Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Adon Olam / Happy (Pharrell Williams cover by Listen Up! A Cappella)

Music: “Happy” written by Pharrell Williams
Lyrics: “Adon Olam” from traditional Jewish liturgy by Solomon ibn Gabirol (circa 11th century)

Listen Up! is: Shayna Elliott, Eli Nathan Taylor, Steve Singer, and Freddie Feldman

Vocal Arrangement by: Steve Singer
Audio Produced by: Freddie Feldman and Listen Up!
Recorded, Edited, Mixed, Mastered: Freddie Feldman at VOCOMOTION (
Video Production: Zichronot Video, AY Karsh & Avi Berkman
Assistants: Zev Blumenthal and Ron Gould
© Copyright 2014, Listen Up!. All rights reserved.

Special thanks to the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership

Song available on:


Adon Olam / Happy (Pharrell Williams cover by Listen Up! A Cappella)

Over 190 Hollywood Notables Sign Pro-Israel Statement Criticizing Hamas (Hollywood Reporter)

We, the undersigned, are saddened by the devastating loss of life endured by Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza. We are pained by the suffering on both sides of the conflict and hope for a solution that brings peace to the region.
While we stand firm in our commitment to peace and justice, we must also stand firm against ideologies of hatred and genocide which are reflected in Hamas' charter, Article 7 of which reads, “There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!” The son of a Hamas founder has also commented about the true nature of Hamas.
Hamas cannot be allowed to rain rockets on Israeli cities, nor can it be allowed to hold its own people hostage. Hospitals are for healing, not for hiding weapons. Schools are for learning, not for launching missiles. Children are our hope, not our human shields.
We join together in support of the democratic values we all cherish and in the hope that the healing and transformative power of the arts can be used to build bridges of peace.
Michael Adler
Avi Arad
Tom Arnold
Jeff Astrof
Craig Balsam
Gary Barber
Roseanne Barr
Elana Barry
Jonathan Baruch
Aaron Bay-Schuck
Lainie Sorkin Becky
Steven Bensusan
Adam Berkowitz
Greg Berlanti
Jordan Berliant
Mayim Bialik
Joshua P Binder
Todd Black
Michael Borkow
Scooter Braun
Dan Brecher
Eric Brooks
Dan Bucatinsky
David Byrnes
Omri Casspi
Josh Charles
Etan Cohen
Joe Cohen
Marc Dauer
Craig David
Donald De Line
Matt DelPiano
Josh Deutsch
Minnie Driver
Jack Dytman
Lee Eisenberg
Doug Ellin
Diane English
Dan Erlij
Ron Fair
Dave Feldman
James Feldman
Patti Felker
Sam Fischer
Erica Forster
Gary Foster
Doug Frank
Bryan J. Freedman
Geordie E. Frey
William Friedkin
Daryl Friedman
Michael Fricklas
Jeremy Garelick
Ran Geffen-Lifshitz
Andrew Genger
Jody Gerson
Risa Gertner
Jami Gertz
Gary Ginsberg
David Glick
Jonathan Glickman
Evan Goldberg
Gil Goldschein
Tony Goldwyn
Nate Goodman
Marc Graboff
Kelsey Grammer
Trudy Green
Adam Griffin
Iris Grossman
Phil Hacker
Adi Hasak
Ned Haspel
Andrew Hurwitz
Kathy Ireland
Bill Jacobson
Neil Jacobson
Jonathan Jakubowicz Nathan Kahane
Adam Kaller
Zach Katz
Ryan Kavanaugh
Ron Kenan
Larry Kennar
Kevin King-Templeton
Michael Kives
Courtney Kivowitz
Patrick Knapp
Amanda Kogan
Steven Kram
Erik Kritzer
Peter Landesman
Eriq La Salle
Sherry Lansing
Estelle Lasher
Michael Lasker
Keili Lefkovitz
Carol Leifer
Avi Lerner
Colin Lester
Ben Levine
Susan Levinson
David Levy
Shuki Levy
Linda Lichter
Jonathan Littman
David Lonner
Benji Madden
Joel Madden
Bill Maher
Joshua Malina
Rob Markus
Orly Marley
Ziggy Marley
Bill Masters
Barry McPherson
Brian Medavoy
Jeff Melman
Scott Melrose
Jeffrey D. Melvoin
Rina Mimoun
Michael Morales
Alan Nierob
Michael Nyman
James Packer
Scott Packman
Amy Pascal
Donald S. Passman
Brett Paul
Linda Perry
Richard Plepler
Rob Prinz
Dan Rabinow
Dean Raise
Bruce M. Ramer
David Ready
Ivan Reitman
David Renzer
Hanna Rochelle
Seth Rogen
John Rogovin
Lena Roklin
Zvi Howard Rosenman
Bill Rosenthal
Phil Rosenthal
Brian Ross
Michael Rotenberg
Rob Rothman
Robert Rovner
Susan Rovner
Haim Saban
Nancy Sanders
Mark Schiff
Steve Schnur
Jordan Schur
Sam Schwartz
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Adam Schweitzer
Scott Siegler
Ben Silverman
Sarah Silverman
Martin Singer
Aaron Sorkin
Steve Spira
Sylvester Stallone
Norman Steinberg
Gary Stiffelman
Gene Stupnitsky
Eric Suddleson
Nick Styne
Danny Sussman
Traci Szymanski
Nina Tassler
Adam Taylor
Mitch Tenzer
Fred D. Toczek
Michael Tolkin
Jonathan Tropper
Paul Wachter
Nina Wass
Avi Wasserman
Steven Weber
Bernie Weinraub
Jerry Weintraub
David N. Weiss
Alan Wertheimer
Ron West
Nikki Wheeler
Bryan Wolf
Sharon Tal Yguado
Pete Yorn
Rick Yorn
Show your support for this statement and its signatories by filling out the form below.
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spread our commitment to peace and justice.

