About rolenemarks

Rolene Marks is a member of the Media Team Israel, a body of volunteers that monitors bias in the media. A passionate advocate for Israel, Rolene has appeared on radio, tv and in the print Media. Rolene lives in Israel.

Iron like lions in Zion!

“Ain’t nobody gonna break my stride, I gotta keep on moving” sang a passionate Matisyahu at the recent Rototom Sunsplash Festival in Spain. To quote another reggae luminary, Bob Marley, Matisyahu was Iron like Lion in Zion. He epitomized peace and tolerance in the face of great adversity and discrimination. We all know the story but in a nutshell, Matisyahu who is American and Jewish was asked to endorse the positions of the BDS movement and was summarily disinvited by festival organisers when he didn’t. After immense worldwide pressure by peace loving citizens who were outraged over the ban, Matisyahu was re-invited and defiantly sang his hit, Jerusalem. You see, it is not actually about Israel, it is all about Jews. Boycott shmoycott – that is just verbiage and fancy wordplay that disguises the true intentions of the Belligerent, Disruptive and Stupid campaign. Matisyahu had this to say on his Facebook page:

“My deepest thanks to the worldwide community for rallying to the cause of musical freedom. Most of all, thank you to my incredible fans and to so many people of all faiths who refused to remain silent in the name of artistic freedom. This is your victory.”

Jerusalem if I forget you…….

Matisyahu’s performance is indicative of a phenomenon that Jews have faced since eternity – the ability to stand up to the Goliath of haters.  Since time immemorial, the small nation of Israel has had to stand up to colossal entities who have sought our destruction. In the modern age, they are aided by vast media outlets.

Matisyahu’s brave performance got me thinking. The one thing that scares off a bully is if his intended victim stands up to him. I am often asked during interviews or lectures, why Israel’s public relations is so bad. Granted, it can stand to improve a lot but the Jewish people face a phenomenon no other nation does. Our diaspora communities are seen as the de facto spokespeople for the State of Israel and are targets for many an anti-Semite. Don’t get me wrong – criticizing policy you don’t necessarily agree with is healthy and democratic but if it comes at the expense of other countries committing true atrocities or if the rights of the sovereign Jewish state to exist are questioned, then we are dealing with a whole new animal.

ththlion_of_judah

Iron like a lion in Zion

Many have approached me in despair, lamenting the fact that we can’t compete with massive budgets and buying power on broadcast networks or are dwarfed by sheer numbers. This is when I think of David vs Goliath and now, Matisyahu.

For the first time in our history, Jews not only have a state and an army but we also have a voice. We have the same social media tools, the same ability to disseminate information and a myriad of NGO’s and individuals who fight the good fight. We also have legions of support in the Christian community and believe it or not, in areas where we would least expect it in the Muslim and Arab worlds, often at great risk to their personal safety.

It is my belief that despite the size of the opposition, we can all be lions for Zion. There is an old African folklore tale that even the smallest mosquito can irritate the great elephant. The most important thing is that we show up with the facts, ready and confident to make our case. This seriously irritates the proverbial elephant!

Seventy odd years ago, Jews did not have a voice. There was no Facebook to share their plight and the gates of the nations were closed to them. They were stateless and voiceless.

Today, every letter in response to a hostile op-ed, every Facebook share or post and every tweet can go a long way to getting the truth out. We can give a voice not only to those who cannot speak for themselves or live in countries where anti-Semitism is prohibitive of their freedom of expression but also to the generations before us who could not speak out.

Matisyahu, who ironically bears the name of the great Maccabean leader (who hailed from the city of Modiin where I live), is hugely symbolic.  Matityahu, the hero of Chanukah, led the battle against the Greeks and his leadership skills were passed down to his sons who defeated them and won back the Temple.  Talk about beating the odds! Today’s Matisyahu is using the power of music as an instrument of peace and tolerance with a message of national identity and is being the mosquito that irritates the BDS elephant.

modiin

Excavations in Modiin, the city of the Maccabees

My message is simple – we may be small in numbers and the odds may seem insurmountable, but we can all show up in our own unique way. We can draw from the example from history and the present and roar like iron lions from Zion!

