Israel is No More Mr. Nice Guy

(Originally published on Israel Hayom)

Israel always plays nice. For decades, we have been allowing those who demonize and delegitimize Israel to cross our borders and do their dirty work against us on our own soil.

The Palestinian village of Bil’in has become one very real symbol of this kind of “activist tourism,” where anti-Israel foreign activists gather to provoke fights with the Israel Defense Forces in order to gain propaganda footage for the international media.

The reasoning behind Israel’s welcoming policy is that we are a democracy, and we will allow even those who wish us nothing but harm to benefit from our democratic policies. But the real reason is more likely a fear of the international backlash that denying entry to Israel-haters would elicit. Whatever the case may be, the policy has always been a big mistake. As a sovereign nation, Israel should be free to turn anyone it wishes away at the border.

However, the policy finally appears to have been put to rest, at least as far as the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement is concerned. On Sunday, Israel’s Interior and Public Security ministers declared that they planned to establish a taskforce aimed at expelling BDS supporters and preventing their entry into Israel. According to the press release, dozens of organizations inside Israel are actively collecting information to promote boycotts and international isolation. The new taskforce will be responsible for identifying such efforts and combating them.

Much like the NGO law, which is compelling NGOs to divulge any foreign funding, this effort is likely to outrage the usual suspects in the international media and NGO community. Israel’s answer to this should be a polite “mind your own business.” Israel owes no one any explanations for defending itself against those who wish to destroy it. As Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said: “We must not allow boycott activists to enter Israel. This is a necessary step given the maliciousness of these delegitimizing activists who work to spread lies and to distort the reality of our region.”

This is a logical and natural move, and it should have been implemented as soon as the BDS movement surfaced. We have bent over backward so far to accommodate the so-called international community and its “concerns” that frankly our backs are about to break.

We should also expect an outcry from the European Union and several of its individual member states. Many of the organizations that promote BDS are sponsored to a lesser or greater degree by the EU, one or more of its member states (particularly Germany and the Scandinavian countries), or both, bringing into serious question whether these organizations are truly non-governmental in the first place.

It will doubtless be embarrassing for the EU to see its activists expelled and returned home. And rest assured: Those who will scream the loudest will be those who wished most fervently for the destruction of Israel. Thus, the new policy is likely to have the welcome side effect of outing those European nations that have truly been working against us by funding organizations that are deeply hostile toward Israel.

The presence of foreign, hostile activists operating on Israeli soil collecting information to use against us in the international arena is not only unique to Israel (show me one other country where such operations are systematically put into place with substantial financial backing from foreign governments), but also an embarrassing disgrace for these foreign, mainly European, governments, that are betraying their obligations under international law to engage with Israel only through diplomatic and legal channels.

Israel must demand a clear answer as to why these supposedly friendly nations support anti-Israel efforts. Is it customary for countries that cooperate and enjoy full diplomatic relations to engage in hostile activities against each other behind each other’s backs? The question is simple and has an even simpler answer.

Europe is Not Israel

(Originally published on Israel Hayom)

“France must live with terrorism,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said after the massive terrorist ‎attack in Nice last week. Understandably, his statement infuriated the French, who took to social ‎media to express their opprobrium.‎

And French President Francois Hollande, sounding almost as if he was being forced to speak, said, “We cannot deny that it was a terrorist ‎attack.”‎

After the massive Islamic State attacks in Paris in November 2015, political leaders proclaimed ‎themselves “shocked.” Whether this shock was feigned or genuine, at least they made a point, pitiful ‎as it was, of pretending that these massive terrorist attacks were something extraordinary that did not ‎have a habitual place in Europe.

Valls’ resigned declaration of tired surrender after the Nice attack, on the other hand, ‎amounts to the waving of a white flag in submission to the jihadis and is an indication that France ‎has little will to fight.‎

Valls and Hollande sounded like bewildered children at the helm of a ship that they are too ‎clueless to navigate. Imagine Winston Churchill declaring, “Britain must live with ‎Nazism.” ‎

Under its current government, France has busied itself with meddling in Israeli affairs ‎and organizing Middle East peace conferences, instead of spending every waking moment ensuring ‎the proper protection of its own population. It is not ready to fight against the jihad that has been ‎launched against it.

One major factor in this is that its elites blame France.‎ French Ambassador to the U.S. Gerard Araud, for example, wrote on Twitter: “Why is France ‎targeted? History (former colonial power), geography (proximity), first Muslim community of Arab ‎origin sensitive to M.E. issues.”‎

In other words: Colonialism and Middle Eastern “issues” — a diplomatic euphemism for the Israeli-Arab conflict — ‎are to blame, not the Muslims who commit the atrocities and certainly not Islam. A ‎Twitter user from India responded to Araud: “We Indians have been colonized by all European powers ‎including your country. Ever heard of Indian terrorists? Shame on you.” Indeed.‎

One of the best indicators of how massive terrorist attacks have become the “new normal” is the financial markets, famously and hysterically sensitive as they are. One ‎observer concluded after the Nice attack, “Gold is down and the euro is up. Financial markets ‎don’t care because it’s no longer an extraordinary event. Even European travel stocks and French hotel ‎stocks are only down a couple of percent. Because continued terror attacks for years are already ‘priced ‎in.’ According to the stock market, France has now become Israel.”‎