Kids of Courage Summer Adventure

Dutch paper actually reports truth from Gaza This is from Trouw, August 11. The original article is behind a paywall; it was translated by the folks at Missing Peace.

Hamas in the city: invisible, but not gone
Monique van Hoogstraten 

GAZA CITY - Since the war started, one population group in Gaza has disappeared from the streets: people in uniform. Army green uniforms, blue-grey uniforms, black uniforms, they were all over the place. From one day to the next they are gone, the men and the few women (of the women police unit) with a weapon or a truncheon in their hands.

They work for Hamas and are targets of Israel, which knows reasonably well who is where via drones in the sky and spies on the ground. So they go into hiding. Only at the Shifa Hospital, the big hospital in Gaza City, are a few sitting in uniform. There, they feel protected from the Israeli bombings. In addition, that is where they monitor the international press to prevent it from doing ‘wrong’ things.

Local camera crews know this, but foreigners do not: Hamas does not want killed or wounded fighters to appear on camera footage. The reasons are twofold. Not giving the enemy Israel PR ammunition, and maintaining high morale among its own population. ‘We suffer no losses’, is the message, ‘we bring a severe blow to Israel’.

“The most casualties are civilians”, says Hamas spokesperson Ihab al Ghoessein, who speaks to the press at the hospital compound about the question how many fighters have died in the war. He is standing before a tall poster with the text ‘The targets of the Israeli bombings are the homes of civilians. Our children live in fear, horror and panic’, illustrated with photos of killed children.

Al Ghoessein: “We hide nothing, like the Israeli’s do [hide things]. As you can see most dead are children and women.” Whether that is true does not matter for Hamas. Yes, there are many civilian casualties and most of the inhabitants of Gaza live in fear, but Hamas likes to exploit this for its PR. Hamas does not present any factual information about numbers of killed fighters or developments at the front. As it also does not want to be criticized by its own population.

“He does not dare to talk to you”, says the wife of someone who has been placed under house arrest because he is known for criticizing Hamas. She too does not dare to tell his story, because ‘we are being watched’. This is the case for most people who are no friends with Hamas. When there was no war yet, they did dare to talk. Not anymore.

Over seventy members of Fatah, the party of President Abbas in the West Bank and very much hated by Hamas, supposedly have been placed under house arrest. This is what sources say in the West Bank. The Fatah supporters have been told that they ‘should stay at home for their own safety’ and that ‘every violation of this order makes you a target for punishment in the field’ - meaning: death penalty.

“The minority that criticizes Hamas that wonders whether it was wise to provoke this war with Israel”, says political analyst Mukhaimer Abu Saada, who now lives in Gaza City himself, “does not dare to say it now, because we are in the middle of the war.”

Although the uniforms might have disappeared from the streets, Hamas has not. High-ranking members monitor in civilian clothes. Whoever talks about Hamas critically on the streets is immediately spoken to. Whoever poses a critical question near security men of Hamas, but also far from them, receives the reply: “You cannot ask that question,” or “I do not want to answer that question.” In war no one is allowed to be a traitor.
What is remarkable is that Trouw does not exactly have a pro-Israel record.

Will Hamas Be Held Accountable for War Crimes?

