Thursday, April 29, 2010

More Disinformation from Haaretz and Tel Aviv University

1.  A Jewish liberal is someone who thinks that Mexicans with no US visa have the right to move to East Los Angeles but Jews must be prevented from moving to East Jerusalem.



2.  The "Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research" is a semi-academic center at Tel Aviv University run by the political Left.  (  It may be best known for publishing what it calls a "peace index," which is actually a measure of how many Israelis agree this week with the political agenda of the Left.  That a leftist center should be operating on the campus of Tel Aviv University should not be a big surprise at all.


The Steinmetz Center has been in the news the last few days because of a public opinion survey it ran, and to which then the Bash-the-Joos crowd gave an anti-Israel spin.  


The Steinmetz Center is itself largely responsible for this damage and misrepresentation.   The Center is biased and one should always be suspicious of "surveys" conducted by agencies with a political axe to grind.  That includes leftists and also rightists.  It is also why surveys about teenage drinking collected by anti-drinking advocates are suspect (one such survey recently claimed Israeli teenagers drink more than Belarussian sailors!), or feminist groups doing surveys on women students getting groped.  And so on.


Be that as it may, the new survey by Steinmetz Center was waved about all week by Haaretz and its fellow anti-Zionists.  Gideon Levy at Haaretz today insists the survey proves that Israel is a fascist country.  So do countless Bloggers for a Second Holocaust of Jews.   The Survey in question was presented to the public and was evidently supervised by Tel Aviv University professor Daniel Bar-Tal, an anti-Zionist Marxist with a long track record of pseudo-research trying to prove that Jews are racists.   See this


The Haaretz story is here:   Note the headline: Israelis demand that human rights groups be gagged. 


Well, as always, we could use an online translator every time we look at Haaretz headlines or articles.


The world is crawling with anti-Israel propaganda groups, many operating in Israel by the local Left seeking the country's destruction.  These pretend to be "human rights groups," but almost all Israelis understand that they are anti-Israel and anti-Semitic seditious and belligerent groups collaborating with Israel's enemies and seeking the country's annihilation.  These groups have never heard of a human right of a Jew that deserves respect. 


When polled what they think about "human rights groups," the bulk of Israelis understand the question as asking about these hostile anti-Israel propagandists.  58% of those polled said they would like to see these groups muzzled.  I would have been part of the 58% if asked.  In the small print, the very same survey found that 98% of Israelis believe freedom of speech is very important.  The problem is that they do not believe these seditious groups are engaging in debate but rather in espionage and sedition (bear in mind the survey was taken days after the Kamm-Blau affair). 

Here is a Bar-Tal-Haaretz "finding"r:  "They found that 57.6 percent of the respondents agreed that human rights organizations that expose immoral conduct by Israel should not be allowed to operate freely."  Translation of the "finding":  57.6% think anti-Israel treasonous groups pretending to be concerned with human rights should not be allowed….

The poll also found that large majorities of Israelis support prosecuting those who engage in espionage and treason, and think Israelis calling for boycotts against their own country should be punished.   Bar-Tal insists this shows Israelis are anti-democratic.  Actually it shows that Israelis consider the Left to be anti-democratic.

Gideon Levy at Haaretz says all that proves Israel is fascist – I think his article proves that Gideon Levy is a leftwing fascist.   Israeli leftists toss about "fascist" more easily than the leftist moonbats attacking the Arizona governor for policing the border. 

By the way, here is an interesting quote from the New Israel Fund:  New Israel Fund (from Prof. Shlomo Sharan)
NIF supports an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories as a central tenet of the strategic framework in which we operate.  The tactics known as 'boycott, divestment and sanctions' (BDS) are designed to pressure Israel to end the occupation, but NIF believes these tactics to be unproductive, inflammatory and ineffective because of the difficulties in defining an approach that is not overly broad, does not delegitimize Israel and will achieve the long-term goal.

Although we will continue to communicate publicly and privately to our allies and grantees that NIF does not support BDS (boycotts, divestment, sanctions) as a strategy or tactic, we will not reduce or eliminate our funding for grantees that differ with us on a tactical matter. NIF will not fund BDS activities nor support organizations for which BDS is a substantial element of their activities, but will support organizations that conform to our grant requirements if their support for BDS is incidental or subsidiary to their significant programs.

