Reports from our man on the ground.
First published in jWire
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS
20 June, 2017
Weasel words, duplicitous declarations and erroneous assertions have precipitated like springtime showers these last few days.
Analyzing the torrent of verbal statements made it is not difficult to sift fact from fiction, actuality from wishful thinking and honesty from deceitful deception. The main problem is that by the time the media have mangled the message and reinterpreted it, the listener or reader has become thoroughly confused.
What was actually meant? What was intended? How accurate is it and what effects will it have on the subject concerned?
In an effort to throw some light on some of these murky situations I will try to untangle and decode the mixed messages currently circulating.
Long anticipated but slow in coming has been the announcement that Israel and New Zealand have resumed full diplomatic relations. Everyone knew that sooner or later this would occur. The big question of course was and is at what price? Who would blink first and what will it take for this to happen?
Now we know – sort of.
According to the Israeli media an apology has been received for sponsoring the infamous UN Resolution 2334 and therefore both parties have now kissed and made up. Nothing of course could be further from the truth. In actual fact the New Zealand Prime Minister and Government have not apologized for peddling this fatally flawed resolution which unleashed a torrent of anti Israel delegitimization in the corrupt corridors of the United Nations. Coming back to earth after the euphoric expressions of delight one discovers that in reality the actions of both parties smacks of usual diplomatic double speak.
FAREWELL TO A GENUINE FRIEND
5 June, 2017
After four action packed years, Australia's Ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma, is preparing to return home.
Amidst his busy schedule of duties he spoke with J-Wire's Israel correspondent, Michael Kuttner, about his thoughts and experiences in a country never far from the world's headlines.
It would be fair to state that Dave Sharma has been more than a diplomat. He has also demonstrated a genuine desire to learn and understand the complexities of life in Israel. His laid back Aussie style and social skills have enabled him to experience reality and in doing so he was able to combine diplomacy with mateship.
Reflecting on his time here, Dave commented on a variety of topics posed to him by J-Wire.
TRUMP ALLERGIC REACTIONS
Allergies manifest themselves in a myriad of ways ranging from mild irritations to life threatening situations.
Donald Trump's election to the White House has caused an outbreak of severe allergic symptoms and his recent visit to Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Vatican and Europe has seemingly aggravated the condition. No amount of antidotes or medication seems to help and we are therefore witness to an amazing spectrum of often delirious behaviour.
28 May, 2017
Jerusalem, David's Capital, has seen many spectacles in its three thousand years history.
Not since the visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon however have we witnessed such an outpouring of flattery.
In order to sift fiction from fact we need to focus first of all on the display of Arabian pomp and the sound and light show enacted in Riyadh. If the intention was to dazzle President Trump with over the top opulence and hyperventilated back slapping this succeeded beyond any wildest expectations. There is no doubt that the Saudis were thrilled to have been chosen as the opening stars of Trump's first overseas tour. The fact that it encompassed billions of dollars in arms deals no doubt provided the icing on the cake.
AN HONEST ENEMY IS BETTER THAN A FALSE FRIEND
May 14, 2017
Since Biblical times the Jewish People has experienced endlessly the validity of this admonition.
Nothing much has changed over the millennia. In fact if anything false friends have multiplied at an alarming rate. One would have thought that by now after thousands of years of dealing with this problem we would have developed a fail safe strategy for exposing and combating such individuals. Unfortunately there are still too many Jews who are seduced by seemingly genuine gestures and who even when the horrible truth hits them in the face do not want to face reality. The trick is to choose between genuine friends whose support derives from a deeply felt appreciation of the justice of Jewish history and those whose fair-weather gestures are cosmetic and transitory.
ISRAEL — A MIRACLE IN PROGRESS
2 May, 2017 by Michael Kuttner
Sixty nine years ago, a mere three years after the devastation of the Holocaust, Jewish independence was reasserted.
Returning home to the very land which had been the site of Jewish sovereignty since the exodus from Egypt the survivors of the Shoah joined returnees and settlers who had been there for generations. An international community which had in the main shamefully either facilitated, condoned or through indifference and appeasement allowed Jews to be massacred, belatedly suggested a partition of an already truncated territory. Ignoring existing internationally legally binding agreements for the establishment and settling of mandated Palestine the Jewish People were offered scraps. Realizing that something was better than nothing and given the dire condition of most survivors of the European war against the Jews, Ben Gurion and the Jewish leadership accepted what was offered.