Useful sites to help you:

www.wizo.org

www.chaifm.com

www.idfspokesperson.wordpress.com

www.honestreporting.com

www.mfa.gov.il

www.jewishvirtuallibrary.com

www.israel21c.org

www.ngo-monitor.org

www.jpost.com

www.timesofisrael.com

www.voiceofisrael.com

www.i24news.tv

www.standwithus.com

BDS – Bulls*** Double Standards?

This article currently appears in The Algemeiner:

http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/08/14/the-b-in-bds-stands-for-bull/

The issue of human rights is very alluring. It appeals to our conscience and sense of altruism but what happens when organisations and individuals who claim to be concerned with the cause of human rights discriminate against the rights of another?

Okay, the jig is up. You all know who I am talking about. BDS – the so called Boycott Divestment and Sanction movement. Only it should be renamed “we only care about boycotting Israel and accusing them of heinous crimes like Apartheid and screw those other folks like the Yazidis, Christians and Syrians who could really use our help.” But then again that would make for a rather long and confusing acronym.

It seems like those who are in dire need of a voice are not the subjects of marches, rallies – and t-shirts!

Cut to South Africa – okay I know I drone on but it really is the epicenter of BDS, seeing it burst onto the global stage at the 2001 UN Conference – and the latest drama playing out is t-shirt-gate. Now I know that you are scratching your heads wondering what I am going on about but it exposes another hypocritical double standard that the BDS are guilty of.

The humble t-shirt has now sparked a controversy about discrimination against these so called human rights activists. BDS SA poster child, Mohamed Desai, was asked to leave a popular Johannesburg gym for wearing a BDS t-shirt that read “From the coast of Cape Town to the coast of Gaza, in solidarity with Palestinians against Israeli apartheid”. See video clip below:

Mohamed Desai has a rant on camera

Now Mr Desai and his cohorts are guilty of the following – singing “Shoot the Jew” at a rally, harassing and bullying staff and shoppers at Woolworths stores, intimidating and even bribing student leaders who visited Israel recently, amongst other belligerent activities. The students incidentally have firmly decided that they have been lied to by BDS but back to our friend Mohammed who used the excuse that singing shoot the Jew was merely a hearken back to the struggle song “shoot the boer”. Both songs are repugnant. Desai is now taking t-shirtgate to the South African Human Rights Commission.

This is a prime example of the hideous double standards employed by this movement. Yeah, they are a movement alright – one that may require a latrine.

This same self-righteous are silent on Syria, the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, the flagrant abuse of Yazidis and the rape, mutilation and torture of women by Daesh (ISIS). Not a peep out of the mouths of this bunch. No marches, no demonstrations and no boycotts. This honour is reserved only for Israel and Jewish communities around the world.

11873387_749419805181096_4649580273897307825_n

BDS rally in Paris but where is the one against ISIS

At a time when Jews have been shot while touring museums and doing their Shabbat shopping, there is nothing remotely dismissive or funny about singing songs like shoot the Jew. Why is it that every time BDS want to make a point something or protest their activities invariably result in anti-Semitism?

BDS are quite frankly anti peace. Bullyboy tactics and double standards are contra to what any peace loving individual who wants to see a just and negotiated settlement reached in the Middle East. Discourse is the only way and boycotts and inflammatory speech destroys that.

I appeal to any peace loving, sane person to not believe the bulls*** spouted by these hate mongers. Don’t let them polarize your community or import conflicts into your country, rather give a voice to those who have no advocates speaking or marching on their behalf. Nobody will be offended by any t-shirt carrying a peace sign.

An EPIC BDS Fail: Roro on The Josh Hasten Show (Voice of Israel)

What happens when you bring 16 student leaders from South Africa where they have been fed a steady diet of BDS b.s?  AN EPIC BDS fail! I was absolutely delighted to join the Voice of Israel’s Josh Hasten on air:

Listen to the interview:

http://www.voiceofisrael.com/pro-bds-students-do-a-180-after-visiting-israel/

Join me in subscribing to Voice of Israel radio:

http://www.voiceofisrael.com

20150727_130029

Ranting on air: gratitude to Josh Hasten

Iran is not a credible partner – Col. Olivier Rafowicz

This article originally appeared in French in Le Monde Juive

http://www.actuj.com/2015-07/israel/2136-olivier-rafowicz-l-iran-n-est-pas-un-partenaire-credible