What Khaled Mashaal forgot to mention was that Hamas and the Islamic State do have at least one thing in common: they both carry out extrajudicial executions as a means of terrorizing and intimidating those who stand in their way or who dare to challenge their terrorism.
According to Hamas's logic, all members of the Palestinian Authority government are "traitors" who should be dragged to public squares to be shot by firing squads. According to the same logic, Mahmoud Abbas himself should be executed for maintaining security coordination with and talking to Israelis.
As for the two executed women, the sources said that their only fault was that they had been observed asking too many questions about Palestinians who were killed in airstrikes.
Hamas's extrajudicial executions of Palestinians suspected of "collaboration" with Israel are a sign that the Islamist movement is beginning to panic in the wake of Israel's successful targeting of its leaders.
But the public executions by firing squad of more than 26 suspected "collaborators" in the Gaza Strip could also turn many Palestinians against Hamas.
Masked Hamas members (dressed in black) prepare to execute local Palestinians who they claim spied for Israel, Aug. 22, 2014, in Gaza. (Image source: Reuters video screenshot)
Hamas has banned the publication of the names of the executed Palestinians "out of concern for the social fabric" of Palestinian society.
In other words, Hamas is afraid that revealing the identities of the executed "collaborators" would spark outrage in the Gaza Strip and possible calls for revenge, especially from the families of the victims.
Hamas says that the suspected "collaborators" were brought before firing squads after being tried before special "revolutionary tribunals" consisting of security experts and officers.
It says that in time of war, there is no room for holding proper legal procedures and that security circumstances require secret trials followed by swift executions.
Yet some Palestinians in the Gaza Strip argue that in the absence of proper legal procedures, it is impossible to tell whether the convicted Palestinians were guilty or innocent.
Sources in the Gaza Strip revealed that some of the executed men belonged to Abbas's Fatah faction and had no connection with Israel.
The Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights was the only group that dared to criticize Hamas for embarking on a spree of public executions in front of passersby, including many children.
statement released by the human rights group said it was following events "with deep concern news about extrajudicial executions in the Gaza Strip."
Noting that among those executed by Hamas were two Palestinian women, the group called on the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to intervene to "stop these extrajudicial executions, regardless of the reason and motives behind them."
Raji Surani, director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, complained that the public extrajudicial executions "cause harm to all Palestinians" and called for "honoring the rule of law and human rights."
However, "honoring the rule of law and human rights" has been a practice alien to Hamas ever since it seized control over the Gaza Strip through a violent and bloody coup against the Palestinian Authority in the summer of 2007.
Back then, Hamas killed dozens (some say hundreds) of Palestinians, including many from the rival Fatah faction headed by Mahmoud Abbas. Fatah members who were not killed during the fighting were later tossed from tall buildings or lynched in public squares.
One prominent Fatah activist, Samih al-Madhoun, was dragged to the street and brutally lynched by Hamas militiamen and supporters.
Over the past few days, Hamas officials have gone out of their way to tell the world that their movement is not like the Islamic State terror organization, which has become notorious for beheading almost everyone it finds standing the way of its creating an Islamic Caliphate.
"We are not a religious, violent group," Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said in an interview with Yahoo News from his luxurious hotel in Qatar. He said that Hamas, unlike the Islamic State terrorist group, operates only in Israel, the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
What Mashaal forgot to mention in the interview was that Hamas and the Islamic State do have at least one thing in common: they both carry out extrajudicial executions as a means of terrorizing and intimidating those who stand in their way or dare to challenge their terrorism.
Even the Palestinian Authority [PA] now seems to be drawing an analogy between Hamas and the Islamic State and other radical Islamist terrorist groups.
Tayeb Abdel Rahim, a senior aide to Mahmoud Abbas, strongly condemned Hamas's extrajudicial executions, adding that that they are "reminiscent of the summary executions carried out by Wahhabi militant groups in other parts of the Middle East."
Abdel Rahim added, "The executions were done in cold blood and according to Hamas law, which is: Who is not with Hamas is against it."
Under Palestinian Authority law, all death sentences must be approved by the president of the PA. But in 2005, PA President Mahmoud Abbas issued a moratorium on death sentences -- a prohibition that did not stop Hamas from pursuing executions under the pretext that the PA president was no longer a legitimate leader since his term had expired in 2009.
It is notable that the latest executions in the Gaza Strip were carried out after the formation of the Hamas-backedPalestinian "national consensus" government a few months ago. These extrajudicial executions show that despite the unity agreement between the two parties, Hamas continues to act as the sole authority in the Gaza Strip, where it has its own security forces, militias and "revolutionary courts."
It is also ironic that Hamas has chosen to execute suspected "collaborators" at a time when it is seen as part of the "national consensus" government that continues to conduct security coordination with Israel. According to Hamas's logic, all members of the Palestinian government are "traitors" who should also be dragged to public squares and the yards of mosques to be shot by firing squads.
According to the same logic, Abbas himself should also be executed for maintaining security coordination and talking to Israelis.
Hamas does not even need to interrogate or hold a trial for Abbas because he recently announced, during a meeting with Israelis in his office in Ramallah, that "security coordination with Israel is sacred."
Sources in the Gaza Strip said that the executed men were affiliated with Fatah and had been suspected of maintaining contact with senior Fatah officials in Ramallah and some Arab countries. As for the two executed women, the sources said that their only fault was that they had been observed by neighbors asking too many questions about Palestinians who were killed in Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip over the past few weeks.
Hamas's hysteria has seen it turn not only on its political rivals in Fatah and innocent Palestinians, but also against its own followers. According to sources in the Gaza Strip, Hamas arrested more than 250 of its own members after Israel last week killed its three top military commanders, Raed al-Attar, Mohamed Abu Shamaleh and Mohamed Barhoum.
The public executions in the Gaza Strip are a sign that Hamas is losing the war with Israel, particularly in the intelligence field. The three slain Hamas commanders are said to have been hiding inside a tunnel 30-meters [100 feet] deep, beneath a house in the southern town of Rafah. But this did not prevent the Israel Defense Forces from locating them and killing them. For Hamas, this is a serious security and intelligence blunder.
That is why Hamas is nervous and anxious to show that it is capable of responding to the targeted killing of its commanders. And there is nothing easier than dragging men and women into public squares and executing them in public after declaring them Israeli "agents."
The extrajudicial executions will be added to the long list of crimes committed by Hamas against Palestinians. But the question remains whether the international community will ever hold Hamas accountable for its war crimes. Judging from the apathy of the international community and the United Nations to Hamas's extrajudicial killings and other crimes, probably not.

Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News: The terrorists who used their own families as human shields

We have been looking at B'Tselem's list of families who were killed in airstrikes. We showed that 42 people were killed when hey "hosted" terrorists in their homes.

What about families who had a terrorist member? How many were killed because the terrorists stayed with them?

B'Tselem lists:

The Hamad family (6 members, including terrorist Hafez)
The al-Batsh family (18 members, including terrorist Yazid)
The al-Ghanam family (5 killed including terrorist Mahmoud)
The a-Shaer family (4 killed including terrorist Salah),
The al-Astal family (3 killed including terrorist Ashraf)
The Hasanein family (3 killed including terrorist Salah)

To this we can add (from the Meir Amit Center list)

The al-Hayya family (5 killed including terrorist Osama)

That is 37 more civilians killed because Hamas and its partners choose to fight in civilian areas. Chances are pretty good that these homes also served as major Hamas command and control centers.

With only a little effort we have now identified 79 civilians killed because terrorists and terror infrastructure were in their houses.

I just accounted for about 5% of all Gaza deaths (79 civilians plus 12 terrorists), and probably 8% or so of civilian deaths,  being a result of military targets in civilian areas, only from looking at one B'Tselem page.

Why isn't the professional media doing this sort of analysis?

Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News: HRW not quite sure who is executing "collaborators" in Gaza

This HRW press release reads like a parody:
Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip should urgently act to stop executions of Palestinians accused of providing information to the Israeli military and appropriatelypunish those behind the executions, Human Rights Watch said today. News reports saidunidentified gunmen believed to be acting on instructions from Hamas executed three people on August 21, 2014, 18 people on August 22, and four people on August 23.

Hamas officials told journalists that local courts had tried and sentenced some of the men to death for “collaborating with the enemy” but gave no details and did not release their names, ostensibly to protect their families. Gunmen carried out executions in an empty park and in a public square in Gaza City, and near a mosque in Jabalya, not at the Interior Ministry location where local regulations authorize carrying out judicial executions.

“Amid all the carnage in Gaza, it’s abhorrent that Hamas officials are adding to it bypermitting, if not ordering, the summary execution of Palestinians deemed to be collaborators,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Hamas authorities need to stop these extrajudicial killings.”

Hamas and its armed wing, the Izz el-Din al-Qassam Brigades, have not officially taken responsibility for the killings. However, a statement on a Hamas-affiliated website, Al Rai, said that, “The current circumstances forced us to take such decisions.” The statement did not elaborate. Earlier on August 21, Israeli airstrikes killed three senior members of the Qassam Brigades, and targeted the home of Mohammed Deif, the leader of the armed group, whom Israel has unsuccessfully targeted in multiple attacks over the years.”

Another Hamas-affiliated website, Al Majd, reported that the “resistance” had killed three alleged collaborators and arrested seven others on August 21. Citing a “security source,” the website claimed the victims had been tried by “revolutionary procedures,” but did not provide further information.

On June 2, Hamas had formally withdrawn from its role governing Gaza with the creation of a “technocratic” unity Palestinian government, consisting largely of officials from the rival Fatah political faction. However, Hamas continues to exercise de facto authority in Gaza. Hamas’s failure to investigate or prosecute anyone for public executions in the past, including executions for which its armed wing claimed responsibility in 2012, has, at the least, created an enabling environment for such gross abuses.

On the morning of August 22, 11 people whom Hamas officials later described as alleged collaborators were executed in al-Katiba Park, near al-Azhar University in Gaza City, according to news reports. A Gaza-based journalist told Human Rights Watch that the park was empty of other people at the time. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights reported that two of those executed were women. Unnamed security officials in Gaza told journalists that local courts had convicted some of the 11 people, news reports said.

Several hours later, hooded gunmen in black clothing without identifiable markingsexecuted another seven men whom the gunmen had lined up against a wall outside the Omari mosque in Gaza City, before a large crowd, a local journalist and news reports said. Accounts from witnesses reported in the media said that the names of the men executed were not given. Photographs published in the media show the victims with their heads covered and their hands tied.

Human Rights Watch viewed a printed notice stating that the “ruling of revolutionary justice was handed down” against the men killed outside the mosque. It was signed by “the Palestinian Resistance,” not by any official body, suggesting that Hamas may not have carried out these executions. However, Al Majd website said that “revolutionary military trials” had convicted the seven men. The website also stated: “The resistance has begun an operation called ‘Strangling the Necks,’ targeting collaborators who aid the [Israeli] occupation” and “kill our people.”
Hamas staged the "trials," Hamas pronounced them guilty, Hamas groups have taken responsibility in the past for executions of people in Hamas jails, all this happened after major Hamas leaders were targeted - but HRW is still not quite certain if Hamas was behind these executions. Perhaps it was a completely new group that just sprang up out of nowhere that found these alleged spies against Hamas and decided to mete out Hamas justice against people Hamas sentenced to death.

