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Saturday, February 25, 2017

AN AMERICAN JOURNALIST'S PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF ISRAEL - The reality of every day life, and how it is perceived abroad

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  • The Israeli-Muslim conflict is too complex to explain in a single article. But a personal account can illustrate how it is perceived by both sides right there, in the land of Israel.
  • The following column was written by an American liberal and very pro-Palestinian journalist who one day took the trouble to experience life in Israel and see the situation from the Jewish point of view.  
  • He tells how Palestinians have been indoctrinated with a narrative of hate and intolerance that results in relentless terror
  • As you read it, please keep in mind that the Jewish elite that controls the government - some of it often disguised as 'hawkish' or 'right wing' - has in fact been empowering the Palestinians by stealth, allowing them to build facts on the ground - both physically and ideologically.   Examples abound.  Here are two:
  • (1)  While the media and human rights organizations condemn Jewish settlements, the fact is that Arabs build illegally and massively on both sides of the Green Line and with complete impunity. 
  • The government routinely turns a blind eye to it, and very often ends up providing utilities, schools, and other facilities to the illegal towns and villages along with full legitimacy - particularly in cases of Bedouin illegal land takeover.  (Bedouin are nomads from the Saudi peninsula who arrived in the land of Israel after the Muslim invasion and occupation of the land.)  
  • (2)  Palestinian textbooks and TV children programs have been spouting virulent anti-Semitic propaganda for decades, thus creating entire generations of Jew-hating Palestinians. 
  • The Israeli government has done NOTHING about the textbooks used both in Palestinian and Arab Israeli classrooms, and even provides radio and TV frequencies to the Palestinians, who use them to indoctrinate Arab children with genocidal Jew hatred. 
  • Even more disturbing, the Israeli government has NEVER upheld recognized international law that demonstrates the legitimacy of Israeli right to the historical Jewish ancestral land - today referred to as "occupied territory".  
  • This silence is proof of their complicity with the Palestinians goal of partitioning the country as a first stage of a process that will inevitably lead to the end of Israel.     
  • Does it all sound too hard to believe?  There is a method to the madness.  The Israeli elite's ultimate goal is to facilitate the partition of Israel for the creation of another Arab terror state, while denuding what would be left of Israel of its Jewish tradition and heritage, and its transformation into an Arab-dominated country.  A more likely alternative is that a campaign of terror launched from a sovereign Palestine allied with Iran would lead to another Holocaust.
  • THE JEWISH-ARAB CONFLICT 4 BASIC FACTSThis is the Jewish left's vision, which has increasingly permeated all major centers of power in Israel, such as the media, universities, the courts, and the government itself. 
  • Just as American centrist Republicans too often find common ground with Democrats, the Fake Right Wing in Israel secretly shares goals with the most leftist and pro-Palestinian sectors of the Israeli political landscape.  They are hawkish in name only.
  • Actually the American political landscape right now reflects some of that leftist mindset, with its contempt for the national flag, calls for open borders, hatred of American traditional institutions, Christianity, and white people, and calls for the weakening of the Constitution and the country.   
  • Israeli politicians can't just hand over the country to the Arabs because there would elicit a Jewish revolt.  But they can do it by stealth, one step at the time. 
  • The map to the right shows the Jewish kingdoms of Israel and Judah.  The area today is referred to as Judea and Samaria.  Those who want to avoid the link to Israel's ancient past call it the West Bank.
  • The Jewish legal right to Israel goes back thousands of years.  Muslims from the Saudi peninsula invaded Israel during the Middle Ages, and now they call Jews the occupiers.  The red line on the map indicates Israel after the 1967  war.  Ever since Israel has shrunk after surrendering the Sinai peninsula to Egypt and Gaza to the Palestinians - both territories now in the hands of jihadists. 
  • Netanyahu can't blame Obama for his own anti-Jewish policies anymore.  Not with Trump, the most pro-Israel US president in history.   
  • Trump would not interfere if Israel annexed Judea and Samaria and empowered Jewish heritage. 
  • However, the Netanyahu administration told Trump NOT to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, to discourage Jewish expansion of settlements, and to continue to show support for Two States - all of them key parts of Netanyahu's pro-Palestinian agenda. 
  • The first few weeks of the Trump administration have exposed the Israeli government's DUPLICITY. 
  • PM Netanyahu's eloquent right wing speeches have allowed him and his Likud party to cling to power, while his actions consistently reveal his pro-Palestinian agenda.  His calls for 'security' along the border with the Palestinian state are a fig leaf to sell this suicidal plan to the Israeli people.
An American Journalist Personal Experience in Israel