Listen to the podcast with the Disgruntled Millenial:

http://brettsegalmusic.com/idfcolonel/

RAFOWICZ

Col. Rafowicz

Iran’s Ayatollahs were behind the bloody attack that hit the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994 that killed 84 and injured 230. Iran is also behind the attack in Burgas, the resort in Bulgaria that resulted in several deaths. In fact, Iran is behind dozens of bombings and killings throughout the world that have targeted and continue to target Jewish, Israeli and western interests. These same Iranian mullahs and ayatollahs who promote the Islamic revolution are engaged in an open war against Israel. Iran is among the most corrupt states in the world and has empowered a handful of clerics who have enriched themselves for years on the grounds that they hold the “Truth” and use a fundamentalist Shiite Islamist ideology.

Since the revolution in 1979, Iran has supported terrorism through its proxies like Hizbollah, amongst others. Iran also uses their special forces that are attached to the foreign service of the Iranian intelligence unit to increase their sphere of influence to perpetrate numerous attacks and are willing to become a major power in the Middle East and beyond. Imad Mugniyeh, the mega terrorist, who was killed in mysterious circumstances in Damascus, was one of the commanders of the Iranian external branch for military and terror attacks abroad. By the way, the Iranian foreign minister, Zarif, paid his respects at Mugniyeh’s grave two months ago. This same man, who is charged with signing an agreement with the west, has given full respect to a man who has French, American and Israeli blood on his hands.

Iran has a long arm, reaching as far as the Argentine State Prosecutor Alberto Nisman who formally accused the Iranian government of being behind the attack in Buenos Aires in 1994. He was the author of a report that indicted Hezbollah and was found dead in his apartment in January 2015 due to mysterious circumstances. He had issued an international arrest warrant against several senior Iranian officials, including former President Akbar Hashemi  Rafsanjani.

I acknowledge that today the West has to deal with the Islamo-fascist regime that continues to declare loud and clear that they want the total destruction of the Jewish state.

I accuse the major powers who do not want to acknowledge that Iran is a terrorist state that creates dangerous conditions for the State of Israel and the West – this agreement allows the major world powers to prefer economic and financial windfalls from activity in Iran and would rather use this state as their tool to fight ISIS, mostly in Iraq.

It is not just the responsibility of all the Jews in the world who love Israel but of all democrats, to acknowledge the absurd and dangerous policy of seeking an agreement at any price with a State that does not change their way of thinking and has installed a regime and form of government that continues to want to destroy the only democracy in the Middle East and the only Jewish state in the world.

11760233_10155762211210542_2619046114881468690_n

I accuse the big powers who want to believe that further remote control of the Iranian nuclear programme is possible and that the worst can be avoided, of being naive. As long as Iran is a dictatorship  that continues to stone adulterous women, which condemns homosexuals  to death, sends suicide bombers to blow themselves up in Jewish community centers or on buses carrying Israeli tourists and have hundreds or even thousands of Shiite suicide bombers ready to blow themselves up in restaurants and public places, this country cannot be worth signing an agreement  with.  From a nuclear and military perspective, men who dream of destroying the Jewish state should not be allowed to be partners to sign a credible agreement.

I accuse them of naivety, or at least being naive when it comes to wanting an agreement at any price with a regime that wants to destroy the state of Israel at all costs. It is difficult at present to know what the consequences of the nuclear deal will be for Israel and the region but it is clear that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and even Turkey and the State of Israel are starting to live in a much more dangerous era from today where the West will give carte blanche to the regime of mullahs who will undoubtedly continue their expansionary course and hegemony in the region. Today, Tehran controls Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, Sanaa and Gaza.

If tomorrow, the region becomes inflamed due to an agreement with the Devil, Israel will be directly affected and the appropriate solution that should be adopted will come certainly from Jerusalem or at least in conjunction with the Jewish capital. The foreign ministers of major powers will certainly leave Vienna with the smile of those men who think they have negotiated a good deal. The Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs will certainly be the only one that will have a real reason to smile.

In Israel, we do not smile. We know that only the State of Israel, its army,its government and the God of Israel is and will always be the guarantor of our security. God Bless Israel.

