Monday, November 29, 2010

The Wikileaks Affair

A few observations:

Whichever nation houses this guy who runs Wiki-Leaks, I would hope that the US can use whatever diplomatic pressure to get said country to use whatever Micky Mouse law they may have on the books to shut this guy Julian Assange down and put him in jail. This goes beyond free speech; it is a national security concern to the US and NATO. It is also urgent that his computer files be confiscated.

As for the American(s) who released the information, it should be treated as treason and a life sentence should be in order.

It may be an observation based on ignorance, but I question why the military intelligence people have computer access to classified diplomatic information such as the Saudi head of state asking the US to take out the Iranian nuclear reactors. Now that that has been made public, any nation can only ask itself why they should share anything with the US. Now we have terror suspects being tried in federal courts with defense attorneys demanding any and all info that may connect a foreign country to their cooperation in intelligence sharing with the US. It is beyond ridiculous.

Here for the record is the "statement" by Hillary Clinton:

Yee gads! That reminds me of when my grammar school teacher made me stay after school for misbehaving.

(What was that you said about India, Hillary?)

Equally pathetic was the "statement" made by Attorney General Eric Holder today. Nice to know that the DOJ is "investigating" this-just like they "investigated" the New Black Panther Party affair in Philadelphia and George Galloway's US fundraising tours on behalf of Hamas.

At least they said something-unlike our president, who walked away as reporters asked him about it.

More Fallout From the George S Rishmawi Event at UC-Irvine

Tammi Benjamin, an adjunct teacher at UC Santa Cruz, has written an open letter to the heads of the Orange County Jewish Federation and Orange County Hillel regarding last week's appearance of George S Rishmawi at UC-Irvine and the Olive Tree Initative, which sponsored the talk. It is posted below. In my view, careful considerations should be given to the allegations contained in the letter.

"Dear Mr. Elcott and Mr. Fruchtman:

I am a faculty member at UCSC and a Jewish educator, who has been working with many organizations and members of the community to combat anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism on my own and other UC campuses, including at UC Irvine.

Last week I received the letters which you sent on behalf of the Orange County Federation and Hillel, which shamefully attacked a member of your Jewish community for expressing deep concern about the overtly anti-Israel nature of a Federation-funded and Hillel-promoted program, the Olive Tree Initiative. I am writing to you to affirm that I and a great many others share that community member's concerns.

Here's why:

As you know, the OTI sends students for a two-week trip to Israel and the disputed territories. During that time students meet with over 50 individuals and groups, an approximately equal number of Israelis and Palestinians, with some international and Jordanian speakers. Overall, there is a clear anti-Israel pro-Palestinian tilt to the OTI.

Of the Palestinian speakers and groups who addressed the students on the most recent OTI trip (Sept. 2010), the overwhelming majority have expressed an overt animus towards the Jewish state, including by advocating for its elimination or for measures to harm her, or by allying with terrorist groups that perpetrate violence against Jews. Over one-third of the Palestinian speakers have advocated boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Moreover, at least two of the Israeli speakers represent organizations which engage in relentless Israel bashing, and several other speakers on the Israeli side have been harshly critical of Israeli government policy. In addition, two of the four supposedly neutral international organizations, whose representatives made presentations to the OTI students, are well-known for their virulently anti-Israel bias.

The following is an alphabetized list of the 15 most egregiously anti-Israel speakers and organizations from the 2010 OTI trip, with links to their anti-Israel statements and activities:

Ayed Al Azzeh (representative of the Al-Rowwad Center)

The Al-Rowwad Center is a signatory of the Palestinian Call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions.

The Al-Rowwad Center is closely allied with organizations that engage in anti-Semitic activity and seek to harm the Jewish state, including: Badil, Al-Awda, and the Palestine Children's Welfare Fund.

Sam Bahour (Palestinian entrepreneur and businessman)

He is a signatory to the recent California Divestment from Israel Initiative, which calls on the State of California to force two public employee pension funds (with total investment portfolios of $300 billion) to divest from companies that support Israeli settlement or supply military supplies or services to Israel.

This year he published an article expressing support for BDS, in which he wrote that "the tools of boycott, divestment and sanctions are much more powerful non-violent methods than negotiating in vain with a government bent on ethnic cleansing."

Breaking the Silence (BtS) (an Israeli NGO). According to the NGO Monitor:

BtS actively promotes "war crimes" charges against Israel.

BtS conducts tours to Hebron and South Hebron Hills and are criticized by Israeli police officials for "antagoniz[ing]...settlers in the hope that the settlers will attack them."

BtS members were on the "Jews for Justice for Palestinians" boat which recently tried to violate Israel's blockade of Gaza.

Bill Van Esvald (Analyst for Human Rights Watch)

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an anti-Israel organization, whose anti-Israel bias was even criticized by Richard Bernstein, HRW's founder.

In 2004, HRW joined the anti-Israel boycott movement by calling on Caterpillar to suspend sales to Israel.

John Ging (Director of UNRWA in Gaza)

He has promoted political warfare targeting Israel, including by supporting the "Free Gaza flotillas" and the demonization of Israel.

According to NGO Monitor, "UNRWA schools and other facilities are often used to teach hatred and encourage incitement; the evidence demonstrates that UNWRA staff allowed terror related activities in its camps."

Ir Amim (an Israeli NGO)

NGO Monitor accuses Ir Amim of relentless Israel bashing, promoting the Palestinian narrative, and blaming Israel for the failure of the peace process.

Yehudit Elkana, the chair of Ir Amim's board of directors, signed a 2002 petition demanding "that governments end military assistance to Israel, suspend economic ties, and support the prosecution of war criminals, and urge other states to do so."

Qadoura Mousa (Governor of Jenin)

He supports BDS and recently said that "boycott is an important measure of the will and the patience of the Palestinian people...It must succeed. We have to show the Israelis that they cannot continue to occupy our land illegally without consequences."

Prof. Mazim Qumsiyeh (Bethlehem University)

He is the co-founder of Al-Awda, an organization which opposes Israel's right to exist, has links to Hamas and Hezbollah, and is a leader in the BDS movement.

He co-founded the Boycott Israeli Goods campaign.

According to the ADL, he "often equates Israel interchangeably with apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany and his arguments frequently focus on "Zionist" control of American foreign policy. Qumsiyeh fundamentally rejects a two-state solution..."

Munib Masri (a member of the Palestine Legislative Council and former Jordanian Cabinet Minister)

In a 2009 interview, he lionized Yassir Arafat and whitewashed Hamas leader Khaled Mashal.

George N. Rishmawi (co-founder, The International Solidarity Movement (ISM), current director of Palestinian Center for Rapprochement)

In a 2008 document which he authored in the name of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement (PCR), Rishmawi called on activists to "initiate boycotts, divestments and sanctions at all levels and including asking leaders to expel the Israeli ambassadors (an ambassador of an apartheid and rogue state)."

The PCR is under the aegis of the ISM, an organization that, according to a Jewish Federations of North America webpage, has links to terrorist organizations, openly advocates the destruction of Israel, and sends activists and unsuspecting volunteers (often university students like Rachel Corrie) into life-threatening situations in order to protect known terrorists. In addition, the ISM is a leader in the global BDS movement and has been a signatory or supporter of many BDS campaigns, including on UC campuses.

George S. Rishmawi (co-founder, The International Solidarity Movement (ISM), co-ordinator/co-founder Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies and a tour guide and primary contact of the OTI in the West Bank)

He is on staff at the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement (PCR), an organization run by his cousin George N. Rishmawi, which is under the aegis of the ISM (see above).

The Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies, which "provides alternative tours for tourists that make them more aware of the situation in Palestine," is owned by the PCR and is the main project of the PCR's Travel Department. (See above for more information on the links between the PCR and the ISM).

In a 2004 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, he (or his cousin George N. Rishmawi, see above) said that the ISM's main purpose is to increase awareness of Palestinian suffering through the involvement of foreign activists who pay their own way to the West Bank, adding that "if some of these foreign volunteers get shot or even killed, then the international media will sit up and take notice."

In 2005 he wrote, "I believe the right of return is the most important issue because it helps finishing [sic] Zionist Israel."

Ibrahim Sarsur (most senior Arab politician in the Knesset, party leader of the United Arab List)

At a 2007 conference, he called on Muslims and Arabs to "liberate Jerusalem."

Raja Shehadeh (Founder, Al Haq)

Al Haq is a Palestinian NGO which is a leader in NGO lawfare against Israel and the BDS movement.

Dr. Husam Zomlot (Deputy, Central Committee Fatah, PLO representative to the UK 2003 - 2008)

He was a Palestinian delegate to a 2007 international conference entitled "End Israeli Occupation -- Freedom for Palestine: Building a New Anti-Apartheid Movement," organized by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, a major promoter of assaults on the Jewish state through lawfare and BDS.

In August 2010, he spoke at a conference in Cambridge Massachusetts exploring "Israel's continuing siege of Gaza in the aftermath of the massacre of peace activists taking part in the Free Gaza flotilla." Zomlot said the Free Gaza flotilla was "the most effective way of confronting Israel," and he lauded the work of the International Solidarity Movement.

