Dorothy Online Newsletter


Dear Fiends,

This evening’s message contains 6 items, all from our domestic press.  I haven’t had a chance yet to check out the international media.  But even if I’ve missed something, the 6 below cover grounds that are worth reporting.

Item 1 is about new proposed Israeli legislation, which seeks to deny human rights groups that cooperated with the Goldstone commission from having National Service volunteers.  I had intended to ask several of these organizations what percentage of National Service volunteers make up their teams.  But the truth is, even if none do, the issue at stake is political (as the editorial that comes after the report states), and the intention is to besmirch the human rights organizations that do so much to inform us of violations and also act to prevent them.  This legislation is another right-wing move on the way to fascism!

Item 2 is a Haaretz editorial on the same subject, which opposes the proposed legislation.

In item 3 Merav Michaeli demands from Netanyahu to tell us “what yes?” after all the ‘nos.’   We need to know, she insists.  We, the Israeli people, repress our fears, our feelings.  For this to end we have to know what ‘yes’ Netanyahu has in mind for us.  The trouble is, as Merav Michael implies, that he has no ‘yes,’ only ‘no.’

Akiva Eldar in item 4 (“With Netanyahu, the world is always against us”)

likewise criticizes Netanyahu.  But he also criticizes the Palestinians for hedging about going to the UN to ask it to recognize a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.  My feeling is that this is a tactic on their part to put the onus of no talks on Netanyahu.  Palestinians have said that they are ready to talk.  Netanyahu has hedged with his demands, first and foremost that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and secondly that all of Jerusalem be in Israel.  Netanyahu knows full well that these are demands that the Palestinians cannot and will not accept.  So it is smart of them, I  think, to say we prefer talks to going to the UN.  They know before hand that the chances for deliberation with Netanyahu and his crew are nil.

Item 5 claims that anti-Israel sentiment and anti-Semitism are on the rise in Italy, but also confounds anti-Israel with anti-Jewish feeling.  It might very well be true that both exist.  I would not be surprised to learn that Israel’s conduct is the leading cause of sentiments as anti-Semitism as well as anti-Zionism and anti-Israel attitudes.

Item 6 takes pains to tell us that the 2nd flotilla will be coming without weapons, but with many people from different countries, and the reasons for coming.  The propaganda that Israelis get about the flotilla, about Gaza are lies about Gaza not needing humanitarian aid, that the situation is so improved (that’s why there is a desperate lack of medical supplies in Gaza!), etc etc etc.  The flotilla could be made of angels but Israelis would still believe that the aim is provocation, pure and simple.  Thank goodness for people willing to stand up for right, for justice, and to face the consequences.

Keep your fingers and toes crossed that there will be no more murders on this upcoming flotilla, please.  If you can do more, for instance convincing your governments to place sanctions on Israel if it acts brutally to the flotilla, please do.




1.  Haaretz,

June 12, 2011

Israeli rights groups that cooperated with Goldstone may no longer get National Service volunteers

Association for Civil Rights, Amnesty, Public Committee Against Torture and Physicians for Human Rights could lose eligibility under new proposed criteria.

By Jonathan Lis

A new initiative could deprive Israeli human rights organizations that cooperated with the Goldstone Commission from benefiting from National Service civilian volunteers.

Behind the initiative is MK Israel Hasson (Kadima ), who recently asked Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz (Habayit Hayehudi ), the minister responsible for the National Service administration, to formulate new criteria for determining which organizations in the country are eligible to receive National Service volunteers, as part of new legislation that will govern the activities of the National Service.

After conducting an initial investigation, Hershkowitz discovered that among those organizations that receive National Service volunteers are the Association for Civil Rights Israel (ACRI ), Amnesty Israel, The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and Physicians for Human Rights Israel. Hasson’s initiative comes on the heels of similar attempts to impinge on the activities of Israeli organizations that provided information to the Goldstone Commission, while it was compiling its report on IDF activities in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.

Ever since the Im Tirtzu movement published a list of such organizations, focusing in particular on support they received from the New Israel Fund, a number of MKs have put forward proposals aimed at cutting their funding.

