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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 13th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 First as posted by us on December 11, 2013, but then we added on December 13th an Uri Avnery unforgiving point of view that explains why neither the Israeli President nor the Prime-Minister accepted the chance to travel to Johannesburg.  We attach this at the end of our own review of the Israeli delegation.

============================================

 

 

Israeli Delegation to Mandela Funeral Seated in Parliamentary Gallery

By Gidon Ben-zvi from Johannesburg, December 10, 2013

 

Knesset Speaker ‘Yuli’ Edelstein at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Photo: Facebook.

 

The Israeli Knesset delegation to the funeral of South African President Nelson Mandela was placed in a parliamentary gallery inside of Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium, far removed from where the sitting president of South Africa and such visiting world leaders as President Barack Obama were situated, Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported.

 

The delegation, headed by the Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein, landed Tuesday morning at the airport in Johannesburg and were immediately shuttled to the stadium in order to attend the funeral.

The Speaker was invited to sit on the main stage, but elected to stay with the other members of the Israeli delegation, Ma’ariv reported.

 

“It’s very exciting to be here in South Africa. We arrived after a long but pleasant flight and are looking forward to a moving memorial service,”
MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid) told a Ma’ariv reporter.

 

MK Lipman, who heads the Israel-South Africa Friendship Association, added that, “…Nelson Mandela served as an inspiration around the world. [He] realized a vision of liberty and freedom and human rights which is a guiding light for everyone.”

 

Knesset Members Penina Tamanu-Shata (Yesh Atid), Hilik Bar (Labor), Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) and Gila Gamliel (Likud) comprised the remainder of the Israeli delegation.

 

 Pnina Tamano-Shata ????? ???? ???.jpg    born in Wuzaba, Tamano-Shata immigrated from Ethiopia to Israel at the age of three.She studied law at Ono Academic College, and became Deputy Chairman of the national Ethiopian Student Association.She worked from 2007-2012 as a reporter for Channel 1. In last elections she was placed on spot 14 on the newly formed Yesh Atid list that won 19 seats in the Knesset.

?? ?????.jpg  M.K. Rabbi Dov Lipman born in Silver Spring, Maryland, Lipman attended the Yeshiva of Greater Washington in his hometown and completed his rabbinical studies at Yeshivas Ner Yisroel in Baltimore while in a concurrent program with the Johns Hopkins University, where he earned a master’s degree in Education. He immigrated to Israel in 2004.

Since moving to Israel, Lipman has been a faculty member at a number of institutions for post-high school Torah learning, such as Yeshivat Yesodei HaTorah, Yeshivat Reishit Yerushalayim, Machon Maayan, and Tiferet.

Lipman lives in Beit Shemesh, and is married with four children. He renounced his United States citizenship as required to serve as a member of the Knesset.

Rabbi Lipman is a member of the mainly secular new Yesh Atid party, and was placed seventeenth on the party’s list for the 2013 Knesset elections.

As a member of Yesh Atid, Lipman strongly advocates basic secular education for all schools in Israel wanting to receive government funding. This is also the position of Israel’s Minister of Education, Rabbi Shai Piron. Since taking these controversial positions, Lipman has been publicly shamed by many within the ultra-Orthodox/Haredi world, including his former Rosh Yeshiva and teacher Rabbi Aharon Feldman. Feldman, dean of Baltimore’s Ner Israel Rabbinical College, called Lipman a “wicked” apostate and said his positions on Jewish education do not represent the values taught by the institution from which he received rabbinic ordination.

We wonder if Rabbi Lipman was part of the Edelstein-Carter airport exchange that stirred our interest in the make-up of the Israeli delegation – a State that somehow was not able to get to Johannesburg one of its two main office-holders – President Peres or Prime-Minister Netanyahu.

 

Hilik Bar Portrait.jpg    Hilik (Yehiel) Bar (born September 4, 1975 n Safed in the Galilee), is a Member of Knesset for the Israel Labor Party,   Secretary General of the Labor Party, and Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. Bar previously served as a member of the Jerusalem City Council on behalf of mayor Nir Barkat’s “Yerushalayim Tazliach” (Jerusalem Will Succeed) party, holding the Tourism and Foreign Relations portfolios for the city.

Bar studied at Bezek College at Givat Mordechai in Jerusalem. He served in the Israeli Defense Force as an officer in Adjutant Corps and reached the rank of captain in the reserves, later studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. From 1998 he served as chairman of the student organization (“Ofek”) of the Labor Party at Hebrew University, chairman of the national student organization of the Labor Party, and Chairman of the World Youth of the World Labour Zionist Movement.

