Thursday, July 23, 2015

I see ISIS flags fly in Jerusalem (where Jerusalem light rail stops)

Inside the Pisgat Ze'ev shopping mall (from an earlier visit): Arabs eating in kosher Jewish restaurant
The Arab village Shuafat seen today from a friend's apartment in Pisgat Ze'ev. The security wall separating the areas can be clearly seen. The building in the middle was flying the ISIS flag.
Original post was October 2014, but has been updated 23 July 2015 following a BBC Panorama programme about the Jerusalem Light Rail. See update at end.

Pisgat Ze'ev is an area just 3 miles north of the centre of Jerusalem that in so many ways characterises the Israeli-Arab conflict and the widespread misunderstanding of it in the rest of the world. Pisgat Ze'ev was an area that played an important role in servicing the second Jewish Temple but was a deserted wasteland under the illegal Jordanian occupation between 1948 and 1967  (interestingly in 1930 much of the land had been bought by Jews).  However, Pisgat Ze'ev is now an important suburb of Jerusalem (and is almost a city in its own right), with over 50,000 residents (an increasing number of whom are Arabs). The new Jerusalem light railway starts from Pisgat Ze'ev. Despite all of this international anti-Semites 'experts' who have never been to Israel laughably classify Pisgat Ze'ev as "an Israeli settlement in occupied East Jerusalem".

Despite what the international anti-Semites 'experts' say, any eventual 'final borders' of Israel will include Pisgat Ze'ev as evidenced by the fact that the infamous security wall snakes around Pisgat Ze'ev separating it from the sprawling Muslim Arab village of Shuafat. Unlike "Jewish" Pisgat Ze'ev - where any additional housing plans draw the wrath of the international community - Shuafat continues to grow without the need for any planning permission; and unlike Pisgat Ze'ev  where Jews and Arabs have equal rights, no Jewish civilian can even safely step foot in Shuafat, despite it technically being under Israeli control.  Bizarrely, although Shuafat looks a lot like Pisgat Ze'ev in many respects (except the houses are actually larger and often more luxurious in Shuafat) it is officially classified as a 'Palestinian refugee camp' by the United Nations.

Even though many residents of Shuafat are employed in Jewish businesses in Jerusalem, during the 2000-2004 Intifada residents of Shuafat celebrated each suicide attack against Israeli civilians with wild celebrations and fireworks (something I can personally testify to seeing). The same happened this summer when residents celebrated Hamas rocket attacks against Israel even though some were targeted at Jerusalem. Occasionally residents of Shuafat enjoy shooting at residents of Pisgat Ze'ev. Despite all of this the Jerusalem municipality in its wisdom decided to route the Jerusalem light railway with a stop in Shuafat to show that it wanted to serve all residents of Jerusalem. Although many residents of Shuafat use the train, this act of faith has been 'rewarded' with constant attacks on the train at Shuafat resulting not just in frequent loss of service (and millions of shekels wasted on repairs) but in Jews being too afraid to travel in it. Also, during the summer gangs of young thugs from Shuafat came up to Pisgat Ze'ev armed with knives. Little of this anti-Semitic Arab violence and intimidation is reported in the Israeli media, let alone the international media.

After sunset security patrol comes to monitor what is happening in Shuafat from outside my friend's apartment
All of that provides the background to what I witnessed today. Sitting in a friend's apartment in Pisgat Ze'ev overlooking Shuafat we could see an ISIS flag flying on one of the buildings. Nobody was particularly surprised by this. Nor was anybody surprised when after sunset a border security jeep stopped outside the house with three IDF soldiers (two Jews and a Druse) who had come with night vision binoculars to monitor what was going on in Shuafat. After providing them with coffee and cake they told us they were aware of ISIS flags in the village (I understand they had already been in to have them taken down). I also learned that it was soldiers from this unit who had found - hiding in Shuafat - the commander of the Hamas brigade who had ordered the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli teenagers in June.

This was just an ordinary day in Pisgat Ze'ev.

In contrast, later the same evening in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square I was able to share in the joyous Simchat Torah celebrations (I hope to post more about that)
Simchat Torah celebrations in Tel Aviv this evening

Update: opposite the ISIS flag
Update: the current Intifada in Jerusalem

UPDATE 23 July 2015 Following the Panorama Programme on 20 July I posted the following self-explanatory complaint to the BBC:

This entire programme was a disgracefully biased and antisemitic piece of propaganda presented by an 'as a Jew' moron who failed to do the most basic research (see e.g. here). Not only was the programme promoting the idea that Jews living in the suburbs of Jerusalem had no right to travel into the centre of the city (a bit like arguing that HS2 would lead to Londoners colonising the North) but it also ignored the fact that the light rail actually services all the Arab villages along its route (which is actually only 6 miles total).

