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« The obsessive anti-American spin | Main | Who does the Muslim Lobby run to? »

August 19, 2008


Religious Fundamentalist 1

Pretty much says it all:


Your editorial is very well argued.

Q:However did the SAHRD actually focus, in a non-partisan manner, on Palestinian human rights?
A. No. Human right abuses by Hamas and Fatah, perpertrated on their own people, were totally disregarded.

The SAHRD did not have a balanced approach. Moreover my letter to Nathan Geffen remains unanswered although it has now been re-instated on the Media Review Network website. Nobody, of course, has commented on it...

Dear Nathan Geffen,

I alert the SAHRD's attention to the recent announcement of The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR). Like you, they have a 'human rights" mandate, so you might find the following relevant...

"Hamas is preventing human rights lawyers from visiting dozens of Palestinians arrested in the group's recent crackdown on Fatah supporters in the Gaza Strip, Reuters quoted a human rights group as saying Thursday.
The arrests followed a July 25 bombing that killed five members of Hamas's armed wing and a seven-year-old girl. Fatah denied involvement in the attack and in response to the Hamas arrests, embarked on crackdown of their own, against Hamas members in the West Bank.
Altogether, more than 250 Palestinians were arrested by both Hamas and the Fatah-dominated PA security forces since the explosion.
The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said the detentions were illegal and that several of the arrests had been carried out by Hamas's armed wing, Izzadin Kassam, without warrants.
PCHR director Raji Sourani told Reuters that his lawyers had been blocked from visiting any of those detained by Hamas for political reasons.
The PCHR, citing testimony from victims, also said that Hamas was abusing and torturing some detainees.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Thursday that the PCHR report was "unfair and unbalanced," adding that it ignored the arrest campaign by forces loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas against Hamas activists in the West Bank."

I would hope that the SAHRD (South African Human Rights Delegation) takes their concerns seriously and brings them to the attention of the South African public.

Of course, such concerns might not suit your narrow agenda. You might, moreover, agree with Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri who said on Thursday that the PCHR report was "unfair and unbalanced," If so, please ignore this email.


Doron Isaac's agenda was to demonize Israel. And he succeeded. However, he has failed to engage with his critics.

The moral of the story... it is easy to pass an examination when you set your own questions. However, it is a bit harder when questions are posed by other people.

His failure to debate, moreover, reveals the fragility and brittleness of the SAHRD's approach.

A real atempt to consider the multiplicity of issues with regard to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict would have been a very worthwhile journey and it is a great pity that Doron Isaacs hasn't the courage, open-mindedness and intellectaul honesty, to make it.

Joel Pollak

Another way to say it is that the "human rights" gang has mistaken the consequences of conflict for its causes. This is the most basic error committed by people who visit a foreign country for a few days with no knowledge--or incorrect information--about it and no sense to question what they are being told by their guides. It is contemptible and does not stand up to analysis.


This article here says what the families of terror victims think of theser so-called "human rights" hypocrites.



In typical new South Africa fashion look how News 24's Madiben Kwete refers to supporting Israel as a "white interest.",,2-2127-2128_2379490,00.html


Hi Gary

What is more interesting is that besides your comment nobody even picked it up. This whole anti-Israel thing is being driven from a few disgruntled leftists no one else even seems to care.


if The SAHRD refuses to rock up at a stoning perhpas it could report back from Tehran on the following...

Amnesty International has condemned the hanging in Iran of Reza Hejazi, who was executed for a crime he committed when he was under 18 years old.
Hejazi was aged 15 in 2004 when he was among a group of people involved in a dispute which resulted in a man being fatally stabbed.
He was hanged in the city of Isfahan on Tuesday, Iranian media said.
Amnesty says the execution of juvenile offenders is prohibited under international law.
The rights group also says the Iranian authorities failed to give 48 hours' notice of the execution, in contravention of Iranian law.
Hejazi's lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaie, told the BBC Persian Service that he had gone to Isfahan prison on Tuesday after hearing from Reza Hejazi's family that he was about to be executed.
After spending several hours there, he was told the execution had been postponed and he passed this news on to the family.
Mr Mostafaie said he was on his way back to his office in Tehran when he was told by journalists that Reza Hejazi had been hanged.
According to Amnesty International, the execution brings the number of juvenile offenders put to death in Iran this year to five, with 132 more on death row.
In 2007, Iran was one of only three countries to execute such offenders. So far this year it is the only country known to have done so.
Last year, Iran was second only to China in the number of overall executions it carried out for crimes including murder, rape, drug trafficking and armed robbery.
Last month, 29 criminals were executed in Teheran's Evin prison on a single day.


Anthony the SAHRD like Iran and approve of all they do.
Those sorts of people only voice 'concern for human rights' when it can be used as a stick to beat Israel and the West.
They approve of abuses by the regimes of Sudan, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Syria, Libya etc.
When you ask feminists and gay rights acitivists of the Left why they don't speak out for woman's or gay rights in Islamic countries they say "Leave them, that's their culture."
So even if the SAHRD did witness a stoning in Iran by the Islamist allies it wouldn't bother them at all.
They will support every mass murdering tyrant and terrorist as long as they are anti-Israel/anti-Western.
That is the sole credo and policy of the post-Cold War hard left.


Their is simply no regime or terrorists movement that is too brutal or ruthless for the Hard Left to support, as long as they are anti-Western/anti-Israel, no atrocity too horrific for these people to condemn by their Islamist and Neo-Marxist friends.
They talk about conscience but it is they who lack all conscience.
Don't ever let SAHRD or Not In My Name types lecture you on conscience because they themselves have none at all.


