The world is silent

This is currently published in the SA Jewish Report:

http://www.sajr.co.za/news-and-articles/2016/12/18/the-world-remains-silent-on-aleppo

The streets of Paris are silent. In London, Rome, New York, Johannesburg, Buenos Aires, Barcelona and countless cities around the world, the streets are silent. Nobody has shown up en masse to protest the genocide in Syria. The streets are devoid of people and indignation. The global streets that once teemed with angry protests against Israel for defending herself against rockets from Gaza, have fallen silent for the civilians of Aleppo who have summarily been slaughtered.

The world is silent.

In the hallowed halls of the institutions that are charged with safeguarding our world and the protection of those that cannot defend themselves, the global community of representatives are silent. There are no resolutions, no emergency sessions.

Just silence.

Perhaps there should be less attention focused on Wonder Women’s breasts and more on the genocide in Syria….

From the lofty heights of social media platforms, where many have focused a disproportionate amount of attention on drivel, the armchair pundits and generals are silent.

The movers and shakers and opinion makers from the global media have not dedicated column inches and soundbites to the civilians of Aleppo. No righteous indignation from those that command the airwaves.

Elections Trump genocide.

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Silence governs the human rights organisations.  One would expect these moral high ground practitioners to be leading the charge against the gross abuse happening in Syria but their energy is reserved for other parts of the Middle East…..

Anyone hear a peep from the BDS movement? If they really were concerned with human rights they would be front and centre.

When the leader of the free world tango’d with red lines and allowed the gas to consume tens of thousands of civilians the West was silent. Epic foreign policy failure, President Obama, epic!!

More than 310 000 Syrians have been killed and more than half the population displaced. The State of Israel, while having hostile relations with Syria, has provided humanitarian aid to civilians. While Israel maintains a policy of non-intervention, we have treated nearly 3000 civilians in field hospitals and in Israel.  IDF reserve doctors had this to say in a letter to the army chief-of-staff, in their demand to be called up to help:

We know there are security considerations, and we know there are diplomatic considerations. But there is a principle, there is a truth, and there is morality: We must demand from ourselves to be there for them,” the letter, quoted by Israeli news site 04040.

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Israeli doctor explains prosthetic leg to injured Syrian civilian (courtesy AFP)

Over 70 years after humanity’s greatest atrocity, the Holocaust, the world looked in horror and vowed NEVER AGAIN.  We debated why the railroads to Auschwitz were not bombed, why the Allied powers did nothing to stop the extermination of a third of world Jewry. Many recoiled in horror at the images of the tortured, starved and gassed and said we would never let crimes against humanity happen again.

It is ironic that next month, on the 27th of January, many will commemorate International Holocaust Memorial Day, designated by the United Nations to remember the worst genocide in recent memory. There will be many who will make speeches filled with platitudes about the importance of education and remembrance so that atrocities of this kind never happen again.

But has the world learned anything from history?

Silence has failed the six million and their survivors. Silence has failed Rwanda, Srebrenica, Cambodia and Darfur. Silence has failed Aleppo.

We cannot afford to be silent anymore. None of us in good conscience can say “but we didn’t know”.

As we reach the end of 2016, a year filled with many horrors around the world, we need to use our collective voices. We need to take to the streets and to social media. As media consumers we need to demand proper, balanced coverage. As citizens of humanity, we need to look for ways to help (see link below)

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/how-to-help-aleppo-charities-and-organisations-to-donate-to-including-msf-the-red-cross-and-the-white-helmets_uk_584ff7a8e4b040989fa80770

Do not make NEVER AGAIN an empty platitude – make it your resolution. No more silence.

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Who is a Zionist?

This blog is currently featured in the SA Jewish Report:

http://www.sajr.co.za/news-and-articles/2016/12/14/who-is-a-zionist-is-an-ever-present-question

There has been a lot of debate, discussion and social media brouhaha lately over who is or what defines a Zionist.

In simple terms Zionism is nothing more that the yearning of the Jewish people to return to their ancient homeland. The great civil rights leader, Rev Dr Martin Luther King, was rumoured to have coined this definition of Zionism and I reckon he knew quite a bit about human rights. And he was a Zionist! And he wasn’t Jewish!!

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The reason that I am writing about this is important.