In other words, New Israel Fund, the foundation which funds all the "human rights" organizations in Israel, approves Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against....Israel. They are certainly not supporters of human rights for Israelis. 

3.  Once again, the Israel Prize under a Likud government goes to an anti-Israel leftist academic:–%20Avishai%20Margalit%20-%20streak%20of%20Israel-Bashing%20Israel%20Prize%20recipients.htm

Hebrew University – Avishai Margalit (Dept of Philosophy) joins the growing streak of Israel-Bashing Israel Prize recipients

Avishai Margalit? Yes, the very Hebrew University philosopher who, two days earlier, had the audacity to accept the Israeli Prize without even blinking. For this is the same Margalit who many years earlier branded Elie Wiesel "Kitschman of Genius" in a scurrilous article, in which he described Yad Vashem Holocaust Center as a memorial that "has become an element of state kitsch."



What can you say about a country that – once again - awarded its most prestigious prize on its most important day to a radical leftist? One who mocked the memory of the Holocaust and poked fun at Israel's fallen soldiers?

It's Israeli Masochism, Stupid!

Alon Ben Shaul

It all started with an ad titled, "For Jerusalem," which author Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Prize laureate, published in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. It addressed President Obama and said, inter alia: "For me, the Jew that I am, Jerusalem is above politics…It is mentioned more than six hundred times in Scripture - and not a single time in the Koran...the first song I heard was my mother's lullaby about and for Jerusalem."

Wiesel also wrote that Jews, Christians and Muslims were able to build their homes anywhere in Jerusalem and that only under Israeli sovereignty had freedom of worship for all religions been assured in the city. "The anguish over Jerusalem is not about real estate, but about memory," he stressed.

A Leftist group of activists responded to this ad by saying that as long as Jerusalem remains "occupied" it cannot be holy. "Jerusalem must be shared by both Israelis and Palestinians," they insisted in an open letter published after Independence Day. They emphasized that they wanted to express their "frustration, even outrage" at Wiesel's letter, demanding that Jerusalem must be shared by the people of the two nations residing in it. "Only a shared city will live up to the prophet's vision: Zion shall be redeemed with justice," their letter proclaimed. (1)

The signatories maintained that while their Jerusalem is "concrete," that of Wiesel is an ideal, an object of prayer. "Our Jerusalem is populated with people, young and old, women and men, who wish their city to be a symbol of dignity - not of hubris, inequality and discrimination. You speak of the celestial Jerusalem; we live in the earthly one," the letter said. "For every Jew, you say, a visit to Jerusalem is a homecoming, yet it is our commitment that makes your homecoming possible. We prefer the hardship of realizing citizenship in this city to the convenience of merely yearning for it."

The signatories culminated their response by appealing to Wiesel to visit Jerusalem for himself, thus seeing "with your own eyes the catastrophic effects of the frenzy of construction." The letter reiterated the chant used by Simon-the-Righteous neighborhood (Sheikh Jarrah) activists in their weekly rallies, demanding that Jews be prohibited from moving into that area: "Nothing can be holy in an occupied city!" (2)

The activists call themselves "Just Jerusalem" and include Israel Prize laureate professors Avishai Margalit and Zeev Sternhell, as well as former Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg.

Avishai Margalit? Yes, the very Hebrew University philosopher who, two days earlier, had the audacity to accept the Israeli Prize without even blinking. For this is the same Margalit who many years earlier branded Elie Wiesel "Kitschman of Genius" in a scurrilous article, in which he described Yad Vashem Holocaust Center as a memorial that "has become an element of state kitsch."