Hunter Stuart was a self-described Protestant liberal with the “pantheon of beliefs”:   You support pluralism, tolerance and diversity. You support gay rights, access to abortion and gun control.
He was also pro-Palestinian, with the belief that Israel was the big bully:  Most progressives in the US view Israel as an aggressor, oppressing the poor noble Arabs who are being so brutally denied their freedom
Most troubling was that even when he became eyewitness to Palestinian bloodlust and brutality against Israel, he felt little sympathy for the Israeli victims. In fact, he felt hostility, and as leftists tend to do, he blamed Israel for being victimized by stabbings and suicide attacks. 
Stuart finally snapped out of his trance, but that was only when it became personal. Until then, he believed Israeli citizens deserved everything they got, no matter how sickening; much like  Europe and the West, where nothing it gets is sickening enough because they “deserve it.”

The propagandist, victimhood narrative has stuck on like crazy glue, and it’s rooted in guilt, namely the past sins of colonialism. Stuart says of Western liberal that “they see it as a white, first world people beating on a poor, third world one.”
Eventually, Stuart came to realize that lying jihadists are governing the Palestinian territories, that the Arab states surrounding Israel have been seeking its obliteration since the Jewish state was born in 1948, and that maneuvers by Israel — deemed to be bullying, apartheid-driven and murderous — are actually defensive. Israel is the bullied, not the bully.

Continue reading

Similarly, those Muslim refugees who are victimizing Europeans en masse and plunging Europe into chaos are deemed by leftists to be innocent, poor, third world, needy victims of the “white people,” whenever Westerners make any effort to protect themselves.

“How a pro-Palestinian American reporter changed his views on Israel and the conflict”
by Hunter Stuart, Jerusalem Post, February 15, 2017: 
IN THE summer of 2015, just three days after I moved to Israel for a year-and-a-half stint freelance reporting in the region, I wrote down my feelings about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A friend of mine in New York had mentioned that it would be interesting to see if living in Israel would change the way I felt. My friend probably suspected that things would look differently from the front-row seat, so to speak. 
Boy was he right. 
Before I moved to Jerusalem, I was very pro-Palestinian. Almost everyone I knew was. I grew up Protestant in a quaint, politically correct New England town; almost everyone around me was liberal. And being liberal in America comes with a pantheon of beliefs: You support pluralism, tolerance and diversity. You support gay rights, access to abortion and gun control. 
The belief that Israel is unjustly bullying the Palestinians is an inextricable part of this pantheon. Most progressives in the US view Israel as an aggressor, oppressing the poor noble Arabs who are being so brutally denied their freedom. 
“I believe Israel should relinquish control of all of the Gaza Strip and most of the West Bank,” I wrote on July 11, 2015, from a park near my new apartment in Jerusalem’s Baka neighborhood. “The occupation is an act of colonialism that only creates suffering, frustration and despair for millions of Palestinians.”

