Reuters Can’t Spare Ink on Iranian Anti-Semitism

There are very few news services that remain unbiased in the Arab-Israel Conflict. Progressive media like The New York Times report over and again that Israel is a far right-wing racist country while the Arab countries are moderates. Meanwhile, Fox News will forever take Israel’s side in the conflict. It often seems that the only party to report on the news while providing context in a neutral fashion is Reuters.

That had been the hope anyway.

On February 16, 2019, Reuters posted an article called “Iran Rejects Anti-Semitism Allegation by Pence.”  In the first two paragraphs, Reuters relayed the charge by the US Vice President against Iran, without including a single word of an actual quote. Over the next three paragraphs, the media outlet relayed the response by Iran that the Pence accusation was ridiculous and quoted two Iranian officials, using 71 of their own words.


US Vice President visits Auschwitz Death Camp in Poland

Reuters had quoted a few words from Pence a few days earlier when he made the comments about Iran subsequent to visiting the Nazi Death Camp, Auschwitz. In that article, Reuters sought to give some context to the state of Jews in Iran:

“Iran’s ancient Jewish community has slumped to an estimated 10,000-20,000 from 85,000 at the time of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but it is believed to be the biggest in the Middle East outside Israel.”

It would repeat the exact sentence in the February 19 article.

How is a drop in the Jewish population by 82% over the past 40 years not underscored with horror? Why did Reuters add the word “but,” to make it sound that the Islamic Republic of Iran isn’t ruthless and horrible in its treatment of the minority Jewish population? The other Arab countries of the region including Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria and Iraq wiped out their ancient Jewish populations between 1948 and 1978, while the pre-1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution kept most its Jews. But the Iranian Jews are being wiped out since Iran declared its war on the West. To put the 82% decline in perspective, the Arab population in Israel over the past 40 years has grown by 166%, from 706,000 to 1.88 million. If the Israeli Arab population had gone the way of Iranian Jews for the past 40 years, the current Arab population would be just 127,000. Where is the false outcry of ethnic cleansing and where is it actually happening, and why is Reuters failing to point it out?

The February 19 article went on to quote an Iranian leader that “the Holocaust was a disaster,” seemingly refuting Pence’s charge. However Reuters would write nothing about the annual Holocaust cartoon contest  that Iran holds each year. It made no mention of the Supreme Islamic Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei questioning whether the Holocaust ever happened. A curious omission, considering the basis of Pence’s comment stemmed from visiting Nazi Death Camps.

The February 19 article would continue with another paragraph meant to provide context for the reader, this one about the nature of Iran’s threats against Israel:

“A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander in January threatened Israel, which Iran does not recognize, with destruction if it attacks Iran, state media reported.”

Note that Reuters wrote that Iran would destroy Israel as a matter of self defense, seemingly a reasonable stance. Reuters neglected to write about Khamenei’s comment that Israel is a “cancerous tumor” that must be fought and removed to realize the “complete liberation of Palestine.” Those vile Iranian comments from its Supreme Leader have absolutely nothing to do with Iran responding to an Israeli attack; they were simply threats of destruction.

Biased reporting against Israel is a hallmark of outfits like The New York Times and CNN. It is distressing to see more balanced media like Reuters whitewashing the genocidal calls and actions from Iran. #AlternativeFacts


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The UN Never Demands Justice for Palestinian Killers

The United Nations Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace, Nickolay Mladenov, is forever busily tweeting and making statements about the violence in the Arab-Israel Conflict. Curiously, while he often condemns all acts of violence, he uses very different language when the attackers are either Israelis or Palestinians. When an Israeli commits the attack, Mladenov demands that the perpetrator be brought to justice, however, when a Palestinian commits the attack, all Mladenov can muster is a generic condemnation of terror.

Consider Mladenov’s Tweet on February 10, 2019 about the horrific intentional butchering of a teenage Israeli woman:

I’m appalled by the horrific murder of 19-year old , by a Palestinian perpetrator in . My deepest condolences to Ori’s family. There is no justification for violence and terror. Such brutal acts must be condemned by all.

While Mladenov condemned the violence and noted that a Palestinian was the perpetrator, he did not call for the Arab killer to be brought to justice. That is in sharp contrast to how Mladenov reacted towards violence from Israelis.

Here is Mladenov’s Tweet from January 26:

Today’s violence in is shocking & unacceptable! must put an end to settler violence & bring those responsible to justice. My thoughts & prayers go out to the family of the man killed & those injured. All must condemn violence, stand up to terror.

Not only did Mladenov not demand that the Palestinian killer be brought to justice, he didn’t demand that the Palestinian Authority stop the violence.

When it came to Arab-on-Arab violence, as on January 3, 2019 when Palestinian PM Rami Hamdallah’s motorcade came under attack, Mladenov again called for justice:

The attack on PM convoy on Christmas is a very worrying incident. It is absolutely unacceptable & the perpetrators must be brought to justice. Stones can kill— it was at the same spot where  lost her life in October. Such violence must stop

Whether the violence is initiated by Israelis or Palestinians, the only party for whom the UN seeks justice are Palestinian Arabs.

Some other examples:

I acknowledge efforts by to prevent settler-related violence. Further measures are needed to ensure that it fulfills its obligation to protect civilians and hold accountable those responsible for attacks.

The best Mladenov can muster when Jews are attacked is saying that there is no justification for the attack, a generic comment which is far from demanding that the Arab killers be punished.

I condemn the recent drive-by shooting near Ofra where 7 were injured and a pregnant woman whose baby was delivered prematurely and has tragically passed away. There is no justification for terror and I call on all to condemn it.

I condemn this Friday’s attack in the in which a woman was killed and her husband injured by stones allegedly thrown by assailants. Those responsible must be swiftly brought to justice. I urge all to stand up to violence and terror.

I extend my condolences to the family of , an Israeli-American civilian, who was stabbed in the yesterday. Everyone must stand up violence and condemn .