Zoughbi Zoughbi (Founder and Director of the Wi'am Center)

He wrote an article in which he called for boycotting anything produced in the Israeli settlements and divesting from any business or activity that prolongs and strengthens the occupation, "as well as to impose sanctions on Israel to succumb to the international agreements."

The Wi'am Center is a signatory of the Palestinian Call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions.

Students who go on such a trip and hear such speakers cannot help but return to their UC campuses with negative feelings about the Jewish state. For example, one non-Jewish UCSC student, who participated in the 2010 OTI trip, wrote this in her blog after touring a Palestinian refugee camp: "I will never understand how Israel offers Jews from the diaspora a right of return from 4,000 years ago, and denies Palestinians the right of return from 60 years ago. The math feels racist." I believe the OTI will exacerbate the already serious problems that Jewish students face on UC campuses.

In addition, as a Jewish educator who cares deeply about fostering Jewish identity, I was very upset to see the lack of sensitivity to Jewish faith and tradition shown on the recent OTI trip. After arriving in Israel late Friday afternoon September 3rd, students were taken directly to the Old City for Shabbat dinner. However immediately after that, at 9pm on Shabbat evening, they traveled to Bethlehem, stayed in a hotel there, and spent all of Shabbat day touring Bethlehem and Ramallah. Even worse, on the following Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Jewish students spent the two days of Rosh Hashana and Shabbat evening and morning in Jordan, touring the country and meeting with speakers, oblivious to the holiness of these days. Instead of festive Rosh Hashanah and Shabbat meals, Jewish students participated in dinners associated with the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. And ironically, although the schedule indicates that Muslim students were given the opportunity to attend prayer services during their time in Jordan, no similar opportunities were extended to Jewish students during Rosh Hashana and Shabbat.

Jewish organizations, including many of those copied on this letter, spend millions of dollars and countless man-hours each year combating the rampant anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism found on college campuses today. It is unconscionable for Jewish communal resources to be used for the support of such a program. I urge you to reconsider your funding and promotion of the Olive Tree Initiative.

Furthermore, I strongly recommend that you look at the excellent funding guidelines recently adopted by the Jewish Community Federations of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, and Sonoma Counties. These guidelines ensure that grantees do not endorse or promote anti-Semitism, or advocate or endorse "undermining the legitimacy of Israel...through participation in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement in whole or in part." Were you to adopt such a policy, I believe it would go a long way towards increasing confidence in your organizations within the Jewish community you serve.

I and the thousands of community members who will read this email look forward to your reply.


Tammi Rossman-Benjamin"

CC: Organizations that have expressed concern about anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism on UC campuses:

Americans for a Safe Israel

American Freedom Alliance

American Jewish Committee

Anti-Defamation League


Chabad Student Centers on UC Campuses

Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors

David Project

Hasbara Fellows

Hillels on UC campuses

International Hillel

Israel on Campus Coalition

Israel Peace Initiative

Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco the Peninsula, Marina and Sonoma Counties

Jewish Community Relations Council

Jewish Federation of the East Bay

Jewish National Fund

Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa (JIMENA)

National Council of Young Israel

Orange County Independent Task Force on Anti-Semitism

Orthodox Union

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East

Simon Wiesenthal Center

Stand With Us

United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

USD/Hagshama World Zionist Organization

Zionist Organization of America

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Another Report on George S Rishmawi

                                                                    George S Rishmawi

I am posting below a report on George S Rishmawi, who spoke at UC-Irvine on November 22, 2010 sponsored by the Olive Tree Initiative. This report was prepared by Roberta Seid, a friend and colleague, who teaches a course on Israel at UC-Irvine. The introduction was written by Roz Rothstein, CEO of Stand With Us. Dr Seid was also present at the above event and was seated next to me when we posed our questions to Rishmawi..

"Dear Friends of Israel,

Please read the report below.

A few years ago, I personally witnessed George Rishmawi (yes, this George Rishmawi) tell a group of well meaning Christians in Chicago that the Israelis have developed a gas that slows down Palestinian people so that the Israelis can shoot them in their backs. Allyson Taylor and Gary Ratner were with me. Allyson went up to the microphone and publicly asked him what kind of gas he was talking about, to which he responded that the Israelis are very smart, they pick up the canisters of gas before anyone can see them. Rishmawi engaged in a dangerous modern form of blood libel to prepare the audience for the "call" to punish Israel with boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).

Please read the report below by Roberta Seid.

Thank you Roberta for writing this up for all of us.

And thank you all for taking the time to read it, and for caring about what is being taught to young people about Israel."

Roz Rothstein, CEO

The Olive Tree Initiative (OTI): George Rishmawi and the Siraj Center Raise Concerns

Roberta P. Seid, PhD

"George Rishmawi may no longer be formally with ISM, but his perspective and approach are not likely to improve the understanding of Olive Tree Initiative (OTI) students, help them develop conflict resolution skills, or help pave the way to conciliation and peace either on the UCI campus or in the Middle East.

That Rishmawi and his group are so integral to OTI’s programming casts doubt on the value of OTI itself.

Speaking at UC Irvine on Nov. 22, 2010, Rishmawi said he broke with ISM several years ago over personal differences with co-founders Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf, but his current goals are quite similar to those of ISM when it was originally founded: bring young “internationals” to the West Bank on tours and to live with selected Palestinian families, encourage them to become “ambassadors” who will repeat the narrative Rishmawi orchestrates, and inspire them to participate in “non-violent” actions like protesting the security fence in Bil’in.

Rishmawi is likeable, but he is not reliable, and many of his alleged facts distort reality. He presents a litany of grievances about Israel’s various security measures in soft and sorrowful tones. But he attributes them to Israel’s desire to “harass” and humiliate Palestinians. He refuses to acknowledge the reality of terrorism. When directly asked about terrorism twice, he didn’t admit or denounce it. Instead, he said that Israel’s security fence, checkpoints, etc. are themselves a form of terrorism, thereby inverting cause and effect, minimizing the magnitude of the terrorist threat Israel faces, and equating intentional murder and maiming of Israeli men, women, and children with inconveniences in daily life, onerous as they may be, such as delays at checkpoints. Furthermore, he misinforms students, refusing to acknowledge that prior to the outbreak of the terrorist campaign known as the 2nd Intifada, there was free movement between the West Bank and Israel—no security barrier, no checkpoints within the West Bank. Even Fatah’s Muhammed Dahlan admitted that the “militarization” of the Intifada was a grave mistake, but Rishmawi, who is supposed to educate students, won’t discuss it or its impact on Israelis.

Rishmawi is unreliable in other ways as well. He claims he supports non-violent resistance, but like the original ISM, he does not denounce terrorist organizations. When I asked him if Hamas members participate in his demonstrations, he said, “We accept everybody. We don’t discriminate against anyone.” Yet Hamas, which he admitted is popular in the West Bank, promotes violent jihad against Jews and Israelis. Rishmawi claims the Bil’in demonstrations are non-violent, yet there is video and written evidence of the violent rock throwing and aggressive tactics of these purportedly non-violent activists. One rock took out the eye of a young IDF soldier. Rishmawi claims the demonstrations compelled Israel’s Supreme Court to order rerouting of the security barrier in Bil’in, but when I said the issue had been wending its way through the courts before the demonstrations started, that the Court’s decision was not related to the demonstrations, and that the Court had ordered other reroutings based on villager complaints that were not accompanied by demonstrations, Rishmawi acted surprised. Either he was unaware of these facts or was denying them to justify the aggressive demonstrations and to minimize the Israeli courts’ efforts to balance security needs with needs of Palestinians.

The misinformation did not stop with these issues. When asked about a comment he made five years ago, Rishmawi said he stands by his claim that the IDF releases a gas that temporarily paralyzes the Palestinians to more easily shoot them in the back and then quickly picks up the canisters so no one can find out what the gas is. He denied that Christians are persecuted by the PA and Hamas. He denied that Israel has removed most of the West Bank checkpoints and that the area is experiencing economic growth. He acted surprised when asked about anti-Israel, anti-Jewish incitement in the PA media and schools, and was equally taken aback when I suggested Hamas is anti-Semitic. Perhaps he has not read Hamas’ founding document which lifts liberally from the anti-Semitic forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and calls for the murder of Jews. He reacted with surprise again when asked about Jordanian laws that made selling land to Jews a crime punishable by death (since reduced to merely a punishable crime), and about the PA’s recent ruling making land sales to Jews a capital crime. He said that Peace Now claimed that 83% of settlements are on confiscated Palestinian land when in fact they had claimed the number was 40% and much of their data had proved to be based on incomplete records and was incorrect.

Rishmawi, who has no expertise on water issues, was scheduled to speak to UCI students later that day about how Palestinians are thirsting for water, which is the latest accusation being used by boycott, divestment, and sanctions activists such as Omar Barghouti. If OTI wants to address water issues, why doesn’t it have students meet the Palestinians who serve on the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Commission, which was set up during the early days of Oslo and has continued to function effectively throughout the Initfada years? Why expose students instead to those who have no expertise on water issues but have chosen to use it as their latest cause in the campaign against Israel, and who never mention that Israel is giving Palestinians water from Israel n greater quantities than it had agreed to do in the Oslo Accords, and has been working on regional solutions to the water problems of this arid area.