The sentiment that France and Europe have “now become Israel” has become something of a trend on ‎social media in the wake of Nice. But it is very far from the truth.‎

Europe is a dying continent, one that is walking toward its own cultural suicide with eyes wide shut. ‎In Europe, self-loathing began to gain ground over most traditional Judeo-Christian ‎values as long as a century ago. We see the results of that long process today: Official Europe does not ‎believe in anything. The main European project in recent history has as its goal only a vague ‎multiculturalism and the working toward “an ever closer union,” a self-referential and self-serving ‎empty shell of a vision. Ostensibly, the EU was meant to prevent future wars in Europe, but while ‎Europe has lost its taste for war, war — now in jihad style — has not lost interest in ‎Europe. The problem is that Europe cannot fight jihadis — people who believe so strongly in their ‎cause that they will die for it — if it believes in nothing, least of all the legitimacy of its own fight against ‎them. This will not change, regardless how many reservist forces France now calls up to help ‎protect the country. The fight becomes especially tricky, tragicomically so, when it is fought while ‎intensely fearing the causing of any offence.‎

In contrast, Israel is a vibrant place of almost endless faith. Not just in the traditional and religious ‎sense but a general and secular faith in the worth and the future of the country pervades Israeli ‎society. Israel believes in itself and is more than willing to fight for itself, and this belief manifests itself in ‎myriad ways, not only in its military prowess and in the countless innovations for which it has become ‎so famous, but in its celebrations of its Jewish past, present and future at every given ‎opportunity. It is also evident in the high birth rate in the country, while Europeans are not having enough children to maintain their own populations.

Israel may be located in a neighborhood that is full of enemies and terrorists, but Israel is also ‎committed to dealing with those security issues, whatever it takes. Israel is here to stay, ‎and Israelis are determined to keep it that way, never even contemplating resigning themselves to whatever ‎malignant plans others may have in store for them.‎

No, Europe is not Israel. Not even close.

Once a Colonialist, Always a Colonialist

(Originally published on Israel Hayom)

You can take the Europeans out of the former colonies, but you cannot take the colonialism out of the Europeans. That much is clear, at least as far as the European Union is concerned. In an interview with Israeli journalist and TV anchor Eylon Aslan-Levy, EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen was asked why the EU supports the French peace initiative when the Israeli prime minister has called for direct negotiations. “Why doesn’t the European Union simply pressure Abbas to take up Prime Minister Netanyahu’s invitation?” asked Aslan-Levy.

Faaborg-Andersen replied, “Because I think experience has shown that the parties are not capable on their own to reach a stage where they are able to sit down and negotiate. There is a need for a third-party involvement and I think that the Paris conference was a recognition of that fact [sic] that there was need for international focus on this issue that has been somewhat dormant for some time, I mean the peace process, and I think this was the motivating factor behind the French initiative coupled with the fact that we are seeing a constant deterioration of the situation on the ground bringing us further away from a two-state solution rather than closer to [sic].”

The Europe of the postnational European Union no longer invades other peoples’ countries in order to colonize them, but it still uses all its powers — limited and toothless as they are — to invade how other nations should think and feel about the world, and to impose its distinct European view of how the world should spin for the rest of us.

We all know how hard it is to break an old habit, and the ideological parts of colonialism still come very naturally to the descendant of the old Europe — even if the EU mistakenly believes that being ostensibly riddled with post-colonial guilt and inviting half the world’s migrants into its own backyard somehow exculpates it from all its past and present sins.

For those still in doubt, Faaborg-Andersen’s reply that “the parties are not capable on their own” is clear evidence of the racism and cultural condescension — such characteristic parts of the colonialist project — still being a very potent factor in European policies, despite all assurances to the contrary for the past half century. The “natives,” i.e., the Jews and the Arabs, are incapable of solving anything on their own, which is why we ostensibly need the wisdom and superiority of the European Union to guide our ignorant and misguided steps in this world. Just who do the Europeans think that they are?

Even though the European Union is the Palestinian Authority’s best friend, and although the latter can do no wrong according to the former, let there be no doubt that the PA is merely a tool, a means to an end, in the hands of the European Union.

Had the PA’s enemy not been the Jews, but instead other Muslims, Christians or Yazidis, the European Union would have been out of there, taking its many billions of euros with it, faster than you can say “postcolonial guilt.” If you doubt this contention, take a hard look at all the internecine Muslim strife and the ongoing genocides against non-Muslims in the Middle East and Africa. The European Union is nowhere to be seen, its billions of euros entirely absent and its need to impose solutions completely gone missing.

In case you were wondering, European racism is still very much present even in the company of its best buddies in the PA. Only here it is the subtler racism of low expectations. Anything that the PA does, no matter how murderous, vile and inhumane, never elicits anything but the mildest form of vague condemnation, if any, from the EU.

In the interview with Aslan-Levy, the EU ambassador could not bring himself to condemn the standing ovation that the European Parliament gave Abbas for his blood-libel speech two weeks ago in Brussels, instead outrageously stating that there were probably also European parliamentarians who did not appreciate what Israeli President Reuven Rivlin had to say in his speech to the same body.

