NPR’s Jaffa Story Alleges Israeli Plot to Eradicate Arabs

November 21, 2011
( Sheera Frenkel‘s Nov. 18 NPR news report charges Israel with a purported agenda “to have a purely Jewish state and to get rid of all Palestinians, the ones in the West Bank and in Israel,” as one of her main interviewees puts it. Frenkel bases her alarmist story on three cases of vandalism and the distortion of terminology, among other misrepresentations (“Attacks Target Palestinians in Israeli Towns”).

Host Renee Montagne introduces the broadcast:

In Israel, tensions are rising between the country’s Jews and the Palestinian Arab citizens, who make up about 20 percent of the population. Over the past few months, several Arab sites in Israel have been vandalized by militant Jews who’ve left graffiti such as Death to Arabs. Sheera Frankel reports.

Frenkel reports:

Over the last few months, there have been a series of attacks targeting Palestinians within Israel. In October, a mosque in the northern Arab village of Tuba Zangaria was torched and a Muslim cemetery [sic] was vandalized and tombstones smashed. At both sites, graffiti was found linking the attacks to Israeli settlers from the occupied West Bank.Avia says she came to the protest because she was shocked by what was happening. She speaks in English as she points out that many right-wing Israelis use different terms for Palestinians that live within Israel.

Avia: They don’t call them Palestinians. They call them Israeli Arabs. That’s their way to erase their Palestinian identity, okay, and kind of contain them within Israel. But the agenda is to have a purely Jewish state and to get rid of all Palestinians, the ones in the West Bank and in Israel. 

Misrepresentation of Terminology
Avia’s assertion, which Frenkel wholeheartedly accepts, that the term “Israeli Arab” is a derogatory term used by “right-wing Israelis” is patently absurd. In fact, a broad swath of Israel, as well as non-Israelis, use this accepted terminology. While in recent years some Israeli Arabs have in fact prefered the term “Palestinian,” and some members of the Israeli far-left (as well as, apparently, NPR as of late) have adopted this terminology, “Israeli Arabs” is most commonly in use. Even groups on the left, such as the New Israel Fund , refer to Arabs in Israel as Israeli Arabs. Moreover, Avia herself even signed a NIF petition which refers to Israel’s Arab population as Israeli Arabs. The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, which can hardly be considered right-wing, regularly uses the term Israeli Arab, and the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, mentioned in Frenkel’s broadcast as fighting against alleged racist practices in Jaffa, also uses that language. Outside of Israel, Al Jazeera apparently has no problem with the term, nor does NPR itself. (For example, Terry Gross and John Powers used the term on “Fresh Air,” Feb. 25, 2010, and Robert Siegel likewise referred to “Israeli Arabs” on Jan. 19, 2010, and on July 23, 2009). Are Ha’aretz, the New Israel Fund, Al Jazeera and NPR also guilty of being right-wing outfits bent on erasing Palestinian identity because they refer to “Israeli Arabs”?
Settlements Bogeyman Following the false “Israeli Arabs” bogeyman, Frenkel then raises the West Bank settlements bogeyman by misrepresenting the B’Emuna construction firm. She reports:

Avia says these kids of attacks are new in Jaffa, a coastal community hugging the southern outskirts of Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest city. For years, Jews and Arabs coexisted here in relative peace. That was interrupted in early 2010, said Fatima Helewa, a local Palestinian activist.That’s when B’Emuna, a construction company that specializes in building subsidized homes for religious Jewish families in West Bank settlements, started building in Jaffa. Their first project was in the largely Palestinian neighborhood of Ajami.The Israeli Association for Civil Rights petitioned Israel’s high court against the building, claiming that B’Emuna’s openly stated policy of only providing apartments to Jews is racist. Israel’s high court ruled against them, and B’Emuna continues to build in Jaffa. (Emphasis added.)

