Inconsistency in our Approach to Farming Jobs

Have you noticed the almost constant lamentations lately about how President Trump’s executive orders enforcing immigration law will lead to crops rotting in the fields, a dearth of cheap laborers willing to work hard for little pay, and higher prices for our food?

Think about this.

On the one hand, “The Left” screams that we should implement minimum wages of $15/hour, while at the same time, they scream that no American will take agricultural jobs because they’re ‘too hard’, we need “immigrants” to do these jobs that “no American will do”, and paying agricultural workers more would cause a rise in prices of food.

So, if I understand correctly, it’s ok to demand higher minimum wages from non-agricultural businesses, and the assumption is that paying higher wages in, for example, Burger King, Wendy’s, McDonalds, etc. will not cause higher prices, but it’s NOT ok to demand higher minimum wages from agricultural businesses (farmers) because it WILL cause higher food prices?

Am I the only one seeing an inconsistency here?

How is it that higher labor costs impact prices in one segment of the economy, but not another? Am I missing something in my understanding of basic economics? Costs go up, and businesses “adapt” somewhere. Either they raise prices, cut other costs, or take less in profits (if they can and still stay in business).

On the other hand, have you considered that we have a LOT of people on welfare and unemployment, as well as a LOT of people who receive all sorts of other governmental assistance, such as housing, food stamps, subsidized healthcare, but who either do not work, or who earn less than $1,000 per month (the threshold for many assistance programs)?  http://www.statisticbrain.com/welfare-statistics/

Why can able-bodied people on government assistance not work in agriculture, and use their wages to offset the assistance they receive from the government?

Because the work is “too hard”? Because it doesn’t pay “enough”? Even if we continue to give SOME assistance, if someone works 40 hours a week at $10/hour, that’s roughly $1600 per month which could be subtracted from their government assistance. Why should we not do that?

If we assume that only immigrants, or illegal immigrants, can or will do agricultural work because it doesn’t pay well and it’s hard, what are we really saying? That these people are so desperate that they will essentially work as indentured servants or slaves? In what way is that acceptable? Why should we not demand that able-bodied Americans who receive benefits but do not work should not take these jobs in order to keep their benefits? Why is it incumbent on us to subsidize people who are not willing to take ANY available job?

And, if these jobs really ARE “too hard”, or don’t pay enough, then perhaps we should resign ourselves to the fact that we’re going to have to pay a little more for our food because we will pay workers who work those “too hard” jobs a living wage.

You can’t have it both ways.

 

 

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Liberals” – The New “Conservatives”?

Over the past several years, and even more since the most recent election campaign, we have seen many protests by “The Left” –  people who call themselves “liberal”. Many of these protests have devolved into violence.

These protests, such as the one at Berkeley the other day, protesting a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos, turned into a riot, complete with protesters smashing windows, setting fires, and physically assaulting people who simply wanted to hear a lecture. Anti-Trump protests and rallies involved breaking windows of banks and businesses, setting cars on fire, attacking Trump supporters with pepper spray, and more.

We have seen numerous instances where anti-Israel demonstrators have shouted down speakers, assaulted Jews on campuses when they set up displays or tables to talk positively about Israel, and physically threatened or committed violence, usually without consequences from the Universities.

What strikes me most about this phenomenon, other than the fact that those rioting to suppress the rights of people to express their views freely or to listen freely to those views, is that the definitions of “Conservative” and “Liberal” have flip-flopped.

To me, “liberalism” has traditionally been characterized by an openness to new ideas, to exchange of thought, to dialogue, and an acceptance of the fact that different people think differently, and how wonderful it is that we can talk and work out our differences.

“Conservatism”, for me, has been the concept that change should come more slowly and carefully. It is a tradition of preserving values and rights, and a willingness to change IF change can be shown to be beneficial. It generally carries a connotation of acceptance of people based on ability, contribution, and ignores race, ethnicity, religion, and gender as irrelevant – if you work hard, you can achieve anything.

For reference, I am pasting the Merriam-Webster definitions of “Liberal” and “Conservative” below. Generally, as you can see, my own perceptions match with the dictionary definitions.

