Archive for January, 2017


Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

The following article was first published in The Huffington Post by co-authors Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean, Simon Wiesenthal Center and Museum of Tolerance, and Dr Manfred Gerstenfeld, former Chair Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, JCPA.

It is linked here with the approval of its authors.

Each year, the Simon Wiesenthal Center publishes a list of the main anti-Semitic and/or anti-Israel incidents. In 2016 Swedish Social Democrat foreign minister Margot Wallstrom was #8. In view of the recurrent Palestinian terror attacks she could have been expected to ask for an investigation of who was behind the long record of Palestinian incitement which led to murders of Israeli civilians. Instead she wanted an investigation into what she dared to call “extrajudicial killings” by the Israeli police of those succeeding or planning murder.

Israeli Minister of Infrastructure, Yuval Steinitz, noted that Wallstrom singled out Israel for investigation but avoided calling out other nations – including the U.S., Russia and France – all of whom also kill terrorists. Applying such double standards against Israel is an act of anti-Semitism, according to its definition by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). Its adoption had required the approval of 31 democratic countries among which was Sweden.

Minister Steinitz also pointed out that Sweden has produced more Islamic State volunteers than any other European country. Relations between Israel and Sweden deteriorated greatly in 2015 after Wallstrom cited the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as a major reason for growing Islamist radicalism. A year earlier, shortly after becoming Sweden’s foreign minister, Wallstrom recognized ‘Palestine’ as a state. She did this despite the fact that the largest Palestinian party by far, Hamas, promotes genocide of Jews in its Charter.

Read the rest of the article here.

Worrying differences between Democrats and democrats

Monday, January 16th, 2017

May I ask a question in all humility? Because I genuinely don’t understand some of the thought processes involved.

Here goes:

I appreciate there are a lot of people who don’t like US President-elect Donald John Trump. And there are also a lot of people who like him.

Equally, there are a lot of people who don’t like current US President Barack Hussein Obama. And lots who did and still do.

Not too difficult to follow so far.

But for all the criticism of Obama during his eight years in office, duly elected according to the laws and regulations governing free and democratic elections, we never saw the plethora of threats, lawfare, name-calling, mudslinging and more that we are seeing regarding Trump. Neither did we see the previous incumbent try to hamstring President-Elect Obama during the transition period. Nor did we see public criticism of Obama before he had even put his foot inside the White House. Quite the opposite, Obama was universally lionised – before having achieved anything. The point being that not just in US society, but globally too, the incoming President was given every opportunity to prove himself, to get the job done.

And quite rightly too – every person taking on this immensely powerful and responsible job, that of the President of the United States, needs to be given the greatest possible opportunity for doing the job properly. So much rides on the success of a successful US President.

Yet here’s what I don’t quite get: for all those who do not like Trump – and they are perfectly entitled to their views, such is the beauty of democracy and free speech – is there a special, invisible cut-off point beyond which being a Democrat requires you to stop being democratic in your outlook? I mean, you don’t like Trump, I get it. Really I do. Just as there are people who detested Nixon, Carter, Clinton, Bush, Obama, there are people who detest Trump.


But how does this justify the relentless dismantling of the democratic institution that is the US electoral process, simply because the results of that democratic process didn’t pay the expected dividends in terms of the favoured Democratic winner?

Isn’t that what democracy is about? That every now again – let’s say every four years – there’s going to be a national leader who happens not to appeal to every single individual voter in the country?

I’m not a US citizen, but it is frightening to observe from afar the feeding-frenzy that ensued after democratic elections failed to re-elect a Democrat to the highest office in the nation. The fallout, the language, the methods and taunts and insults and undercurrent of violence, are not doing Democrats any favours.

And Democrats need to do themselves a lot of favours so that they can compete against the Republicans in the democratic process and retake power in future elections. It’s what the whole process is about – the smooth transition of power, back and forth, even to people you may not like.

Because that’s kind of the whole point of democratic elections – at any given point in time, there are going to be a whole lot of people who like the incumbent, and those who don’t and who didn’t vote for him or her.

You want to take down Donald Trump? Excellent. Take him down for what he actually does. Which means waiting for him to start his job. Otherwise we are in the position we were in eight years ago, with a US President who received the highest global accolade, the Nobel Peace Prize, for nothing he’d actually done.

Both extremes equally undeserving and equally insulting to the individual’s integrity – praising someone for what he hasn’t yet had time to achieve, and criticising someone for what he hasn’t yet had time to achieve.

Criticise Donald Trump by all means – in fact, please do so since no leader should ever be allowed to get so comfortable that he/she feels unassailable and thinks there is no need for accountability on his/her part.

But keep it real. Justifiable. Base it on a measurable track record. For the sake of US democracy.

Which actually impacts democracy in the few remaining countries that still practise this noble form of social coexistence.

Sweden works behind the scenes to cut off Israel at the knees

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström has now taken her seat on the UN Security Council.

This is the seat she purchased using the tax revenues of hard-working Swedish breadwinners.

In her opening speech outlining what she envisions as Sweden’s focal areas during its tenure at the UNSC, there was one short sentence – a phrase only, really – that has received little attention and that has been largely ignored by the world media.

And by Israel.

Which is dangerous omission.

Because it is Wallström’s key ambition during her period at the helm: she says that in the UN Security Council “The use of the veto must be limited.”

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström:

“The use of the veto must be limited.”

If you work in the Israeli government, or are an employee of the Israeli Foreign Ministry such as the Israeli ambassador to Sweden or the UN, read that sentence again.

The Swedish Foreign Minister aims to remove the last remaining vestige of support blocking universal condemnation of the Jewish state for (1) being a state for the Jews, and (2) protecting itself.

And she intends to do so by removing the veto right (that is to say, traditional US vetoing of endemically vicious anti-Israel resolutions).

Margot Wallström writes:

“The countries of the world have spoken. Now it’s up to us to shoulder the responsibility that awaits.”

The automatic majority of UN member states, whose Security Council Margot Wallström now heads, are anti-democratic, theocratic, Islamist and otherwise autocratic regimes. In “shouldering the responsibility” these states have given her, it would be wise to prepare for what she has in store.

For one country, and one country alone.

The Jewish state of Israel. She intends to sever the last pillar of support for Israel by cancelling or at least severely curbing the United Nations Security Council’s veto right. A veto right that until Obama was used to prevent anti-Semitic targeting of one and only one UN member state at the UNSC.

Israel. Because it is the state for the Jews.

Take note. And start operating proactively.

That means NOW.