Everything you need to know about today’s coverage of Israel and the Mideast. Join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.
Today’s Top Stories
1. Disowned by his university and branded a traitor by his fellow Palestinians. This after a professor took 27 college students on a trip to the Auschwitz concentration camp as part of a project to teach empathy and tolerance. The Washington Post takes up the story:
[Professor] Dajani said that many Palestinians think the Holocaust is used by Jews and Israelis as propaganda to justify the seizure of lands that Palestinians say are theirs and to create sympathy for Israel. Others, he said, think the Holocaust is exaggerated or just one of many massacres that occurred during World War II. …
A university student who went on the trip but asked not to be named because of the charged atmosphere said the visit changed him. “You feel the humanity. You feel the sympathy of so many people killed in this place because of their race or religion.”
“Most people said we shouldn’t go,” the student said. “It is a strange thing for a Palestinian to go to a Nazi death camp. But I would recommend the trip.” He said it did not diminish his desire for a Palestinian state.
2. An Israeli government official announced that Israel will significantly cut the tax funds allocated to the Palestinian Authority in retaliation for the Palestinians pushing to sign up for more recognition from international agencies and treaties. The money kept by Israel will be deducted from outstanding Palestinian debts, he said. The U.S. has called the Israeli decision “unfortunate.”
3. Democratic member of the Pennsylvania State Senate, Anthony Hardy Williams has published a scathing attack on the racism of the BDS movement in response to the targeting of Chloe Valdary, an African-American undergraduate and supporter of Israel:
BDS supporters’ response to Valdary was vile. Activist Zaid Jilani tweeted, “Non-jew[Chloé Valdary] smears famous Jewish academic as ally of Hitler,” then mocked her outspoken stand against anti-Semitism. (Jilani, by the way, was ousted from a liberal think tank last year for use of what his boss called “terrible anti-Semitic language.”) …
And Richard Silverstein of Tikun Olam, a blog focused on “exposing the excesses of the Israeli national-security state,” posted on his Facebook page, with a link to her piece: “They finally did it: found a Negro Zionist: Uncle Tom is dancin’ for joy!”
The attacks from his allies are offensive enough, but Silverstein’s racial slurs are beyond the pale. And his river of hate continued to flow, as he called this young African-American woman a “house slave” and said the “Israel Lobby is her Master.” His racist intent with such loaded language could hardly be more clear.
4. More on this from HonestReporting: Racism a “Troubling Trend” in BDS.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Exploring his Jewish background, British opposition Labor party leader Ed Miliband has paid a visit to Israel, catching up with relatives and visiting Yad Vashem. He also took a trip to Ramallah and found time to criticize Israeli settlement policies.
• Settlements are also on Patrick Martin‘s mind as he spends time in Beit El for the Globe and Mail. With references to “ardent Jewish nationalists,” “occupied suburbs of Jerusalem” and the headline “Settlers of Beit El show the obstacles to Middle East peace,” Martin is clearly not a fan.
• The IDF has taken over a yeshiva in the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar following clashes between soldiers and radical settlers.
It seems that when accounting for American support for Israel, Mr McCann cannot resist the temptation to resort to well-worn stereotypes of Jewish finance controlling US foreign policy. The terminology has been adjusted slightly, but the classic tropes are there: Governor Christie “kowtowed to Zionism”, servile Republican hopefuls “paraded their wares” for the all-powerful Zionist mogul’s inspection. Yet Mr McCann allows a glimpse of the truth in his last line when he tacitly admits the existence of spontaneous mass pro-Israel sentiment among the US public. Truly, in the venting of unhealthy obsessions, a “very useful issue for some,” to quote Mr McCann, “is Israel”.
• The BBC reports on Egypt’s increasingly hostile attitude towards Hamas and Gaza. Has the BBC finally realized that it’s not all about Israel?
• Still plenty of coverage of the breakdown of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. The Daily Telegraph reports on threats by Bayit Hayehudi party leader Naftali Bennett to bolt the Israeli government coalition if any more Palestinian prisoners are released to prop up the peace talks. The Economist asks what’s next and still maintains that the two-state solution is the only one that makes sense although not likely to happen this time round. The Guardian typically holds Israel mainly responsible for the breakdown. Yoaz Hendel, however, offers his solution:
For the international community to remain relevant it must understand the restrictions and the available options. The most realistic practical option in the current circumstances is the drawing of borders along demographic lines. Most Palestinians (98%) in the West Bank live in Areas A and B, under the control of the Palestinian Authority. These areas are spread over 40% of Judea and Samaria. Most Israelis live in 12% of the West Bank in large settlement blocks.
The remaining 48% of the territory has 100,000 Israelis and an equal number of Palestinians. The Palestinians’ territories should be upgraded to the status of demilitarised state with interim borders and continuity based on A and B. The large settlement blocks can be annexed to Israel, and as result of that the disputed territory would be immediately halved.
It is not a permanent solution, but it would be progress. If the money from the various pro-peace organisations were to be invested in the Palestinian education system, encouraging support for democracy, it would be possible to restart negotiations in a generation. If the international community can let go of its attachment to the phrase “an end to the conflict” who knows – maybe we will have a glimmer of a practical peace on the ground, which would improve the chances for a comprehensive peace in the future.
• Brussels is demanding compensation following the Israeli seizure of EU-funded humanitarian aid projects in the West Bank according to The Guardian.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Time Magazine profiles the countries that hate the U.S. the most. Whether it can be considered a “country” or not, it’s the Palestinian territories that come out on top with a huge 80% disapproval rating.
• The Washington Post takes a look at Palestinian humor.
• The LA Times profiles a Palestinian rapper. Unlike many stories of conciliation through music, Tamer Nafar supports BDS and has been accused of glorifying Palestinian terrorism.
• Mark Dubowitz argues why Washington needs to open its eyes to Iranian intentions:
Tehran senses a desire in Washington for a deal at all costs and is pushing its advantage through negotiations to retain enough of its nuclear achievements for an atomic weapon at a time of its choosing. If the president believes that no deal is better than a bad deal, and he has assured the world that he does, then he needs to begin seeing diplomacy as a mailed fist.
• According to Bulgarian media reports, the Burgas bomber was an Algerian trained in southern Lebanon. He also attended university in Beirut with two other suspects.
The IDNS is taking a break until after the Passover holiday. HonestReporting wishes all of our IDNS subscribers a happy Passover.