The moral narcissism of the European Union is no better than the moral narcissism of its colonialist European predecessors. It’s just a different century.

We Don’t Need the World’s Permission

(Originally published on Israel Hayom)

“Now there is one less of them,” a Danish Facebook user wrote gleefully after a 13-year-old Jewish girl was stabbed to death in her sleep in her bedroom by a Palestinian man. He thought that the heinous, cowardly murder of an innocent child in her sleep was simply a part of “the resistance” against the Jews.

What kind of human being seeks to justify the cowardly murder of an innocent child in her sleep? Imagine the outcry, if that child had been an Arab and its murderer a Jew. The news would have caused an uproar on the front pages of all the news outlets in the world. Since the girl was Jewish, needless to say, the latter did not happen.

The Israel-Palestine Director at Human Rights Watch, Sari Bashi, could not just do the decent thing and condemn the murder but had to tweet instead that “settlements are illegal, but settlers are NOT legitimate targets.” What sickening times we live in, when a human rights organization cannot bring itself to say more than that the murder of a sleeping Jewish child is not legitimate. Bashi had no response to Mark Halawa, who told her, “I was one of those brainwashed Palestinian children. All Jews are our targets. This settler nonsense you speak of is for idiots!” Contrast that with Bashi’s tweet from June 27, when she emotionally gushed, “Powerful, chilling research by B’Tselem on boy killed, cousins hurt when Israeli soldiers sprayed car with bullets.”

The Palestinian Authority was very quick to honor the terrorist. According to Palestinian Media Watch, Fatah’s official Facebook page immediately posted his picture, declaring him a shahid (martyr) — the highest honor achievable in Islam. WAFA, the Palestinian Authority’s official news agency, honored him as well. The murderer’s family will immediately start receiving a monthly stipend that the PA pays to the families of all “martyrs.”

On Twitter, the EU Embassy in Israel was asked for a response to the fact that the EU funds are used to fund these stipends. Their response was “technical,” as always: “We are not claiming that the payments have stopped. However, FYI, technically, they are no longer paid by the PA but by the PLO.”

In plain English: The EU is fine with supporting terrorism, and knowingly does so, as long as the support is indirect — inasmuch as you can tell the PLO and the PA apart, which you cannot.

The EU Embassy’s response should hardly come as a surprise, after a week in which the EU Parliament gave Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ medieval blood libel a standing ovation. President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, tweeted that the speech was “inspiring address by Pres. Abbas to EPlenary — EU supports aspiration by large majority of Palestinians for peace and reconciliation.”

Let that sink in for a moment: The president of the European Parliament thinks that a speech peddling medieval blood libels is “inspiring.” Furthermore, the “aspirations by large majority of Palestinians for peace and reconciliation” — where did he spot those aspirations? In the constant terrorist attacks? In the polls, which show that a majority of Palestinian Arabs support terror against Israelis? Or in the command of Abbas aide Sultan Abu al-Einein, a Fatah Central Committee official who said that “wherever you see a Jew, slit his throat”? Clearly, Palestinian Arabs pay very close heed to those words and act upon them promptly. But then again the EU never lets facts get in the way of its ideology.

As for the United States, the State Department issued their condolences to the family — no mention of the generous American funding of the PA, which enables all of this — but the White House, predictably, remained silent on the matter, despite the fact that the murdered girl carried American citizenship.

“The entire world needs to condemn this murder just as it condemned the terrorist attacks in Orlando and Brussels,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “I expect the Palestinian leadership to clearly, unequivocally condemn this vicious murder and take immediate action to stop the incitement. Enlightened nations must join in this demand and pressure the one who heads the incitement that leads to the murder of children in bed.”

Waiting for the world to condemn and pay lip service to Israel’s fight against terrorism is a dead end in every sense of the word. It will never happen. It did not happen on 9/11, when the world was most likely to understand what Israel was facing, and it will not happen 15 years later, when political correctness and a jaded sense that this is just the “new normal” has eroded any hopes that might have once been for genuine world solidarity with Israel. Israel must fight the terror as it sees fit in order to end it finally and prevent the killings of Jewish children in their sleep and pedestrians on their way to the supermarket.

We are a sovereign nation. We do not need the world’s permission to defend ourselves against those who seek our destruction.

Ban Ki-moon Does Not Deserve a Prize

(Originally published on Israel Hayom)

Some things just do not make any sense, whichever way you look at them. Tel Aviv University’s award of ‎the George S. Wise Medal, its highest honor, to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is one of those things. ‎

When I first heard about it, I thought someone had come up with an excellent piece of satire, because ‎what could possibly make less sense than Israelis giving the U.N. chief, who presides over the most Israeli-‎bashing organization (granted, in close competition with the European Union), an honorary award? Perhaps if it were an honorary award for passing the most anti-Israeli ‎resolutions in any given year, while ignoring every tyranny and dictatorship in the world — sorry, not ‎ignoring, appointing them to important positions on the U.N. Human Rights Council.‎

