Steven Plaut

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Left's Selective Campaign for Universal National and Military Service

By Steven Plaut



   The last Israeli election was bizarre.  In a country facing existential threats to its existence from across its borders and massive jihadi genocidal terrorism, the largest election issue was the conscription of religious yeshiva students into the army.  This became the main issue of the election thanks to the success of Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid Party and also thanks to Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home Party.  Both parties did so well that they allowed a government coalition to be formed without the Ultra-Orthodox chareidi parties for the first time in many, many years.   And, since the election, much of the energies of the new government have been devoted to finding ways of forcing the ultra-Orthodox to serve in the army or at least do national service like the rest of their fellow citizens.


      My own position on this is clear.  I favor eliminating the exemption of yeshiva students from military service, and, without quibbling about details, I endorse the initiatives to end the disgraceful exemptions for them from serving.  I reject the argument that these people need exemptions to study Torah.  I am all in favor of studying Torah.  I study Torah myself and I see no reason why a person cannot study Torah if that person also serves his or her country and works for a living.  


     In fact, I will state this more strongly.  Real traditional Judaism proclaims that people who attempt to exploit their positions as students or teachers of Torah for personal gain are guilty of the worst forms of sacrilege and abomination.  This means not only that the seeking of exemption from military service on grounds of one's studies is a disgrace, but seeking any sort of financial arrangement by which one benefits financially from Torah study is just as prohibited and obscene.  That means that yeshiva students need to work.  If Rashi (the leading Torah commentator of the Middle Ages) and the Rambam (Maimonides) could study Torah while making a living and working for their sustenance, then so can yeshiva students in 21st century Israel.  Those who live as parasites and leeches on the financial handouts from the rest of society, extorted through the political process, all supposedly for the sake of studying Torah, are guilty of the worst forms of sacrilege or Chilul Hashem, and that is an Orthodox Rabbinic judgment from the Talmud.


      Ironically, holding such a position puts me and those like me in the same political camp (for a rare change) with the secular Left in Israel.  It has been chortling with delight at the prospects of ending the wholesale exemptions from military service for the Ultra-Orthodox, and any time the Left is happy about something, the rest of us need to be on the lookout.


      But there is a greater irony to all this.  The secularist Left has been prancing about and peacocking its grand moral stand in favor of military service for yeshiva students, preaching about the high morality of national service and universal conscription for the entire population (although never proposing expanding it to include Arabs).  Service is patriotic, it is part of basic citizenship, it is the duty of all Israelis, so they insist in the usual leftist herd unison.


    There is one itsy-bitsy problem in all this.  It turns out that the very same secular Leftists who are so proud of themselves for demanding universal conscription and military service for the ultra-Orthodox are PRECISELY the same people who have been running the campaign on behalf of Natan Blanc.  He is a 20 year old make-pretend conscientious objector who has refused to serve in the Israeli military for political reasons and is now the national poster boy for the Left and especially for Haaretz, the Palestinian newspaper printed in Hebrew. 


     Blanc, first of all, is not religious at all and has no moral positions based on religious belief.  He also is not a pacifist.  He explains quite candidly that the reason he refuses to serve in the Israeli military is because he is opposed to "occupation."  In other words, he wants an exemption from military service because he disagrees with national policy on ideological grounds.  Blanc has been arrested 10 times, has sat in prison for 177 for disobedience and insubordination and refusal to serve, and yesterday the Israeli government weenied out and decided to release him from prison.  It thus granted legitimacy to the position of the Left, which holds that people who disagree with government policy should be exempt from serving in the military.  See this story:   Haaretz has been serving as Blanc's PR service and has run story after story praising and saluting him.  Blanc has also become the patron saint of the rest of the Left, who squeal delight over his great moral devotion and principled conscientious objection.   Finally, Blanc's father, David Blanc, is a math professor at my own school, the University of Haifa, and has been (mis-)using university facilities to promote the campaign on behalf of his son, in coordination with Uri Avnery's radical anti-Israel Gush Shalom mini-movement (see ).


    So how come the very same people so ecstatic about ending the exemption from military service for yeshiva students are leading the campaign to grant exemption to Natan Blanc?   Well, the answer is obvious.  Far leftists are fundamentally anti-democratic.  They believe that people should serve their country ONLY when their country is doing what the Far Left wants, and in this case the far Left wants Israel to duplicate Gaza's Hamastan in the West Bank, leading to Israel being drenched in a barrage of hundreds of thousands of missiles, and also it wants Israel to "withdraw" from Jerusalem and grant the "Palestinians" the "right of return" and affirmative action preferences.  The Left not only thinks that far leftists like Blanc should be exempt from military service.  It also thinks that people in general should be exempt from obeying the law as long as Israel refuses to follow the diktats of the Far Left.  Should not leftists and Arabs be exempt from paying taxes as long as Israel refuses to implement the policies advocated by Saudi Arabia and John Kerry?   Why stop at military service - why not make all obeying of laws conditional on the government adopting the policies advocated by Ilan Pappe and Noam Chomsky?


