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.

Honouring one of our greatest – Shimon Peres 1923 -2016

This blog is currently featured by The Israel Forever Foundation:

http://israelforever.org/interact/blog/honoring_one_of_our_greatest_shimon_peres_1923_2016/

He was a pioneer, and a founding father. He was both hawk and dove, warrior and peacemaker. He was an innovator and mediator. He was a Nobel laureate and visionary. He was a leader whose personal and political history was deeply woven with the story of Israel and the Jewish people.

Today Israel is in mourning. We bow our heads for our beloved Shimon Peres z”l, who has passed away at 93.  He was the last of our original founding fathers and a true icon.

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Shimon Peres z”l, was the eternal optimist, a rare quality in this world. He had transcended a decade’s long career in politics where he held many of the top portfolios in government including the office of Prime Minister twice. His relationship at times with the Israeli public was very complicated. He had suffered many political losses and at times was deeply unpopular, more so after the signing of the Oslo Accords.  He endured a lot of criticism for his role in the signing of these accords. Many had held him and Prime Minister Rabin z”l, responsible for the terror that followed in its wake.

Despite this, Peres remained ever hopeful that peace is possible in our very volatile region.

But he transcended politics and in 1996, founded the Peres Centre for peace with the intention of furthering his vision of people in the Middle East working together to build peace through socio-economic cooperation and development and people-to-people interaction.

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He was a great unifier and amongst his many accolades, received both a Knighthood from her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and honorary title of Sheikh by Bedouin dignitaries in the Negev for his work on behalf of the people of the Middle East.

A true Statesman, he shook the hands of Presidents and Popes, Kings, Queens and movie stars.  Every celebrity who visited, wanted an audience with our ebullient, eloquent and warm elder Statesman. His love for technology was legendary and I sheepishly admit that he was probably more proficient than I am. Who can forget his final message to the world on Facebook– “Buy more Blue and White” or his infamous job hunting clip on YouTube?

Former President Peres goes job hunting….

I was immensely privileged to meet President Peres when I participated in the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s Young Jewish Diplomats course in 2007. Hearing that young leaders had come to hear him speak, he came over to meet us. He took his time greeting all of us and shaking our hands. When it was my turn he asked in his deeply accented English that had never lost its Polish inflection “where are you from?” This was at a time when South African President Mbeki has made such sweeping statements like HIV does not cause AIDS and expressed support for Iran. I responded (trying not to giggle like a teenager at a One Direction concert) “South Africa Mr President”. After a very short exchange he was on to the next person but left a lasting impression with me who was extremely star struck.

As I write this, tributes are pouring in from all over the world as Peres continues to unite the most unlikely folk.  There will be many, many more for a man truly deserving of tribute and honour.

There will be only one Shimon Peres – and from a grateful nation who bows our head in mourning we say Thank you Mr President, for all you gave us, in the good times and bad, in times of strife and peace. May you look down on us one day as we achieve your dream – of a lasting peace.

May your memory be forever blessed.

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When two great Statesmen met…..

Talking Tachlis Episode 4: Michael Dickson, Stand With Us.

Welcome to another episode of Talking Tachlis. We were so excited to sit down with the executive director of Stand With Us, Michael Dickson and talk about how to be pro-active on social media, how to help the next generation of students and leaders feel more confident and empowered and a whole lot of other topics.

Don’t forget to visit: http://www.standwithus.com and follow on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Interview with Michael Dickson: Click here

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