There was a tragicomic undercurrent to Ban’s acceptance speech, in which he said that he ‎‎was accepting it “in the name of all the women and men of the United Nations working to advance peace, ‎development and human rights around the world and around the clock.” Never have the U.N.’s de facto goals ‎and efforts been more mischaracterized.‎

Never missing a chance to mischaracterize events on the ground in Israel as well, Ban encouraged ‎Israel to “not allow the extremists on either side to further fuel the conflict. Palestinian and Israeli leaders ‎must stand firm against terror, violence and incitement,” again giving credence to the lie that there is a ‎reciprocal “cycle of violence” instead of one-sided Palestinian Arab terrorism and PA incitement to kill Jews. ‎He also rehashed the old tropes about Israeli “occupation,” essentially repaying the honor Tel Aviv ‎University had bestowed on him with the customary insults that Israel has grown sadly used to when it ‎comes to the U.N. ‎

Ban concluded that “I strongly believe that members of the international community must ‎exercise their collective and individual influence to help reach the common destination: an end to the ‎occupation which will soon enter its 50th year, and the establishment of two states for two peoples living ‎side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition.” He even spoke of “responsibility,” using the Hebrew ‎word, “achrayut.” ‎

Yet it is hard to imagine a less responsible actor than the U.N. and the international community. It is precisely ‎the collective effort of the international community, particularly the U.N. and the EU, that keeps the PA ‎incitement and terrorism alive by giving it credibility and treasure and ceaselessly singling out Israel for blame. ‎Without the international community, this conflict would have ended long ago. As is customary in all things ‎U.N., Ban had bleached out all references to PA-instigated terrorism — the murderous stabbings, ‎shootings and car ramming attacks on Israeli civilians — from his speech. Clearly, according to Ban, ‎there is complete moral equivalence between Israel and the PA. ‎

During his visit, Ban went to visit a school in Gaza, where he boldly stated that “the closure of ‎Gaza suffocates its people, stifles its economy and impedes reconstruction efforts. … It’s a collective ‎punishment for which there must be accountability.”

It is these kinds of manipulative and statements, falsely implying that there is a blockade of Gaza affecting civilians, which Ban apparently considers a “responsible” exercise of his high office for the purpose of resolving the conflict. His statements, after all, are reproduced by media and quoted as truth. His remark about “reconstruction efforts” is particularly heinous. As of November 2015, 25 million tons of construction materials had been brought in, 2,733 homes had been rebuilt, and 100,513 homes had been repaired or were in the process of being repaired. In addition, 241 international large-scale projects were under construction.

The blockade is for one purpose only: stopping Hamas from rebuilding its abilities to launch missiles and terror attacks against Israel, and as such, its de facto a weapons embargo. Israel has provided and continues to provide Gaza with millions of tons of humanitarian supplies, including food, medicine and water. What Ban said is factually untrue.

However, Ban also spoke in complete disregard of his own organization’s legal judgment: In a ‎report from 2011 in which the U.N. reviewed Israel’s response to the Turkish-based flotilla to Gaza in 2010, ‎the U.N. noted: “Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was ‎imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its ‎implementation complied with the requirements of international law.”

The blockade is legal under ‎international law. By pretending it is not and peddling the kind of false statements that he did in Gaza ‎the other day, the only thing Ban achieved was the further erosion of the rule of international law. ‎

The question that remains as a bad aftertaste is why an Israeli university, of all places, found it appropriate ‎to bestow on this man its highest honor.

UN Makes World Peace With Yoga

(Originally published on Israel Hayom)

Tuesday was International Yoga Day, an initiative of the United Nations. Irina Bokova, the UNESCO director general, gave a speech on the occasion to those who had been waiting in breathless anticipation. “This is a day of peace and harmony, with ourselves, with others and with the planet that is our home,” Bokova said, completely straight-faced.

Nothing less. I am sure this came as a bit of a surprise to the Yazidis, the Kurds, the Biafrans and the millions of persecuted Christians in the world. But Bokova probably did not have them in mind as her primary audience.

Bokova continued to list the beneficial geopolitical benefits of the ancient practice, saying yoga builds “mutual bridges of dialogue, mutual respect and understanding between cultures and peoples. … Yoga is a transformative force that can provide us with the strength and vision we need for more just and harmonious societies. Societies of solidarity, societies in balance with nature.” Impressively, she kept a straight face throughout, but then she has probably done this sort of thing before.

She continued undeterred: “This resonates powerfully with UNESCO’s core message … to deepen the moral and intellectual solidarity of humanity through mutual respect and understanding as the basis for lasting peace.”

She must have been alluding to UNESCO’s erasing of 4,000 years of Jewish culture and history on the Temple Mount in April this year, when UNESCO’s Executive Board adopted a resolution referring to the Temple Mount area solely as Al-Aqsa mosque/al-Haram al-Sharif, except for two references to the Western Wall plaza that were put in parenthesis. The text also referred to the plaza area by the Western Wall as al-Buraq Plaza. That was indeed an exquisite example of intellectual and moral solidarity with the Jewish people and an expression of deep respect and understanding, which truly only the United Nations could have pulled off.