In his letter to Hershkowitz, Hasson accused the organizations of slandering the IDF and its officers and called for new criteria to be set to prevent such organizations from benefiting from National Service volunteers in the future. He noted that the groups “urged the UN inquiry committee headed by Judge Goldstone to accuse Israel of anti-humanitarian activities and severe violations of human rights during Operation Cast Lead.”

“The organizations have made statements based on mere assumptions regarding the motives of the IDF actions against Hamas,” Hasson wrote. “They claimed the operation was a punitive one, which used destruction as a means of deterrence and punishment, not as a means for attaining any real military objectives. As a result, it raises serious suspicions about the legality of the entire operation. This was said despite the fact that these organizations did not have the information on which to base such statements.”

Hasson also specifically accused Physicians for Human Rights of meeting with Goldstone in Switzerland in 2009 and of playing an active role in composing a letter to the foreign minister of the then-president state of the European Union, Sweden, “urging him to bring Israel to trial for war crimes and grave violations of human rights.”


2.  Haaretz Editorial,

June 13, 2011

Legislation against human rights groups is political persecution

The new legislative initiative which would ban human rights organizations from employing national service volunteers ignores their democratic mission.

Haaretz Editorial

Kadima MK Israel Hasson’s new initiative under which human rights organizations would be denied the right to employ national service volunteers is pure political persecution.

The proposal is based almost entirely on the claim that these organizations “besmirched the Israel Defense Forces, its officers and its soldiers.”

According to Hasson, certain organizations – first and foremost, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the local chapters of Physicians for Human Rights and Amnesty, and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel – sought to persuade Judge Richard Goldstone to investigate whether Israel committed war crimes during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in early 2009, and even urged the UN inquiry committee he headed “to accuse Israel of anti-humanitarian activity and of grave violations of human rights.”

Hasson is ignoring the nature of the mission that human rights organizations have taken upon themselves – namely, a constant battle to uphold the ethical, humanist values without which a democratic society cannot exist, or, at the very least, could not maintain its democratic image.

Demanding an investigation of the army is neither treason nor slander, as Hasson and his supporters are trying to paint it. Indeed, given that both the army and the political decision-makers shunned a courageous and thorough probe of what happened during Cast Lead – an operation in which hundreds of Palestinians were killed – their application to Goldstone was essential.

Moreover, it’s clear that their involvement with the Goldstone Report is nothing but a transparent excuse on which Hasson sought to hang his desire to embitter the lives of these organizations and intensify the delegitimization campaign against them. And he is not alone. He is supported by more than just a handful of Knesset members, most of them from the extreme right.

But Hasson, the bill’s sponsor, is not a delusional extremist; he belongs to a party that defines itself as Israel’s main centrist party. Yet so far, Kadima chairwoman and opposition leader Tzipi Livni has not responded to Hasson’s proposal. Her silence is particularly worrying because she has until now been viewed as a rock standing firm against the recent wave of anti-democratic legislation.

If Livni truly sees herself and her party as an alternative to the present government, she can no longer remain silent in the face of this campaign of silencing and intimidation.


3. Haaretz,

June 13, 2011

Palestinians march, Israelis repress

The Israeli public has been repressing the big drama of the Nakba and Naksa day marches and the arrival of the Palestinians at the fences on the border with Israel, no one is arguing about it or complaining about it, the public is simply not saying a word.

By Merav Michaeli

Sources in the Israel Defense Forces are of the opinion that the scenes of Nakba Day and Naksa Day are unlikely to repeat themselves. The marches undertaken on those two days by Palestinian refugees to the border with Israel, they say, were not an act of solidarity with the Palestinians and a demand to realize the Right of Return, but rather an attempt to divert attention away from what is happening in Syria.

This is how the army wraps up the events in its familiar language – just as it did on the days when the events took place. Then, military officials and the media first spoke about a surprise in terms of intelligence and then about dealing with it in terms of armed forces and shooting. This is how the army assists the Israeli public in repressing.

And the public in Israel does repress. It denies and completely ignores the big drama of the march and the arrival of the Palestinians at the fences on the border with Israel – not then and not once since then. No one is arguing about it or complaining about it. The Israeli public, which is au courant with media developments, which by and large watches news broadcasts, and which is used to chatting about the headlines as part of everyday small talk, is simply not saying a word about it. Total repression.

