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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Why Israel Hit A Syria-Hizballah Convoy: Danger Of Deadly Nerve Gas In Hands Of Terrorist Organization

Source: Rubin Reports
By Barry Rubin
Submitted by Correspondent Tom Ifrach, Middle-East Studies, Ben-Gurion University

It has been reported that a number of Israeli planes flew over Lebanon and attacked a convoy near the Syrian-Lebanese border. The fact that this comes shortly after Hizballah and Syrian forces had moved in growing numbers toward known chemical-weapons storage areas implies that the Syrian regime was in the act of shipping chemical weapons to the Lebanese Shia Islamist group (which also happens to dominate the Lebanese government and to be involved in a lot of anti-Israel terrorism) Hizballah. This story has not yet been confirmed by Israel.

During the 2006 Israel-Hizballah war, Israel frequently hit convoys delivering weapons to Lebanon the moment they crossed the Syria-Lebanon border, showing a very strong intelligence capacity on such events.

The Israeli position has been that it will not allow any transfer of advanced weapons by the Syrian regime to either Hizballah or radical Lebanese Sunni groups. Israel had previously made this point clear through public statements to the Syrian government. It has not been explicitly reported whether the weapons on the convoy were chemical ones.

Syria has regularly transferred advanced weapons systems to Hizballah. The alternative to the chemical-weapons explanation would be if these were advanced Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles. This latter explanation is what several media reports have provided. Israel would try to stop such transfers because the missiles would be used against Israeli reconnaissance planes watching Hizballah’s military build-up in the south and future arms transfers from Syria.

But Brigadier General Amnon Sofrin, a retired army intelligence officer and former head of intelligence for the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, gave a press conference in which he made the following points.

“I think that if we have solid evidence shared by our own partners all over the world, that chemical warheads are being transferred from Syria to Lebanon, to Hezbollah, I think that no one will condemn Israel for trying to prevent it.”
This should be read as explaining that Israel notified the United States and others of its intelligence information prior to the attack.

He added that Syria possesses sarin, a deadly nerve gas, and an even worse poison called VX, which remains on the ground for many days after being fired. Syria has hundreds of warheads capable of carrying these substances. Hizballah could also put these warheads on missiles it possesses and shoot them into Israel.

Sofrin continued:

Should [Syrian dictator Bashar al-]Assad decide his regime is at its end, he could think, “If I go [lose power part of my legacy] will be that Hezbollah will have capability to hit Israel very badly.”

While much of the Syrian opposition is radical Islamist or even part of al-Qaeda, Sofrin continued, that is a new threat but not an immediate threat like that emanating from Hizballah.

However, given the likelihood of the regime being overthrown and replaced by a government that is led by the Muslim Brotherhood and, either willingly or because it is unable to prevent them from doing so, gives a free hands to Salafist groups or even al-Qaeda affiliates, Israel cannot predict what its security situation will be like with Syria a year from now.

Note that if al-Qaeda gets its hands on chemical weapons — and that means deadly nerve gasses — this would be a direct threat to the United States and other Western countries as well as to Israel.

Israel informed U.S. of planned air strike in Syria, American official tells the New York Times

Source: Haaretz
By Haaretz and Reuters

Israel informed the United States of its plans to attack a military target inside Syria prior to launching an airstrike on a military research center outside Damascus, a U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity told the New York Times late on Wednesday.

In addition to the strike on the research center, Israeli warplanes bombed a convoy near Syria's border with Lebanon, sources told Reuters, apparently targeting weapons destined for Hezbollah in what some called a warning to Damascus not to arm the Lebanese faction.

Syrian state television confirmed the reports that Israel had bombed a military research center at Jamraya, between Damascus and the nearby border, but Syrian rebels disputed that, saying their forces had attacked the site. No source spoke of a second Israeli strike.

"The target was a truck loaded with weapons, heading from Syria to Lebanon," said one Western diplomat, echoing others who said the convoy's load may have included anti-aircraft missiles or long-range rockets. Several sources ruled out the presence in the convoy of chemical weapons, about which Israel has also raised concerns.

Diplomatic sources from three countries told Reuters that chemical weapons were believed to be stored at Jamraya, and that it was possible that the convoy was near the large site when it came under attack early on Wednesday.

However, there was no suggestion that the vehicles themselves had been carrying chemical weapons.

The raid followed warnings from Israel that it was ready to act to prevent the revolt against President Bashar Assad leading to Syria's chemical weapons and modern rockets reaching either his Hezbollah allies or his Islamist enemies.

A source among Syrian rebels said an air strike around dawn (0430 GMT) blasted a convoy near the border. "It attacked trucks carrying sophisticated weapons from the regime to Hezbollah," the source said, adding that it took place inside Syria.

Syrian state television said two people were killed in a dawn raid on the military site at Jamraya, which lies in the 25-km (15-mile) strip between Damascus and the Lebanese border. It described it as a scientific research centers "aimed at raising the level of resistance and self-defense".

It did not mention specific retaliation but said "these criminal acts" would not weaken Syria's support for Palestinians and other groups engaged in "resistance" to Israel.

Several rebel sources, however, including a commander in the Damascus area, accused the authorities of lying and said the only attacks at Jamraya had been mortar attacks by insurgents.

A regional security source said Israel's target was weaponry given by Assad's military to fellow Iranian ally Hezbollah.

"This episode boils down to a warning by Israel to Syria and Hezbollah not to engage in the transfer of sensitive weapons," the source said. "Assad knows his survival depends on his military capabilities and he would not want those capabilities neutralized by Israel - so the message is this kind of transfer is simply not worth it, neither for him nor Hezbollah."

With official secrecy shrouding the event, few details were corroborated by multiple sources. All those with knowledge of the events - from several countries - spoke anonymously.

"Mock raids"

There was no comment from Hezbollah or the Israeli government. Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV said only that Israeli warplanes had carried out "mock raids" over southern Lebanon on Wednesday night, close to the Syrian border.

Israel's ally the United States declined all comment. A Lebanese security source said its territory was not hit, though the army also reported a heavy presence of Israeli jets through the night after days of unusually frequent incursions.

Such a strike or strikes would fit Israel's policy of pre-emptive covert and overt action to curb Hezbollah and does not necessarily indicate a major escalation of the war in Syria.

It does, however, indicate how the erosion of the Assad family's rule after 42 years is seen by Israel as posing a threat.

Israel this week echoed concerns in the United States about Syrian chemical weapons, but its officials say a more immediate worry is that the civil war could see weapons that are capable of denting its massive superiority in airpower and tanks reaching Hezbollah; the group fought Israel in 2006 and remains a more pressing threat than its Syrian and Iranian sponsors.