Last, but not least, Bokova did not fail to mention the primary threat to the world today: No, not Islamic and state-sponsored terrorism — climate change. Apparently, yoga even has the power to solve that.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also chimed in with a statement on the global benefits of yoga: “Yoga is a sport that can contribute to development and peace. Yoga can even help people in emergency situations to find relief from stress.”

If only Islamic State, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and all the rest would engage in a class or two of vinyasa or hatha yoga and get their breathing techniques right. The Head to Knee Forward Bend combined with the Cobra pose should do the trick.

I am the last to dispute the beneficial mental and physical effects of yoga. However, as I listened to Bokova’s truly extraordinary speech, it dawned on me that only the U.N., specifically UNESCO, could have come up with such a genius idea (well, to be fair, I think that the U.N. Human Rights Council might also have come up with it, given its extraordinary record). If only the U.N. would extend International Yoga Day to the remaining 364 days of the year and then every day would be “a day of peace and harmony with ourselves, with others and with the planet that is our home.” What a beautiful and noble thought and a brilliantly holistic and organic shortcut to that elusive goal of world peace.

Meanwhile, in the real world, especially in those parts where people less fortunate than well-fed and over-privileged U.N. bureaucrats are too busy fighting for their own and their children’s most basic survival to engage in the luxuries of Yoga Day, people are still being tortured, raped, beheaded and murdered, just for existing.

Unctuous U.N. bureaucrats wax lyrical about peace, humanity and other terms that this corrupt organization has rendered completely meaningless through its deliberate disregard for the most basic principles of international law. These thousands and thousands of bureaucrats are squandering taxpayer dollars on ridiculous self-congratulatory initiatives that serve no purpose whatsoever.

The U.N. continues to fraternize with the worst human rights violators in the world, while it singles out one country — guess which one — on every single one of its agendas, stubbornly pretending that it is the root cause of evil. And still this institution has the Orwellian audacity to lecture humanity on principles of “mutual understanding and respect.”

Imagine there’s no U.N.

It’s easy if you try

No UNESCO below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people

Living for today … .

It is a vain but noble hope.

The ‘New Normal’?

(Originally published on Israel Hayom)

In Michel Houellebecq’s dystopian novel, “Submission” (2015), which takes place in an imaginary France ‎in 2022, when the Muslim Brotherhood has won elections and rules the country in alliance with the Socialists, the non-Jewish protagonist, a professor at the Sorbonne, tells his Jewish student, who is escaping to Israel with her family, that there ‎can be “no Israel for me.” This is one of the most poignant observations in the book.‎

Another is the protagonist’s reflection that the increasing violence, even the gunshots in the streets of Paris as a ‎civil war threatens to explode during the run-up to the elections, has become the ‎new normal: something that everyone is resigned to as an inevitable fact, barely reported in the ‎media and treated as unremarkable by his fellow lecturers. Even after the Muslim Brotherhood wins the ‎elections, and the Sorbonne is turned into an Islamic university, with all that this entails, his colleagues treat ‎this development as nothing out of the ordinary. Houllebecq’s indictment against the silence and ‎complicity of his fellow intellectuals in the face of the Islamist encroachments on French society is ‎scathing. As a matter of course, in the new France, where freedom of speech comes at a prohibitive ‎price, Houllebecq now has to live under 24-hour police protection. “Submission,” by the way, was published on the day of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks.‎

The resignation and the precarious pretense that everything is normal in the face of rapidly deteriorating ‎circumstances, is a predictable human reaction, testimony to the sometimes practical but lamentable human capacity for adaptation to most circumstances, whatever they may be. ‎Historically, Jews have excelled in this discipline, simply because they had no choice. Just like Houllebecq’s ‎protagonist, they had nowhere else to go. However, whereas there “can be no Israel” for the lost ‎professor, today, unlike the last time Jews were threatened on a large scale in Europe, there is an Israel ‎for the Jews. Uniquely among all the peoples of Europe, the Jews have a welcoming place to go. ‎Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of Western European Jews choose to stay put in Europe.‎

In 2015, 30,000 Jews made aliyah from all over the world. Almost 22,000 of these arrivals were from ‎France, Russia and Ukraine, and approximately 3,700 new immigrants made aliyah from the United States and ‎Canada. Other countries included Argentina and Venezuela, but Western Europe, outside of France, only ‎accounted for the tiniest contribution to these figures.‎

From the Netherlands, home to an estimated 50,000 Jews, only 96 Jews made aliyah in ‎‎2015, still the highest figure recorded in a decade. In Belgium, which saw an Islamic terrorist attack on the ‎Jewish museum in 2014, only 287 Jews made aliyah last year out of an estimated Jewish population of ‎‎40,000. Aliyah from the Scandinavian countries was equally negligible in 2015, despite a terrorist attack on ‎the synagogue in Copenhagen in 2015 and a growing anti-circumcision lobby in all the Scandinavian ‎countries, threatening to literally make a continued Jewish presence in those countries untenable. In ‎‎2014, kosher slaughter was made illegal in Denmark. In Sweden and Norway it was already outlawed. ‎

