Friday, September 30, 2016

From Ian:

George Soros’ Israel-Hatred Spills Out Into the Open
Billionaire George Soros generally does not hide the fact that he uses the considerable funds at his disposal to support his extremist, leftist ideals.
So when he does hide something, it should raise some serious questions. A series of leaked documents recently revealed that Soros’ philanthropy network, the Open Society Foundations, has been giving money to a number of anti-Israel organizations with the goal of smearing the Israeli government and undercutting its relationship with the United States.
The list of organizations is a veritable who’s who of hostile, anti-Israel actors. One of the leaked documents shows that between 2001 and 2015, Soros funneled over $9.5 million into a range of groups including Adalah, the Al-Tufula Center, the Arab Association for Human Rights, Baladna, The Galilee Society, Molad, the New Israel Fund and others.
Even worse, these documents showed that while the Soros network was systematically and methodically doling out its funds to these controversial groups, it was also working extremely hard to keep its donations and advocacy work quiet.
According to the private documents, which have now been published online, Soros and his network are engaging in these subversive tactics in an effort to “hold Israel accountable” for its supposed violations of international law. In truth, it seems more fitting that Soros be held accountable for his inscrutable policies. His so-called Open Society Foundations certainly don’t appear to be so open after all.
By secretly dispersing his money to influence politicians and the media, Soros hopes to drive a wedge between America and Israel without anyone noticing. This approach is wrongheaded and shameful. And it’s not new.
Michael Oren On Trump, Clinton, American Leadership And His Future Ambitions
Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren won’t take sides in the U.S. election — but that doesn’t mean he won’t express concerns about aspects of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s policies.
During an appearance on “The Jamie Weinstein Show” podcast, Oren opened up about how Israelis view the U.S. election, his view of America’s role in the Middle East, whether he has ambitions to be foreign minister or even prime minster one day, and so much more.
The Mottle Wolfe Show: The Case For Trump
Mottle and Brian John Thomas discuss the loss of Shimon Peres. Brian John Thomas then goes on to layout the reasons why he supports Donald Trump for president.

  • Friday, September 30, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
The original White House page, from Google cache:




The current one:





The White House sent a "correction:"




Unbelievable.




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  • Friday, September 30, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
People are Googling "Shana Tova U'Metuka" (wishes for a happy and sweet New Year) and my blog comes up as #1 and #2:





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From Ian:

Melanie Phillips: Israel, not the West, stands for international law
In fact the US, Britain and Europe have long displayed this contempt by supporting the big lie that Israel behaves illegally or belligerently.
The West maintains that Israel occupies Palestinian territory in the “West Bank.” This is untrue. There has never been any “Palestinian territory.”
Israel’s presence in the disputed territories cannot be legally defined as an occupation. Under the Hague and Geneva conventions, an occupation can only take place on sovereign land. The territories were never anyone’s sovereign land.
Israel is furthermore entitled under international law to continue to hold onto them as a defensive measure as long as its Arab aggressors continue to use them for belligerent ends.
The West says Israel’s settlements are illegal. This is also untrue.
In the 20s, the Mandate for Palestine gave Britain the legally binding duty to settle the Jews throughout what is now not just Israel but the disputed territories too. That Jewish right has never been abrogated.
The Geneva conventions, cited as the reason the settlements are illegal, prohibit an occupying power from transferring people en masse into occupied territory. This was drafted after World War II to prevent any repetition of the Nazis’ forced displacement of peoples. Israelis resident in the disputed territories, however, have not been transferred but moved there through their own free choice.
Kontorovich has looked at every modern example where occupied territories have been settled. In none of them did the international community denounce such action as illegal or demand that settlers had to vacate the land as a condition for peace or independence. If world powers asked the occupying force to withdraw, they referred only to the army and not the settler population. The only exception has been Israel.
The West makes a fetish of international law. Yet it denounces Israel, the one Middle East state that upholds it. It’s time to call out the US, Britain and Europe for aiding the repudiation of law and justice and thus helping promote the Arab agenda of exterminating Israel.