It was in the anti-Israeli weekly, New York Review of Books, where Margalit wrote that the Holocaust has its amusing sides. "Israel's shrine of kitsch is not, as may have been expected, the Wailing Wall, but a place that should have been furthest away from any trace of kitsch: Yad Vashem, the memorial for the Holocaust. A 'children's room' has been dedicated there recently, a pitch-dark room with tape-recorded voices of children crying out in Yiddish, 'Mama, Tate.' This kind of kitsch even a kitschman of genius like Elie Wiesel would find hard to surpass." (3)

In response, Menahem Fogel, Yad Vashem's director of commemoration, wrote to NYRB that "we will offer a prize of one million dollars if Mr. Margalit can prove that there exist or ever have existed in the Children's Memorial tape recorded voices of children crying out in Yiddish, 'Mama, Tate.'" Fogel accused Margalit of being the victim of figments of his own imagination. "Otherwise we would be forced to conclude that malice and Jewish self-hatred had brought about his blatant lie…." (4)

In his reply Margalit stated: "In my article I incorrectly described what one hears in the children's memorial room at Yad Vashem, for this I apologize…." In fact, it was not much of an apology. Margalit insisted that there was such a recording, and it may have been removed at the request of the architect who may have found it "kitschy." He added that. Yes, Mr. Fogel can keep the money for other projects whose refined taste had been demonstrated in his letter. Even when he made a grossly defamatory error, Margalit could not resist the temptation to bait Yad Vashem. He also likes to drone on about how Israel "misuses" the Holocaust, a view that he shares with the notorious American academic anti-Semite Norman Finkelstein. (5)

In that same NYRB article, "The Kitsch of Israel," Margalit's sarcasm was also directed against the Israel Defense Forces. He took a satirical stab at Israel's commemorations of its fallen soldiers by mocking "the thriving industry of books dedicated to the memory of fallen soldiers." The philosopher from Mount Scopus nastily ridiculed the way Israeli families mourn their beloved lost ones: "It was almost invariably pointed out that they secretly read the poetry of Rachel or Alterman…. These soldiers never got much credit for their love of poetry while alive, only after their premature deaths." (5)

In other words, Margalit holds the view that the Kitschy element in the "Israel death industry" stretches from the Holocaust to the last Israeli fallen soldier. Needless to say, that "industry" is littered with bad taste, self rightness, overt emotions, lack of sophistication and absence of self-restraint. (6)

He also calls to lift the "siege" on Gaza

Prof. Avishai Margalit is considered to be the country's foremost leftist philosopher. In granting him this year's Israel Prize for Philosophy, the prize committee described Margalit as "one of the most important philosophers in the State of Israel and one of the most valued in the world today." Gideon Sa'ar, the Likud education minister, parroted these words in his press release about the Prize. Ironically, one of Margalit's partners in the earlier-mentioned open letter about Jerusalem is Ze'ev Sternhell, who received his own Israel Prize two years earlier. One can find a striking similarity between these two academics, one that clearly illustrates the moral bankruptcy of the Israel Prize.

In another NYRB rant Margalit wrote about the outbreak of the Second Intifada and went out of his way to rationalize Palestinian terrorism. "If the Palestinians were to stop the violence tomorrow," he argued, "there is no question that Israel would stop its violence at once. But if Israel stops the violence tomorrow, there is no chance the Palestinians will stop theirs. This I believe is largely true. But the argument neglects the basic asymmetry between the Israelis and the Palestinians. As things stand, a cease-fire would greatly favor Israel; it would leave the Israelis with their heavily patrolled West Bank and Gaza settlements and their punitive border controls; and it would leave the Palestinians without a state. So as defenders of the status quo ante, the Israelis would be more willing to stop the feud than the Palestinians."

That brings to mind some statements by that OTHER Israel Prize laureate, Sternhell. In a notorious article around the same time, Sternhell advised Hamas to attack Israeli Jewish targets outside the Green Line, rather than within Israel proper, if it wanted to "win hearts and minds" in the region and around the world. No wonder both these "academics" share their "ideas" about Jerusalem in their joint response to Elie Wiessel.

Margalit likes to claim the moral high ground without taking into account any facts on the ground. He is oblivious of the true nature of Hamas and entirely naןve when it comes to analyzing it. In his simple mind, lifting the "siege" of Gaza will relieve Israel of a moral burden. (7) Never mind that it will trigger terrorist activity and leave Gilad Shalit abandoned. Typically Margalit is indifferent to the implications of such a measure upon the Israeli residents who live around the Strip, such as in Sderot. He has nothing to say about the aftermath of the IDF disengagement from Gaza, and the thousands of rockets on Israelis that Israel's withdrawal triggered. (8) To the contrary, he made a specific appeal to the government, as Israel marked Independence Day, to "lift the blockade." "To create this huge jail and believe that something good will emerge because now it's quiet, that's an illusion," he says. "Actually, it's moral bankruptcy and a terrible illusion."(9)

Margalit is currently the George F. Kennan Professor at Princeton's Institute of Advanced Studies. He was a founding member of Peace Now in 1978, and later served on the board of the radical anti-Israel NGO B'Tselem. He used to spend much of his time researching and writing at the post-Zionist Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem. He is best known, however, for his anti-Israeli articles published in The New York Review of Books, where he has been writing for decades.