After thousands of years of being made well aware that we are unwelcome in many countries, we have returned en masse to our ancient and ancestral homeland.  The word Zion refers to those biblical times since time immemorial. It is proof that Jews have “indigenous peoples rights to the land” and in case anybody has doubt, there is antiquity being discovered every day that supports this.

Zionism is also the National Liberation Movement of the Jewish people. It is a guarantee of our rights to organize ourselves politically and assign it a name that hearkens back to our ancient roots and love for Zion. Many thought that with the realization of the modern state of Israel, antisemitism would disappear but instead it has reared its head in a new form – anti-Zionism.

I think that saying that the Jews have no right to organize themselves politically and call it Zionism is racism. And many agree with me and that is why we have a phenomenal support base that includes many Christians who work tirelessly in support of the Jewish state and Muslims, some of whom put their lives at risk to support Israel.

This has rattled some who believe that only Jews can be Zionists. It is like we belong to a secret group that requires a secret handshake and meets in a treehouse.  This philosophy is exclusionary and I find it deeply offensive.

I am a card carrying, loud spoken, flag carrying, Hatikvah singing Zionist. I don’t care much for labels or wings but take exceptional pride in the fact that our beautiful flawed democracy, The State of Israel, is brilliantly multicultural and allows for divergent opinions. Robust discussion and debate is a point of pride in a neighbourhood where you can be killed for disagreeing with the leaders or following a different religion. Are we all not heartbroken by the visuals coming out of Syria or news of Christians being slaughtered in our region?

Is Israel perfect? No – sometimes we are guilty of an epic fail or many but I believe part of being a Zionist is being able to criticize and self-correct. I believe that Zionism means you want to see an exemplary Israel. An Israel that is tolerant and welcoming and grateful for all who support her. This is dignified, this is keeping with the tenets of our founders who envisioned this. There is room in the Zionist tent for everyone – Christian, Muslim, left and right.

“The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

Who are we to behave or treat our supporters differently?

One of my concerns right now as a proud Zionist is the propensity for some to say that Christians cannot be Zionists and if they are they must be on a mission to convert us. This kind of paranoia is dangerous and deeply insulting to our millions of Christian friends who support us whole heartedly. If you are strong in your identity and conviction nobody would be able to convert you anyway so please, stop with the paranoia!!!

I am proud of the many Arab, Druze, Christian and other minority groups who proudly serve in our diplomatic corps and IDF, laying their lives on the line every day for our safety. The rights of minorities while not always respected (and this must be corrected) are enshrined in our Declaration of Independence.

The world is becoming a hostile place for Zionists. Ask the students on campus who are bullied and sometimes physically threatened for their political beliefs. Or the store owners in Europe who find their shops rand sacked for carrying Israeli products. Or the travelers turned away from accommodation for being Israeli. The rise of the alt-right in the USA with their Nazi salutes and propensity for spray painting swastikas or the neo Nazis and BDS supporters in Europe or South America and South Africa has many Jews feeling afraid and isolated.

We should be opening our arms to our friends of all faiths.  Our Christian, Muslim, Hindu and other friends who march defiantly, waving their blue and white proudly, the friends who have come here to Israel to see the facts on the ground for themselves and are loudly proclaiming their support. The friends who at great cost to their safety make the case for Israel in institutions and government buildings where we have been accused of the most vile tomes.  On social media and in houses of worship, where some preach hate and incite to kill, there are others who speak of tolerance, peace and their love for the Jewish people.

To deny them entry into an exclusive club or doubt their motives is intolerant, discriminatory and downright rude. It smacks of horrible stereotypes and treatment that we have received throughout our history.

It was the dream of another great Zionist who while addressing civil rights in America in the 1960’s, voiced a sentiment that is universal and  as relevant today as it was then when he said:

“We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.We cannot turn back.”

So if you ask me who is a Zionist, I say I am. And my arms are wide open and hands outstretched to those who say Am Yisrael Chai!

BDS – What you need to know (concise toolkit)

Thank you SA Jewish Report for publishing this important resource:

http://www.sajr.co.za/news-and-articles/2016/11/30/roro’s-anti-bds-toolkit-for-world-wizo

Dear Reader

What is BDS (Boycott, Divestment and sanctions)? What are the accusations that they level at Israel and what is their modus operandi? How do we deal with the lies and erm….BS that BDS spread?

In this very concise toolkit that I have compiled for World WIZO, we look at the various aspects of the BDS movement. There are links to sites and articles that may be helpful.

I hope this toolkit serves you.

