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Air-Bnb & Hot-Air

middleeastmonitor.com


The decision by the global home-renting company Airbnb last week to terminate its operation in the Israeli occupied West Bank—i.e. to remove the listing of homes for rent from all Israeli settlements there—has naturally created quite a stir in Israel. Mainly, it brought about a lot of accusations of discrimination, anti-Semitism, anti-Israel, and anti-Zionism. It’s all the fault, and work of the hated BDS movement. The world is against us. In short: a lot of hot air.

Let’s analyze it then, the decision and its aftermath. As for Airbnb’s decision—which yours truly believes was the right decision—it stated that after quite a number of years, and many deliberations, the company has reached the conclusion that “… we should remove listings in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.” Settlements, which the Geneva Convention, the International Community at large, and the United Nations in particular, consider illegal.

Put it in other words: Supporting settlers who are there illegally—many of them American Jews—making them profit and getting richer while being in all practicality criminals, according to International Law, is not in the best interest of the company. Furthermore, the company does not see it as a political action, but as a human rights issue; it does not punish Israel as a whole, where it will continue to operate as before.

Unless, of course, the Israeli government acts to forbid, or make life too difficult on the company to operate in Israel proper. Which is one of the sanctions proposed by this minister or that. Other threats, less severe, were mentioned too. I do believe, though, that it won’t come to be, since the only people to benefit from this operation, other than the company (San Francisco based), are the tourists coming to visit Israel, and the Israeli citizens letting them use their homes and apartments. (I myself stayed in Tel Aviv for two weeks in such a place two years ago.)

Now, as for the accusations thrown at Airbnb. This is of course not an act of anti-Semitism, nor it is an act of anti-Israel or anti-Zionism. Nothing of the sort, and the proof is in the pudding, as the saying goes. The company—unless the government interferes—will continue to operate, as it has done so far, in Israel proper. It has nothing against Israelis, but has a lot against occupying other people lands, seizing their property, building there illegally, and profiting from it illegally. More straightly put: by operating in illegal settlements, the company renders its operation there illegal too.

These accusations by Israeli officials are very common, especially the favorite one: It’s all the BDS movement‘s fault. And yet, it has nothing to do with the BDS movement, to which your truly is in opposition to. Again, the reason is simple—though for reasons that I will explain promptly—no one care to admit it. First and foremost: The BDS boycott is directed against the whole of Israel. It does not differentiate between the occupied territories, post the 1967 war, and Israel proper, prewar. As an example, when the BDS movement convinces an internationally known artist not to appear in Israel, most often it’s in Tel Aviv, or other places in Israel, never really in the West Bank.

Secondly, boycotting Israel is the method to achieve the three main goals of that movement: Ending the occupation, full equality to Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, and granting all Palestinians refugees (some 7.5 million of them) the right of return to their homes in Israel. Which basically will end Israel as we know it, as the secure home of the Jewish people. (Hence my objection to it). Airbnb mentions nothing about that, or about supporting these BDS demands. Otherwise, why is it operating in Israel?

Now, you probably asking yourselves, why do those people raise the above-mentioned accusations? The reason is simple, if somewhat elusive: It fits their agenda. Instead of dealing seriously, truthfully with the real problems—the occupation, the settlements, the never-ending dispute with the Palestinians, the steady march of Israel toward being an intolerant society, Apartheid-like, with laws that will make it more of a totalitarian state than a democratic one—it’s easy to deflect the problem and hurl false accusations in return.

Let’s kick the can farther. Let’s accuse other people for our problems. Let’s delay the clear, preferred, obvious solution—the Two-State solution—until the messiah comes. The world hates us anyway. It’s all politics, stupid. Human rights are nonsense. Let’s go have a beer.

* The ‘Leave a Comment’ link is the last tag below, in blue.