Definition of conservative

  1.        1:  preservative

  2. 2a :  of or relating to a philosophy of conservatism b capitalized :  of or constituting a political party professing the principles of conservatism: such as (1) :  of or constituting a party of the United Kingdom advocating support of established institutions (2) :  progressive conservative

  3. 3a :  tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions :  traditional<conservative policies>b :  marked by moderation or caution <a conservative estimate>c :  marked by or relating to traditional norms of taste, elegance, style, or manners <a conservative suit> <a conservative architectural style>

Definition of liberal

 

1a :  of, relating to, or based on the liberal arts <liberal education>b archaic :  of or befitting a man of free birth

2a :  marked by generosity :  openhanded <a liberal giver>b :  given or provided in a generous and openhanded way <a liberal meal>c :  ample, full

3: obsolete :  lacking moral restraint :  licentious 

4:  not literal or strict :  loose <a liberal translation>

 

5:  broad-minded; especially :  not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms

 

6a :  of, favoring, or based upon the principles of liberalism

 

What is interesting in all this is that, while “Liberalism” is supposed to be the realm of the tolerant, what we’re seeing is an absolute hatred and intolerance for any views different from these “liberals”. It is, in reality, the most “Illiberal” behavior possible, with “liberals” using violence to suppress the free speech of others, and justifying that violence by saying things like “well, it’s hate speech, so it’s our responsibility to stamp it out”.

The problem with this view is, obviously, that free speech is free speech, and in this country, we all have to right to freely express our views.

We also have the right to protest those views, just as many thousands of people show up to protest every KKK rally or event. We, as a nation, do not like bigotry, racism, inequality, or discrimination.

But, when, instead of peacefully protesting, or engaging in dialogue to try to reach a consensus, we violently suppress the speech of others, how is that “liberal” behavior?

We are not required to like what others say. We are not required to listen to what they say. We ARE required to allow them the freedom to say it.

Our concept of “liberalism” has turned into a concept of self-righteousness, coupled with a fanatic intolerance and disregard for the rights of others. It has devolved into a complete unwillingness to even listen to what others have to say, or to honestly consider that the views of others might just have some rational basis or be honestly held without malice. With the new “liberals”, it’s all about “my way or the highway”.

That is an amazing transformation in a country that has gone to war several times to protect the freedoms of its citizens and the citizens of other countries.

“Liberals” screech that we, as a society, are intolerant, privileged, racists and sexists, and they have some higher moral authority and the right to “stick it to us”.

I think those who are now out in force, in the streets and on campuses around the country, who believe it’s their right to violently prevent people from exercising their rights to free speech, are in for a very rude awakening. In a way, it is amusing, since the new “liberals” are the ones out there suppressing different perspectives, while they accuse “conservatives” of doing that. But the reality is, the “liberals” are the ones rioting, not the “conservatives”.

There are many millions of people who completely reject this new “liberal” philosophy, and my perception is that they are reaching the breaking point. That does not bode well for the “new liberals”.

As a society, we will not tolerate intolerance, and the “new liberals” are the epitome of that. They have evolved into exactly what they claim “Conservatives” are – intolerant, resistant to dialogue and change, and suppressive and dismissive of anything that does not fit their narrative or differs from their narrow perspectives.

This country was not founded on the principles that “Only I can speak. If you say something I don’t like, I will kill you.” It was founded on the principle that EVERYONE has the right to freedom of expression and speech, not matter how odious the rest of us may find the content. “Liberals” would do well to remember that.

 

Russia, Hacking, Wikileaks, Clinton, Trump, DNC, RNC – My Thoughts

As I engage on social media with people who keep telling me how the Russians stole the election for Trump, and how, apparently, Trump was aware of this and should have done something about it, it occurs to me that, as usual, there are a LOT of rumors, innuendos, accusations, allegations, and just plain conspiracy theories being slung about.  I’d like to try to put some kind of perspective and logic to it all, if I may.

