Posted by Orit Arfa
The mission of the lobby J Street is “a two state resolution to the conflict with the Palestinian people.” Decried as an anti-Israel lobby by staunch Israel supporters who view the two-state solution as the Arabs' "Final Solution," J Street focuses much of its efforts on reviving the defunct peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. This relentless focus, combined with J Street's support for US lawmakers with poor records on Israel, have often alienated J Street from mainstream pro-Israel organizations. The obsession with solving supposed Arab grievances has sidelined on-the-ground humanitarian concerns of those living in Israel and particularly in Judea & Samaria, Arabs and Jews alike.
But with the recent visit of J Street to the City of Ariel in Samaria, perhaps a new "peace process" has begun, one that should be a prerequisite to any resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict: the peace process between Jews and Jews. Any resolution with the Arabs that requires or precipitates a diplomatic, intellectual and physical assault on Jews, particularly those living in Judea and Samaria, will simply open up a more dangerous front: Jews battling Jews, Jewish uprooting Jews from their homes, Jews hating one another even more.
My colleague at Ariel Development Fund, Avi Zimmerman, has documented what may be the start of this Jewish-Jewish peace process through his blog on Times of Israel about the visit of J Street's campus arm to Ariel. He wonders if J Street U is taking a U turn, writing:
By engaging with the City of Ariel through an unadulterated, boots-on-the-ground, personal encounter, J Street U has taken a giant leap forward on behalf of an organization that may soon need to grapple with the waning prospects that its godfather, Peace Now, has had to face. The more the academic and journalistic communities increasingly concur that the long awaited “two state solution” is doomed to failure, the more J Street will be in need of a new approach. Now, perhaps more than ever, the only way to be “Pro-Israel and Pro-Peace” (their slogan) is to be thoroughly circumspect and sincerely committed to analyzing all angles of our current reality in order to reach a viable conclusion.
J Street U is the future of J Street – not only in terms of its target audience age demographic, but more importantly, due to its recently demonstrated onsite openness to multiple narratives. It’s safe to assume that one visit to Ariel will not cause the organization, nor any of its participants, to take an about face U-turn with regards to what they think and believe about settlements, Judea and Samaria, democracy and demography. But that should not be the objective. The goal is to raise an informed and engaged generation of young adults who truly care about the future of Israel and truly care about the prospects for peace. CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE BLOG.
6.7.13 at 7:36 am | Has the Peace Process between Jews and Jews. . .
6.5.13 at 11:30 am | Proud to be an obstacle to...war
4.10.13 at 9:22 pm | The Modern Orthodox shul follows the lead of the. . .
3.30.13 at 3:03 am | Why I'm making aliyah to the hills
3.15.13 at 9:00 am | Alex Shams leads the sham Harvard College. . .
3.12.13 at 5:10 pm | "Girls on Fire" Don't Back Down
6.7.13 at 7:36 am | Has the Peace Process between Jews and Jews. . . (11)
6.5.13 at 11:30 am | Proud to be an obstacle to...war (7)
3.30.13 at 3:03 am | Why I'm making aliyah to the hills (4)
June 5, 2013 | 11:30 am
Posted by Orit Arfa
Please forgive my hiatus in blogging. I was busy making aliyah and starting my new position as Director of Communications and Visitor Services at Ariel Development Fund, getting settled into a new apartment, buying furniture, etc. Baruch Hashem, Israel's newest "settler" is settling in....
It is incredible to live here, in the magical and maliciously maligned Judea & Samaria, especially in the City of Samaria, Ariel, a place that is constantly growing, building, thriving, thinking, a place where creative Zionism is in full swing. There have been ups and downs, as with any big move, with notoriously lax Israeli customer service not helping.
Sometimes I think...yeah, I could have lived a more materially comfortable life in the United States, advocating for Israel to Americans. We know how profitable that endeavor could be if one is to judge by the top ranking salaries of Jewish professionals.
