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  DAILY ALERT Thursday,
November 12, 2015

In-Depth Issues:

Why Single Out Israel? - Ofir Haivry (Ynet News)
    There are numerous areas where the EU doesn't recognize the sovereign government, yet Europe chooses to label products from one region only.
    The Kashmir region has been subject to a conflict between India and Pakistan since 1947, and it is defined by the international community as a disputed territory. Has the EU demanded special labeling for products originating in Kashmir?
    Tibet was occupied by the Chinese army in 1958 and unilaterally annexed by Beijing. Has the EU demanded that China label products manufactured in occupied Tibet?
    In 1975, Morocco invaded the Western Sahara region and unilaterally annexed it. Has the EU demanded that Morocco label products manufactured in Western Sahara?
    In 1974, the Turkish army invaded Northern Cyprus, expelled hundreds of thousands of Greek speakers, and established the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Is the EU demanding that Turkey label products manufactured in Northern Cyprus?
    In 2014, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula. Has the EU demanded that Russia label products manufactured in annexed Crimea?
    While the EU has failed to impose separate labeling in all these areas, it has chosen to label Jewish products only.
    The writer is vice president of the Herzl Institute in Jerusalem.

Luxury Alongside Poverty in the Palestinian Authority (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
    In communities throughout the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, a surprising degree of luxury exists alongside the poverty.
    This study includes "A Photo Album of Palestinian Luxury in the West Bank," with 98 photos that offer a more complete picture of living standards there.
    The truth is that alongside the slums of the old refugee camps, which the Palestinian government has done little to rehabilitate, a parallel Palestinian society is emerging.

Nothing in Islam Justifies the Stabbing of Innocent Jews - Lu'ayy Minwer Al-Rimawi (Jerusalem Post)
    Glorifying the callous murder of Jews exposes the lack of courage and objectivity which characterizes the Arab world.
    There are not enough words to sufficiently condemn those who have perpetrated the latest spate of heinous stabbings of innocent Jews on the streets of Jerusalem and elsewhere.
    There is neither pride nor courage in stabbing unsuspecting Jews, only cowardice. Yet the Arabic media (official and private) was awash with articles and opinions extolling the virtues of such attacks.
    Modern-day Muslim radicals have become conspicuously oblivious to the exhortations of the first-ever Islamic caliph, Abu Bakr (573-634 CE), who told Muslim soldiers:
    "Do not kill small children, nor old people, nor women....When you come across worshipers in their monasteries and temples let them be and leave them alone."
    Dr. Lu'ayy Minwer Al-Rimawi is a Jordanian-British academic.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • EU Move to Label Israeli Settlement Goods Strains Ties - Jodi Rudoren and Sewell Chan
    The European Union's announcement on Wednesday that Israeli goods produced in the West Bank must be labeled "made in settlements" has been condemned by Israelis as an echo of the Holocaust-era branding of European Jews and their storefronts with yellow stars.
        Prime Minister Netanyahu denounced the move as hypocritical because no such labels were proposed for products from such territories elsewhere in the world: "The EU has decided to label only Israel, and we are not prepared to accept the fact that Europe is labeling the side that is being attacked by terrorism....The EU should be ashamed."  (New York Times)
        See also Netanyahu: Palestinians Will Be Hurt by EU Decision on Product Labeling (Prime Minister's Office)
  • Kerry Urges World to Condemn Rising Anti-Semitism - Edith M. Lederer
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged the world on Wednesday to condemn rising anti-Semitism and unite in the struggle against violent extremism and "terrorist bigots," speaking at a commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the adoption of a UN resolution equating Zionism with racism.
        Kerry called the 1975 resolution ominous because it gave "a global license to hate" the State of Israel, and he called on diplomats and governments to do everything in their power to prevent the UN from being hijacked again "for malicious intent." Kerry paid tribute to Israel's then UN ambassador Chaim Herzog who tore the resolution to pieces at the General Assembly. The event was organized by Israel's UN Mission and attended by more than 400 diplomats and members of Jewish organizations. (AP)
  • London Mayor's Palestinian Trip Cut Short after Pro-Israel Remarks - Peter Beaumont
    A visit by London Mayor Boris Johnson to the Palestinian territories has been severely curtailed by his hosts after Johnson pointedly criticized the Palestinian-led BDS movement, describing the campaign as "completely crazy." Johnson said, "I think that some people have obviously taken remarks I made about the boycott - which is, after all, British government policy - they've taken offense of that and that's been very much whipped up on social media....If it's true people are making threats or whatever, that's very sad."
        At a speech commemorating Winston Churchill in Jerusalem, Johnson said, "If we look at the history of modern Israel...there is something Churchillian about the country he helped to create. There is the audacity, the bravery, the willingness to take risks with feats of outrageous derring-do." He added: "When [Churchill] wrote his 1922 white paper that paved the way for accelerated Jewish entry into Palestine, Churchill imagined Jews and Arabs living side by side."  (Guardian-UK)
        See also below Commentary: Boris Johnson Is Right to Defend Israel - Editorial (Telegraph-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Lawmakers Denounce EU Labeling of Settlement Products - Lahav Harkov
    Responding to the EU decision to label products from the West Bank, Golan Heights and east Jerusalem, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said Wednesday, "Boycotts are inappropriate and do not contribute to solving the situation in our region....It is hypocrisy to deal with the source of a potato instead of helping millions of miserable people in the world, including the refugees flooding Europe and escaping the battles in Syria."
        Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid wrote on Twitter: "Jews are being stabbed in the streets and the EU has given in to BDS. This decision discriminates against Israel and encourages terrorism." MK Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Union) noted: "Residents of Hamburg or Copenhagen do not really understand where the Green Line starts and ends, and the decision will end up leading to a boycott of all of Israel. Unfortunately, Europe decided shamefully to strengthen those who lead the campaign of boycotting Israel, whose goal is to erase Israel from the map and not to promote peace."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Jordan Valley Farmers Unperturbed by EU Labels - Melanie Lidman
    As the EU adopted guidelines for labeling products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank, David Elchaini, the mayor of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, said, "There will be no impact on the local economies....We have a high-quality product. We'll find another market." "Six or seven years ago, 80% of our exports went to Europe," Elchaini said. But when labeling initiatives started in Europe, farmers just found new markets, and Europe now accounts for about 20% of the exports from the Jordan Valley. The biggest export partners for the Jordan Valley are now the U.S., Russia, India and Singapore. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
  • Boris Johnson Is Right to Defend Israel - Editorial
    London Mayor Boris Johnson has been forced to cut short a visit to Palestinian Authority territory. A Palestinian group he had been due to meet took offense at his strong support for Israel, which he rightly praised as the only full democracy in the Middle East, and at his rejection of calls for an economic boycott of Israeli goods and services.
        One cornerstone of a democratic society is free speech, the willingness to allow someone to say things with which you disagree, without penalty or punishment. Refusing to talk to Mr. Johnson over a difference of opinion may thus lend weight to the argument that parts of Palestinian society fall short of the democratic standard set by the State of Israel. (Telegraph-UK)
  • Brussels Embraces the Anti-Israel Label - Moshe Kantor
    On Wednesday the EU began implementing a labeling regime that requires the clear identification of certain products made in the West Bank. These measures restrict Israel's trade, in violation of numerous multilateral treaties. Not only does the EU not penalize any other nation for what may be deemed to be an occupation, but it actually profits from some of them.
        Last year, for instance, the EU signed an agreement with Morocco extending their fisheries treaties into Western Sahara. The Moroccans have been accused of occupying that region and conducting a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the indigenous people there. In northern Cyprus, the EU provides direct grants and funds to the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It even offers an aid program to Turkish Cypriots. Are there substantial or legal differences between these cases and Israel's? The writer is president of the European Jewish Congress. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Netanyahu's Excellent Washington Adventure - Aaron David Miller
    At his White House meeting on Monday with Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Obama left all of his usual talking points at home. He made no reference to settlement activity; none to the symmetry in which both Israelis and Palestinians are deemed responsible for the current impasse. Instead, the American president offered a forceful defense of Israel's right and responsibility to defend itself against Palestinian terrorism and strongly affirmed that the "narrow issue" of a disagreement over the Iran accord shouldn't be allowed to obscure broader agreement on the goal of stopping Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
        There is a growing recognition between these two that fighting about the issues that most divide them - Iran and the peace process - is bad policy. Instead, the two sides will work together to build a deterrent capacity against Iran and seek to share intelligence with regard to monitoring the agreement. As to the peace process, the Obama administration already paved the way for lowering tensions by essentially admitting that there's not much chance of reaching a two-state solution on this president's watch, meaning that management, not resolution, becomes the goal. The writer is vice president and a distinguished scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. (Foreign Policy)