When I asked Rishmawi whether he supports a one or two state solution, he answered (as ISM always did) that he doesn’t care. Either one would do. But if he doesn’t care, then what is his call for resistance about? When would he stop calling for “resistance?” When I asked him, he said when the security barrier and checkpoints are removed, and when settlers stop “attacking” Palestinian olive trees, though he provided no evidence for this accusation. But it is unlikely that Rishmawi would be satisfied with these policy changes. He repeated several times that Israel “violates international law,” and shouldn’t we be against everyone who does so? His interpretation of international law is loose. He endorses Al-Awda (the right of return coalition) and works closely with the Sabeel Liberation Theology Center, which espouses replacement theology, denies any Jewish rights to the land (which, like God’s Covenant, have passed to Palestinian Christians), promotes boycotts against Israel, and advocates a one-state solution, albeit indirectly.

In short, Rishmawi is not working toward a two-state solution, and has done nothing to promote this outcome, such as helping build up Palestinian civil society. His ultimate goal, though couched in gentle, appealing language, is to deny Israel’s legitimacy and its rights to self-defense. His audiences will not get insight into the facts or into progress that has been made, or into what kinds of constructive actions could be taken to help resolve the conflict.

If OTI continues to rely so heavily on Rishmawi and his Center, it will not contribute to a broader or more sophisticated perspective. Rishmawi even admitted that his views are not shared by most West Bankers, so he does not even represent a genuine cross-section of Palestinian opinion. Instead, he promotes misinformation designed to win hearts and minds, and makes claims which are not very different from those that the MSU presents more openly and aggressively on UCI’s campus every year.

There is little doubt that Palestinians and Israelis suffer because of the ongoing conflict, and that deeper, first-hand knowledge could help Americans better understand the issues. But those who hear or are hosted by Rishmawi are not getting that deeper knowledge. Instead, they should be debriefed after their meetings with him."

Roberta P. Seid, PhD, an historian, teaches a course on Israel at UCI
and is Education-Research Director for StandWithUs, an international Israel education organization.


Fousesquawk comment: Rishmawi is an example of the so-called "peace activists" who are working to destroy Israel by turning world opinion against the Jewish state. He is a co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement. The controversy over his appearance at UCI and his contacts with UCI students during the Olive Tree Initiative trips to the Holy Land has caused many in the Southern California Jewish community to call into question Jewish funding for the program.

One New Heart Resumes Work in Israel

I am happy to report that Hank and Michele Danniker have been able to return to Jerusalem to continue their One New Heart program, which provides surgery by Israeli doctors to Palestinian children suffering from heart defects. To those of my readers who contributed to the program's financial needs, I thank you. This is a great program to support. A link can be found on this site.

Here are my last two reports from Hank.

November 26

"Good Morning,

As Michele & I sit to write this email a flood of thoughts and emotions fill our minds and hearts. We have just signed the Ministry Agreements with BICWM and in eight hours, God willing our family will be on a jet headed back to our home in Jerusalem. For this we are very thankful to BICWM (its leaders and staff), to you and to God be all the Glory! For the past three weeks we as a family have been hard pressed and today our burden has been lifted. We would like to report the great progress we have made, but because of the holidays we don't have an exact number in hand, but we do believe we are only several thousand short of the 100% we need to raise. Again and again we cannot thank you enough for closing the huge gap and giving in such a unselfish and loving way. The impact of your giving has been priceless; it has given our family such confidence in your love and the love of the Father to equip those He has called, we will never forget!!! As it stands right now we have a provisional agreement for three months in Israel, if the full amount comes in and we are certain it will, then BICWM will provide us with a two year agreement.

Apart from all of this we are ready to engage the kingdom of darkness and by the Spirit of God, together we will punch holes in the darkness to let the light of Jesus Chris'ts unconditional love for all men to see. We will hit the ground running, for there is so much work to be done in so many directions. But know for certain of our love and our complete understanding of being connected to the vine. We will do our best to keep you as an integral part of Jesus' vision in the middle east as we walk out this call for time and eternity! On this note we send our deep appreciation to you our closest friends, as we begin our departure. If it be Hashem's will we will write to inform you of our next steps from Jerusalem.

With heartfelt love and peace,

Hank, Michele, AbbyRose, Levi & Moriah

November 28

Good morning Friends and Family,

This is just a brief note to let you all know that we are in our home in Jerusalem, having arrived safely....with all our suitcases late yesterday afternoon. The children did so well on the flights; Moriah didn't sleep much at all, but they are all sleeping soundly now, and are happy to be among their own things and in their own beds! (As are Dad and Mom!)

There were a few glitches here and there along the way, but God was faithful and it feels wonderful to be back in our home again.

I am sure we will write more a bit later;but for now, we just wanted to say hello, and to thank you for your prayers of safe travel for us!!

Thank you so much for filling in the valleys, so we could walk on solid ground!

With grateful hearts,

Hank, Michele, and family

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) Wastes Government Time Pandering

"Why some of my best friends are Negroes."

Is this what we pay our politicians in Washington to be doing? Rep. Mike Honda, liberal Democrat from the lost state of California, has put out this classic piece of  "some of my best friends" pandering.

"Nov 16,2010 - WASHINGTON DC – Rep Honda, Chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, introduced legislation recognizing the cultural and religious significance of Eid al-Adha.

"I wish all Muslim Americans and Muslims around the world a prosperous holiday and stand with them in recognizing the importance of sacrifice, freedom, and justice. Muslim Americans contribute substantially to the success and pluralism of the United States, making significant strides in all areas of national discourse, development and diplomacy. As award-winning scientists, doctors, engineers, athletes, artists, ambassadors, and an estimated 10,000 Armed Service men and women, Muslim Americans continue to serve the greater good of our county."

Observed for more than fourteen centuries, Eid al-Adha is a holiday of great importance to millions of Muslim Americans and approximately 1.5 billion Muslims around the world. Eid al-Adha, or the Festival of the Sacrifice, honors Abraham's symbolic sacrifice of his son to God, as referenced in the Quran, Old Testament and New Testament and is commemorated around the world by prayers, charity events and festivals.

"I am honored to join with Members from across the country to recognize the holidays of all of the great religions, and to promote interfaith dialogue within the Congress," Congressman Ellison stated. "I am proud to co-sponsor this resolution in honor of the Muslim celebration of Eid-Al Adha, a major holiday which emphasizes the importance of humility, kindness, and service," Ellison concluded.

"Eid al-Adha is a special occasion to recognize our continued commitment to God," said Congressman André Carson. "My prayers and blessings are with all the hajjis that have made the pilgrimage to Mecca this year. Eid Mubarak and may God bless you during this important time."

Specifically, Rep Honda's resolution does the following: (1) recognizes the cultural and religious significance of Eid al-Adha, (2) expresses its appreciation and respect for the contributions of Muslim Americans to our country, and (3) wishes Muslim Americans and Muslims around the world observing Eid al-Adha a prosperous holiday."

"Ah wunnerful ah wunnerful ah."

Here's another memorable statement from a "US Senator":

"Now, I just want to get this out there.. I'm proud to be able to say that some of my closest friends are Italian-Americans. They are the salt of the earth - the very bedrock of this great nation. Italian-Americans are loyal, hard-working people with great family values.. we, during these hearings, should not allow a few bad apples to spoil the pot. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have other business to attend to."

-Senator Pat Geary of Nevada in "Godfather Part 2"

This is what we pay all those taxes for. And this has to be written down on paper and filed somewhere in the Capitol. A hundred years from now this will be on microfiche in the National Archives.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have other business to attend to.

Elizabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff Speech in Copenhagen

Elizabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff is an Austrian journalist who is being criminally charged in her native Austria for defamatory speech (against Islam). She recently gave a speech on the topic of free speech at a conference in Copenhagen. I am cross-posting this from Vlad Tepes blog.

So now the EU is drafting legislation to crack down on free speech. As Ms Sabaditsch-Wolff points out, Europeans do not have a First Amendment. Thus, anything they say which could be construed as criticism of Islam would be subject to criminal prosecution. Is it any wonder Europeans are afraid to even mention the words, "Muslim" or "Islam"? Here is the wording of the EU Framework Decision on Combating Racism and Xenophobia. Read it carefully. It may seem good on the surface, but it is dangerously broad.

Of course, one must make a distinction between hate speech-still protected under US laws- and an open and honest discussion of what Islamization and shariah law mean for Europeans. That discussion of Islam should not take the form of incriminating an entire people and should not be an incitement to violence or discrimination. However, it is a legitimate issue of public interest both here and in Europe. There must be a way for Europeans to express their concern about what is happening in their countries without being subjected to prosecution-not only in their own nations, but in any other member nation that takes exception to their speech.

More Anti-Jew Hate in Scandinavia

Hat tip to Islam in Europe

Scandinavia, once a bastion of tolerance, is now where Jews must keep a low profile lest they be attacked. In the town of Norrkoping, a pro-Israel Jewish blogger answered his door last Monday night and was immediately attacked by two Middle Eastern males with a wine bottle calling him a "Jewish pig". As they fled, they were heard shouting "Yahood" (Jew in Arabic. The victim was struck several times and was taken to a hospital.