But B’Emuna does not specialize “in building subsidized homes for religious Jewish families in West Bank settlements.” According to its Web site, the construction firm specializes “in the establishment of housing neighborhoods for the national religious public (Dati), all over the country.” (Emphasis added.) Of the five building sites featured as of press time on the firm’s Hebrew home page, three are within Israel’s pre-1967 boundaries – Even Shmuel, Yokneam, Pardes Chana, and Tirosh. But Frenkel’s alarmist report, charging Israel with erasing the Palestinian identity and seeking to establish a purely Jewish state eradicated of Palestinians, piles on the hot button settlement issue as well, no matter its relevance or lack thereof. Heaping on to the tangled charges of racism, settlements, and the ultimate sin — Zionism itself, Frenkel quotes Fatima Helewa, “a local [ie Jaffa] Palestinian activist”: “Arab people, they ready to live with the Jews. We are living with them for years by years. It’s just Zionism (ph) made the Jewish people, the settlers, more and more racist.”
Exclusive Housing
A balanced report, as mandated by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, would have noted that it’s not just religious Zionist Jews who can look forward to ethnic-based housing in Jaffa. As reported by Ha’aretz on Feb. 28, 2011 :

The Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality is planning to build affordable housing exclusively for Jaffa’s Arab residents, in order to send the community a clear message that city hall supports it.Municipal officials have met with representatives of the Israel Lands Administration, the Housing and Construction Ministry and the attorney general several times in recent months.The city intends to build about 100 housing units on two Jaffa lots owned by the municipality and the ILA. It wants to condition their sale on the buyer being an Arab resident of Jaffa.

But government building exclusively for Arabs in Jaffa undercuts the narrative of racist Zionism seeking a purely Jewish state, so why mention it? (Of course, if you wanted to find a distinction between the two projects, you could. In the case of the B’Emuna project for religious Zionists, the construction is private, and that firm weighed in with the highest tender. In the case of the Arab-only building project, it is the Zionist municipal government which is footing the bill and the Zionist Israel Lands Administration which is providing the land. So, the two cases are not exactly equivalent. While the government funds Arab-only housing in Jaffa, it does not fund Jews-only housing.)
Three Acts of Vandalism
Beyond the distortion of the “Israeli Arab” terminology and the apparent racist crime of a Jews-only residential building in Jaffa, the remaining substance of Frenkel’s heated report on anti-Arab activity involve three cases of vandalism – the attack on the mosque in Tuba Zangaria, the graffiti in the Muslim and Christian cemetery, and the graffiti and apparent arson attempt of an Arab-owned Jaffa restaurant. Such acts, directed at a certain population, are deplorable hate crimes which warrant condemnation. Yet, in the case of the cemetery, it is not at all clear that the motive was nationalist. As reported by the Jerusalem Post:

The words “death to Russians – G.A. 02” were also spray-painted in the cemetery.Police said the incident was “linked to a soccer group,” and that they were not convinced it was carried out by right-wing elements.

Yet, Frenkel does not report that the circumstances behind the cemetery vandalism are unclear. Instead, she presents the questionable anti-Arab motive as fact. (The Muqata blogger points out that soccer-related graffiti, namely the word “Barcelona,” also appears at the vandalized restaurant.)
Moreover, it is inexcusable that a report specifically dealing with Arab-Jewish tensions in Jaffa ignored the molotov cocktail attack on the Rabbi Meir Ba’al Hanes synagogue which took place just one day after the cemetery vandalism. If vandalism of one sacred place in Jaffa is worthy of news coverage, then surely a violent attack of another sacred site in the very same city is also newsworthy. And, finally, it is worth noting, the attack on the Jaffa synagogue was not the only religious Jewish site targeted in Israel in recent months. On Nov. 6, several tombstones were smashed at the ancient Jewish cemetery at the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
Apparently, though, attacks, violent or otherwise, on Jewish sacred sites do not warrant mention at NPR
Official Reaction to the Vandalism
As mentioned above, NPR’s Frenkel quotes Israeli activist Avia as stating the Israel right-wing agenda, as evidenced by using the term “Israeli Arab,” and as demonstrated by the vandalism is “to have a purely Jewish state and to get rid of all Palestinians, the ones in the West Bank and in Israel.” And yet, Israel’s government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the right-wing Likud party, strongly denounced the attacks on the Arab sites. As Ha’aretz reported:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday decried the desecration of graves in Christian and Muslim cemeteries in Jaffa during Yom Kippur, saying that Israel is “not willing to tolerate vandalism, especially not the kind that would offend religious sensibilities.”“Israel shows tolerance for religious sentiments and a desire for peaceful coexistence without violence, but will show no tolerance for those who oppose it”, said Netanyahu during a cabinet meeting.