Shocked by the murder of an man yesterday by a teen in the . My thoughts and prayers go out to the bereved family. Such horrible acts serve only those who stand in the way of . Terror must be condemned by all.

There was only one time when Mladenov demanded that a Palestinian murderer be brought to justice, but even then he didn’t mention the killer’s background or ethnicity:

There is no justification for and those who condone it, praise it or glorify it. This is not the path to ! The perpetrators of yesterday’s attack must be brought to justice.

When the United Nations continually demands that Jewish terrorists be “brought to justice,” but does not similarly call upon Palestinian Arab terrorists to be punished for butchering Israelis, it reiterates its unceasing bias against Israel. Without a basic notion of justice for Israelis, the resolutions the UN passes against Israel are meaningless Palestinian propaganda posters without a shred of moral significance.

For many years, the UN has stood as a crude tool of despots and dictators, pretending to have an iota of credibility. But time and again the shroud of respectability falls revealing the UN’s pathetic utility as a blunt instrument in the Muslim and Arab war against the Jewish State.


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The UN Does Not Want Palestinian Terrorists to be Held Accountable

The UN Can’t Support Israel’s Fight on Terrorism since it Considers Israel the Terrorists

The Only Religious Extremists for the United Nations are “Jewish Extremists”

What’s “Outrageous” for the United Nations

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The Hollowness of the United Nations’ “All”

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Progressives are Stripping the Equity of Our Lives

The annual showing at the Davos, Switzerland World Economic Forum is always a spectacle. It is usually due to the who’s-who list of billionaires, celebrities and world leaders in a beautiful location. In 2019, it also featured stupid ideas led by the “progressive” views of worker protection and entitlement.

A Progressive View of Automation

One of the important themes discussed at the WEF was the consideration of the “Future of Work.” The Forum put forward three alternative views of how a world of digitization and automation could develop in the future. The considerations revolved around efficiencies, how to improve the value to customers, and how technology will require a new set of skills as it transforms the job market. The discussion sought to consider the future dynamics of competing aims of shareholders, workers and customers.

While progressives tout the concept of “fairness,” their actual concern is about a particular type of “equality,” which is the equal distribution of money. The status of “wealth inequality” and “income inequality” drives the proposed progressive agenda and thereby hijacks the definition of “fairness” to be one that reaches the conclusion of wealth and income equality.

In such an orientation, the holders of mass wealth – typically owning large stakes in companies – are afforded no leniency. If the future of automation brings an accelerated and inflamed debate of competing interests between shareholders, employees and consumers, the discussion is concluded as soon as it was introduced.

The progressive rag, The New York Times had an article written about the WEF called “The Hidden Automation Agenda of the Davos Elite.” As the title suggests, the article reviewed how the “elite” – those evil one-percenters – were hatching nefarious plans to destroy the workers of the world. The corporate titans at Davos were marketing how automation was going to bring all sorts of new inventions to the world with lower prices for consumers, however, the real goal was to replace people with robots, and hoard all of the economic gains for themselves.

“Automating work is a choice, of course, one made harder by the demands of shareholders, but it is still a choice. And even if some degree of unemployment caused by automation is inevitable, these executives can choose how the gains from automation and A.I. are distributed, and whether to give the excess profits they reap as a result to workers, or hoard it for themselves and their shareholders.

“The choices made by the Davos elite — and the pressure applied on them to act in workers’ interests rather than their own — will determine whether A.I. is used as a tool for increasing productivity or for inflicting pain.”

The progressive argument is plain: the elite / executives / shareholders will hoard the gains from digitization and automation, unless pressure (or new progressive tax and corporate laws) force the benefits to be distributed to workers.

A Progressive View of Employee/ Shareholder Protections

The progressive view of wealth is that it is essentially “immoral” as the recent progressive political star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview. It is a view shared by many progressives who view capitalism as evil at its core.

The notion that someone could build and own a business and become ridiculously wealthy – say Howard Schultz who created Starbucks – is inherently wrong according to the far left-wing. The hard work and risks which Schultz took along the way to create a company that employed tens of thousands of people and produced a product that millions of people enjoy is somehow negated by the tremendous wealth he personally amassed. According to progressives, his earnings and wealth should have been stripped along the way and passed on to the people who made and served the coffee. The salary of the workers was clearly inappropriate compensation if the company became so profitable. For progressives, the redundant task of making venti lattes all day which requires limited skills, no education and no risk – a task that will soon be automated – is not the essence of the discussion. The objection is that the person who owned the company made thousands of times more than the average worker, a conclusion, they believe that is immoral.

This progressive logic takes a bizarre turn when employees don’t help create value but destroy it.

Consider the electric utility PG&E which is being sued for causing the forest fires that killed people and destroyed billions of dollars in property value. Employees at the company are accused of committing a series of terrible errors, including not cutting the power in dry areas suffering from high winds (when the power lines came down from the wind, the electric sparks ignited the dry brush).

Who “paid” for the worker errors? Were thousands of employees fired? Was the employee pension fund stripped? Were line workers lined up before commissions and denounced in the media? No.

The executives and shareholders took the heat. Shareholders – many “women and orphans” who own utility stocks for the “safe” dividends – paid the price. On November 8, 2018, PGE stock closed at $47.80. One week later, on November 15 it stood at $17.74.

Did progressives cry fowl that the economic “windfall” wasn’t being shared equitably? Did they suggest that the workers who caused all of the death and destruction should bear the costs? No. They passed legislation meant to protect customers from rate hikes. Democrat State Senator Bill Dodd said his bill was needed because “without it, ratepayers will be left holding the bag and communities will needlessly suffer.

The Democratic Senator from California, Kamala Harris, who just announced her intention to run for president hasn’t said a word about the large corporate bankruptcy in her state. Any ideas why she would remain mum on such an enormous story? (Please don’t suggest it’s her ties to Democrats aligned with PG&E).