But now, my ultimate "donation" to Israel is...my life, my being, everything I am. Every emotion. Every heartbreak. Every victory. My Zionist contributions include getting a (well-deserved!) manicure from the Russian immigrant down the street, eating Arab-made hummus at the neighborhood joint, trying to impress upon Home Center the meaning of "the customer is always right."
The donation is not really to Israel--it's to a better world, to the safety of individuals everywhere, especially Jews, and to the pursuit of ultimate Jewish self-actualization.
Israelis appreciate and sometimes rely on American support, but, in all honesty, it's easier to be a Zionist in the US. Sometimes I think it's much easier to fight on campus for Israel than it is to buy a car here. (Forget living surrounded by enemies. I hardly think about that lately.) It's easier to donate to Zionist charity than budgeting for that overtaxed car and Israel's exorbitantly expensive gas. It's easy to rave about Israel's economy when you don't have to live through its confused capitalistic-socialist system. Living here is Zionism without ever uttering the word "Israel" or "Arab."
But for every difficulty, there's a benefit, such as the constant invitations to Shabbat meals by "strangers"; being a headline rather than reading one; an abiding sense that I'm an obstacle to...war. But one of my happiest moments recently came from just walking through the cool night air to Ariel's Sports & Recreation Center ("The Country Club" for locals), thinking: I'm walking through a great Zionist dream, a city built out of a will of stone, where just the gym (a very nice one by the way) is a line of defense for the good, the holy, the true.
So if you want to make the biggest contribution to Israel, find a way to join me.
April 10, 2013 | 9:22 pm
Posted by Orit Arfa
The Great Neck Synagogue has revealed its cowardice, the same way the Jewish Federation revealed its cowardice when it cancelled Pamela Geller’s talk there on June 25, 2012 within a few hours of the event sponsored by the Zionist Organization of America when I served as its Executive Director on the West Coast. In both cases, these Jewish "leaders" hide behind children, citing “security” concerns to disgrace one of their own, a proud Jew whom they are charged to protect.
Great Neck stood its ground for weeks, until it could no longer take the pressure. According to Geller, Islamist groups and their Leftist cohorts threatened a march on the shul on Sunday, April 14, the date of her talk. The people of New York should follow our lead in Los Angeles by holding a protest in kind. Why don’t the good imams and rabbis protest the very real and frightening civil rights abuses committed in the name of Islam and which Geller exposes so courageously? Genital mutiliaiton? Massacres of Jews? Public hangings of gays?
This is the explanation provided by the "house of worship" of the one God:
As the notoriety and media exposure of the planned program this Sunday have increased, so has the legal liability and potential security exposure of our institution and it's [sic] member families. In an era of heightened security concerns it is irresponsible to jeopardize the safety of those who call Great Neck Synagogue home, especially our children, even at the risk of diverting attention from a potentially important voice in the ongoing debate. Accordingly, the Great Neck Synagogue Men's Club will no longer be sponsoring the appearance of Pamela Geller this coming Sunday, and no event will be taking place in our facility.
Great Neck Synagogue
What a sad day for freedom and Jewish courage. What will these synagogue leaders teach the children they’re trying to protect? Cave to intimidation and bullying? Give up your God-given rights? This is NOT Jewish. Judaism is a tradition that encourages people to stand up to tyrants, as Moses did in Egypt. We are going back into slavery. This is a microcosm of the cowardice going on in the Jewish world throughout, and this better not portend the future of Israel, which is on the frontlines of Islamic bullying and threats. Imagine if the State of Israel issued this explanation?
As the notoriety and media exposure against the State of Israel have increased, so has the legal liability and potential security exposure of the Israeli people and their families. In an era of heightened security concerns due to Islamist and Arab aggression, it is irresponsible to jeopardize the safety of those who call Israel home, especially our children, even at the risk of diverting attention from the Zionist cause. Accordingly, the State of Israel will no longer be sponsoring Jewish immigration to the State of Israel, and no more Jewish building will be taking place in the land of Israel.