All HRW notices is that the "resistance" is taking credit.

Guess what Hamas means?

It is an acronym for arakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah - which means "The Islamic ResistanceMovement."

Oh, and by the way - Hamas did admit that they did the executions before this was published.

HRW is never this careful when accusing Israel of supposed human rights violations. The organization has no problem hurling accusations without caveats and without reasonable evidence against Israel all the time - for example, by saying flatly that Israel attacks civilian areas with no military value, or that everyone killed is a civilian even when they are not.

For terrorists who brag about targeting civilians, though, HRW is very, very careful not to hurt their feelings. The "human rights" organization is protective of the people who hide behind masks yet don't even give Israel an opportunity to answer accusations before rushing to publish anti-Israel reports.

Now, why would that be?

To his credit, Ken Roth did squarely blame Hamas in his tweet linking to this report.

To his discredit, he pretended that the "Hasbara crowd" was upset that he said something normal for once. (They weren't.)

Must be a "biased human rights NGO crowd" thing.

Here's the newsflash, Ken: You limit your criticism of the Hamas terror group as much as you can, only condemning what cannot possibly be denied and interpreting international humanitarian law in the most conservative way possible for them. You do the exact opposite for Israel. That's how we know you are biased. 

By the way, given how many times he tweets a day, the impression one gets is that Roth's actual job is the operator at HRW's social media desk, not the person who runs the entire organization.

Leo McKinstry: Why Israel has the right to defend itself

Today in Britain we have our own army of useful idiots, made up of those self-styled progressives whose obsessive hatred of Israel leads them to collude with the vicious excesses of the pro-Palestinian movement.
In the twisted narrative of the anti-Israeli brigade, the Hamas rulers of Gaza are battling for their oppressed people against the brutal, racist military regime run by Binyamin Netanyahu.
But this is a complete moral inversion of reality. In truth, Israel is a bulwark of democracy forced by the lethal forces of anti-Semitic Islamism to fight for survival.
Far from representing liberation and progress, as many progressives absurdly claim, Hamas is a brutal organisation that aims to impose totalitarian Islamic rule.
Along with other jihadist out-fits like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Boko Haram in Nigeria, or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, it forms part of a monstrous theocratic death cult that wants to destroy our civilisation.
Genocidal aggression towards the non-believer is a key element of this cult.
Visceral loathing for the Jewish state is the central impetus behind Hamas, reflected in its relentless barrage of indiscriminate rocket attacks against civilian targets in Israel.
What is extraordinary is that western progressives, who love to prattle about their devotion to human rights, social justice and tolerance, should have ended up giving their support to extreme bigotry.
They eagerly march in their thousands against Israel, accusing the Jewish state of genocide, yet remain silent in the face of the lethal oppression practised on an epic scale by Islamists.
Smoke rising following an airstrike during the conflict [GETTY]
Israel has an absolute right to defend herself
Leo McKinstry
This was a point powerfully made by Israel's finance minister Yair Lapid in a brilliant speech at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin last week: "In Syria, in Iraq, in Libya, in Nigeria more children are killed in a week than die in Gaza in a decade.
Every week women are raped, homosexuals are hanged and Christians are beheaded.
The world watches, offers its polite condemnation and returns obsessively to condemning Israel for fighting for our lives."
Drawing lessons from the Second World War, Yair Lapid also argued that most Jewish people in Nazi Germany had failed to fight back, even when they were being rounded up on the trains for the concentration camps, because they failed to recognise "the totality of evil" with which they were confronted.
But now, faced by fundamentalist Islam, they would not make the same mistake.
"We will not board the train again," he concluded.
Sadly that kind of resolute language is often ignored in modern Britain.
"Never again" is meant to be one of the themes of our civic life in the wake of the Holocaust, yet anti-Semitism is now a growing force in our society, fuelled by the political fixation on the Left with Israel.
Masquerading as pro-Palestinian anti-Zionism, this prejudice is openly expressed by Muslim hardliners and their progressive sympathisers.
So recently a Birmingham supermarket was attacked by a mob for stocking "Israeli" products, while the manager of another store in London took kosher food off the shelves to avoid the fury of the pro-Palestinian bigots.
In the same vein a London theatre withdrew backing for a Jewish film festival because the event was partly funded by the Israeli embassy.
The aim of the pro-Palestinians is to turn Israel into a pariah state, like apartheid South Africa in the 1980s.
Tragically this campaign is succeeding.
The tension has devastated the lives of thousands [GETTY]
But it is Hamas, in all its Islamist addiction to persecution, violence, misogyny and racial hatred, that should be the real pariah.
At the weekend, in another display of its barbaric methods, it cold-bloodedly murdered 21 of its own citizens who were said to be informers for Israel.
These killings, dressed up as summary "executions", make a mockery of all the wailings from Hamas supporters about the loss of civilian life in the conflict with Israel.
Eleven murders, carried out by a firing squad in front of Gaza's main mosque, were given religious sanction by the local imam.
"We have to protect our mujahideen and back them, not let the Zionist occupiers easily target them," he said.
That just shows the profound anti-Semitic spirit that lies at the heart of Hamas.
Indeed the organisation's founding charter of 1987 states that "the Day of Judgment will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them".
Like the butchery of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the murder of civilians provides a terrifying insight into the mentality of Hamas.
Since taking over the governance of Gaza in 2006, the sinister group has created a climate of fear and repression in this land.
The penal code has been reformulated to permit public lashings, severing of limbs and execution by stoning.
Schoolgirls are forced to wear the hijab, gays are denied any civil rights.
Meanwhile, the war against Israel is carried on with a pitiless lack of compassion, such as the use of their own civilians as human shields.
Similarly, the pro-Palestinian campaigners like to ignore the fact that 160 children from Gaza aged between 12 and 13 have died in the construction of underground tunnels to be used by Hamas militants against Israel.
There will never be peace in this region until the Palestinians and their allies recognise Israel's right to exist.
Until then, Israel has an absolute right to defend herself.
The alternative is the terrible dark of Islamist theocracy.