At first glance, this is surprising. On second thought, it is completely understandable: It is terribly frightening. It is frightening because that is what they frightened us with. Here they are about to rise up against us – as we say every year during the Passover meal – and more specifically, to throw us into the sea.

On Nakba Day, I wrote here that the citizens of Israel were suffering from schizophrenia. How am I? “Personally, excellent.” Personally it can’t be anything less than excellent because collectively we are a-f-r-a-i-d (as Netanyahu once said about his critics in the media ). But the truth is that personally, we are afraid too. So we don’t speak about it, about how the mass marches by Palestinians to the border are a watershed event that have suddenly created a new option, and a very concrete one at that. It has also created a new level of repression because in addition to being terribly frightening, there is no answer to it.

No answer not as in shooting at legs or firing tear gas, but an answer in terms of what do we say to them. What shall we say to their demands that seem to be so much more justified from close up? And most of all, they are suddenly seen.

This march to the border has turned the words “refugees” and “borders”, which had become cliches, into something totally concrete – flesh and blood, human and close, very close.

Writing on these pages, Aluf Benn compared the Palestinians’ march on Nakba Day to the illegal Jewish immigrants’ boats [during the time of the British Mandate in Palestine] that created an awareness of homeless refugees who wished to find refuge in their land. (Haaretz, 18.5 )

The Palestinians are frustrated and helpless. There is no longer terrorism, there is an initiative by the Arab League, there is an agreement between Hamas and Fatah. What more do you want?

Out of this frustration and sense of helplessness, they are going to the United Nations, out of this frustration and sense of helplessness they come here in their masses and stand at the border and ask: “What yes?”

The citizens of Israel are also frustrated and feel helpless. It is “no” to a Palestinian state, “no” to an agreement about the 1967 borders, “no” to dividing Jerusalem. Okay, fine; but what yes?

Benjamin Netanyahu is certainly not the first to reject all these ideas – far from it. Except for Yitzhak Rabin, all Israel’s leaders since 1967 have rejected them, either explicitly or by holding barren negotiations, or by disengaging.

But what can one do: It so happened that on his watch, the Palestinians started marching on the borders that he calls defensible.

Repression is an effective mechanism that makes it possible for the individual to function despite a trauma. But many times, at a certain stage, the repression and denial are likely to lead to disaster. Netanyahu must stop repressing and denying, and must respond – not to them, to us: What yes?


4.  Haaretz,

June 13, 2011

With Netanyahu, the world is always against us

Benjamin Netanyahu will not miss an opportunity to remind Israel that the world is against us. Never fear, though: he will find some suitable retaliatory measure to straighten up Jewish heads in the face of Israel’s oppressors.

By Akiva Eldar

Benjamin Netanyahu really is no man’s fool. Why should he miss a rare opportunity to remind the people of Israel that the world is against us and that we have to “join hands” in the struggle against delegitimization?

When the uncle in America promises to use his veto power at the UN Security Council, Netanyahu may very well joke that the “automatic anti-Israel majority at the UN” can also vote that the world is flat. The most important thing is that Israel has a guaranteed majority in the U.S. Congress. It’s a shame that all “UN boulevards” across Israel were renamed “Zionism boulevards” back in 1975, in response to a UN resolution that described Zionism as racism. Never fear, though: Netanyahu will find some suitable retaliatory measure to straighten up Jewish heads in the face of Israel’s oppressors.

If the Palestinians didn’t go to the UN, Netanyahu would need to invent this maneuver himself. The sterile attempt to internationalize the conflict rescues the right-wing government from its crash course on the path of negotiating over the partitioning of the West Bank and Jerusalem. As far as Netanyahu is concerned, whatever price Israel would pay (in foreign coins, too ) for yet another toothless UN resolution that would run against the position of the United States and will most probably lack the support of key European states, would still be many times lower than the price of a ticket into the political trap of negotiating on the basis of principles presented by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Accepting Obama’s formula of conducting the talks on the basis of the June 4, 1967 lines, with agreed land swaps, is no mean feat. Netanyahu’s ideological alma mater and the political camp in which he dwells today hold that the lands of the West Bank (or, in their terms, Judea and Samaria, ) are not “occupied territories.” For them, they are “disputed territories,” and therefore any Israeli claim of sovereignty over these areas is every bit as legitimate as a similar claim by Palestinians.