One of the stops is Shuafat, an Arab village which has provided more terrorists and suicide bombers than any other. The Jerusalem municipality, in its wisdom, decided to route the railway to stop in Shuafat to show that it wanted to serve all residents of Jerusalem. Although many residents of Shuafat use the train, this act of faith has been 'rewarded' with constant attacks on the train there resulting not just in frequent loss of service (and millions wasted on repairs) but in Jews being too afraid to travel in it. Many Jews who live in Pisgat Zeev (the next stop out) are no longer able to use the train because of the constant threat of violence against them and so have to travel to the city by other means. So, contrary to what the programme said it is actually Jews - and only Jews - who are stopped from using the train.
And here is the typically pathetic BBC response:
Thank you for contacting us about ‘The Train that Divided Jerusalem’, we have received a wide range of feedback about this programme. In order to use our TV licence fee resources efficiently, this response aims to answer the key concerns, but we apologise in advance if it doesn’t address your specific points in the manner you would prefer.

We raised your concerns with the programme makers, who responded as follows:

“Adam Wishart is an experienced filmmaker who was commissioned to make a programme about Jerusalem for Panorama, with the new light railway and its passengers at its heart.

The programme took care to explain Adam’s background; that he is a British Jew, his grandparents had campaigned for the state of Israel and that as a teenager he’d travelled to Jerusalem to take part in a Zionist education camp.

The film was largely observational in style with Adam spending time with two main contributors, Rivka Shimon and Baha Nabata. Throughout it he spent time with them at events, on the train and at their homes to try to get a deeper understanding of their opposing points of view and why they held the opinions and beliefs they did.

During the course of a thirty minute film it would have been impossible to cover every historical detail but the programme was careful to represent the views of both Israelis and Palestinians living in Jerusalem. Adam spoke to people from both communities and reported the impact of violence on both sides.

The programme took particular care when referring to holy sites; Temple Mount as the Holiest site in Judaism and the Al Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock as being one of the holiest sites in Islam.

Several translators worked on the programme to ensure that the Arabic and Hebrew sections were accurately and fairly translated and interpreted.

We believe the film was balanced and fair and provided its BBC One audience with an illuminating view of the ancient city of Jerusalem.”

We hope this goes some way in addressing your concerns, thanks again for taking the time to contact us.

Kind Regards
BBC Complaints

Monday, July 20, 2015

BBC responds to my complaint about its statement that nobody in Iran has threatened Israel for a very long time

Updated 4 August 2015
I (along with a number of people including Denis MacEoin - see below) complained to the BBC following a typically outrageous interview on Radio 4 with an Israeli representative.

My complaint:
During the Newshour interview with Danny Danon (July 14) the interviewer Razia Iqbal said nobody in Iran has threatened Israel for a very long time. In fact the threats to annihilate Israel have never stopped and during the last week the supreme leader Ayatollah Khamanei and the President Rouhani both repeated their threats and intent. See: and (an event ignored by BBC:
BBC response:
Dear Mr Davidson

Thank you for your email in which you complained about the interview with the Israeli Minister for Science, Technology and Space Danny Danon the BBC World Service broadcast in Newshour on 14/07/2015 in the wider context of the agreement reached about Iran’s nuclear programme.

We have received a wide range of feedback about this interview referring to the segment of it in which our presenter, Razia Iqbal, broached the subject of how and why the Israeli government perceives Iran as a threat.

In order to use our Licence Fee resources efficiently, this response aims to answer the key concerns raised regarding the interview, but we apologise in advance if it doesn’t address your specific points in the manner you would prefer…

The question about whether Israel faces a threat from Iran was a legitimate one for the interview with Danny Danon. However, after our editors spoke with Razia about the interview, it was agreed that her question could have been framed more clearly. The context of live radio, a developing story and a presenter responding to an interviewee’s points, should also be taken into account.

Mr Danon was allowed to give his views at length and in detail. He stated that Israel had the capability and right to defend itself - what Razia was trying to elicit in response from Mr Danon was what Israel considered to be the current threat from the state of Iran. In so doing, she was seeking to compare the very public and aggressive statements about Israel made by the previous president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with the language used by the current president, Hassan Rouhani. Mr Danon was allowed to give a lengthy, uninterrupted response. Questioning that response does not constitute bias, it is about seeking accountability for a viewpoint. The issue of whether Iran poses an existential threat is not without controversy within Israel. The current head of Mossad has said that a nuclear Iran would not necessarily pose such a threat; two of his predecessors have been critical Mr Netanyahu’s stance on the issue.