The local Swedish press, however, treated it as if it was an attack without motive. No mention was made that the victim was Jewish and the attackers were Middle Eastern. No mention was made of the "Jewish pig" or "Yahoud" statements. It takes local blogs like Jihad i Malmo to describe the facts behind the facts.

Två misstänks för överfall


En man har anmält till polisen att han på måndagskvällen blev överfallen av två män i sin lägenhet på Trädgårdsgatan. Enligt mannen ska två okända män vid 18-tiden ha kommit och ringt på dörren till hans lägenhet. När han öppnade ska männen ha slagit honom i huvudet med en vinflaska.

- Det är oklart vad som har hänt, men männen ska ha sprungit från platsen efter överfallet, säger Gittan Gustafsson, Norrköpingspolisen.

Mannen fick uppsöka Vrinnevisjukhuset.

Here is the English translation (by yours truly)

Two suspected in attack


A man reported to police that Monday night he was attacked by two men at his flat on Tradgardsgatan. According to the man, two unidentified men came about 6 pm and ringed at the door to his flat. When he opened (the door) the men struck him in the head with a wine bottle.

It is unclear what happened, but the men ran from the location after the attack, said Gittan Gustafsson of the Norrkoping Police.

The man was seen at the Vrinnesvis Hospital.

"And now the weather."

Political correctness 1938

"Look. Somebody broke a window."

"Must have been a wind storm."

"Isn't that Mr. Rosenberg's shop?"


Meanwhile in Denmark, the same problem exists.

This is political correctness, folks, by the Europeans, who invented the practice and sent it to America. It works something like this; when one minority is victimized by another minority, it is best not to mention either group. Just to do so can bring the law down on you with a vengeance.

Just ask Geert Wilders.

"Peace-Loving" Somali Arrested in Portland

Let's give another shout out to our State Department for bringing in tens of thousands of Somalis to our country. Gangs in Minnesota, Al Shabaab volunteers- now a 19-year-old Jihadist has been busted trying to set off a car bomb in Portland, Oregon during a Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

"Mohamud's attempt is neither representative nor an example of Somalis. Somalis are peace loving people," said Omaar, whose government is holed up in a few blocks of the capital, Mogadishu, while much of the country's southern and central regions are ruled by Islamist insurgents."

Is this the thinking of our striped pants bureaucrats in Washington? A country sinks into total lawlessness, so let's import that lawlessness into our country.  Not surprising, however. Even with all the mayhem that is going on on our southern border with Mexico, one would think the sensible thing to do would be to secure that border to keep it from spilling over to our side.

Wouldn't one?

With all the decades of scheming that the Communists of the USSR did during the Cold War to bring America down, they could not have come up with a better plan  than what our own government leaders are coming up with day in and day out.

But what about Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali? She's a hero.

You bet your life she is. Yet she has to live in the US under security after the Dutch gave up trying to protect her for trying to warn us all about the threat.

Now I'm going to say something many of you may find racist.

We Westerners are the dumbest people on the planet.

Dennis Prager's Common Sense on Israel

Radio talk show host Dennis Prager has a series called Prager University. In this 5-minute piece, Prager makes more sense on Israel that you will get taking 4 years of Middle East courses at some university.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Obama Hurt in White House Basketball Game

News item:

The White House has announced that President Obama suffered a large cut on his lip during a White House pick-up basketball game. (Must have been the Democrats vs the Republicans). The cut required 12 stitches to close (Ouch).

"When can I get the stitches out, Doc?"

"Came back in 2 years."

Celebrity Endorsements-John Conyers for Playboy Magazine

"Greetings tax-payers. This is John Conyers, congressman from Michigan, on behalf of my good friends at Playboy. You know, when I am traveling back and forth between Washington and Detroit, I take advantage of the down time to bring myself up-to-date on current affairs by reading Playboy. Especially now since my wife is doing time for bribery, Playboy helps me fill in the lonely hours-if you know what I mean.

All kidding aside, I find the articles in each edition of Playboy to be highly informative, especially on issues such as what Miss January thinks of world affairs.

Not only that, but Playboy helps keep this 81-year-old congressman informed on what the younger generation is thinking on such topics as gay issues. Just last July, while flying back to Washington, I found a very stimulating piece on lesbianism featuring two experts named Trixie and  Sabrina-or something like that. In addition, Playboy also has a regular feature on universities. Last month, there was a special article on the girls of Princeton. We all need to pay more attention to our younger generation, you know.

Reading a bill? Think again.

Playboy also has great articles on international affairs. This month's issue has a great piece on the girls of Finland. I'll have to make it a point to schedule a fact-finding trip over there this year.

And here is the best feature of all; you can take Playboy right through airport security lines. Oh sure; the screeners may grope the pages, take it into a back room, and all that, but they'll let you take your Playboy right on board. By the way; have you ever wondered what Miss October looks like when viewed through one of those full-body scanners?

So next time you are traveling, pick up the latest issue of Playboy-better yet, for only one extra dollar, get the special edition with Teflon pages.

Why does it have Teflon pages, you ask?

You don't wanna know. Besides, this is a family blog."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

George S Rishmawi, Rosina Hassoun and the Holy Land Trust

On November 22, 2010, George S Rishmawi spoke to students at UC-Irvine, an appearance sponsored by the Olive Tree Initiative. During Rishmawi's appearance at UC -Irvine, the moderator told the audience that Rishmawi just happened to be in the area, so he was invited to come and talk. It appears that yesterday, Rishmawi just happened to be in the East Lansing area, where he was scheduled to appear with Rosina Hassoun, a local professor, at the People's Church.

Here is what Discover the Networks has to say about Rosina Hassoun:

In 2004, George S Rishmawi was involved in the Holy Land Trust when it sponsored the Olive Harvest. In the below article, he has his own e-mail address at

Here is what Discover the Networks has to report about the Holy Land Trust. Also note the link to HLT director Sami Awad.

To be continued.......

ZOA Weighs in on Soros-Beck Flap

The Zionist Organization of America has weighed in on the flap over Glenn Beck's criticism of George Soros.

As I have said many times before, if you don't know who George Soros is, you need to educate yourselves. This scoundrel is the financial source behind every far-left venture that is harmful to our country.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Meanwhile in the European Parliament

(Hat tip to Vlad Tepes )

My favorite European, Nigel Farage, is back and apparently fully recovered from his plane crash. So here he is giving the what-for to European Union honcho Hermann Van Rompuy and the parliament as a whole.

Now we have a multi-lingual re-enactment of World War 1 as insults are hurled and a British member is booted out of the chamber. Enjoy.


Our allies.

Armistice Day is Commemorated and Desecrated in London

As Britains tried to pay respect to their war dead, another group showed their disrespect. The Daily Mail has the sickening story.

John Conyers Joins the Mile High Club-Well, Sort of.....

(Hat tip to Hot Air)

So what does an 81-year-old congressman do when his wife's in the slammer for bribery? Why, he reads  "Playboy", of course. This was captured by a fellow passenger on a flight this past July.


Of course, he only reads the articles, so here is the article from the Michigan View:

Neville Chamberlain Asks For Another Chance

Here goes Jimmy Carter again. Now he is sounding like the North Korean ambassador to the United Nations.

That's right, Jimmy. If only the nation would listen to you, we would have Peace in Our Time. If this guy were still president, our diplomats would still be sitting in an Iranian dungeon. It never ceases to amaze me how this feckless boob, who made such a mess out of things, could still prance around the world telling us what we should all do. This is the same micro-manager who was managing the White House tennis court logbook while the country was falling apart around him. Yet, he has just come out with another of his books trying to convince us what a genius he was.

What else is new? Oh yeah, I heard that Neville Chamberlain, now living in a British nursing home at the age of 145, is still waving that peace of paper in his hand and asking to take one more trip to Munich to save Britain from a German invasion.

"Yee Gads!"

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Saudi-Funded Anti-Semitism in UK

(Hat tip to OC Independent Task Force on Anti-Semitism)

The below article from the Telegraph of London concerns Saudi-funded schools in the UK spreading anti-Jewish hatred.

Let's not forget that Saudi Arabia is also funding their version of education in the US. It is time for us to start looking into Saudi contributions to American universities targeted toward setting up Middle East studies departments, which have already become hotbeds of anti-Israel rhetoric and indoctrination.

Another Take on the Rishmawi Speaking Event at UC-Irvine

I am cross-posting a statement issued tonight by the Orange County Independent Task Force on Anti-Semitism regarding the speaking appearance of George S Rishmawi yesterday at the University of California at Irvine.

I concur with that assessment. If any student, Jewish or otherwise, wants to go to the Middle East and meet with these people, they can go on their own dime.  As far as I am concerned, they can go to Iran and meet with President Ahmadinejad. However, if this travel is being funded by community donations, specifically by Jewish donors, then those donors have every right to know where and how their money is being spent. It is entirely legitimate to investigate and report on who the players are in this Olive Tree Initiative. This entire controversy is a matter of public interest, and there should be no effort to shut down the debate.

Or to shoot the messenger.

Is it true department

Is it true that after speaking to a Jewish audience at Temple Bat Yahm in Newport Beach on November 4, UC President Mark Yudoff  told the UCI chancellor that he had a major problem (at UCI)?

