Sunday, June 28, 2009

Settlers Successfully Sue Maariv for Libel

1. This story is just so delicious that I cannot resist posting it. In fact it is so wonderful and encouraging that not a single Israeli newspaper, radio or TV show, other than the Righist Makor Rishon, had the courage to report it.

It seems that a Jewish settlement filed a libel suit against Maariv, Israel's second largest print daily, and won. Maariv had falsely reported in a news story that the settlement of Maale Rehav'am in the West Bank was sitting on land illegally expropriated from Palestinian Arabs. That turned out to be a lie. Residents of the settlement successful sued. The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court ordered Maariv to pay 13,000 NIS in damages to the settlers and issue a public apology. The whole settlement has 30 people living in it and it is one of those that Obama is demanding that Israel evacuate.

So let us hope this case serves as a grand legal precedent: Tell a lie about settlers and pay!

2. For years I have been claiming in postings, blog entries and articles that the ex-Chief Justice of Israel, Aharon Barak (he is not a relative of Ehud) is an anti-democratic anti-Israel leftist extremist moonbat. Barak was the leading proponent in Israel of the anti-democratic doctrine of "judicial activism," which should be called judicial tyranny, under which non-elected judges make up laws and dictate governmental policy about just about everything. Barak also insisted that anyone who happens to sit on the Israeli Supreme Court should issue rulings based on "enlightened opinion," which means whatever Aharon Barak personally thinks in any given week, and that those same sitting judges should perpetually select other judges by themselves to sit on the Supreme Court and other courts, regardless of what the Israeli voter wants.

When I would slap around Barak in my postings, many people objected that I was showing disrespect to Israel's Chief Justice, and was exaggerating his anti-democratic tendencies. Last week Barak had the kindness to step forward and prove that I was correct, and in fact showed I was underestimating his political biases and dislike for democracy.

Last week, Barak took off his muzzle, now that he is retired, and launched a malicious broadside against Israel, Zionism, and "settlers." The most outrageous thing he said was that the Jews were plotting to throw the Arabs into the sea. The truth of course is that the Arabs are trying to throw the Jews into the sea, but Orwellian inversions are the favorite tactic of leftist cranks. Barak also criticized Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria as an "occupation," and said the Israeli presence there leads to human rights offenses and racism elsewhere in Israel. Barak's presence on the Supreme Court produced anti-democratic restrictions to freedom of speech and to the trashing of any form of checks and balances on the court's "activism," and led to an explosion in anti-Jewish racism by Israeli Arabs and Jewish leftists.

There are numerous news reports on the Barak outburst, but try these:,7340,L-3737416,00.html,7340,L-3736984,00.html

3. LA Times runs a pro-settlement column!:

In defense of 'settlements'

Jews belong in Judea and Samaria as much as Palestinians who stayed in Israel.

By Yisrael Medad

June 28, 2009,0,6267445.story

No one, including a president of the United States of America, can presume to tell me, a Jew, that I cannot live in the area of my national homeland. That's one of the main reasons my wife and I chose in 1981 to move to Shiloh, a so-called settlement less than 30 miles north of Jerusalem.

After Shiloh was founded in 1978, then-President Carter demanded of Prime Minister Menachem Begin that the village of eight families be removed. Carter, from his first meeting with Begin, pressed him to "freeze" the activity of Jews rebuilding a presence in their historic home. As his former information aide, Shmuel Katz, related, Begin said: "You, Mr. President, have in the United States a number of places with names like Bethlehem, Shiloh and Hebron, and you haven't the right to tell prospective residents in those places that they are forbidden to live there. Just like you, I have no such right in my country. Every Jew is entitled to reside wherever he pleases."

We now fast-forward to President Obama, who declared on June 15 in remarks at a news conference with Italy's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, that Jewish communities beyond the Green Line "in past agreements have been categorized as illegal."

I believe the president has been misled. There can be nothing illegal about a Jew living where Judaism was born. To suggest that residency be permitted or prohibited based on race, religion or ethnic background is dangerously close to employing racist terminology.

Suppose someone suggested that Palestinian villages and towns in pre-1967 Israel were to be called "settlements" and that, to achieve a true peace, Arabs should be removed from their homes. Of course, separation or transfer of Arabs is intolerable, but why is it quite acceptable to demand that Jews be ethnically cleansed from the area? Do not Jews belong in Judea and Samaria as much as Palestinians who stayed in the state of Israel?