Israeli officials have said they feared Assad may be losing his grip on some chemical weapons, including around Damascus, to rebel groups which are also potentially hostile to Israel. U.S. and European security sources told Reuters they were confident that chemical weapons were not in the convoy which was bombed.

Wednesday's action could have been a rapid response to an opportunity. But a stream of Israeli comment on Syria in recent days may have been intended to limit surprise in world capitals.

The head of the Israeli air force said only hours before the attack that his corps, which has an array of the latest jet bombers, attack helicopters and unmanned drones at its disposal, was involved in a covert "campaign between wars".

"This campaign is 24/7, 365 days a year," Major-General Amir Eshel told a conference on Tuesday. "We are taking action to reduce the immediate threats, to create better conditions in which we will be able to win the wars, when they happen."

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, set for a new term after an election, told his cabinet that Iran and turmoil in Arab states meant Israel must be strong: "In the east, north and south, everything is in ferment, and we must be prepared, strong and determined in the face of all possible developments."

Israel's refusal to comment on Wednesday is usual in such cases; it has, for example, never admitted a 2007 air strike on a suspected Syrian nuclear site despite U.S. confirmation of it.

By not acknowledging that raid, Israel may have ensured that Assad did not feel obliged to retaliate. For 40 years, Syria has offered little but bellicose words against Israel.

Professor Alan M. Dershowitz: Thank G-d For Israel's Military Strength

Source: Arutz Sheva
By Mark Langfan

Dershowitz openly admitted he was wrong to have supported an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, in view of recent events in Syria.

To a packed crowd of over 600 people at a JerusalemOnlineU fundraiser at the Palm Beach Synagogue sponsored by William K. Langfan, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, in rare form, thundered "Strength comes before peace, there will never be peace without strength. For as Bibi has said, 'If the Palestinians give up their arms, there will be peace; if the Israelis give up their arms, there'll be another Holocaust.'" 

To further emphasize the point, Prof. Dershowitz quoted the Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel's timeless admonition, "Always believe the threats of your enemies, and not the promises of your friends."

Most of Prof. Dershowitz's talk, however, was directed at the highlighting the critical role Jerusalem OnlineU is playing in waging the battle against the anti-Israel lies that are being propagated on US campuses. He stated that the Israel bashers are violating the sacred commandment of "Thou shalt not bear false witness."  He stated the Israel haters' goal is "to lie to the future leaders of tomorrow."  He cited, as a case in point, the New York State University of Brooklyn College's Political Science Department which, as a department, has officially sponsored an upcoming BoycottDivestSanction "conference" at Brooklyn College which will draw as its speakers the who's who of virulent Israel haters. 

Prof. Dershowitz, himself an alumnus of Brooklyn College, asked, "Why is the public tax-payer funded political science department of the renowned Brooklyn College, itself, giving its imprimatur to such a one-sided politically charged issue? The only country targeted in the world with a boycott divest sanction movement is Israel." And this is crazy, he said, because  "Israel and its army is the most moral country and army in the world."  What's worse is the insidious message that the "Brooklyn College's political science department gives is that if a student takes a pro-Israel position in class or in a test answer, the student will suffer in terms of grades and graduate school recommendations."

Prof. Dershowitz stated that "We owe it to both our grandparents, and our grandchildren to dig deep into our pockets and financially support pro-Jewish college advocacy groups like JerusalemOnlineU who talk in the modern language of social media which today's students understand.  We must fight back, and not stand idly by. For, today's students are tomorrow's leaders."  The talk featured a JerusalemOnlineU produced pro-Israel movie, Israel Inside, narrated by the famed Israeli "Positivist" thinker Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar.

While generally supporting a two-state solution, Prof. Dershowitz stated Israel can't cede territory based on "parchment promises," and Israel's security concerns are paramount in any negotiation.  Critically, Prof. Dershowitz openly admitted he "was wrong to have ever supported an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights," and added that, at the time, he was personally "against the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza without a peace agreement." 

Prof. Dershowitz exclaimed, "can you imagine what would have happened if Israel had given the Golan Heights back to Assad in light of the recent events in Syria?"  Paradoxically, Dershowitz also admitted that currently, the leading candidate for President of the entire Palestinian Authority, including Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") is the current Hamas Gaza Prime Minister Haniyeh, who along with his Hamas terror organization has vowed Israel's total destruction, and has lobbed over 14,000 rockets from the Gaza Strip into pre-1967 Israel.

On another political hot potato, Prof. Dershowitz fumed that Chuck Hagel's appointment by President Obama as US Defense Secretary "sends the wrong message to Iran. But it's a hopeless battle because New York Senator Chuck Schumer is voting for Hagel. I don't care if I ever get invited back to the White House. I will stand up for what I believe is right."

Brooklyn College Political Science Department Denies Equal Free Speech And Academic Freedom To Pro-Israel Students And Faculty

Source: Gatestone Institute 
By Professor Alan M. Dershowitz
Submitted by Correspondent Tom Ifrach, Middle-East Studies, Ben-Gurion University

The international campaign to delegitimize Israel by subjecting the Jewish state—and the Jewish State alone—to boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) has now come to the most unlikely of places: Brooklyn College. The political science department of that college has voted to co-sponsor a campaign event at which only pro-BDS speakers will advocate a policy that is so extreme that even the Palestinian Authority rejects it.

The poster for the BDS event specifically says that the event is being "endorsed by…the political science department at BC." The BDS campaign accuses Israel of "Apartheid" and advocates the blacklisting of Jewish Israeli academics, which is probably illegal and certainly immoral. The two speakers at the event deny Israel's right to exist, compare Israel to the Nazis and praise terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

The president of Brooklyn College claims that this co-sponsorship does not constitute an endorsement by the college and that this is an issue of freedom of speech and academic freedom. But when a department of a university officially co-sponsors and endorses an event advocating BDS against Israel, and refuses to co-sponsor and endorse an event opposing such BDS, that does constitute an official endorsement. Freedom of speech, and academic freedom require equal access to both sides of a controversy, not official sponsorship and endorsement of one side over the other. The heavy thumb of an academic department should not be placed on the scale, if the marketplace of ideas is to remain equally accessible to all sides of a controversy.

I have no problem with a BDS campaign being conducted by radical students at Brooklyn College or anywhere else. Students have a right to promote immoral causes on college campuses. Nor do I have a problem with such an event being sponsored by the usual hard left, anti-Israel and anti-American groups, such as some of those that are co-sponsoring this event. My sole objection is to the official sponsorship and endorsement of BDS by an official department of a public (or for that matter private) college.