Just a Bit More Beheading than We Are Used To

There has been a debate in the UK press suggesting we should hope that some of these ISIS killers come back to Britain, realize that jihad was all a phase and then head off to university for the start of the new term.
The beheading of James Foley was terrible, she stressed, "because we don't know what [his] views were."
Is there a time when even "combatants" -- or anyone else -- should be treated in this way? And who is to say who is a combatant and who not?
Who is surprised? That is one question I have most wanted to know since the video was released of the murder of American journalist James Foley. The politicians keep expressing it. And interviewers have kept asking people whether they feel it. But who can honestly say that he was surprised to learn that the murderer of the American journalist turned out to be a "British" man?
American journalist James Foley (left) is shown kneeling beside the British jihadist who murdered him moments later (Image source: Islamic State video)
Did anyone really still think that a British Islamist would not be capable of doing this? Why wouldn't he do it in Iraq or Syria if his allies had already done it in London? After all, it was only last year that two other Islamists beheaded one of our own soldiers – Drummer Lee Rigby – in broad daylight in London. And it is only twelve years since another Londoner – Omar Sheikh – arranged the abduction and decapitation of another American journalist, Daniel Pearl.
What is shocking is that expressions of "shock" seem to be regarded as an adequate response. Prime Minister David Cameron has pronounced himself "appalled" by the act, and made clear that he "utterly condemns" it. As though anyone should ever have expected him to think otherwise. But this is to a great extent what government policy is reduced to in Britain, as in the United States. Politicians briefly break off their holidays in order not to do anything much, but to be seen to be doing "something." And they then make sure to stand in front of the cameras and say how opposed they are to "something." It is the denigration of people in positions where they actuallycould do something, to the level of the commentariat.
The question, as written here before, is not how sorry any one political leader feels about such savagery, but what they are going to do about it. And here in Britain, we are in something of a bind. We can deal with fringe details. But we are incapable of having the real debate or taking any real action that is needed. In lieu of such action, the political classes are left floundering, desperate to cling to any point, however unimportant, in order to look as they are acting.
So in the wake of the release of the Foley murder video by ISIS, the British Labour party's Shadow Home Secretary attempted to take political advantage of this affair.[1] The truth is that the Labour party seized on this debate because it was the debate they knew best, and the one they are most comfortable going round and round on. Even the remarks of the former Conservative party Security Minister -- Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones -- who was reduced, on the BBC's Today program, to suggesting that the solution to tackling ISIS is to engage more in social media campaigns against the group. Neville-Jones is regarded as somewhat hawkish. But that even people of such stature are reduced to this, reveals something important.
Atrocity after atrocity is perpetrated by Muslims radicalized in the UK, and the debate over what to do about it remains bizarrely circumscribed and ineffectual. Surely somewhere in the conversation and response should be the expression of a desire for a strategy against ISIS which has at its base the utter eradication of the group -- wholesale battlefield victory against them, killing their members and leadership in their entirety. Would that not be a desirable objective? I have yet to hear a mainstream politician suggest this or even talk in these terms. Indeed, there has been debate in the UK press suggesting we should hope that some of these ISIS killers come back to Britain, realize that jihad was all a phase and then head off to university for the start of a new term.
And then there are the longer-term objectives. Since writing about it in this place, a number of other media have finally picked up one of the most concerning statistics to show the failure of integration at which we are staring in Britain: that more British Muslims are fighting together with ISIS than with the UK Armed Forces. This is just a tip of the problem. On a BBC show after news of the murder of James Foley, I found myself discussing these matters with young British Muslims. All condemned the act. One – the Ahmadiyya Muslim in the group – was superb in his utter abhorrence of violence perpetrated in the name of Islam and his repeated and sincere expressions of pride in Britain and British achievements in the world. But among the others? Well one of them -- a nice and nicely presented young man said that this was totally abhorrent because "a non-combatant should not be treated like this." "Well sure," I was forced to say. "But why only non-combatants? Is there a time when even 'combatants' -- or anyone else -- should be treated in this way? And who is to say who is a combatant and who not?"
Even more concerning was a young woman from Nottingham who spent as much time as possible talking about the "alienation" and "rejection" which a lot of young Muslims feel. It was repeatedly pointed out to her that there isn't a young person of any religion or background who does not feel alienation at some point. The vital question then, is not just whether such a sense of grievance is justified, but whether there are people seeking to manipulate and then play into such grievances and what extremes some individuals might urge vulnerable minds to as a result. A snapshot of my fellow guest's own thinking was available in her own condemnation of the murder. The beheading of James Foley was terrible, she stressed, because among other things "we don't know what [his] views were."
Here again a little peep-hole into a mainstream and radical world view becomes possible. What if James Foley had not been -- as he appears to have been -- a man with a deep desire to bring out the terrible stories and sufferings of the region, but someone who was ambivalent to them? What if he had been the most pro-intervention bomb-them-all-to-hell right-winger? Or a member of the Republican Party? What if he had been a Zionist? Or a Jew?
There are poisonous attitudes and lies going around unmolested in this country. And they are one of the causes of the repeated international shame that is coming down upon us. These ideas -- hatred and suspicion of the actions of Britain, America, Israel and our other liberal, democratic allies -- act as the background music to radicalization. This music plays to exactly the sort of people who are going out to fight with ISIS and exactly the sort of people who think that although they might condemn a beheading in this circumstance, it isn't always a cut-and-dry issue.
The BBC is reporting about the voice of James Foley's killer: "Some experts think the accent sounds like the man comes from London, as it is a mixture of multicultural speech patterns often heard on the streets of the city."
It certainly does sound "like the man comes from London." And as I recall saying after the last decapitation performed by a British man, the unspoken British deal on multiculturalism appears to come to light at such moments. The deal -- the acceptance and accommodation -- appears to be that mass, uncontrolled immigration has brought us all sorts of benefits, including a greater variety of food and cheap labour. The downside is that we have to put up with, among other things, a bit more beheading than we have been used to. But much of the political class appears to be content with this bargain. I beg to differ. As horrors like those of this week mount, a great many more people might feel that way too.

