18 January 2012

Two Items from Petra Marquardt-Bigman's JPost Blog

The first is headed "American Judas Money". I'm sure that it's no news to anyone here that when Abbas and the PA sought statehood via the UN Security Council, the US Congress, to a congressperson (more-or-less), decided to cancel the US's $800 million aid package to the Palestinian Authority and to replace it with a $200m package, including $150m for the PA security services. One Daoud Kuttab writing in the Washington Post at the end of last November, explained that due to “principled” opposition, “the Palestinians might reject U.S. aid.” This was because, according to Kuttab, Mahmoud Abbas didn't want to be seen as a Palestinian Judas, accepting US money for security when Palestinian schools, etc, would remain unbuilt.

As Petra M-B notes, "expecting Washington Post readers to believe that the overwhelmingly Muslim Palestinians would associate US aid with a story from the Christian Gospels" is a bit unlikely, and she concludes her piece with this:

Abbas wants to be given a state, and he wants to be given the money to develop this state, and he wants this state to have no obligations whatsoever – just rights, including the right to pursue a “two-stage-solution” and the right to team up with Islamist terror groups like Hamas and threaten jihad.
Again, I'm sure that this is hardly news to anyone here. Elsewhere, Petra notes that Kuttab used to be on the board of the admirable American Task Force for Palestine, but decided that it wash't pro-Palestinian enough for him (i.e., it was too impartial).

This other item is also old news, in at least one sense: we believers in the right of Israel to exist in peace and security have known for some time that Amnesty (or at least some parts of it) are hardly even-handed when it comes to the Middle East. Petra M-B takes this a little further, with a story focused on Amnesty UK. Personally, I'm constantly surprised that Amnesty and other supposedly non-political organisations (such as Oxfam) can get around the UK Charity Laws that are designed to bar overtly political activities and still retain their charitable status. My own former (I left when I retired) professional association was registered as a charity. The Board of Trustees (of which I was a member at the time) refused to allow one its wholly-owned journals publish an anti-Israel, pro-BDS statement as an editorial comment: because it was "political" and not educational. When the matter came up, I was sitting there, rehearsing my resignation speech in my mind, should the Chair and a majority of the Trustees have decided otherwise.

Anyway, enough of memory, and back to Petra M-B and the JPost. She notes in this column that "It’s a tired old formula, but some just can’t let go of it: peace in the Middle East, and the world at large, requires doing away with the Jewish state...To give the assorted opponents of the right of Jews to self-determination in a state of their own a boost, Amnesty UK will host a “special launch” for the second book of hyper-active anti-Israel activist Ben White. His first book was – no prize for guessing – “Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide.”" Once again, I'm sure that Ben White needs no introduction in these columns, but, just in case, he's a graduate in English who's now working (when he can get it) as a journalist, and writing books on the side. An enormous amount of his efforts appear to go into denigrating Israel - without cause (other than in his fevered imagination, as the title of his first book shows) and boosting Palestine and the bi-national state. Though with friends like him, I'm not sure the Palestinians need any enemies.

According to AmnestyUK "'Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy' is the new book by Ben White, and considers an issue neglected by the mainstream “peace process” and many commentators: the Palestinian minority in Israel." Or, in plain language, not that we here need it, the apartheid that they suffer from. Pity about all that civic equality they suffer from, all that right to vote, attend university in Israel, serve as MKs, Judges (even of the Supreme Court), etc. It's still, really, to those in the know, apartheid.

Isn't it interesting that so many of those who graduate in English don't know how to use the language properly?

By Brian Goldfarb.