Ha’aretz added that others to condemn the attacks on the Arab sites included Israel Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Lau, and President Shimon Peres. But, once again, the high-level condemnations of deplorable attacks such as the one on the Tuba Zangaria mosque does not fit with Frenkel’s narrative about a Zionist plot to drive out Palestinians, wherever they be. And so she ignores them.
Population Error
Finally, in a straightforward factual error, Frenkel refers to Tel Aviv as “Israel’s largest city.” With a population of 773,000 (as of 2009), Jerusalem is nearly double the size of Tel Aviv (population 403,700).


Better Jews. The Moral Vanity of Israel’s Leftist Jewish Critics

November 8, 2011
Media_http2bpblogspot_fsgja Judaism has never been defined by how much we suffer. It is not a religion of martyrdom.
(Adam Levick of CIF Watch) (h/t Safed-Tzfat)

Ben Murane, an American Jew and head of New Generations for the left-wing lobbying group New Israel Fund, recently wrote an essay, under his blogging pseudonym KungFuJew, titled, “Reinterpreting Jewish communal service“.
The essay attempts to “reinterpret” Jewish communal service in universal terms and represents the quintessential guilt of liberal diaspora Jews over Jewish particularism.

This recurring tendency of Jews, such as Murane, to pay greater attention to their own moral performance than to the necessities of survival is a trait which Ruth Wisse characterizes as “moral solipsism”. In displaying the resilience necessary to survive in exile, many Jews have come to fetishize weakness, and believe that they could pursue their mission as a “light unto the nations” on a purely moral plane. (MORE PAIN)

NGO Monitor: NIF Network’s Campaign on September Protests

September 13, 2011
Naomi Chazan
This NIF seems to go to a lot of trouble to claim they are not involved with things. They left a comment on my blog and it isn’t like I’m a big fish. They must have a huge social media campaign financed by who knows? What I do know is that it costs a lot of money to go to supposedly Conservative blogs, which is something I really am not (can’t you tell by the raunchy offensive jokes?), but the NIF assumes I am because I support Israel and think totalitarianism is a nightmare.
B’Tselem’s report on Nabi Saleh a pretense to discuss September JERUSALEM (Daled Amos)
In advance of the Palestinian “September initiatives” at the United Nations, the New Israel Fund (NIF) network of organizations are conducting a coordinated campaign that accuses Israel of “infringing” on the “right to demonstrate” and ignores Israel’s legal obligations to maintain public order. As a pretense to promote this agenda and pre-judge Israeli responses to predicted mass demonstrations, B’Tselem today published a politically motivated “report” on “Weekly Demonstrations in a-Nabi Saleh,” according to Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor. “The timing of the B’Tselem report suggests that the objective is to undermine the policies of the democratically elected government of Israel,” noted Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “Along with Adalah, Mossawa, Yesh Din, CWP, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), and other members of the NIF network, B’Tselem is perpetuating the myth that these protests are non-violent.” In its report, B’Tselem alleges that “security forces denied the residents their right to protest the infringement of their rights, and completely prohibited them from demonstrating…even in the absence of any violent act by the demonstrators.” To match its political aims, this NGO also claimed that “forces made excessive use of crowd control measures.” NGO Monitor notes that, in addition to this B’Tselem publication, ACRI sent an open letter (to generate publicity) in August to Defense Minister Ehud Barak alleging that “military legislation governing protests and demonstrations in the West Bank denies Palestinian residents the right to demonstrate.” Similarly, ACRI and Adalah pubished a joint letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Minister of Internal Security, and the Chief of Police entitled “Police Preparation for the Expected September Demonstrations” (August 28). And, in June 2011, Mossawa released an inflammatory statement condemning Israel for preparing for possible violence in September, satirically entitled “Mossawa Center calls [on Israel] not to send security forces to train in Daraa [Syria] and Tripoli.” The comparison between Israel and the regimes of Assad and Qaddafi is particularly odious. In addition, Yesh Din, Adalah, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), and the Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PCATI) are hosting a “Lawyers workshop for representing arrested demonstrators” on September 15, 2011. This workshop, run by NIF-funded groups, is being held in order to counter an alleged policy of “police repression of demonstrators.” “The aim of these statements and activities is to constrain the Israeli government, and distort the legitimate responses to violence, by painting these actions as non-violent. In actuality, extensive evidence shows that many of these confrontations, such as in Bilin, Nilin, and Nabi Saleh, include significant acts of violence by protesters,” continued Steinberg. “If the planned demonstrations include or exceed these levels of violence , or that of the ‘Nakba’ and ‘Naksa’ riots of earlier this year, Israeli security services are required to act to protect civilians from injury.” “NGOs claiming to promote human rights and the rule of law are wrong to erase the very real threats to public safety and human life,” said Steinberg. “In media campaigns pre-condemning the Israeli response, the NIF network is attempting to handcuff Israeli security forces.” Examples of this campaign: * On September 12, 2011 B’Tselem published a report titled “Show of Force Israeli Military Conduct in Weekly Demonstrations in a-Nabi Saleh.” * ACRI sent a letter to defense Minister Ehud Barak titled “The Proper Security Forces Preparation for Expected Palestinian Protests and Rallies in September” (August 8, 2011). * ACRI and Adalah sent a joint letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, the minister of interior security and the chief of police titled “Police Preparation for the Expected September Demonstrations” (August 28, 2011). * Yesh Din, Adalah, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), and the Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PCATI) are hosting a “Lawyers workshop for representing arrested demonstrators” on September 15, 2011. * “Mossawa Center calls [on Israel] not to send security forces to train in Daraa and Tripoli” (June 14, 2011).