I was once a student at Brooklyn College, majoring in political science. Back in the day, departments did not take official positions on controversial political issues. They certainly didn't sponsor or endorse the kind of hate speech that can be expected at this event, if the history of the speakers is any guide. The president of the university says this is a matter of academic freedom. But who's academic freedom? Do "departments"—as distinguished from individual faculty members—really have the right of academic freedom? Does the political science department at Brooklyn College represent only its hard left faculty? What about the academic freedom of faculty members who do not support the official position of the department? One Brooklyn College faculty member has correctly observed that:

[B]oycotting academics is the opposite of free speech. It symbolizes the silencing on people based on their race and religion.

Does the political science department not also represent the students who major in or take courses in that subject? I know that as a student I would not want to be associated with a department that officially supported boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. My academic freedom would be compromised by such an association. Also, I would worry that a department that was so anti-Israel would grade me down or refuse me recommendations if I were perceived to be pro-Israel, or even neutral. I would not feel comfortable expressing my academic freedom in such a department. I'm sure there are many students at Brooklyn College who feel the same. What can they do to express their academic freedom? Should they fight fire with fire by advocating boycott, divestment and sanctions against the political science department or against Brooklyn College? Would that too be an exercise of academic freedom?

If I were a Brooklyn College student today and an opponent of BDS against Israel, I would not major in political science. I would worry that my chances of getting into a good law school or graduate program would be put at risk. I would pick a department—or a school—that was less politicized and more academically unbiased.

Academic freedom does not include the power of department or faculty members to proselytize and propagandize captive students whose grades and future depend on faculty evaluations. That's why academic departments should not take political positions that threaten the academic freedom of dissenting students or faculty.

I can understand the department of political science sponsoring a genuine debate over boycott, divestment and sanctions in which all sides were equally represented. That might be an educational experience worthy of departmental sponsorship. But the event in question is pure propaganda and one-sided political advocacy. There is nothing academic about it. Would the political science department of Brooklyn College sponsor and endorse an anti-divestment evening? Would they sponsor and endorse me, a graduate of that department, to present my perspective to their students? Would they sponsor a radical, pro-settlement, Israeli extremist to propagandize their students? Who gave the department the authority to decide, as a department, which side to support in this highly contentious debate? What are the implications of such departmental support? Could the political science department now vote to offer courses advocating BDS against Israel and grading students based on their support for the department's position? Should other departments now be lobbied to support BDS against China, Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, the Palestinian Authority or other perennial violators of human rights?

Based on my knowledge of the Brooklyn College political science department, they would never vote to sponsor and endorse an anti-BDS campaign, or a BDS campaign against left wing, Islamic, anti-Israel or anti-American countries that are genuine violators of human rights. Universities, and some departments in particular, are quickly becoming more political than academic. This trend threatens the academic freedom of dissenting students and faculty. It also threatens the academic quality of such institutions.

The Brooklyn College political science department should get out of the business of sponsoring and endorsing one-sided political propaganda and should stop trying to exercise undue influence over the free marketplace of ideas. That is the real violation of academic freedom and freedom of speech.

Shame on the Brooklyn College political science department for falsely invoking academic freedom and freedom of speech to deny equal freedoms to those who disagree with its extremist politics.

Illustrator Gerald Scarfe Apologizes For Timing Of Cartoon

Source: The Jerusalem Post
Submitted by Correspondent Tom Ifrach, Middle-East Studies, Ben-Gurion University

The illustrator of an editorial cartoon depicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu building a wall on the bodies of Palestinians and using their blood as cement apologized for the timing of its publication.

In a statement printed on his official website, Gerald Scarfe emphasized that "I am not, and never have been, anti-Semitic." He said the drawing, published January 27 - International Holocaust Memorial Day - in The Sunday Times, was "a criticism of Netanyahu, and not of the Jewish people: there was no slight whatsoever intended against them."

"I was, however, stupidly completely unaware that it would be printed on Holocaust Day, and I apologize for the very unfortunate timing," the statement concluded.

Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. owns the Sunday Times through a subsidiary, said on Twitter that the paper should apologize for printing the cartoon.

"Gerald Scarfe has never reflected the opinions of the Sunday Times," Murdoch tweeted Monday. "Nevertheless, we owe major apology for grotesque, offensive cartoon."

Murdoch's statement was made in response to criticism from leaders of the Jewish community in the UK who said the drawing was reminiscent of anti-Semitic blood libels.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews, an umbrella organization, filed a complaint with the independent Press Complaints Commission, the Guardian reported, and incoming Sunday Times editor Martin Ivens told The Jerusalem Post that he would meet with leaders of the British Jewish community this week over reaction to the cartoon.

Exposing Anna Baltzer Will Oxford Endorse A Fraud?

Source: The Gatestone Institute
By Lee Kaplan
Submitted by Correspondent Tom Ifrach, Middle-East Studies, Ben-Gurion University

Anna Baltzer -- apparently neither a Fulbright Scholar, nor a descendant of Holocaust survivors, nor an alumna of the Birthright Program -- appears to be just a fraud and a fabulist. So why is Oxford having her speak January 31st?

Anna Baltzer, a pretty lady who heads the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (USCEIO) in Washington, DC., has developed a platform for herself going about the world lecturing as a Jew who once supported the State of Israel, but who had an epiphany and discovered that Israel and "Zionists" were exploiting and abusing the Palestinian people. The USCEIO is, in fact, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) renamed for the purpose of lobbying Congress in Washington. It was created by Huwaida Arraf, one of the co-founders of the ISM who also serves on the group's steering committee.

Placing Anna Baltzer as the titular head of the Campaign was intended to convince both Jews and non-Jews that opposition to Israel's existence is fine because even Jews such as her believe in the necessity of destroying the Jewish state, especially through boycotts and divestment. Anna Baltzer is a modern day Tokyo Rose for the ISM against Israel: she speaks at anti-Israel events and promotes boycott and divestment campaigns against Israel, in support of terrorist groups such as Hamas in its plans to destroy Israel any way it can. She has participated or helped at demonstations staged by Code Pink, Global Exchange, the Gaza Flotilla, Viva Palestina and other anti-Israel groups that make up the ISM.

USCEIO has been frantically sending out fundraising email blasts and announcing on its website that Ms. Baltzer will appear in a debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be presented by the distinguished Oxford Union in England on January 31st. According to the Oxford Union's website, "The Union is the world's most prestigious debating society, with an unparalleled reputation for bringing international guests and speakers to Oxford. It has been established for 189 years, aiming to promote debate and discussion not just in Oxford University, but across the globe."

