Saturday, January 23, 2016

Is the Swedish Foreign Minister an Anti-Semite?

Examining Natan Sharansky's 3D litmus test for modern anti-Semitism

By Noam A. Rotem

At the annual foreign press meeting, on Jan 14, organized by the Israeli Government Press Office, a foreign press reporter, asked PM Netanyahu, regarding the anti-Semitic accusation, that one of Netanyahu's cabinet ministers made, about the Swedish FM, who singled out Israel, for using so called "extrajudicial killings", in response to the wave of stabbing attacks by Palestinian terrorists, and called for an international investigation. This same reporter, in the same breath, asked the PM a follow-up question, as to how does he answer those who accuse Israel of being above criticism.

Netanyahu answered emphatically and poignantly that Israel is not above criticism, but it should be held to the same standards that everyone else is being held to. The PM went on to say, that the Swedish FM's comments are outrageous, immoral, and unjust. People are defending themselves against assailants wielding knives, who are about to stab them to death, and they shoot the terrorist, and that's extra judicial killings? Netanyahu asked the reporter.
You can view the full exchange in the following video clip:

The Swedish foreign minister's remarks are outrageous, immoral, unjust, wrong, and stupid.==מה שאמרה שרת החוץ השוודית הוא שערורייתי, בלתי מוסרי, בלתי צודק, מוטעה וטיפשי.
Posted by ‎Benjamin Netanyahu - בנימין נתניהו‎ on Thursday, January 14, 2016

The exchange went on, but in the end, PM Netanyahu, correctly refused to be pushed by the reporter, to label the Swedish FM, Margot Wallström, anti-Semitic.

But here is how I'd answer that unanswered question. Natan Sharansky, one of the great human rights activists, and democratic thinkers of our times, devised a widely accepted 3D litmus test for modern anti-Semitism: Demonization, Double Standards and Delegitimization and is a set of criteria intended to distinguish legitimate criticism of Israel from antisemitism.

It's clear that on the double standard test, the Swedish FM passes with flying colors, especially when one looks around the mideast, at the horrifying levels of rampant murderous violence and persecutions going on, not to mention medieval judicial systems that execute punishments by heinous means of beheadings, stonings and amputations. By not mentioning these, and singling out Israel, the Swedish FM's accusation also serves to demonize the State of Israel. So labels aside, the facts are she fulfills at lease 50% of this 3D criteria. That being the case, the Swedish FM needs to seriously check her blatantly biased statements, if she sincerely wants to avoid aligning herself with anti-Semites.

Moreover, since this biased statement of hers against Israel, two horrifying Palestinian terrorist attacks on innocent Israeli civilians took place. In one, a 38-year-old mother of six was murdered in a stabbing attack, at the entrance to her house, as her 17-year-old daughter, who heard her screams, ran to her aid, only to see the terrorist stab her mother again and again. In the second, a pregnant Israeli woman in her 30s, was seriously wounded in her lung after being stabbed in clothing store, thank god in this case, both mother and fetus are doing well.

The Swedish FM's silence about these heinous attacks on innocent Israeli civilian women, in contrast to her deriding criticism of Israel responding in self-defense to murderous terrorists attacks, demonstrates prejudice and bias against the Jewish state of Israel.

This article was also published on the Op-Ed page of Arutz Sheva:
Op-Ed: Is the Swedish foreign minister an anti-Semite?

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Fallacy of Moderate Mideast Muslim Countries

And The Misguided Tenets Of The Israeli Left, Center-Left and Mainstream Media

By Noam A. Rotem

Yitzhak (Isaac) Herzog, chairman of the Israeli Labour party (aka The Zionist Union), came out with a statement on Saturday, that the latest wave of terror needs to be stopped by security or diplomatic measures, and that this is the time for negotiations with the Palestinians, and with moderate Muslim elements in the region, including Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.