Next sat, Limmud have invited Jody kollapen and Jonny Steinberg to speak on the following; " Can the South African experience benefit human rights in Palestine/ Israel ?"
I have spoken to the Limmud organizers and pointed out that the panel is unbalanced.
I have, in the circumstances, put myself forward as a potential panel manner to counter the Steinberg/Kollapen line. Limmud have said that they will meet to consider my offer.


Limmud have not even responded to my email. One might conclude that they are unwilling to contradict the appalling SAHRD orthodoxy.

Btw Steven Friedman has also been given a platform.


I have just received this response...

Dear Anthony,

Thank you for your offer to participate in Limmud SA.

The Limmud Steering Group has considered various educational models of dealing with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. An early suggestion was to have panels set up to engage persons with widely divergent perspectives on the topic. Initially, we considered setting up a panel discussion that would include a range of voices from non-Zionist to right-wing nationalist ones. Subsequent to a lengthy discussion, the Steering Group decided that such panels were unlikely to have strong educational value given the gulf between the views and the lack of common points of reference. It would be better, we judged, to have differing views presented in separate sessions where they could be understood, engaged and debated in depth by delegates from the floor. This has been our approach to programming on the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict in 2008.

After discussing the issue in length, we have decided that placing you on the Saturday night panel with Jonny Steinberg (we have just heard that unfortunately Jody Kollapen will not be able to join us) would violate this approach. Unfortunately, we cannot thus accede to your request this year. We would of course encourage you to attend the session in question and to provide your views from the floor and engage with him. You are also welcome to submit a session for presentation at next year’s Limmud once planning begins early next year. We hope you will recognise that we have made a sincere attempt to include a range of voices on the Middle East in the Limmud programme from right to left. Sadly, we cannot include all voices in one day in any one year. We trust you understand and look forward to seeing you at Limmud.

Kind regards,

Coreen Horwitz and David Bilchitz
Co-chairs of Limmud Gauteng


I emailed the following in reply..

Dear Coreen and David,

Thank you very much for considering my offer.

You write that you " have made a sincere attempt to include a range of voices on the Middle East in the Limmud programme".

However, what voices have been included at Limmud which might counter the SAHRD voice of Jonny Steinberg and the anti-zionist voice of Steven Friedman?

It is important that the Limmud programme is seen to be politically balanced if you hope to gain the support of the widest possible Jewish audience.


Anthony, the Limmud Israel program is very balanced. Go look at it on their website Jack bloom, Debbie Mankowitz and a settler from Gush Kativ will all be balancing out the SAHRD talk. Stephen Friedman is not speaking on political issues in JHB.



Doron Isaacs of the SAHRD suggested that there should be a public debate. Limmud was an ideal venue. A balanced panel could have been organized. It is a lost opportunity.
As a result, the SAHRD has once again been given free rein to put forward its viewpoint without being properly called to account.

Let's see whether Stephen Friedman does not speak on "political issues" in JHB. Of course, he is free to do so and I have no problem if he does.

Frank Startz's letter in this weeks SAJR also questions how Limmud treats dissenting voices.


Doron Isaacs wrote on your blog..

"I hope we can continue this conversation in the future. When will It's Almost Supernatural host a public debate on this issue?"

Of course, IAS does not host public debates (other than the ones that appear on this blog).

However, such a debate could have been held at Limmud. But it would have needed at least two speakers with different views talking in the same room. I don't see why Limmud could not have accommodated such a discussion.


Copies of email communication. I respond to the email below:

Dear David, Wayne and Yael,

Thank you for taking the time to reply.

On the "It's Almost Supernatural" blog, Doron Isaacs (SAHRD) stated that he would welcome a public debate with his critics. In the light of that remark, I thought that Limmud would make a suitable venue.

I believe that the SAHRD has been extremely effective in demonising Israel, and as a result, it is now time for their activities, premises and opinions to be properly debated.

As a result, I requested an opportunity to debate with Jonny Steinberg on Saturday night.

kind regards


On 28 Aug 2008, at 4:22 PM, David Bilchitz wrote:

Dear Anthony,
Coreen forwarded the programming team your mail querying the diversity of presenters at Limmud on the politics of the Middle East. Thank you for your message. In response, we do not wish to label people into overly-simplifying boxes but our programming on the political issues relating to the Middle East include Jonny Steinberg, Jack Bloom, Eran Sternberg, Debra Mankowitz, Ilan Baruch, Gershom Gorenberg, Limor Yehuda. We believe this is a truly diverse range of people from across the spectrum of views, though of course we cannot accommodate all views in any one year. We also don’t believe programming on Israel should only be confined to the political as there are so many issues of relevance to Israel and so we have other presentations by amongst others Meidad Goren, Elias Inbram and Ofer Dahan that range from the relevance of Aliya to bird migration in Israel. Steven Friedman is not presenting on the Israel track but on the Torah track about a famous Talmudic tractate. As mentioned before, we thus believe that there will be a wide range of voices at Limmud on the Middle East conflict and hope you will come and engage with them in the spirit of Limmud. We won’t be able to respond any further to correspondence until after Limmud given the massive logistical undertaking this represents but look forward to having you there.
Kind regards,
David, Wayne and Yael
Regional Chair (Programming) and Programming Chairs
Limmud JHB 2008

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