The Latest from Nitsana

Shurat HaDin director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner was recently profiled in The Jerusalem Report, an independent biweekly news magazine.

Here are a few highlights from the interview:

  1. Nitsana originally planned on becoming a pianist. She took 12 years of lessons and played professionally in classical concerts.
  2. She is profoundly frustrated with the State of Israel’s refusal to provide key witness testimony in the Bank of China case, and believes this decision puts a major stumbling block in the fight against terror financing. Worse, despite being exposed as having earlier knowingly sent money to Islamist terrorist groups, in 2012, a money changer from the West Bank was indicted for wiring money to Gaza through the Bank of China. “They clearly had not learned their lesson,” she says.
  3. Nitsana discusses the Harpoon special counter-terror finance intelligence unit that was created by former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, which is currently not operating. The unit did things that neither the IDF nor the security services could do, using lawsuits and the threat of lawsuits to achieve their goals.
  4. Nitsana believes Abbas’s move to join the ICC is a huge tactical error.

    “[Abbas] knows he will be going down if he joins the court, but he doesn’t care as long as everyone goes down with him. He believes he can achieve more by joining the court and indicting Israel for war crimes than he can by negotiation. It’s a fatal mistake.”

  5. Nitsana thinks that Europe still has not begun facing reality of the fight against terror.  She cites as an example the fact that it is impossible to enforce legal judgments against Iran or Syria in Europe.

Read the full interview here.

The European Union Directly Funds Illegal Settlement Building in Israel

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the dismantling of 400 Palestinian homes that were built illegally in Israeli-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria with direct funding from the European Union (EU).

Regavim, an Israeli NGO monitoring illegal use of Israeli state lands, revealed that the EU invested tens of millions of euros into homes for Palestinians who had not received building permits by the Israeli government.

As Professor Jerold Auerbach points out in Algemeiner, one of the endlessly repeated mantras that reinforce the denigration of Israel as a loathsome pariah state is that Jewish settlements are illegal under international law.

To Israel’s legions of enemies and critics, settlement is the illicit conquest and colonization of someone else’s land. They claim that Jewish settlements violate Article 49 of the Geneva Convention (1949), stipulating that an “Occupying Power” may not “deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

If law is law, and a settlement is a settlement, the serial violator of international law, it now turns out, is none other than the European Union. Last week journalist Jake Wallis Simons broke the story in the Daily Mail  that the EU has funded unauthorized Palestinian construction on land under Israeli legal jurisdiction. More that 400 EU-funded homes (along with a school and mosque) have been built without permits in 17 illegal settlements on state land in a closed military zone. Inhabited by Bedouin nomads, a.k.a. “Palestinians,” they proudly display EU flags and stickers.

Why are they illegal? Because under the Oslo Accords (1993) Israel enjoys exclusive military and civilian authority over planning and construction within Area C of the West Bank, where the EU settlements have been built. The EU and the Palestinian Authority both signed this agreement, which is binding under international law. The EU’s settlements, according to Northwestern University international legal expert Eugene Kontorovich, are “openly in violation of international law.” International lawyer Alan Baker, who participated in drafting the Oslo agreement, concurred. Political analyst Tom Wilson at Commentary  clarified the EU’s legal violations:

The settlements in question have been built by the EU in Area C of the West Bank. Under the Oslo II agreement signed in 1995, clause 2 of article 27 gives Israel full and exclusive authority over all planning and construction within Area C of the West Bank. This is an agreement that not only the Palestinian Authority signed up to, but one that the European Union is a signatory of as well. As such, that treaty has the status of binding international law which the EU is obliged to uphold. Worse still, these illegal settlements are guarded by aggressive EU workers who have been caught threatening Israeli soldiers and onlookers with rocks.

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EU worker with a rock.

The first EU response to the exposure of its illegal actions, from its Brussels spokeswoman, was denial. But an EU spokesman on the ground acknowledged (proudly) that it was a justified attempt to secure the territory for a Palestinian state. So it is, Wilson noted, that EU officials and European governments “use accusations of settlement building to lambaste Israel” for violations of international law – while they themselves violate international law.

Read more here.

The ‘Jewish Lobby’ in the Muslim World

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A copy of Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ is sold at a street shop in Cairo in 2009. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Many people wonder why anti-Semitism is such a long-standing trend throughout so much of world history.

For example, a commentator recently noted on our social media about the spate of attacks on Jews in Europe:

People don’t hate and attack others without reason. Again, why? this is obviously a long-standing conflict and there’s been a lot of friction in recent years to stir it up again… makes you wonder what’s happening behind the scenes and who’s really behind it all.

Rabbi Jonathan Sack’s essay “The Return of Anti-Semitism,” featured in the Wall Street Journal, answers this question head on:

Anti-Semitism has existed for a very long time. One critical moment came around the end of the 1st century C.E., when the Gospel of John attributed to Jesus these words about the Jews: “You belong to your father, the Devil.” From being the children of Abraham, Jews had been transformed into the children of Satan.

...Anti-Semitism becomes deadly only when a culture, nation or faith suffers from a cognitive dissonance so profound that it becomes unbearable. It happens when the way a group sees itself is contradicted by the way it is seen by the world. It is the symptom of an unendurable sense of humiliation.

Christianity, which had been transformed by the conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine in the fourth century, found itself overtaken by Islam by the 11th century. Germany, which had seen itself as the supreme nation in Europe, was defeated in World War I and then punished under the Treaty of Versailles.

These humiliations resulted not in introspection but in a search for foreign culprits—for external enemies who could be blamed and destroyed. The parallel in Islam over the past century was the defeat and dissolution of its one remaining bastion of imperial power, the Ottoman Empire, in 1922. Six years later, radical political Islam was born in Egypt in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood.

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The grand mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husayni, inspects Bosnian SS members in 1944. PHOTO: ALAMY

Today, arbitrary references to the “Jewish lobby” in the Muslim world can be construed as anti-Semitic sentiment without factual evidence supporting such claims. Leaders in various countries have historically blamed Jews and Israel for internal woes to alleviate domestic pressure and propagate the concept of an external enemy in order to cultivate regime legitimacy.

Most recently, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that his government would not give into the “Jewish lobby” that he says is working against the ruling AKP Party. The vague allegations come in context of baseless accusations by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who says that Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, was cooperating with the “parallel structure,” or members within the government allegedly seeking to topple the regime. “World powers and the Jewish Diaspora prompted the unrest and have actively encouraged it,” said now former Turkish deputy prime minister Besir Atalay in July 2013.

The best reaction to this type of thinking? See the video below, where a Tunisian politician Neji Djelloul of the Nidaa Tounes Party responded to TV host Miqdad Al-Majeri’s mention of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” saying that it was “a bunch of anti-Jewish myths.” It’s quite funny.