George S Rishmawi Speaks at UC-Irvine

On November 22, 2010, George S. Rishmawi, a Palestinian activist, spoke at UC-Irvine sponsored by the Olive Tree Initiative. Rishmawi was introduced as a co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and the current coordinator of the Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies, which organizes tours of the Palestinian territories by foreign tourists and fact-finding tours for those interested in the region. He is also working for the Palestinian Rapprochement Center Between peoples (PRC). According to the moderator, Mr Rishmawi was invited to speak at UCI because he happened to be in the area.

Rishmawi's appearance at UCI and his participation in the UCI Olive Tree Initiative has aroused much controversy within the Orange County Jewish community since the OTI's travel to the Holy Land (Jewish students) is funded by the Rose Project  which was established by the OC Jewish Federation. (I have been informed by the head of the UCI Hillel, Jordan Fruchtman, that Hillel is not involved in funding the OTI.)

In addition, there was some confusion over the identities of George S. Rishmawi and George N. Rishmawi, who is apparently his cousin and is head of the Palestinian Rapprochment Center Between People (PRC) and the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC). If you do Internet searches, there is a lot of confusion between the two persons. In a recent letter to the community, the OC Jewish Federation described George N Rishmawi as "a despicable character".

"While the names are only separated by a middle initial, these are two different people with two different points of view. George S., who is coming to campus, has met with Jewish students on previous OTI trips and is not, to our knowledge, a member of the International Solidarity Movement (a well-documented anti-Israel enterprise), having cut his ties to ISM in 2004. By contrast, his cousin, George N., is the despicable character being described in the circulated email."
(OC Jewish Experience)

Below is a PRC webpage with both individuals pictured.

(The "despicable character" is the one on top.)

In his talk, which lasted for about 15 minutes, Rishmawi described his life in the Palestinian territory (West Bank).He began by describing an event several years ago which launched him into non-violent protests against Israel. (This is apparently the First Intifada, which began in 1987.)  During this period, the Israelis came in, closed down schools and established controls on the Palestinian populace. Since then he has been involved in non-violent protest activities against Israel. He considers Israel an occupier and that this occupation results in daily inconveniences in travel for the Palestinians as well as overall harassment and humiliation.

He also described his affiliation with the Palestinian Rapprochement Center Between People, in which he was initially invited to participate in dialogues during the above-described period-which also included refusals to pay taxes. He said that he is still involved with the PRC.

Currently, Rishmawi states that he is involved in non-violent protests as well as organizing tours of Palestinian areas (via the Siraj Center).

Here are some points from his talk and answers to questions.

At one point, he stated that Israel should grant more concessions to non-violent protests, which could reduce violent actions. (I am paraphrasing.)

At one point, Rishmawi said that he does consider suicide bombing as a form of terror and that he didn't believe in it. He continued by stating that he considers any violation of international law as a form of terror.

In answer to a question from the audience as to whether he favors a one-state or two-state solution, he stated that he didn't care as long as life became better for him and his people.

In answer to another question about the anti-Semitic images of Jews from within PA (Palestinian Authority) media including cartoons depicting Jews as evil, he skirted the issue by stating that negative feelings about Israel are a result of occupation and injustice-not from images in the media. (Again, I am paraphrasing.)

Another questioner asked him what was it that precipated the Israeli crackdown that he had described from several years ago (First Intifada ?) since that had not been mentioned. Rishmawi countered that nothing could justify the closing of the schools.

My question was if he was still involved with ISM directly or indirectly. His answer was that he had no further association with ISM, that he had left ISM several years ago, and that he didn't know what they were doing (now).

Below is an entry from the PRC website describing its relationship with ISM.

"In 2000, we mobilized our dialogue group and international friends for actions to reclaim the military base that was located on town land and was a major issue in the community. We successfully held nonviolent protests at the base (even getting inside the base by the hundreds) and this success led to the formation of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). PCR was heavily involved in ISM for five years, during which it had employed around ninety percent of its efforts and finances to support ISM. PCR hosted ISM in its headquarters until 2005 when the headquarters was moved to Ramallah."

Below is what Wikipedia says about the PRC:

Mr Ghassan Andoni, a professor at Birzeit University, is mentioned as co-founder of both the PRC and ISM.

Here is a description of George N. Rishmawi which connects him to ISM. (Again, I would treat this with caution. Several Internet sites have confused the two Rishmawis.)

At this point, I would say that it is still (at least for me) to determine if there is a current connection between George S Rishmawi, the PRC and ISM. I think we may safely assume that the 2008 and 2010 OTI trips included contacts with both George Rishmawis. I also think more clarification is in order.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Olive Tree Initiative 2010 Speaker Matrix

Below is a matrix of speakers and contacts of the 2010 Olive Tree Initiative of the University of California at Irvine. It breaks down the persons according to their political stance on the Israel-Palestinian conflict. It is not known to this writer when the matrix was prepared (before, during or after the trip).

Below are clips regarding a couple of the individuals listed in the "in-between-undeclared"  column, Sam Bahour and Munib Masri. (Hat tip to Tammi Benjamin)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Sensible Look at Today's Anti-Semitism

(Hat tip to Doc's Talk and JBlog-Israel Forum)

Barry Rubin has an article in the JBlog Israel Forum blog about the true nature of today's anti-Semitism, which the politically crowd does not want to face.

You see, as long as the perpetrators of anti-Semitic hate are (white) Nazis and skin-heads, it's safe to talk about it. However, when the perpetrators are Muslims and their radical left allies, that's a horse of  different color.

 It is also troubling that the ADL has apparently fallen into the politically correct mind-set.

George S Rishmawi and George N Rishmawi

Reference is made to my previous posts regarding tomorrow's speaking appearance at UC-Irvine by George S Rishmawi. There has been some confusion over the identity of the person who is speaking and which person has been involved with meeting UCI students during the Olive Tree Initiative tours to the Holy Land. In the 2008 and 2010 itineraries, there have been meetings listed with a George S Rishmawi of the Siraj Center and a George Rishmawi of the Center for Rapprochement Between Peoples. Perhaps the below link can clear it up.

So is it possible that both George Rishmawis have been involved in meeting with OTI students?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Olive Tree Initiative 2010 Itinerary-and George Rishmawi

Below is the itinerary for the September 2010 Olive Tree Initiative. Note that George Rishmawi is highlighted in bold. (Why is one Rishmawi listed with initial "S" and the other with no initial and they are listed under different organizations? This is also true of the 2008 trip. Are they different individuals or the same? Or is there an intentional effort to confuse?

UC Irvine- Olive Tree Initiative 3

September 2010 Itinerary

Thursday - September 2nd: Flight

• Leave LAX at 1 pm

Friday - September 3rd: Jerusalem/Bethlehem

• 5 pm Arrival in Ben-Gurion Airport

• 6 pm Driving to Jerusalem

• 7 pm SHABBAT DINNER at Old City home of Patrick Amar (Aish HaTorah Yeshiva, Old City

Jerusalem) ---

• 9 pm TRAVEL to Bethlehem and check into Holy Family Hotel

Saturday - September 4th: Ramallah/Bethlehem

• 8 am (Palestinian time - PT) TRAVEL to Ramallah (early)

• 9 am TALK with Sam Bahour (entrepeneur and business man) and Antonio Galli (USAID


• 11 am TOUR of Mukata – Palestinian Governmental Complex (including Arafat’s burial site)

• 12 noon LUNCH at Birzeit University with Professors and Students

• 2:30 pm TALK with Issa J. Kassissieh (Director General and Deputy Head/ PLO

• Negotiations Affairs Department)

• 4 pm TALK with Al Haq (Palestinian Human Rights Organization)

• 5 pm Meeting with Dr. Husam Zomlut (Deputy, Central Committee Fatah, PLO representative to the UK


• 6 pm Leave for Bethlehem (OTI REFLECTION in Bus)

• 7 pm DINNER with Dabka Band Dancers in Tent restaurant with students (Birzeit University and high

schools) and community members

Sunday - September 5th: Jerusalem/East-Jerusalem

• 8 am (7 am PT) Leave hotel for Jerusalem

• 9:15 am Check in Knesset

• 10 am TALK with Ibrahim Sarsur (most senior Arab politician in Knesset, party leader United Arab


• 11:30 pm LUNCH in Bus (sandwiches)

• 12 noon STRATEGIC TOUR with Danny Tirza (architect of the separation barrier) – including Gilo


• 2 -5 pm TALK and TOUR of East-Jerusalem with Ir Amim meetings with residents who lost their

homes (e.g. Sheik Jarah and Siluan)

• 5:30 pm Meeting with Bill Van Esveld (Analyst for Human Rights Watch)

• 7:00 pm IFTAR DINNER with Khaled Zighari (photojournalist and television producer, worked for Al-

Jazeera and BBC)

o Optional Friday night-prayer for Muslim students at Al-Aqusa mosque


Monday - September 6th: Qalqilyah/Haifa

• 8:30 am (7 am PT) leave from Bethlehem

• 10 am TALK and TOUR with Avihu Cohen (overview point)

• 11 am TOUR of Qalqilyah and the wall surrounding the city (plus Zoo) with city officials

• 1 pm Leave Qalqilyah

• 2 pm LUNCH at Maxim Restaurant in Haifa, a joint Arab-Israeli owned restaurant attacked by a

suicide bomber, TALK with Tony Mattar (co-owner)