  1. I don’t think there’s much doubt that the Russians hacked the DNC and the Clinton campaign. There appears to be a pretty strong consensus among the intelligence community that that is correct, while there is NOT consensus about motive or the effectiveness of the Wikileaks revelations in changing the results of the election.
  2. I have NOT seen any official claims of linkage between the Russians and Wikileaks, and in most of the articles I’ve read, in which the intelligence community, the FBI, and even the president are quoted, they stop short of making that connection. They claim that the Russians did hack the DNC and Clinton’s campaign, but they do NOT allege that the Russians gave the information to Wikileaks. One has to wonder why.
  3. Julian Assange, who normally is not coy about his sources, has been adamant that the Russians are NOT the source of the emails he published on Wikileaks. He has said, repeatedly, that it came from an inside leak, and the source is someone in the DNC.
  4. While clearly, it is possible that Assange and the Russians are lying, it is also possible that they are not, and I find it curious that our intelligence community has not provided any linkage, nor have they explained the rationale behind their conclusions, and more importantly, not all agencies appear to be in agreement about what, precisely happened. While people like Harry Reid bluster, scream, and yell, making outrageous accusations without a shred of evidence, I prefer evidence and it simply has not been presented to date. If Reid and those claiming conspiracy have such proof or evidence, they should present it or shut up.
  5. I have seen (and participated in) discussions in which people claim that Putin ordered the hacking, that Trump and the RNC knew about and were complicit in it, that Trump and the RNC should have “done something” about it, that this amounts to a “bloodless coup”, that Putin stole the election for Trump, that FBI Director Comey was part of this conspiracy, else why would he fulfil his promise to congress to divulge any additional evidence that came to light, even as he broke world speed records in determining, before the election, that there was, in fact, NO new evidence or reason to change his earlier, June decision not to press charges against Hillary Clinton, and worse. Frankly, I find some of the outrage ridiculous.
  6. While it IS reprehensible, nasty, and just plain wrong that the Russians hacked the DNC and the Clinton campaign, we should ask ourselves what the actual impact has been, assuming they did give the information to Wikileaks (which is NOT a foregone conclusion).
    • The emails that were published, mostly from John Podesta, were internal emails.
    • Podesta has NOT contested the veracity of the emails – i.e. the emails are real, truly his emails, and they reflect what he was saying to and hearing from other members of the campaign.
    • The emails paint a not very complimentary picture of Podesta, Clinton, and the campaign, and possibly did have some impact on the opinions of some voters.
    • Was it enough to sway the outcome of the election? I, personally, doubt it, and that view is shared by many, including President Obama.
  7. One might view the release of the emails as an event that sheds light on, and exposes the truth about one of the candidates. That is the highest form of transparency – showing us who our candidate and her staff really are. It is a rare glimpse into the “private persona” mentioned by Mrs. Clinton in her famous statement (which became public, much to her chagrin) that politicians should have both public and private persona. Hers became visible, and many people were not favorably impressed.
  8. The outrage on the left seems to be focused on the hacking and publication of the emails AS THE REASON CLINTON LOST, as well as on the basic intrusiveness. It is curious that these same people are not incensed at hacking and interference by OUR government into the Russian and other political processes – just this year, President Obama sent a team to Tel Aviv to actively work to prevent Prime Minister Netanyahu’s re-election. Netanyahu was re-elected handily in spite of our interference. Yet, that seems to bother almost no-one on the left. Why not?

For me, the bottom line in all of this is that we have a history of our NSA spying on the emails and phone calls of foreign leaders (Netanyahu and Angela Merkel come immediately to mind), yet, we are incensed when a foreign power does the same to us? Is it somehow ok for us to do it, but not for them to do it to us?

I don’t think so. I think it’s wrong, either way, but I’m also enough of a realist to understand that my outrage is not going to make it stop. We, and they will continue to spy on one another and our political associations and organizations. It is a fact of life in today’s cyber-society, and we would do better to focus our outrage on just how poorly candidates like Mrs. Clinton think of us, the American people.

If, and when our intelligence community comes out with a unified statement linking the hacking to the Russians, along with proof that the Russians delivered the emails to Wikileaks, I will be happy to accept it as fact. Until then, I will remain skeptical.

As an aside to my more “liberal” friends who, when I attempt to inject some logic and perspective into arguments like this one, no, I am not “defending or supporting” Trump or the Republican Party, no, I’m not a Republican, nor am I a “true” “conservative. I simply like to see facts and evidence before making up my mind that something is true.

I would strongly recommend and urge that you do the same, and that is NOT a partisan preference.