As far as they’re concerned, the Old City and the Arab villages annexed to Jerusalem are not negotiable, as they are “an inseparable part of Israel.” Entering negotiations based on the 1967 borders will soon uncover the fact that the myth of “defensible borders” conceals a real-estate craving. It will quickly become apparent that Netanyahu’s settlement blocs are many times bigger than the lands on the Israeli side of the Green Line that he is willing to hand over to the Palestinians.

And we haven’t yet said anything about the eastern ridge and about the demand that the Israel Defense Forces will keep its troops in the Jordan Valley for decades to come.

Considering the enormous gaps between the parties, the United States, as main bridesmaid of the move, will need to suggest a compromise. On Obama’s desk lies the outline charted by former president Bill Clinton in 2000 – 94-96 percent of the West Bank will become Palestine, in addition to 1-3 percent ratio land swaps, including the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem and sovereignity over the Temple Mount (except the Western Wall ).

Even if Obama could squeeze a generous discount out of the Palestinians, Netanyahu would find it easier to convert to Islam than to sign any such agreement – even if the cost is a break with the United States and a session at Massada.

Fortunately for Netanyahu, the Palestinians are yet again obligingly delaying the moment of truth (or lie ). Steven Simon, the new Middle East advisor at the White House, said this weekend that top Palestinian advisor Saeb Erekat told him that the Palestinians would give up on the UN move if Israel accepted the Obama principles. In other words, the Palestinians are handing Netanyahu the power of veto over the negotiations he’s avoiding like the plague.

When I interviewed Erekat on the 15th anniversary of the Madrid Conference of 1991, he told me that the Palestine Liberation Organization leadership had joined the move because it didn’t believe for a second that then prime minister Yitzhak Shamir actually intended to negotiate the future of the territories.

Yasser Arafat skipped over all the obstacles piled up by Shamir, including the integration of the Palestinian delegates into the Jordanian delegation. “He didn’t understand what we did understand – that things will evolve naturally and that those trying to stop the move will disappear,” Erekat told me, before summing up: “I know Israelis and I know most of them are interested in peace and that Shamir will lose his seat.”

So why are Erekat and his colleagues so interested in keeping Shamir’s latter-day twin in power?


5.  Ynet,

June 13, 2011

Special: Murky wave of anti-Israel zeal, demonization of Jews growing at alarming rate in Italy,7340,L-4081264,00.html

Giulio Meotti

The first months of 2011 have confirmed Italy’s status as one of Iran’s biggest European trade partners, all while the ayatollahs pursue the means to perpetuate a second Holocaust. Rome is doing business as usual with the greatest totalitarian threat to international peace and security since the defeats of Soviet communism and Nazi fascism, providing a lifeline to an Iranian regime that is cruel at home, sponsors terror abroad and preaches anti-Jewish revolt.

Meanwhile, a murky wave of anti-Israel zeal is also growing at an alarming rate in Italy. “The old anti-Jewish libels are now aimed at the State of Israel”, says Stefano Gatti, one of the top researchers at the Center for Documentation in Milan.

Pro-Palestinian activists are threatening to “ignite” Milan, the financial capital of Italy where an Israeli exhibit is going displayed in a central square. Meanwhile, the city of Turin hosted a “cultural festival” where the image of Shimon Peres was used as a shoe-throwing target. For one euro, Italian students had the chance to hit the face of Israel’s president, who was fitted with a Nazi-style Jewish nose.

An Israeli student at the University of Genoa has been harassed and threatened with death by Arab students. Muslim students shouted at him “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) and “Itbach el Yahud” (slaughter the Jews.) Another Israeli student at the University of Turin, Amit Peer, confessed that “the Jews here are hiding their own identity because they risk becoming a target.”