Caroline Glick: The New Middle East
To accomplish these goals, Israel needs to operate in two completely separate arenas. To weaken Iran, Israel should take its cue from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, and from its own past successful military ties to the Kurds of Iraq in the 1960s and 1970s.
Israel needs to deploy military trainers beyond its borders to work with other anti-Iranian forces. The goal of that cooperation must be to destabilize the regime, with the goal of overthrowing it. This may take time. But it must be done. The only way to neutralize the threat emanating from the new Syria is to change the nature of the Iranian regime that controls it.
As for Russia, Israel needs to demonstrate that it is a power that Putin can respect in its own right, and not a downgraded Washington’s sock puppet.
To this end, Israel should embark on a rapid expansion of its civilian presence along its eastern border with Syria and with Jordan. As Russia’s air base in Syria undermines Israel’s air superiority and reliance on air power, Israel needs to show that it will not be dislodged or allow its own territory to be threatened in any way. By doubling the Israeli population on the Golan Heights within five years, and vastly expanding its population in the Jordan Valley, Israel will accomplish two goals at once. It will demonstrate its independence from the US without harming US strategic interests. And it will reinforce its eastern border against expanded strategic threats from both the Golan Heights and the new Jordan with its bursting population of Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
It is ironic that the new Middle East is coming into focus as Shimon Peres, the failed visionary of a fantasy- based new Middle East, is being laid to rest. But to survive in the real new Middle East, Israel must bury Peres’s belief that peace is built by appeasing enemies along with him. The world in which we live has a place for dreamers.
But dreams, unhinged from reality, lead to Aleppo, not to peace.
Why Iran is more dangerous than Islamic State
It is not too late to repair the impression that the West — led by the United States — views Iran as part of the solution to the problems of the Middle East, rather than the chief source of the region’s instability and radicalism. Of course, Iran fights Islamic State; the fact that the world’s leading radical Shiite government fights radical Sunnis should come as no surprise.
Those who believed that the nuclear agreement would lead to a more moderate, open, reformist Iran, at home and abroad, regrettably suffer from wishful thinking. So long as the ayatollah’s regime governs Iran, there is no chance we will see a McDonald’s in Tehran. Instead, we will see more executions, more repression, more tyranny.
This view of Iran is shared across the Middle East by countries that used to be antagonists. While the struggle between Israelis and Palestinians persists, any reference to the conflict between Israel and Sunni Arab states is, for now, obsolete. Today, Arabs and Israelis are in the same boat, facing Iranian-backed threats all around us; in terms of how to address these threats, we are also generally on the same page.
What we lack is leadership from our traditional allies in the West, especially our good friends in America. Should President Obama or his successor shift priorities and lead a campaign to pressure Iran to end its destabilizing policies — applying the same type of pressure that forced Iran to negotiate on its nuclear program — it will find willing partners among both Arabs and Israelis.

  • Friday, September 30, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
Even though the Gulf countries are seemingly warming up to Israel's existence, they aren't moderating in their other behaviors.

A Saudi teenager has been arrested and faces three years in prison for posting a series of popular videos of online conversations with an American blogger.
Abu Sin, which allegedly translates as “toothless” because of his gap tooth, was having tongue-in-cheek conversations with 21-year-old YouTuber and Californian native Christina Crockett on the video service YouNow. The videos subsequently went viral, bringing Abu Sin relative fame at home.
Saudi police spokesman Col. Fawaz Al-Mayman said that those commenting on Abu Sin’s videos had “demanded for him to be punished for his actions,” according to news site The Saudi Gazette.



This is the first of several videos with the pair. It is nearly unintelligible.

The Saudi Gazette adds:
Lawyer Abdulrahman Al-Lahem said the videos of Abu Sin breach Shariah Law and information technology law. “The teenager could face prison term — ranging from a year to three — depending on the sentence issued by the judge. The ethics and morals of Shariah Law apply even on the Internet,” said Al-Lahem.
But that's not the only news:
It all allegedly started when the decorator took photos inside the woman's apartment block on the chic Avenue Foch in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, reported Le Point newspaper.

The Saudi Princess accused the man of taking the pictures just to sell them to the press, although he said it was just part of the job.

"You have to kill this dog, he doesn't deserve to live," the princess allegedly told her bodyguard soon afterwards.

It's alleged that the bodyguard then struck the decorator in the head before tying his hands.