As the Democratic party lurches leftward, it is swaying deeper and deeper into an economic policy based on wealth redistribution over capitalism. The progressives have determined – and are demanding – that a worker whose job can be automated should not only not be fired, but be entitled to profit-sharing.

Progressives are seeking to dramatically revamp the notion of private ownership. They are advancing an economic system where we will collect fixed payouts as determined by federal officials. Workers, one and all. Equal and protected.

Private ownership will only be at the nod of the government. Strict limits will be imposed on compensation, capping salaries and demanding a set number of worker representatives sit on the board of directors. “Private” enterprise will be managed aggressively by politicians through heavy regulation and taxes, not by market forces.

The progressive aim is to strip people of the equity of their efforts and replace the return on their passions with interest payments as bondholders of the state. An “equitable” economy liberated and succored by a large government.

Such a system stymies equity investment and risk taking. It shrinks the economy and hurts innovation. No matter.

US President Ronald Reagan once said “this country is too great for small dreams.” For progressives, the great dream is a small country.


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The Shrapnel of Intent

“The diameter of the bomb was thirty centimeters
and the diameter of its effective range about seven meters,
with four dead and eleven wounded.
And around these, in a larger circle
of pain and time, two hospitals are scattered
and one graveyard. But the young woman
who was buried in the city she came from,
at a distance of more than a hundred kilometers,
enlarges the circle considerably,
and the solitary man mourning her death
at the distant shores of a country far across the sea
includes the entire world in the circle.
And I won’t even mention the howl of orphans
that reaches up to the throne of God and
beyond, making
a circle with no end and no God.”

“The Diameter of a Bomb”
Yehuda Amichai (1924 – 2000)

 

Yehuda Amichai moved to Palestine from Germany in 1936, as the Nazi war against the Jews was emerging in Europe, and the Arab war against the Zionists was gathering steam in Palestine. He would fight together with the British army in World War II and with the Jewish Defense Forces in Israel’s War of Independence in 1948-9. He would later become one of Israel’s most treasured poets, winning the Israel Prize for poetry in 1982 for his collection of works he penned in Hebrew. He died at the age of 76, at the start of the Second Intifada in September 2000.

Like all living things, Amichai’s life had a beginning and end. However, his works touched upon deeper truths which surpassed both time and geography. In a life framed by antisemitism and rejection, his words brought the Jewish people a mixture of bitterness, longing, anger and comfort about the hatred and violence they all endured.

The poem above is such an example regarding how the diameter of a bomb doesn’t begin to explain the sphere of its impact. While the scars are physical, the trauma is mental; the explosion may be ephemeral, but the shock is eternal.

Amichai’s words resonated deeply for the small global Jewish community which suffered from constant attacks both in Israel and in the diaspora. In Europe and Russia during the 20th century, millions of Jews were slaughtered while the Jews in Arab countries were expelled. The physical pain experienced by one Jew touched their cousins around the world. The grief was shared.

But the pain experienced by the Jews in Israel from multiple Arab wars and countless terrorist attacks carried an extra burden for world Jewry. While the emotional trauma of fellow Jews slaughtered and maimed reinforced the constant haunting echo of antisemitism, the attacks on the Jews in Zion also compromised the Promised Land. A place of holiness became a house of mourning. The collective Jewish inheritance bestowed by God was being ravaged in an unholy assault.

Since the beginning of the rebirth of the Jewish State in the early 1900’s, Jews and pro-Israel people around the world have been emotionally connected to the terrorism and wars inflicted upon Israeli Jews. Amichai’s poem noted that local Israeli tragedies encircled the world in grief. The bombs severed limbs and cut lives short, yet they connected everyone.

But something changed drastically over the past dozen years. The tragedies befalling Israeli Jews are now perceived through different lenses for both Israeli Jews and the Zionist community around the world.

The Changed Israeli Perspective: The Bombers

The beginning of the altered Israeli perspective began as the Second Intifada was born at the failure of the Oslo Accords.

The September 1995 Oslo II Accords were scheduled to reach a conclusive peace agreement in five years, in September 2000. However, when the Palestinian Arab leadership under Yasser Arafat was not able to secure 100% of his desired goals, he launched waves of attacks against Jewish civilians, killing hundreds of people over several years.

The ramification of the Second Intifada was not only the hundreds of murdered Israelis, but the penetrating shock waves that rippled through Israeli society which left permanent scars. Israelis internalized that the conflict was not about land as they had hoped, or about Palestinian “refugees” as they had been told. Israelis concluded that people who would intentionally slaughter children because they did not get a 100% of their demands, would never allow the Jewish State to exist on even 1% of the land. The Second Intifada scorched the psyche of Israelis that the Palestinians rejected the basic presence of Jews and the existence of the Jewish State. No enduring peace could ever be achieved with such Arab sentiment.

The shrapnel of intent of the bombers of the Second Intifada entered the minds of Israelis altering their views of the Palestinian Arabs, while the heat of the blasts incinerated the Israeli doves. The dream of peace with such murderers was reckoned a fantasy too dangerous to pursue and impossible to achieve.

In light of their new perspectives, the Israelis altered direction in dealing with the Palestinian Arabs. They erected a security barrier between the Arabs in the West Bank and Israel, and have elected a series of right-of-center governments. All to the chagrin of the liberals in the diaspora.

The Changed Diaspora Perspective: Untouched

Yossi Klein Halevi, an American-Israeli author who works at the left-of-center Shalom Hartman Institute recently wrote a book called  “Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor,” which captures some of the divide between the American left-wing and Israelis. In describing the book, he talked about the anguish of his dream of peace with Palestinian Arabs being destroyed by the Second Intifada.

“The Second Intifada brought the right back to power and nearly destroyed the Israeli left, something the international community still hasn’t internalized.”

