An Interview with Dan Diker of the JCPA
by Jerry Gordon and Rod Reuven Dovid Bryant (February 2020)
NYC Solidarity March, January 5, 2020
More than fifty world leaders gathered in Jerusalem in the week prior to January 27th at the Yad Va Shem Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem. The occasion was the World Holocaust Forum to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the liberation by Russian forces on January 27, 1945 of the notorious Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Southern Poland where 1.1 million were murdered, over 90 percent of them Jews. They were part of Hitler’s Final Solution that saw the murder of Six Million European Jewish men, women and children in unspeakable ways. In a resolution of 104 members, the UN designated the date as International Holocaust Remembrance Day on November 1, 2005.
The world leaders gathered at Yad Va Shem were invited by Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin to meet and hear from Holocaust survivors and to address combatting the dramatic recent rise of Antisemitism in Europe and the US; the latter at historic levels. Based on FBI incident reports of Antisemitic attacks reported in 2017, Anti-Defamation League executive director Jonathan Greenblatt noted that the incidents were at their highest level in two decades. The ADL found particularly troubling a 57 percent jump in reported Antisemitic incidents in 2017 over 2016.
Prominent among the “new normal” of Antisemitic violence were three lethal attacks. The first occurred on October 27, 2018 at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania were 11 members were killed during a shabbat service by 46-year-old Robert Gregory Bowers, who was charged with commission of multiple federal capital hate crimes. Then there was the attack by 19-year-old John Timothy Earnest on the final Day of Passover, April 27, 2019 at the Poway, California Chabad Center with a semi-automatic rifle killing 60-year-old Lori Gilbert-Kaye and injuring three others, including Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein. Both events were perpetrated by White Supremacists who were apprehended. In both instances the motivation was to kill Jews. More bad news was to come.
On December 10, 2019, two heavily armed perpetrators, David Anderson and Francine Graham, equipped with a potentially massive bomb in their van, shot their way into a Kosher Market in Jersey City, New Jersey, killing three, including a police officer, before they were shot and killed by police. They were African-Americans espousing the hate-filled doctrine of the Black Israelite Hebrew movement. On the evening of the seventh day of Hanukkah, December 28, 2019, another African-American assailant, Grafton Thomas, barged into the Monsey, New York home of Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg where more than 100 had gathered for a candle-lighting ceremony. Thomas—wielding a machete—slashed and injured five; one seriously, with life threatening head injuries. Thomas fled the scene after being pummeled by those at the gathering who captured the assailant’s rented vehicle license plate on a cell picture photo. With that information, New York Police apprehended Thomas crossing the George Washington Bridge. Uncovered in the suspect’s social media was evidence of hatred of Jews and veneration of the extremists Black Israelite Hebrew Movement, perpetrators of the Jersey City kosher market attack. Thomas has been charged by Rockland County District Attorney with multiple charges of attempted murder and burglary. Later in the US Manhattan South Federal District Court in New York City, Thomas was charged with five counts under federal hate crimes laws.
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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared the Monsey attack as “domestic terrorism” New York ordered the New York state police’s hate crimes task force to launch an investigation. New York Attorney General Letitia James pledged “zero tolerance for acts of hate of any kind” and expressed her support for the Jewish community. New York US Senator Chuck Schumer called the attack “an act of pure evil” and added in a tweet that the “cascade in anti-Semitic attacks is outrageous throughout metropolitan New York and America, and must not be tolerated”.
President Donald Trump tweeted, “The anti-Semitic attack in Monsey, New York, on the 7th night of Hanukkah last night is horrific. We must all come together to fight, confront, and eradicate the evil scourge of anti-Semitism. Melania and I wish the victims a quick and full recovery”.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, “Israel unequivocally condemns the recent expressions of anti-Semitism and the vicious attack in the middle of Hanukkah on the rabbi’s house in Monsey, New York. We send our wishes of recovery to the wounded. We will cooperate in every way with the local authorities in order to defeat this phenomenon. We offer our help to each state.” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also expressed his “shock and outrage,” adding, “The rise of anti-Semitism is not just a Jewish problem, and certainly not just the State of Israel’s problem.”
