The Israel Brief- 31 January – 03 February 2022

The Israel Brief – 31 January 2022 – Historical trip to UAE. We want to live – Gazans protest! Kuwaiti editor says normalise ties with Israel. Israel sends aid to Tonga.

The Israel Brief – 01 February 2022 – The Amnesty Report. Whoopi says the Holocaust is not about race. Blinken speaks with Abbas. Terrorists home demolished.

The Israel Brief – 02 February 2022 – Fallout from Amnesty Report. Whoopi suspended. Rocket lasers? UK-Israel trade ties strengthen.

The Israel Brief – 03 February 2022 – Gantz in Bahrain. Germany, Australia, US reject Amnesty Report. Qatar no to normalisation. Erdogan says President Herzog will visit next month.

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

“High Anxiety”

Baffled by bullies, a worried world tittering on the edge still finds time to oppose Israel

By David E. Kaplan

We have children and grandchildren, we don’t want war,” says an understandably terrified Ukrainian woman shop attendant to Clarissa Ward of CNN on assignment in a town near the ‘border’  – misnomer for frontline –  between her country and a poised-to-strike, militarized Russia.

Winds of War. Clarissa Ward (right) reporting on CNN from the Ukraine on the threat of “imminent” Russian invasion.

At the other side of the world, the Taiwanese people are no less living in fear – of an invasion from mainland China. Scenarios reminiscent of the 1930s with allied dictatorial appetitive superpowers  – one in Europe and another in the Far East – are again threatening war in their regions with uncertain dimensions but certain consequences –  human misery.

And all happening during a global pandemic!

If it’s not chilling enough that young children have to see their elders walking around faceless, covered up with masks; that they have to further fear that their seniors are ready to wage senseless wars.

This is insane!

Adding to the theatrics is a global atmosphere of anticipation with dictators playing  politics designed to obfuscate and confound while they bide their time. They playfully dangle diplomacy while massing for war.

Make no mistake this is serious stuff. After all, British Prime Mister, Boris Johnson – noted for his comedic antics and partying during the pandemic  – was not joking when he said:

 “Putin is holding a gun to Ukraine’s head.”

Cunningly coordinated, China is doing the same towards Taiwan.

Preparing to Defend. Taiwanese troops pose after conducting drills in front of the media at Kaohsiung in Taiwan. (Reuters)

And as this ‘theatre of the  absurd’ plays out, commentators speculate that the predators first want the entertainment or circus for the masses – the 2022 Winter Olympics. And who is the host – none other than by one of the two bullies –  China.

The Olympics, which stands for mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play is being hosted by a country that like its Russian counterpart is set to wage UNPROKED war and create chaos.

But before the bullets fly, it will away with a chunk of medals!

Last night I watched movie on streamer with Merle Streep and Leonardo Di Caprio called ‘Don’t Look Up’, which tells the story of two astronomers attempting to warn humanity of an approaching  meteor that will shortly destroy human civilization. The meteor is a metaphor for an impending disaster but what was more disturbing was the apathy of the political leadership, totally absorbed in self-interest.  Rather than trying to destroy or deflect the meteor it chose instead to try harness its potential wealth by mining it! Can this get more absurd?

Yes it can – for Israel.

While the world faces uncertainty and fallout from the actions of duplicitous players, so does Israel this week that was subjected to another false and “bully” report, designed to undermine its legitimacy and turn a world from facing existential threats to one attacking the Jewish state. Failing to ultimately remove Jews from this earth – despite endless efforts – the strategy has shifted to expunging the Jewish state – Israel.

The bully – Amnesty International whose February 1 report falsely accuses Israel of “Apartheid” has come under justifiable condemnation as being “antisemitic”. Even the Biden administration which is determined on drawing closer to the Palestinian Authority that unsurprisingly praised the report, rejected it as “absurd.” Some U.S. lawmakers denounced it as “rooted in historic prejudices and false narratives.”