• 4 pm TOUR of terror victim burial site (near Haifa) with Yossi Zur and Ron Kehrmann, whose

children died in a suicide attack on a Bus in Haifa

• 6 pm Check into accommodation in Colony Hotel

• FREE Evening in Haifa

Tuesday - September 7th: Haifa, Sea of Galilee, Golan Heights

(Tour guide for the day Guy Leibovitz)

• 9 am TALK at Beit HaGefen Coexistence Center

• 10-11 am TOUR of Bahai’i Gardens

• 12 am Leave for Sea of Galilea

• 1 am tour of Christian sites (Capernaum, Mount of Beatitudes)

• 2 pm LUNCH at Druze Village plus TALK

• 3 pm TOUR of Golan Heights with General Alik Ron

• 6 pm Return to Haifa

• 8 pm Dinner in Haifa with OTI Reflection afterwards

Wednesday - September 8th: Jenin and Nablus

• 8am TRAVEL to Jenin

• 10 am (9 am PT) MEET with Musa Qadora (Governor of Jenin)

• 11 am (10 am PT) MEET with Ismael Khatib (donated organs of dead son to Israelis)

• 12 am (11 am PT) TOUR of Jenin refugee camp with the Jenin popular committee

• 1 pm (12 noon PT) LUNCH in Jenin

• 2 pm (1 pm PT) TRAVEL to Nablus

• 3 pm (2 pm PT) COFFEE BREAK/MEET with Munib R. Masri

• 4 pm (3 pm PT) TOUR of Nablus (e.g. inner city, historic sites, refugee camp…)

• 5 pm (4 pm PT) Leave Nablus

• 6:30 pm Check into Astoria Hotel in Tiberias

• 7:30 pm DINNER at Sea of Galilea or in Safed with ROSH HASHANA CELEBRATION

Thursday - September 9th: Jordan

• 6 am TRAVEL to Jordan (from Tiberius ) through Sheikh Hussein Crossing (7 am)

• 9 am Meet with HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, and Princess Rim Ali (not confirmed – might be


• 11 am VISIT with Camp Improvement Committee in Wehat Refugee Camp

• 1 pm Meet with H.E Senator Dr. Marouf Al Bakhit (former Ambassador to Israel and former Prime

minister of Jordan, 2005-2007)

• 2 pm VISIT University and meet students and/or Rotaract/Rotary members in Jordan

• 3 pm TOUR of Amman (Citadel, Amphitheater, …)

• 5 pm Check into Larsa Hotel in Amman (8th Circle)

• 7 pm IFTAR/Eid Meal in Jordan (with Nesma’s family)

• 9 pm OTI Reflection

Friday - September 10th: Jordan

• 5 am Optional Morning prayers for Muslim students

• 6 am Leaving for Petra (breakfast/packages on the bus)

• 10 am Tour of Petra

• 1 pm Short break with snacks

• 2 pm Drive to Karak (Majali Farm)

• 4 pm LUNCH with Majali Family and Bedouin tribe members

• 6 pm return to Amman

• 8 pm Eid Dinner with guests in Amman

Saturday - September 11th: Jordan/Dead Sea

• 8 am Leave Amman for King Hussein Bridge/Allenby or Sheikh Hussein Crossing

• 10 noon Cross border and travel to Dead Sea

• 12 noon – possible En Gedi National Park tour

• 1:30 pm LUNCH at Lot Hotel, Dead Sea

• 2:30 – 5:30 pm Beach/Mud treatment … relaxing

• 5:30 pm TRAVEL to Tel Aviv

• 7:30 pm Check into accommodations – Sea Net Hotel

• Free Evening

Sunday - September 12th: Tel Aviv/Jaffa/Ariel Settlement

• OPTIONAL 9:00 am TOUR (leave hotel at 8:30 am) of Ayalon Institute (secret Jewish arms

manufacturer disguised as a Kibbutz, did laundry for the British Army during Mandate period for cover)

• 10:00 am TRAVEL to Ariel Settlement

• 10:30 am MEET with Ron Nachman (mayor of Ariel) and University Students form Ariel and people

evacuated from Gaza

• 12 noon LUNCH in Ariel

• 1:30 pm return to Tel Aviv

• 2 pm TALK with Gidi Grinstein (President and founder of Reut Institute) at hotel

• 3:30 – 4:00 pm BREAK

• 4 pm TALK with Dr. Yossi Beilin (former MK and justice minister) at hotel

• 5:30 – 6:00 pm BREAK

• 6 pm TALK with Galia Golan (Peace Now) at hotel

• 8 pm OTI Reflection

• 9 pm DINNER at Dr. Shakshuki Old Town Jaffa with students (former soldiers) and professors from

Tel Aviv University and IDC (Maya Zana organizer)

• 11 pm Optional Night Tour

Monday - September 13th: Tel Aviv/Jerusalem

• FREE Morning = time for shopping or going to the beach

• 1 pm check out of hotel


• 2 pm TALK/PANEL with Amos Harel (Haaretz covered the Gaza conflict and “breaking the silence)

and members from Breaking the Silence and IDF soldiers with a different perspective

• 4 pm Travel to next location

• 4:30 pm TOUR/TALK of Natal

• 6:00 pm TRAVEL to Jerusalem

• 7:30 pm Check into accommodation at Lutheran Guesthouse

• 8:00 pm DINNER and OTI REFLECTION in Jerusalem Old City

Tuesday - September 14th: Hebron/Efrat

• 8:30 am TRAVEL to Hebron

• 9:30 am (8:30 am PT) TALK and TOUR with David Wilder (Spokesperson Jewish Community)

• 11:30 am (10:30 am PT) TALK and TOUR of Hebron City Center with Hebron Rehabilitation


• 1 pm (12 noon PT) LUNCH at in Hebron (time to shop and meet locals)

• 3:00 pm Leave for Efrat

• 3:30 pm PANEL with Efrat residents (A. Friedman) and visit of nearby settlement outpost (Karmei Zur)

• 6:00 pm RETURN to Jerusalem with some REFLECTION on bus

• 7:00 pm DINNER with Parents Circle

• FREE Evening

Wednesday - September 15th: West-Jerusalem

• 9 am MEET with Holocaust Survivor (at their home or at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial)

• 10:30 am Tour of Yad Vashem

• 1 pm LUNCH

• 2 pm TALK with Pini Meidan (former officer, national intelligence agency of Israeli (Mossad) and

Foreign Policy adviser. He was a member of the permanent status negotiating team under PM Barak in

1999-2001 - Taba talks in January 2001)

• 4 pm TALK with Mark Regev (spokesperson for the Israeli prime minister)

• 6 pm MEETING with Benjamin Pogrund (former South Africa peace activist, friend of Mandela)

• 7:30 pm DINNER in Jerusalem with Dr. Gideon Rahat (Senior Lecturer, Department of Political

Science) and some Hebrew University students


Thursday - September 16th: Gaza/Sderot/Jerusalem

• 7 am TRAVEL to Kerem Shalom (Gaza Crossing)

• 9 am TOUR at Kerem Shalom, presentation by COGAT Commander

• 10:30 am Gaza OVERVIEW – Avihu Cohen

• 11:30 am TRAVEL to Sderot

• 12:15 am TOUR of Sderot (police station (old rockets), media center), meet residents

• 1:30 pm LUNCH at Kibbutz Kefar Aza with John Ging

• 3 pm Return to Jerusalem with OTI REFLECTION in bus

• 4:30 pm PROJECT/MEETING with One Voice at YMCA

• 6:30 pm DINNER (optional) in Jerusalem with One Voice activists

• FREE Evening

Friday - September 17th: Bethlehem/Jerusalem

• 7 - 8 am Optional – visit Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque

• 9:00 am (8:00 am PT) TALK with George Rishmawi (cofounder, The International Solidarity

Movement (ISM), current director of Palestinian Center for Rapprochement)

• 10:00 am (9 am PT) TALK and TOUR with George S. Rishmawi (coordinator/cofounder Siraj Center

for Holy Land Studies: Old Town Bethlehem, Church of Nativity, Mosque of Omar

• 11:30 am (10:30 am PT) TALK with Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh, TOUR of Bethlehem University

• 12:30 am (11:30 am PT) TOUR of Aida Refugee Camp with Ayed Al Azzeh (Al-Rowad Center)

• 1:30 pm (12:30 am PT) LUNCH and TOUR of Carmen Nasser’s house, followed by TALK

• 3:00 pm (2 pm PT) TALK with Zoughbi Zoughbi (director of Wi’am – Palestinian Conflict Resolution

Center) maybe also Yusef Thalgieh (father of a Palestinian boy who got killed by the Israeli Defense

Forces at sons grave site) – dedication of playground!!!

• 4:30 pm (3:30 pm PT) return to Jerusalem

• 5 pm (4:00 pm PT) DINNER in Jerusalem before sundown because of Yom Kippur

• FREE EVENING (optional services for Jewish Students)

Saturday - September 18th: Jerusalem - Reflection

• FREE DAY - Yom Kippur (Jewish students and others may fast)

• 7 pm BIG Celebration Dinner

Sunday – September 19th: Flight Home

• 9 am TOUR Old City Jerusalem – Quarters, City of David, Western Wall, Kotel tunnel with guide Guy


• 12 noon LUNCH

• 1 pm Final Reflections!!!