Perhaps predictably, this view didn’t play well among the people I met during my first few weeks in Jerusalem, which, even by Israeli standards, is a conservative city.  
My wife and I had moved to the Jewish side of town, more or less by chance ‒ the first Airbnb host who accepted our request to rent a room happened to be in the Nachlaot neighborhood where even the hipsters are religious.  
As a result, almost everyone we interacted with was Jewish Israeli and very supportive of Israel. I didn’t announce my pro-Palestinian views to them ‒ I was too afraid. But they must have sensed my antipathy (I later learned this is a sixth sense Israelis have). 
During my first few weeks in Jerusalem, I found myself constantly getting into arguments about the conflict with my roommates and in social settings. Unlike waspy New England, Israel does not afford the privilege of politely avoiding unpleasant political conversations. Outside of the Tel Aviv bubble, the conflict is omnipresent; it affects almost every aspect of life. Avoiding it simply isn’t an option. 
During one such argument, one of my roommates ‒ an easygoing American-Jewish guy in his mid-30s ‒ seemed to be suggesting that all Palestinians were terrorists. I became annoyed and told him it was wrong to call all Palestinians terrorists, that only a small minority supported terrorist attacks. My roommate promptly pulled out his laptop, called up a 2013 Pew Research poll and showed me the screen.
I saw that Pew’s researchers had done a survey of thousands of people across the Muslim world, asking them if they supported suicide bombings against civilians in order to “defend Islam from its enemies.”  
The survey found that 62 percent of Palestinians believed such terrorist acts against civilians were justified in these circumstances. And not only that, the Palestinian territories were the only place in the Muslim world where a majority of citizens supported terrorism; everywhere else it was a minority ‒ from Lebanon and Egypt to Pakistan and Malaysia.  
I didn’t let my roommate win the argument early morning hours. But the statistic stuck with me.

Less than a month later, in October 2015, a wave of Palestinian terrorist attacks against Jewish-Israelis began. Nearly every day, an angry, young Muslim Palestinian was stabbing or trying to run over someone with his car. A lot of the violence was happening in Jerusalem, some of it just steps from where my wife and I had moved into an apartment of our own, and lived and worked and went grocery shopping. 
At first, I’ll admit, I didn’t feel a lot of sympathy for Israelis. Actually, I felt hostility. I felt that they were the cause of the violence. I wanted to shake them and say, “Stop occupying the West Bank, stop blockading Gaza, and Palestinians will stop killing you!” It seemed so obvious to me; how could they not realize that all this violence was a natural, if unpleasant, reaction to their government’s actions?
IT WASN’T until the violence became personal that I began to see the Israeli side with greater clarity.

As the “Stabbing Intifada” (as it later became known) kicked into full gear, I traveled to the impoverished East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan for a story I was writing.
As soon as I arrived, a Palestinian kid who was perhaps 13 years old pointed at me and shouted “Yehud!” which means “Jew” in Arabic. Immediately, a large group of his friends who’d been hanging out nearby were running toward me with a terrifying sparkle in their eyes. “Yehud! Yehud!” they shouted. I felt my heart start to pound.
I shouted at them in Arabic “Ana mish yehud! Ana mish yehud!” (“I’m not Jewish, I’m not Jewish!”) over and over. I told them, also in Arabic, that I was an American journalist who “loved Palestine.” They calmed down after that, but the look in their eyes when they first saw me is something I’ll never forget. Later, at a house party in Amman, I met a Palestinian guy who’d grown up in Silwan. “If you were Jewish, they probably would have killed you,” he said.
I made it back from Silwan that day in one piece; others weren’t so lucky. In Jerusalem, and across Israel, the attacks against Jewish Israelis continued. My attitude began to shift, probably because the violence was, for the first time, affecting me directly.
I found myself worrying that my wife might be stabbed while she was on her way home from work. Every time my phone lit up with news of another attack, if I wasn’t in the same room with her, I immediately sent her a text to see if she was OK.
Then a friend of mine ‒ an older Jewish Israeli guy who’d hosted my wife and me for dinner at his apartment in the capital’s Talpiot neighborhood ‒ told us that his friend had been murdered by two Palestinians the month before on a city bus not far from his apartment.
I knew the story well ‒ not just from the news, but because I’d interviewed the family of one of the Palestinian guys who’d carried out the attack. In the interview, his family told me how he was a promising young entrepreneur who was pushed over the edge by the daily humiliations wrought by the occupation. I ended up writing a very sympathetic story about the killer for a Jordanian news site called Al Bawaba News.
Writing about the attack with the detached analytical eye of a journalist, I was able to take the perspective that (I was fast learning) most news outlets wanted – that Israel was to blame for Palestinian violence. But when I learned that my friend’s friend was one of the victims, it changed my way of thinking.
I felt horrible for having publicly glorified one of the murderers. The man who’d been murdered, Richard Lakin, was originally from New England, like me, and had taught English to Israeli and Palestinian children at a school in Jerusalem. He believed in making peace with the Palestinians and “never missed a peace rally,” according to his son.
By contrast, his killers ‒ who came from a middle-class neighborhood in East Jerusalem and were actually quite well-off relative to most Palestinians ‒ had been paid 20,000 shekels to storm the bus that morning with their cowardly guns. More than a year later, you can still see their faces plastered around East Jerusalem on posters hailing them as martyrs. (One of the attackers, Baha Aliyan, 22, was killed at the scene; the second, Bilal Ranem, 23, was captured alive.)
Being personally affected by the conflict caused me to question how forgiving I’d been of Palestinian violence previously.