The guard, who was (legally) armed, then reportedly ordered the Parisian decorator to kneel and kiss the feet of the princess, who is the daughter of the former king Khalid of Saudi Arabia.

The victim told police that the ordeal lasted for four hours before another man intervened, taking a copy of the Parisian man's ID and then telling him "to never return to the 16th arrondissement of Paris".

The worker reportedly still tried to charge the Saudis for the decorating job, but was never paid the €20,000 he demanded. He claims that he was never given back his tools either.

The man has reported the matter to police, who said that his bruises were visible at the time of the report.
Human rights!

(h/t Ronald)




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  • Friday, September 30, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon


From The Telegraph:
The world's top female chess players have reacted with horror after being told they must compete at next year's world championship wearing a hijab.

Within hours of Iran being revealed as its host country, the prestigious event was plunged into crisis as it emerged players taking part face arrest if they don't cover up.

In response, Grandmasters lined up to say they would boycott the 64-player knock-out and accused the game's scandal-hit governing body Fide of failing to stand up for women’s rights.

Fide's Commission for Women's Chess, meanwhile, called on participants to respect “cultural differences” and accept the regulations.
The choice of Iran as the venue is even more bizarre because the US has a travel warning to Iran.

What are American chess players to do?

CNN adds:
Iran was the only country which made a proposal to host the event, a World Chess Federation (FIDE) spokeswoman told CNN in a statement.

She added that since there were no objections from any of the other 150 national chess federations -- including the US -- FIDE's General Assembly accepted the proposal.
The justification for the decision by FIDE was bizarre:
Susan Polgar, the Hungarian-born American Grandmaster and chair of Fide's Commission for Women's Chess, responded by defending the federation and saying women should respect "cultural differences".

She said: "I have travelled to nearly 60 countries. When I visited different places with different cultures, I like to show my respect by dressing up in their traditional style of clothing. No one asked me to do it. I just do it out of respect.

"I personally would have no issues with wearing a head scarf (hijab) as long as it is the same to all players. I believe the organisers provided beautiful choices for past participants of Women's Grand Prix.
Polgar is free to act as she wants to out of her views of respect, but to force others to do something against their will doesn't show respect - it shows disrespect.

(h/t Ronald)



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  • Friday, September 30, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
Right after Shimon Peres' death, Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party published this cartoon:



There was controversy among Palestinians about whether Abbas should attend Peres' funeral, and in the end Abbas decided he had to go.

Today, Abbas' Fatah is praising Abbas for making that decision. They cynicism of Abbas' decision is shown in the press release:

The participation of the president to the funeral is the Palestinian message of peace to the world.

The [attendance] of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the funeral of former President Peres is part of the responsibilities of the position of head of state, and it stops attempts by the Netanyahu government to incite against the Palestinian authority and attempts by Israel to convince the world that we are only believe in violence and the gun.

Head of Fatah Movement Information Department Munir al-Jaghoub said the presence of Mr. President and his participation in the funeral has political significance. Palestinians must realize what's behind this participation that it is a strong Palestinian message of peace to the world, specifically in these moments where the international community is watching to see the importance of the position of the state of Palestine and it may be the most important among many of the participating states.

The role played by Mr. President Abu Mazen is one of responsibility amid all the complications in the current Palestinian situation, and we're all confident in the wisdom of brother Abu Mazen to represent the voice of all Palestinians to the world that we have the right to life and to live in peace.
Not a word about Peres being a good person. On the contrary - Abbas is characterized as attending despite Peres, not to honor him. It is a world stage and Abbas must act like a world leader and show up in order to embarrass Netanyahu.

As with everything in an honor/shame society, the decision isn't based on morality - but on how it would look to the world.

UPDATE: The Fatah Youth Movement released a statement calling Peres a war criminal.



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Thursday, September 29, 2016

  • Thursday, September 29, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
Besides the usual obituary talking points about Shimon Peres, there is a lot more that he accomplished in his lifetime. In this EoZTV we discuss some of them - like how he helped fix Israel's severe economic problems, how he was a poet and wrote a song that was recorded earlier this year, how and why he embraced technology, and finally parts of a remarkable interview he gave Tablet Magazine shortly before his stroke, which is excerpted below.





Tablet has the last interview with Shimon Peres. Here are some excerpts, but the whole thing is worth reading.