 

Bar served as an Advisor to Minister Dalia Itzik in the Environment Ministry and the Ministry of Industry and Trade; an adviser to Acting Mayor of the Jerusalem Municipality, Professor Shimon Sheetrit; Director of Development Economics and Higher Education in the Jerusalem Municipality; Project Manager for the Jerusalem Conference with the Zionist Council for Israel; and adviser to National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer in Ariel Sharon’s second administration and Ehud Olmert’s government. It was during this time that he also served as advisor to Ben-Eliezer while the latter served as Minister of Industry.

 

During his public service he completed his BA in political science and international relations and MA in international relations at the Hebrew University. In 2008 he was accepted to the master’s program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, but passed on the opportunity in order to continue his public service.

 

Since 2002, Bar has been a delegate at the World Zionist Congress and the World Zionist Council. He is actively involved in pro-Israel advocacy and has taken part in advocacy and coexistence missions around the world, in the course of which he met with US President George W. Bush and other senior officials in both the Arab world and the West. In 2003, he was involved in the establishment of the “Young Israeli Forum for Cooperation” (YIFC), an organization whose activity was awarded a special prize by the EU’s Minister of Education. He was six-th on Labor’s list and is making inroads in the party system.

 

Nitzan Horowitz 2012.jpg    Nitzan Horowitz is a former journalist – he was the Foreign Affairs commentator and head of the International desk at News 10, the news division of Channel 10, before being elected to the Knesset on the left-wing Meretz list in 2009.

He is openly gay and ran for becoming Mayor of Tel Aviv. Before that – In 1989 he started his career at Haaretz, as the Foreign Affairs Editor. He served as “Haaretz” correspondent in Paris (1993–1998), covering also the European Union, and as Haaretz correspondent in Washington D.C. (1998–2001). Back in Israel, Horowitz was the chief foreign affairs columnist for Haaretz.

Horowitz served as a board member of ACRI – the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. He was also active in environmental issues and in 2007 he received the “Pratt Prize” for Environmental Journalism.

In December 2008, he resigned from Channel 10 and became a candidate of the Israeli left-wing party, Meretz in the upcoming elections.
He gained the third slot on the joint list of Hatnua Hahadasha (The New Movement) and Meretz. He said “My goal is to continue to do what I have been talking about over the past years, from protecting the seashore to promoting more sophisticated, nonpolluting public transportation”.

 

Meretz won three seats in the 2009 Israeli elections on February 10, 2009, election,making Horowitz the second openly gay Knesset member in Israeli history. The first, Uzi Even, also was a member of Meretz.  On February 16, he announced a plan to bring to the Knesset a bill that would allow marriages or civil unions between two partners regardless of their religion, ethnic background, or gender.

 

Before being sworn into the Knesset he was told to annul his Polish citizenship, which he was able to attain due to his father’s origins and used as a journalist to enter countries Israelis have a hard time entering.

 

In 2009, he announced that he would boycott all the events in Pope Benedict XVI‘s visit to Israel, saying that in his opinion, the pope bears a message of “rigidness, religious extremism and imperviousness. Of all the Pope’s injustices, the worst is his objection to disseminating contraceptives in Third World countries. It’s hard to assess how many miserable men and women in Africa, Asia and South America have contracted AIDS because of this Philistine attitude, but we are talking about many”.[9] He also published a two-part opinion piece on Ynetnews explaining his position.

 

On June 6, 2009, Horowitz addressed a crowd of 1,000 demonstrators in Tel Aviv marking 42 years of the occupation of the West Bank. Horowitz resides in Tel Aviv with his life partner.

 

Gila Gamliel.jpg    Gila Gamliel born in Gedera to an influential and large  family of Yemenite and Libyan Jewish origins, Gamliel studied at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, where she was awarded a BA in Middle Eastern history and philosophy and an MA in philosophy. During her time as a student, she was chairwoman of the university’s student union, and also the first woman chair of the National Students’ Association. Later on, she obtained a Bachelor of Laws at the Ono Academic College and a Master of Laws at the Bar-Ilan University.

 

For the 1999 elections she was placed 25th on the Likud list,[1] but missed out on a place in the Knesset when the party won only 19 seats. In 2003 she surprisingly won 11th place on the Likud list for the elections that year, ahead of several cabinet ministers. She became a Knesset member when the party won 38 seats, but police decided to open an investigation into the suspected transfer of student funds into a private company.She was also accused of blackmailing a fellow student council member in order to retain the chairmanship of the students’ association of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev at the time.  Gamliel denied both accusations. In November 2003 the fraud police decided to stop the investigations against her because of lack of  evidence.