For Israelis, the Second Intifada was different than the wars and terrorism before 2000. The Israelis felt that they had stretched far to achieve peace and were rewarded with the massacre of innocents. Even after the Second Intifada, when the Palestinians got to hold open elections for their parliament for the first time in 2006, they elected the terrorist group Hamas to a 58% majority. When Israel left Gaza in 2005, it was rewarded with wars in 2008, 2012 and 2014. And regarding people living and working side-by-side, the coexistence was paid for with stabbings and car rammings – literally funded by the Palestinian Authority.

Unlike Yehuda Amichai’s poem, liberals outside of Israel were not deeply touched by the Second Intifada. The Jewish diaspora didn’t see the pizza store and bus bombings of the 2000’s as markedly different than Palestinians shooting up schools or hijacking planes in the 1970’s: the Palestinian Arabs were still seeking 100% of their demands and the Israelis were not compromising nearly enough. The Israelis concluded that the counter-party was forever false, while the international community was occupied counting refugees and square kilometers of land.

While Israelis became convinced that the Palestinians rejected any enduring peace with the Jewish State, the left-wing diaspora was certain that the Israelis were never going to give the Arabs everything they demanded without external pressure. The viewpoints were different; the near term objectives were different; and one party was going to force the other to adhere to its terms.


Amichai’s poem concluded with a bond of empathy that surpassed boundaries: deeper truths surpass raw figures. While Israelis gained clarity of their relationship with the Palestinians in witnessing their pathological reaction to minuscule gaps in an agreement, the international community and liberal diaspora Jews were tracing the invisible 1949 Armistice Lines.

The difference in reactions opened a wide divide in the relationship.

Since the Second Intifada, the diameter of Palestinian bombs no longer encircles and binds Israeli Jews and liberal diaspora Jews. Until the shrapnel of intent penetrates the minds of the international community, the chasm in the relationship is only likely to widen.


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Christiane Amanpour is More Anti-Semitic Than Ilhan Omar

On January 17, 2019, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour interviewed the new Democratic member of the House of Representatives, Ilhan Omar. Amanpour asked Omar to comment on a tweet she made in 2012 when she accused the government of Israel of being evil and “hypnotizing the world” regarding the Hamas-Israel war in Gaza, a statement which many people viewed as anti-Semitic.


CNN’s Christiane Amanpour interviews Ilhan Omar January 17, 2019

The lead-in by Amanpour was arguably more anti-Semitic than Omar’s tweet (which Omar claimed was simply about her anger about military actions of the Israeli government):

“Can I move on to something that is generally sort of a right of passage for politicians in the United States and that is sort of to profess sort of fealty, or at least pay homage, to AIPAC, the pro-Israel PAC that is very, very prominent.”

To be clear, the expression “professing fealty” is defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary as “the fidelity of a vassal or feudal tenant to his lord.

Amanpour’s introductory statement was that all US politicians are vassals of (slaves to) the pro-Israel lobby. She made this anti-Israel canard as a casual observance of fact, not a concocted claim of outrageous fiction. She gave the CNN audience the impression that the US-Israel relationship is not based on MUTUAL values and benefits, but one of sinister puppet-masters controlling the US government.

Omar made a disgraceful statement about the Jewish State several years ago, but at least it was born from an anger related to military activity. However, Amanpour used a vile anti-Semitic charge against all Zionists at all times.

It was right and proper for CNN to terminate Marc Lamont Hill for his calls to destroy Israel. It is even more appropriate for the media group to fire Christiane Amanpour for going beyond terrible accusations of dual-loyalty against Americans who support Israel, to actually charging them with abusing the entirety of American politics with selfish Zionist schemes.


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New York Times Reprints Union Manifesto

The Los Angeles Teacher’s Union went on strike, abandoning roughly 600,000 students. The 30,000 public school teachers want many things, the primary one of which is more money. You’d be hard pressed to learn about how much money they make today, their pension and healthcare benefits and vacation perks from the New York Times.

The NY Times front page January 18, 2019 article focused on the plight of the students. The article conveyed how poor students have no place to go while rich students did while school was out. It described a California tax system that favored rich neighborhoods over poor ones. It described how California public schools often had over 40 students per grade while most urban public schools had between 16 and 28 (curious math when 600,000 students serviced by 30,000 teachers implies an average of 20 students per teacher). The article reviewed how charter schools hurt the public schools.

In other words, the paper published a sad story about the students without shedding light on what teachers in California earn. One would imagine that an actual NEWSpaper which is (theoretically) meant to educate readers would supply some basic information about the REASON FOR THE STRIKE. Instead, the liberal rag opted to make it sound like the teachers are striking for the benefit of the students.

Here is some data from the California Department of Education:

  • For elementary schools, the mid-range average salary for a teacher in a middle-sized school is $75,417. For a large school, the average teacher makes $80,256
  • For high schools, the mid-range average salary for a teacher in a middle-sized school is $80,177. For a large school, the average teacher makes $86,127
  • Overall, the average salary of public school teachers in 201617 in the State of California was $79,128
  • California public school teachers don’t pay social security tax – they aren’t a part of the country-wide system of support for seniors. Instead, they have their own pension system. The pension allows people to begin withdrawing money without penalty at age 60 or 62 – five years before the rest of the country gets any social security benefits. Further, the system doesn’t pay out anemic monies to seniors – the annual payout often exceeds the annual salary the teachers earned for the rest of their lives. (In case you’re wondering how such a system can work with such generous payments and little teacher pay-in – it can’t. It’s supported by taxes).
  • Health benefits for California teachers are among the best in the country.
  • While most Americans work at least 245 days per year, school teachers in California work only 180 days, 26% less.
  • Did we mention job security? While most Americans are worried about losing their jobs or their employer failing, teachers in California have almost a guaranteed job for life.

The average teacher in California makes 52% more than the average person (average CA salary is $51,910), has a more generous pension and works significantly fewer hours than the rest of the people in the state.