The attack in Monsey capped a series of violent attacks against Chassidic Orthodox Jews in New York and suburban Orthodox Jewish communities. The Wall Street Journal reported:
Antisemitic hate crimes in New York City—home to the US’s largest Jewish population—were up 51% this year from the same period last year, according to New York Police Department data. That included a string of assaults against Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, as well as a sharp rise in anti-Semitic subway graffiti.
On January 5, 2020, 25,000 marched in solidarity from Brooklyn to Manhattan demonstrating against the rising violent acts of Antisemitism in New York and New Jersey. The theme was “No Hate No Fear”. The march drew contingents beyond New York from across the US including Washington, DC and Cleveland Ohio. Among the marchers were New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer. Cuomo said before the march:
What has happened in Brooklyn, what has happened in Monsey, New York, was an attack on every New Yorker and every New Yorker has felt the pain. Racism and anti-Semitism is anti-American, and we must remember that. It is ignorant of our history because to know the history of the Jewish community is to love and appreciate the Jewish community because New York would not be New York without the Jewish community.
The conundrum of rising violent global Antisemitism was the subject of an Israel News Talk Radio—Beyond the Matrix interview with Dan Diker of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) to address what is behind the disturbing rise of violent anti-Semitic attacks against Jews in the US and Europe. Diker is the Director of the Program to Counter Political Warfare at the JCPA. He is the editor and author of monographs and books concerning the radical origins of the international BDS campaign, anti-Israeli Students for Justice in Palestine connected to Hamas and normalization of relations between Arabs and Jews in Israel, Judea and Samaria.
Diker is a co-author of a soon to be published compendium, Israelophobia—The Hijacking of Civil Discourse and How to Rescue Free and Fair Debate on Israel in the Middle East. Diker identified the threads behind the spike in Global Antisemitism: Islamic Antisemitism, right-wing white supremacism evident in the Pittsburgh and Poway attacks, intersectionality of Nazism and Jew Hatred of the troubling Black Israelite Hebrew Movement evident in the Jersey City and Monsey attacks. Another emerging thread is political criticism of Israel, including “blood libel” in the death of a Palestinian child by “progressive” Democratic members of the US House of Representatives, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. Then there is Jeremy Corbyn, the UK Labor party leader in the Westminster Parliament delegitimizing the Jewish nation as an illegal racist endeavor.
These threads, Diker argues, fit the definition of anti-Semitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and those of the US Department of State adopted in 2010. The IHRA definition of anti-Semitism was adopted by the recent Executive Order signed by President Trump on December 15, 2019 applying Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Law to Jewish Americans. These provisions assert Israel’s ethnic religious heritage as the basis for the Jewish nation of Israel. Diker believes that the Trump executive order provides some important remedies. J Street, he notes, opposes the Trump executive order because it has an alleged “chilling effect” on criticism of Israel, meaning delegitimizing and demonizing the Jewish nation, under the US First Amendment “free speech” doctrine.
Against this background, Rod Reuven Bryant and Jerry Gordon of Israel News Talk Radio—Beyond the Matrix interviewed Dan Diker of the JCPA.
Rod: We have Dan Diker on the show today. You know Jerry, one of the things that we are going to ask Dan in the show and address is what’s going on with the rise of anti-Semitism in the world and what is the genesis of it. It’s important for us to get down to what is creating the environment of anti-Semitism and attacks on Jews around the world.
Jerry: For one thing it’s the extreme left, whether they are representatives in Congress or NGO’s that have turned Israel into being the punching bag for civil rights issues. Whether it’s the Middle East or even here, it had led to more recent attacks where we have seen amongst fringe groups in the African American community against Orthodox Jews here in the United States.
It is really something that is at the core of why there has been a rise or a spike in anti-Semitism, not only in the US, but in Europe as well.
Rod: Dan Diker is Director of the Program to Counter Political Warfare at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA). He is going to bring us some amazing insight. Look, all of us would love to be able to wipe this out. I’m not sure that it can possibly be done but, Jerry, you and I can put some light on the subject. I really think it’s a brilliant idea. Congressional Representatives on the left have reworded the concept so that they don’t sound like Jew haters. They just want to protect the civil rights of the Palestinians. Therefore, Israel is a civil rights issue. When you are listening to Beyond the Matrix here on Israel News Talk Radio. We really appreciate you guys taking time each week to listen to the show. If you have any questions or comments you would like to make send us an email [email protected], [email protected].