     And if Israelis stubbornly refuse to implement the agenda of the Far Left voluntarily, then international pressure and sanctions should be implemented against Israel to coerce Israelis into submitting to the will of the 2% of society that comprises the radical Left.  The leading voice advocating such international pressures to subvert the sovereignty of the Israeli voter has been Amiram Goldblum, a radical leftist professor of pharmaceutical studies at the Hebrew University and a founder of "Peace Now."   See .    (Goldblum was also the initiator of that pseudo-survey a few months ago claiming to show that Israelis favor apartheid.)


   Blanc, by the way, does not claim to be religiously opposed to all use of arms, which has been the basis for exempting some Quakers and others in the US from military service (back when the US had conscription).   Blanc is not religious at all and as far as I know does not oppose all uses of force or arms in all cases on principle.  I suspect he would applaud any international military effort to defend Syrian civilians from the assaults by the Assad regime.  Blanc just opposes the use of arms by Israel as long as Israel refuses to duplicate Hamastan in the West Bank and abandon Jerusalem.  Blanc also did not offer to do non-combatant military service in the IDF, such as serving as a cook or male nurse or janitor.  Most Israeli soldiers by the way are non-combat personnel (in fact I was one such) and Blanc would have no problem finding such a position.  


      So now that Netanyahu and his team have once again chosen the cowardly path and capitulated to the protests by the Leftists supporting Blanc's exemption from service and release from prison for insubordination, just how are they going to justify their campaign for universal service for the yeshiva students?




Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pseudo-Research at the IDI about "Discrimination"

By Steven Plaut


    I am sure that you all recall the "research" at the Hebrew University from a few years back that claimed to find "evidence" showing that the reason Israeli soldiers do not rape Arab women is because the Jews are such racists.   That "research" was done by a graduate student, Tal Nitzan, in sociology.  Her thesis supervisor was Eyal Ben-Ari.  If his name is familiar it was because he was later convicted of raping his own Hebrew University students and was dismissed.   I guess he was just trying to prove he was not racist.  (see


     Well if you enjoy reading about "research" in Israel that derives conclusions that directly contradict the evidence, then you will love the latest "research" coming out of the Israel Democracy Institute or IDI.  This is a leftwing "think tank" that promotes the political agenda of Israel's remaining Left.  The new "research" was written by one Tanya Steiner, who is the IDI's point-gal for churning out "research" about inequality in Israel.  Steiner also is the IDI's promoter of affirmative action programs in Israel.  The new "research" in question was supervised by Prof. Mordecai Kremnitzer, who is a senior IDI honcho and also a professor or law at Tel Aviv University (


      The new IDI "research" by Steiner (with input from Kremnitzer) concerns the activities of Israel's Commission on Equal Opportunities in Employment.  This is a relatively new regulatory body set up supposedly to promote equality in the workplace.  The Commissioner is sent complaints by people who feel they have been victims of discrimination.  Steiner's "research" on the commission appears as a chapter in a propaganda book that has been published by Macmillan called "Palestinians in the Israeli Labor Market."   You will not be surprised to hear that the book has nothing to say about Palestinians in the Israeli Labor Market.  Rather it discusses Israeli Arabs in the Israeli labor market.  It adopts the now trendy rhetorical invention by Israel's far Left of referring to Israeli Arabs as Israeli Palestinians.  That book also includes chapters written by some of the worst far-leftist Marxist sociologists in Israel.


     A Hebrew synopsis of the "research" appears in a report in Haaretz' Marker today (in Hebrew this is at ).  The main "finding" of Steiner is that Israel is such a racist and discriminatory place that only 3% of all of the complaints from people claiming to be victims of discrimination come from Israeli Arabs (who are around 18% of the workforce)!    Really! 


        Yes, it turns out that only a tiny proportion of complaints sent to the Commissioner on Equal Opportunity in Employment in 2011 (the year investigated) were submitted by Arabs.  A full 46% were sent in by Jewish women, the rest by others (she does not report how many were sent in by Orthodox Jews!).    Only three of the complaints received in the entire 2011 year by the commission about alleged discrimination against Arabs were deemed worthy of investigation.  Now an ordinary citizen might be tempted to interpret this as a great success for Israel and for Israeli Arabs, where the numbers indicate how rare are cases where there are even allegations of discrimination against Arabs in the workplace.


   Ah, but not for the IDI and for Sistuh Steiner.  Her "research" concludes that the low numbers just show how hopeless Israeli Arabs regard their dire circumstances, where they do not even think it is worthwhile filing complaints about the massive universal discrimination against them.  In short, the absence of complaints about discrimination against Arabs in Israel proves how widespread and awful is discrimination against Arabs.     


