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February 8, 2010: Follow Up

May 16, 2010

A goof. And thanks to those who caught it:  At one point in yesterday’s post I referred to Foreign Minister Lieberman as Defense Minister. 
With regard to Lieberman, he defended himself against his critics at a faction meeting today:
“As the Jewish state, we extend a hand of peace – but faced with war, we must be determined [to emerge victorious]. There is no need to talk of compromises, we must liberate ourselves from the obsession with ‘land  for peace’; all future agreements must be based on ‘peace in exchange for peace.'”

“Peace is in fact our heart’s desire, but it is not more important than Israel’s existence as the state of the Jewish people or than lasting security for its citizens.”
I said it before and say it again, Right on!  Foreign Minister Lieberman has a clear vision and I salute him.
I mentioned recently a release put out by the JTA indicating that Fatah had moderated its charter.  I indicated then that there was nothing to this, and that more information would follow. 
And, indeed, I then wrote an article analyzing the situation — it will appear in some Jewish papers in the US –such as the Intermountain Jewish News — within the next week.  (If you would like me to submit this to your local Jewish paper, or want to put it on a blog, be in touch with me.)  This is one instance in which I felt it was important to focus on Jewish papers, as these rely upon the JTA for information and are most likely to have run the JTA release on the subject. 
This is an issue of considerable importance, because when Fatah is represented, inaccurately, as having moderated, the pressure on Israel to make concessions for “peace” increases.  It is critical to set the record straight.
Rather than wait until it’s in print, I have now put the article on my website, and I include the URL here, so that you, my readers, can see this for yourselves:
Spurred by the Im Tirtzu campaign charging that NIF funds organizations that work against Israel (testifying for the Goldstone report and more), this made news today, even though it reports on something that was initiated two months ago. I have alluded to this before, but am delighted to mention it again:
MK Mickey Eitan (Likud) is spearheading legislation that would require transparency with regard to foreign funding of organizations here, whether they are non-profits (which now have to report on their funding) or not.
Coalition Chair Ze’ev Elkin is eager to promote this bill. He and Eitan organized a Knesset gathering in December at which it was revealed that the EU provides donations amounting to millions of Euros to groups here that have political agendas.  The bill was introduced following this.
As might be expected, NIF is not taking the charges leveled at it by Im Tirtzu lying down, and, in fact, there has been a minor storm surrounding this. Supporters of NIF are accusing Im Tirtzu of “McCarthy-like tactics,” while the defense being advanced involves either the right to freedom of speech, which is allegedly being stifled, or the importance of defending the human rights of minorities in Israel.
Evelyn Gordon, writing in Commentary, says more about NIF (thanks Winkie):
“New Israel Fund controversy is laying bare just how warped the ‘human rights’ community’s definition of human rights is. But it has also showcased two particularly Israeli variants of this disease: that freedom of information constitutes ‘incitement,’ and that freedom of speech requires financing speech you oppose.
I spoke the other day about the extensive research I did on Adalah — an ostensible “human rights” organization that is among those funded by NIF.  I return to this now to state unequivocally how off the mark are the accusations being made by NIF supporters.
Adalah maintains, for example, that having a Jewish star on the flag of Israel impinges on the human rights of Israel’s Arab minority.  It has advanced a constitution that would do away with the Jewish state and replace it with a “state of all its citizens.”  This state would eliminate “Return” for Jews, but would grant “right of return” to Palestinian Arabs on a humanitarian basis.
In the cause of “human rights,” Adalah advances protection for the most radical groups in Israel.  When the Al Aksa Institute in Umm al-Fahm, in the north of Israel, was found to have Hamas connections and thus was closed down, Adalah referred to this as a “violation of the [right] to freedom of…religion.” 

Adalah participated in preparatory meetings for the Durban Conference of 2001, as well as its adjunct NGO Forum, which was even more viciously anti-Semitic than the Conference.  Adalah drafted language for the NGO Forum declaration, which included this:
“… a basic ‘root cause’ of Israel’s on-going and systematic human rights violations, including its grave breaches of the fourth Geneva convention 1949 (i.e. war crimes), acts of genocide and practices of ethnic cleansing is a racist system, which is Israel’s brand of apartheid.”
I, for one, am delighted that this sort of thing should finally be exposed, and that the exceedingly pertinent question of who funds Adalah should be raised.
And multiply this by the large number of groups supported by NIF. One of these groups is B’Tselem, broadly touted within the international community as an Israeli human rights organization.
On January 8, 2003, I attended a conference that was held in Jerusalem, on the subject of “Humanitarian and Political Aspects of the Palestinian Condition.” 

Its stated goal was to present the situation of the Palestinian Arabs from humanitarian and political perspectives, and to that end it provided two panel discussions. 

Among those participating was B’Tselem.  Dr. Anat Biletzki—a lecturer in philosophy at Tel Aviv University, who was then Chair of its Board of Directors—spoke for the organization. 

Dr. Biletzki’s remarks were brief because she had relinquished part of her time for the presentation of a report.  Feeling herself among friends, she said: 

“Politics is the be-all and end-all of humanitarian work.”

She went on to explain that B’Tselem is more activist than it once was, no longer just objectively gathering information. The organization must do political work through a human rights perspective, using NGOs to make political points. Activists, humanitarians, NGOs all play roles. 


I had hoped to write today about the so-called blockade of Gaza and the issue, poorly understood, of what international law requires us to allow in and what we actually do let in (which is greatly in excess of what is required).  I am awaiting the appropriate opportunity to discuss this with the IDF spokesman for issues concerning Gaza.  Hopefully this will be quite soon. 



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