 

My Solution to the Israeli-Arab Conflict

Over and over again, I hear that “Israel isn’t doing enough to advance the cause of peace between Israel and the Palestinians”. Some blame PM Netanyahu and claim that he is “intransigent”, others scream that “Bibi is against the two state solution”, or that he is unwilling to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority and that is why there is no peace agreement.

When I hear these things, I typically question those saying them, asking fairly straightforward questions, and I almost never get any kind of rational answer.

Recently, someone plaintively told me that “we cannot maintain the status quo” between us and the Palestinians.

Actually I agree with that, although certainly, not in the way my friend meant it. My friend intended to castigate Bibi for “not doing enough” and for not negotiating with the Palestinians. When pressed, her answer was that Bibi should negotiate with “whoever is in power on the Palestinian side”.

The following was my response:

With whom, SPECIFICALLY, should Israel negotiate? The “stock” answer of “well, they should negotiate with the Palestinian leadership, whoever it is” is ridiculous.

They CAN’T. How many times, and in how many ways, should EVERY Israeli PM since Ben Gurion say that they are willing to sit down anytime, anyplace, with no preconditions, and try to work out a deal for peace? EVERY single PM has said this, including Bibi. In recent years, we have even seen Israeli Prime Ministers say they are quite open to the creation of a Palestinian state. Even Bibi has said this.

What response have they gotten? What do you think they can or should do to get the PA to actually agree to sit down and negotiate?

The PA’s demands for “Pre-Conditions” grow all the time. Now, they want a stop to ALL building in the West Bank and Jerusalem (even in places where it is absolutely clear that those places would remain part of Israel in any agreement), they want all murderers released from Israeli jails, and they want Israel to agree to the “1967 borders” – all before agreeing to even sit down and talk? Are you kidding me? Who would, should, or could agree to that? You think the leaders of any Israeli political party would agree to that if they ran the government? Their government would fall the same day.

As I’ve said MANY times, my belief is that maintaining the “status quo” is NOT the right thing to do anymore. It is a zero sum game Israel simply cannot win.  I think Israel should take control of the situation away from the Palestinians and issue them an ultimatum, backed up by the original UN resolutions, League of Nation resolutions, and declarations citing international law (which, despite the world’s ignorant blathering, IS on Israel’s side in this dispute), telling them that if they don’t sit down and negotiate within a set period of time, Israel will unilaterally declare permanent borders. Once that is done, they will move the separation barrier to accommodate it. They will grant Israeli citizenship to all Arabs living within those borders, and any Israeli Arabs whose villages or towns end up outside those borders, if they are currently Israeli citizens, will have the option of moving back inside the borders, or giving up their Israeli citizenship, JUST LIKE JEWISH SETTLERS in towns that end up outside the border – or, they can live under the PA (I suspect that VERY few will want to do that!).

If the PA and the world don’t like it, too bad.

But, begging them to come to the table, whining about it, letting the EU dictate where Israelis (JEWS!!!!!) can and can’t live? No. Not acceptable. Jews should be able to live ANYWHERE they want, whether it’s controlled by Israel or the PA (or anyone else, for that matter).

I’m sick to death of hearing so-called “wise” people, “pundits”, the UN, the EU, etc. telling me that it’s acceptable for the PA to say “no Jews allowed” and somehow, that’s ok.

Israel does not want to control a hostile Arab population, nor should they. The ultimate answer is to either absorb (some of) them as Israeli citizens, or put them outside the borders of Israel.

Once the borders are set, CLOSE THEM. No Palestinian workers, no “shopping trips”, no entry to Israel without a visa. Nothing. Treat them like any other country. If they want to declare a country, great. If not, let them be absorbed into Jordan. It’s not Israel’s problem or responsibility. The Palestinians claim they want self-determination – let them prove it.

Give them some period of time to develop their own electrical grid and generation, sell them water (and insist on getting paid for it), and treat them like any other, independent country.  Scrap the idea of Israeli security control over the Jordan Valley – if it’s part of the Palestinian State, Israel has no right to control it. BUT, make it clear that the PA will be responsible for any security violations. AND, take away control of the holy sites within the new borders from the WAQF – allow free access to all at all holy sites. If the WAQF or the new Israeli Arabs don’t like it, they are free to go worship in the new state of Palestine.

The bottom line is that no matter what Israel does or says, it’s going to be vilified, denigrated, and attacked, both verbally, politically, economically, and physically.