I was among the first to visit China. And they knew from my biography that I am a graduate of an agricultural school. So the foreign minister says, “Have a look at the Chinese agriculture.” I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was so primitive! So backwards. I said, “What are you doing?”

We suggested to them that we start with seeds: An Israeli seed of wheat gives you a yield that is three times more than the Chinese one. Then they did the same with milk. And we are today the best friends of China.

That’s the reason why, when I come to China, they still ask for my advice. I sat for three hours with Xi, and I told him, “Look what’s happening to you. You are today economically almost like America. And you smell power as well. But listen to me: You have to decide, either to be a giver or a taker. The biggest mistake is if you’ll use the power to take. The greatest wisdom is if you give.”

I am very good friends with Putin. And I shall give you, in brief, the content of one of our recent discussions.

I told him, “You’re 63 years old, I’m 93 years old. Tell me, what do you want to achieve in the coming 30 years? What are you fighting for? Are you hoping to piss off America?”

He says, “No.”

“America wants a piece of Russia? No. You have trouble discussing things with Obama?”

He says, “Why do you ask?

I said, “Look, I am not a spy, whatever, tell me.”

He says, “What do you think?”

And I said, “America will win no matter what you do.”

“Why?” he asked.

“Because they are lucky, and you are not.” [Laughs.]

I told him more. “When an American wakes up in the morning, what does he see? Mexico in the south, and they accept Mexicans in their country. Canada in the north, they are the best friends in the world. And on the right and on the left, there are fish in the water.

“What does Obama have to worry about? You, you wake up in the morning, whom do you have? Japan, China, Afghanistan? My god! They know that you have plenty of land, and you don’t give them a penny. You have 20 percent of the sweet water, and you give nothing. So when the snow in Siberia melts, the first thing you will see there are Chinese. Because there are plenty of Chinese in the east, and not so many Russians.

The second thing I told him was: “America has the best proportion between the size of the land and the size of the people. You here have the worst. 20 million square kilometers. My god. But what you don’t have are people. Your people are dying. Don’t be impressed by the applause and what people are saying. They won’t forgive you. Why do Russians live for only 62 years, while Americans will live 82 years?

And then I told him: “You behave like a Tsar.”

I am very open.

I said, “What did the Tsars do? They developed two cities, St. Petersburg and Moscow, as a showcase. Whatever you want you will find there. The rest of Russia is like Nigeria covered with snow. Your people are dying. You don’t give them life. You think they’ll forgive you?”

“Why is America great?” I asked him. “Because they were givers. Why is Europe in trouble? Because they are takers. America is giving, people think it’s because they are generous. I think it’s because they are wise. If you give, you create friends. The most beneficial investment is making friends.

“America had the guts to take the Marshall Plan, a huge piece of their GNP that they gave to this dying Europe. And in this way, they have shown that this is the best investment in the world.”

There is no European country that didn’t take an empire. The French and the British, the Portuguese, everybody. And what happened? They were thrown out of there and left with nothing. England, the greatest empire from sunrise to sunset, all the oceans, and the nice, nonviolent Indians threw them out, and left them with nothing but three small islands, they don’t know what to do with them.

“Believe me,” I told Putin, “enemies and animosity are the greatest waste in life. You are investing in a foolish thing.”

The way to peace is not war, and not negotiation. It’s innovation. To be great in science, you don’t have to go to war. You can be a small country in size and a great country in content. And even today, this option exists. And I believe in it. It’s difficult, it may take time, but everything is difficult. I have spent my entire life as a dreamer. And as you said last time, an optimist. I choose to be an optimist.

Yes it was that phrase that I liked. [Laughs.]

I think to deal with the past is a waste of time. You can’t change it anyway. [Laughs.]

People say, you won’t repeat the same mistakes. So you’ll make new ones. [Laughs.]

The past doesn’t need the future, and the future doesn’t need the past.

Better to dream than to remember.