IGNORANCE & AMNESIA – A DEADLY COMBINATION
25 April, 2017
As we move further away from the years of the Holocaust we find that more individuals, adults as well as youths, are bereft of any knowledge as to what happened during that dark period.
This was vividly highlighted by the White House spokesman's recent appalling performance in front of journalists. Demonstrating an amazing ignorance about the methods used by Germans to murder Jews he compounded his blunder by referring to concentration camps as holocaust centres. Nobody except the rabidly anti Trump brigade could really claim that Sean Spicer hates Jews. He apologized several times and is obviously distraught at his foot in mouth episode. It does however demonstrate that even the most educated individual can easily fall prey to presenting wrong facts if they have not been exposed to any sort of Holocaust education.
TERROR KNOWS NO BOUNDARIES
18 April, 2017
The pervasive myth that maintains terror will vanish if only Israel appeases those dedicated to its destruction was proven yet again to be false this past week.
As Jews worldwide celebrated Passover which marks the beginning of our march towards nationhood in our land, further examples of hate fuelled terror literally exploded in various parts of the globe. All of them had a common thread. None of them had anything to do with a lack of a “Palestinian” Arab State and everything to do with intolerance combined with barbaric disregard for civilized norms. The common denominator is the politically incorrect generally shunned words “Islamic terror.” Thankfully, recognition of what we are facing today has been reinstated in Washington even if it is still ignored as a reality in other capitals.
BIRDS OF A FEATHER, UNITED BY TERROR
28 March, 2017
They may fight each other and disagree on tactics but there is one thing guaranteed to unite them and that is hatred for Israel.
Whether it is Hamas, Palestine Liberation Organisation, Palestinian Authority or Hezbollah it makes no difference. Methods may differ but the desire is identical. Abbas, the eternal President of a terror State in waiting may sound like a reasonable peace partner and portray himself as a benign patron of brotherly love to gullible media and politicians alike but the brutal truth is that beneath this deceptive persona lurks an entirely different individual. He may not openly display the crude prejudices of his colleagues who lead other terror groups but his real intentions are the same.
NEVER A DULL MOMENT
One of the unique aspects of living in Israel is that there is never a dull moment.
Life is definitely not boring here. This country seems to be the centre of the universe if one gauges this from the amount of attention it garners internationally, either for good or more likely negative. No other country attracts so much attention. Events which do not cause a ripple of interest when they occur in other countries are blown into mega events if Israel is involved. We are constantly censured, condemned, boycotted and delegitimized while real criminal States are given a pass by the UN and its various corrupt agencies.
This past week has been no exception.
An unnamed German official told Reuters that relations between Germany and Israel were at their lowest point in years. Presumably this was because we are building houses for Jews in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
DIRTY SECRETS EXPOSED
March 6, 2017
There are countless news events concerning Israel which occur every day and never reach your media or if they do, receive distorted coverage.
In the interests of exposing some of these hidden gems which you may not have read, seen or heard, here is a choice selection from this week's crop.
Consumer warning: some of these revelations could cause adverse reactions so caution is advised.
A new head of Hamas has been appointed in Gaza. It so happens that he is a terrorist who was released from jail by Israel some time ago in one of those useless gestures so beloved of the Obama Administration and “progressive” purveyors of an illusory peace. Needless to say his agenda includes the elimination of Israel and support of terror. Supporters of a Palestinian State should carefully note that this is exactly the sort of “democrat” who could be expected to take up residence in a “liberated” capital of a Palestinian Arab State.
REALITY IN WASHINGTON, DENIAL IN RAMALLAH,
FANTASY IN STOCKHOLM & THE UN
21 February, 2017
The long anticipated meeting between Israel's Prime Minister and President Trump has taken place. Fallout has been swift with reactions ranging from shock to pleasant surprise.
It is obvious to any observer that the personal chemistry between the two leaders is vastly different to that prevailing under the Obama Administration. Gone is the spectacle of Israel's PM being lectured by those whose sole objective was to impose a solution which would have inevitably led to another terror State threatening us. Missing was the rhetoric of “we know what's best for you” which in reality was a recipe for future disasters.
Obviously there will still be differences but the atmosphere has lost its toxicity and narcissist hectoring. Problems can now be discussed and thrashed out in a mutually acceptable manner. Above all the common interests of both countries are now more closely aligned. This means that the challenges of Islamic terror and Palestinian Arab fostering of it can be tackled more successfully ....
