Michael Douglas Stands for Israel

(Photo: wikicommons/Georges Biard)

(Photo: wikicommons/Georges Biard)

With our celebrity-obsessed society often so apt to go along with what the rich and famous say, it is disheartening when so many celebrities show themselves to be anti-Israel. Yet, Arutz Sheva’s Jack Engelhard writes that Michael Douglas does not follow the pattern, instead standing for the Jewish state:

Michael Douglas, in Israel to receive the Genesis Prize, needs no introduction. He is big enough and famous enough to take care of himself.

But something happened. Not to him, but to his son, Dylan, and that’s when it really hurts.

Somewhere in Europe, as Douglas described it for the LA Times, 14-year-old Dylan came crying to his father about a verbal attack that took place at a swimming pool. A man took note of Dylan’s Star of David and proceeded to launch an anti-Semitic tirade.

Imagine the pain. This happened last summer and still today, Douglas is worked up with indignation.

He says something must be done about anti-Semitism. Agreed…

…we need voices exactly like that, like those of the Hollywood rich and famous, people like Michael Douglas, to speak up, yes, to denounce anti-Semitism – but it is not enough to be against something. That gets you nowhere. More important is to be FOR something, and to be for Israel would be a good place to start.

Immediately another Douglas comes to mind – Kirk Douglas, Michael’s dad. If any Hollywood actor needs no introduction, this is the man, and what a man. Thank goodness we still have him with us at 98 years old. He is the final link to Hollywood’s Golden Age – and he is a Zionist…

In America, pop culture IS culture, and when Israel can find only one or two friends within the Hollywood elite, somebody else must step up.

Let it be Michael Douglas.

Or let it be David Mamet. This Pulitzer Prize winner is our foremost playwright and a top-notch screenwriter. One day he decided that enough was enough. He quit toying with the façade of being “a…

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Wednesday, June 17th, 2015 at 3:09 PM  | Stand For Israel

No More “Terrorism” or “Terrorists”

(Photo: flickr/  l_suddenly)

(Photo: flickr/ l_suddenly)

With terrorist attacks continuing to occur around the world – from the Middle East to Europe to the United States – the international media has been forced to acknowledge the vile and violent actions of the extremist perpetrators. But that doesn’t mean that biased journalists always identify said terrorists for what they really are. Writing at The Algemeiner, Dr. Daniel Pipes has decided not to describe them as terrorists, instead deciding to “use words like ‘violent,’ ‘murderous,’ ‘Islamist,’ and ‘jihadi,’ words that do not generate a definitional uproar”:

When the British Broadcasting Corporation, the world’s largest news operation, decided in January not to call the gunmen who attacked the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo terrorists, this made an impression on me…

Does it make sense to soldier on, fighting a semantic battle that will never be won? Why argue for a word that everyone agrees is confusing and some find loaded?

Therefore, I too have stopped using “terrorism” and “terrorist” (“counterterrorism,” however, is a tougher word to drop). It’s not worth the fight. Better to use words like “violent,” “murderous,” “Islamist,” and “jihadi,” words that do not generate a definitional uproar. Better not to have to waste time arguing that the U.S. or Israeli governments are not terrorist.

Worse, this argument over terrorism diverts attention from the important fact, which is destruction and murder. Rather than have a debate whether an act of violence meets some theoretical threshold, let’s focus on the real problems…

It has been five months now since these words fell out of my vocabulary, long enough to be able to report that my analyses hold up and my political efforts are undimmed. In fact, I am better off unburdened of it and its vocabulary debates. You would be too.

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Wednesday, June 17th, 2015 at 8:19 AM  | Stand For Israel

Palestinian Unity Gov’t to Resign over Gaza

(Photo: flickr/joegaza)

(Photo: flickr/joegaza)

Over a year ago, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas formed a “unity” government, with the plan of governing both the West Bank and Gaza. Other than their shared animosity toward Israel, the two parties have been unable to cooperate, and The Times of Israel reports that the Palestinian Authority is about to resign because of its inability to act in the Gaza Strip:

“The government will resign in the next 24 hours because this one is weak and there is no chance that Hamas will allow it to work in Gaza,” said Amin Maqbul, secretary general of the ruling Fatah movement’s Revolutionary Council…

Hamas ruled Gaza for seven years but its administration stepped down last June when the Ramallah-based consensus government was sworn in.