State of Israel
March 30, 2013 | 3:03 am
Posted by Orit Arfa
Note: This article contains Twilight movie spoilers, but none that haven't already been revealed ad nauseum in entertainment tabloids.
I never understood how intelligent people could enjoy the Twilight movies. When I became one of them, I either had to concede intelligence or defend an intellectual value in this five-part visual escape into the teenage world of Bella's "love" for vampire Edward Cullen.
My recent trip to Israel and my sudden plan to make aliyah next month--to become a "settler"--makes me better understand my attraction to these films.
Bella is a weepy, angsty teenager who can't stay away from the gorgeous Edward Cullen. Her love is immediate, uncontrollable and seemingly childish. The Cullen clan of vampires adopts Bella as Edward's future bride. Her love matures from mere lust into deep spiritual understanding when Edward's bite transforms her into a vampire. Finally, she is her true self. She experiences existential healing. Once lonely, misunderstood, awkward, she belongs somewhere.
As I drove through the hills of Judea & Samaria this past week, I felt like Bella finding her place. My "vampire" family is the Israeli "settlements" in the heart of this contested territory. A crass and unflattering metaphor? Not if you've seen the movies.
The Cullens are vampire "vegetarians" who seek to co-exist with humans and their natural enemy, the werewolf. They have cast off their instinct for human blood to live ethical vampire lives and to feed only off animals. Time and again, vampire, werewolf, and human band together to save lives from the evil Volturi vampires. The Cullens and their cousins all over the world contribute to humanity, eschewing violence as a means to solve conflict.
Twilight's vampires are not only physically stunning and strong but each has a unique gift or talent, whether mind-reading or seeing the future. Bella becomes even more beautiful as a vampire. Her skin turns porcelain; her hair, strong and shiny. Then there's the eyes. Blood red eyes turn striking hazel upon conquering human blood lust.
"Settlers" might as well be evil vampires from the way the media and some politicians portray them: obstacles to peace who prey off "Palestinian" blood. What novelist Stephanie Meyers has done for vampires is exactly what Israel needs to do for this most maliciously maligned community. She has refashioned the image of these creatures into moral lights.
I know, however, that "settlers" have and always will be moral lights.
They are Israel's most peace-seeking people--the key to bringing different people together: Arab/Jews, religious/secular, Zionist/non-Zionist. Contrary to popular stereotypes, they are a diverse group, professionals and farmers, educators and winemakers, entrepreneurs and artists. The media focuses on lone vigilantes to smear them, but even these vigilantes are peaceful compared to Arab lynch mobs and suicide bombers.
The young settlers I have met stand tall. Their Zionist strength and physical vitality and beauty are reminiscent of early kibbutzim settlers. And the eyes. "Settler" eyes are sharp and piercing, as if they see truth because they live it every day. Jews must have superhuman powers to defy misguided world opinion and live in the Biblical heartland by legal, historical and ethical right. They don't seek peace by running away from Arabs and building fences, only to leave our enemies thirstier for Jewish blood. They live among Israel's self-proclaimed enemies to halt genocide and act as a buffer between Islamic terrorists and people who love life. They understand the battle is not for land, but for a philosophy of peace and life over a philosophy of war and death. This is why the Arab world scapegoats the "vampire settlers" most of all in its war against Israel. The people of Judea & Samaria see daylight. They're onto Israel's enemies. They're the embodiment of Jewish strength and independence. No matter what their fate, they are Jewish eternity and will never die.
I have seen the delicate fabric of co-existence here, how Israelis build roads, ecological systems, educational institutions and businesses that overall benefit the entire region, Palestinians included.
For a while now in Los Angeles, I've been feeling like I don't belong, like very few people understand me, like I'm alone in the fight for the free world. But with these good settler "vampires," I'm not alone. I don't have to hide what I think or apologize for being a proud Zionist. I can roam--even fly--through the land, daring to drive alongside Palestinian cars and through Arab towns, without feeling afraid or evil as the world would have me feel.