In the Netherlands, the beginning of 2016 saw an extraordinarily savage anti-Semitic attack on a Jewish ‎octogenarian couple in Amsterdam, who were robbed and beaten nearly to death while the Muslims ‎who perpetrated the attack called them “dirty Jews.” The couple had to be confined to an old-age home, ‎having sustained permanent injuries. Incredibly, the Dutch media, aided by the prosecution, upon reporting ‎the crime, chose not to mention the strong anti-Semitic element of the hate crime. Anti-Semitism was ‎also reported to be on the rise in Dutch schools, a dire foreboding for the future. ‎

The situation all over the European continent is depressingly similar with the occasional fluctuations in the ‎rise and fall of anti-Semitic incidents, but with a clear and persistent anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli ‎sentiment that makes itself felt in everyday life. Recently, the president of the Jewish society at the ‎London School of Oriental and African Studies explained that “we are too scared to go anywhere ‎so we walk in a group to the station. People come up to me and say, ‘I heard you hate Palestinians.'”‎

Jews are particularly at risk from the rise of jihad on the continent, but they are also existentially ‎threatened by the anti-Semitic campaigns against circumcision and kosher slaughter, which often have a broad ‎popular base that defies any categorization of left and right. The Social Democratic government of Helle Thorning-Schmidt brought about the prohibition against kosher slaughter in Denmark in 2014.‎

Added to this is the threat from far-right groups, which is sometimes exaggerated yet ‎nevertheless very much there. In the Netherlands, for instance, a Jewish organization, the Center for ‎Information and Documentation on Israel, was pressing charges in May against supporters of the ‎Dutch soccer champion PSV Eindhoven. A video was posted of PSV fans singing, “My dad was in the ‎commandos, my mother in the SS. Together they burned Jews, for Jews burn the best.” A PSV ‎spokesperson expressed his horror at the video. ‎

Nevertheless, Dutch high school graduates at a graduation party this month at Elde College in the ‎town of Schijndel, 60 miles southeast of Amsterdam, broke out in a song with almost the same lyrics. As ‎they approached the party, several graduates sang, “Together we’ll burn Jews, because Jews burn the ‎best.”

Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs, whose home in Amersfoort has been attacked five times in recent years, says ‎that the frequency of anti-Semitic chants and other hate crimes “means Dutch Jews are less inclined to ‎report hate crimes, when they occur around them all the time.” In other words, hate crimes have become ‎the new normal, just as in Houllebecq’s dystopia, the violent riots in the streets of Paris and the ‎incremental Islamization of France became the new and accepted normal. The status quo ‎gradually transforms itself from what is first seen as unbelievable and deeply shocking to something that is considered quite ordinary. “Only six years ago, we were profoundly shocked ‎when two young men screamed ‘Heil Hitler’ during a commemoration ceremony at Vught,” said Jacobs, ‎‎”But today, this wouldn’t be so shocking anymore. It is happening all the time in the Netherlands.” ‎

This is perhaps inevitable, a function of the plasticity of human nature and its ability to adapt to even that ‎which is most abhorrent, but it is also truly lamentable. Unlike Houllebecq’s professor, these Jews have a ‎place to go, no matter how imperfect and difficult they consider Israel to be compared to their often materially ‎comfortable lives in Western Europe. ‎

The questions inevitably arise: Why put up with the miseries of the European continent and the constant ‎and incremental assaults on Jewish freedom there, whether they come in the form of jihad or “native” ‎European anti-Semitism? Why suffer the indignity of hiding their identities for fear of verbal or ‎physical attacks when they can be open and free in Israel? 

Making America Unsafe

(Originally published in Israel Hayom]

There is a deep and unacknowledged irony to the fact that U.S. President Barack Obama, of all people, has opined in the days since the terror attack in Orlando that how you term things makes no difference.

“What exactly would using this label [‘radical Islam’] accomplish? … Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away. This is a political distraction,” Obama said on Tuesday in response to the heavy criticism poured on him after he, once more, refused to use the term in connection with the mass shooting. Islamic State quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, perhaps frustrated that no one in the U.S. administration, nor the Democratic presidential candidate, will give it credit for it.

Positing that calling something or someone a particular name makes no difference is the very epitome of hypocritical dissembling, especially coming from the person at the very top of the Democratic echelons.

These are the same people who for decades fought to entrench political correctness into American society, making it impossible to call certain things by their rightful names without facing a barrage of vilification and personal smears. The American Left has fought ceaselessly to shape language according to its ideas and has succeeded so tremendously that Americans are now afraid to report suspicious activity out of fear of coming across as “Islamophobic.” This has already cost lives. Before the attack, the security company that Omar Mateen worked for was afraid of reporting him, despite his suspicious behavior, exactly because it feared being castigated as “Islamophobic.”

The U.S. has much to learn from Israel in this regard. Israel is so efficient at fighting terrorism precisely because it cannot afford the luxury of integrating political correctness into its security doctrines. The very idea is preposterous. Nevertheless, this is exactly what Obama has done.

Five years ago, Obama erased all references to Islam in the educational materials used to train the American law enforcement and national security communities. In 2011, U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole confirmed that the Obama administration was recalling all its training materials to eliminate references to Islam that some Muslim groups had claimed were offensive.