Law, Lies and Labels. “We call it apartheid, because it is apartheid under international law,”  Agnes Callamard, the Secretary General of Amnesty International (left)  answered Becky Anderson on CNN to a global audience.

Avi Bell, a professor at the University of San Diego School of Law, told JNS (Jewish National Syndicate) that “the big challenge would be to find any claims by Amnesty that are defensible from a legal point of view.”

According to Bell, the nearly 300-page report is “a compilation of tired propaganda, lies and distortions” and “boils down to a simple message: The world’s largest Jewish community should drop dead.”

For Amnesty International, which apart from calling on the International Criminal Court (ICC) “to consider the crime of apartheid in its current investigation” and further calling on all states to “exercise universal jurisdiction to bring perpetrators of apartheid crimes to justice”, this NGO bully goes much farther in its declaration of war against Israel.

According to Amnesty:

 “This system of apartheid originated with the creation of Israel in May 1948 and has been built and maintained for decades.”

This reference to 1948 exposes Amnesty’s animus, characterizing Israel as illegitimate since its inception.

From this revelatory platform it launched its global calling for a “comprehensive arms embargo on Israel” and for the UN General Assembly to re-establish the Special Committee against Apartheid in order to investigate Israel.

Telling it as he sees it. President Joe Biden rejected the Amnesty International report  accusing Israel of apartheid as “Absurd”.

While state bullies like Russia and China have designs to absorb Ukraine (the second largest country in Europe) and Taiwan respectively, the NGO bully Amnesty International is banking on the world’s increasing antisemitism to coalesce in the mission:

to dismantle the state of Israel.

Israel however sees through the smokescreens and subterfuges,  and unlike the populace mostly in a state of denial in the movie “Don’t Look Up”, recognizes the meteor falling to earth for what it is and what needs to be done.

Jews haven’t bounced back after 2000 years and not learnt a thing or two!

Ignoring the Truth. Lies, spin, profiteering, bickering, undermining the science, ignoring warnings and doing nothing useful are the themes in this depressing comedy that finds resonance in today’s global politics.

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).

The Eternal Scapegoats

Recent alarming statistics report that 2021 was the most antisemitic year in over a decade and with sham reports such as the one issued by Amnesty International this week, it’s about to get worse.

By Rolene Marks

There are some things that we can be absolutely certain of -death, taxes and if there is any kind of international upheaval, Jews will be blamed. It is not a new phenomenon; it has been a fact throughout the ages. Jews have been blamed for the plague, financial crashes, stealing the blood or organs of non-Jews, running the world, poisoning the wells and so many more ugly catastrophes throughout history.

If we were running the world, we are doing a pretty shoddy job of it – especially in the media department.

It comes as no surprise that a recent report conducted by the World Zionist Organisation (WZO) as well as the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) have found that 2021 was the most antisemitic year in over a decade.

Rolene Marks, Co-Founder of Lay of the Land discusses rise in antisemitism on i24 News

There is hardly a day that goes by without reports of the latest antisemitic assault – verbal or physical. In the report published by the WZO and JAFI it was noted that at least 10 incidents happen per day. These are incidents that we know about – what about those that aren’t reported or fail to make the headlines?

It has come as no surprise that Jews are routinely scapegoated. In the last two years as the global pandemic raged around the world, this latest iteration of antisemitism has seen Jews blamed for the invention of Covid-19 in order to create the vaccines and ultimately profit from them. The internet is filled with conspiracy theories involving Jews and flyers espousing these very tropes have surfaced in Florida, Illinois, California and other states. Routine comparisons between green passports, vaccine mandates and lockdowns to the Holocaust are an everyday occurrence and have even surfaced in the upper echelons of various governments. Germany has instituted a crack-down on any protests that involve wearing yellow stars that resemble those that Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust so that they could be identified. No, the requirement to Netflix and chill is NOT comparable to Anne Frank’s experience of having to hide in a cramped attic away from the Gestapo! Lifesaving vaccines are NOT the equivalent to Mengele’s experiments and a green pass is not the equivalent to having to wear a yellow star! Let’s all say this as one – the Holocaust is only comparable to the Holocaust and nothing else!