• 3 pm FREE AFTERNOON for shopping and/or relaxing –

Optional visit of talk by Raja Shehadeh (Al-Haq)

• 7 pm Final Dinner

• 8 pm Drive to Tel Aviv Airport

Flight leaves at 11:35 pm –DL 269 (arrival in Santa Ana/OC at 11:44 am on September 20th

One New Heart-November Update

I have posted previously about the work of Hank and Michele Danniker and their organization "One New Heart". They are linked on this site. Briefly stated, this group works with Israeli doctors in an Israeli hospital to provide needed heart surgery to Palestinian children who suffer from heart defects-and there are many. These children come (accompanied by their families) from Gaza , the West Bank and other countries in the region. They are saving lives, and they are changing attitudes, one family at a time. Here is Hank's November update:

"Dear Friends,

Time continues to fly by and we are amazed that our time in the states is coming to an end.

Just to share in some family news: last Tuesday, the 9th, we celebrated both Moriah’s 1st birthday and our 19th wedding anniversary…God is so good and so faithful!

Can we just say how incredible it was to connect with so many friends and meet new ones? We feel abundantly blessed to have had ample opportunities to share in so many churches across Pennsylvania. Our family was shown gracious hospitality again and again. Thank you!

Some of you are aware that to date, we do not have our full financial support. It is BICWM policy to only send missionaries back into the field who are fully funded. We are still in need of $16,000. in pledges and $4000. in one time gifts to meet our 85% portion.

If you desire to support us either in prayer and/or finances, and have not yet mailed in the commitment form that was included in our last newsletter, would you please complete it and send it to BICWM? You can also give through PayPal at: We believe that God will meet this need so that we can return to Israel in 7 days, on November 26th.

ome other items to keep in prayer:

1. Our physical health – as I’m writing this, I am struggling with a touch of the flu. Moriah also has a cold.

2. All the logistics of tying up loose ends here in preparation for our departure.

raise report: two more children have been sponsored for heart surgery in this upcoming year, bringing the total to 4 sponsorships!

In His Service,

Hank, Michele, & family

We serve under the auspices of Brethren in Christ World Missions. Contributions toward our ministry may be sent to Brethren in Christ World Missions, PO Box 390, Grantham, PA 17027-0390, or in Canada, 2700 Bristol Circle, Oakville ON L6H 6E1. Please write “Hank and Michele Dannecker” in the memo."


"Good Evening or Morning,

As of today our family finalized all the paperwork with our Lawyer for the incorporation of 1New Heart as a non-profit corporation in Pennsylvania. This will enable this work to continue in a more professional, legal and Godly manner in regards to finances raised for the children's heart surgeries. Our lawyer blessed us tremendously and only charged us $775. We pray Gods richest blessing upon him for being such a generous man.

On another note We want to thank you for your giving towards our financial support! Wow!

Three weeks ago, $79,000. was needed. A week ago, the figure dropped to $20,000. still needed. What a wonderful response!

Hank met with BICWM missions staff this morning, and as of today, $14,000 in pledges is still needed. God has been so faithful in His provision, through you, and we know His faithfulness is new every morning.

As we've stated in earlier emails, BICWM policy states that we cannot leave for Israel on Friday, under their authority if this amount is not pledged in full. Because of this, as of today a budget has not been accepted and a ministry agreement has not been signed.

So, where does that leave our family?

In our situation, timing is critical with re-entry into Israel. If we do not return by December 5th - when our re-entry visa expires - our family will be denied entry. This means that there is no way to get back into the country, to even gather our personal belongings, and undue lease agreements in a honorable manner, let alone continue the work of 1 New Heart..... The ramifications can be endless.

We have looked into delaying/re-scheduling our flight, but there are no flights available in economy class until December 5th, which is too late for our visas. In addition, there are extremely high penalties charged for re-scheduling.

As a family we believe that it is the Lords will, that we return to Israel at this time,

the door is still open and the fields are ripe unto harvest, so we will keep plowing and planting expecting it to rain!

In conclusion, we are so grateful for those who have responded in prayer or to this financial need,

thank you again from the bottom of our hearts!

However, there may be those of you who still desire to pledge and have not.

If you're one of those individuals, would you please respond by clicking on this link:

"As it is written: "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little." (2 Cor. 8:15)

Blessings to you this Thanksgiving,

Hank and Michele"

Please consider this group in your own list of charitable activities.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Olive Tree Initiative At UCI and the On-Going George Rishmawi Controversy (Cont)

As previously reported, the Olive Tree Initiative (OTI) at UC-Irvine will be hosting a speaker by the name of George Rishmawi this coming Monday. The announcements of the event from the OTI have been rather confusing since there are apparently two George Rishmawis running around in the West Bank territories, both of whom are apparently activists. One of them is a co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a Palestinian-formed organization that is solidly anti-Israel and trains young activists from around the globe. They claim they are non-violent, but there are many instances of them being connected to known terrorists including two British Muslim suicide bombers. (ISM denies terrorist links.) It appears from the announcements that the one speaking Monday is the co-founder of ISM. OTI maintains that their speaker has left the ISM.

Below is the up-to-date announcement from OTI:

"George Rishamwi (sic), a Palestinian Non Violence Peace activist from Beit Sahour. In his capacity as Coordinator for Siraj, Center For Holy Land Studies, ( he organizes the Palestine Encounter programs which brings International visitors to Palestine for first hand experience living with Palestinian families and working with Palestinian activists.

He also has expertise in Non - Typical tourism activities includin...g (sic) cultural tours, political mission, and environmental hiking tours. Rishamwi (sic) is a former member of the International Solidarity Movement , a board member of the Network of the Christian Organizations in the Bethlehem area, and former board member of the Palestinian center for Rapprochement in Between People in Beit Sahour.

Born in Beit Sahour, a city known for non-violent resistance, George S. Rishmawi is coming to UC Irvine as a guest of the Olive Tree Initiative, and for those of you interested in becoming part of OTI 4, George is one of our primary contacts in the West Bank."

Here is the wording of the original OTI announcement:

"George S. Rishmawi  is a leader and co-founder of the ISM, the International Solidarity Movement, and the head of the Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies (, a Palestinian NGO that operates in the West Bank to lead educational tours about Palestine and the Israeli Occupation.

Born in Beit Sahour, a city known for non-violent resistance, George S. Rishmawi  is coming to UC Irvine as a guest of the Olive Tree Initiative, and for those of you interested in becoming part of OTI 4, George is one of our primary contacts in the West Bank."

Question: Why has OTI revised their description of Mr Rishmawi?

Here is a video of Rishmawi speaking in 2007. The video appears on the ISM website. The footage is by Kathy Kamp (American Friends Service Committee).

So we know this individual is identified as George S. Rishmawi, who is associated with the Siraj Center. Let's go to their website and click "about us", where you can click George Rishmawi, which says he was a co-founder of the ISM.

Note there is yet another spelling on that site, both Rishmawi and Rishamwi.

It should also be noted that the Siraj Center site shows a link (association) with Sabeel, a Protestant organization in Palestinian territory that practices liberation theology and is a harsh critic of Israel
Below is their website:

Here is Sabeel's Wikipedia page:

Here is ADL's take on Sabeel:

"Sabeel, a Palestinian Christian organization based in Jerusalem with support groups in the UK and North America, is a driving force behind the campaign by mainline Protestant churches to divest from Israel. Its U.S.-based affiliated group, Friends of Sabeel in North America (FOSNA), has also supported an anti-Israel students' divestment campaign."

Here is CAMERA's take on Sabeel: (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America)

"While Sabeel’s use of the Passion to demonize Israel – in a worship liturgy – is troubling, there is another problem – the relentless tone of irresponsible self-pity that permeates the document. The way the Arab-Israeli conflict is described in the liturgy, nothing is the fault of the Palestinians or their Arab “supporters;” everything is Israel’s fault, and ultimately, there is nothing the Palestinians can do to improve their lot except enlist Christians in the U.S. in their efforts to demonize and isolate Israel. (The only Israelis whose humanity is acknowledged are Israeli peace activists that can be used to lend credence to the notion that the conflict is all Israel’s fault.)"

2008 OTI Itinerary

Here again is the text and the link to the 2008 OTI trip which lists two George Rishmawi's, one with the middle initial "S" (OC Register). They are marked in bold.