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From Ian:

As Hives Collapse Worldwide, Bees Hold Steady in the Land of Milk and Honey
Honeybees across the world are in a sticky situation. Their numbers are dwindling dramatically due to colony collapse disorder (CCD) for reasons that are not fully understood.
Yet the honeybee population in Israel is holding steady.
That’s great news at this time of year, when sweet Jewish New Year dishes push honey demand to its peak. And most importantly, bees play a crucial role in agriculture by pollinating vegetables and fruits.
Israel takes measures to ensure that its bee population declines no more than 10 percent each year, compared to 30%-50% in the United States, where the problem is so severe that Häagen-Dazs ice cream has donated $1 million to honeybee research since 2008, and President Obama initiated a national strategy to promote bee health.
“We try all kinds of things,” Israeli Honey Board CEO Hertzel Avidor tells ISRAEL21c, such as supporting Israeli research into all the biological and botanical angles on CCD, from boosting bees’ immune systems to developing nectar-rich plants.
The council helps Israel’s 500 beekeepers implement innovative tactics to support a collective 110,000 hives. (The slight reduction in bees does not affect Israel’s honey supply because each year more colonies are introduced to offset the loss. Climate is the main variable in reaching an ideal annual yield of 3,000 tons, Avidor says.)
Hillel Neuer: UNHRC: Australian MP Blasts Silence on Syria Massacre & Distorted Focus on Israel
Testimony before the UN Human Rights Council by the Hon. Michael Danby, MP from Australia, September 26, 2016.
Thank you, Mr. President.
My name is Michael Danby, member of the Australian Parliament. I have the honour to take the floor today on behalf of United Nations Watch.
Australia has announced its candidacy next year to join this Human Rights Council. I support this bid, in the firm belief that Australia can contribute to the global protection of human rights—and to this Council’s founding promise, of renouncing the bias, selectivity and politicization of its discredited predecessor.
Australians have a historic connection to the United Nations and its human rights system. After World War II, Australian Foreign Minister Dr. H. V. Evatt played a key role in establishing the UN. As President of the General Assembly in 1948, he helped draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whose core guarantee, reaffirmed by the Vienna Declaration, is the right to life.
Sadly, however, this is being violated. The most glaring example is the massacre of innocent civilians in Syria. As we assemble, over the past few days the world has witnessed the unprecedented escalation of the murder and maiming of hundreds of men, women and children in Aleppo.
When a UN-backed humanitarian convoy—bringing life-saving aid to hundreds of thousands in that besieged city—was deliberately bombed last week by waves of airstrikes, this Council ought to have convened an urgent debate—and still should.
Australian MP Blasts UNHRC Silence Over Syrian Massacre


  • Thursday, September 29, 2016
  • Elder of Ziyon
This is the time of year that religious Jews wake up early to say Selichot, prayers to prepare for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Many of these prayers are in the form of intricate poetry that draws heavily on astounding knowledge of the entire Hebrew Bible, called piyutim. Every day different piyutim are recited. Unfortunately, they are often said so quickly that the multiple layers of meanings behind them get left behind.

On Wednesday, I was struck by the end of a piyut where the author - who is unknown but certainly lived before the 13th century - almost demanded that God take the Jews out of the Diaspora, using an audacious argument.

The piyut, #13 in the Ashkenaz nusach, is called Khoker HaKol. ends by noting that according to Jewish law, a slave must be freed by the end of a six year period. If the slave decides that he loves his master, he can stay on until the end of a 49-year period (Yovel, or Jubilee.)

The poet says that the Jewish people have gone through many of these six year periods, and they do not love their foreign masters, so we should have been freed long ago, to live back in our land.

However, the author adds, non-Jewish slaveowners do not submit to Jewish law and are not compelled to free Jewish slaves. Yet, he goes on, there is an obligation for Jews, especially family to pay to redeem these slaves and set them free, even if they must pay an exorbitant fee.

Therefore, it is up to God Himself to redeem the prisoners, since the Jews have no other kinsmen to redeem them! (God is variously described as the father or the bridegroom of the Jewish people in the Hebrew scripture and other sources.)

The poet is essentially telling God that according to His own laws, He has no choice but to free His children and return them to their home in Israel!

This is a small example of a fairly obscure Jewish prayer, yet it explains a lot about the Jewish people.

It shows that the yearning to end the state of diaspora has been keen and painful for a very long time.

And it shows that the Jewish people have, even in the worst of times, felt intimate enough with God to approach Him so audaciously.