Liberals, human-rights groups and most of the media, though, continued to blame Israel for being attacked.

Ban Ki-moon, for example, who at the time was the head of the United Nations, said in January 2016 ‒ as the streets of my neighborhood were stained with the blood of innocent Israeli civilians ‒ that it was “human nature to react to occupation.” In fact, there is no justification for killing someone, no matter what the political situation may or may not be, and Ban’s statement rankled me.
SIMILARLY, THE way that international NGOs, European leaders and others criticized Israel for its “shoot to kill” policy during this wave of terrorist attacks began to annoy me more and more.
In almost any nation, when the police confront a terrorist in the act of killing people, they shoot him dead and human-rights groups don’t make a peep.

This happens in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh; it happens in Germany and England and France and Spain, and it sure as hell happens in the US (see San Bernardino and the Orlando nightclub massacre, the Boston Marathon bombings and others).

Did Amnesty International condemn Barack Obama or Abdel Fattah al-Sisi or Angela Merkel or François Hollande when their police forces killed a terrorist? Nope. But they made a point of condemning Israel.
What’s more, I started to notice that the media were unusually fixated on highlighting the moral shortcomings of Israel, even as other countries acted in infinitely more abominable ways.

If Israel threatened to relocate a collection of Palestinian agricultural tents, as they did in the West Bank village of Sussiya in the summer of 2015, for example, the story made international headlines for weeks. The liberal outrage was endless.

Yet, when Egypt’s president used bulldozers and dynamite to demolish an entire neighborhood in the Sinai Peninsula in the name of national security, people scarcely noticed.
Where do these double standards come from?
I’ve come to believe it’s because the Israeli-Palestinian conflict appeals to the appetites of progressive people in Europe, the US and elsewhere. They see it as a white, first world people beating on a poor, third world one.

It’s easier for them to become outraged watching two radically different civilizations collide than it is watching Alawite Muslims kill Sunni Muslims in Syria, for example, because to a Western observer the difference between Alawite and Sunni is too subtle to fit into a compelling narrative that can be easily summarized on Facebook.
Unfortunately for Israel, videos on social media that show US-funded Jewish soldiers shooting tear gas at rioting Arab Muslims is Hollywood-level entertainment and fits perfectly with the liberal narrative that Muslims are oppressed and Jewish Israel is a bully.
I admire the liberal desire to support the underdog. They want to be on the right side of history, and their intentions are good. The problem is that their beliefs often don’t square with reality.
In reality, things are much, much more complex than a five-minute spot on the evening news or a two paragraph-long Facebook status will ever be able to portray. As a friend told me recently, “The reason the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is so intractable is that both sides have a really, really good point.”
Unfortunately, not enough people see it that way.

I recently bumped into an old friend from college who told me that a guy we’d both known when we were freshmen had been active in Palestinian protests for a time after graduating.

The fact that a smart, well-educated kid from Vermont, who went to one of the best liberal arts schools in the US, traveled thousands of miles to throw bricks at Israeli soldiers is very, very telling.
THERE’S AN old saying that goes, “If you want to change someone’s mind, first make them your friend.” The friends I made in Israel forever changed my mind about the country and about the Jewish need for a homeland.