    And so Steiner and Kremnitzer join Nitzan Tal from the rape thesis in the grand new club of pseudo-researchers in Israel who prove their thesis by citing evidence that shows that their thesis is completely bogus.
2.  Oh dear, it is getting so complicated to be sensitive and politically correct on Israeli college campuses these days.


Take the University of Haifa (please!).  It just became the first university in Israel to decide to shut down for all the holidays of Israel's non-Jewish minorities.   So it will not hold classes or exams on Christian, Moslem, or Druse holidays.   The local tenured Left had been pushing for this for years, as well as demanding that Christmas trees be displayed all around the campus in late December and that all signs on all buildings appear not only in Hebrew and English but also in Arabic (never mind that Hebrew and English are the only languages of instruction).


As you can imagine, this creates a number of logistics problems.  What happens during Ramadan?  Will the campus shut down for a full month while Moslems fast during daylight hours?   And remember that Ramadan can fall any time of year because the Islamic calendar is divorced from the solar cycle.


But the really serious problem the University of Haifa will have involves Christmas.   The problem is this:  which Christmas?  For universities in the west where all Christians are Catholic or Protestant, the problem is simple - you make it December 25.  But remember that the Christian community in Israel is a dazzlingly diverse crew.  And different churches hold Christmas on different days using different calendars.  The Russian Orthodox hold Christmas in mid-January and there are plenty of such Russian Orthodox folk in Israel.  I think the Greek Orthodox hold theirs on a different date in January and there are also plenty of Greek Orthodox in Israel.  Then there are the Copts, the Armenians, the Caucasus Georgians, the Assyrians, and a dizzying list of other traditions, each with their own dates and calendars. 


If the University of Haifa ONLY shuts down on December 25, would not all these other groups of Christians have legitimate grievances and sue for discrimination?  And if the university shuts down for ALL possible dates of Christmas, the whole semester might as well be cancelled.


And we have not even asked about Kwanzaa.   Surely there are "Black Hebrews" in Dimona who celebrate that!   And Festivus, for people who watch the Seinfeld show.  And how come atheist or pagan holidays do not count?  How about the solstices or Wiccan celebrations?


Ah, the dilemmas of the sensitive!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Inventing 'Jewish Terrorists'
Posted By Steven Plaut On May 28, 2013

News headlines in the US over the past few weeks have focused on political targeting there by the Internal Revenue Service against conservative groups.  But Israel is now experiencing a far worse form of political targeting by the state.  In Israel the Attorney General is leading an initiative to have a small group of radical juveniles who engage in mischief declared to be a terrorist organization.

The group of politically motivated Jewish vandals operates under the name "Tag Mechir" or "Price Tag."   They were founded as a response in kind to Arab rock-throwing and general acts of vandalism against Jews perpetrated in the West Bank and in some other areas.  Much of their "activity" consists of writing graffiti on cars and homes of Arabs or Jewish leftists.  Their worst acts of misbehavior have involved vandalizing mosques.   The local police have been unsuccessful in tracking down and arresting those involved, but the perps are thought to be young religious juveniles from settlements in the West Bank.  The media find them as fascinating as the postman who bites the dog.

Most of the political "Right" in Israel, including most conservative and pro-settler organizations and parties, regard "Price Tag" as an embarrassment.   The vandals have been condemned by almost every rabbi in the country, including those identifying with the "Right."  The legitimate Right fears the "Price Tag" mischief and pranks will alienate the general public.  Conservative pundits, and I include myself in this group, have suggested that the proper way to deal with the "Price Tag" juveniles is with a hickory switch behind the woodshed.

The Price Taggers have damaged property and needlessly provoke Muslims and others in the most explosive region of the world.  But they have killed no one.  They do not engage in actual violence against humans, except for some revenge-rock-throwing.  The same leftist establishment seeking to define these jackanapes as terrorists bends over backwards to excuse rock throwing by Arabs against Jews as "protest," even when it maims children.  The liberal media refuse to label THAT terrorism, but are cheering on the initiative to battle against the "Jewish terrorists" from "Price Tag."  Their crimes are closer to fraternity pranks than to actual terrorism.

Moreover, this is not the first initiative by the Israeli political establishment to distort the definition of terrorism as a political bully club against rightist activist groups.   In the past,  Israel (and the United States) defined the radical "Kahanist" organizations as "terrorist organizations."  The Kahanist splinters are tiny militant anti-Arab groups whose positions and opinions are regarded as "racist" and "unacceptable" by the politically correct camp.  The Kahanists had run as a political party in Israel in the 1980s and briefly had a small parliamentary representation.  They were later banned because their political opinions were considered perverse.  But since when does holding bigoted opinions make one a terrorist?   The same politicians who banned the Kahanists proclaim the Holocaust Deniers of the "Palestinian Authority" to be "peace partners."