Israel/Palestine Schedule 2008

09/01/08 MON Flight from Santa Ana to Tel Aviv
(via Atlanta)

11:52 am Departure (Delta 1782)

09/02/08 TUE DAY 1 Tel Aviv and Jerusalem


5:25 pm Arrival at Ben Gurion Airport

Evening Travel to Jerusalem – check in Lutheran Guesthouse

DINNER in Jerusalem (roof-top in the Old City)

09/03/07 WED DAY 2 Jerusalem
(e.g. All four quarters, Western Wall, Al-Aqsa mosque, temple mount, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, etc)
Tour Guide: Guido Baltes


9:00 am-11:00 am TALK at Hebrew University, Gilo Center - Dr. Jeff Macy (Director) and Eldad Joffe a (Executive Director) and Nijmeh Ali (Student Program)
11:15- 12:30 pm MEETING with students (Prof. Gideon Rahat)
Lunch At Hebrew University or in the Old City

Afternoon Exploring the Old City with Guido Baltes

5:00 pm TALK by Yitzhak Frankenthal (Parents Circle)


09/04/07 THU DAY 3 Bethlehem

(e.g. Refugee Camps, Ibdaa Cultural Center, Old Town, Church of Nativity)

Tour Guide: Shannon Shibata (Center for New Diplomacy) and Guido Baltes

Morning (+ 1 hour Winter time)

8:00 am (9 am) Travel to Bethlehem

9:00 am (10 am) TALK Prof. Mazim B. Qumsiyeh (Bethlehem University)

TALK George Rishmawi (Rapprochement Center,
International Solidarity Movement)

TALK and TOUR George S. Rishmawi (Siraj Tours)


1:00 pm LUNCH AND TALK with Zoughbi Zoughbi
(Wi’am Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center)



Yusef (Moslem Community Representative and Islam

Professor Bethlehem University)

Yusef Thalgieh (father of a Palestinian “martyr”)


7:00 pm IFTAR DINNER in Bethlehem with Nazeer and Usama (Wi’am staff)

8:30 pm TOUR of Aida Refugee Camp with Nazeer and Usama (Wi’am staff)

09/05/07 FRI DAY 4 East-Jerusalem

(Wall, Municipality, …)

Tour Guide: Shannon Shibata (Center for New Diplomacy) and Guido Baltes


9:00 am – 12:00 pm Strategic Jerusalem Envelope tour with Yonatan Adiri

(Senior advisor to Shimon Peres)

Afternoon TALK with East-Jerusalem resident in Beit Hanina

(Friday prayer for Muslim students)


4:30 pm – 5:30 pm Moty Cristal (Former Chief Negotiator for Israeli


6:00 pm DINNER Sabbath dinner home of Daniel Faber
(Meet at Jewish Square in Old City)

09/06/07 SAT DAY 5 Day-off: Tour to Dead Sea
(Massada, En Gedi, Beach)
Tour Guide: Guido Baltes

09/07/07 SUN DAY 6 West Jerusalem
(e.g. Yad Vashem, Knesset, …)
Tour Guide: Yamit Eriksson (Center for New Diplomacy) and Guido Baltes


8:30 am – 9:30 am TALK with Ester Golan (Holocaust survivor)

10:00 am -11:45 pm TOUR of Yad Vashem


12:15 pm TALK at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)
- Official Spokesperson for the MFA

2:30 pm TALK Avihu Cohen (former settler, Center for New Diplomacy)

4:00 pm TALK/PANEL at the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI) with Rabbi Ron Kronish, Dr. Debbie Weissman, Mr. Isa Jaber and Rev. Samuel Fanous

Evening Reflection meeting at the Lutheran Guesthouse


09/08/07 MON DAY 7 Ramallah
(e.g. Birzeit University, Government Complex, City Center tour)

Tour Guide: Sawsan (Center for New Diplomacy) and Guido Baltes

Morning/Afternoon 8:00 – 9:00 Visiting Al-Aqusa Mosque

10:00 Travel to Ramallah

Pick up Sawsan UNRA/Guide for Ramallah across from Museum at the Seam at 10:20am – Tel: 0523433509

10:30 (Ramallah time) Meeting with OV Palestine, Nisreen Abdallah (Youth Leadership Coordinator) and Nisreen Shahin (General Director) – Betonia, Al-kharaz Building, 4th floor

11:30 TALK: Sam Bahour (Palestinian Businessman)

12:30 TALK with Diana Buttu (former Gaza Israeli Disengagement Negotiator and Gaza resident)

1:30 pm TALK: PLO Negotiation Unit – Khavier and/or Wassim Khazmo

2:30 pm TOUR Mukata (Palestinian Gov. Complex and Yassir Arafat burial site)

4:00 TALK with Dr. Mustafa Barghouti (Politician)

Evening FREE EVENING and DINNER in Jerusalem

09/09/07 TUE DAY 8 Hebron
(e.g. Abraham’s Tomb, inner city tour)

Tour Guide: George Rishmawi and Guido Baltes

Morning Travel to Hebron

9:00 am – 11:00 am TOUR/TALK George Rishmawi (Siraj Center)

11:30 am – 12:45 pm TALK with Noam Arnon (Rep. Jewish Community)


1:00 pm – 2:00 pm LUNCH/TALK Rabbi Menachem Froman (Chief Rabbi of

TALK Shaul Goldstein (Mayor Gush Etzion)

4:00 pm TALK Harry Hurwitz (Begin Center, Jerusalem)

TALK Yisrael Meddad (Settler)


7:00 pm DINNER in Jerusalem with Gavriel Cohen (Shalom Achshav YOUTH/ Peace Now)

09/10/07 WED DAY 9 Qalqilyah, Ariel Settlement, Nazareth, Haifa

Tour Guide: Ophir Keshet and Guido Baltes

Morning Travel to Palestinian city Qalqilyah

9:00 am – 10:30 am TALK/TOUR with Captain Shadi (Druze)

Travel to Ariel Settlement

11:00 am TALK with Ron Nachman (Mayor of Ariel)

LUNCH/TALK at Druze village in the Carmel Mountians

Afternoon TOUR of Nazareth - Ophir Keshet (guide)

Evening Check-in accommodation in Haifa: St. Charles Hospice

Free evening in Haifa

09/11/07 THU DAY 10 Haifa

Tour Guide: Ophir Keshet and Guido Baltes


10:00 am TALK with Rami Levi (Vice-Mayor)

11:30 am TOUR/TALK: Beit HaGefen Coexistence Center (Zehava)

1:00 pm LUNCH Maxim restaurant (joined Arab-Israeli restaurant that has been attacked/bombed in the past)

2:30 pm TOUR of terror victim burial site with Yossi Zur

Afternoon Tour of Haifa (old city, gardens, etc)

Tour Guide: Ophir Keshet
Evening Return to Tel Aviv/Jaffa

Check in Hayarkon 48 Hostel in Tel Aviv/Jaffa

09/12/07 FRI DAY 11 Tel Aviv/Jaffa


9:00 am – 11:00 am TALK: Roni Berger (Top Trauma Psychologist who works with traumatized/affected population of Sderot

(National Trauma Center Tel Aviv)

1:30 PM LUNCH AND TALK with Yossi Alpher
(, former Mossad)

Afternoon Free afternoon

Evening Sabbath (Synagogue) /Friday prayer

Experiencing Tel Aviv/Jaffa (modern Israeli culture)

09/13/07 SAT DAY 12 Day-off: Beach and Shopping … in Tel Aviv/Jaffa

Optional Bauhaus Architecture Tour of Tel Aviv/Jaffa


6:00 pm Meeting with students from Tel Aviv University (former soldier with Lebanon war experiences)

Evening GOOD BYE DINNER in Tel Aviv

09/14/07 SUN DAY 13 Tel Aviv/Jaffa

Morning TALK: Professors Muli Peleg (One Voice Israel, former advisor to Yossi Beilin) -Interdisciplinary Center at Herzliah (IDC)

FREE LUNCH and time for shopping

Afternoon Packing and Reflection (Closing Overview)

Evening Flight back to Irvine/Santa Ana: depart 11:25 pm

09/15/07 MON DAY 14 Arrive in Irvine/Santa Ana: 1:08 pm (Delta 1899)

So were there two George Rishmawis involved in the 2008 tour? It's a little confusing due to the middle initial and titles behind their names as well as the confusing OTI announcements. My best guess is that both are the same person speaking at UCI Monday. As for the Rapprochement Center (Between Peoples), Wikipedia states that this entity is affiliated with ISM.

"Current director-George N. Rishmawi."

Here is the link to the Rapprochement web site:

At any rate, as previously reported, the OTI is partially funded by the Rose Project, which in turn, was established by the Jewish Federation of Orange County. In addition, there is the support of the University of California at Irvine-in particular, the Social Sciences Department while the University of California is now spreading OTI to other campuses.

In light of Mr Rishmawi's coming appearance to UC Irvine, a controversy has erupted within the Orange County Jewish community. The central question is this: If this speaker is, in fact, a co-founder of the ISM, why are the Rose Project, the Jewish Federation of Orange County, and perhaps, the University of California  supporting even indirectly a venture that exposes Jewish students to elements that are devoted to destroying and/ or establishing divestment boycotts of Israel?  Those questions are being posed to the above entities as we speak. There may be a legitimate explanation for this, but the associations are troubling to many, and it is fair to ask the questions. On Monday, it will be made clear just what affiliations, if any, this speaker has or has had with the ISM.

 I should note here that if certain Jewish students at UCI or anywhere else are against Israel to begin with-and there are those- then they can go meet with whomever they want to as far as I am concerned-as long as they are not meeting with enemies of the US. But what about Jewish students who have a strong Jewish identity and support Israel?  Do they know exactly who they will be dealing with on these trips to the Holy Land? Perhaps so. Some of them too may decide it is in their interest to do so and hear the other side, which they can decide for themselves. Ditto for bringing certain speakers to campus. I am not questioning the right of this speaker to appear at UCI. But who is supporting this financially?