Since that is the case, and the reality is that nothing Israel does will change that, it’s time for Israel to act in its own best interests, outright, and let the world accept or not accept it. But, Israel would be out of the business of policing a non-Israeli Arab population and would be back in the business of protecting its borders and citizens from threats from without.

Did Israel Employ “Disproportionate Force” in 2014 in Gaza?

Did Israel Employ “Disproportionate Force” in 2014 in Gaza?

Recently, in the wake of U. S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ insistence that Israel used “Disproportionate Force” against Gaza in 2014, the debate about whether or not Israel did, in fact, act “disproportionately” has resurged.

It is important to understand the background leading up to Israel’s 2014 incursion into Gaza. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other militant/terrorist groups in Gaza had been bombarding Southern Israel for years, with increasing frequency.

Israel had warned Hamas that it would be held responsible if the rockets did not stop. They didn’t, and Israel eventually mounted a large-scale attack on military targets in Gaza after a major escalation on Hamas’ part, which fired over 40 rockets into Israel on July 7, 2014. Israel’s operation (“Protective Edge”) began the next day, July 8..

Casualties in Gaza were estimated by the UN Human Rights Council, Hamas, and Israel, with the number of killed ranging between 2,125 to 2,310. Hamas and the UNHRC claimed that 1,617 (70%) and 1,462 (65%) respectively were civilians, while Israel claimed that 761 (36%) were civilians. There were 66 Israeli soldiers killed, along with 5 Israeli civilians and 1 Thai civilian.

Israel’s goal in the campaign, which lasted approximately seven weeks (July 8 to August 26), was to stop the rocket fire. An additional goal, which became more critical as the campaign unfolded, was to find and destroy as many Hamas tunnels as possible. These tunnels were constructed with the aim of infiltrating and attacking Israeli civilians inside Israel proper.

Much of the world has criticized Israel for what it calls “disproportionate force”, or, in other words, they claim that Israel responded with WAY more force than was necessary, resulting in an excessive number of civilians killed and wounded, and much more property damage than was necessary.

But, is that true?

The IDF stated that it attacked 5,263 targets in Gaza, including:

  • 1,814 rocket and mortar launch or otherwise related sites
  • 191 weapon factories and warehouses
  • 1,914 command and control centers
  • 237 government institutions supporting the militant activity
  • hundreds of military outposts inside buildings

In addition, Israel found and destroyed some 34 tunnels leading out of Gaza and into (or toward) Israel.

In Gaza, Hamas (and other “militant” groups) bases its facilities in predominantly residential areas, as well as inside mosques, schools, and hospitals. There are many first-hand accounts substantiating this. This makes it almost impossible to avoid civilian casualties, but, Israel went to unprecedented lengths to warn civilians of impending strikes, including telephone calls, emails, text messages, radio broadcasts, leaflets dropped from the air, and “roof knocking”, wherein objects are dropped on roofs to warn residents that they need to evacuate. Still, Israel aborted many attacks when they determined that civilians were present in the target areas.

Proportionality

The concept of “proportionality” in warfare is well-established, and is part of most national legal systems.

Generally, it states that nations must not deliberately attack civilians, but if civilians are killed or wounded in attacks on legitimate military targets, that is “proportional”. The caveat is that the incidental loss of civilian lives cannot be “excessive” in relation to the anticipated “concrete” results of the attack.

What that means, in essence, is that if an army is attacking a military force’s capabilities and forces, with the objective of denying the enemy the ability to wage war, or of “convincing” him that it is not in his interests to continue fighting, without the intention to harm civilians, those civilian deaths are “proportionate”. In World War II, the Allies bombed several German cities, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians, with the aim of forcing the Axis forces to surrender. The Americans detonated two atomic bombs over Japan with the same aim, vastly increasing the number of enemy civilians killed while vastly reducing the number of Allied soldiers killed.

The principle of proportionality does not require that roughly equal numbers of combatants on both sides of a conflict will be killed. The principle refers strictly to the use of force necessary to defeat the enemy and render him unable to continue.

It would appear silly, in my opinion, to expect that wars would produce the same number of casualties on both sides. In order for a conflict to end, one side must be defeated, or, both sides must arrive at the realization that continuing would be so horrible as to be impossible.