We are going to bring Dan Diker on. Dan is quite informative. He has a very cogent presentation of activities that are going on, not only in Israel but in the United States. We have seen an eruption of anti-Semitic incidents including stabbings and assault in the streets in New York. It seems that incidents are at the highest level since hate crimes have been studied in the U.S in the latter part of year 2019. Let’s look at what’s going on and break it down as to what is causing it to spike.
Dan: Rod and Jerry, thanks for having me on the program again. We are witnessing a sharp spike in anti-Semitism in Europe and in the United States. I think it’s important for us to zoom out a little bit to about fifty-thousand feet to understand what’s happening. We are witnessing the convergence of three strains of anti-Semitism or Jew hatred. The first is Arab political and Islamic Jew hatred We have seen it lining the streets of Europe for the past four decades in the form of political warfare events called “Quds” Day which in Arabic means “Jerusalem” Day. Since 1979, the Iranian regime has mobilized thousands of people to march in scores of Western European cities calling for “Death to Israel, Death to the United States.” The second strain of anti-Semitism is a classical extreme right anti-Semitism which we see in Europe. We knew seventy years ago how that ended up in the Holocaust. We are seeing those types of right-wing anti-Semitic actions in the United States as well. The two major recent incidents include the synagogue massacre, attempted massacres and fatal terror attacks in Pittsburgh in 2018 and in Poway near San Diego in Southern California last year. Those terror attacks were perpetrated by right wing extremists. The third strain is ideologically radical left anti-Semitism. Jeremy Corbin, who was one step away from becoming the UK’s Prime Minister publicly avowed violent anti-Semitism and embraced Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists, both groups squarely in the Iranian regime’s web of terror groups.
Jeremy Corbin exemplifies that type of left-wing anti-Semitism. We see this all over Europe and we are seeing this happen in the United States. The major challenge for Americans in the United States is this left-wing anti-Semitism is cloaked as political criticism of Israel. They say, “I’m an anti-Zionist, I’m not anti-Semitic.” This is inaccurate and misleading because this type of anti-Semitism has been defined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The IHRA definition—which was officially really affirmed by the White House in December 2019—included such statements as “the establishment of the Jewish State of the State of Israel was a racist endeavor” and other associated accusations against the Jewish state which is the new face of anti-Semitism.
Rod: That being said, don’t you think that the left’s rhetoric—especially some of those within Congress—are at some level empowering this? Is that what you are thinking?
Dan: Clearly, the very problematic statements of two members of the US House of Representatives, Rashida Tlaib from Michigan and Ilhan Omar from Minnesota, have fanned the flames of left-wing anti-Semitism. Ilhan Omar said things like “Israel hypnotizes the world,” which she said seven or eight years ago. Since then, Omar has been calling Israel an “apartheid state,” which is like calling Israel a Nazi state. These are the types of anti-Semitic Israelophobic statements that are covered very clearly in the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism as well as the 2010 State Department definition of anti-Semitism. I think in America, we are going to have to re-energize and certainly recalibrate our understanding of what anti-Semitism is to include these types of invectives against the Jewish state as opposed to just Jewish individuals. It’s collective anti-Semitism as opposed to individual anti-Semitism. America’s protected speech under the First Amendment cannot protect these types of violent rhetoric that result in anti-Semitic acts against individuals. There is the rub: the “people who hate Israel hate Jews. People who hate Jews hate Israel.” Those are the words of Natan Sharansky, the former prisoner of Zion, who said that very recently in a meeting we had in preparing our forthcoming book called, “Israelophobia”.
Jerry: Dan, four years ago I wrote an article on what I called the Red-Green-Black Intersectionality. Recently, particularly in New York’s Orthodox Hasidic communities there have been a whole welter of attacks—thirteen plus. The worst of those was the machete attack by an African-American in the community of Monsey twenty-five miles northwest of New York City in Rockland County. The discovery by the FBI of the Monsey perpetrator’s journals, his social media with depictions of Hitler, the final solution and depictions of Jews as being the enemies of blacks is essentially currency in the United States at the present time. The issue before us is what do we do about that?