Some have questioned why Jews should be allowed to resettle areas in which they didn't live in the years preceding the 1967 war, areas that were almost empty of Jews before 1948 as well. But why didn't Jews live in the area at that time? Quite simple: They had been the victims of a three-decades-long ethnic cleansing project that started in 1920, when an Arab attack wiped out a small Jewish farm at Tel Hai in Upper Galilee and was followed by attacks in Jerusalem and, in 1921, in Jaffa and Jerusalem.

In 1929, Hebron's centuries-old Jewish population was expelled as a result of an Arab pogrom that killed almost 70 Jews. Jews that year removed themselves from Gaza, Nablus and Jenin. The return of my family to Shiloh -- and of other Jews to more than 150 other communities over the Green Line since 1967 -- is not solely a throwback to claimed biblical rights. Nor is it solely to assert our right to return to areas that were Jewish-populated in the 20th century until Arab violence drove them away. We have returned under a clear fulfillment of international law. There can be no doubt as to the legality of the act of my residency in Shiloh.

I am a revenant -- one who has returned after a long absence to ancestral lands. The Supreme Council of the League of Nations adopted principles following the 1920 San Remo Conference aimed at bringing about the "reconstitution" of a Jewish National Home. Article 6 of those principles reads: "The administration of Palestine ... shall encourage ... close settlement by Jews on the land, including state lands and waste lands." That "land" was originally delineated to include all of what is today Jordan as well as all the territory west of the Jordan River.

In 1923, Britain created a new political entity, Transjordan, and suspended the right of Jews to live east of the Jordan River. But the region in which I now live was intended to be part of the Jewish National Home. Then, in a historical irony, a Saudi Arabian refugee, Abdallah, fleeing the Wahabis, was afforded the opportunity to establish an Arab kingdom where none had existed previously -- only Jews. As a result, in an area where prophets and priests fashioned the most humanist and moral religion and culture on Earth, Jews are now termed "illegals."

Many people insist that settlements are illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention. But that convention does not apply to Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza district. Its second clause makes it clear that it deals with the occupation of "the territory of a high contracting party." Judea and Samaria and Gaza, which Israel gained control of in 1967, were not territories of a "high contracting party." Jewish historical rights that the mandate had recognized were not canceled, and no new sovereign ever took over in Judea and Samaria or in Gaza.

Obama has made his objections to Israeli settlements known. But other U.S. presidents have disagreed. President Reagan's administration issued a declaration that Israeli settlements were not illegal. Support for that position came from Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, former president of the International Court of Justice, who determined that Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria did not constitute "occupation." It also came from a leading member of Reagan's administration, the former dean of the Yale Law School and former undersecretary of State, Eugene Rostow, who asserted that "Israel has a stronger claim to the West Bank than any other nation or would-be nation [and] the same legal right to settle the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem as it has to settle Haifa or West Jerusalem."

Any suggestions, then, of "freezing" and halting "natural growth" are themselves not only illegal but quite immoral.

4. Well, the main headline involving political clashes between the "Chareidi" ultra-Orthodox in Jerusalem and the rest of the population there these days is about a parking garage operating on Shabbat. However there is another bizarre confrontation that has been less noticed. It was triggered because of an idiotic attempt to prohibit imports of fur into Israel.

Ronit Tirosh, a backbencher member of the Knesset from the Kadima Party, decided to try to drum up some votes for Kadima among animal rights nuts and people who think fur is murder. The problem is that a lot of the black-coated ultra-Orthodox guys wear fur "streimels," those archaic round fur hats that were in fashion in Poland 400 years ago and that some of the Chareidim think make them look more pious. Trust me, Moses and King David did not wear streimels.

But dubious taste in haberdashery aside, there was no reason to antagonize the Chareidim with a silly anti-fur law designed to appease animal rights nuts. After suggesting that the Chareidim just use synthetic furs, Tirosh and her cronies seem to be backing down now.

Which is good, because I have a confession to make. I have a streimel made out of fur. Actually it is a Davy Crocket hot with a raccoon's tail down the back of it, and I only wear my streimel on Purim and once in a while to spook my students. But on this I am with the Chareidim – and am telling Kadima politicians: Hands off my Tennessee-fur Streimel!

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