The Oxford Union has delivered these debates by distinguished academic, religious and national leaders from ex-President Ronald Reagan to the Dali Lama. The purpose of the debates is the furtherance of education and knowledge. The subject of this debate will be: "This House Believes That Israel is a Force for Good in the Middle East."

The announcement of the three debaters for the anti-Israel point of view, however, disturbingly advertises propagandists and fabulists such as Ilan Pappe, Ghada Karmi and most importantly, Anna Baltzer, who is billed on the Oxford Union's website as head of the USCEIO and who will apparently speak in opposition to Israel's right to exist.

Ilan Pappe has already been proven to be bankrupt as a scholar after it was proven in court he was involved in fabricating a phony massacre by Israeli forces of the Arab village of Tantura in 1948. In a defamation and libel lawsuit brought by veterans of the Alexandroni Brigade in Israel, Pappe's PhD student under his advice admitted on the witness stand that he fabricated the entire massacre with his supervisor's knowledge and that he was paid $6,000 by the PLO to do so.

The other speaker alongside Anna Baltzer will be Ghada Kharmi, a Palestinian academic at the University of Exeter, Britain, and the author of Married to Another Man: Israel's Dilemma in Palestine. Her writings are merely polemics devoid of any history or facts with which to back them up. She claims, incredibly, for example, that Israel has never made a peace offer to the Palestinians, along with standard slanderous Palestinian propaganda and claims that masquerade as facts -- such as that Israel violates "international law" by the building of settlements, which are completely legal per UN Resolution 242, and the stopping of the Gaza Flotillas that was completely legal by international maritime law. Karmi encourages war by proxy, such as writing in support of the British boycott of Israeli academics and Israeli universities.

What is Karmi's intellectual solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which she also claims is the reason for al Qaeda? She says Israel must become one state called Palestine; must withdraw to the 1949 borders; must give the Palestinians half of Jerusalem, and then allow seven million Palestinians to move inside Israel, creating a flood of Muslims that would demographically overwhelm the current Jewish population there. As for terrorism, she glosses over it as the desperate actions of some extremists who are fighting "colonialism." Her writings hardly reflect anything in the way of solid research or intellectual balance.

Stephen Stotsky of has written an excellent exposé of Baltzer's lies about Israel. However, new information has arisen about Baltzer's background and history as a Jew.

In her Wikipedia entry and various speeches she has presented, mostly to Christian churches, Ms. Baltzer has claimed she comes from a Jewish family in which her grandparents were Holocaust survivors; that she was a Fulbright Scholar from Columbia University, and that at first she was pro-Israel. After touring with Fulbright in 2003 in Turkey, she alleges she visited "Palestine," Syria and Iran and met "friends" who "educated" her on the suffering of the Palestinians at Israeli hands, so that today she is a dedicated anti-Zionist. She included a cry at the end of an interview recorded in Ireland in 2010 on an anti-Israel radio station that it is her hope "Inshallah, to one day bring down Zionism" -- meaning to end the Jewish state.

More recently, Anna Baltzer, back in the United States, lent her name and prestige to an attempt by the Students for Justice in Palestine at UC San Diego to prompt the entire student body association there to boycott and divest from Israel. The appearance, presumably intended to be a springboard to spread the boycott and divestment to other campuses, failed. While the event was being debated at UC SAN Diego, Anna Baltzer made a video, which appeared on You Tube, in support of boycotts and divestments from Israel, and directed to the anti-Israel campaign at the UC Campus. In this video, she claimed that she went on a Birthright tour -- a program that provides free trips to Israel for Jewish college students and recent graduates -- in the year 2000 as an enthusiastic pro-Zionist Jewish girl. She claims that after finishing the tour, she researched the suffering of the Palestinians and became a supporter of the anti-Israel movement.

There is just one problem with this scenario: According to my research, Anna Baltzer never went on a Birthright tour of Israel in the year 2000 or any other time. Inquiries to the New York and Israel offices to ascertain if she went with Birthright, revealed absolutely no record of any Anna Baltzer attending the program ever, let alone in year 2000. In short, it seems that Anna Baltzer lied about her participation in Birthright to convey the false impression that she was once a loyal Jew who supported the Jewish homeland but had discovered the justification for Palestinians' goals to overthrow Israel.

Further, after researching Ms. Baltzer's claims of being a Fulbright Scholar from Columbia in 2003, it has been determined from both Columbia's and the Fulbright websites, as well as Fulbright officials, that Anna Baltzer was never a Fulbright scholar either. A list of Fulbright Scholars at the Fulbright website contains the names of all Fulbright scholars from the United States and abroad from the late 90's to the present. Ms. Baltzer's name is nowhere to be found.

Anna Baltzer's claims about her personal and academic background should come as no surprise: it has gained her entrée to speaking engagements at colleges across the US and abroad where she spreads lies against Israel. At her presentation at St. Joseph the Worker's Presbyterian Church in Berkeley, California in 2007, Anna Baltzer recounted a tale of a pregnant Palestinian mother who, in an emergency, was taken by ambulance, but forbidden to pass a checkpoint manned by Israeli soldiers, who had told her that her ambulance could not pass through the checkpoint until 7 am, although she had arrived in an a Code 3 state at 6:30 am. Baltzer claimed -- drawing gasps from the audience -- that due to this delay, the woman miscarried twin fetuses. In an implicit comparison of Israeli soldiers to Nazis, she alleged the IDF soldiers kept telling the poor woman that they "were just following orders" -- a veiled reference to the Nazis' excuses, at the Nuremberg trials after the World War II, for their role in the death camps. There was no mention that the checkpoints had been erected in the first place to stop what had been incessant terrorist attacks and suicide bombings.

When asked the name of the woman who had miscarried, the location of the checkpoint, the time of day, the names of reliable witnesses and the outcome of any military investigation of such cruelty, she said that she did not know, that she had not been there. She even said she was surprised to hear that the Israeli army would have received a formal complaint if such an event had actually occurred. Pressed still further about the authenticity of her tale, in a book she was selling that supposedly contained her personal eyewitness accounts of Israeli atrocities against Arabs, Baltzer admitted she did not know the details because the story had been told to her second hand by Lamis Deek, a well-known Arab propagandist from the ISM. In the 2010 radio interview in Ireland, however, Anna Baltzer changed the story and said, after recounting the same tale, that she interviewed the poor Arab woman who had lost the two babies -- again with no names, dates or places.

The ISM with which Baltzer works regularly uses the imagery of Holocaust survivors who see the need to end the Jewish state. Hedy Epstein, in her eighties, is paraded around by the ISM at their boycott and divestment events in California colleges. Epstein also appeared on the ISM Flotilla Boats to Gaza, and has always been presented as a "Holocaust survivor" who is against Israel. Research has shown that as a child Ms. Epstein spent the war in the safety of England, and was never in a concentration camp or even on the European continent. Rather, in her youth, Ms. Epstein was party to several pro-Soviet communist movements, whose Stalinist leanings were anti-Zionist, and she even supported Pol Pot's regime of mass murder.