[1] The Shadow Home Secretary said the problem was the government's watering-down of Control Orders -- which had been brought in by the former Labour government. Control Orders give the state the ability to put someone under 24-hour surveillance or house arrest, necessitated by the then Labour government's unwise signature of the European Convention on Human Rights. True, the coalition government – under pressure from the Liberal Democrats in the coalition -- very slightly watered these Orders down to satisfy critics. But this has nothing to do with this case. So far as anyone knows the murderer of James Foley is not somebody who slipped any surveillance measures in the UK. And rather obviously a TPIM or Control Order being slapped on an individual -- however British -- is no use if that particular individual is at present beheading American journalists inside the no-go-zone of the Islamic State. That this was the best the Labour opposition could come up with is telling.

Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News: Egypt still destroying Hamas smuggling tunnels. It also destroyed a Jihadist hospital

From Egypt Independent:
Military spokesperson Mohamed Samir said the Second Army arrested four wanted terrorists in Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah, destroyed a vehicle and six motorcycles without license plates that were allegedly used in carrying out terrorist attacks, and destroyed five tunnels in Rafah.

Samir added that 14 militants were killed in northern Sinai in an exchange of fire in the districts of al-Nosraniya, al-Zawraa and al-Quwaiaat, pointing out that the army arrested a very dangerous terrorist named Sweilam Mohamed Salem Salama.
Clearly, Egypt regards the Islamists it is fighting to be the same as Hamas. It has stopped Gazans in the Sinai attempting to fire rockets towards Israel.

Oh, one other thing: The Egyptian army happily admits that it destroyed a hospital:
Also, a field hospital that was allegedly used by terrorist elements was destroyed and equipment, such as a device to sterilize surgical instruments, an oxygen cylinder, a filter for surgical operations, a device for measuring blood pressure and a furnace for sterilization, were seized.
Yes, the Egyptian army is bragging about targeting and destroying a hospital!

Because they know that the world doesn't care when some people violate international law.

Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News: A former AP reporter blows the whistle on media bias against Israel

This article in Tablet by Matti Friedman is a must-read. Here are some excerpts:

Between 2006 and the end of 2011 I was a reporter and editor in the Jerusalem bureau of the Associated Press, one of the world’s two biggest news providers. I have lived in Israel since 1995 and have been reporting on it since 1997.

Staffing is the best measure of the importance of a story to a particular news organization. When I was a correspondent at the AP, the agency had more than 40 staffers covering Israel and the Palestinian territories. That was significantly more news staff than the AP had in China, Russia, or India, or in all of the 50 countries of sub-Saharan Africa combined. It was higher than the total number of news-gathering employees in all the countries where the uprisings of the “Arab Spring” eventually erupted.

To offer a sense of scale: Before the outbreak of the civil war in Syria, the permanent AP presence in that country consisted of a single regime-approved stringer. The AP’s editors believed, that is, that Syria’s importance was less than one-40th that of Israel.