The Israeli government, urged on by the US, later attempted to criminalize the Kahanists and deny them freedom of speech and expression.  It is said that the true test of one's devotion to freedom of speech is in one's willingness to defend it for those whose opinions one abhors.  The number of professors of law in Israel (who invariably hold leftist opinions) and "civil rights activists" who have spoken out against this arbitrary denial of constitutional rights to the Kahanists is exactly zero.  Members of Israel's chattering classes are always willing to defend freedom of speech for those holding opinions of which they approve.

So now the same underhanded trick of dictionary distortion is being utilized to battle against the "Price Tag" vandals.  Instead of engaging them in debate or denouncing their behavior in the media, the government prefers to deal with them by redefining terrorism to include fraternity pranks and spank-worthy petty vandalism.

As it turns out, in many cases leftists and Arabs themselves have vandalized Arab property, including damage to olive trees, as provocations to be blamed upon "settlers" and the "Price Tag" group.  Presumably "Tag Mechir" is happy to accept the "credit" for these, even when it is not involved.   When a mosque in Israel's Galilee was vandalized, the press and the chattering classes instantaneously named "Price Tag" as the perps.  Later in turned out the vandalism was done by some local Arabs who live in the same town.  None of the many cases of synagogues being vandalized by Arabs have been defined by the government as terrorism, even when the vandalism is perpetrated by officials in the PLO.

The initiative to proclaim the "Price Tag" group a terrorist organization has come from Israel's politicized leftist Attorney General, Yehuda Weinstein.   It was quickly endorsed by members of the leftist herd.  Political hacks from the Likud joined in, including the Minister of Internal Security, as did Netanyahu's Minister of Justice, Tzipi Livni from the Kadima faction.   So did the head of the Shin Bet intelligence agency and the dean of one of the law schools in the country.

Attorney General Weinstein has a long track record of "differential prosecution."  This is manifested in his refusal to prosecute leftists and Arabs, while running a special surveillance agency to spy on right-wing Jews.  When an Arab fascist Knesset Member participated in the "Hamas flotilla" seeking to end Israel's naval control of the waters around the Gaza strip and when she violently attacked Israeli soldiers, Weinstein refused to prosecute her or even ban her from running in the elections.   Weinstein has studiously defended freedom of speech, but only for radical leftists and Arabs, while just as studiously seeking its suppression for everyone else.  He has repeatedly indicted rabbis and others for "incitement" and "racism" when they dare to express political opinions with which the Left disagrees, even prosecuting people for catcalls at a soccer game, but has never indicted any leftists for calling for murder, for mutiny by soldiers, or for other acts of violence.  On the other hand, Weinstein pursued a frivolous and openly partisan prosecution against rightist leader Avigdor Lieberman for trumped up evidence-free allegations of "corruption."

So what exactly are we to make of this initiative to declare  a group of juvenile vandals and punks a "terrorist organization."   The most obvious problem with it is that it cheapens and empties the entire notion of terrorism of any substantive meaning.  If some teenagers engaging in fraternity-like pranks and malicious graffiti are in the same category with the genocidal suicide bombers of Hamas and al-Qaeda, then how bad can the Islamofascist terrorists really be?

But what is at least as outrageous is that the initiative is really nothing more than an assault against freedom of speech inside Israel.  It is an arbitrary attempt to criminalize the political behavior of a fringe group, while ignoring the violence being perpetrated all the time by groups from the other end of the political spectrum.

"Price Tag's" worst acts of misbehavior have involved petty vandalism and graffiti, including a few cases of vandalism against mosques.  But the "Anarchists Against the Wall" organization that operates in Israel engages in actual violence against actual Israeli soldiers and police every single week.  For years they have been joined by fellow anarcho-fascists from overseas, and hold violent confrontations and assaults against Israeli security personnel, supposedly all as part of their "protests" against Israel constructing its security fence against Palestinian terrorists.  They oppose that fence because it makes it more difficult for Palestinians to send suicide bombers and other terrorists into Israel to murder Jews.

None of the people promoting and cheering on the initiative to proclaim "Price Tag" a terrorist organization have endorsed the idea of defining the "Anarchists Against the Wall" as a terrorist group.  Why not?

The answer of course is that the "anarchists" are promoting the agenda of the Far Left and are seeking Israel's extermination.  The "Price Tag" people may be misguided delinquents in need of a time-out in their rooms but they are strongly pro-Israel and patriotic.

The "anarchists" are not the only violent group from the Far Left that has never been proclaimed a terrorist organization by Israel.  Members of the openly pro-terror "International Solidarity Movement" or ISM (which should actually stand for "I Support Murder") wander the country at will, engage in violence, sometimes get deported, but are never defined as members of a terrorist organization.  Neither are any of the anti-Israel Islamic and Arab fascist organizations that operate in Israel.  The "Islamic Movement" operates legally in Israel; it is openly pro-terror and is a barely disguised surrogate for Hamas.  Its leader called for suicide bombings against Jews.  It has never been proclaimed a terrorist organization.  Neither have the openly jihadist political parties and movements popular among Israeli Arabs, including the Stalinist communist party HADASH.  Arab student organizations have endorsed Hezb'Allah and al-Qaeda but have never been proclaimed terrorist organizations.