Using the same "Holocaust survivor" imagery, Baltzer claims she is the descendant of Holocaust survivors who instilled in her a need to support Palestinian aims against Israeli persecution. After researching her grandparents through the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Israel, as well as the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, to see if her family were actually in concentration camps, nothing could be found. This, too, appears to be a fabrication by Baltzer, or at best an embellishment, like Hedy Epstein's, of being a Holocaust survivor.

The Oxford Union's President was distressed to learn these facts about Ms. Baltzer's academic fraud and said she would share such information with the faculty advisers with the possible outcome of her being removed from the debate.

An educational debate, especially at a university as august as Oxford, should feature academics or speakers who are genuine, not imposters or fakes planted to distort facts and slander and demonize a fellow democracy. Anna Baltzer seems to be neither a Fulbright scholar, not a descendant of Holocaust survivors nor an alumna of the Birthright program. She appears to be just a fraud and a fabulist. So why is Oxford having her speak?

If you would like to express your opinion to the Oxford Union about Ms. Baltzer's lying to them about her background, to pass herself off at an academic event, please email Oxford Union's President Maria Rioumine with your comments at while there is still time left before this fraudulent "debate."

A Native Canadian And A Zionist

Source: The Métropolitain 

By Ryan Bellerose
Posted by Cliff Pinto on ISRAELI FRONTLINE facebook group

I am a Métis from Northern Alberta. My father, Mervin Bellerose, co-authored the Métis Settlements Act of 1989, which was passed by the Alberta legislature in 1990 and cemented our land rights. I founded Canadians For Accountability, a native rights advocacy group, and I am an organizer and participant in the Idle No More movement in Calgary. And I am a Zionist. 

Let me tell you why.

I grew up on a Métis colony in what many would say are rough conditions: we had no electricity, running water or telephone.  When it rained, the dirt roads that linked us to the highways flooded and we were stranded. I lived in a bunkhouse with my two stepbrothers, while my father and stepmother lived in a small cabin nearby.  We raised a garden, hunted and fished, picked berries and made the odd trip to town to buy supplies.  My father worked construction and lived in camps for long stretches and I would often stay at relatives’ to escape my stepmother’s abuse.  Still, I considered my childhood normal.  

My interest in Israel started at a young age.  My father gave me a set of Encyclopedia Britannica for my 5th birthday and, from there, a passion for history was born.  I would sit and read whenever the weather was bad.  In fact, it was a family joke that taking away my books for a few hours was a better way to discipline me than a spanking.  One entry that caught my eye was that of Israel’s birth in 1948. It struck me as the ultimate David and Goliath story: Israel, a tiny country that had fought for independence from the British Empire, was forced from its first moments to defend its existence against the combined armies of the Arab world.  Israel survived against all odds, and did so in a truly epic story of will and heroism.  This story inspired me.

Growing up, I was a very small child. (I am called "Tiny Ryney" to this day, though I play defensive tackle for the Calgary Wolfpack).  I was called a "half-breed" and other slurs by white kids while the children in my colony made fun of my paler skin.  I didn’t belong anywhere.  And I had to be resourceful to protect myself, since I was weaker than the others. Being the victim of bullying shaped who I am and my sense of right and wrong.  It is one reason that I support Israel, a country that has faced bullying and manipulation since its birth.  Israel too has had to be resourceful to defend itself against enemies that dwarf it.  And, like me, it overcame. 

Noticing my curiosity about Israel, my father bought me as a birthday gift a book about the 1976 Raid on Entebbe, a brilliant rescue by Israeli commandos of hostages taken by Palestinian terrorists to Uganda.  Again, this impressed me.  Israel was willing to do the impossible to rescue its people, regardless of the political fallout.  This pushed me to read more about the Arab-Israeli conflict.  In so doing, I learned about the ’72 Munich Olympic Games, where Palestinian terrorists massacred 11 Israeli athletes during an event meant to be a celebration of brotherhood and peace. I wondered why more people weren’t as upset as I was.

It was during this time, while visiting relatives working oil rigs, that I learned while watching a hotel TV of the horrific 1972 Lod Airport massacre where terrorists shot dead 26 civilians waiting for their flights, including 17 Christian pilgrims. I also remember the 1985 attack by Yasser Arafat’s forces on the Achille Lauro cruise ship, where an old disabled man was thrown overboard in his wheelchair for the crime of being a Jew.  The more I saw, the more I needed to understand why such things were happening.  The more I learned, the more I grew to appreciate Israel’s moral integrity in the face of brutal hatred.  And I came to believe that the Jewish people and Israel should serve as an example to indigenous people everywhere.  It is with the Jews – and their stubborn survival after being decimated and dispersed by powerful empires -- that we have the most in common.

My people, the Métis, came to Alberta after the American Revolution, at the government’s request, to prevent the settling of the Americans in western Canada.  We settled the land and followed the white man’s rules.  But we were eventually evicted, our homes given to white pioneers.  No one wanted us. We were forced to live in hiding, on road allowances, in the bush. We had no rights, and we were killed out of hand, as "nuisances". Exile fractured our nation. Our people wandered with no hope and no home. Then, in the mid 1900's, our leaders managed to secure land for us, not the land we had wanted but land that would nonetheless allow us to build a better future. We took it, built our settlements and formed a government to improve the lives of our people. We still have many problems to solve, of course, but we also have more educated people than ever and are slowly becoming self-sufficient, as our leaders envisioned.  In this, the Jewish people and the Métis have walked the same road. 

The Jews also suffered genocide and were expelled from their homeland.  They were also rejected by everyone and forced to wander.  Like us, they rebelled against imperial injustice when necessary and, despite their grievances, strived for peace whenever possible.  Like us they were given a tiny sliver of their land back after centuries of suffering and persecution, land that nobody else had wanted to call home until then.  Like us, they took that land despite their misgivings and forged a nation from a fractured and wounded people.  And like us, they consistently show a willingness to compromise for the good of their people.  

I hope the Metis keep walking the same road as the Jewish people.  Through their efforts, the Jews were able to preserve their identity despite terrible persecution and to revive their culture and language once back in their homeland.  They never lost their sense of who they were, but neither did they lose sight of the importance of looking forward.  Given their history, it would have been natural for them to become insular and reactionary.  But instead, they work hard to be productive and are friendly even to countries that have caused them tremendous suffering.  I want us to similarly make education and the preservation of our ancient culture a priority.  I want us to continue to strive for peace and productivity. 