Meanwhile, demonization of the Jews is spreading in the liberal media. Leftist newspaper “Il Manifesto” published a caricature of a Jewish candidate for parliament, Fiamma Nirenstein, with Fascist insignia, a campaign button and a Star of David. The cartoon “Electoral Monsters” was dubbed “Fiamma Frankenstein.”

L’Unità, the official newspaper of the leftist Democratic Party, published an interview with anthropologist Nancy Scheper-Hughes, where she claimed that Israel is a world leader in organ trafficking. The accusation resembled that of the Middle Ages blood libel whereby Jews were accused of kidnapping Christian and Muslim children before Passover in order to murder them and use their blood for matza.

Lists of boycotted Israeli products

Ucoii, the largest Islamic organization in Italy, published an ad in many mainstream newspapers entitled “Nazi Bloodshed Yesterday, Israeli Bloodshed Today.” An Italian court ruled that the Nazification of Israel came under “freedom of expression” and was not a case of incitement to hatred.

In 2009, Italy sent the largest European delegation of artists to an Iranian cartoonist festival on the Holocaust. The cartoons presented the Holocaust as an invention of Jews with hooked noses typical of Nazi propaganda.

Pisa, Rome and Bologna are among the most prestigious Italian universities that annually host anti-Zionist conferences and pro-Intifada speakers. Israeli attaché Shai Cohen was prevented from speaking at Pisa University after a violent attack by students, who called out “butcher, fascist, assassin.” The Israeli ambassador, Ehud Gol, fled Florence University after a similar “protest.”

Meanwhile, the Riccione city council sponsored a meeting against “the militarism of Israel,” explaining that “Israeli governments don’t represent the Jewish people.” The Coop and Conad, two of the largest supermarket chains in Italy, for some weeks last year removed Israeli products from their shelves in the name of a boycott of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. Lists of boycotted Israeli products have been launched also by local Christian communities and leftist groups, targeting L’Oreal, Ahava and other firms.

Flaica, a trade union with 8,000 members working in large-scale retail, promoted the boycott of “all Rome shops managed by Jews” and drew up lists of Jewish-owned shops to be avoided, because of “what is happening in Gaza.” In Rome, a new pro-Hamas Freedom Flotilla has just been presented in the official buildings of the Professional Order of the Journalists, a body financed by the Italian government. Some members of Turkish terror group IHH were also on hand.

Anti-Semitism becoming fashionable

The Foreign Press Association in Rome, a state-funded institution, suspended two journalists, both Jews: Yedioth Ahronoth correspondent Menachem Gantz and French journalist Ariel Dumont. Iranian journalist Masoumi Nejad, who has been arrested for a arms trading involving Italy and Iran, has never been expelled by the association.

Anti-Semitism is becoming fashionable also among the “chattering classes”, intellectuals and academicians. Actress Sabina Guzzanti attacked the “Jewish race” in a primetime television program. Literary guru Alberto Asor Rosa wrote in a book on the transformation of the Jews from “a persecuted race” to “a warrior persecutor race.” Renowned leftist philosopher Gianni Vattimo declared that he had “re-evaluated” “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and now felt they largely reflect the truth about the Jews.

The slandering of Israel is also growing among the most important Catholic journalists. Vittorio Messori, who conducted the first book-length interview with Pope John Paul II, recently wrote an editorial for the Italian daily “Il Corriere della sera” where he stated: “All governments of all Muslim nations are under the tsunami of the violent intrusion of Zionism that has come to put its capital in Jerusalem.”

The growing anti-Semitism is also evident by the security around the largest synagogue in Rome, one of the oldest in the world. The Jewish temple looks like a military outpost: Private guards everywhere, metal detectors and policemen at every corner. The Jewish school looks like a “sterilized area” protected by policemen, bodyguards and cameras. All school windows are plumbed with iron grates. I saw the same in the Jewish homes of Hebron and in the schools of Sderot.

Pro-Palestinian groups just recently marched into the ghetto, shouting “Fascist” and “Assassins” to the Jews, some of them Holocaust survivors. It was here, on 16 October 1943, that 1,200 Jews were deported to Auschwitz; none of the 200 Jewish children came back home. It was here, on 9 October 1982, that an Arab terrorist opened fire on Jews; a two-year old baby, Stefano Taché, became the first Italian victim of anti-Jewish violence since the war.

