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May 23, 2016 1

Belgian Politicians Honor a Terrorist

Bel­gium has suf­fered sev­eral dev­as­tat­ing ter­ror attacks in recent times, includ­ing one against the Jew­ish Museum of Bel­gium.  Despite that his­tory and the con­tin­u­ing ele­vated threat from ISIS, six Bel­gian elected offi­cials have called for a ter­ror­ist to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

Mar­wan Bargh­outi is in an Israeli prison, con­victed of the mur­der of four Israeli Jews and a Greek monk in three sep­a­rate ter­ror attacks.  The Bel­gian politi­cians would like to see him instead feted on a stage in Oslo.

In the judg­ment of an Israeli court, he deserved five life sen­tences for his direct involve­ment in ter­ror­ism.  In the judg­ment of these Bel­gian politi­cians, Bargh­outi deserves a cov­eted inter­na­tional honor.

Israeli courts are widely esteemed for their impar­tial work for jus­tice.  It will be impos­si­ble to say the same of Sen­a­tors Nadia El Yousfi (Social­ist Party) and Benoît Hellings (Ecol­o­gist Party) and Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment Piet De Bruyn (New Flem­ish Alliance), Jean-Marc Delizée (Social­ist Party), Gwe­naëlle Grovo­nius (Social­ist Party), Dirk Van der Mae­len (Social Demo­c­rat), and Vin­cent Van Quick­en­borne (Open Flem­ish Liberals).

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May 20, 2016 1

Isi Leibler: Wrong on All Counts

By Jonathan Green­blatt
CEO of the Anti-Defamation League

This arti­cle orig­i­nally appeared on The Jerusalem Post Blog

Isi Leibler gets it wrong on almost all counts in his crit­i­cism of my appear­ance in April before J Street U, the stu­dent arm of J Street.

As I made clear pub­licly in accept­ing the invi­ta­tion to speak, I did so both because of my con­vic­tion that it is vital to engage with all mem­bers of our com­mu­nity, even and espe­cially those with whom we might disagree.

I used this stage to deliver a dou­ble mes­sage.  First, that ADL is com­mit­ted to ensur­ing Israel remains a safe and secure, Jew­ish and demo­c­ra­tic state; and sec­ond, that peace can­not be brought about by apply­ing pres­sure only to one side of the conflict—Israel.  This in many ways is the crux of our dis­agree­ment with J Street—that fur­ther iso­lat­ing Israel at a time of great tumult and regional volatil­ity is bound to make peace less likely.

There­fore, Leibler’s accu­sa­tion that I made a moral equiv­a­lence between Israel and the Pales­tini­ans when I called for acknowl­edge­ment of “respon­si­bil­ity of both par­ties” turned my point on its head. In speak­ing to a group that is often crit­i­cal of Israel, I was mak­ing clear that “cham­pi­ons of Pales­tin­ian self-determination must hold the Pales­tin­ian lead­er­ship to task for its fail­ures as well.” Leibler ignores—or worse—willfully dis­torts my message.

What is more out­ra­geous is that any aspect of my remarks to these stu­dents could be mis­con­strued as “indi­rectly gave a seal of approval for the Obama admin­is­tra­tion to impose solu­tions on future bor­ders that could dra­mat­i­cally com­pro­mise Israel’s security.”

Rec­og­niz­ing that there are steps Israel can take to ensure the via­bil­ity of a two-state solu­tion bears no resem­blance to sup­port­ing an imposed solu­tion. I deliv­ered that mes­sage even while reit­er­at­ing that a rea­son­able approach must have expec­ta­tions of the Pales­tini­ans as well.

In talk­ing about the need to rec­og­nize two nar­ra­tives, I was, of course, not refer­ring to the Pales­tin­ian rejec­tion of Israel’s legit­i­macy, which ADL con­demns over and over again, but that there is a Pales­tin­ian peo­ple and pop­u­la­tion whose future has to be dealt with in order to have peace and secu­rity for Israel.