February 13, 2017
This week has seen a dazzling outburst of self righteous outrage by all and sundry against Israel.
The common denominator is a knee jerk allergic reaction to anything the Jewish State may have done or is planning to do. Opposition to political decisions is often marred by barely concealed ulterior motives. Lurking near the surface in many cases is a potent hatred for anything and everything that Israel represents.
Some examples should serve to demonstrate the double standards and hypocrisy being employed.
One of the loudest outbursts of the week has been the reaction to the Knesset passing a law which legalizes a large number of homes previously built on Arab contested land. One can question the wisdom of such a move but the hysterical reaction from local and international sources overlooks one very vital reality. It is more than likely that the Supreme Court will invalidate this law. This fact is conveniently ignored by those expressing outrage as is the truth that Israel is a country where Courts are independent and their rulings prevail. A bigger contrast between us and our neighbours would be hard to find. ....
TRUMP AND UNITED NATIONS AFTER SHOCKS
6 February, 2017, by Michael Kutner.
It was predicted and now it has come to pass that the election of Donald Trump and the infamous UN resolution sponsored by New Zealand and friends would trigger tremors.
Not only have they set off earthquakes but the after shocks keep rumbling and will continue to do so for quite some time into the future.
The UN resolution as well as previous UNESCO pronouncements clearly articulated the false narratives that Israel and Jews have no valid historical or legal claim or connection to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. The corrosive effects of these decisions can now be seen and heard in international community forums and discourses. Even more toxic however is the seal of approval given and eagerly taken on board by all those whose main aim and desire is to delegitimize the Jewish State and its Jewish citizens. No amount of hand washing and denial can absolve the promoters and advocates of responsibility for the chaos now developing. Once the genie is out of the bottle nothing can stop the inevitable tidal wave of lies being employed to brand and label Israel and Israelis. ....
OBAMA EXITS - TRUMP ENTERS
30 January, 2017 by Michael Kuttner
As Barak Obama leaves the White House and Donald Trump takes up residence, self proclaimed liberals still cannot accept reality.
These champions of liberty and freedom have taken to the streets not only in Washington but also across America and the world to demonstrate against the elected President. Writhing in self righteous indignation, disparate groups have undertaken a campaign to declare the recent election results as illegitimate and its winner an illegitimate leader. Representing a cross section of every imaginable sector of society and encouraged by a generally biased and unbalanced media these guardians of “progressive” political correctness still do not understand why Hillary was rejected.
Those of us living in Israel who face delegitimization campaigns on a daily basis can only look on in amazed bemusement. When Menachem Begin won the elections against the odds back in 1977 and broke decades of socialist party domination, the same combination of progressive liberals demonstrated and wailed. The same forecasts of doom were shouted out at demonstrations by those who could not accept the will of the electorate. The media although stunned at first by their massively miscalculated predictions soon performed according to the leftist script and proceeded to undertake a script of undermining those whom the majority had chosen.
Today the traditional established media finds itself under threat as social media bypasses their efforts to censure and present slanted news. This is what Donald Trump discovered and used so effectively to reach masses of citizens already turned off by the blatant bias of editors and journalists in mainstream newspapers.
This is also the weapon which Israel must employ in order to reach millions of people whose exposure to the daily drip feed of unbalanced news is having such toxic results.
One of the first results of the refreshingly wind of reality now emanating from the White House is the acknowledgement by the new Administration of the threat of Islamic terrorism. For the first time in eight years these words have been rescued from the excommunicated territory to which they had been banished. In his inauguration speech, President Trump stated loud and clear that this posed a mortal danger to not only Americans but also democratic societies worldwide. One cannot fight against evil until one recognizes exactly what it is. Obama then and European leaders today by failing to acknowledge what really motivates Islamic terror prefer instead to blame everyone and everything else for its rise and spread.
Thus, it is far easier to blame Israel and the convenient bogey of settlements rather than a belief system which considers non adherents to be infidels for promoting terror. Just as it has always been easier to blame the Jews for the plague and black death and invent conspiracy theories so today it is the cop out option to blame the Jewish State for the death and destruction now ravaging the Middle East and threatening Europe. By ignoring the real cause of terrorism, refusing to tackle it at its source and failing to punish its promoters, Obama and fellow leftists have contributed to its spread.
A clear proof of this failed and disastrous policy can be exemplified by the Iranian nuclear deal. Flush with billions showered on it by a shameless Administration and mendacious international community Iran is funding the activities of terror groups and developing technology to deliver weapons of mass destruction against Israel and others. Very few if any of those marching in Washington and elsewhere give a moments thought to these facts.