Comprised of independent technocrats, the government lineup was agreed by both Fatah and Hamas and was given a mandate to govern both the West Bank and Gaza, ending seven years of separate administrations.

But in practice, it has been unable to extend its authority to Gaza, which was devastated by a deadly 50-day war with Israel last summer and where Hamas remains the de facto power.

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Tuesday, June 16th, 2015 at 2:35 PM  | Stand For Israel

Oren: Obama Abandoned Israel

(Photo: ASHERNET/GPO)

(Photo: ASHERNET/GPO)

Today, former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren wrote in The Wall Street Journal a scathing piece on current U.S.-Israeli relations. The Times of Israel looks at how Mr. Oren faults President Obama for the breakdown in this historically strong alliance:

Oren absolved Netanyahu of some of the incidents, claiming that some missteps were taken by mid-level staffers without the prime minister’s knowledge (e.g., two instances where settlement expansion was announced just as Vice President Joe Biden was scheduled to arrive in Israel)…

Obama, on the other hand, deliberately deviated from several long-held traditions in the US-Israel relationship, aired disagreements in the media, and pointedly skipped over Israel on his first Middle East tour after being elected, he said.

With these very public displays of dissatisfaction with Israel, Obama violated the “no sunlight,” as Oren referred to it, principle of not airing discord between the two governments.

Another principle Oren says Obama did not follow was one of “no surprises,” that is, refraining from public announcements of US expectations of Jerusalem until the issues had first been ironed out away from cameras and microphones.

According to Oren, Israeli leaders typically received advance copies of major American policy statements on the Middle East and could submit their comments.

But Obama delivered his Cairo speech 2009, with its unprecedented support for the Palestinians and its recognition of Iran’s right to nuclear energy, without consulting Israel.

Oren’s account included what he sees as the potentially most harmful consequence of the rift in US-Israeli relations – the negotiations conducted behind Israel’s back with its “deadliest enemy” – Iran.

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Tuesday, June 16th, 2015 at 1:40 PM  | Stand For Israel

Ten Ways Israel Is Treated Differently

(Photo: wikicommons/ א.ינאי)

(Photo: wikicommons/ א.ינאי)

While we are thankful for the many who stand for Israel, there are also so many around the world who are biased – or worse – against the Jewish state. David Harris, Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) brings us ten ways in which Israel is held to a different set of standards than any other country:

First, Israel is the only UN member state whose very right to exist is under constant challenge.

Notwithstanding the fact that Israel embodies an age-old connection with the Jewish people as repeatedly cited in the most widely read book in the world, the Bible, that it was created based on the 1947 recommendation of the UN, and that it has been a member of the world body since 1949, there’s a relentless chorus of nations, institutions, and individuals denying Israel’s very political legitimacy.

No one would dare question the right to exist of many other countries whose basis for legitimacy is infinitely more questionable than Israel’s, including those that were created by brute force, occupation, or distant mapmakers. Just look around at how many nations fit those categories, including, by the way, quite a few Arab countries. Why, then, is it open hunting season only on Israel? Could it possibly have anything to do with the fact that it’s the only Jewish-majority country in the world?

Second, Israel is the only UN member state that’s been targeted for annihilation by another UN member state.

Think about it. The leadership of Iran, together with Iran-funded proxies in Lebanon and Gaza, has repeatedly called for wiping Israel off the map. Is there any other country facing the threat of genocidal destruction?

Third, Israel is the only nation whose capital city, Jerusalem, is not recognized by other nations.