Wikileaks Bombshell: New Israel Fund Official Endorses End of Jewish State

September 6, 2011
THE TRUTH STILL LOOKS GOOD TO ME… But then I think there is a truth and not merely a little information to hide around in theory. No feminist leftist is going to confuse me into not liking that which looks good.

Women in Israel ArmyHow come we are always on the defensive, always apologizing, and always losing the battle for global public opinion? It is true, of course, that millions of petro-dollars are being used for anti-Israel propaganda (whoops! I’m again buying into their story- this is not anti-Israel propaganda but rather, pure and simple anti-Semitism.) But how the hell did we manage to get to a situation where the truth – the basic, simple, fact-based truth – has gone out of fashion?

(Commentary Magazine) Two Wikileaks cables from 2010 confirm with stunning accuracy the critique of Israel’s foreign-funded NGO movement that many have been making for years — and they do so from the mouths of the NGO leaders themselves. The cables summarize meetings between U.S. officials and leaders of the New Israel Fund, B’Tselem, and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, called ACRI, a flagship NIF project. In one cable, we learn that leaders of these groups have been telling U.S. officials the Israeli legal system is incapable of investigating claims against the Israeli government and military. In fact, Israel’s judiciary, both civil and military, is among the world’s most independent, and the former president of Israel’s High Court was cited by President Obama’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Elena Kagan​, as a significant role model. Yet advancing claims of judicial indifference to war crimes has become a central ambition of the NGOs, because establishing Israel’s supposed inability to investigate itself would open the door to international prosecutions where verdicts against Israel are foreordained. The credible prospect of such prosecutions would paralyze the IDF — which is exactly the point: Limor Yehuda of ACRI argued that military police investigations could not resolve the main issues of how Israel conducted the military operation [Operation Cast Lead​], including its targeting and policy decisions…she believed only international pressure could influence the GOI [Government of Israel] to create an independent investigation that could hold senior leadership accountable for alleged violations. And here is Jessica Montell, the head of B’Tselem: She wanted the highest level decision-makers held accountable for the decisions they made on how to prosecute the conflict, including Military Advocate General (MAG) Mandelblit…Her aim, she said, was to make Israel weigh world opinion and consider whether it could “afford another operation like this.” What Montell means by that last sentence is frighteningly clear: she wants to create the conditions in which “world opinion” can prevent the IDF from defending Israelis from attack. Then there is a cable about a draft Knesset bill (since extensively modified) that seeks greater transparency for foreign-funded NGOs: B’Tselem Director Jessica Montell…estimated her 9 million NIS ($2.4 million) budget is 95 percent funded from abroad, mostly from European countries. Here Montell is giving credence to what B’Tselem’s critics, such as NGO Monitor, have been saying for years: that the group is essentially an arm of European foreign policy, more interested in condemning Israel than in promoting human rights. And then there’s the bombshell: New Israel Fund (NIF) Associate Director in Israel Hedva Radovanitz, who manages grants to 350 NGOs totaling about 18 million dollars per year, [said] that the campaign against the NGOs was due to the “disappearance of the political left wing” in Israel and the lack of domestic constituency for the NGOs. She noted that when she headed ACRI’s Tel Aviv office, ACRI had 5,000 members, while today it has less than 800, and it was only able to muster about 5,000 people to its December human rights march by relying on the active staff of the 120 NGOs that participated. She commented that she believed that in 100 years Israel would be majority Arab and that the disappearance of a Jewish state would not be the