Similarly, Jewish radical leftist organizations have never been proclaimed terrorist organizations, although in the 1970s one small group of communists was convicted of espionage.   Many of the small leftist Jewish groups endorse lawbreaking and treason and mutiny by soldiers and world boycotts against Israel.   Why are they not being criminalized, prosecuted, and defined as terrorist groups?

So like with the political targeting of conservatives in the US, Israel's political establishment prefers to deal with dissidents disliked by the Left by legislating and regulating them out of existence.  All at the price of democracy.

Friday, May 10, 2013


By on September 1st, 2011


The Derfner affair began as an esoteric incident noticed only by
English-speaking Israelis. Where the ex-columnist for the Jerusalem
Post Larry Derfner was fired by the Post after he had published
criminal support for random murders of Jewish civilians by Arab

It has grown as the radical Left rallies to endorse Derfner and
support the inalienable right of Arabs to murder Jewish children. Far
leftists are coming out in droves to cheer Derfner's justifications
for terrorist mass murders of Jewish civilians. The international
news agencies have reported the story, as has the Jewish Telegraphic
Agency. Leftist blogs are ranting against the "fascist censorship" by
the Post and the suppression of Derfner's "freedom of speech."

Suddenly the far Left is outraged that the Jerusalem Post "suppressed
diversity of opinion and pluralism" by sacking Derfner.

But of all the members of the Derfner lobby, the most notable of all
is the writer of a blog entry in the Huffington blog. It is written
by none other than Haaretz senior editor Bradley Burston. I really
think you need to read his comments in full here:

Burston complaining that pluralism and diversity of opinion at the
Jerusalem Post are being jeopardized by canning the squirrelly little
cheerleader for terrorism? Burston, the senior editor at Haaretz
having an opinion about diversity?

Well, the delightful part of this is watching Burston whine about the
loss in pluralism and diversity at a newspaper. That is because he is
employed by the worst totalitarian leftist anti-pluralistic newspaper
in the Western world. The pluralism and diversity at Haaretz are
similar to those in Pravda in the Brezhnev era.

Haaretz is a monolithic engine of propaganda in which virtually no
non-leftist opinion is permitted. Its editorial pages are uniformly
far-leftist, anti-Zionist and semi-communist. Once a week a token
Right-winger is allowed to publish an Op-Ed. Usually Moshe Arens or
Yisrael Harel, and the token slot is obviously there so that Haaretz
editors like Burston can roll their eyes in hurt feelings whenever
anyone says Haaretz has no pluralism or diversity.

The leftist anti-Israel propagandizing at Haaretz fills the paper and
is not restricted to the editorial page. Aljazeera may be a less
biased, less one-sided news source than Haaretz. News stories at
Haaretz are daily distorted to give them far-leftist ideological
themes and twists and messages. Letters to the editor at the paper
are censored and non-leftist letters banned. I never read the sports
pages there but I would not be surprised if half the sports news
stories are devoted to the evils of settlers and Orthodox Jews and the
need to convert Israel into a bi-national state.

While liberal newspapers like the NY Times and Washington Post have
their biases, those biases do not dominate each and every page in the
newspaper, and non-liberal opinion pieces are published there often.

Not at Haaretz. There is only one single correct point of view
permitted in Haaretz, and it is ALWAYS the far-leftist anti-Israel
Post-Zionist view.

So here we have the spectacle of an editor for a newspaper that
suppresses all diversity of opinion and imposes its political bias
even upon the most minor news story, and he then comes along and
whines about the Jerusalem Post not living up to its proud tradition
of permitting pluralism and diversity!!

Read Burston's little rant.

The first thing you will notice is that Burston is running his
comments on the Huffington Post blog, an unbalanced non-pluralistic
blog in which no conservative is permitted to publish. This is where
he chooses to bitch about insufficient pluralism at the Jerusalem

The second thing you will notice is how many lies Burston manages to
squeeze into this one page. First he dismisses the idea that Derfner
endorsed terrorism, claiming that "some readers" mistakenly thought so
and that Derfner's words were misunderstood.


All you need to do is read Derfner's actual column, which can be read
Derfner justified and celebrated the right to murder Jewish civilians
as resistance against Israeli evil.

Burston then insists that Derfner's call for murdering Jews was a
mistake and a misunderstanding.


He calls Derfner an exceptional columnist. Liar. By exceptional
maybe he means Derfner is as bad a liar as Burston is. After the
a-Dura hoax was exposed, Derfner insisted that those who fabricated it
were not so wrong because Israel so often intentionally targets other
Palestinian children. Derfner also could not contain his adoration of
the flotilla terrorists attacking Israeli unarmed troops.