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Hate Crimes and Misdemeanors


The anti-Semitic hate crime committed against the Jewish People yesterday is the product of the world we live in. Sad, despicable, horrendous as the carnage against the innocent worshipers at the ‘Tree of Life’ synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pa. was, it is not an isolated incident. Nor is it reserved solely for the Jewish People. It happened in churches, in kindergartens, in high schools, in music concert halls. It is powered by and irresponsible, bombastic rhetoric of politicians, and by guns in the hands of sick, hateful people, who spray bullets of death everywhere.

You may have heard of the ‘Proud Boys’, a far-right group of young, racist white males, full of hate and disposition on inflicting violence whenever possible, lately against progressive demonstrators in Portland, Oregon. If you haven’t heard of them, you soon will, just as you probably have heard of their cousins in Europe, especially in Russia, Poland, Hungary and Germany, where their main target of hate and violence are Muslim immigrants, refugees, and of course Jews, for no particular reason.

And talking about Jews, this is really what I wanted originally to tell you about. Because we, in Israel, have our own version of the ‘Proud Boys of Violence.’ Among their forbearers are the Israeli version of ‘La Familia,’ the staunch supporters of the Israeli soccer team ‘Beitar Jerusalem,’ of whom I just watched a most fascinating documentary on Netflix (highly recommended), titled “Forever Pure.” Their favorite slogan, shouted at every opportunity, is “Death to the Arabs.” They are the core supporters of the Likud, on whose shoulders (literally) both President Rivlin and Prime Minister Netanyahu rode to power. They had also, most probably, spewed Yigal Amir, the assassin of Prime Minister Rabin.

But no, today I’m talking about those who, as we say in Hebrew, are “Mamshichey Haderech.” The “Road Successors.” The young settlers roaming the hills of Judea and Samaria, wearing tzitziyot (fringes) and knitted kippahs, inflicting pain on the Palestinians of the West bank whenever possible. Whether they are shepherds leading their sheep and goats to pasture, or olive growers tending to their groves, you’ll find those Jewish ‘Proud Boys’ exacting pain on the local residents under the protection of the occupation authorities, and the Israeli Army.

Lately, they happened to throw stones on a passing car of a Palestinian family, causing the death of the wife and mother traveling in that car. Now you’d think, since those ‘Proud Jewish Boys’ did that in broad daylight and plain sight, that they would be caught by now, and maybe brought to justice. You’d be wrong. Three weeks later or so, they are free to roam the hills, inflicting pain and suffering again, putting words to action from the book of Beitar Jerusalem’s soccer fans, shouting “Death to the Arabs.”

You might also be saying: Wait, didn’t a young Palestinian man stab to death a Jewish man, a settler, not long ago? And didn’t another young Palestinian man kill two workers at the Barkan Industrial Park near the largest settlement of Ariel, and is yet to be caught? You’d be right bringing up these two cases to the forefront. And though one assailant was caught and already charged with murder in a court of law, and the other one is still on the lam, with the Israeli Army and the Shin Bet hot on his heels; and though their actions are not justified, should be condemned, and would bring the Palestinians no closer to their goal of a state of their own, the differences are striking.

These are act of desperation, by lone wolves, dying to die themselves, and are directed against the occupiers, who are terrorizing and controlling their lives since they were born. It’s an act of defiance, if you will. They do not operate under the cover of a large army, not even under the cover of their own Palestinian security forces. In ninety-nine percent of the cases they are either killed during their terror acts or end up in prison, spending their life there with many of their brothers. As I said, these are lone, desperate acts, not organized terror.

But the actions of these young, messianic settlers, are organized terror against the local Arab population. A “Jewish Terror Act” is how the Israeli media described it lately. They mostly act, wreaking their violence, with impunity. Under the protection—many time literally, as documented by plenty of videos, whereabout Israeli soldiers stand by and look on as they throw stones—of the Israeli Army, the occupation authority of the Israeli Government. What unite these ‘Boys of terror,’ these ‘Proud Boys of Violence,”—like the American anti-Semitic racist who murdered eleven people at the ‘Tree of Life’ synagogue—is pure hatred and the worship of violence.

* The ‘Leave a Comment’ link is the last tag below, in blue.

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