BDS – A summary

Israel stands accused of Apartheid

BDS – The war on campus

BDS – Lawfare

BDS Around the world – South Africa

BDS Around the World – Europe

BDS Around the World – The USA

BDS Around the World – South America

What YOU can do:

Talking Tachlis with Col (res) Olivier Rafowicz (English and French)

He is no stranger to Roro’s Rantings and I was delighted to interview him for Talking Tachlis on a variety of subjects including including UNESCO, the changing Middle East and how WIZO women can play a powerful, influential role in making the case for Israel.

View the Interviews here:

French Version

English Version

Previous featured articles by Col. Rafowicz:

https://rorosrantings.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/iran-is-not-a-credible-partner-col-olivier-rafowicz/

https://rorosrantings.wordpress.com/2014/10/19/without-israel-the-palestinians-are-nothing-and-nobody-is-interested-by-olivier-rafowicz/

https://rorosrantings.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/dressed-to-kill-suits-ties-and-the-packaging-of-evil/

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Yom Aliyah – fulfilling Lech L’cha

This blog is currently featured on Israel Forever:

http://israelforever.org/interact/blog/yom_aliyah_fulfilling_lech_lcha/

“ויאמר יהוה אל-אברם לך-לך מארצך וממולדתך ומיבת אביך אל-הארץ אשר אריאך””

And the Lord said to Avram, “Go forth from your land and from your birthplace to the land that I will show you”

And thus it is written in Parshat Lech L’cha – the passage in the Torah that speaks of G-ds commandment to Avram (who thirteen years later would become Abraham) to journey into the unknown, to the land he will show you.

Thousands of years later, heeding the same call, with a lot of trepidation, courage and 60 kilograms of luggage, many come from the north, the south, the east and the west to the land we have been shown to make it our home. One of the true miracles of the modern state of Israel is how we have managed to absorb the ingathering of the exiles, Jews who were scattered to the furthest corners of the globe and who have returned home.

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Operation Magic Carpet brings Jews from Yemen to Israel

It is an ascension. It is Aliyah. As an Olah (immigrant) of nearly six years, I cannot help but be filled with delight and joy that the government of Israel has designated the 7th of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan (to coincide with the reading of the above mentioned parshat) Yom Aliyah Day – a day celebrating the immigrants who help weave the fabric of Israeli society and our contribution to this tiny country that has welcomed over 80 different ethnicities. For some like me it is Aliyah by choice, we are drawn by our timeless connection to our ancient home and for some it is Aliyah under duress but still it is an epic return (cue theme music from Exodus the movie here).

Nothing prepares you for what Aliyah is really going to be like. Everybody’s experience is different and while it is often fraught with challenges, I would not change it for the world and bringing a sense of humour along with your lift and allocated 60 kg’s is a necessity.

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Operation Solomon brings Jews from Ethiopia to Israel

I celebrate my fellow Olim and the remarkable contribution that we have made to the country. We have infused every aspect of the country with the unique flavours of our countries of origin. From our cuisine that mixes ethnicities like it does ingredients to having representation in the highest office in the land, we have and continue to make our mark.

Although antisemitism is rising to alarming levels around the world, Olim are still choosing to come home to Israel. We cannot forget the daring operations like that have airlifted Jews under threat from countries like Yemen or Ethiopia and the defiant and daring “refusenik” movement that campaigned for the release of Soviet Jewry?

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Let my people go!!! US Jews march for the freedom of Soviet Jews to make Aliyah

Israel is the land of miracles. It is not just the stuff of biblical history but is evident every day as many more come home and battle the trials and tribulations of a massive life decision.  Hey, nobody promised us a rose garden or said it would be easy! I know that nearly six years later, there are days where my Hebrew sounds more like a language that should be featured on Game of Thrones or there are cultural differences I just cannot wrap my head around but Aliyah has taught me a vital lesson in perseverance, patience and how some things can only be communicated with a well-planned hand gesture!

Israel has never been stronger. We are strong militarily, breaking boundaries every day with new discoveries in medicine, cyber technology, science, agriculture and so much more.  A lot of this we can attribute to cumulative brainpower of Olim and our Sabra (native born Israeli) brothers and sisters.

It has been 99 years since the Balfour Declaration paved the way for the forming of the modern state of Israel. Even though there has always been a Jewish presence in the land, this was the beginning of the formation of a formal, modern State that would be, in the words of the first Prime Minister, Ben Gurion, “open for the ingathering of the exiles”. And gathered we have.