Many claim that we Natives have more in common with the Palestinians, that their struggle is our struggle.  Beyond superficial similarities, nothing could be farther from the truth.  Beyond the facile co-opting of our cause, the comparison with the Palestinians is absolutely untenable.  It trivializes our suffering.

Co-opting today’s native struggle to the Palestinian propaganda war is a fallacy. Though the Palestinians have undeniable ties to the land, first hand accounts by Mark Twain and countless other travelers to the Holy Land through the ages suggest that a large percentage of the Palestinian people immigrated to Palestine in recent decades.  And for 65 years, the Palestinians have convinced the world that they are worse off than many other stateless nations, despite all evidence to the contrary.  The Palestinians claim to have been colonized but it was their own leaders who refused to negotiate and who lost the land that they want by waging a needless war on Israel.  They claim to have faced genocide but they suffered no such thing: their population has exploded from a few hundred thousand in 1948 to over 4 million today.  They claim deprivation but their elites live in luxury while their people live in ramshackle poverty.  

What’s more, the Palestinian leaders have never been interested in a peaceful solution for their people. They were given several opportunities to have their own state – for the first time in history -- and refused each time, choosing war over peace because the offers were never deemed sufficient. They have persistently used terrorism to bring attention to their cause and their leaders have celebrated the killing of civilians by naming parks and schools after murderers.  And any Palestinian that questions the maximalist rhetoric or who suggests real compromise is immediately ostracized, branded a traitor, or killed.

The Palestinians are not like us.  Their fight is not our fight.  We natives believe in bringing about change peacefully, and we refuse to be affiliated with anyone who engages in violence targeting civilians.  I cannot remain silent and allow the Palestinians to gain credibility at our expense by claiming commonality with us. I cannot stand by while they trivialize our plight by tying it to theirs, which is largely self-inflicted.  Our population of over 65 million was violently reduced to a mere 10 million, a slaughter unprecedented in human history.  To compare that in whatever way to the Palestinians’ story is deeply offensive to me. The Palestinians did lose the land they claim is theirs, but they were repeatedly given the opportunity to build their state on it and to partner with the Jews -- and they persistently refused peace overtures and chose war.   We were never given that chance.  We never made that choice.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bedouin, Kaisi Hamamada, Indicted For Spying For Hamas

Source: The Jerusalem Post
By Yohan Jeremy Bob
Submitted by Correspondent Tom Ifrach, Middle East Studies, Ben-Gurion University

The Southern District Attorney on Monday filed an indictment in the Beersheba District Court against Kaisi Hamamada, a Beduin resident of Segev Shalom, for giving information to Hamas regarding the impact of its attacks on Israel during Operation Pillar of Defense.

Hamamada entered Gaza illegally despite the fact that three requests he had submitted through official channels to enter Gaza prior to December 30, 2012 had been refused, said the indictment. It added that Hamamada’s purpose was to enter Gaza via Egypt since Israel had refused him direct entry.

On December 30, 2012, he went from Israel to Egypt via the Taba crossing.

Next, he took a taxi from the Taba crossing to the Rafah crossing to try to enter Gaza. He was refused entry to Gaza via the Rafah crossing by Egyptian border police.

The indictment alleged that next, Hamamada went to a house near the Rafah crossing that led to one of the series of illegal underground tunnels for entering Gaza.

There, he allegedly paid NIS 400 to Abu Faiz, to help him enter Gaza through the tunnel. Once in Gaza, Hamamada met up with his uncle, Abu Hasham, who took him to meet with Hamas agents. They interrogated him regarding the impact of Hamas attacks on Israel during Operation Pillar of Defense.

Hamamada confirmed to Hamas that they had successfully struck targets in Beersheba, Netivot, Ofakim and Sderot, the indictment alleged.

The indictment said that Hamamada also told the Hamas agents that Israel does not forcibly draft its Beduin population into the IDF.

The indictment charges Hamamada with giving information to an enemy and illegally crossing into Gaza. It did not charge Hamamada with spying on behalf of the enemy, a more serious charge, as noted by a Justice Ministry spokesman.

The Justice Ministry spokesman refused to expand on the indictment beyond that, but the wording of the indictment suggests he may not have planned in advance to meet with Hamas, but rather had been planning to visit family and was coerced by Hamas into providing information.

The state requested Hamamada be held in custody until the end of the proceedings. The court ordered him to be held in custody pending a hearing on the issue on February 3.

On February 13, the indictment against Hamamada will be presented in court and he will have the opportunity to respond.

Fathi Shihab-Eddim, Aide To Egyptian President Muhammed Morsi Claims That The Holocaust Is A United States Hoax

All they have to do is to ask the Germans if the Holocaust really happened. - Michelle

Source: Fox News
By Paul Alster
Submitted by Correspondent Tom Ifrach, Middle-East Studies, Gen-Gurion University

HAIFA, Israel –  A key figure in Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's government called the Holocaust a hoax cooked up by U.S. intelligence operatives and claimed the 6 million Jews who were killed by Nazis simply moved to the U.S.

The outrageous claims, by Fathi Shihab-Eddim, a senior figure close to President Morsi who is now responsible for appointing the editors of all state-run Egyptian newspapers, came as the world marked Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27, and also as the U.S. continues to assess its relationship with the increasingly radical Arab state.

"The sad truth is that these views are relatively common in the Arab world and are the result of ignorance on one hand and of government-sponsored Holocaust denial on the other hand.” - Efraim Zuroff, Simon Weisenthal Center

“The myth of the Holocaust is an industry that America invented,” Shihab-Eddim said, leaving no room for doubt that the Egyptian government -- like Iran's -- has at the very least significant elements that deny one of history's best documented genocides.

“U.S. intelligence agencies in cooperation with their counterparts in allied nations during World War II created it [the Holocaust] to destroy the image of their opponents in Germany, and to justify war and massive destruction against military and civilian facilities of the Axis powers, and especially to hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the atomic bomb,” Shihab-Eddim said.

The ludicrous claims were especially worrisome to Israeli experts who have been watching since the Muslim Brotherhood Morsi administration took over the Egyptian government in elections last summer, following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, who maintained good relations with Israel. Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center in New York, said Shihab-Eddin's comments were as troubling as they were ridiculous.
“Fathi goes on to claim that the 6 million Jews all really moved to the United States during the war (and oddly no one noticed) and that the number of Jews killed in the war was about the number who died in traffic accidents,” Greenfield wrote in

Efraim Zuroff, Israel Director of the Jerusalem-based Simon Weisenthal Center, whose mission is to defend against anti-Semitism and teach the lessons of the Holocaust to future generations, told the remarks show a dangerous, but common, mindset.
“Obviously, if a person in that position makes that ridiculous claim it is of concern," Zuroff said. "The sad truth is that these views are relatively common in the Arab world and are the result of ignorance on one hand and of government-sponsored Holocaust denial on the other hand.”