Dan: We need to recognize that there is such a thing as what I call cross-category anti-Semitic rhetorical and physical attacks. I think what you point to is a very important example that anti-Semitism is no longer the exclusive property or the exclusive possession of right wing, white supremacists.
You have attacks that are perpetrated by people from minority groups. It could be African-Americans, it could be other minority groups. They invoke, as you point out, rhetoric and images of Hitler and Nazism. You have people that traditionally identify with left-wing politically agendas invoking white supremacist anti-Semitic rhetoric in order to carry out anti-Semitic attempted assaults and massacres. This is what we call cross-category anti-Semitic attacks. It is very important to bring all of that to bear when we are considering this entire problem because it doesn’t any longer fit into neat categories. We were discussing before the show what they call the Black Hebrew Israelite Movement and the Monsey perpetrator Grafton Thomas. He was arrested for the eighth day of Hanukkah attempted massacre at the home of the Monsey, New York Rabbi. It is the same group that the late Robert Anderson, who was accused of the deadly assault in Jersey City was known to be affiliated with. Here we have a whole new phenomenon: the Black Hebrew Israelite group in addition to other minorities that are participating in these anti-Semitic attacks.
Jerry: Having said that, Governor Cuomo of New York came out forthrightly and he called this as domestic terrorism. Is that what is going on now?
Dan: People mobilize all kinds of language to try to get their arms around these horrible hate crimes. I don’t think the United States, and certainly not the State of New York have known heretofore about this spike in anti-Semitic incidents. We have seen this type of racial violence over the last decades, but not against Jews per se. Look, when someone walks into a home with a machete, and tries to behead anyone he can get his hands on, that is an act of terrorism. The definition of terrorism is the attempt to harm civilians in the name of a political cause. In order to justify the term domestic terrorism, in the classic sense of the definition of terrorism, there would have to be some sort of political agenda not just a hatred of Jews. In my view there would have to be some connection to furthering an agenda against the Jewish state to call it terrorism.
Rod: I think in some ways to just say it is domestic terrorism sort of downplays the real horror of the situation—it is pure Jew hatred. That is their response and I agree with you in some ways it’s domestic terrorism. However, it wasn’t over a political thing unless these perpetrators are having some problem with the way the Trump administration is cozying up to what they would consider the terrible Jews. I can’t imagine there being a political thing achieved by attacking people on Hanukkah, so it just doesn’t make sense.
Dan, I would like to explore this idea that it is becoming open season for any level of Jew hatred; whether it is the state of Israel, Zionism or the actual individual Jew. Let’s examine this for a moment because this is a very serious question to be asked why in this supposedly enlightened era of understanding human rights do we have this now? Why?
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Dan: Rod, one of the most virulent forms of Jew hatred has been overlooked over the last ten years. It is called Israelophobia or Jewish State hatred. It has been open hunting season on the Jewish state. In Europe we see that—especially since 1979—there has been something called Quds Day which I mentioned earlier in the segment, Jerusalem Day. Thousands of people in cities across Europe, Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, wave Hezbollah flags. Hezbollah is an Iranian regime proxy calling for death to Israel. That means death to the Jewish state, and “Death to America.” Across American campuses over the last decade, there has been something called Israel Apartheid Awareness Week, which essentially says the Jewish state is illegitimate, illegal and criminal in its existence. We see that on hundreds of college campuses with hundreds and thousands of Jewish students. There you have witnessed this type of virulent hatred of the Jewish state behind physically and rhetorically violent actions against Jews. Witness Alain Finkielkraut, who is a French left-wing Jewish philosopher, was called a “Zionist shit” and told to “get the hell out of France.” This translates into acts of anti-Semitic violence. The source of this Jewish state hatred, in Europe, the United States and Israel, is driven by Islamic Hezbollah and Hamas agendas and NGOs. Here is the kicker: the European Union has refused to sanction the political wing of Hezbollah as an illegal entity in the European Union. The United Kingdom, the Dutch, the United States, the Australians? They all have done it. Most of Europe has yet to designate Hezbollah an outlawed organization as it is part of the Iranian regime. That is what drives this Jew hatred there and under US protected speech. I think this is a very important point that your listeners must focus on. Hatred of the Jewish State is directly connected to hatred of Jewish people.