When I cross the checkpoint (Jews have them too) into Judea & Samaria, I feel like I'm in a constant, beautiful movie about heroism, more beautiful than the cold world of Twilight.
That is why I did not hesitate when offered the opportunity to make my home in Ariel and work as Director of Communications and Visitor Services for the Ariel Development Fund. Finally, an opportunity to be true to who I am. To be a "settler." To be a Zionist "vampire." I start May 1, 2013.
I look forward to welcoming the people of Los Angeles and beyond to the shiny city of Ariel, the capital of and gateway into this miraculous world. Be warned, though. I bite.
A view from Ariel University in Judea & Samaria where peace actually exists thanks to IDF peacekeepers.
March 15, 2013 | 9:00 am
Posted by Orit Arfa
Alex Shams is appropriately named. Mr. Shams is the leader of the “sham” movement at Harvard, the Harvard College Palestine Solidarity Committee, proclaiming to be standing up for "Palestinian rights." He is not shy in letting us know that he openly seeks the destruction of Israel and ultimately genocide (for the two are intertwined). That he is the leader of the “One State Conference at Harvard” reveals as much. He is also organizing a "Right of Return Conference." For him, “peace” means the replacement of Israel with “Palestine.”
In the lies and hate infested “The Electronic Intifada,” he publicly denounced me when I called on a counter-campaign at Harvard in response to his Committee’s annoying “eviction notices” posted on Harvard dorms during Israel Hate Week to call attention to supposed Israeli evictions of Palestinians. In the two zAngel blogs I wrote, I challenged Harvard students to post eviction notices in kind, calling attention to repeated massacres of Jews at the hands of Islamic terrorists and Palestinians who use the so-called “Occupation” as a cover for their desire and intent to kill and subjugate Jewish “infidels.” No, he’ll plead, he and his cohorts are not anti-Semitic, but anti-Zionist, and that they are different. The only difference is that being anti-Zionist is more politically correct. Furthermore, extremist Left-wing Jews make up his best allies.
If Mr. Shams were so concerned with Palestinian well-being, he'd be spending more energy denouncing the Islamic terrorists who kill innocent Jewish women and children and bring ruin upon themselves for the hate and violence they adopt in the name of Islam. Furthermore, if he abhors eviction so much, then he should abhor and stand up to Arab human rights abuses against their own. Summary executions in the streets of Gaza, anyone? Woman free driving zones in Saudi Arabia, anyone? Daily massacres in Syria, anyone? He is a terror apologist who dresses up as a human rights activist. Sure, he’ll make the standard “we oppose” violence mantra, as he did in the Harvard Crimson:
The Harvard College Palestine Solidarity Committee is strongly opposed to the use of violence by any actor, especially violence targeted at civilians. However, we also recognize that Palestinian support for Hamas and participation in violent resistance is a response to a regime of occupation and human rights abuses that has lasted for over 60 years.
Then he goes on to say that, well, he really understands terrorism against innocent Israelis because “Palestinian” Arabs have no choice! In doing so, he reduces Palestinians to less than animals, suggesting they have no choice but to become baby-killers. That’s racist--to expect and condone murder from Arabs. When my grandparents were forced to leave their homes and belongings in Baghdad due to Arab street violence and pogroms, without any recompense, they didn't start murdering people. They proudly became Zionists to build the brand new Jewish state, the only civilized country in the Middle East and the only place to welcome them.
I called out his fake movement in this here blog, and of course he didn't like it. He went so far as to publicly say the Jewish Journal should dissociate itself from me. So much for free speech. The truth hurts, Mr. Shams. The truth is, he is the aggressor, extremist and intellectual bully. Anyone concerned with human decency and honesty should dissociate themselves from this sham artist.