In the summer of 2008 Margalit's signature appeared on a petition that unreservedly accused the Israeli state of responsibility for the deterioration of the academic educational system in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

"There, checkpoints, blockades, walls and fences," he and his colleagues claimed, "prevent thousands of students and teachers from leading a normal academic life, and lecturers with non-Palestinian passports, who wish to teach in those institutions, are prevented from staying for long enough to carry out meaningful continuous teaching." They called upon the Government of Israel to honor and implement the right of freedom of movement, academic study and instruction in the State of Israel and the territories controlled by it. "Academic freedom is not divisible and cannot be selective. The State of Israel and we its citizens are directly responsible for upholding that freedom."

The signatories did not bother to mention the security issues that stem from these restrictions. One gets the impression that all the Palestinian students are innocent civilians who just want to reach their classrooms in time. The fact that Bir Zeit University and its ilk serve as training hotbeds for suicide bombers and anti-Semitic incitement somehow escapes their attention.

No less revealing are the names that appeared on this petition. Besides Margalit himself and his wife Edna Ullman-Margalit, also a professor of philosophy at the Hebrew University, we find the name of Yehuda "Judd" Ne'eman. Yes, the same Ne'eman who expressed loyalty with the Palestinian armed struggle, the same Neeman who was awarded the Israel Prize a year ago.

One year after Sternhell, and a year before Margalit himself.

And who else was on the list? Eli Friedlander, who was a member of the committee that recommended the granting the prize to Margalit.

One left hand washes the other left hand. This should be called political incest.

Wait for next year's Israel Prize announcement.


1. "Occupied Jerusalem can not be holy." Haaretz, 22nd April 2010.

2. Leftist websites were delighted at the response by Margalit and his friends who were described as the "crטme de la crטme" of the liberal establishment in Israel. Larry Stillman on 24 April 2010.

3. Bloggers on the infamous Nation website were delighted by the response to Wiesel. One of them, Eric Alterman, wrote that "numerous Jerusalemites, among them, the admirable Avishai Margalit, and Zeev Sternhell, tell Non-Jerusalemite Elie Wiesel to shut the hell up about his alleged rights to occupy Jerusalem. Ron Lauder should also shut the hell up…"

4. A. Margalit. "The Kitsch of Israel." New York Review of Books." 24 November 1988.

5. M. Fogel. The Kitsch of Israel." New York Review of Books. 30 March 1989.

6. The assertion that the Holocaust became an "element of State kitsch, is supported by Marc Ellis who writes approvingly about Margalit. "The Holocaust is becoming a kind of politicized Jewish kitsch"' he writes in his book Beyond Innocence and Redemption: Confronting the Holocaust and Israeli Power, by Marc H. Ellis. New York: Harper & Row (Harper Collins), 1990.

7. Margalit's call to lift the siege off Gaza caught the eye of the Arab media. The American Task Force on Palestine wrote on its website on 24 April 2010 that this call was one of the reasons Israel had a somber 62nd Independence Day. Another reason was Hamas' pledge on that day not to recognize Israel.

8. A. Margalit. "Lift the Siege." Jerusalem Post, 19 April 2010.

9. A. Margalit. "Snakes and Ladders," NYRB, May 2001.



4.  What is "controversial" at Brandeis these days:


5.   Dersh on the Goldstone Bar Mitzvah:


6.  For the record, I thought that Jim Jones' joke about the Jew and the Afghan was pretty funny and not offensive at all (  The assimilated libs among US Jews who are making a big deal about it, including the ADL, should move to Israel if they are so "sensitive," or else just find themselves a hobby.  



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