Burston is a liar liar with a kafiya on fire.

Burston writes, the "management of the Jerusalem Post has caved in to
what amounts to a political boycott." No it didn't. It simply
maintained simple standards of decency. Unlike Haaretz.

Burston is suddenly all in favor of pluralism and diversity. But
never, Stalin forbid, at the his own employer, the Palestinian daily
newspaper published in Hebrew with its 6% market share.

Want to tell Burston what you think? He is at

Well I must be doing something right because I have upset the far-leftist anti-Israel anti-democratic Bradley Burston, an English language columnist for the Palestinian newspaper published in Hebrew (and English), Haaretz, although 'twould better be named al-Ard.


Poor little Bradley (that is the name for a Jew???) is upset that I suggested that Stephen Hawking be sent for a cruise on the Achille Lauro.  Bradley says I was calling for Hawking to be killed.  Actually all I called for was for Hawking to get a free cruise during which he can contemplate what his Palestinian terrorist friends did to Leon Klinghoffer.


Here is Little Bradley's kvetch:


Targeting Stephen Hawking and Dustin Hoffman: Right-wing 'pro-Israel' advocacy as hate speech

Increasingly, the rabid far-right 'pro-Israel' camp is carrying out repulsive, hate-filled attacks on Jews whose most cherished wish is to see a stronger, more democratic Israel. It is time to take a stand.

By Bradley Burston | May.09, 2013 |


Professor Steven Plaut teaches business finance and economics at the University of Haifa. He also writes articles, pamphlets and blog posts intended to defend Israel.

This is what he offered in defense of Israel this week, in response to physicist Stephen Hawking's decision to boycott next month's Presidential Conference in Jerusalem, over Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.

"I have a suggestion," Plaut wrote on Wednesday, in a reference to the wheelchair-bound noted scientist, and to a 1985 incident in which Palestinian gunmen commandeered an Italian cruise ship, murdering a disabled American Jewish passenger and throwing his body overboard:

"I suggest that the people of Israel send Hawking for a free trip on the Achille Lauro!!"

Plaut's argument, that the proper punishment for boycotting Israel should be execution, was only slightly more obscene than that of attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of the Shurat Hadin-Israel Law Center Organization, a right-wing pro-Israel not-for-profit whose stated primary goals include "defending human rights" and conducting a "civil war" in court against global terror.

In a statement, Darshan-Leitner alluded to the fact that Hawking is almost entirely paralyzed and communicates through a speech generating device:

"His whole computer-based communication system runs on a chip designed by Israel's Intel team. I suggest that if he truly wants to pull out of Israel he should also pull out his Intel Core i7 from his tablet."

For years, prominent voices on the ostensibly pro-Israel far-right have been competing to see who can be the most outrageous in cruelty, the most childish in bullying, while pursuing a career in what they call Israel advocacy.

Just last week, the New York-based Jewish Press, which describes itself as "the largest independent weekly Jewish newspaper in the United States" and "a tireless advocate for the state of Israel," published a news article that used classic anti-Semitic imagery in the service of a right-wing polemic on Israel.

Taking actor Dustin Hoffman to task for accepting the Muslim Public Affairs Council's invitation to present an award to the Academy Award-nominated film "Five Broken Cameras," Jewish Press correspondent Lori Lowenthal Marcus wrote:

"Hoffman is someone whose Jewishness seems to have played very little role in his life other than as a trigger to anti-Semitic bullies, and the fact that his height, his nose, his nasal voice and his plucky, outsider roles are all stereotypically Jewish."

Later, Marcus, who also serves as president of the far-right Z Street Israel advocacy organization, concludes:

"So, in the end, Dustin Hoffman with his honking nasal voice and Semitic nose may be emulating the pattern of the mindless good-looking movie stars against whom he rose as the iconic non-handsome, non-sexy male movie star of the counter-culture years."

Increasingly, the rabid "Pro-Israel" far-right has taken on as principal targets Jews whose most cherished wish is to see Israel become a stronger, more democratic, more livable society.

Commentator and media personality Pamela Geller, whose bread and butter "pro-Israel" tack is hatred of Muslims, has branched out to target writer and editor Peter Beinart as a "vomit-inducing kapo."

Geller, at times borrowing her writing style from Stormfront, has also called the Daily Beast's Beinart "the pet Jew turncoat" of Newsweek/Daily Beast Editor-In-Chief Tina Brown.

Of columnist Jeffrey Goldberg, Geller writes: "Jihad Jeff Goldberg, from one Jew to another, go to hell. Cuz it's foe shizzle you are going to rot there.

It has to stop. It has to stop here and now. When self-styled pro-Israel advocates on the far-right practice incitement and repulsive bullying to further their cause, when hate speech becomes the go-to tool in their belt, it is time for people who care about Israel's future to take a stand, call them out, shut them down, fight their smirking, obscene, proudly bigoted pronouncements.