In 2013, The Washington Times also reported that countless experts on Islamic terrorism had been banned from speaking to any U.S. government counterterrorism conferences, including those of the FBI and CIA. Government agencies were instead ordered to invite Muslim Brotherhood front groups.

If it is only a matter of labels, then why has Obama endangered American lives by deliberately blindsiding law enforcement and national security communities on the nature of Islamic terrorism? How are they supposed to grapple with the urgent issue of jihad if they are prohibited from learning about the nature of jihad?

When Obama claims, as he did on Tuesday, that “there’s no magic to the phrase ‘radical Islam.’ If someone seriously thinks we don’t know who we’re fighting, if there’s anyone out there who thinks we’re confused about who our enemies are, that would come as a surprise to the thousands of terrorists we’ve taken off the battlefield,” he is simply dissembling. You cannot know an enemy when you prohibit your law enforcement and intelligence personnel from studying or even mentioning them.

These are all relevant questions that the mainstream media has consistently refused to ask the administration — instead, dangerously dismissing them as conspiracy theories. The price is now being paid by innocent Americans, from a Christmas party in San Bernardino to a gay nightclub in Orlando.

Words matter tremendously, and you cannot fight an enemy that you are forbidden to name. Imagine Churchill telling the British that there was “no magic” in calling out the Nazi ideology and prohibiting his intelligence community from studying Nazi Germany’s strategy and tactics.

Hillary Clinton, feeling the backlash after publishing identical statements to those of Obama, has now opportunistically declared that she is ready to say those “magical words.”

But this is meaningless pandering, especially when you know she was part of the administration that purged training materials of all things Islam.

“In my perspective, it matters what we do, not what we say,” Clinton said. “To me, radical jihadism, radical Islamism, I think they mean the same thing. I’m happy to say either, but that’s not the point.”

The administration pretends there is no Islamist threat. This is what it has firmly projected to its law enforcement and intelligence communities, and Clinton is of course fully aware of the intricate details of this fact. Stating that it matters “what we do” then becomes an empty and even dangerous statement, because it deludes Americans into believing that there is a solid and credible intelligence effort underway to prevent future Islamist terror attacks in the United States, when this cannot logically be the case given that the U.S. law enforcement and intelligence communities are not allowed to study jihad or Islamic extremism.

Hit Back Twice As Hard

(This article was originally published on Israel Hayom)

There is really only one issue related to Wednesday night’s savage terrorist attack at Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market that you need to pay attention to, but it has been obscured by the following:

Mainstream media coverage

The mainstream media cannot bring itself to call the murderous attacks against Jews in Israel terrorism, nor the perpetrators terrorists, which is why the headline that kept repeating itself was “shooting attack in Tel Aviv.” Jews are “shot” by “militants” or “gunmen,” whereas Parisians and Belgians are murdered by jihadi terrorists. This is reminiscent of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” — all people are equal, but some people are “more equal” than others — the “others” being, of course, the Jews. Jewish lives may be destroyed by terrorists and disrespected with misleading headlines.

This is not going to change, not now and not in the future, unless all journalists suddenly experience a moral epiphany of cosmic proportions. We can and should fight it, headline by headline, because good people should fight lies and distortions — but we are merely trying to ameliorate the symptoms of a diseased core, namely the mainstream media’s intense discomfort with the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. For the moment, there is no cure for that.

Responses from politicians and world leaders

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the terrorist attack, conveyed his condolences and said that “there is no justification for terrorism nor for the glorification of those who commit such heinous acts.” This is too little too late, given the fact that only six months ago Ban felt it necessary to express that “it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism.” An army of pundits defended his statements following Israel’s outrage, claiming that he was merely “contextualizing.” Unfortunately, when “contextualizing” is premised on manipulation, it serves only one purpose: The legitimization of terrorism against Israelis.

French President Francois Hollande also paid lip service by condemning “with the greatest strength the odious attack.” He expressed France’s “support for Israel in the fight against terrorism.” That is, if you can call forcing “peace initiatives” (that amount to nothing more than backstabbing) down Israel’s throat “support for Israel.”

Social media

Perhaps inspired by Ban’s dissembling “contextualization,” the social media sphere was awash with pundits and opinion-makers insisting that the Tel Aviv attacks should be seen in a “broader context,” literally moments after the shots were fired. Not only does the timing betray obvious disrespect for the victims, but it also makes something very clear: When Jews are murdered, there is always a “broader context.” It is never simply a terrorist murder. The first response I got to a tweet I posted about the terrorist attack was, “What about Palestinians killed by Jews?”

None of the above — not the mainstream media, nor the reactions of world leaders nor the social media response — are worthy of attention. It is all a well-choreographed little dance. We fall for the routine, which plays out identically with every terrorist attack perpetrated in Israel, every single time, as if it were new to us.

The only issue we need pay attention to is this: Immediately after the terrorist attacks, Palestinian Arabs in Hebron took to the streets, celebrating the murders. In Tulkarem‎, they handed out candies in the streets because four Israelis were killed. An evening of good fun, a party brought on by the thought of dead Jews.

On Twitter, Fatah called the attacks the “Tel Aviv operation” and labelled it a “natural reaction.” (Let’s not forget Ban’s “broader context.”) Of course, Hamas celebrated, immediately praising the murderers and wishing them “glory and salutation.” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was “praying for the soul” of the injured terrorist.