But I also spent a lot of time traveling in the Palestinian territories getting to know Palestinians. I spent close to six weeks visiting Nablus and Ramallah and Hebron, and even the Gaza Strip. I met some incredible people in these places; I saw generosity and hospitality unlike anywhere else I’ve ever traveled to. I’ll be friends with some of them for the rest of my life. But almost without fail, their views of the conflict and of Israel and of Jewish people in general was extremely disappointing.

First of all, even the kindest, most educated, upper-class Palestinians reject 100 percent of Israel ‒ not just the occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

They simply will not be content with a two-state solution ‒ what they want is to return to their ancestral homes in Ramle and Jaffa and Haifa and other places in 1948 Israel, within the Green Line. And they want the Israelis who live there now to leave. They almost never speak of coexistence; they speak of expulsion, of taking back “their” land.
To me, however morally complicated the creation of Israel may have been, however many innocent Palestinians were killed and displaced from their homes in 1948 and again in 1967, Israel is now a fact, accepted by almost every government in the world (including many in the Middle East). But the ongoing desire of Palestinians to wipe Israel off the map is unproductive and backward- looking and the West must be very careful not to encourage it.
The other thing is that a large percentage of Palestinians, even among the educated upper class, believe that most Islamic terrorism is actually engineered by Western governments to make Muslims look bad. I know this sounds absurd. It’s a conspiracy theory that’s comical until you hear it repeated again and again as I did. I can hardly count how many Palestinians told me the stabbing attacks in Israel in 2015 and 2016 were fake or that the CIA had created ISIS.
For example, after the November 2015 ISIS shootings in Paris that killed 150 people, a colleague of mine ‒ an educated 27-year-old Lebanese-Palestinian journalist ‒ casually remarked that those massacres were “probably” perpetrated by the Mossad. Though she was a journalist like me and ought to have been committed to searching out the truth no matter how unpleasant, this woman was unwilling to admit that Muslims would commit such a horrific attack, and all too willing ‒ in defiance of all the facts ‒ to blame it on Israeli spies.
USUALLY WHEN I travel, I try to listen to people without imposing my own opinion. To me that’s what traveling is all about ‒ keeping your mouth shut and learning other perspectives. But after 3-4 weeks of traveling in Palestine, I grew tired of these conspiracy theories.
“Arabs need to take responsibility for certain things,” I finally shouted at a friend I’d made in Nablus the third or fourth time he tried to deflect blame from Muslims for Islamic terrorism. “Not everything is America’s fault.” My friend seemed surprised by my vehemence and let the subject drop ‒ obviously I’d reached my saturation point with this nonsense.

I know a lot of Jewish-Israelis who are willing to share the land with Muslim Palestinians, but for some reason finding a Palestinian who feels the same way was near impossible.

Countless Palestinians told me they didn’t have a problem with Jewish people, only with Zionists. They seemed to forget that Jews have been living in Israel for thousands of years, along with Muslims, Christians, Druse, atheists, agnostics and others, more often than not, in harmony. Instead, the vast majority believe that Jews only arrived in Israel in the 20th century and, therefore, don’t belong here.
Of course, I don’t blame Palestinians for wanting autonomy or for wanting to return to their ancestral homes. It’s a completely natural desire; I know I would feel the same way if something similar happened to my own family. But as long as Western powers and NGOs and progressive people in the US and Europe fail to condemn Palestinian attacks against Israel, the deeper the conflict will grow and the more blood will be shed on both sides.
I’m back in the US now, living on the north side of Chicago in a liberal enclave where most people ‒ including Jews ‒ tend to support the Palestinians’ bid for statehood, which is gaining steam every year in international forums such as the UN.
Personally, I’m no longer convinced it’s such a good idea. If the Palestinians are given their own state in the West Bank, who’s to say they wouldn’t elect Hamas, an Islamist group committed to Israel’s destruction? That’s exactly what happened in Gaza in democratic elections in 2006.