 

Mid-2003 she opposed the acceptance of the road map for peace by the government of Prime Minister and fellow Likud member Ariel Sharon.

 

About the same time, in June 2003, she and three other Knesset members of Likud were actually banned from the Likud faction for three months because they had been voting against an encroaching plan of Likud in matters of economy. By implementing severe austerities the Likud government was hoping to recover the declining state of Israel’s economy.[6]

 

During her first term in the Knesset she chaired the committee on the Status of Women, and in March 2005 was appointed Deputy Minister of Agriculture.

 

However, she missed out on a place on the Likud list for the 2006 elections and lost her seat. Prior to the 2009 elections she won nineteenth place on the party’s list, and returned to the Knesset as Likud won 27 seats. On April 1, 2009 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed Gamliel as Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office in his new government, with the portfolio of the Advancement of Young People, Students and Women.

 

In November 2010 she was not allowed to enter Dubai to participate in a conference of the World Economic Forum because of the assassination of senior Hamas military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in January 2010, of which the Mossad was accused of.

 

In the 2013 elections she was again chosen in the Knesset. On March 18, 2013, she did not return as a (Deputy) Minister in the Third Netanyahu Government.

Yuli Edelstein.jpg   Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, born  August 5, 1958  to a Jewish family in the great city Czernowitz in the former Austrian Bukowina, while it was Chernivtsi, Soviet Union, and now is in the Ukraine. Yuli immigrated to Israel in 1987. His parents, Yuri and Anita Edelstein, had converted to Christianity after Yuli’s birth, and his father is today a well-known Russian Orthodox priest and human rights activist in Russia.

Yuli formed his connection to Jewish culture through his grandparents, and he began studying Hebrew.

During his second year at the Chernivtsi university, Edelstein decided to apply for an exit visa and emigrate to Israel. However, an exit visa required an affidavit from relatives abroad, a problem faced by many Soviet Jews. As a result, he made up a story of his grandfather having an illegitimate son in Israel, and found some Israelis who agreed to pose as his relatives. In 1979, he submitted his application for an exit visa. The application was rejected, and Edelstein was expelled from university.

Throughout this period, Edelstein studied Hebrew, first on his own, then with an underground Hebrew teacher named Lev Ulanovsky. After Ulanovsky received an exit visa to Israel in 1979, Edelstein himself became an underground Hebrew teacher. He encountered various forms of harassment from the KGB and local police. In 1984, he and other Hebrew teachers were arrested on trumped-up charges. Edelstein was charged with possession of drugs, and sentenced to three and a half years. He was then sent to Siberian gulags and did hard labor, first in Buryatia and then in Novosibirsk. After sustaining an injury and undergoing surgery, Edelstein was due to be transferred back to Buryatia, but his wife Tanya threatened to go on hunger strike if he was returned there. As a result, he remained in Novosibirsk, and was released in May 1985, after serving one year and eight months of his sentence.

In 1987, he was finally given permission to emigrate to Israel. After arriving in Israel, he did his national service in the Israel Defense Forces, attaining the rank of Corporal. He then started to participate in political life. Initially a member of the National Religious Party and a vice-president of Zionist Forum, he founded the Yisrael BaAliyah party together with fellow Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky. He was elected to the Knesset in 1996, and was appointed Minister of Immigrant Absorption in Binyamin Netanyahu‘s Likud-led government. He was re-elected in 1999, and was appointed Deputy Immigrant Absorption Minister by Ariel Sharon in 2001.

He retained his seat in the 2003 elections, shortly after which Yisrael BaAliyah merged into Likud. Although Edelstein lost his seat in the 2006 elections, in which Likud was reduced to 12 seats (Edelstein was fourteenth on the party’s list), he re-entered the Knesset as a replacement for Dan Naveh in February 2007. He retained his seat in the 2009 elections after being placed twelfth on the party’s list, and was appointed Minister of Information and Diaspora in the Netanyahu government.

Following the 2013 elections he became Speaker of the Knesset.

The father of two, Edelstein lives in Neve Daniel – an Israeli  communal settlement located in western Gush Etzion in the southern West Bank. Located south of Jerusalem and just west of Bethlehem, it sits atop one of the highest points in the area – close to 1,000 meters above sea level, and has a view of much of the Mediterranean coastal plain, as well as the mountains of Jordan.