tragedy that Israelis fear since it would become more democratic. [Emphasis added] The reasoning behind NIF’s multi-million dollar donations to Arab groups such as Adalah and Mada al-Carmel that seek the destruction of Israel as a Jewish State suddenly becomes clear: In the words of a high-ranking NIF official, the group believes Zionism itself — that is, Jewish national self-determination — is anti-democratic and should eventually yield to an Arab state where Jews will once again live as a minority. It seems the “New Israel” envisioned by NIF will not be a Jewish state. Has NIF made this clear to its American Jewish donors? During the past decade, as the New Israel Fund and European governments have funded and fueled the delegitimization war on Israel, critics have argued the NGOs they support have no real constituency in Israel; that they represent foreign interests; that they are funded — all told, the sum is around $100 million per year — almost entirely by foreign foundations and European governments seeking to impose their agendas; that they seek to overturn the democratic choices of the Israeli people; that they foment external pressure and “lawfare” to prevent Israel from protecting herself from threats; and that the groups’ activism is motivated not by the claimed values of human rights and international law, but by varying degrees of anti-Zionism and solidarity with Arab interests and leftist anti-Israel activism. At every turn, the NGOs have angrily denied these charges and smeared those who made them as being (take your pick) anti-peace, anti-human rights, anti-democracy, or extremist right-wingers attempting to silence dissent. It is a remarkable moment in this battle to see the NGOs admit in private the same things they slander their critics for saying about them in public. These revelations should encourage the Israeli government to finally make European funding of anti-Israel NGOs a major point of contention in bilateral relations, and they should encourage greater scrutiny of the New Israel Fund, a philanthropic giant that not only dispenses millions of dollars a year to anti-Israel groups, but creates and helps run the groups through its Shatil organization. The pro-Israel community can expose the destructive ambitions of NIF and its European collaborators for an eternity. But ultimately, the ability of foreigners to wage a political war on Israel from within Israel’s borders will only be stopped when Israelis and their elected representatives recognize the seriousness of the problem and enact legislation to address it. America passed just such a law in 1938. It’s high time Israel followed suit.

How Good Intentions Fail Us

September 3, 2011

Why is the New Israel Fund leaving comments for a guy like me?

Daphni Leef with Noam Shalit threatens violence against the Israeli government.

August 28, 2011

What was this about these leftists not being violent? We all have empathy for Noam, and I’d probably not be invited to any of Daphni’s parties, but can the ladies please regain composure?

Leef added, in somewhat ominous tones, that if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ignores this demand, “the protest will enter its next step – a show of civil force the likes of which has never been seen in Israel.”

Daphni… Cheesecake. Someone pinch her ass or something.

New Israel Fund filmmaker Daphne Leef

August 25, 2011
More than 350 people are now living in Tel Aviv's tented city after Daphni Leef invited fellow Israelis to join her protest on FacebookA Founder of a separate tent city protests group says media fascination with Daphni Leef, 26, and her friends has been detrimental to the cause. Nonetheless, 44-year-old Attorney Yaniv Moyal of Tel Aviv said that the social issues movement has suffered because of the emphasis placed upon 26-year-old Daphni Leef and her friends, after Leef started the protest with a call she put out on Facebook group she created on July 14th. He also said that he didn’t trust the decision-making process or motivations of Stav Shafir and Regev Kuntas two members of Leef’s inner circle, saying “I have no idea what their interests are but I think they’re just to bring down the government and if we do that, we’ll have elections again and woe unto us.”