Theater of the Palestine Solidarity Movement - Alex Ryvchin (Spectator-UK)

  • In Galway, Ireland, they stood huddled in the corner of the lecture theater whispering ominously. Then the leader surged forward, arms flailing, voice bellowing, clad in the colors of Palestine. Professor Alan Johnson, a respected political theorist and one of British Labour's most astute thinkers, stoically continued his address. He presented his analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, unsparing in his criticism of both sides, and stated the progressive case for peace: two states for two peoples.
  • But the protesters weren't there to engage with ideas, or to advance a negotiated, peaceful outcome to the conflict. They were there to "resist." What they were resisting in that lecture theater on the western coast of the Irish Republic is not clear. But there they were. Seething Westerners draped in keffiyehs and kitschy woven Palestine bracelets, the essential uniform of today's fearless "revolutionary."
  • For the Israel-haters, Palestinians are helpless victims, totally without agency and therefore without fault. They exist only as an abstract construct of untarnished innocence, an idealized nation of goatherds and olive farmers. But this deception is only one half of the equation. To complete the resistance fantasy, one must conceive of a villain worth opposing, "the Zionist Jew" - an equally mythical figure, evil beyond redemption. If the traditional racist stereotype of the Jew is greedy, ruthless and cunning, wait till you meet the Zionist.
  • Yet Zionism is no more or less than the secular, national movement of the Jewish people. Like the national movement of the Palestinians, it sees the nation-state as the expression of a people's right to self-determination. Israel has twice traded territory for peace treaties (with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994). It does not aspire to impose the religion of the majority on others. But fighting real Zionism, a people's inalienable right to self-determination, hardly qualifies as the noble struggle about which self-righteous Westerners fantasize.
  • The anti-Israel movement is defined by symbolic acts that change nothing. Adherents celebrate when pro-forma anti-Israel resolutions are driven through hospitable forums and pop stars are intimidated into cancelling their gigs in Tel Aviv. How this improves the life of a single Palestinian has never been established.

    The writer is the public affairs director for the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

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