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I went to this length of describing the six members of the Israeli Delegation that went to honor the Madiba – there hardly could have been a more RAINBOW type of delegation from Israel and in our opinion – this is a group of people that in their own lives depict how a new Nation , built on secular democratic principles, was built by linking with a common goal people of very different backgrounds. Members of this small group had given up US, Russian, Polish, Ethiopian, Yemenite, Libyan citizenships in order to be able to be part of the secular-jewish Parliament.

We believe they made for a truer representation to the Mandela ethos then had it been that the attention were on a Head-of-State.

 

Uri Avnery

December 14, 2013

 

                                                         Self-Boycott

 

CAN A country boycott itself? That may sound like a silly question. It is not.

 

At the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, the “Giant of History” as Barack Obama called him, Israel was not represented by any of its leaders.

 

The only dignitary who agreed to go was the speaker of the Knesset, Yuli Edelstein, a nice person, an immigrant from the Soviet Union and a settler, who is so anonymous that most Israelis would not recognize him. (“His own father would have trouble recognizing him in the street,” somebody joked.)

 

Why? The President of the State, Shimon Peres, caught a malady that prevented him from going, but which did not prevent him from making a speech and receiving visitors on the same day. Well, there are all kinds of mysterious microbes.

 

The Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, had an even stranger reason. The journey, he claimed, was too expensive, what with all the accompanying security people and so on.

 

Not so long ago, Netanyahu caused a scandal when it transpired that for his journey to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, a five hour flight, he had a special double bed installed in the El Al plane at great expense. He and his much maligned wife, Sara’le, did not want to provoke another scandal so soon. Who’s Mandela, after all?

 

 

ALTOGETHER IT was an undignified show of personal cowardice by both Peres and Netanyahu.

 

What were they afraid of?

 

Well, they could have been booed. Recently, many details of the Israeli-South African relationship have come to light. Apartheid South Africa, which was boycotted by the entire world, was the main customer of the Israeli military industry. It was a perfect match: Israel had a lot of weapon systems but no money to produce them, South Africa had lots of money but no one who would supply it with weapons.

 

So Israel sold Mandela’s jailers everything it could, from combat aircraft to military electronics, and shared with it its nuclear knowledge. Peres himself was deeply involved.

 

The relationship was not merely commercial. Israeli officers and officials met with their South African counterparts, visits were exchanged, personal friendship fostered. While Israel never endorsed apartheid, our government certainly did not reject it.

 

Still, our leaders should have been there, together with the leaders of the whole world. Mandela was the Great Forgiver, and he forgave Israel, too. When the master of ceremonies in the stadium mistakenly announced that Peres and Netanyahu had arrived, just a few boos were heard. Far less than the boos for the current South African president.

 

In Israel, only one voice was openly raised against Mandela. Shlomo Avineri, a respected professor and former Director General of the Foreign Office, criticized him for having a “blind spot” – for taking the Palestinian side against Israel. He also mentioned that another moral authority, Mahatma Gandhi, had the same “blind spot”.

 

Strange. Two moral giants and the same blind spot? How could that be, one wonders.

 

 

THE BOYCOTT movement against Israel is slowly gaining ground. It takes three main forms (and several in between).

 

The most focused form is the boycott of the products of the settlements, which was started by Gush Shalom 15 years ago. It is active now in many countries.

 

A more stringent form is the boycott of all institutes and corporations that are dealing with the settlements. This is now the official policy of the European Union. Just this week, Holland broke off relations with the monopolistic Israeli Water Corporation, Mekorot, which plays a part in the policy that deprives Palestinians of essential water supplies and transfers them to the settlements.

 

The third form is total: the boycott of everything and everyone Israeli (Including myself). This is also slowly advancing in many countries.

 

The Israeli government has now joined this form. By its voluntary no-representation or under-representation at the Mandela ceremony, it has declared that Israel is a pariah state. Strange.

 

 

LAST WEEK I wrote that if the Americans find a solution to Israel’s security concerns in the West Bank, other concerns would take their place. I did not expect that it would happen so quickly.

 

Binyamin Netanyahu declared this week that stationing Israeli troops in the Jordan Valley, as proposed by John Kerry, is not enough. Not by far.

 

Israel cannot give up the West Bank as long as Iran has nuclear capabilities, he declared. What’s the connection, one might well ask. Well, it’s obvious. A strong Iran will foster terrorism and threaten Israel in many other ways. So Israel must remain strong, and that includes holding on to the West Bank. Stands to reason.