These reactions merely confirm what the most recent poll from the Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research showed in April, which is that 60% of Palestinian Arabs support “armed attacks against Israeli civilians inside Israel.”

Nevertheless — and presumably because the U.N. secretary-general does not read news reports that do not confirm his preconceived world views — Ban expressed that he was “shocked that the leaders of Hamas have chosen to welcome this attack and some have chosen to celebrate it.” Similarly, U.N. Secial Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov tweeted that he was “shocked to see” that Hamas “welcomes” the Tel Aviv terror attack. He added that “leaders must stand against violence and the incitement that fuels it, not condone it.” What planet are we on? Hamas is a terrorist organization. They are terrorists, not “leaders.” Who could possibly be shocked that terrorists commit terrorism? Only someone who works for the United Nations.

We, here in Israel, however, need to stop acting shocked. We need to stop covering our social media accounts in blue and white, expecting everyone else to follow suit. (They won’t.) And we need to stop ringing our hands at the cold-blooded cruelty of our enemies. (The terrorists ordered dessert and then opened fire on everyone — if that does not qualify as cold-blooded, I don’t know what does.)

We, here in Israel, need to make the terrorism stop. Israel is fully capable of putting an end to terrorist attacks, and that is what it should do. Since October, Israelis have had to put up with a near-constant wave of terrorism that will not go away on its own. One eternal truth has not changed, and it never will: If you are bullied and terrorized, giving in to the bullies and terrorists only yields one result — more bullying and more terrorism. Any child who has ever had to fight it out in the schoolyard knows this. Until you hit back, preferably twice as hard, you are never going to get the bully off your back.

Terrorism By Other Means

(Originally Published on Israel Hayom)

While it may not always seem that way, in the cognitive wars being fought against Israel, most notably the hysterically high-pitched calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions by the BDS movement, Israel’s opponents are losing.

Naturally, the BDS movement claims it is winning. Omar Barghouti, its founder, asserts that his crusade “is working far better and spreading into the mainstream much faster than we had anticipated.” Obviously, a movement whose primary weapons involve all the mendaciousness it can possibly muster from its members will not be truthful about its results any more than it will be honest about its true goals.

While the BDS movement claims that it is about “peace and justice” and “encouraging international economic and political pressure against Israel,” the movement’s real and indisputable aim is to destroy Israel and replace it with “Palestine.” The founder of the BDS has said so himself: In Barghouti’s own words, “a Jewish state in Palestine in any shape or form cannot but contravene the basic rights of the indigenous Palestinian population and perpetuate a system of racial discrimination that ought to be opposed categorically. … Most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”

The chairman of the U.S. Congress House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, Ted Poe, has described the BDS movement as “a threat, which seeks [Israel’s] ultimate destruction.”

While this is clearly what BDS wants, it is failing impressively. Not only has the Israeli economy not been affected in the nearly 11 years since the BDS movement’s founding, foreign investment in Israeli assets has actually nearly tripled, the financial news network Bloomberg recently reported. In fact, according to Bloomberg, in 2015, foreign investments in Israel hit a record $285.12 billion.

What’s more, Israel’s economy is growing faster than those of the United States and European countries, with expectations of 2.8% growth this year compared to 1.8% growth in the U.S. and EU, according to Bloomberg. In addition, Israel’s unemployment reached a record low in April, when it fell to 4.9%.

In comparison, France, to name one country that is obsessed with Israel and meddles disproportionately in its affairs, has an unemployment rate over twice as high, at 10.2%, youth unemployment of almost 25% and a stagnating economy, which grew only 0.5% in the first quarter of 2016. One would assume that France has more pressing matters at home than the status of Judea and Samaria, but then again, obsessive-compulsive disorder is not an easy condition to cure.

While these hard and incontrovertible facts regarding Israel’s thriving economy are likely to leave BDS activists apoplectic — presuming, of course, that they ever acquaint themselves with actual facts — Israel should not draw the wrong conclusions. In other words, this is no time to lean back and relax.

On U.S. campuses, BDS campaigns are orchestrated by the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of Hamas, through associations such as the Muslim Students’ Association and Students for Justice in Palestine. The rallying cry of BDS activists, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” is the rallying cry of Hamas. It is no secret that the Muslim Students’ Association is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood itself states so in its operational plan, which was recovered by the FBI when it raided Hamas charity Holy Land Foundation in 2001. According to Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the sponsor of SJP is an organization with seven key employees that used to work for, among others, the Holy Land Foundation. SJP is among the most active BDS organizations on U.S. campuses.

Given the fact that Hamas is designated a terror organization in the U.S., it is rather unfortunate that so many campuses allow the unhindered activities of these likely Hamas-linked organizations to continue on campus without even blinking an eye. The more logical course would be to thoroughly investigate these activities and possibly prosecute related actions as terrorism, instead of viewing their activities through the prism of diversity, justice and other cheap slogans that are too transparent to cover the real issues for anyone but the willfully blind. BDS is the continuation of terrorism by other means. For that reason, it must be defeated.