In the case of Israel vs. Gaza/Hamas, the hostilities ended when Hamas decided it had had enough and agreed to a cease-fire. Had they not agreed, Israel would have continued their campaign.

One might argue that because Hamas did not surrender unconditionally (as did the Japanese and Germans in WWII), it is highly likely that this conflict will “flare up” in the future, especially given that Hamas is rebuilding its capabilities with the express objective of attacking Israel. But, for the most part, the rockets are not flying.

For a more detailed discussion of specific laws about proportionality, see http://www.crimesofwar.org/a-z-guide/proportionality-principle-of/ or do a Google search. There is a plethora of material defining “proportionality”.

That brings us to a discussion of whether or not Israel employed “disproportionate force”.

Israel continued its bombardments and ground attacks until Hamas agreed to and abided by a cease-fire.

Prior to that point, Israel had proposed several cease-fires, but Hamas either breached them or rejected them, indicating that further attacks on their capabilities were necessary.

Once Hamas agreed to a cease-fire and honored it, Israel stopped firing.

It is important to note that following the final cease-fire, there have been almost no rockets fired from Gaza right up to present time, indicating that Israel’s application of force was both necessary and justified.

Israel’s elaborate and widespread efforts to avoid casualties have been widely acknowledged as going well beyond any measures taken by ANY army in ANY war to date, and in fact, the ratio of civilian casualties to “fighters” is the lowest of any major conflict in history.  This alone would indicate that Israel did not inflict “disproportionate” damage on Gaza.

The incidence of civilian casualties is tragic, but entirely expected, especially in an urban warfare environment in a densely populated area. It is impossible to avoid, particularly when, as was the case in Gaza, the ruling party (Hamas) forcibly prevented civilians from evacuating areas that were to be attacked. This, in itself, constitutes a war crime on Hamas’ part.

In summary, I have to disagree vehemently with candidate Sanders’ position that Israel employed disproportionate force. There simply is no evidence to support that contention, and there is ample evidence to suggest precisely the opposite – Israel employed the necessary amount of force to compel Hamas and its associated organizations to stop firing rockets at civilians inside Israel. That was the objective of the Israeli forces, and it was attained. That is, by any legal definition of the proportionality principle, “proportionate”.

 

 

 

How To Beat The BDS Movement

NOTE: This article was originally published in The Algemeiner.

In recent years, the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions) movement has gained significant ground in their war against Israel.

They have a strong presence on many university campuses across the world, including in the United States. Many of the groups most actively involved in anti-Israel activities are offshoots of radical Muslim organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, and Hamas, and even though these groups are officially considered terrorist groups by the US government, they are allowed to function nonetheless.

These groups are typified by student organizations such as “Students for Justice in Palestine” (SJP), Muslim Student Associations on many campuses, and even “Jewish Voices for Peace” (JVP). They work hard to include more “leftist” Jewish students in hopes of appearing to be inclusive and to refute claims that they are, at heart, anti-semitic.

Their more well-known activities include “actions” such as placing fake eviction notices on and under student dormitory doors, holding annual “Israel Apartheid Week” activities complete with “die-in’s”, checkpoints, and propaganda walls, organizing very loud and vocal protests, working to pass divestment resolutions in student governments, pushing to exclude Jewish and pro-Israel students from any discussion, posting billboards and posters equating Israel with Nazi Germany or as an “Apartheid” nation, and preventing speakers trying to present objective or pro-Israel perspectives from speaking on campuses. This activity has spilled over to other “leftist” oriented groups such as “Black Lives Matter”, LGBT networks, and women’s rights groups, as well as the more “traditional” leftist groups and organizations such as the Communist party, Socialist groups, etc.

Their “claim to fame”, so to speak, is that they are loud, vocal, reject civil discourse with holders of any oppositional views, and work very hard to prevent presentation of any objective facts, since those conflict drastically with their own versions of “truth”, most of which are quite easily controverted, since objective history does not support their contentions in the least.

To date, opposition to these tactics has been scattered, disorganized, and largely ineffective, in spite of some successes such as the recent passage at University of California of a somewhat watered-down anti-semitism policy.

I believe that we, as a community that supports a strong, democratic, tolerant Israel, must do a much better job of combating the BDS movement.