Yet most stories of such audacious actions that I am aware of have had a common thread - the audacity was tied to saving the Jewish people.

The famous Israeli rudeness is because everyone feels like family and you can say things to family you can't say to strangers. The relationship with God Himself is similar throughout Jewish history, where He can be approached with the intimacy of a family member - especially when the purpose is to help save the entire family.




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 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column


This week I would like to wish all of my readers the very best possible year, in the personal, spiritual and economic realms. I would like to thank the Elder of Ziyon for the opportunity to appear on his pages, and wish him continued success. And I beg the pardon of those I have offended.

There are also some other people, most of whom are not my readers, for whom I also have wishes. In no particular order, here they are:

For Barack H. Obama, may Hashem (or Allah as the case may be) grant you the humility to understand the mistakes that you have made; and may he keep you from making any more during the coming lame duck period. May you leave Israel alone and work on becoming the next UN Secretary-General.

For Amos Schocken, Gideon Levy, Rogel Alpher, and Amira Hass, may you learn that despite your distaste for the Jewish people and especially the Israeli public, you are and will remain Jews and Israelis, even if you move to Berlin, and there is still time to do tshuvah for your treason. May your ‘newspaper’ line a thousand cat boxes and wrap ten thousand fishes.

For Ari Shavit, may you be healed of the irrational feelings of Jewish guilt that plague you. We belong here, we did what was necessary to keep from being murdered or expelled, and in the words of Naftali Bennett, we don’t need to apologize.

For Liberal American Jews, may you learn that Israel is not the US, Palestinians are not African-Americans, and you really don’t have a clue about how things work here. 

For Union for Reform Judaism President Rick Jacobs, may it dawn on you that Israelis are not bothered by threats that your membership will stop supporting Israel, because they know that by and large it already doesn’t.

For the New Israel Fund, may you merge with Peace Now.

For Peace Now, may you merge with J Street.

For J Street, may you merge with Jewish Voice for Peace.

For Jewish Voice for Peace, may you merge with Students for Justice in Palestine.

For Students for Justice in Palestine, may you become recognized as the US campus wing of Hamas.

For Peter Beinart, may you realize in time that you will not be comforted in later life by the realization that you have built a career out of helping the enemies of your people.

For those who have uttered the phrase “only a two-state solution can bring peace,” may you be required to study the Palestinian Media Watch website for an hour a day for the next year. 

For Bashar al-Assad, may you be swallowed by the earth and may it close over you without leaving a trace.

For Vladimir Putin, may you start worrying about those Iranian missiles that can reach Moscow.

For Minister Uri Ariel, may you continue to fight for Jews settling the Land of Israel, while leaving the stray cats alone.

For Ehud Barak, may you continue to enjoy your complete retirement from politics.

For Ehud Olmert, may you enjoy your additional 8 months in prison. Use it to think about what it means for a mayor of Jerusalem to sell out his city for envelopes of cash. 

For Minister Miri Regev, may you become even more annoying to the self-styled cultural elite in Israel.

For University professors and administrators, may you remember the difference between politics and academics, and grow the necessary balls to keep them separate. And understand that as the permanent adults on campus, you have a responsibility to maintain the ideals of the academy.

For Israel’s extreme Left, may you get an opportunity to demonstrate your proletarian principles by losing your jobs as professors, columnists and directors of cultural institutions, and being forced to move from North Tel Aviv to the periphery and work as taxi drivers, farmers and security guards.

For Yossi Beilin, in the absence of Shimon Peres, may you make an official announcement that Oslo was an absolutely terrible idea, that you should have known Arafat couldn’t be trusted, and that you are really, really sorry for being such an idiot.

For Neturei Karta and other anti-Zionist Haredim, may you practice what you preach and leave the Jewish state that you oppose.

For Jeremy Corbyn, may you merge with Ken Livingstone.

For European Jews, may you stay safe, and may you think seriously about aliyah. Although most of you will not obtain the standard of living here that you are used to in Europe, your children will thank you in the long run.

For the Kurdish people, may you obtain the independence you have fought for so long and so richly deserve.

For the American people, may you somehow – and it’s not obvious how – get the kind of leadership you need to restore your country to great power status, and reverse the accelerating economic and social decline that it is experiencing.