The latest Holocaust denial from a senior Egyptian figure comes hot on the heels of the much-publicized comments made by President Morsi in 2010, that Jews are “the descendants of apes and pigs,” remarks that Morsi insists were taken out of context. Despite Morsi's claims, archivists subsequently said the Egyptian leader made similar statements repeatedly before he rose to power.

Mohammed el-Baradei, a leading figure in Egypt’s secular opposition and formerly the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, spoke out against Morsi’s remarks and his assertion that his comments had been misinterpreted.

 “We are all aware that those statements were not taken out of context and that this discourse is very common among a large number of clerics and members of Islamist groups, El-Baradei said. "Apart from the remarks themselves, I am calling upon the person who made them to courageously admit either the real stance he and the Muslim Brotherhood and their followers adopt, or how mistaken they had been for all those years.”

Anti-Semitic statements and denial of the Holocaust are seemingly part and parcel of the Muslim Brotherhood doctrine. Among many examples of the vitriol espoused by senior figures from the parent organization of the terrorist group Hamas, one of their spiritual leaders and a popular Islamic television figure, Youssef Al-Qaradawi said, “I’d like to say that the only thing I hope for is that as my life approaches its end, Allah will give me an opportunity to go to the land of Jihad [Israel] and resistance, even if in a wheelchair. I will shoot Allah’s enemies, the Jews, and they will throw a bomb at me, and thus, I will seal my life with martyrdom.”

Al-Qaradawi further stated in a 2009 broadcast about the Holocaust, “He [Hitler] managed to put them [the Jews] in their place. This [the Holocaust] was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers.”

With Morsi facing significant resistance to his rapid imposition of more stifling legislation in Egypt, fears are rising that Holocaust denial, anti-Semitism, and anti-Israeli rhetoric will increase in a country that continues to receive significant financial and logistical support from the U.S. The Obama administration recently began shipping a foreign aid package to Egypt that includes 20 F-16 fighter jets and 200 Abrams tanks.

Zuroff said the sinister statements by a top Morsi aide should give other nations pause for thought in evaluating their relationships with the new government in Cairo.

“Government-sponsored Holocaust denial is the most opposed to attempts by individuals to convince people that the Holocaust did not take place," Zuroff said. "When it comes with a strict Islamic interpretation and one which is basically anti-Semitic, then it becomes much more dangerous.”

Paul Alster is an Israel-based journalist who blogs at and can be followed on Twitter @paulalster

Jewish Students Threatened At University Of California Davis Event

Campus hate groups target Jews and Israel
Source: Amcha Initiative 
Submitted by Ira L. Jacobson[]   

ACTION ALERT: Urge UC Davis Chancellor Katehi to protect Jewish students

On November 19, 2012 the Graduate Student Association at UC Davis sponsored a rally entitled, "March in Solidarity with Gaza."  At the conclusion of the rally, the protestors marched to Dutton Hall, where they "occupied" the entrance hall.  Several people held signs and banners, including ones that read, "DEATH TO ZIONISM" and "LONG LIVE THE INTIFADA!"

While five university administrators, including the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, stood outside and watched, leaders of the protest refused entry to Jewish students, including physically blocking at least one student because he was a "Zionist."  The protestors falsely and hypocritically complained that the free speech of pro-Palestinian students was being stifled, while at the same time they expressed the sentiment that "Zionists," including pro-Israel students at UCD, should not be given freedom of speech. 

A few Jewish students were eventually able to enter Dutton Hall, and they began filming.  A leader of the rally noticed them and announced, "...there are Zionists filming everything we're saying...", at which point protesters demanded that the Jewish students leave the building.  The situation escalated and the protestors surrounded the Jewish students, screaming and pounding their fists to intimidate them. 

Although the Jewish students managed to get out of the building, the emotional impact on them was significant.  Additionally, during the course of this hateful and discriminatory incident there were multiple violations of federal and state law and university policy. 

In an effort to protect the physical and emotional safety and civil rights of Jewish students at UC Davis, the co-founders of the AMCHA Initiative wrote a letter to UC Davis Chancellor Katehi, providing her with a detailed description of the event, a list of state and federal laws and university policies which were likely violated, and asking her to take five specific actions to protect Jewish students on her campus.  Those actions are:

  • Publicize widely the university policies which ensure the safety and civil rights of all students, and the university administrators responsible for their enforcement.
  • Inform all university employees of the actions they should take to protect the rights of all students.
  • Identify and discipline those who violate the rights of other students on campus.
  • Publicly condemn behavior which targets students for harassment and intimidation.
  • Suspend and revoke the status and funding of student groups that target other students for harassment and intimidation.
You can see AMCHA's letter to the UC Davis Chancellor here.

Please support our efforts by writing to Chancellor Katehi ( to express your concern about the safety of Jewish students at UC Davis and to ask that she support AMCHA's recommendations.  Please copy or blind-copy the AMCHA Initiative on your letter (

For a list of UC and government officials that you may wish to copy on your letter, see here.

Britain's Infernal Cocktail Of Hate

Source: Melanie Phillips Weblog
By Melanie Phillips
Submitted by Dan Friedman, NYC

"A fine British writer lifts a rock and shows us the creepy-crawly creatures she found there." 
- Dan Friedman

With the row then still raging over the Lib Dem MP David Ward’s attack upon Jews for not learning the lessons of the Holocaust and oppressing the Palestinians, the Sunday Times published last weekend a cartoon by Gerald Scarfe depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a demonic builder walling up Palestinians with cement stained red with their blood.

Today, the new acting editor of the Sunday Times, Martin Ivens, was meeting representatives of British Jews to express his contrition, while the paper’s proprietor Rupert Murdoch himself apologised for this ‘grotesque and offensive’ cartoon.

Ivens, to whom I directly worked for three years when I wrote for the Sunday Times, is a decent person without a shred of anti-Jewish or anti-Israel feeling. And the Sunday Times is more supportive of Israel than most.

Scarfe has expressed regret, but only for unwittingly publishing the cartoon on Holocaust Memorial Day. Apparently, it would have been absolutely fine to publish at any other time. Scarfe’s cartoons generally reflect boiler-plate leftie attitudes. Very likely he would be outraged to be accused of antisemitism, since in his mind he was only savaging the Israeli Prime Minister as he does countless other world leaders.