Throughout this most recent wave of savage Palestinian stabbing attacks, against Israelis, the Israeli left and center-left, with the backing of mainstream media, have consistently insinuated that the source of this latest wave of terrorism, is somehow related to a lack of diplomatic negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, rather than the Nazi style incitement and propaganda that the Arab masses are fed each day, by both official Hamas and PA media, as well as online social media. They also often fail to talk about the virulent antisemitic religious hatred, preached in mosques, and taught in schools. And lastly, they make little mention of the veneration, and massive funding, in millions of dollars, that Palestinian terrorists are granted, by the PA. In the same breath, this Troika (of the Israeli left, center-left and mainstream media), suggests, that there's some historic, almost cosmic, last opportunity, for cooperation with so called "moderate" regional Sunni regimes, like those mentioned in Herzog's statement.

Here are the facts. Saudi Arabia is an Islamic theocracy and one of the most repressive regimes on the face of the earth. Religious minorities do not have the right to practice their religion and conversion from Islam to another religion is punishable by death. It practices gender apartheid against women, and capital punishment without western due-process, that is carried out by beheading with a sword, stoning, or firing squad. Just last week the Associated Press reported that Saudi Arabia carried out at least 157 executions in 2015, with beheadings reaching their highest level in two decades. Last year, liberal Saudi blogger, Raif Badawi, was sentenced to 1,000 lashes for "insulting Islam". Other forms of punishment in the kingdom, include amputations of hands and feet for robbery, and flogging for crimes such as "sexual deviance" and adultery.

A Pew Research Center study published in 2013 of the world's Muslims, found widespread support for Sharia law, in Egypt 74%, Jordan 71%, and in the PA 89%. And among those, a very high percent supporting the death penalty for apostasy (those who leave or convert out of Islam), in Egypt 86%, Jordan 82%, and the PA 66%.

In Egypt, 92% of married women aged 15 to 49 have been subjected to female genital mutilation, according to an official Egyptian government report from 2014. And Jordanian law criminalizes speech deemed critical of the king, government officials, institutions, and Islam.

Last but not least all of these so called "moderate" Arab countries, in one form or another, continue to actively support the BDS, uphold rampant lies about the Jewish state, consistently vote and operate against Israel in the UN, and antisemitic teachings and hatred of Israel, is widespread in all these countries. The Israeli Troika refrains to point all of this out, about their "moderate" Sunni Arab partners, as their entire political belief system would collapse should they do so.

Moreover the Israeli left, center-left, and mainstream media, fail to realize, that true peace cannot be achieved in the mideast, until real democratic reform comes to the Arab and Muslim world, and it doesn't look like that will be happening anytime soon. True peace, is one between nations with shared democratic values, and not just between governments, and certainly not dictatorships. Sadly the Israeli Troika, fails to grasp this most basic foundation to what makes a real and lasting peace.

Having said that, Israel by all means should be pursuing tactical and strategic alliances with Mideast regimes who are sincerely interested in joining forces, to combat terrorists and state sponsored terrorism. Moreover, Israel's moral and existential imperative, must be to seek out and build bridges to true moderates, and democratic reformers, that do exist in the Mideast, and work together with them, to be agents of true democratic change and coexistence. Often these reformers are pro-Israel, believe in cooperation with the Jewish state, yet are sadly ignored by the Israeli Troika. One such example is Greek Orthodox Israeli priest, Gabriel Naddaf, who is a proponent of integrating Arabic-speaking Christians into Israeli society, and to serving in the Israeli Army. Like him, there are Christian, Muslim, and democratic reformers of other faiths and ethnicities, around the Mideast and in exile beyond, who see Israel as a beacon of democracy in this troubled region.

Arab nation states are crumbling before our eyes, and deteriorating into barbaric, bloody and violent chaos. This is hardly the time to be pursuing peace agreements, based on concessions, to authoritarian, anti-Israel and immoral regimes, that may not be around tomorrow. Let us not forget the cry of the center-left, to quickly pursue a 'peace' agreement with Syria, while Assad was still in power, in exchange for the Golan Heights, before it is too late...

The refrain "when will they ever learn", from the 1960's political folk classic "Where have all the flowers gone?" feels likes a curiously appropriate question for the Israeli Troika.

Map of the Arab Spring

This article was also published on the Op-Ed page of Arutz Sheva:
Op-Ed: The fallacy of moderate mideast Muslim countries