But the NY Times opted to not educate its readers. Instead, it opted to be the public mouthpiece of union labor, pretending the strike is about the welfare of children rather than the pockets of union members. Another edition of #AlternativeFacts


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Amnesty International’s Rankings for 2017/2018

Amnesty International defines itself as an organization which “campaign(s) to end abuses of human rights” around the world. It writes research reports on 150 countries and territories describing its perceptions of human rights abuses. It then lobbies governments, and organizes petitions and campaigns to rectify the issues which it concluded needs redress.

The Amnesty reports vary greatly in length. In countries in which Amnesty believed there were few human rights abuses, the reports were very short; where there were extensive abuses, the reports were quite lengthy.

Consider the reports on two Pacific countries, New Zealand and Australia. Amnesty viewed those countries in a very favorable light. The organization barely touched upon the trampled rights and ongoing situation of the indigenous people. The reports contained just 370 and 684 words for New Zealand and Australia, respectively.

Amnesty similarly viewed much of Western Europe through rose tinted glasses. The countries of Denmark, Switzerland and Belgium had reports of just 532, 613 and 670 words, respectively. The fact that they ban minarets for mosques, the wearing of hijabs and burkas, do not permit the ritual slaughter of meat and continue to enforce more and more anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim laws did not ruffle the human rights organization.

Banana republic’s like Cuba, Somalia and Sudan also were treated with gentle hands, with just 877, 853 and 1,191 words written in those reports, respectively. Those countries had some of the worst human rights records in the world. Perhaps Amnesty thought that abject poverty served as an excuse for illiberal policies.

But the oil rich Gulf countries were also spared Amnesty’s intense attention. Oman, the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain had 719, 1013, 1091 and 1539 word-reports, respectively. The lack of worker and women’s rights, religious freedoms and those of the press and assembly were seemingly blinded by a buck.

Several of the nuclear powers seemed to be treated a bit worse, even though there was no language admonishing the countries for having nuclear power. France and the United Kingdom had 1,193 and 1,726 word reports written about them, respectively. North Korea – perhaps a combination of both a banana republic and nuclear power had 1,269 word printed about its human rights abuses. Yes, that North Korea, which is one of the least free countries in the world according to Freedom House, received a fraction of the ink that Amnesty wrote about the UK.

According to Amnesty, the worst of the worst countries abusing human rights appeared to be those with long 2,000+ word reports. Some of these countries were indeed horrific places to live such as Syria and Afghanistan. But look at the list below and consider which countries received the most attention.

Country Words in Report
Myanmar 2003
Iraq 2004
Afghanistan 2083
Syria 2094
Saudi Arabia 2181
Mexico 2427
Israel 2496
Russia 2519
Nigeria 2541
USA 2627
Egypt 2638
Iran 2840
Turkey 2849
China 2934

It is perhaps not a surprise that China and Turkey – countries which jail the most journalists – or Russia, which kills many journalists, were high on the list for an organization that does a lot of research and writing.

But in what world can anyone seriously consider the reports of an organization that believes that Israel and the United States are worse human rights abusers than Syria and Saudi Arabia?

It is perhaps no surprise that NGO Monitor labeled the group “Shamnesty International” for not doing thorough and balanced research.

An example of the imbalance and bias can be found by doing a simple search under one of Amnesty’s core topics: Child Soldiers. While Amnesty reported on the terrible practice in Congo and South Sudan, it could not be bothered to describe the Palestinian Arab teenagers who are actively involved in terrorism on behalf of Hamas and also used as human shields, even while the organization went through great lengths to report on Israel’s perceived abuses.

Amnesty’s call for action and protests also fall flat. Did Amnesty ever call on the world to boycott Turkey for its illegal occupation of northern Cyprus since 1974? Nope. An arms embargo for its slaughter of the Kurdish minority? Nope. Maybe calls for halting cultural exchanges with a country that jails more journalists and dissidents than any country in the world? No way.

Amnesty only targets Israel. It called for an arms embargo. It called for a boycott of goods made in the Israeli territories in Judea and Samaria. In its focus on Israel and the Palestinians, did the organization ever call out Hamas? Well, yes, sort of. In 2010, Amnesty called on Hamas to not execute Palestinian collaborators with Israel.

Amnesty didn’t completely ignore the Palestinians. in a section devoted to “Palestine (State of),” the organization wrote a grand total of 1,623 words – slightly less than the United Kingdom. Excessive Force – against Arabs only – got 164 words. The horrible cases of “honor killings” which is absolved by Palestinian law received only 145 words. Torture got only 162. But Amnesty managed to spill 389 words – more than the combined total of abuse of women and torture – on freedoms of assembly and the press. Zero words – nothing – about the ongoing war against Israel. That stood in sharp contrast to its report on Israel which was almost completely devoted to Israel’s action (never noted as defensive) against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

Amnesty International presents like many organizations which appear to be advancing the case for human rights around the world. However, scratching the surface reveals yet another jaundiced operation unfairly targeting the thriving liberal democracy that is Israel which sits in the middle of a region of human rights abusers.


Related First.One.Through articles:

A Flower in Terra Barbarus

Israel’s Peers and Neighbors

Dancing with the Asteroids

Oxfam and Gaza

No Disappearing in the Land of the Blind

Murderous Governments of the Middle East

Apostasy

I’m Offended, You’re Dead

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On Heretics and Slanderers

Judaism’s primary daily prayer has two common names in Hebrew, called the Amidah (because a person stands for the prayer), and the Shmoneh Esrei (which means “18” for the 18 blessings in the prayer). However, in reality, the Shmonesh Esrei has 19 blessings, as an additional one was added about 1900 years ago.

The nineteenth blessing was added by Jewish sages due to divisions within Judaism around the 2nd century CE. The background story resonates in some format today.

The Introduction of the 19th Blessing

After the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70CE, the traditional model of Temple service was terminated. In its stead, rabbinic Judaism as outlined by the Pharisees, began to take root as the new established norm. It included traditions such as the Oral Law, which became codified in the Gemara or Talmud.