The short version of what we need to do is:

  1. Promote the hell out of Israel through advertising campaigns, public relations, free trips to Israel, movies and television shows showing positive images of Israel. Show positive images of Israel at every opportunity. Put up billboards advertising travel to Israel, showing as often as possible the multi-cultural and multi-ethnic nature of Israel. Enlist prominent advertising and public relations firms to assist in any way possible. They are experts at this, let them help

  2. Organize strong and large rallies in every major city in support of Israel. Utilize existing organizations, recruit on campuses, bus in participants from other cities in order to make rallies LARGE, march on Washington DC in mass numbers, making sure to have great pro-Israel signs and slogans, based 100% on incontrovertible truth.

  3. Mount large and very vocal, well-organized counter-demonstrations to EVERY BDS-related event, whether on campus or anywhere else. When a BDS-related or anti-Israel event is announced, show up en masse outside with protest signs, loudspeakers, signs, banners, and provide the truth. Don’t let them get away with simply presenting their lies without opposition, which is largely what happens now. When they have prominent BDS and anti-Israel speakers, make sure to have large “anti” demonstrations with huge numbers of people. Always obey the law, don’t prevent the speaker from speaking, but ask pointed, probing questions during Q&A sessions, and, if possible, set up speakers directly opposite to present truths to counter their lies.

  4. Lawfare – sue them for slander, have them arrested for disturbing the peace when they invade and disrupt speakers at events, and pressure university administrations to shut them down when they violate campus policies on both anti-semitism and free speech. Enlist the help of “The Lawfare Project” (thelawfareproject.org) in understanding what is possible and how to start the process. If, as frequently occurs, BDS groups break campus rules or laws, use EVERY possible measure to go after them with campus authorities and have them prosecuted by local law enforcement. If they initiate physical contact (assault), file complaints with both campus and local police. Make sure to have video of EVERYTHING, and provide it as evidence as well as publicizing it on social media.

  5. Go after (legally) primary supporters of BDS. Find out who they are, expose them, and encourage supporters of Israel to avoid doing business with these people and their companies. Some of the supporters of BDS are very wealthy people with vast business interests. We need to learn about them and understand where their vulnerabilities lie, then exploit those vulnerabilities.

  6. Support organizations such as Amcha, Stand With Us, Canary Mission, Stop BDS on Campus, Fighting BDS, Stop BDS Now, and others, while at the same time pushing them to coordinate activities more effectively.

  7. Involve the Israeli government to a much larger extent in support of these activities. Utilize the resources of the Israeli Intelligence community to expose the backers of BDS. So far, Israel has not seemed to take BDS as seriously as it I think it should. While I’m sure there are “behind the scenes” activities going on, they are clearly not as effective as they need to be. Israel needs to be a key player in this fight.

The bottom line is that we need to shine a light on the lies promulgated by the BDS movement. Their entire movement is based on untruths, and the voices raised in opposition are, so far, largely ineffective.

While it is unlikely that we can win in organizations like the UN Human Rights Council, where Israel is excoriated on a daily basis, or in the UN General Assembly, the support of the masses, including politicians on the right AND on the left, is critical. The support of the major churches is critical, and the support of university faculties, especially in the Middle East Studies departments, many of which are now hotbeds of anti-Israel activity and anti-Israel “education” funded by Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations, is also critical.

The atmosphere on many campuses across America is toxic to Jewish students, many of whom cannot even identify themselves as Jewish without feeling threatened. This must stop, and the only way to do it is to be organized along the lines of the civil rights movement of the 1960’s in the United States.

Pro-Israel groups should study the Civil Rights movement and work to promote an understanding that it is no more acceptable to discriminate against Jews than it is to discriminate against Blacks. The tactics of Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders have been largely effective, and we need to emulate them.

This is, effectively, a war. It is a war for the survival of Israel as an independent nation accepted by the majority of the nations of the world. Just like any war, we have to have an effective strategy to defeat the enemy. Our tactics need to line up with our strategy, and we need to fight to win. Winning is crucial in this war, and so far, our strategy and tactics are unclear and ineffective, as can be seen by the successes of the BDS movement.