And in call­ing out the need for Israel to pro­tect the rights of all its cit­i­zens, I was not chal­leng­ing the fact that Israel is one of the great demo­c­ra­tic soci­eties in the world. Instead, just as we do in that other great democ­racy, the United States, we urge our­selves to do bet­ter, to make sure that all seg­ments of soci­ety are full par­tic­i­pants in our democ­racy and enti­tled to the full ben­e­fits of rights—a noble ideal, but hardly a betrayal of Israel.

As to the crit­i­cism of my deci­sion to speak to J Street U, I have no apolo­gies. I do not know if Leibler ever both­ered to attempt to meet these young peo­ple, but I was impressed: They are a group of deeply thought­ful col­lege stu­dents whose com­mit­ment to Israel is gen­uine and whose pas­sion on the issues is impres­sive. Whether Leibler likes it or not, these are future lead­ers in our com­mu­nity and in our country.

Again, while I may dis­agree with many of their par­ent organization’s posi­tions and tactics—and ADL has expressed such sen­ti­ment pub­licly in the past—if we are going to main­tain a true sense of com­mu­nity and inclu­sion, par­tic­u­larly among younger Jews, then we must engage those with whom we have dis­agree­ments and explain our posi­tions. We cer­tainly must be wary of those who cas­ti­gate those who are will­ing to engage broadly.

Israel con­tin­ues to face many threats from ter­ror­ists and extrem­ists, as well as in the form of calls for boy­cotts, divest­ment and sanc­tions. We must stand against all. But there are also dan­gers to Israel from those who do not want a two-state solu­tion, from those who do not worry about main­tain­ing Israel as a Jew­ish and demo­c­ra­tic state.

And there are those within our own com­mu­nity who seem to for­get that dis­agree­ment and dis­sent are not just Jew­ish ideas – they are Jew­ish ideals.

The chal­lenge for all of us is how to be a strong advo­cate for Israel while respect­ing a broad range of views on how best to move forward.

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May 11, 2016 54

Iran’s Second International Holocaust Cartoon Exhibition Opens On May 14

On May 14, 2016, the sec­ond inter­na­tional Holo­caust Car­toon Con­test exhi­bi­tion will open in Iran, with the first place win­ner – report­edly to be announced in June – receiv­ing a large cash prize. Accord­ing to reports in the Iran­ian press, the May 14th date was cho­sen to coin­cide with Nakba Day (cat­a­stro­phe day), the term used by Pales­tin­ian to refer to the events sur­round­ing Israel’s inde­pen­dence in 1948.

The con­test report­edly received over 800 sub­mis­sions from artists in 50 coun­tries, and the exhi­bi­tion will fea­ture 100 works, as well as 50 pro­file car­toons on the sub­ject of “Netanyahu”, a ref­er­ence to the Israeli Prime Minister.

Auschwitz TracksDome of the Rock

 

 

 

 

 

In a recent New Yorker mag­a­zine inter­view, Iran­ian For­eign Min­is­ter Javad Zarif denied accu­sa­tions that the Holo­caust con­test is sup­ported by the Iran­ian gov­ern­ment. How­ever, accord­ing to the Mid­dle East Media Research Insti­tute, the sec­re­tary of the NGO respon­si­ble for con­test Mas­soud Sho­jaei Tabatabaei stated that the con­test orga­niz­ers coop­er­ate with the Iran­ian Min­istry of Cul­ture, and that every­one in the Iran­ian regime “knows that this exhi­bi­tion is highly respected.”

Iran held its first Holo­caust car­toon con­test back in 2006 under Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ahmadine­jad, receiv­ing 204 entries from Iran and around the world. Dur­ing his tenure as Pres­i­dent, Ahmadine­jad repeat­edly used his posi­tion to pro­mote Holo­caust denial, a prac­tice that con­tin­ues to this day in parts of Iran. The 2006 contest’s win­ning sub­mis­sion depicted Israel con­struct­ing a wall, painted with an image of the infa­mous rail­way lead­ing to the gates of Auschwitz, around the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem. Other win­ners included images of Pales­tini­ans in con­cen­tra­tion camp garb, the “myth of the gas cham­bers” and a Holo­caust museum in the shape of a swastika.

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