Olivier Rafowicz is a reserve Colonel in the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and is the former foreign media spokesman. Rafowicz is a senior consultant in communication and military affairs and has provided analysis and commentary on Middle Eastern issues on radio television and in the print media. Rafowicz is a frequent commentator on i24 News French edition and serves as KKL-JNF Senior Advisor on Hasbarah in Europe. Rafowicz is the author of “Le Temps du Retour’ (available through Amazon).

A year later…..

It was a summer of sirens and shelters, living life in increments of time and making decisions based around access to safe rooms. It was a summer of incredible unity, deeds that spoke louder than words and it was a summer of love for our fellow citizen.

It has been a year since the start of Operation Protective Edge that Israel launched in response to the incessant rocket fire from Hamas during the summer of 2014. There have been national ceremonies commemorating those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and defense. I have felt deeply contemplative and pensive over all we have endured as a nation over the past year and I share my thoughts with you.

Many pundits and opinion makers have tried to explain Operation Protective Edge in numbers. This many rockets launched, that many sorties, however many seconds to seek shelter and the ubiquitous (and this is where the world media is guilty) civilian deaths in Gaza vs Israel. For me, Protective Edge cannot just be explained in numbers but in profound gratitude.

Our heroes in uniform – we salute you!

It is in this spirit that I just want to say thank you to our brave men and women of the Israel Defense Forces:

  • Thank you for defending us on land, sea, air and that most hostile battlefield, the airwaves.
  • For split second decisions that may have saved the lives of civilians behind enemy lines but may have cost you your own.
  • For showing the world that you abide by a strict code of morals and ethics and the “Purity of Arms”. You have set a standard for combat that is so high, other modern armies now face a dilemma when in a combat situation.
  • The lone soldiers who come from all around the world, leaving behind their familiar creature comforts to come here and serve.
  • The soldiers who expressed their joy at receiving a humble tub of ice cream or a drawing from a child.
  • The soldiers who saved other soldiers and those that made sure we brought them all home. Oren Shaul z”l and Hadar Golden z”l – we have not forgotten you. May your souls rest peacefully and may you be returned for a dignified burial.
  • From all sectors of Israeli society – Bedouin, Druze, Christian and Arab proudly serving their country.
  • Our Home Front Command – making sure we were and are always prepared. Updating us, guiding us and reassuring us.
  • To the soldiers who manned the Iron Domes who stood guard over our cities. Nobody got more marriage proposals or was the object of so much affection than “Domey”.
  • The Military Advocate General (DABLA) ensuring that we uphold the highest tenets of the law.
  • To each and every son and daughter of Israel who protects and defends us through the tough times and the quiet, from the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU!

Saluting our female medics of the IDF

During Protective Edge many in South Africa asked me to ‘come home”. Israel is my home and there is no place I would rather be than doing my bit for my country. It is difficult to explain to anyone who wasn’t here during that time how everybody just pulls together in a time of war. There is no feeling like it – the overwhelming sense of patriotism and unity. I saw everyday heroes in my fellow citizens. The ones who visited wounded soldiers and bereaved families. The citizens who put a roster together to wash the uniforms of our soldiers – when they were not over feeding them! The volunteer organizations like WIZO, who helped to evacuate citizens and provide a safe haven and activities for traumatized families. The organizations that collected “stuff” for our soldiers and patiently schlepped it up and down to bases and borders.  The kindness of strangers who lined the streets and cemeteries in their tens of thousands to say thank you and escort a brave fallen warrior to his final resting place. Who can forget the concern of the families of fallen lone soldiers who feared nobody would come to their funerals and were embraced by thousands as they stood sentinel and in respect for their sons?

I have lived in Israel for almost five years and have endured two “Operations”. Not once have I questioned or regretted my decision, rather I could not be more proud or grateful to be here.  I have cried buckets of tears for our fallen and my heart has burst with pride. We have mourned together, cried together, prayed together and sang together. We have run together, offered shelter to strangers together, worried together and triumphed together.

They come from all around the world and all sectors of society.

A year after Operation Protective Edge and despite the fact that rockets are still being fired from Gaza and this time some of them are claimed by Daesh (ISIS), life goes on. I cannot say that we are not still traumatized by the effects of last summer. Sirens make us nervous and I have to be honest, they turn this feisty, loud mouthed Zionist into a quivering wreck. But we have continued to build, focus on the future and welcome those who decide to call this tiny miracle their home.