Fortunately, Gaza is somewhat isolated, and its geographic isolation ‒ plus the Israeli and Egyptian-imposed blockade ‒ limit the damage the group can do. But having them in control of the West Bank and half of Jerusalem is something Israel obviously doesn’t want. It would be suicide. And no country can be expected to consent to its own destruction……

It allocates radio and TV frequencies to the Palestinians, which they use to incite hate and genocide against Jews 

Photos:  Israeli forces brutally expelling Jews from their town of Amona, one of many expulsions of Israeli citizens from their homes - because they were Jews.  If this happened in other parts of the world there would be international outrage. 

READ MORE about the Israeli government's ongoing betrayal of the Jewish people

The following column is from December 2014, but it gives you an idea of the bizarre pro-Arab bias among top officials in the Israeli government
What makes ex Mossad chiefs
 and IDF generals run?
By Giulio Meotti
Secret service and army officials have just one mission: to protect Israel at any cost. But it is amazing to observe the growing phenomenon of former Mossad and Shin Bet chiefs and army generals who suddenly take on the most dangerous positions in Israel's history. They are a mix of  inflated ego and estrangement from Israel's brutal reality. 
Former Mossad chief, British-born Efraim Halevy, has released an interview to Israeli media asking Israel to commit suicide and withdraw to the pre-1967 "Auschwitz borders". 

Last year former top IDF Intelligence official Brigadier General (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser said that the Shin Bet (security agency) "fell in love" with the Palestinians. 

These generals all propose a land withdrawal from biblical Israel - a preemptive surrender to the Arabs.  The expulsion of Israel's most loyal citizens from their homes could provoke a civil war

Those statements have the effect of giving Palestinians excuses for horrible attacks against the Jewish population.  

In the last two years, former Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin called again and again to destroy Jewish life in Judea and Samaria.

Diskin believes that Yitzhar (a Jewish town) in Samaria is a far more dangerous threat than ISIS or Iran.  
Carmi Gillon, who failed to stop terror in the '90s, uses the alleged "price tag" (vandalism) to target the entire hilltop youth in Judea and Samaria, young heroes who populate empty and remote hills.  Never mind that police have never proved that these youths are the perpetrators. 
(Arabs routinely accuse Jews for acts they themselves commit.  Read article about a recent fire on a mosque that was determined to have been caused by an electrical short circuit, but was initially blamed on Jews.)
Meir Dagan (former Mossad chief) orchestrated the most impressive public campaign against his own government in the plan to disarm Teheran. He also called for the adoption of the Saudi partition plan that would lead to a second Holocaust. 
Ehud Barak (former minister and Prime Minister) agreed to hand over the Temple Mount and Judea and Samaria to Arabs in 2000 for a hudna (temporary truce).
Former prime minister Ariel Sharon's legacy is the unilateral Israeli withdrawal of Gaza, which led to ongoing terror against Israel. He was like a character of Fyodor Dostoevsky's novels, the one who creates and then destroys.. 
The Judea and Samaria region is guarded by commanders such as Nitzan Alon, who compares right wing Jews to Hamas terrorists. For people like him, Jewish graffiti and Arabs murdering Jews are the same.
A few days ago former Mossad spy-master Rafi Eitan confessed he refused to shelter the Jewish hero Jonathan Pollard, whose handler he was, in the Israeli embassy in Washington. And he is proud of what he did.  (Pollard, who provided key survival information to Israel, has languished in an American jail since.)
If it would have been up to these security officials,  Israel would have surrendered the Golan Heights to Syria, and biblical Jerusalem to the Arabs.  Now Israel would have missiles on the edge of Lake Kinneret (in the north), and Jerusalem would be a war zone. 
I always wonder what has made these former spies and generals act this way. It is a pity that Israel's establishment is in hands of Jews who are so morally bankrupt as to not stand up courageously for what is right and oppose that which is wrong.
They are all affected by the virus of the same malady: they did not do enough to protect Israelis during the '90s and the Second Intifada, they've all drunk the poison of Oslo (agreement that empowered the Palestinians), and above all, they can't face the truth of Arab hatred and anti-Semitism, so they all collect their pensions and release interviews to a media that hate Jews. 
And as long as they spout suicidal ideas, former spies and generals are guaranteed lucrative speaking engagements and writings. How coincidental.


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