In that context, it was absolutely correct and legitimate for Razia to ask the question.

We hope the above allays the concerns you have raised and thank you once again for listening to our programmes and taking the time to write.

Best regards,
Dejan Calovski
Audience Relations
BBC World Service
My follow-up response to Dejan Calovski
Dear Mr Calovski,

Your response did not address the core point, which was that Razia Iqbal stated the blatant lie that Iran's leaders had not threatened Israel since the time of Ahemdinejad. This is not a matter of interpretation. The recent statements by Khomaini and Rouhani are a matter of record, for which you have the links.

Also, what I find both disingenuous and quite disgraceful about your response is the fact that you are using alleged statements by some of Netanyahu's political opponents as a defence for the BBCs lie. This is analogous to telling David Cameron that ISIS has never committed any atrocities and then supporting this assertion by claiming that George Galloway and Ken Livingstone disagree with Cameron on his stance about ISIS. Whatever politicised individuals associated with Mossad may or may not have said about their perceived views of Iran's military capabilities, none of them would ever deny that Iran's leaders continue to make existential threats against Israel and that those leaders would attempt to destroy Israel if they could. So why is the BBC attempting to cover up this fact?


Edgar Davidson
Second Response (received 3 August 2015):
Dear Mr Davidson

Thank you for your further correspondence regarding the interview with Danny Danon in Newshour on 14/07.

I’m sorry you are not satisfied with our previous response. It was certainly not meant to be disingenuous but rather explanatory...

Regarding the gist of the complaint, I can only reiterate that, in our first reply, we did acknowledge that the ‘question in question’ (that Razia Iqbal put to Mr Danon) could have been phrased better.

We feel that Razia did not make a statement of fact but rather simply put forward a question (admittedly without an obvious question mark at the end of it, but it served exactly the same purpose). It was an interjection by the presenter inviting a response from the interviewee. It was, in our view, a perfectly normal part of any interview in which the presenter sets various points of view (not his/her own but alternative points of view to those of the interviewee) before the interviewee to elicit further explanation – in this case, as to what the Israeli minister considered was the existential threat to Israel. It clearly worked as Mr Danon gave a very detailed answer.

I hope the above allays your concerns. If not, you can contact the BBC Editorial Complaints Unit within 20 days of this email at or you can write to:

BBC Editorial Complaints Unit
Media Centre, BBC Media Village
201 Wood Lane
W12 7TP

Denis MacEoin (who is a genuine authority) had made the following complaint:
On Newshour on July 14, I listened to a brief interview with Danny Danon, Israel's Minister of Science, Technology and Space. Speaking of the new deal to allow Iran to develop nuclear power (which will lead to the building of nuclear weapons), the interviewer made one of the most fatuous and inaccurate statements I have ever heard. Perhaps I should note first that I am an academic in Persian/Iranian Studies with a long personal knowledge of the country, its religion, its language and its politics. I currently research and write about Iranian affairs. When Danon said Israel would have to stand on its own against the Iranian threat, here is what she said: 'But you’re not under threat by Iran. Nobody in Iran has threatened you for a very long time. You’re harking back to a time when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatened Israel directly.' I have collaborated on a book detailing Iranian threats to Israel. I have lost track of the number of times, even during the current year when Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamene'i, members of the religious ruling elite, members of parliament, former presidents Ahdmadinezhad and Rafsanjani, have threatened Israel directly, saying Iran will obliterate the Jewish state by force. Threats made by senior officials have been made only a few days ago, around the time this interview was broadcast. Israel is the most threatened country in the world. A nuclear Iran increases the threat. I demand a correction and an apology from the interviewer.
Denis got exactly the same response and has noted:
But the interview lasted about one minute, so these comments ‘Mr Danon was allowed to give his views at length and in detail’ and ‘Mr Danon was allowed to give a lengthy, uninterrupted response’ are just rubbish. And the ‘answer’ doesn’t actually look at the content of my complaint at all. Anyone else who has had this response should also get back to them.