Jerry: Dan, let’s turn to U.S. campuses where Jewish students have been cowed by pro-Palestinian groups, Muslim Student Unions. The Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) have slapped eviction notices on dorm doors of Jewish students particularly during Israel Apartheid week. What have you written about that zeros in on the background of these groups and their terrorist connections?
Dan: Jerry, you point to a very important development on U.S. campuses since 2010, an organization called Students for Justice in Palestine. It is basically a descendant of the Hamas and mid-level political refugees of Hamas supporting NGOs in the United States. Look at “Kind Hearts” and especially the “Holy Land Foundation (HLF).” As some of your listeners may know, HLF was an unindicted co-conspirator in a major terrorism case in Texas in 2008. Some of these mid-level Hamas-supporting operatives ended up going to this organization called the American Muslims for Palestine which founded Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). It was founded by the same ex-Palestinian Professor at Berkeley by the name of Professor Hatem Bazian, who became the Chairman of Students for Justice in Palestine. If you look at SJP rhetoric—their ideology—they are extreme-Islamic calling Israel a Nazi and apartheid genocidal criminal state. They’re intimidating, harassing Jewish students on campus. I wrote a monograph about this called Students for Justice in Palestine Unmasked. It graphically portrays the connection between anti-Semitism, terrorism and political warfare on hundreds of U.S. campuses, where thousands of students and parents are spending up to seventy thousand dollars a year to have their children educated. Many of these college students are frightened, intimidated and harassed if they show any kind of friendly attitude towards the Jewish state. This is a very big problem on college campuses as it is protected under the First Amendment. Having said that, President Trump’s recent action in December 2019, the signing of an Executive Order under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, now outlaws this type of behavior towards Jews. As a result of President Trump’s executive order, Jews are now considered under the revised Title VI to be a distinct ethnic minority, not just a religion. That will create a type of remedy for Jewish Students on Campus who are subject to these types of rhetorical and other assaults by organizations like SJP, Students for Justice in Palestine, and others.
Rod: Dan, why do some of the U.S. organizations like J Street take exception to some of the President’s Executive Order provisions about the assertion of Israeli Ethnic Religious Heritage. What is their beef?
Dan: J Street is more interested in protecting the free speech rights of hate organizations like Students for Justice in Palestine and anti-Zionist Jewish organizations like “If Not Now, Jewish Voice for Peace.” J Street believes that Trump’s signing of an executive order extending Title VI protection to Jews had a chilling effect on free speech and criticism of Israel. Jeremy Ben-Ami, President of J Street and the rest of his ilk in that organization, are dedicated to preserving the rights of Hamas-supporting organizations like the SJP to verbally assault and delegitimize Israel and Students supporting Israel as the nation’s state of the Jewish people. Unfortunately, J Street issues misplaced, misguided criticism of Israel, which is frequently missing key facts and interprets and applies international law in direct opposition to Israeli legal community based on their own very narrow political views which oppose the public national consensus positions in Israel.
Jerry: Dan, why don’t you remind our listeners of the foundational rights of Judaism and support for the land of Israel in the Torah?
Dan: To be a Jew in the world today is to be part of a triangular relationship between the people of Israel, the Torah of Israel and the land of Israel. These organizations that call Israel apartheid and genocidal, deny any Jewish rights to the ancient Jewish homeland. If you espouse that, then Israel has no more right than North Korea to exist. However, if you recognize you know the five-thousand-year-old connection between Jews and the land of Israel with Abraham and the national connection beginning about 3,800 years ago at Sinai, then you must take seriously Jewish rights. It seems like so many people in the progressive community assign Palestinians certain rights but completely deny Jewish rights.