The "pro-Israel" far right takes full advantage of – even while scorning – its liberal opponents' beliefs in freedom of expression and tolerance for democracy's sake.  [Translation - how dare non-leftists exercise freedom of speech! -- SP]  Their vile views regularly grace newspaper columns and are granted platforms by synagogues and Jewish organizations.

And it's only getting worse. It may have been anger over the realization that most Western Jews disagree with them, it may have been input from the high-IQ snots of Im Tirtzu, it may have been the sense that their beloved settlers have won a final and permanent victory in Israel, but of late, something terrible and growing is infecting far-right "pro-Israel advocacy."

It has to stop. We have to stop meekly putting up with it. Otherwise, as we've seen a number of times recently, if smartly dressed thugs of the right can disrupt a serious debate on Israel's future by booing and delegitimizing a two-state solution as being anti-Israel, the way forward is clear.

If the bigots, the fanatics, the Apartheid apologists, the velveteen fascists of the pro-Israel far-right are freely granted platforms as respected "experts" on Israel, no one who hates Israel as bigoted, fanatic, Apartheid-ruled and fascistic - no one who wants to see Israel ostracized to death - will ever need to say another word.

The Plauts, the Gellers, and a host of others will have already done their work for them.

(Burston piece was also cited at length in the anti-Semitic UK newspaper Guardian today and on other anti-Semitic web sites)


The Burstons should all volunteer to be blown up for peace by their Palestinian mentors as support for the protest against apartheid and the continued occupation and oppression of Palestinians.

As for Little Bradley's snooty comments about the Im Tirtzu students, all of whom are actual bona fide students, Little Bradley holds nothing beyond a BA from Berkeley, an institution  at which I taught for more years that he was a student there.  His bio does not say what he studied there.  I am pretty sure it is not what I teach.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Wednesday, May 08, 2013


   I am afraid I am trying your patience today but I now need to correct my earlier correction.  The original story about Stephen Hawking boycotting Israel turns out to be correct.  The announcement that this was a hoax turns out to be wrong and was itself a hoax.  I realize this is frustrating and confusing.  Apologies for my role in the confusion.


     I have one important proposal.  Israel, it turns out, is a leading player in research on ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, which is what Hawking has.  See, although there are lots of other stories about this on the web.   I would like to propose that if Israeli researchers discover a cure for the disease, it should be refused to Stephen Hawking.   After all, we would not want to compromise his strong moral stand on behalf of the "suffering Palestinians"!   And boycott for the goose is also boycott for the gander.  Let us not put Hawking into any uncomfortable ethical position now that he has decided to join the BDS terrorists and boycott Israel.  So let us help him avoid compromising his principles and simply let him know in advance that he will be denied any cure for ALS that ever comes out of any Israeli institution or research.


 Statement on Professor Hawking and Jerusalem conference:

8 June 2013

A University spokesman said:

"We have now received confirmation from Professor Hawking's office that a letter was sent on Friday to the Israeli President's office regarding his decision not to attend the Presidential Conference, based on advice from Palestinian academics that he should respect the boycott.

"We had understood previously that his decision was based purely on health grounds having been advised by doctors not to fly."

This has now been confirmed on numerous web sites including and

Apologies.  Evidently the British Guardian, an anti-Semitic newspaper almost as biased as Haaretz, was the source of the story and reports are now coming out that it was a hoax. 



   Stephen Hawking, the well-known physicist in the wheel chair, is joining the jihad against Israel.  As reported here (,7340,L-4377536,00.html ), Hawking is boycotting a conference in Jerusalem as protest against "Israel's treatment of Palestinians."   He says it is "based on his knowledge of Palestine," which evidently does not include the simple fact that there is no such country as Palestine and no such thing as a Palestinian.   Hawking has never boycotted the UK because of its illegal occupations of Ulster, Scotland, Wales, Gibraltar, the Shetlands, the Falklands, or the Isle of Wight.  I am also unhappy with Israel's treatment of Palestinians, since I consider it far too weak and namby-pamby and pusillanimous, but I do not think that is what Hawking meant and I am not boycotting Israel over it.


    Hawking of course is not the first Nobel Prize winner to demonstrate complete idiocy when it comes to the Middle East.  Even inside Israel and even if you ignore the political Nobel Prizes (like the one Shimon Peres got), there are three Israeli Nobel Prize winners who have proven that they are total leftist morons when it comes to politics.


   Having noted all this, the question remains of how Israel should respond to the malicious comments by Hawking and his toadying for the BDS terrorists.


   I have a suggestion.  I suggest that the people of Israel send Hawking for a free trip on the Achille Lauro!!



    [For those who do not recall the event, in 1985 terrorists from the PLO took over the cruise ship Achille Lauro and murdered the wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer, dumping his body into the ocean. See   There is a small memorial to Klinghoffer in Haifa's Rambam hospital, which I visit regularly.]  