March 12, 2013 | 5:10 pm
Posted by Orit Arfa
The racists and terrorist sympathizers at BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) are up to their usual stunts, trying to get Grammy award-winning Alicia Keys to back out of her summer concert in Tel Aviv.
But we have faith that the "Girl on Fire" won't back down.
Being that Alicia is my celebrity doppleganger, I saw it only fit that I, with the help of my team at Creative Zionist Coalition, create a video parody of Keys' mega-hit, "Girl on Fire," to stake our claim.
Alicia, don't let them put out your flame, or Israel's flame!
Orit Arfa & Alicia Keys:
March 8, 2013 | 8:13 pm
Posted by Orit Arfa
Thank you Creative Zionist Coalition member, Sigal Walder, for a great suggestion on an "eviction notice" counter campaign on college campuses following Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee's stunt to intimidate Jewish students and play victim. As I've already reported in my last blog, Jewish students were the victim of a vicious “hate crime” by the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee during “Israel Apartheid Week.” You gotta hand it to the Muslim groups. They know how to instigate.
To highlight the fake “Palestinian” plight of Israeli evictions of Arabs from their homes, the members put notices in front of Jewish student dorms that say: “We regret to inform you that your suite is scheduled for demolition in the next three days.”
Time to use their tactics to tell the truth--and the truth is, who really wants to evict whom? It's the Arabs who want to evict hundreds of thousands of Jews from their homes and their homeland. Here's what Sigal suggests:
Jews must be expelled from all Muslim lands or else live as dhimmis (second class citizens).
If Jews do not leave this land, preferably at the hands of other Jews, we have the right to kill you in the name of jihad. Failure to comply with sharia law which commands that we kill Jews or make them dhimmis under Islam will result in more shahids being sent to murder Jewish women and children. All lands that shall be granted to the new state of 'Palestine' will be judenrein.
Which pictures should we use. Hmm? The dozens of bus bombings? The Netanya Passover massacre? The massacre of the Fogel Famiy? Hamas terrorism kindergarten?
March 7, 2013 | 6:37 pm
Posted by Orit Arfa
Jewish students were the victim of a vicious “hate crime” by the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee during “Israel Apartheid Week.” It’s not a “crime,” per se, more like a clever annoyance. You gotta hand it to the Muslim groups. They know how to instigate. Read more about it in Arutz Sheva.
To highlight the fake “Palestinian” plight of Israeli evictions of Arabs from their homes, they put notices in front of Jewish student dorms that say: “We regret to inform you that your suite is scheduled for demolition in the next three days.”
The Muslim student unions fight dirty, and what do Jews do? Complain that they don’t feel safe. Complain this is not a “peaceful” demonstration of Palestinian rights. Complain this is an abuse of freedom of speech. Ask for protection. Go crying to superiors.
The only way to fight this tactic is with a smart counter-campaign. Create notices to put along the dorm rooms of the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee. I’m sure the brilliant minds at Harvard can cook something up. Make the Muslims go cry to superiors. Fight fire with hotter fire.
Let’s start the brainstorming here. What should the notices say? What do you think of this? Students at Harvard who are brave enough to do this, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
72 Virgins Await for You in Heaven if you Kill Jews
(If you are female, you can be one of the virgins)
To promote the (secret) Palestinian cause of destruction of the Jewish state and the genocide of the Jewish people, we call upon our brothers and sisters in the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee to commit acts of violence against Jews. The more babies and women you kill, the better. Pretend that you are fighting for freedom. Deceive the people into thinking you were the wronged party, not the Jews.
Terrorize them however you can—physically, intellectually, emotionally, psychologically.
Inshallah, the Jewish state will be destroyed speedily in our days.
(Since the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, thousands of Jews were the victims of wars and terrorist attacks initiated by Muslim Arabs out of anti-Semitism and religiously mandated violence. They have sought to deceive the public into thinking their cause was just. And, no, this is not a real notice.)