For the Arab citizens of Israel, may you experience growing prosperity as a result of your partnership with the Jewish people. May you get Members of the Knesset to represent you that don’t want to wreck it.

For the Palestinian Arabs, may you understand that the Jews aren’t leaving or committing suicide. May you banish the ghost of Yasser Arafat, his henchmen and his vicious system of inciting racist hatred. May you learn that only death will come from confrontation and rejectionism, and that dignity and self-rule are possible by taking a different path.

For Mahmoud Abbas, may you be prosecuted as the vicious war criminal and murderer that you are.

For Hamas, may your tunnels collapse and your rockets blow up in your faces. 

For the whole gang down at the UN, may Barack H. Obama be your next Secretary-General and run the organization into the ground.

For Benjamin Netanyahu, may your own people finally understand that despite everything that irritates them about you, you are a better leader than they deserve, and they should be grateful for the superhuman job you do.

And for all the rest, they should only have a sweet, charitable and peaceful year.




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From Ian:

President Reuven Rivlin: You were our heart
I am writing to you for the last time, Shimon, "one president to another," as you would say every time you called to lend me support and advice, after I followed you into this office. As a young boy, you proposed adopting the surname "Ben Amotz," the name of the prophet Isaiah, a man of vision.
You, however, were not only a visionary, but a man of action as well.
You had the rare ability to formulate an idea that seemed unbelievable and turn it into reality. Your gaze was affixed far afield, your hands worked ceaselessly, and your feet traveled boundlessly on the path of Zionist and Jewish history. Your steps, Shimon, were always pointed upward and onward.
Like a mountain climber who first plants a stake in the ground and then assaults the summit, you lived your life, Shimon. First you dreamed, picturing the summit in your mind and your soul; and like a professional climber, once you were able to envision the State of Israel on the next summit -- you would begin the arduous climb, dragging us all with you, toward the objective.
You were able to move the most intractable of statesmen and thaw the hearts of our toughest adversaries. You strove toward the pinnacle of the Zionist dream -- an independent country living in peace with its neighbors -- and you received the most distinguished recognition, the Nobel Peace Prize.

Shimon Peres: A Life for Israel
The death of Shimon Peres yesterday at the age of 93 is a moment to take stock not only of one of the most remarkable Jewish figures of the last hundred years but of the history of the state of Israel, which he served for his entire adult life. As a longtime aide to Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, who then went on to serve in just about every significant position of authority in the state, Peres’s story is very much that of his nation. And it is in that context, rather than solely through the prism of some of the policy choices he advocated, that his enormous contributions to Israel must be judged.
As one of Ben Gurion’s “boys,” it was Peres more than any other person, in his capacity as the director general of the Defense Ministry, who helped build Israel’s security infrastructure and its defense industry. His diplomacy was key to the alliance Israel struck with France in this period. That not only led to the Suez Campaign of 1956 (a great success for Israel even if it was a disaster for Britain and France), Israel’s acquisition of its first generation of sophisticated weaponry, and the birth of its nuclear program. He went on to follow his boss out of government and into opposition but he resurfaced as a leader of the Labor Party and served in a variety of posts, including minister of defense and two stints as prime minister despite never winning a national election in his own right.
But it is not for his role as the organizer of Israel’s defense in an era when its security hung by a thread that he is best remembered. Rather, his political legacy rests more on his actions as foreign minister, when he served in the government of his longtime bitter rival Yitzhak Rabin in the early 1990s. Peres was the driving force behind the decision to reach out to the Palestine Liberation Organization and to try and end the conflict with the Arabs that had begun long before Israel’s founding. Though he shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Rabin and the PLO’s Yasir Arafat, he was the one who not only pushed hardest for the agreement that would be known as the Oslo Peace Accords but was also the one who actually believed in what they were doing.
Peres liked to describe himself as more of a philosopher than a politician. This label explained his devotion to the idea that a land-for-peace deal could end decades of warfare in the face of facts that persuaded more sober figures it was bound to fail. His goal was not so much a security agreement as the creation what he hopefully described as a “New Middle East”—the title of the book he wrote about his objectives published in the midst of the post-Oslo euphoria in 1994—in which the dangerous neighborhood in which the Jewish state dwelled would be transformed into a Benelux on the Mediterranean.

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