A competing group, the Sadducee sect, did not believe in the Oral Law and rejected the Pharisees’ Gemara. In reaction to that rejection, according to the Gemara in Berakhot 28b and 29a, Rabban Gamliel, the leading rabbi of the 2nd century, considered how to minimize the influence of the Sadducee sect within the Jewish community. In an attempt to keep the Sadducees from infiltrating the minds and hearts of the nation, he had a new blessing composed against these “heretics” to be inserted into the Shmoneh Esrei. As detailed in Berakhot, the goal of inserting the new blessing in the primary prayer was that Sadducees would not join in such service which cursed their efforts, and would disassociate themselves from the community. How could a person stand in prayer with a community that was reciting blessings that cursed them?

Interestingly, the Gemara did not offer a more straightforward explanation of the blessing: that Jews wanted the efforts of these heretics to fail and were collectively rejecting their views of Judaism.

Here is the prayer, as translated in Orthodox prayer books today:

וְלַמַּלְשִׁינִים אַל תְּהִי תִקְוָה. וְכָל הָרִשְׁעָה כְּרֶגַע תּאבֵד. וְכָל אויְבֵי עַמְּךָ מְהֵרָה יִכָּרֵתוּ. וְהַזֵדִים מְהֵרָה תְעַקֵּר וּתְשַׁבֵּר וּתְמַגֵּר וְתַכְנִיעַ בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵינוּ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’, שׁובֵר אויְבִים וּמַכְנִיעַ זֵדִים:

And for slanderers may there be no hope; and may all wickedness be destroyed instantly and may all Your enemies be cut down quickly. Quickly uproot, smash, and cast down the arrogant sinners and humble them quickly in our days. Blessed are You, O Lord, Who breaks enemies and humbles arrogant sinners.

Today, the prayer is normally translated to be against as “slanderers” rather than “heretics” as intended 1900 years ago. The difference is significant in terms of intention, but perhaps less meaningful in terms of population, as discussed below.

Heretics

The notion of condemning “heretics” was religion-oriented. These people were “enemies” of God, distorting His laws. They stood against God and were “arrogant sinners,” a corrupting force against organized and unified religious practice.

Seen from today’s perspective, heretics may mean people like “Jews for Jesus.” They are people who nominally state they are within the Jewish community but espouse views that are not in concert with Judaism. As opposed to Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and other religions which are viewed as completely distinct from Judaism and therefore neither addressed nor condemned, the blessing targets missionaries within the Jewish fold who seek to distort and undermine rabbinic Judaism.

Slanderers

While heretics are enemies of religion, slanderers are enemies of the people.

Two thousand years ago, the Pharisees and Sadducees did not only split on religious matters, but also on political ones. While the Pharisees delved into the meaning and application of Oral Law, the Sadducees were more politically-oriented. The Sadducees conspired and worked with the Romans, reporting on fellow Jews. They leveraged influence not just for their own benefit, but to undermine and harm fellow Jews.

In modern times, slanderers could mean Jewish groups like “Jewish Voice for Peace.” This organization actively seeks to wage an economic war against all Jews living in the eastern part of the Jewish homeland and much of Israel as well. Another is “J Street” which actively lobbied the US Obama Administration to label Jews living in the Old City of Jerusalem and the “West Bank” as “illegal,” pushing passage of UNSC Resolution 2334.

Orthodox versus Non-Orthodox Prayer Books

The 19th prayer against heretics/slanderers found above is as printed in Orthodox prayer books today. This blessing has been deleting from the Shmoneh Esrei in Reform synagogues. There are a few possible reasons for the active deletion.

Reform Jews may have deleted the blessing as they did not want prayers to include condemnation of fellow Jews. Perhaps they sought a more positive spiritual experience during the prominent prayer service.

It is also possible that some of the editors of the Reform prayer books believed that the blessing was taking aim at themselves as either heretics or slanderers.

The concern regarding heresy is that Reform Judaism broke from thousands of years of rabbinic Judaism in many facets, including believing that the Bible was written by a human, not God, and that the definition of “who is a Jew” is not limited to matrilineal descent but could be passed down from a Jewish father as well.

As it relates to slander, the leading rabbis of the Reform movement are active in groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, J Street, T’ruah and many others that publicly call out Israel on the global stage. While they believe they are striving to hold Israel to a high standard, there is no question as to their criticizing fellow Jews. Knowing that the 19th blessing was composed by Orthodox rabbis who were trying to enforce conformity and control, deleting the blessing could have been an attempt to free themselves of traditional constraints.

Whichever reason, the Orthodox (and still the Conservative branch of Judaism) is in the minority in keeping the blessing, as the Reform, Reconstructionist and Jewish Renewal branches of Judaism have deleted it. The non-Orthodox branches are the largest in the United States and do not fear being marginalized like the Sadducees of 1900 years ago.They have their own synagogues and do not need to pray in the handful of Orthodox shuls where the blessing against heretics is recited.

Israel Today

In Jerusalem, there is a cemetery on Emek Refaim Street that is run by a group affiliated with Jews for Jesus. They consider themselves proud advocates for the Jewish State, but also seek to convert Jews.

Mural from the wall above the cemetery in Jerusalem’s Emek Refaim Street
showing scenes from the Bible
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

While Israel allows all religions to operate openly within its borders, it prohibits missionary work. The heretics who run the cemetery know this, and are careful with how they distribute their literature, walking a fine line of sharing information while avoiding proselytizing.

The Jewish State has also begun to take a more forceful response to slanderers and those that actively seek to harm Israel and Israelis. Specifically, groups like Code Pink and Jewish Voice for Peace which lobby governments to sanction Israel and boycott goods are being stopped from entering the country.