Not far from the ghetto, in the lower part of the Titus Gate, named after the Roman emperor who destroyed the Second Temple in Jerusalem, someone wrote in Hebrew: “Am Yisrael Chai.” The people of Israel not only had not been destroyed, but defiantly remained alive. It’s comforting to know that there is still someone with the courage to write it.

Giulio Meotti, a journalist with Il Foglio, is the author of the book A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel’s Victims of Terrorism


6.  [thanks to Pnina for calling my attention to this.]

Jerusalem Post,

June 12, 2011

Who we are and what we seek



What participants in the upcoming flotilla to Gaza want Israelis to know.

In a recent op-ed by Yossi Alpher in The Jerusalem Post (“In Gaza, time to try a new option,” June 10) he describes the Freedom Flotilla Two as “Turkishled,” and also concludes that: “the flotilla organizers seek, not the well-being of Gazans, but rather once again to delegitimize and isolate Israel, with Gaza as the excuse.”

These two assertions are not true. It may be that they are not at the heart of Alpher’s text, but this simplified perception of the flotilla is very odd to find in a piece that purports to be analytical. Evaluation of what we do is a matter of judgement and opinion, but the descriptions offered are conspicuously off the point.

So, who are we, and what is driving us?

OUR CRITICISM of the Israeli blockade of Gaza arises first and foremost from the fact that it is unjust, and a violation of human rights. Alpher challenges the blockade as a strategic failure from an Israeli perspective, which certainly seems to be a correct judgement.

From this position, Alpher proceeds to propose different scenarios for action in relation to Gaza: 1. Status quo, 2. a “sealing” of the land borders between Israel and Gaza but without the blockade of the air and sea, or 3. a radical relaxation of the blockade – the alternative he favors – but in a way that would still effectively cut off the two major parts of Palestinian society.

The article by Alpher is in fact actively seeking to delegitimize us, our actions as well as our motives. Of course, that is a problem for us, in our work to restore respect for the human rights of the civilian population in Gaza. But we suggest that this is also a problem for the people of Israel. Far too many analysts, military officers and politicians fail to see the depth and width of public discontent with the Israeli and Egyptian blockade of Gaza in many countries across the world.

Maybe we can stop labeling the flotilla as “Turkish-led”? Yes, the Turkish organization IHH is a partner of Freedom Flotilla Two. Yes, it has a large ship and is involved in humanitarian projects in several parts of the world. Yes, eight Turkish citizens and one American citizen of Turkish descent were killed when the IDF intercepted their ship last year. But IHH is just one of several partners in the flotilla, and the Mavi Marmara will this year – like last year – carry passengers from many parts of the world. Turkey as a state is neither leading nor participating in the flotilla. All the initiators are civil society actors, but with bases in different countries and traditions around the world.

What if the Israeli media on Freedom Flotilla also started to recognize that one of the initiatives of FFII is in fact from the US, and that this boat will have a large contingent of American Jews? There are Jews, Muslims and Christians among the passengers from many other countries too, as well as a considerable number of people who probably are not comfortable with being defined as belonging to any of these groups.

We are not bringing weapons. We are not a “flotilla of hate.”

We are not aiming for the shores of Israel, but for the shores of Gaza. We are not interested in discussing exactly what calorie levels the children and civilians of Gaza can justly be kept at by their Israeli guardians. They have the right to trade, to travel and to build and develop their society.

These are human rights, and the blockade violates every one of them. We are sailing to break the blockade, to practice what most of our governments say: Not only is the blockade not legitimate – it is illegal.

We are not expecting wide support or applause from the Israeli leadership or public.

But we are certain that it can and should handle a reasonably truthful description of the manifold motives that make people unite for this one cause – to end the blockade.

The writer is a spokesperson for the Ship to Gaza Sweden, one of the partner organizations of Freedom Flotilla Two – Stay Human. She has a PhD and works as a researcher and lecturer in economic history at the University of Gothenburg. She is also a member of the editorial committee of the Swedish cultural journal Ord&Bild.

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