Yet his cartoon did incorporate ancient motifs of Jew-hatred. So how could he draw such a thing, and how could the Sunday Times have published it?

The answer to the last question is as yet unknown; very often, however, such debacles occur as a result of decisions which fall through the cracks as part of deadline-pressured newspaper life.

Nevertheless, the assumptions behind the drawing of this cartoon flow directly from the intellectual sewage now poisoning British attitudes towards Israel and the Middle East.

The cartoon was monstrous because it portrayed Netanyahu as a psychopath using the blood of Palestinians to cement them into the evil wall he was building.

It thus fused antisemitic images and grotesque lies about Israel -- an infernal cocktail which is now the mandatory accessory of the British intelligentsia, even as this cocktail incites violence and mass murder by Arabs and Muslims across the world.

Murdering innocents and using their blood for demonic purposes is the essence of the ancient antisemitic ‘blood libel’, which fuelled the medieval Christian pogroms and is now regularly used in the Arab and Muslim world to incite its demented hatred of Jews.

As for the cartoon’s message, it is simply obscene to accuse Netanyahu of brutally murdering Palestinians. It is Palestinians who set out to murder Jews, something the security ‘wall’ – actually mostly a wire fence – aims to prevent. And in its military actions against Palestinian mass murderers, Israel goes to heroic lengths -- unknown in any other country -- to try to shield the innocent from harm.

So Scarfe’s message is a Big Lie about Israel. As I wrote here, it is these Big Lies reversing victim and aggressor in the Middle East which are so obscene.

And the fusion of such bigotry against Israel with bigotry against Jews is characteristic of Israel-hatred, which does indeed represent a modern mutation of antisemitism.

This is why.

Antisemitism has certain specific features which make it a unique form of bigotry. It is founded upon unshakeable beliefs which are in fact total lies; it is deeply irrational and immune to factual evidence; it accuses Jews of atrocities of which they are not only innocent but of which they are in fact the victims; it singles them out for double standards by expecting them to behave in ways expected of no-one else; it holds falsely that they form global conspiracies of manipulative influence; and it is utterly, pathologically obsessive about the Jews and their alleged cosmic misdeeds.

All these characteristic apply to Israel-hatred. Which is why those who give vent to it can’t seem to avoid reaching for the stereotypes and calumnies of ancient Jew-hatred. Reasoned criticism of Israel is entirely legitimate; but this pathological Israel-hatred is fundamentally anti-Jew.

That does not mean that all those who give expression to it are themselves necessarily hostile to Jews. Some undoubtedly are; others may think about Jews benignly with one part of their brain, but towards Israel they feel only an overwhelming, implacable, obsessional hatred.

Such people have unwittingly bought into a discourse about Israel based on Jew-hatred. They may well be quite unaware of this, being ignorant of the historical resonances.  But that does not alter the fact they are voicing the latest mutation of Jew-hatred – from theology to race, and now to nation. And the fact that ancient antisemitic imagery bubbles up in their minds without their even realising what it is makes this no less horrifying.

A heated discussion on BBC Radio’s Today Programme this morning between the Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard and the Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell all too vividly illustrated the uniquely sanctimonious venom, ignorance and humbug of the Israel-hater.

Bell was himself at the centre of a similar controversy last year when the Guardian published his cartoon showing Netanyahu as a puppeteer manipulating both Tony Blair and Britain’s current Foreign Secretary William Hague, against the background of bombs represented as Israeli flags.

Bell’s irritated defence this morning of his own cartoon was risible – apparently Netanyahu was not a ‘puppet-master’ because the figures of Blair and Hague were merely ‘pathetic’; nor could the cartoon have presented Jews as ‘manipulative evil geniuses’ since it wasn’t about Jews at all, only Netanyahu.

It is of course possible that Bell simply doesn’t understand the enduring significance of the antisemitic image of Jews as master-puppeteers manipulating the world for their own evil ends. But then he said this:

‘The problem with the state of Israel and the Zionist lobby is that they never acknowledge the crime of ethnic cleansing on which the state was founded.’

So his target was not just Netanyahu but the very existence of the State of Israel. Now we can see what actually lay behind his cartoon and his outraged defence of it. For Bell, Israel is itself a tyrannical entity which perpetrated the greatest possible atrocity upon the supposedly rightful inhabitants of the land, the Palestinians, by driving them out. For Bell, it is now clear, the outrage is not the behaviour of Netanyahu but the fact that Israel exists at all.

But of course, Bell’s belief is the very opposite of the truth. It was not the Arabs who were ethnically cleansed from Palestine; it was the Arabs who tried to ethnically cleanse the Jews from there, by mounting a war of extermination against the re-established Jewish homeland. It was the Jews, not the Arabs, who were the ethnic group with the overwhelming historical, moral and legal claim to the land, as the international community had recognised. And it was Jews – some 800,000 of them -- who really were then ethnically cleansed from Arab countries and who found refuge in Israel.

But then Bell does not appear to understand the moral difference between tyrants and their victims. For he also observed that no-one had objected to Scarfe’s cartoon the previous week which portrayed Syria’s President Assad slicing the head off a baby. It is certainly true that Scarfe has often drawn such images of Assad, such as this one, or this one, and regularly depicts tyrants steeped in blood.

But the crucial point is that Netanyahu is not a tyrant who murders innocents; Assad is. Netanyahu is defending his people against mass murder; Assad has been deliberately killing thousands of his own citizens in order to suppress revolution. Bell’s comparison is morally obtuse to a quite staggering degree. He appears not to understand the difference between a crime against humanity and the protection against a crime against humanity.

Last weekend’s cartoon was the third in recent years published by a UK national newspaper to have grotesquely libelled Israel and drawn upon antisemitic imagery to do so. The first in this series of shame, by Dave Brown in the Independent in 2003, depicted a monstrous Ariel Sharon, then Israel’s Prime Minister, biting the head off a Palestinian baby. It was another blood libel – yet Brown disingenuously claimed it was merely a pastiche of Goya’s painting Saturn Devouring His Children.

In a pointed comment, Britain’s cartoon establishment honoured Brown’s drawing by designating it Political Cartoon of the Year. Today, the LibDems have merely given David Ward a mild rap over the knuckles in a yellow card censure. Scarfe and Bell will continue to have their cartoons published, and will continue to be lionised, as if nothing had happened; and Britain’s intelligentsia, BBC and other media will continue to paint Israel as brutal aggressors and the Palestinians as their victims.

When future historians come to record Britain’s tragic decline, they will surely place its sickening behaviour towards the Jewish people, first under its control in Palestine and then in the State of Israel, as both symptom and cause of its moral and civilisational collapse.