Imagine the absurdity of this. Foreign diplomats live in Tel Aviv while conducting virtually all their business in Jerusalem. Though no Western nation questions Israel’s presence in the city’s western half, where the prime minister’s office, Knesset (Parliament), and Ministry of Foreign Affairs are…

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Tuesday, June 16th, 2015 at 8:28 AM  | Stand for Israel

Instead of Investigating IDF, UN Should Probe Itself

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

As Stand for Israel reported yesterday, some international diplomats and military experts have absolved Israel of any wrongdoing during Operation Protective Edge. However, the U.N. Human Rights Council is to issue its own report this week. Israel Hayom reports that Prime Minister Netanyahu says the IDF’s actions were in full accordance with international law, and Israeli leader Yair Lapid says the U.N., not the IDF, should be under investigation:

At a meeting in Jerusalem with visiting Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna on Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the Israeli government report on the operation that was published on Sunday.

“Yesterday, I received our official government report about last year’s conflict in Gaza. The report demonstrates unequivocally that our military actions during that conflict were in full accordance with international law, that Israel was exercising its legitimate right of self-defense,” Netanyahu said.

“We fulfill our responsibility to protect our people against terrorists who perpetuate and perpetrate a double war crime. Hamas terrorists deliberately target our civilians while deliberately hiding behind their civilians.”

Turning to the upcoming U.N. report, Netanyahu said, “Israel was pronounced guilty before the investigation even began. They appointed a person to head this committee who was being paid by the Palestinians. This committee has more resolutions against Israel than against North Korea, Syria and Iran combined. This tells you what we’re dealing with. So this campaign, these attacks against Israel, these investigations against Israel, have nothing to do with human rights. They have everything to do with politically inspired attacks in a cynical effort to delegitimize Israel using U.N. bodies…”

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said on Monday that the U.N. had “lost its mind.”

“It’s not the IDF — the most moral army in the world — that the U.N. should be investigating, but rather itself,” Lapid said.

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Tuesday, June 16th, 2015 at 8:21 AM  | Stand for Israel

Ex-Generals, Diplomats Absolve Israel of War Crimes

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

Israel’s international enemies are still pursuing charges of war crimes against the Jewish state, for its actions in combating terrorists in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge. But The Jerusalem Post’s Tovah Lazaroff reports that a high-level group of diplomats and military experts have absolved Israel of any wrongdoing after a fact-finding mission there in May:

The IDF acted within the bounds of international law during its war with Hamas in Gaza last summer, a high-level group of former diplomats and military experts concluded after a fact-finding mission to Israel in May, according to the NGO UN Watch.

UN Watch said a full copy of the report had been submitted to the UN Human Rights Council’s fact-finding mission into last summer’s conflict. The two-member UNHRC probe, headed by former New York Supreme Court justice Mary McGowan Davis, is expected to publish its own findings with the next 10 days, possibly as early Monday.

On Friday, Geneva-based UN Watch published sections from a report in support of Israel by the ad-hoc High Level International Military Group, whose 11 members include the former NATO Military Committee chairman Gen. Klaus Naumann of Germany; former Italian foreign minister Guilio Terzi; former US State Department ambassador at large for war crimes issues Pierre-Richard Prosper; and the former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, Col. Richard Kemp.

“During Operation Protective Edge last summer, in the air, on the ground and at sea, Israel not only met a reasonable international standard of observance of the laws of armed conflict, but in many cases significantly exceeded that standard,” the group concluded.

“We saw clear evidence of this from the upper to the lower levels of command. A measure of the seriousness with which Israel took its moral duties and its responsibilities under the laws of armed conflict is that, in some cases, Israel’s scrupulous adherence to the laws of war cost Israeli soldiers’ and civilians’ lives,” the group said.

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Monday, June 15th, 2015 at 8:27 AM  | Stand For Israel

BDS and Hamas: The New Partnership

(Photo: Flickr/ Takver)

(Photo: Flickr/ Takver)

Stand for Israel keeps you updated on the many ways that Israel’s enemies try to attack the Jewish state. From Gaza, Hamas has used rockets and terror tunnels. But Gatestone Institute’s Khaled Abu Toameh reports that the BDS movement has not only emboldened Hamas, but that the terrorist organization counts on boycotts, divestment, and sanctions as much as any other weapons to further its goal of wiping Israel off the map:

Hamas has found new allies: the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Over the past few weeks, Hamas leaders have expressed deep satisfaction with the work of the BDS activists around the world. Hamas is convinced that the anti-Israel campaign will ultimately pave the way for the elimination of Israel.