It is likely not a coincidence that the government of Israel has begun to act against slanderers, and the fact that the Chief Rabbinate of Israel is a political creature which only has Orthodox rabbis. Orthodox Judaism seeks a protective fence around religious practice and the Jewish people, and the rabbis have no issues calling out people who break from the insular fold and bring in external political forces to harm Israeli Jews. A theoretical office of the Chief Rabbinate which included all of the other branches of Judaism would likely not only redefine who is a Jew and the types of marriages that could be practiced in Israel, it would also likely greet Code Pink with a welcome banner at the airport.


There is a gap in the Jewish people, just as there was thousands of years ago: there are those that believe in traditional rabbinic Judaism and those that reject it. There are those that seek to slander and malign fellow Jews to the world and those that condemn such actions.

The Sadducees of 2,000 years ago ultimately faded away, while the rabbinic Judaism of the Pharisees became the established norm. Yet over the last few hundred years, new branches of Judaism emerged which initially only challenged the traditional rabbinic view of Judaism, and now confronts fellow Jews as well. It is the Sadducees Redux.

The divide within Judaism is not new; it was just dormant. The schism manifests itself when the Jews have power to control their own destiny, as opposed to 1900 years when they were helpless minorities scattered around the world. The questions for today are whether the Pharisees (Orthodox) or Sadducees Redux (Non-Orthodox/ Progressives) will prevail in defining the future of the Jewish people, and whether they will destroy themselves and the Zionist experiment in the process.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Non-Orthodox Jewish Denominations Fight Israel

The Reform Movement’s Rick Jacobs Has no Understanding of Tolerance

Rick Jacobs’ Particular Reform Judaism

A Basic Lesson of How to be Supportive

Unity – not Uniformity – in the Pro-Israel Tent

An Orthodox Rabbi at the Capitol

For Liberals, It’s Israelis, Palestinians, and Indifference

Denying Entry and Citizenship

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2018 FirstOneThrough Recap

The First.One.Through blog hit some milestones in 2018.

It crossed the 500,000 word-count and 600 article thresholds, for one thing. By way of reference, there are only a handful of books ever written that crossed half a million words such as War and Peace and Les Miserables. Not bad in 4.5 years of writing.

Year Articles  Words   Average 
2014 107        62,534           584
2015 144      143,239           995
2016 132      117,961           894
2017 106      104,462           985
2018 117      102,591           877
TOTAL 606      530,787           876

The articles continue to be picked up and re-posted by various news outlets and bloggers around the world. Some have translated the articles into different languages. Some of these include:

Paper / Blog Language Website
The Jewish Press English http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/firstonethrough/
Brabosh Dutch https://brabosh.com/
Shiloh Musings English https://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/
Anne’s Opinions English https://anneinpt.wordpress.com/
Med Israel for Fred Norwegian https://www.miff.no/
JewsNews English https://www.jewsnews.co.il/
Love of the Land English https://calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com/
Document Norwegian https://www.document.no/
Jews Down Under English https://jewsdownunder.com/
Hava HaAchrona English https://havahaaharona.blogspot.com/
Helplev German https://heplev.wordpress.com/
FutureLearn English https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/antisemitism/1/steps/294493
Facts About Israel English https://www.factsaboutisrael.uk/honest-news-from-israel/
Hammonton Schools English https://www2.eboard.com/eboard/servlet/BoardServlet?&ACTION=TAB_SHOW&ACTION_ON=TAB&OBJECT_ID=682149&SITE_NAME=hammontonps&BOARD_NAME=English,Cori&TAB_ID=682149&SESSION_ID=83hg80wmz3w3w99606
Israeli Frontline English http://www.israelifrontline.com/2018/07/the-time-factor-in-the-arab-israeli-conflict.html
Israel and Stuff English https://www.israelandstuff.com/
SMA Norwegian http://sma-norge.no/leder/hamas-takket-norge-for-hjelpen/
The Jewish Leadership Blog English http://jewishleadership.blogspot.com/
Israel Palestine Dialogue English http://israel-palestine-dialogue.blogspot.com/2018/01/?m=1
Politisches & Wissenswertes German https://politisches.blog-net.ch/2017/12/12/corpus-separatum-endete-fuer-immer-im-jahr-1995/
The Times of Israel English http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/read-this-if-you-think-israel-is-apartheid/
Pleins Feux sur l’Heure Juste French https://pleinsfeux.org/largent-de-lonu/
Light of Zion English https://lightofzion.org/palestinian-conflict/do-you-know-why-israeli-settlements-are-not-illegal-under-international-law/
Education News English http://www.educationviews.org/alabama-comparison-u-s-senate-candidates-doug-jones-democrat-judge-roy-moore-republican/
Kattukse Vdienden Voor Israel Dutch https://fredbarendsma.wordpress.com/
Shamrak English http://www.shamrak.com/sh_editorials/EL_Trauma%20from%20Prolonged%20Warfare.htm

The articles are also often cited in individuals’ commentaries on different sites.

Blog Language Website
Connecting Singles English https://www.connectingsingles.com/blog_96020_1/who_owns_jerusalem.htm
The Educator’s Classroom English https://theeducatorsroom.com/teaching-liberal-job-america/
True Cost Blog English https://truecostblog.com/2009/08/09/countries-with-universal-healthcare-by-date/
VG Debate Norwegian https://vgd.no/samfunn/midtoesten/tema/1850040/tittel/boikott-eurovision-i-israel/side/19

These sites and links have been important sources of readers, but Facebook continues to be the most important, accounting for 44% of traffic. Search engines and Twitter accounted for 12% and 1%, respectively.

The articles that gathered the most interest in 2018 were about Ari Fuld, an American-Israeli who was killed in cold blood by a Palestinian Arab. Other articles that were popular were about the United Nations and CNN, which both negatively portrayed Israel throughout the year.

Interestingly, one of the most viewed articles of 2018 was written in 2015, called “Recognition of Acquiring Disputed Land in a Defensive War.” It was one of the most popular articles of 2017 as well and ranks as the sixth most read-article (at least linked to) on the First.One.through site.