 

So if Iran gives up all its nuclear capabilities, will that be enough? Not by a long shot. Iran must completely change its “genocidal” policies vis-à-vis Israel, it must stop all threats and utterances against us, it must adopt a friendly attitude towards us. However, Netanyahu did stop short of demanding that the Iranian leaders join the World Zionist Organization.

 

Before this happens, Israel cannot possibly make peace with the Palestinians. Sorry, Mister Kerry.

 

 

IN THE last article I also ridiculed the Allon Plan and other pretexts advanced by our rightists for holding on to the rich agricultural land of the Jordan Valley.

 

A friend of mine countered that indeed all the old reasons have become obsolete. The terrible danger of the combined might of Iraq, Syria and Jordan attacking us from the east does not exist anymore. But –

 

But the valley guardians are now advancing a new danger. If Israel gives back the West Bank without holding on to the Jordan Valley and the border crossings on the river, other terrible things will happen.

 

The day after the Palestinians take possession of the river crossing, missiles will be smuggled in. Missiles will rain down on Ben-Gurion international airport, the gateway to Israel, located just a few kilometers from the border. Tel Aviv, 25 km from the border, will be threatened, as will the Dimona nuclear installation.

 

Haven’t we seen this all before? When Israel voluntarily evacuated the whole Gaza Strip, didn’t the rockets start to rain down on the South of Israel?

 

We cannot possibly rely on the Palestinians. They hate us and will continue to fight us. If Mahmoud Abbas tries to stop it, he will be toppled. Hamas or worse, al-Qaeda, will come to power and unleash a terrorist campaign. Life in Israel will turn into hell.

 

Therefore it is evident that Israel must control the border between the Palestinian state and the Arab world, and especially the border crossings. As Netanyahu says over and over again, Israel cannot and will not entrust its security to others. Especially not to the Palestinians.

 

 

WELL, FIRST of all the Gaza Strip analogy does not hold. Ariel Sharon evacuated the Gaza settlements without any agreement or even consultation with the Palestinian Authority, which was still ruling the Strip at that time. Instead of an orderly transfer to the Palestinian security forces, he left behind a power vacuum which was later filled by Hamas.

 

Sharon also upheld the land and sea blockade that turned the Strip practically into a huge open-air prison.

 

In the West Bank there exists now a strong Palestinian government and robust security forces, trained by the Americans. A peace agreement will strengthen them immensely.

 

Abbas does not object to a foreign military presence throughout the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley. On the contrary, he asks for it. He has proposed an international force, under American command. He just objects to the presence of the Israeli army – a situation that would amount to another kind of occupation.

 

 

BUT THE main point is something else, something that goes right to the root of the conflict.

 

Netanyahu’s arguments presuppose that there will be no peace, not now, not ever. The putative peace agreement – which Israelis call the “permanent status agreement” – will just open another phase of the generations-old war.

 

This is the main obstacle. Israelis – almost all Israelis – cannot imagine a situation of peace. Neither they, nor their parents and grandparents, have ever experienced a day of peace in this country. Peace is something like the coming of the Messiah, something that has to be wished for, prayed for, but is never really expected to happen.

 

But peace does not mean, to paraphrase Carl von Clausewitz, the continuation of war by other means. It does not mean a truce or even an armistice.

 

Peace means living side by side. Peace means reconciliation, a genuine willingness to understand the other side, the readiness to get over old grievances, the slow growth of a new relationship, economic, social, personal.

 

To endure, peace must satisfy all parties. It requires a situation which all sides can live with, because it fulfills their basic aspirations.

 

Is this possible? Knowing the other side as well as most, I answer with utmost assurance: Yes, indeed. But it is not an automatic process. One has to work for it, invest in it, wage peace as one wages war.

 

Nelson Mandela did. That’s why the entire world attended his funeral. That’s, perhaps, why our leaders chose to be absent.  

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above posted by Gush Shalom under:

Gush Shalom on Facebook 

www.facebook.com/GushShalom

    • Gush ad 13.12.13

      After much hesitation,
      Israel sent the
      Knesset Speaker
      To the funeral of
      Nelson Mandela.

      Speaker Edelstein
      Lives in a settlement
      In occupied territory,
      Traveling daily
      Over apartheid roads.

       



weekly column by 

  Uri Avnery 

Self-Boycott

zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1386938454

 

 

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