The world media will continue to deride us and institutionalized anti-Semitism in the form of biased reports from the United Nations will single us out for approbation but we will prevail. Many will think they are armchair generals and commentators and opine from the safety of their homes thousands of kilometers away. Some will support campaigns to boycott, sanction and divest from our state.

The technical wonder that is the Iron Dome

But we are Israel and inside our vulnerability lies a steely resilience. We value life above all and seek peace as defiantly as we defend ourselves.

Our hope is to hear our children squealing with joy and excitement this summer, to see our beaches packed with holiday makers and our restaurants full. Our hope is that no wail of a siren will punctuate the calm and we will not send our sons and daughters off to war. For those who fell, you will never be forgotten, to those who battle injuries both internal and external, we embrace you.

We are Israel. Am Yisrael Chai!

11667350_10154296354557316_4733867123756458612_n

Always remembered. May their memories be a blessing.

B*%^$ stole my shoe!

Since the dawn of time Jews and lately Zionists, have been blamed for every conspiracy theory in the world .From controlling the media, to 9/11 and yes, to training special spy sharks for the Mossad, there is barely a single canard we have not been blamed for.

Books have been devoted to this phenomenon.  The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is one of the most venomous tomes ever written and Hitler based his indictment against the Jews, Mein Kampf on Jewish control and conspiracy theories. We all know how that ended.

Asghar Bukhari, founding member of UK Muslim Public Affairs Committee, went on a Facebook rant this past weekend alleging that the Mossad was responsible for stealing one his shoes (and his slippers) that he carefully placed in a special spot. He opened his rant (sadly, I don’t have the monopoly on ranting) with “ARE ZIONISTS TRYING TO INTIMIDATE ME”?

2999A0E600000578-3123120-image-m-63_1434235924431

He feels vulnerable and intimidated and remarked how a fellow Muslim leader tearfully stated that “they had been coming into her house and re-arranging things just to let her know they had been there”.

Now while I am not privy to Mossad training specifics, I am sure that cat burglary and interior decorating are not among their special areas of expertise. As a Zionist who considers myself to have discerning taste in shoes (personally I would steal a fabulous pair of designer stilettos), I am offended at the accusation that hearkens back to a time when we were accused of being thieving Jews and degenerates of society. This nasty invective is taught in schools in the Palestinians today and is having dire consequences on any kind of hope for peace. We can laugh and come up with crazy memes to share on social media but underneath the jokes lies a symptom of a serious illness that cannot be eradicated and instead is spreading around the world like wild fire. Antisemitism.

Antisemitism is at the highest levels we have seen since before World War 2 and one of the favourite areas of attacks are Israel’s security institutions including the Mossad and the IDF. The Mossad are quite used to ridiculous allegations – not restricted to catching terrorists, this organization also steals rain and trains birds to spy. You cannot make this stuff up!

2999B8ED00000578-3123120-image-a-56_1434235232470

Bukhari considers himself an expert in Mossad shoe fetish – he read all about in a book including how they allegedly target blind people. In his diatribe below, he warns fellow Muslims about the scourge of missing shoes and then proceeds to personally attack a variety of pro-Israel supporters, calling them “Uncle Toms”. But his true colours eventually reveal themselves when he defends his accusation bysaying “Zionists stole countries” “they steal the organs of children”. Even seasoned Muslim leaders come under attack because they apparently, are useless.

There you have it ladies and gentlemen, underneath the excuse of the missing shoe is the world’s oldest hatred wrapped up in jihadist marketing to radicalize a younger generation.

So Mr Bukhari, while it was the Mossad who stole your shoe (#Mossadstolemyshoe) I have to confess – it was this Zionist bloggest who stole your slippers!

2999A0E600000578-3123120-image-m-59_1434235283570

The LUNatics have taken over the asylum…

The earth sits on the shoulders of a giant, the moon is made out of green cheese and the IDF belong on a terrorist list. Say what???? Yup, you read it correctly. According to the Jewish Political Update, UN special representative of the secretary-general for children and armed conflict, Leila Zerrougui, is set to “recommend the blacklisting of the Israel Defense Forces for regularly causing harm to children. The designation would place the IDF in the same group as terror groups such as Islamic State, Boko Haram, and the Taliban.”