You don’t have moral parity when people say, “Well Israel is entitled perhaps not to be destroyed as a Jewish state; however, it is really the Palestinians that have indigenous rights of the land.” This is completely misguided and erroneous information. Moral clarity must be part of the new public diplomacy if we are going to achieve anything in the Middle East. We have been subjected to vicious propaganda. It is far less truthful, ironically, than Soviet propaganda. However, I think when people talk about Israel, they don’t talk about Jewish rights in the ancient Jewish homeland called the State of Israel today.
Jerry: By the way, Dan, the first complaint underneath the Executive Order signed off by Trump was filed by alumni of my alma mater Columbia University.
Dan: I know Columbia University and it’s President Lee Bollinger have had a tradition of inviting some of the modern-day Nazis, such as Ahmadinejad, the Former President of Iran, who said they don’t have a gay problem in Iran. Bollinger unfortunately didn’t take up the challenge to say it is because you hang them all. But the problem is that a lot of the Jewish alumni and donors and trustees need to take a stronger stand against the type of Jew hatred on campuses such as alumni at Columbia and not allow them to get away with it.
Rod: We left off talking about the Columbia campus obsession with inviting some of the most virulent Jew haters, did you want to wrap that up with anything?
Dan: One of the problems we face on college campuses it has been anything goes when it comes to making anti-Semitic comments, harassing, intimidating Jews on Campus. It is all protected under academic freedom. However, the Executive Order of President Trump provides students and faculty who are under attack with at least an initial approach to a remedy. However, I think that, in fighting anti-Semitism, Jewish donors, you know, Jewish money—and I say it positively—is a very substantial resource—especially for Ivy League schools. I think that, in the fight against anti-Semitism, as Bari Weiss points out in her important book How to Fight Anti-Semitism, it really requires Jewish alumni to stand up and take a stand and cut off funding to these universities if they don’t adhere to the IHRA State Department definitions of anti-Semitism and stop hiding behind this filthy cloak of what they call political criticism of Israel, which it is not.
Jerry: Dan, let’s turn to a topic that we have interviewed you on before, about the question of normalization of relations within Israel between the Jews and the Arabs.
Dan: This is a really important point. My friend, Khaled Abu Toameh, who is an author in our forthcoming JCPA compendium called Israelophobia—The Hijacking of Civil Discourse and How to Rescue Free and Fair Debate on Israel in the Middle East, pointed out to me in his article, as well, that this extremist radical discourse about Jews and Israel—which we know is anti-Semitism—is not what is happening in Israel between Jews and Arabs. It is not happening in Judea and Samaria and the West Bank either. There is a far more pragmatic integrated civil cooperative discourse between Jews and Arabs in Israel in the Pre-’67 lines, as well as in the territories of Judea, Samaria and the West Bank. I think this is important to point out this difference. You will not see these major BDS protests and demonstrations—certainly not in Israel. Most of the 1.5 million Israeli Arabs don’t even know what BDS is. What they are interested in is deeper integration in Israel. They are guaranteed civil rights in Israel by law. I live in the community of Efrat which is very close to Bethlehem and other Arab cities, towns, cities and villages. You see there an unprecedented demand for economic integration with Israel—economic integration, hi-tech and commercial opportunities. People don’t know this fact on this side of the ocean. It is very important that they do. There is a great degree of pragmatism and practicality on the ground. That is the opposite of the radical and extremist anti-Semitic discourse that is going on in the United States and in Europe. It’s a stark contrast from what’s happening on the ground in Israel.
Rod: Dan your optimism is very palpable. Do you think that we are already, the critical point of failure that this is going to work? That the future of Israeli/Arab relationship in the country is going to be a positive one. It is going to have its rough starts, but do you feel optimistic so far?
Dan: I think that the reality on the ground is the best definition of optimism. You know optimism is usually what you think about the future but when you look at what’s happening in the present. Rod, you see very positive developments. Just, as an example, in the last days and weeks we have heard a lot on Israeli radio in Hebrew by Major General Jamal Hakroosh who is the highest ranking Israeli Arab Police Officer in the Israeli National Police. He has been talking about the new recruitments in the Arab sector in Israel. Scores of men and women are joining the Israeli Police which heretofore was unheard of. The police in the Arab communities in Israel have never really been cooperative and friendly. Today what you are seeing—because of an uptick in clan and family cases of murder and violence in the Arab communities—are publicly-declared demands by Arab local leaders for greater protection by the Israeli police in those towns and cities. They are actively recruiting men and women from the Arab sectors to work in the Israeli Police and make a career in Law Enforcement. I think it is a wonderful development. Something that all of us should be very pleased with. If you come to Israel, you will see all kinds of Israeli Arab integration especially in Jerusalem which is a fully integrated and cooperative and peaceful city.
