the prime minister’s seat. This reality of exclusion also helps suppress Palestinian voter turnout (up to 15 percent lower than turnout among Israeli Jews), another factor that, if it were to change, could add a handful of seats to the non-right camp.

Rabin was indeed the last Israeli prime minister to achieve overall progress with the Palestinian leadership (then led by Yasir Arafat’s PLO) and to advance equality for the Palestinian citizens of Israel—and his premiership was the last time Israel was governed from the center-left. Rabin led by forming a blocking alliance with the non-Zionist Palestinian parties and a governing coalition with the non-Zionist ultra-Orthodox of Shas. It was Rabin’s government, of course, that produced the 1993 Oslo Accords with the PLO. There have been negotiations since then, but never a government of the non-right that produced and implemented peace deals (the Lebanon and Gaza withdrawals, under Ehud Barak in 2000 and Ariel Sharon in 2005, respectively, were both unilateral); that governed without a strong pro-settler coalition presence; that avoided bouts of war and harsh military escalations; and that addressed domestic inequality in a serious way.

First, the ideological change. The fact that other than the small and proudly leftist (and growing) Meretz party, the non-right parties (Yesh Atid, Labor, Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua and the now-shrunken Kadima, led by Shaul Mofaz) all insist on defining themselves as center parties, not left, and have ruled out adopting a new branding—progressive or liberal or democratic—already hints at the problem. The Zionist center too often sounds and acts like a less vicious, more huggable version of the Zionist right, bereft of its own vision or beliefs, still undemocratic for its non-Jewish citizens, and still indulgent of settlements, occupation and injustices vis-à-vis the Palestinians beyond the Green Line. It should not be surprising, for example, that Kadima MKs supported anti-democratic legislation in the outgoing Knesset.

And finally, one cannot absolve the United States, Europe and other outside powers from their responsibility for having pursued policies that indulge Israeli violations of international law and that fuel Israeli escapism. Handwringing in Western capitals about continued pro-settlement Israeli policies is an evasion. Alongside the failures of the Israeli non-right, the other key reason the right has been winning the argument in Israel is because there have been no negative consequences for the steady expansion of Israel’s grip on the West Bank and East Jerusalem. If Yair Lapid—and the large centrist, urban-based middle-class sector that he represents—is to make the switch and escapist Israel is to wake up, it will be the result of smart and targeted international pressure and the fear of international isolation. Western signals of impunity and indulgence toward the occupation are the oxygen of escapism, and the off-switch for that oxygen needs to be found rather urgently.

H/T: Daniel Levy at The Nation

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has resigned after prosecutors decided to charge him with breach of trust.

Mr Lieberman has also resigned as deputy prime minister, and said he would fight to clear his name of the charges.

The case against him relates to a financial scandal dating back more than a decade.

His resignation comes five weeks before Israel’s general election.

"Though I know I committed no crime… I have decided to resign my post as foreign minister and deputy prime minister," Mr Lieberman said in a statement released by his office.

He also said he would waive his parliamentary immunity and suggested he hoped to settle the case before the elections, due on 22 January, allowing him to stand as a candidate as planned.

Mr Lieberman is the leader of Yisrael Beitenu, the second largest party in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud-led coalition government.

The two parties were due to run together in January’s general election, with polls suggesting they were on course to win before the charges against Mr Lieberman were announced.

Police had been investigating allegations of money laundering and bribery against Mr Lieberman, but prosecutors instead announced plans to charge him with the lesser offence of breach of trust.

That relates to him receiving confidential documents concerning the investigation against him from the former Israeli ambassador to Belarus, who he later promoted to another post.

The more serious charges of bribery and money laundering relate to allegations that Mr Lieberman received millions of dollars from businessmen with interests in Israel, and laundered the money through shell companies and bank accounts.

Israeli prosecutors said they had been forced to close the case due to a lack of evidence.

Mr Lieberman has denied any wrongdoing, and described the investigations as a witch hunt.

He is seen as one of Israel’s most outspoken politicians. Born in Moldova, he is one of the million Israelis who immigrated from the former Soviet Union.

Seen as to the right of Mr Netanyahu, Mr Lieberman has been a harsh critic of the Palestinian Authority and its leader Mahmoud Abbas. He lives in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. 


CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt announced on Wednesday that a ceasefire had been reached to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, starting later in the day.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr made the announcement in a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The ceasefire would come into effect at 15:00 EDT, said Amr, whose country has been at the heart of efforts to broker an end to the conflict.

"Egypt has made great efforts … since the start of the latest escalation in the Gaza Strip," Amr said.

h/t: Yahoo! News