United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon is “leaning” towards leaving Israel off the list.

So let us get this straight – a legitimate army, defending the rights of a sovereign state to protect itself against attacks from some of those non-state actors (read terror organisations) that feature on this illustrious list are classed amongst them? You cannot make this stuff up!

The United Nations is absolutely besotted with Israel. Anti-Israel resolutions and finger pointing are the order of the day and one can say that their despicable witchUNt against the Jewish State constitutes institutionalized anti-Semitism.

Army service is compulsory for Israeli citizens from the age of 18. Will all who serve in active or reserve duty be classed as terrorists? Have you ever heard such nonsense in your life!!!!

The IDF follow a strict Code of Ethics. Included in this are laws that govern the use of weapons in a combat situation. This is known as the Purity of Arms (courtesy of IDF Code of Ethics):

 Purity of Arms – The IDF servicemen and women will use their weapons and force only for the purpose of their mission, only to the necessary extent and will maintain their humanity even during combat. IDF soldiers will not use their weapons and force to harm human beings who are not combatants or prisoners of war, and will do all in their power to avoid causing harm to their lives, bodies, dignity and property.

Our brave soldiers, unlike the enemy they face, do not hide behind their civilian population, using innocent men, women and children as human shields while firing their rockets and projectiles at Israel, placing both civilian populations in mortal danger. British colonel (ret) Richard Kemp, explains in detail below how the IDF do more than any army to minimize civilian casualties. All this while setting up field hospitals for the injured and sending in humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Israel in combat – Col (ret) Richard Kemp speaks at the BESA Institute.

The UN recently declared Israel as the “worst violator of health rights” in a 104-4 with six abstentions vote. It is almost laughable because while the defUNct UN passes ridiculous resolutions against Israel at the expense of the bewildered civilians in Syria who are caught in a civil war or Christians across the Middle East and Africa who are being slaughtered, those dastardly IDF medical personnel are treating and supplying humanitarian aid to beleaguered Syrians.

Israel helping in Syria

Israel is one of the smallest countries in the world but still manages to punch well above her weight when it comes to helping the nations of the world. Within hours of the horrendous earthquake in Nepal, Israel had dispatched a team to assess what was needed and a field hospital, the largest (and only) of its kind along with 260 troops and dogs from the Oketz canine unit and their handlers were on their way to help with rescue and recovery. Sadly, Israel lost Or Asraf z”l, who was backpacking in Langtang, Nepal as part of his post-service trip. Asraf had served in Operation Protective Edge and was injured and his brothers from his unit along with his father, flew to Nepal to bring him home. This is the spirit of brotherhood.

In the clip below, the IDF mission commander meets with the Nepalese Prime Minister:

Israel in Nepal

11113892_10155421443100411_7208687081284856356_n

In the last two weeks, Israel has sustained three rocket attacks against our citizens in the south. Last week the whole country participated in a nationwide drill and even though our army prepares us and we know what to expect, the sound of sirens is both traumatic and a stark reminder of the hostility of our neighbours. Let us examine the numbers – three times Israel has sustained rocket attacks in the last two weeks, approximately 300 000 citizens scrambled to shelters. The amount of comments from the UN and other international leaders condemning these attacks has amounted to……zero. As an Israeli citizens, I could not be more grateful for the IDF for not only keeping us safe but for ensuring that we know exactly what to do in times of attack.

As you can see in the above mentioned examples, the IDF are great candidates for being placed on a terror list (yes, I am dripping with sarcasm).  The United Nations should hang its head in absolute shame at its treatment of the state of Israel. Israel has never professed to be perfect but this is a new low and level of hypocrisy. The United Nations was established as the modern day guardians of human rights and they have failed dismally at their mission. Dictators and autocrats hold key decision making portfolios and blocs have been established to bully and ostracize countries like Israel.

The UN is in need of a serious overhaul. Or an exorcism to be rid of the evil that is given free reign. This is an organization that has just chosen Saudi Arabia to host the Human Rights Conference on Religious Freedom. It is quite clear that the lunatics have taken over the asylum.