The worst thing we can do is to underestimate the capabilities and resolve of our enemies, or believe that this will just “blow over”. It won’t. It’s time to fight strongly, smartly, and effectively, and to mobilize all the resources at our disposal.

Are Jewish Organizations Obligated To Host Jewish, Anti-Israel Groups?

NOTE: This article was originally published by The Algemeiner

Last month (March, 2016), the university campus organization, Hillel, was roundly criticized for its decision to host the group “Breaking the Silence” at Brown and Columbia universities.  Hillel’s defense of their decision to host the group was essentially that (a) Hillel’s Jewish students seek to invite these groups, not Hillel itself, and (b) by agreeing to host them, Hillel can try to provide clarifying context for the programs.

A recent article in The Algemeiner discusses Hillel’s decision to host this group despite its apparent conflict with Hillel’s “Standards of Partnership,” which call for Hillel to reject interactions with “organizations, groups, or speakers that as a matter of policy of practice: Delegitimize, demonize, or apply a double standard to Israel… or support boycott of, divestment from, or sanctions (BDS) against the State of Israel.”.

To many of us, it is clear that “Breaking the Silence” is antagonistic to the State of Israel, regardless of their protestation that they are just trying to make Israel “better.” While the group claims not to support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, they are currently under investigation for spying against the state by illegally obtaining military information, and their members routinely demonize the IDF by making unsubstantiated claims of brutality, torture, and murder. The group also refuses to share with the state any evidence of these allegations, making it impossible for the state to investigate them.

Israel, as a matter of course, takes very seriously allegations of misdeeds by soldiers, and frequently arrests and tries soldiers accused of such actions. But, when Breaking the Silence makes its accusations, there is no way for Israel to investigate or counter them, since there is no official record or complaint about whatever crimes were allegedly committed. Breaking the Silence categorically refuses to provide any information on the grounds that their members’ privacy and safety might be compromised. But, just as certainly, their actions place them squarely in the camp of those who are determined to smear Israel and damage it.

Anonymous, unsubstantiated accusations are the equivalent of an electronic lynch mob.

In this case, Hillel apparently believes that it is acting as an “educational organization,” and as such, allowing Breaking the Silence to present its perspective is a good thing.

To some degree, this is, of course true. We should always look at conflicts and events from multiple perspectives.

However, letting Breaking the Silence present its perspective without providing solid, clear, counter-arguments and context at exactly the same time does not serve any educational agenda, it is simply providing Breaking the Silence with a platform. It’s not much different than if Hillel were to provide a platform for explicitly pro-BDS groups like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) or Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which are virulently anti-Israel and frequently veer into antisemitism. These organizations themselves are not interested in “hearing the other side,” as both are known for disrupting pro-Israel speakers and preventing them from speaking. They are both also diametrically opposed to “dialogue” in any form with supporters of Israel.

One should no more give Breaking the Silence a free platform at Hillel than one would SJP or JVP, or Electronic Intifada, for that matter.

Considering that Hillel’s vision is “to inspire Jewish students to build an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel,” it is clearly counter-productive to bring groups like Breaking the Silence to Hillel or to support, in any way, this type of group.

I believe that Hillel has an obligation to first and foremost present the best of Israel. Build up the knowledge of Jewish students about what is good and beautiful about Israel. Make sure students have a connection to Israel before exposing them to less beautiful aspects of Israel.

By all means, present information about ALL aspects of Israel. Discuss the pros and cons of settlements, legal issues related to territories conquered in 1948 and 1967, discrimination against non-Ashkenazi immigrants and Arab citizens, but always with the aim to promote a love for Israel. Israel DOES work very hard to eliminate these issues, and that should always be clear.

Sometimes, we worry too much about the perceived “underdog” at the expense of our love for Israel. It is when we bend over backward to give a platform to those who are willing to lie that we surrender ourselves to the passivity for which Jews were characterized for centuries, and which led, in no small measure, to our march into the concentration camps. “Don’t rock the boat. Maybe there’s some truth in what they say. We should listen.” No, we should NOT listen. We should present the truth, always, and reject the lies. We should demand protection under the law, and we should expose exactly HOW our enemies lie about us.

Breaking the Silence has proven that they do not have the best interests of Israel at heart. They should not be given a platform by any Jewish organization, nor should Jewish organizations like Hillel give space to any anti-Israel organization.