Tuesday, May 07, 2013


    The Israeli Left Defends the Inalienable Right to Defame

By Steven Plaut



   Oh dear.  The Left in Israel is all upset again about yet another "fascist assault against democracy" coming from the non-left.   Periodically the Left has conniptions whenever a law is proposed that would rein in the atrocities of the Left.  You will recall how upset the Left got when it was proposed that transparency laws similar to those in effect in the US be introduced to require that anti-Israel NGO's reveal the sources of their funding.   Another "fascist" proposed laws that upset the Left sought to require a pledge of loyalty to the country by those sitting in the Knesset, Israel's parliament.  Another proposed allowing those groups of businesses in Israel injured by the efforts of anti-Israel leftists who organize international boycotts and sanctions against Israel to sue those instigators in Israeli civil court for damages.


    In any case, the latest bugaboo of the Fascist Left in Israel is what people are calling the "Jenin Jenin Law."  As you recall, a slanderous lying propaganda film was made by Mohammed Bakri, entitled Jenin Jenin, accusing Israeli soldiers of conducting genocidal mass murders in the Battle of Jenin in 2002 (see .  In that face-to-face street battle in which Israel attempted to capture and kill wanted terrorists, numerous Israeli soldiers were killed and some 20 Palestinian civilians were killed in the crossfire.   The Israeli army was criticized inside Israel for not using artillery to level the buildings containing the terrorists and thus save Israeli military lives. 


     Bakri made a Goebbels-like propaganda film, one he himself later admitted was a tissue of lies ( ).    (See also .)  The soldiers involved in the battle filed a defamation lawsuit against Bakri.  Later leftist activist judges on the Supreme Court tossed out their suit as "infringing freedom of speech."   That is correct, the same Supreme Court that has upheld rulings that criticizing the public political activities of anti-Israel leftist traitors is "libelous" was unwilling to convict Bakri of libel and slander. 


      Well, many years too late, the Knesset is now considering a new law that would grant the legal standing to sue people making false defamatory claims about the actions of soldiers.  The idea is that if someone claims falsely that Israeli soldiers carried out some sort of atrocity or crime against humanity and it could be proved that the claims are lies and the person making the claims knew they were lies, than the liar could be sued for defamation in civil court.   Anyone who has any evidence of actual misbehavior by any soldier would of course be protected from being sued.  Any soldier or civilian could file civil suit against the liars.  Read more about the law here:


    The Israeli fascist Left of course is up in arms and is screaming to high heavens about this new "assault against freedom of speech and democracy."   This from the very same people who spent recent years cheering on the persecution of rabbis and others for endorsing or recommending a book the Left considered to be racist, or who cheered on the denial of freedom of speech to the Kahanists. 


     The Left insists that defaming Israeli soldiers is part and parcel of freedom of speech.  The very same far leftists who cheer on the leftwing academics who file fascist SLAPP harassment suits against anyone who dares to criticize THEM and tell the truth about THEM are now suddenly all upset about the possibility that leftwing liars could be sued for defamation.


    The leftwing Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni, by the way, opposes the law.  Thus demonstrating once again the foolishness of Netanyahu offering her this post.  All the tenured radicals also oppose the bill and the chat lists of the tenured Left are full of shrill denunciations of it.   Some have taken time off from cheering on the tenured leftists who engage in lawfare and who file SLAPP harassment suits againstthe critics of leftists who dare to exercise freedom of speech.  In a worrisome development, even Yair Lapid, regarded as centrist, shifted to the Left and opposed the bill. 


      The anti-Israel far-leftist daily Haaretz described the law as "criminalizing" the defamation of soldiers ( ) , and as usual Haaretz twists the facts to fit its agenda.  Nothing in the law involves criminalization.  It just defines the defamation of soldiers as a civil tort.    


    Among those praising the initiative to pass the law is the "Im Tirtzu" Zionist student group.   According to the Jerusalem Post: 'Im Tirzu (a political activist group) issued a press release praising the vote, saying that the law implemented "the unwritten, but obligatory, contract between the IDF and civilian society and representatives of the public, which dictates that IDF soldiers will be ready to risk their lives so that every Israeli citizen can live and for the State of Israel to continue to exist."  The statement added that, "as a price for this sacrifice of time, and if necessary, of a soldier's life" there is a duty to "defend them in the parliamentary, judicial and public arenas.'


   According to the text of the bill, "Those who defame Israel, waging a campaign of de-legitimization against it in the international community, who wish to bring about a boycott of the state and its citizens have chosen IDF soldiers as a comfortable target in recent years, fully aware that no legal steps can be taken against them….Though many fabricated claims against IDF soldiers have been exposed over the years, but due to procedural constraints, the soldiers who were trampled and whose reputation was damaged were left without any legal solution."