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The Balfour Declaration

On wings of eagles and magic carpets, on Aliyah flights and solo missions, to the land of our ancestors we have fulfilled the instruction of Lech L’Cha. After the slaughter of a third of world Jewry in the Holocaust, we have fulfilled the prophecy of Ezekiel by having being raised, had life breathed into us and have been placed upon our soil.

I raise a glass of delicious Israeli wine and toast L’Chaim to my fellow Olim and thank you to the government for officially designating Yom Aliyah. To our brothers and sisters in the diaspora contemplating answering the call….next year in Jerusalem! Or Modiin, Tel Aviv, Haifa……

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Welcome Home!

The UNESCO fiasco

This blog currently appears in Israel Rising:

The UNESCO Fiasco

The earth is flat. The moon is made out of green cheese.  The tooth fairy takes away your baby teeth and replaces them with money (well, that one may be true!). Jews have no connection to the Temple Mount and Western Wall.

The loud crashing noise you just heard was the collective dropping of jaws of Jews and Christians around the world as the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) voted 24-6 to give preliminary approval to a resolution that denies Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and Western Wall. These are the holiest sites in Judaism, where King Solomon’s majestic Temples once stood.

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These most holy sites for Jews are also referred to in the New Testament and saying that the Jews have no ties is denying sacred Christian history as well. UNESCO in essence, by voting in this resolution, is attempting  to not just rewrite the bible but has offended both religions in the most epic way. EPIC UNESCO resolution fail!

It is so preposterous that even UNESCO Director General, Irina Bokova, said this in a statement on Friday, “The Al Aqsa Mosque [or] Al-Haram al-Sharif, the sacred shrine of Muslims, is also the Har HaBayit – or Temple Mount – whose Western Wall is the holiest place in Judaism. In the Torah, Jerusalem is the capital of King David, where Solomon built the Temple and placed the Ark of the Covenant. To deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site.”

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Rewriting the bible….

Unfortunately her strong words have done little to assuage this resolution or angry communities.

At his recent address to the United Nations general Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu remarked that the UN has changed from a moral force to a moral farce. Except that if a farce is really good, it is funny. There is nothing humourous about this latest resolution fiasco.

There is nothing new or funny about Palestinian attempts to rewrite history.  This is central to the Palestinian Authorty (ref. www.palwatch.org). By attempting to rewrite ancient and spiritual history, they believe it will support their claims that not only does the 3000 year strong  Jewish history in the land of Israel not exist but can be replace with fabricated Palestinian narrative.

This would be easy to believe (have you seen some Pallywood productions? Oscar worthy!) if it was not for the tremendous amount of antiquity that archaeologists have been finding for centuries that support Jewish claims to the land. Well, this and that priceless deed to real estate, The Bible.

Many have tried to erase Jewish claims to the land and the beautiful city of Jerusalem bears the scars of the various empires that tried to claim her. The Roman, the Babylonians, the Assyrians and others. May who tried not only failed but ceased to exist.

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Now it is the turn for that rapidly sinking into moral decay institution known as the UN.

My message is simple. My connection to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem is thousands of years long and thousands of years strong. I think I speak for many when I say that when we pray at the Kotel (Wailing Wall) we are bound and held up by the thousands of generations before us and millions of supplications in shared language and intention and the awe of standing before this holy site. It moves us to tears and is a reminder of the chain of generations, linked forever by our identity. It is the welcome home hug Jews get from above when they visit.

We now celebrate Sukkot (Feast of the Tabernacles) and thousands will descend on the Kotel for the magnificent Birkat Kohanim – the Priestley blessing.

Our Christian brethren will come from the four corners of the globe to march in support of Israel. The spirit in the city will be magnificent.

For it is written:

When Solomon later dedicated the Temple at Sukkot, he asked the Lord to hear the prayers of any foreigners that would come there to pray (2 Chronicles 6:32-33). It may surprise some, but Jesus kept the Feast of Tabernacles as well. On the last “great day of the feast”, he stood in the Temple and cried out: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37-38) (courtesy http://www.icej.org)

UNESCO seeks to deny both the historical and spiritual connection of Jews and Christians to our holy sites and beloved Jerusalem. No ridiculous UNESCO resolution will change or deny this for us. The UN has become a place that allows for institutionalised Antisemitism.