It is not only the Iranians who have benefited from the last eight years of fatally misguided policies initiated by the progressives of this world. ....
PARIS HELPS TO FUEL PALESTINIAN ARAB DELUSIONS
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23 January 2017 by Michael Kuttner
First published in jWire
For over seventy years the delusionary myths about Israel and Jews manufactured by Arab political and religious leaders have led them from one disaster to another.
Unfortunately instead of the international community injecting a sense of realism they have preferred to turn a blind eye. This has resulted in the delusions multiplying and becoming permanently embedded as part of the diplomatic discourse.
In 1922 the international community granted the Jewish People the legal right to closely settle the whole of Palestine which included all territory up to the Jordan River. At the same time they permitted the British to divide what had originally been intended to be part of Palestine and create what is today called Jordan. For all intents and purposes this is the much touted Arab Palestinian State. However in the first of subsequent numerous attempts to deny the Jews any sort of country of their own the Arabs commenced a series of violent pogroms and campaigns of terror.
From that moment until this very day not only did those opposing the notion of any Jewish presence launch terrorist acts of murder and mayhem they also wove a web of lies and myths designed to rewrite history. This has created a situation whereby Jews would be denied any presence in the very places which have seen a sovereign Jewish presence for over three thousand years. Those waging this war expected the international community to either renege on their previous legally binding commitments or to turn a blind eye to the efforts being undertaken to scuttle its fulfillment. ....
JERUSALEM DECLARED ILLEGITIMATE BY OBAMA, KERRY AND MCCULLY
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9 January, 2017 by Michael Kuttner
First published in jWire
Now that large parts of Jerusalem, the unrecognized Capital of the Jewish State, have been declared illegal and illegitimate by all and sundry, it is timely to point out a few incontrovertible facts.
The “A” team of Obama, Kerry and McCully joined by a motley assortment of hostile, ignorant and unsavory nations represented at the corrupt United Nations managed to unite and issue an edict which for all intents and purposes delegitimizes any Jewish presence in the heartland of Israel in general and Jerusalem in particular. Their pathetic resolution unleashed an avalanche of comments ranging from unadulterated adoration to hasty denials of malevolent intent. Murray McCully, the New Zealand Foreign Minister looking like a sheep caught in the glare of an incoming train, expressed amazement at the furious Israeli reaction to his stupendous piece of international diplomacy.
Those who hope that the new NZ Prime Minister will disavow this shameful charade are bound to be disappointed. Theresa May after having voted for this worthless gesture then hastily tried to distance herself from it thus demonstrating once again that British duplicity is still alive and well. Julie Bishop the Australian Foreign Minister maintained that she would have voted against but then contradicted herself by trotting out the usual mantra against Jewish settlements and Jerusalem. ....
NEW YEAR EXPECTATIONS
3 January, 2017
As the civil year of 2016 draws to a close we look with uncertainty towards 2017 and wonder whether it can be worse than this year.
The short answer is unfortunately yes.
After polishing my crystal ball here are some predictions for the twelve months ahead.
Between now and 15 January the Obama/Kerry demolition team will do their best to twist the knife they have already stuck into Israel's back. Having your back takes on a whole new meaning and its real meaning will become even clearer during the next few weeks. Relieved of any necessity to cloak antipathy under the guise of diplomatic double talk the outgoing Administration will unleash the anti Israel hounds at the State Department and encourage all those who have been waiting to “stick it” to Israel to launch forth with a myriad of accusations and condemnations.
Having already facilitated the passing of a resolution at the UN which dooms any so called peace talks they will now have their eyes on further actions. In a speech delivered on Wednesday, John Kerry managed to once again put the blame for his failures on to Israel. The finale is bound to occur at the meeting of 70 nations scheduled for Paris on 15 January. This bash will be the perfect opportunity for Obama & Kerry to perform on the world stage and deliver their final acts of perfidy. Having been described by some as the modern day version of the Dreyfus trial the gathering of all and sundry will provide an ideal platform for the UN, EU, USA and Uncle Tom Cobbly and all to formulate demands which will put the final nails in the coffin of any negotiation prospects. New Zealand may very well be the recipient of accolades and praise for its attempt to “pull the wool” over real facts. The Trump cavalry is galloping to the rescue on the horizon but five days before they reach us, France with the assistance of the outgoing White House will have managed to cause mayhem. ....