Sunday, August 23, 2009

Swedish sauna

Dear Friends,


I am sure that you have been following the war of words between Sweden and Israel.  A Swedish newspaper repeated rumor and innuendo that Israeli soldiers were harvesting organs from Palestinians.  Sweden (which currently heads the EU) has refused to condemn this blood libel, confusing freedom of speech with hate speech.   The Swedish Foreign Ministry even distanced itself from criticism of the article by its own Embassy staff in Israel.


Friend Gerald Steinberg argues that this is consistent with Sweden being a major sponsor of anti-Semitic NGOs which consistently defame Israel with lies, innuendo, propaganda and spin.  Gerald expresses the hope that this furore will somehow teach the Swedes a lesson, and that they will stop this destructive funding.


Unfortunately, I am less optimistic.  This blood libel is, in fact,  consistent with Swedish government policy for over a decade.


In March of 2004, I highlighted reports from Swedish newspapers that showed that Sweden had, from 1997 to 2004, deliberately and consistently classified as secret their own reports that their donations to Arafat’s Palestinian Authority were being diverted to corruption and the creation of a police state.  Why?  So that they could continue to knowingly channel billions of crowns to  Palestinian corruption and violence.  Also hidden from view of the Parliament was tens of millions in donations to the Palestinian Negotiations Support Unit.  An organization which had stopped negotiating and had become a pure Palestinian  propaganda agency.  Swedish politicians were “shocked” – but the money kept flowing.


Later that same year, Lisa Abramowicz and I published an article highlighting the fact that the Swedish government was funding a conference in Gothenburg aimed at finding ways to fund Palestinian terrorism.


For well over a decade, Sweden has deliberately and carefully looked for and found ways to secretly and openly fund the Palestinian propaganda and physical war against the Jews.  And the Israeli government thinks that they can get the Swedes to change their ways with a bit of diplomatic pressure.  They forget that the Swedes may live in a cold country, but they have proved that they can take the heat.



Comments are welcome as always.  Please post them at this link:  I read them all.



Saturday, August 22, 2009

Capital J

Dear Friends,


Lots of electrons have been spinning the internet recently scrutinizing the website and email correspondence of the US Consulate in Jerusalem, which provides services to  US citizens living in Jerusalem and the West Bank and represents the US to Arabs in those areas and to the Palestinian Authority.  


The Jerusalem Consulate was established in 1844.  It’s role really changed from servicing to the whole region to a more narrow focus when the US Embassy to Israel was set up in Tel Aviv. Aside from historical reasons for its location, Jerusalem has provided better security and access for staff and “customers” than many alternative places one can think of.  Many of the emails that I have received ascribe more sinister reasons for the Consulate not being in Ramallah, pointing to recent changes to the website as “proving” that the US is tacitly recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of “Palestine”.


In 1995, both houses of Congress passed a law instructing the US Embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Subsequent US Presidents have cited “national security” to defer the move. The Obama administration uses every opportunity to emphasize commitment to a two State solution.  It is time for the US to demonstrate commitment to the Jewish State in that solution.  The US Embassy should be in  Israel’s capital - Jerusalem.



Comments are welcome as always – please post them at the following link:  I read them all.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Can I really help Israel's PR? Read to the end!

Dear Friends,


The Media often publish and syndicate stories regarding the Middle East which present the Palestinian narrative unchallenged by basic tests of reasonableness and without even considering the Israeli perspective.  This “news” is then reproduced almost verbatim by thousands of local, national and international newspapers, radio and television outlets.  Complaints of bias are met with a total lack of understanding – after all, these were just reprints of syndicated stories from “reputable” media sources.


Additionally, abuses of the terms “war crimes” and “international law” are unquestioningly quoted and repeated, without any reference to what really happened on the ground, Israel’s right and obligation to protect its citizens from the genuine war crimes perpetrated by the Palestinian terrorist regime in Gaza.


How will the UN investigation headed by Justice Goldstone be treated? It is about to issue its report, which could well lead to legal action against Israel in international courts.  The frame of reference of the commission was tainted and biased from the outset, assuming that Israel had committed war crimes and that the Palestinians had not – or if they did, then they were not really worthy of attention.  One member of the commission publicly admitted that she had already found Israel guilty before the commission even began, and before a single witness had been called.


It is no wonder that in this environment, Israel refused to give legitimacy to the commission by co-operating with or appearing before it.


Nevertheless, good friend Maurice Ostroff made sure that a great deal of publicly available material which supported Israel’s case was put to the commission.  (You can see it at his website, together with a summary questioning the impartiality of the commission.) Gilad’s father, Noam Shalit, also testified as a private citizen.  Of course, given the predisposition of the panel to find Israel guilty, it is not clear how much weight will be given to this evidence.


What is needed are facts in anticipation of this report, which will also answer the many NGO “reports” which have simply taken the Palestinian narrative as absolute truth, with no proper investigation, evidence, or consideration of the right and obligation of Israel to defend its citizens.  Facts that also show that Israel is a democratic state of law, and if individual soldiers acted against Israeli or international law, that they will be duly answerable.


Most unusually, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a  detailed, 164 page report analyzing just these questions.  And so that the press could not claim “too long” or “too complex”, the MFA held a pro-active press briefing this week, where it presented the report to the foreign media and answered questions.  Unfortunately, it would be naïve to think that the syndicated media (who have proved themselves to be no friends of Israel over the years) will use this material in a manner that will give Israel’s positions  a fair reflection.  (This link has both a video and a transcript of the briefing – every journalist has the opportunity to view it & feel as if they were there.)


Can anything be done?  And if so by whom?  I am not sure you will like my answers here.


YES something  can be done; by YOU.


Write to the international media, and especially your local media now.  Tell them that you are disappointed in the way that they have treated the topic in the past.  Tell them that before they report on the Goldstone commission, you wanted to make sure that they had all the facts in hand so that they could make proper editorial decisions.  Send them the above links and information so that they can do the research and balance their reports.  Let them know that the public is watching, and after the reports are published, let them know how they went.


Comments, as usual, are welcome.  Please post them here  (I read them all)