Bournemouth Action for Israel: "They really hate us"

The Facebook page of the group Bournemouth Action for Israel has the sobering account below of what happened to them when they booked a stand at the Tolpuddle Festival last weekend. It provides a very clear picture of what Israel supporters are up against in the UK and the closed minds of the leftists, with whom any attempt at reasoned argument is pointless. I am increasingly convinced that pushing the "pro-Israel, pro-Palestine, pro-peace" message does not work and nor does the "Israel is really a decent place" narrative. Both messages are timid and somewhat defeatist, with the former creating the impression that Israel supporters accept that 'we must do something to help the Palestinians' and the latter only serving to confirm the (wrong) impression that Israelis are privileged compared to Palestinians.   The only relevant message that pro-Israel activists in the UK should be pushing is that the anti-Israel pro-Palestinian activists are anti-semites pushing a bunch of complete lies. 


 Bournemouth Action For Israel, is a grass-roots Israel Advocacy organisation, run by a group of Jews and Christian supporters of Israel. We decided to combat the rhetoric of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and to have a stand at the Tolpuddle Festival, promoting Israel’s side of the narrative, this weekend.

By booking to be at the Tolpuddle Festival, we knew we were entering the Lions Den. This festival is organised by the Trade Unions Congress, a left-wing, mostly anti-Israel organisation, whose members have swallowed the rhetoric of the well-organised and well-funded Palestinian Solidarity Campaign for many years, while Israel ignored what was and is happening, in the diaspora.

The Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, which has had the trade unionists all to themselves for the past few years, quickly discovered our presence and that was the start of the less-than-welcome reception.

In succession, the volunteers were accused of representing a fascist, racist, oppressive, apartheid, baby killing, subjugating, land-stealing state and that we had no right to be at the festival. In forthright manner, we were informed that serious complaints would be lodged to the organisers with a view to having us ejected. A flash mob suddenly converged on us from the direction of the PSC stall, shouting abuse, throwing our leaflets to the floor and trying to destroy our stand.

Needless to say, when each organisation was invited to explain what it was there for, our leader was greeted by well orchestrated boos and jeers. Having fully anticipated just such a reaction, he calmly asked them if they would like another minute or so to vent their anger. When things quietened down, he was able to inform the hall that our organisation represents a Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestinian, Pro-peace viewpoint and if we could not have civilised dialogue here in England, what chance was there for it to happen in the Middle East.

After these initial rabid outbursts, the volunteers were encouraged to hear from other stallholders and officials that we had every right to be there and although they did not agree with what Israel was doing, we should be free to put over our point of view.

Today, we arrived very early to ensure we would be there before the PSC and as we were in the process of setting up our stand, we received a visit from the organisers. They explained to us that this was going to be the busiest day of the event and that they were short staffed on security. In view of the many virulent complaints they had received about us, and although we had every right to be there, we should leave in the interest of our own and their staff's safety.

Not wishing to place the staff nor indeed ourselves in physical danger, we had no real option but to make a tactical withdrawal. Basically, we were bullied into going.

The problem with the radical left is much worse than we anticipated. THEY REALLY REALLY HATE US.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Iran deal: the comparison with 1938 is wrong and here is why

The 1938 deal at least attempted to address the core problem: To stop the militaristic intentions of a murderous antisemitic dictatorship (Germany).   The 2015 deal legitimizes and funds the militaristic intentions of a murderous antisemitic dictatorship (Iran).

Aspect of treaty agreement
1938 treaty signed by Germany
2015 treaty signed by Iran
Money just for signing deal
Germany gets nothing
Iran gets $50 billion
Money if they stick to the deal
Germany gets nothing
Iran get hundreds of billions each year from sanctions relief and new contracts
Penalties if they do not stick to deal
War declared against Germany
None (the Russians and Chinese have already made it clear that the sanctions ‘snap back’ will not be implemented) and all military options have been taken off the table
Some limits imposed on Germany’s army/navy movements
No limits to Iran’s army/navy movements
Weapons conventional
Minor limits imposed on Germany
All previous limits imposed on Iran dropped. They will be given the money to buy the world’s most sophisticated weapon systems.
Weapons nuclear
Iran gets to build nuclear bombs with the full approval of the international community
Stringent limits Imposed on Germany’s territorial ambitions
No limits imposed on Iran’s territorial ambitions (so immediate expansion of interest in Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, West Bank)
Support for terrorism
Not accepted
Iran can continue its support for terrorist movements all over the world
Germany promised not to harm them, although Hitler made it very clear he wanted all Jews out of Germany
Iran promises death to Israel

 See also:

See also:
Daniel Greenfield's excellent analysis of the deal
The Iran deal in full exclusive
Iran and sanctions - the dummies guide
The war against the Jews