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Jerry: Dan, we had a development in the last couple of weeks which is disturbing. The International Criminal Court at the Hague announcing a prosecutorial investigation into allegations of war crimes by the IDF committed during Operation Protection Edge in 2014. What has been the reaction in Israel on the part of the Prime Minister and others?
Dan: As many of your listeners know, if they have watched YouTube, Prime Minister Netanyahu slammed the ICC as an anti-Semitic court. It’s clear that the Palestinian leadership, the PLO leadership, has used legal platforms in order to delegitimize and demonize Israel and try to isolate Israel at every turn. They started to do this after the Hamas War in Gaza in 2009-10. They did it again in 2012—and then again in the 2014 War against Hamas. This was the third war in five years with this Iranian de facto Iranian proxy in Gaza. This form of lawfare, which makes use of international courts such as International Criminal Court and International Court of Justice to assault Israel’s legitimacy, is something well known in Israel. Avichai Mandelblit, who is the Attorney General of Israel, stated that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Palestinian areas because the Palestinian areas are not a sovereign state. Thus, the ICC really has no business sticking its nose in the hyper-political Palestinian/Israeli ongoing crisis. It has done that trying to turn a political and terror problem into one of illegality. It is something that is a non-starter among the legal echelons in Israel.
Rod: For the sake of our listeners that are outside of the great Holy Land of Israel, could we give them an update on the election that took place, Bibi Netanyahu and the right-wing bloc government?
Dan: Israel is going into its third election in 12 months which is unprecedented in any democratic state in modern political history. Israel is going into its third parliamentary election in twelve months. In the Israeli parliamentary system, the winning party’s leader is usually tasked by the President with forming a governing coalition. Currently, there is a near even split between the center right Likud Party which is polled and won thirty-two seats and its Blue and White Rival. The Centrist opposition composed of three Former Chiefs of Staff, one of whom was Former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, are in the Blue and White party. They scored in polling just about the same as the Likud, maybe one or two seats more. Then there is the dealmaker or the deal-breaker—Former Israeli Minister of Defense and Former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. He has been playing a sly unexpected game in his political demand. Thus, Israel has not been able to form a governing coalition in two attempts and this is the third attempt coming up March 2, 2020. I think that Israeli Parliamentary democracy demands reform, because to have this type of political stalemate means budgetary stalemate for critical services like healthcare, welfare and other social services that many Israelis need. The administration of budgets, to be done properly, must have an operating government and we have not had one since March of 2019.
Rod: Well, we are hoping that in March, Bibi Netanyahu can form the government. Maybe the third time is a charm, we will see. Dan Diker it has really been a great privilege having you on the show today. until next week currently, Jerry and I, as well as Dan Diker, says Shalom.
Listen to the Israel News Talk Radio—Beyond the Matrix interview, with Dan Diker.
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Jerome B Gordon is a Senior Vice President of the New English Review, author of The West Speaks, NER Press 2012, and co-author of Genocide in Sudan: Caliphate Threatens Africa and the World, JAD Publishing, 2017. Mr. Gordon is a former US Army intelligence officer who served during the Viet Nam era. He is producer and co-host of Israel News Talk Radio – Beyond the Matrix. He was the co-host and co-producer of weekly The Lisa Benson Show for National Security that aired out of KKNT960 in Phoenix Arizona from 2013 to 2016 and co-host and co-producer of the Middle East Round Table periodic series on 1330amWEBY, Northwest Florida Talk Radio, Pensacola, Florida from 2007 to 2017.
Rod Reuven Dovid Bryant is creator and host of Israel News Talk Radio-Beyond the Matrix.
Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast