Saturday, 18 January 2020

Kings, princes, presidents, prime ministers will converge on Jerusalem.

Kings, princes, presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers will converge on Jerusalem this week for the Fifth World Holocaust Forum to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz.
The race for hotel rooms has been frenetic and the prestige hotels have mainly been booked on a "first come first served" basis with a few exceptions.
The King David Hotel lobby is bedecked with the flags of many nations. The Irish flag was removed when Ireland backed out of this significant event. The Irish Government have a special skill in blundering their relationship with the Jewish State.
Another nation not sending its top leader is Poland. This is partly due to a disagreement with Israel over the Polish refusal to admit that many Poles not only assisted the Germans but killed Jews and took their properties in the aftermath of the war.
French President, Emmanuel Macron will be staying in the King David Hotel.
Britain's Prince Charles will also he hosted at the King David Hotel.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will be staying at the David Citadel Hotel.
Because the American delegation were late in confirming their attendance, both Vice President Pence and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, will both be staying at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
The theme of the event will be "“Remembering the Holocaust: Fighting Antisemitism.”
Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army on 27 January, 1945. There were 7,000 survivors in the camp, mostly sick and dying.
An estimated 1,300,000 men, women and children were deported to Auschwitz between 1940-1945. Of these, at least 1,100,000 were murdered.
The Fifth World Holocaust Forum will take place at Yad Vashem and Israel's President Rivlin will host 40 of the world leaders at a dinner and discussion at the President's Residence.

The list of world leaders attending include;
US Vice President Mike Pence
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
President of France Emmanuel Macron
President of Austria Alexander Van der Bellen
Governor-General of Canada Julie Payette
Governor-General of Australia David Hurley
President of Russia Vladimir Putin
Prince Charles of Britain
King of the Netherlands Willem-Alexander
King Felipe VI of Spain
President of Italy Sergio Mattarella
President of Slovenia Borut Pahor
President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier
President of Hungary János Áder
President of Greece Prokopis Pavlopoulos
Prime Minister of Sweden Stefan Löfven
President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zolenskyy
President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades
President of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda
Crown Prince Haakon of Norway
Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen
President of Finland Sauli Niinistö
President of Portugal Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev
President of Romania Klaus Iohannis
President of Slovakia Zuzana Čaputová
Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Andrej Babiš
President of Albania Ilir Meta
President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian
President of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili
Speaker of the Latvian Parliament Ināra Mūrniece
President of Moldova Igor Dodon
Minister of State of Monaco Serge Telle
Chairman of the House of Representatives of Belarus
President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović
President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić
President of Bosnia and Herzegovina Željko Komšić
Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg
President of Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski
President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović
President of the European Council Charles Michel
President of the European Parliament David Sassoli
Vatican Representative Kurt Koch

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

The Challenge for Israel of Proving Innocence in the Age of BDS.

Professor Alan Dershowitz has written a passionate defense as part of his very public effort to clear his name.
Dershowitz was accused of having sex with underage girls during a period when he represented perhaps the world’s most notorious pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein.
One woman, Virginia Roberts Guiffre, filed a defamation suit against the famous lawyer in April 2019, in which she claimed heavy punitive damages based on claims of him having sex with her on numerous occasions when she was under-aged.
Dershowitz suffered further aggravation against his character when a Sarah Ransome alleged that she had participated in a threesome with him at a time when she was employed by Epstein.
Dershowitz was exposed to vile accusations at a time when he was, as he writes in his book, at the apex of his career.
The book’s title is Guilt by Accusation. The Challenge of Proving Innocence in the Age of #MeToo.
The book is the cry of an innocent man prevented from shouting his innocence in the public forum by a wall of opinion that favors perceived victims. In his case, young women involved in a global seedy under-age sex scandal involving lots of money and very important people.
In the public talking-place, too often justice and truth gets lost. Scandal is all. Guilty people are protected. Innocent people get tossed into the broiling pot of publicity. Reputations and lives are ruined.  That is not to say that injured people should not have their day in court.
A major emphasis of Dershowitz’s book is the contemporary experience of an innocent man being swept up by a movement which occasionally leaves innocent men desperately swimming against a maelstrom of public opinion that demands a woman’s complaint be sanctified without question, leaving the accused man to prove his innocence. This is a reverse of normal standards of justice in which the accused is innocent until proven guilty.
One standout example of the “always believe the woman” syndrome was the excruciating spectacle of the Judge Kavanagh Senate Star Chamber in which TV viewers watched a fine and innocent man being pilloried by the inquisitors of the #MeToo Movement and those who hated the President so much they were willing to cast a fine man to the gossip dogs.
That is not to say there are no monsters or innocent female victims. Epstein and Weinstein are just two ugly examples of a very serious problem.
Dershowitz cries out against this movement and the cacophony of media bias that destroys people while promoting titillating claims of women without bothering to thoroughly investigate the legitimacy of their accusations. His whole life, he felt, was being dishonored “because of a demonstrably false accusation by a woman with a long history of lying.”
Dershowitz claims that, when the accusations emerged against him, Meghan McCain, co-host of The View and ABC contributor, demanded that he not appear on TV because he was “accused” of sexual misconduct in the Epstein matter.
The accusation, Dershowitz claims, was sufficient to establish guilt in McCain’s mind to the extent that he was prevented from appearing to protest his innocence.
There was something eerily familiar with Dershowitz’s story. And then it hit me. His story reflects Israel’s experience.
Replace #MeToo with #BDS, and you have the same construct.
Replace “women are innocent and must be believed and all men are guilty until they can prove their innocence, with “Palestinians are innocent and must be believed and Israel is automatically guilty,” and there you have Israel’s dilemma in the age of BDS.
In fact, Israel has experienced the same shocking experience. Talk about "demonstrably false accusations by a woman with a long history of lying," how about what we Israelis and Jews have suffered from the mouth of Ilhan Omar, not to mention from  Linda Sarsour and Rashida Tlaib.
How many Israeli advocates have found it impossible to get a public forum in which to make our case and present our evidence?  How many of you have been hounded off campus and been shouted down by people with raging accusations unwilling to hear your voice? 
This has become the challenge of proving Israel’s innocence in the age of BDS, unable to make your case, guilt by accusation.
Today, Israel is guilty, not by facts, history, or legitimacy, but by accusation.

The broad campaign against us, whether by both factions of the Palestinian political movements, by malevolent actors in the UN and EU, by radical lecturers and campus groups, by the BDS Movement and other pro-Palestinian (read “anti-Israel”) groups, have decided and prejudged we are guilty by their false accusations.
They do this because they have an agenda that take no account of Israel’s innocence. They are exclusively bonded to a singular cause. BDS uber alles. Any opposing voice must be threatened and silenced. No rational argument can be made against them. They have prejudged us and will tolerate no defense.
Dershowitz is a lucky man. He is a powerful and successful advocate. His detractors were foolish to take him on. He has access to an unbiased court who will dispassionately hear his case and consider his evidence. Then he is likely to receive justice and compensation for the damage caused against him.
Sadly, Israel does not have that luxury. On the contrary, the “courts” are stacked against the Jewish State.
The UN is just one example of a biased chamber. The ICC is another. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad launch hundreds of rockets from civilian areas at Israeli civilians and we are the ones accused by this ICC court of committing war crimes in Gaza.
Israel only has the court of public opinion to make its case, and we need an army of Dershowitzs to win our case.
Hope is on the horizon. We are chipping away with victories in a number of campuses, states and countries, who are only now slowly taking up legislation against the discriminatory and racist nature of BDS.  We need a more sympathetic media to support our case.
For Israel, the challenge of proving innocence in the age of BDS is a long and uncharted road.
Barry Shaw is the International Public Diplomacy Director at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.  He is the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism’ and ‘BDS for Idiots.’

Monday, 13 January 2020

The EU, and the Misuse of Language to Gain Diplomatic Advantage.

I have recently been offering a presentation on the Strategic and Diplomatic Challenges for Israel 2020.
In this presentation I include the linguistic trend, used by the international diplomatic community, away from Israel's original territorial legitimacy through the term "disputed territory" and arriving into "occupied Palestinian land," an incorrect, devious and dangerous change of language to suit a narrative.
And, lo and behold, this morning I read that the EU just changed their official definition of Judea & Samaria from "occupied or disputed lands" into a shorter, simplistic "occupied lands."  This fails to admit that Israel is occupying its legitimate land. On the contrary, it is part of the push to delegitimize Israel on its ancestral land in favor of an amorphous, undefined, “Palestinian” entity.
This is the new, contrived, anti-Israel definition of EU foreign policy under its new foreign official, Josep Borrell.
The bias against Israel has been a noticeable feature of EU foreign policy for several years, particularly emphasized under the foreign policy leadership of Federica Mogherini, a former Arafat groupie and disciple of Italian Communist, Massimo D’Alema. Mogherini rose through the rank of the Italian DS party, which emerged out of the Italian Communist Party. As such, her political dogma included sympathy for arch-terrorist, Yasser Arafat and a desire to reduce Israel’s legitimacy in order to create a balance favorable to a belligerent Palestinian ideology.
This EU formula continues to today.  
The misuse of language is just one strategic ploy used by EU officials when forging policies that leave Israel at a major disadvantage, and fly in the face of documented history and territorial legitimacy favorable to Israel’s case for justice and fairness.
A return to the phraseology of “disputed territories” would be equally unacceptable to Israel but that would be less politically biased than the noxious and incorrect term “occupied Palestinian land.”
To prove themselves to be balanced and even-handed, something they have never done for decades, I recommend that the EU bring legislation to bear to repeal the status of "refugee camps" located in areas under the full administrative and security control of both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas in Gaza.
This must be done in recognition of Israeli territorial concessions to the Palestinians in vain gestures for peace, gestures that has been totally rejected by both sides of the divided Palestinian political camps.
Simple logic decrees that people claiming to be "Palestinian refugees” born in territories under the sole control of a Palestinian regime, cannot be defined as “refugees.”
It is unacceptable for the EU to assist in the illogical claim that Arabs born and living in territories exclusively governed by Palestinian leadership, whether it be the PA in the "West Bank," or Hamas in Gaza, are "refugees."
That is as illogical as saying that people born in Belgium are refugees.
If the EU claim they are working to create a Palestinian state in "the West Bank" they are duty bound to make changes to their language and policy to prove it, and removing the fraudulent definition of refugeeship as one essential prerequisite.
The excuse that the EU has no control over refugee status, even as they help maintain such a status, but that this is a UN issue, is disingenuous. Collectively and individually EU members must bring a motion to the floor of the UN General Assembly, if not the Security Council, to rescind the definition of “refugee” from Palestinians living under Palestinian control as self-evident misnomer.
This will make the work of UNRWA redundant, but many countries and leading institutions say that UNRWA have gone beyond their sell-by date decades ago. Why should this UN body maintain its existence in perpetuity when there is another UN refugee body whose role has been to implement the reduction of refugees globally Why must Palestinians, living under Palestinian rule, be nurtured into their fifth generation by the Un and EU?
By not addressing this misdemeanor the EU remain exposed as having a clear diplomatic bias and of being an active participant of Palestinian ambitions to "liberate the rest of Palestinian occupied lands from the River to the Sea."

Barry Shaw,
International Public Diplomacy Director,
Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.
Author of the book ‘1917. From Palestine to the Land of Israel.’