A reporter working in the international press corps here understands quickly that what is important in the Israel-Palestinian story is Israel. If you follow mainstream coverage, you will find nearly no real analysis of Palestinian society or ideologies, profiles of armed Palestinian groups, or investigation of Palestinian government. Palestinians are not taken seriously as agents of their own fate.

Corruption, for example, is a pressing concern for many Palestinians under the rule of the Palestinian Authority, but when I and another reporter once suggested an article on the subject, we were informed by the bureau chief that Palestinian corruption was “not the story.” (Israeli corruption was, and we covered it at length.)

The Hamas charter, for example, calls not just for Israel’s destruction but for the murder of Jews and blames Jews for engineering the French and Russian revolutions and both world wars; the charter was never mentioned in print when I was at the AP, though Hamas won a Palestinian national election and had become one of the region’s most important players. To draw the link with this summer’s events: An observer might think Hamas’ decision in recent years to construct a military infrastructure beneath Gaza’s civilian infrastructure would be deemed newsworthy, if only because of what it meant about the way the next conflict would be fought and the cost to innocent people. But that is not the case. The Hamas emplacements were not important in themselves, and were therefore ignored. What was important was the Israeli decision to attack them.

There has been much discussion recently of Hamas attempts to intimidate reporters. Any veteran of the press corps here knows the intimidation is real, and I saw it in action myself as an editor on the AP news desk. During the 2008-2009 Gaza fighting I personally erased a key detail—that Hamas fighters were dressed as civilians and being counted as civilians in the death toll—because of a threat to our reporter in Gaza. (The policy was then, and remains, not to inform readers that the story is censored unless the censorship is Israeli. Earlier this month, the AP’s Jerusalem news editor reported and submitted a story on Hamas intimidation; the story was shunted into deep freeze by his superiors and has not been published.)

But if critics imagine that journalists are clamoring to cover Hamas and are stymied by thugs and threats, it is generally not so. There are many low-risk ways to report Hamas actions, if the will is there: under bylines from Israel, under no byline, by citing Israeli sources. Reporters are resourceful when they want to be.

The fact is that Hamas intimidation is largely beside the point because the actions of Palestinians are beside the point: Most reporters in Gaza believe their job is to document violence directed by Israel at Palestinian civilians. That is the essence of the Israel story. In addition, reporters are under deadline and often at risk, and many don’t speak the language and have only the most tenuous grip on what is going on. They are dependent on Palestinian colleagues and fixers who either fear Hamas, support Hamas, or both. Reporters don’t need Hamas enforcers to shoo them away from facts that muddy the simple story they have been sent to tell.

It is not coincidence that the few journalists who have documented Hamas fighters and rocket launches in civilian areas this summer were generally not, as you might expect, from the large news organizations with big and permanent Gaza operations. They were mostly scrappy, peripheral, and newly arrived players—a Finn, an Indian crew, a few others. These poor souls didn’t get the memo.

...In early 2009, for example, two colleagues of mine obtained information that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had made a significant peace offer to the Palestinian Authority several months earlier, and that the Palestinians had deemed it insufficient. This had not been reported yet and it was—or should have been—one of the biggest stories of the year. The reporters obtained confirmation from both sides and one even saw a map, but the top editors at the bureau decided that they would not publish the story.

Some staffers were furious, but it didn’t help. Our narrative was that the Palestinians were moderate and the Israelis recalcitrant and increasingly extreme. Reporting the Olmert offer—like delving too deeply into the subject of Hamas—would make that narrative look like nonsense. And so we were instructed to ignore it, and did, for more than a year and a half.

This decision taught me a lesson that should be clear to consumers of the Israel story: Many of the people deciding what you will read and see from here view their role not as explanatory but as political. Coverage is a weapon to be placed at the disposal of the side they like.

...A knowledgeable observer of the Middle East cannot avoid the impression that the region is a volcano and that the lava is radical Islam, an ideology whose various incarnations are now shaping this part of the world. Israel is a tiny village on the slopes of the volcano. Hamas is the local representative of radical Islam and is openly dedicated to the eradication of the Jewish minority enclave in Israel, just as Hezbollah is the dominant representative of radical Islam in Lebanon, the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and so forth.....Jerusalem is less than a day’s drive from Aleppo or Baghdad, and it should be clear to everyone that peace is pretty elusive in the Middle East even in places where Jews are absent. But reporters generally cannot see the Israel story in relation to anything else. Instead of describing Israel as one of the villages abutting the volcano, they describe Israel as the volcano.

...When the people responsible for explaining the world to the world, journalists, cover the Jews’ war as more worthy of attention than any other, when they portray the Jews of Israel as the party obviously in the wrong, when they omit all possible justifications for the Jews’ actions and obscure the true face of their enemies, what they are saying to their readers—whether they intend to or not—is that Jews are the worst people on earth. The Jews are a symbol of the evils that civilized people are taught from an early age to abhor. International press coverage has become a morality play starring a familiar villain.

Read the whole thing, now.