Say no to this abhorrent spectacle and sign this petition:

Petition

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Sacred moments…..

  • Images courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ship of Fools. Flotilla of Idiots.

This blog is featured on Israel Rising:

http://www.israelrising.com/zeytoun-oliva-ship-fools-flotilla-idiots/

Picture the scene – 13 self-righteous “human rights’ activists set sail for Gaza. Thirteen women from 13 different countries boarded the Zeytoun-Oliva determined to “end the siege on Gaza”. Armed with appalling singing voices and a YouTube account filled with moronic videos, they took to the high seas (okay, the Mediterranean) to liberate the people of Gaza from the frightful maritime blockade that is enforced by Israel. Legal and necessary, this blockade is in place to prevent the smuggling of weapons and material that Hamas and other groups based in the Gaza Strip use to rain terror on Israel’s citizens like fire rockets, dig tunnels, you know, all that war stuff that is a gross violation of the human rights of Israelis to live in peace.

Hardly Boudica and her army but flotillas are cause for concern because apart from their intention of conducting an illegal breach of the blockade, they have been known to have weapons on board and activists whose behavior is anything but peaceful. Mavi Marmara anyone?

The same day as the Zaytoun-Oliva was sailing to “break the siege on Gaza” we saw proof just why it is necessary to enforce such measures as rockets fired by ISIS supporting Salafists were fired into Israel from Gaza. Landing in a residential area, Code Red warnings sent traumatized residents scrambling for shelter. Imagine if this was your city.

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Surveying damage caused by rocket in Sderot

 I am sure these ISIS supporters would have been thrilled to receive a special delivery of 13 new sex slaves with a boat to spare. Please ladies, save the sanctimonious lectures and song and learn a little bit about the region you are coming to.

You say that you want to highlight the plight of Palestinians, especially the women? I could not agree more. Their plight should be highlighted because they live under siege – they are besieged by a bunch of autocratic lunatics who base their ruling on a genocidal  charter that calls for the total destruction of all Jews and enforces a medieval rule of law. That is not very human rightsie…..

Yes, the plight of Palestinian women does need to be highlighted. They live as second class citizens  and are denied the many rights that their male counterparts enjoy, provided of course that they are Hamas supporting, fully heterosexual, Allah fearing and don’t complain. Some of these women have been subjected to honour killings for crimes such as being a victim of rape. For Olympic atlete, Lee Anne Naidoo  who hailsfrom South Africa, I have a special message for you. Hamas who run the Gaza strip object hugely to same sex relationships. Your concern for the Palestinians is admirable but your sexual orientation will not garner you any  tolerance and  may find you flung off the top of the nearest building. This is not a sarcastic message, it is a fact.

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Setting sail for Gaza

The Zaytoun-Oliva was safely intercepted by female officers (yup, the so called “occupying forces of the IDF” are sensitive like that!)  and the following statement was released:

“The flotilla was stopped without resistance 35 miles from the Israeli coast. There were 13 women aboard and the boat is on its way to Ashdod and will arrive within an hour.”

“In accordance with the decisions of the political leadership and after calls to the Zaytouna flotilla by the navy to stop, which were rejected, sailors from the Navy took control of the boat before it arrived at the Gaza Strip,” the statement read.

“The process of taking control was short and resulted in no injuries. The response was implemented after many call to the sailors aboard the flotilla at various distances in the sea. After the sailors indicated that they had no intention to cooperate and to accept the offer to sail to Ashdod, the decision was taken to take control and to prevent it from breaching the legal naval blockade and to divert it to the Ashdod port,”

So no, they were not “kidnapped” (see moronic video made by the activists) below. The interception was peaceful.

I suggest that when they sail back on their merry way to where they came from that they stop in Syria. The women of that country deserve empathy and their plight being highlighted.

While these 13 women strum guitars and sing on their boat I ask where are the songs for the Yazidi women? Where are the flotillas for persecuted and massacred Christian women all over the Middle East? Where are the laments for the hundreds of thousands victims slaughtered by mass killings, gassing and other horrendous means?

Women have always played a role in raising the consciousness of human rights abuse. It is heartbreaking that the voice of the truly oppressed in this region are ignored as political grandstanding is favoured. Dear members of the Zeytoun-Oliva – your silence at the plight of our sisters who really need a voice is appalling.

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Who sails for them?

Bon voyage –  when you are serious about women’s rights in the region, we will talk.