In May 2021, Israel engaged in Operation Guardians of the Wall, an 11-day defensive military campaign to protect citizens against an onslaught of rockets and projectiles fired from terror entities in the Gaza Strip. Every time there is a flare up between Israel and Hamas-led terror entities, the conflict is imported around the world and Diaspora communities become targets. This is not the first time this has happened but the language was much more extreme. There were more recorded violent attacks and threats of violence including calls to “Fuck the Jews, rape their women” in London and hardly a community was left unscathed.

 Hitler made his views about Jews as a race well known in this quote on the front page of the book, Maus.

The tsunami of hatred has not abated – it has only become more mainstream.

Israel’s decades long and complex conflict with her Palestinian neighbours is increasingly seen through the lens of race-driven identity politics. The dangerously myopic lens where Israelis are seen as white Jews versus Palestinians, who are people of colour, and on the spectrum of so called white privilege, Jews are seen to be at the pinnacle.

Identity politics can be extremely dangerous and this past week we have seen this manifest in two destructive incidents.

Amnesty International, the once venerated human rights organization demonstrated yet again their obsessive hatred of Israel by releasing a report that condemns Israel since its inception as practicing apartheid both internally by “successive administrations” and in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They go as far as to reinvent the definition of apartheid and abdicate Hamas and the Palestinian Authority of any and all responsibility in the conflict. By their definition, Israel as the nation state of the Jews should be dismantled and by their call for a ban on arms sales, left (almost) unable to defend ourselves. The US Department of State and Jewish organisations across the spectrum including JStreet, the ADL and others roundly reject this dangerous report.

This obsession with painting Israel as a pariah state is not new for Amnesty International. In fact, it was one of the main protagonists at the UN Durban Conference against Racism in 2001, which saw the NGO advocate for the campaign to paint Israel as a pariah state, guilty of the crimes of Apartheid and to be excluded from the family of nations.

It is not just in the NGO forum but in the mainstream media as well.

Remember when actress Whoopi Goldberg (she of the culturally appropriated last name) was famous for her iconic roles in the movies Ghost, Sister Act and others? No? Neither do I. Instead this once beloved thespian is now more famous for being one of the panel of highly opinionated women on the ABC network show, The View. The show is famous for its format of co-hosts screaming at each other about the topic of the day but it was the show on Monday that really took the cake.

A big Whoopsie! Whoopi Goldberg’s comments about the Holocaust and race discussed here.

During their “Hot Topics” sessions the ladies decided to discuss the famous Holocaust-based graphic novel, Maus, been removed from the school curriculum in Tennessee for “sexual content and strong language”. A discussion about the Holocaust ensued. “Let’s be truthful about it,” she said. “The Holocaust isn’t about race… It’s about man’s inhumanity to man, that’s what it’s about.” When another panelist suggested that it was “about white supremacy”, Goldberg – who is not Jewish, and whose birthname is Johnson – forcefully responded: “These are two white groups of people… Let’s talk about it for what it is. It’s how people treat each other. It’s a problem.”

Part of a bigger campaign? Dr Einat Wilf connects the dots on these events in this tweet.

Oof! Goldberg apologized after a conversation with Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL and to date ABC has suspended her and Yad Vashem has invited her to visit for educational purposes.

But the lingering damage is dangerous. In today’s world where identity politics is rife and Jewish identity diluted because of perceptions about privilege and race, the combination of this and the propensity to scapegoat Jews and their nation state for the ills of the world, is a damning indictment on society with very, very worrying consequences.

While the mission of Lay of the Land (LotL) is to provide a wide and diverse perspective of affairs in Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world, the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by its various writers are not necessarily ones of the owners and management of LOTL but of the writers themselves.  LotL endeavours to the best of its ability to credit the use of all known photographs to the photographer and/or owner of such photographs (0&EO).