There was no dramatic shift in terms of the countries viewing the articles from last year, with the exception of Japan and Hong Kong jumping significantly. In response, there may be more articles written in 2019 about Asia as it relates to Judaism and Israel.

Country 2018 2017
United States 59.4% 58.5%
Israel 8.5% 7.9%
Canada 6.9% 7.4%
United Kingdom 4.3% 4.5%
Australia 3.4% 3.4%
South Africa 3.0% 2.9%
Netherlands 2.1% 1.8%
Japan 1.0% 0.2%
Germany 0.8% 0.9%
Sweden 0.8% 0.7%
Hong Kong 0.8% 0.1%
India 0.6% 1.0%
Norway 0.6% 0.8%

The FirstOneThrough YouTube page has slowed down since August 2018. While no new videos have been posted in six years, until August 2018, there was still an average of over an hour a day of video watched on the channel. Since August, viewing time is down by half.

The most popular videos of 2018 were:

The Hamas Theme Song (Music by CSNY)” was removed by YouTube for violating community standards. Curiously, many of the sources for that video (translated by sites like MEMRI and Palestinian Media Watch) which showed Hamas teaching Palestinian schoolchildren to murder Jews remain on YouTube.

Please share and comment on all of the original material.

Wishing you a wonderful 2019.

 

The Real “Symbol of the Conflict” is Neta Sorek

The New York Times spared no ink to report on an incident in the Israeli-Arab Conflict on December 30, 2018. In a large front page picture and story which covered a full three additional pages, the Times wrote a detailed story which it called “a symbol of the conflict.”


Spread of NY Times on Israeli soldier shooting Palestinian medic
December 30, 2018

The tragic story of a female Palestinian medic being killed is an unfortunate incident but does not scratch the surface about the essence of the conflict itself. That the Times would repeat over-and-again that the incident is a “symbol” says more about the Times perception of the conflict than the actual situation itself.

The Times elaborate “symbolic” story was of

  • a killing of a Palestinian, not an Israeli,
  • in Gaza, not in Israel,
  • by a soldier, not a civilian,
  • where the separation fence held, and was not cut through

But the entire nature of the conflict stems from Palestinian Arabs rejection of the Jewish State and Jews living in Israel. It is not about the recent “Gaza Blockade” or a Palestinian protest to those actions taken by Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, as the Times attests.

A true symbol of the conflict can be seen in the murder of another woman, by the name of Neta Sorek.


Neta Sorek, Israeli woman killed while walking near Beit Shemesh, Israel
by Palestinian Arabs on February 24, 2010

Neta Sorek was an English teacher in the Israeli city of Zichron Yaakov. A proud feminist, she was also a strong advocate for peace with Palestinian Arabs, and held many events together with Arabs as a member of the group Women for Peace.

But this Israeli’s quest for peace was rewarded with murder.

On February 24, 2010, a few Palestinian Arabs found a gap in the security barrier Israeli had constructed to stem the wave of Arab killers coming from the West Bank. The Arabs robbed a car in the Israeli city of Beit Shemesh and drove to a nearby Christian monastery waiting for nightfall to assault unarmed Jews. Neta happened to be there at the monastery, enjoying the surrounding gardens by herself. The Arabs saw her and stabbed her to death. The Arabs then escaped back through the barrier into the West Bank.

A few months later, on December 18, the same Palestinian Arabs came through the barrier again. This time, they found two women going for a walk in the Mata forest near Beit Shemesh. Kristine Luken, an American Christian who was visiting Israel to gain a deeper connection to God was there with her friend, Kay Wilson, an Israeli tour guide who was escorting her on her journey. The Arabs attacked both women, killing Luken while Wilson managed to survive despite over a dozen stab wounds.


The real “symbol of the conflict” is a slaughtered Jewish feminist peace activist by Palestinian Arabs who infiltrated Israel. That horrific story – and of subsequent attacks by Palestinian Arabs – highlights the rabid Arab antisemitism at the core of the standoff and underscores the reason Israel was compelled to build – and continue to maintain – the security barriers in Gaza and the West Bank.

But the New York Times tells its readers otherwise. It declared that the conflict is about Israeli soldiers (“the far stronger party“), sitting comfortably behind a fence shooting at unarmed women in Gaza, amounting to war crimes. The Times deployed five journalists (David Halbfinger, Yousur Al-Hlou, Malachy Brown, Iyad Abuhewila and Neil Collier) and wrote 2000+ words with multiple pictures and graphics about the “symbol of the conflict,” to which Israel “refuses to find a solution.” The authors never mentioned Hamas’s stated mission for destroying Israel, the Palestinians electing Hamas to 58% of Parliament, or their preference to elect a Hamas leader as the next president in every poll. The core of the conflict was concealed; the perpetrators were cast as victims.

And what about Neta Sorek? Like the murdered woman in the Times article, she was a feminist. She was unarmed. She was killed by the opposing side.

Good luck finding a single word or picture of her in The New York Times.

Even the murdered American woman, Kristine Luken would get no ink, until a year later when four Palestinians were sentenced for her murder and that of Neta Sorek.

A microcosm of the conflict played out in the gardens of a Christian monastery in Israel, where a country that welcomes people of all religions became a crime scene. A woman who strove for peace was slaughtered for the simple reason that she was Jewish by Arab assailants who wanted to rid the region of Jews. The Muslim terrorists found a hole in the Jewish State’s defenses and seized the opportunity to commit murder, repeatedly until caught.

Not for The New York Times. It believes that Israel is a racist right-wing colonial occupier of Arab land, indifferent to non-Jewish lives.

The symbol of #AlternativeFacts is the New York Times.


Related First.One.Through articles:

A Review of the The New York Times Anti-Israel Bias

Paying to Murder Jews: From Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Iran to the Palestinian Authority

Reviewing the Rhetoric of Palestinian Arabs and Israelis

The Proud Fathers of Palestinian Terrorists

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