For Hamas, this is not just about boycotting or imposing sanctions against Israel. Rather, it is about delegitimizing and isolating Israel, and turning it into a rogue state that has no right to exist.

That is why Hamas today believes that it shares a common goal with the BDS movement — namely to destroy Israel. As far as Hamas is concerned, BDS is not about putting an end to Israeli “occupation,” but about ending the existence of Israel.

Hamas supports the BDS campaign to boycott Israeli products, companies and academic institutions. But Hamas, which seeks to destroy Israel and replace it with an Islamic state, believes that such measures are not enough. Hamas wants BDS supporters to step up their activities so that it can achieve its goal of eliminating Israel…

The U.S. universities that allow BDS activists to disseminate their hate against Israel are unaware that these people are serving as Hamas’s ambassadors. Moreover, Western governments, above all the U.S., are unaware that Hamas and its BDS allies also consider them enemies of the Palestinians.

Here is what senior Hamas official Izzat al-Risheq had to say about the U.S. Administration’s public opposition to the anti-Israel BDS campaign: “The attempts by the U.S. Administration to prevent the rise of the political, economic and academic boycott against…

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Monday, June 15th, 2015 at 8:18 AM  | Stand For Israel

Photo Friday: The Lord Is with You

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

“The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” (Judges 6:12)

From defending their country from enemies to providing aid to the world’s needy, the men and women of the IDF are guided and protected by God’s mighty hand. Here, a soldier and his dog, from the IDF’s Oketz canine unit, look out on the Himalayas while in Nepal providing earthquake relief. Shabbat shalom, friends.

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Friday, June 12th, 2015 at 12:35 PM  | Stand For Israel

One Year Later, Exiled Rabbi Returns to War-Ravaged Ukrainian City

(Photo: Olivier Fitoussi)

(Photo: Olivier Fitoussi)

Last summer, The Fellowship set up a makeshift refugee camp for Ukrainian Jews who had been displaced by their country’s war. Since then, Fellowship Freedom Flights have allowed hundreds to make aliyah (immigrate) to Israel, while many more are being cared for in Ukraine. Chabad reports on the chief rabbi of Lugansk – a city torn apart by the fighting – and his return one year later:

Rabbi Shalom Gopin was in a car heading back towards Lugansk. Burned-out shells of cars and tanks littered the side of the highway, and as they drove, Gopin’s driver took care to avoid the missile craters pockmarking the road. War had irrevocably changed this once quiet eastern region of Ukraine.

“Don’t walk too far,” the driver told the rabbi when they pulled over for a short rest. “There are landmines out there.”

The advice was well-taken. At least 42 children have been killed by unexploded ordnances in eastern Ukraine since March 2014—and that’s only in government-controlled territory.

Gopin returned last week for his first visit in a year. The city’s rabbi and Chabad-Lubavitch emissary led his family—his wife, Chani, and their children—out of Lugansk last June as tensions on the street between pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine’s central government came to a head.

The city he left was one teetering on the brink. Arriving back on June 2, Gopin found himself in a battle-worn area he could hardly recognize—now the debris-covered capital of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR). The streets he had come to know so well still looked the same, but somehow, it was all very different.

“Lugansk today is a different world,” says Gopin. “It’s surreal…”

“People are dying in Lugansk because of malnourishment or lack of proper medical attention,” reports Gopin. “Had they been in Israel, they would have survived; had they been in Lugansk just a year ago, it would have been fine, too.”

Members of the Jewish community are slightly more fortunate than the general population because of the aid they receive…

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Friday, June 12th, 2015 at 8:31 AM  | Stand For Israel