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Game of Chicken, Theatre of the Absurd, No Country No Wine

Anna Ahronheim, Jerusalem Post, July 29th 2019


Israel and the United States completed tests of the long-range Arrow 3 ballistic missile defense system in Alaska, which included the successful interception of an “enemy” target. "All our foes should know that we can best them, both defensively and offensively," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday [1].

The Context:

· Iran is locked in a spiraling confrontation with the United States over its nuclear program following US President Donald Trump’s annulment of the Iranian Nuclear Accord. Last week Iran tested a medium-range ballistic missile that traveled 600 miles. The Iranian border is approximately 900 miles from Israel.

· Israel views Arrow-3 as the safeguard against missiles fielded by Iran and Syria. The air defense system, developed jointly with the US, is designed to shoot down ballistic missiles while still outside the earth’s atmosphere [2]. The test took place in Alaska because of Israel’s “limited ability” to shut down commercial airspace over the Mediterranean Sea.

· In addition to the Arrow system, Israel’s air defenses also include the Iron Dome – designed to shoot down short-range rockets – and David’s Sling - designed to intercept medium range rockets. The US also contributed an X-ray radar, whose parallel system is regularly deployed in the Negev [3].

Conversation Points:

· Would Iran initiate an attack on Israel or the US considering the odds stacked against it?

· To what ends will Iran go to further its ideological ambitions?

· Should Israel have faith that the US will unconditionally have its best interests in mind in the event of a confrontation with Iran?

· Will Iran refrain from any major military advances until after the next US election?

Benjamin Kerstein, Algemeiner, July 25th 2019


Seven European countries voted in favor of two United Nations (UN) resolutions that singled out Israel as a violator of women’s and human rights. Israel was the only country named by the 54-nation UN Economic and Social Council [4].

The Context:

· Much of the resolution — which only the US and Canada voted against —accused Israel of numerous crimes and violations of human rights. A clause within the resolution “reaffirms that the Israeli occupation remains a major obstacle for Palestinian women and girls with regard to their advancement and integration in the development of their society.” The resolution was approved by a 40-2 margin, with 9 abstentions. The United Kingdom, Germany and Mexico were among the 9 abstentions [5].

· Nikki Haley, America’s former ambassador to the UN, tweeted “it is a total mockery of human rights to name Israel as the world’s only violator of women’s rights [6].” Hillel Neuer, the executive Director of UN Watch, condemned the sole targeting of Israel saying, “when you have Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen among the UN council members accusing Israel of violating women’s rights, you are in the theater of the absurd [7].”

Conversation Points:

· Should the UN allow countries notorious for violating human rights to partake in resolutions that address human rights?

· Is the definition of human rights subjective?

· Are the abstaining countries Israel’s friends or foes?

Noa Landau, Haaretz, July 29th 2019


A Canadian court ruled that Israeli wine from settlements cannot be marked "made in Israel" to avoid misleading people who wish to boycott Israel.

The Context:

· The ruling came in response to a lawsuit by Dr. David Kattenburg, a Jewish Canadian critical of Israel [8]. The decision — the latest development in a three-year saga – now puts the onus of how to label bottles of Psagot and Shiloh wins on the Canadian courts. The agency initially stripped wines of the “made in Israel” label in July 2017 after a formal complaint, but reversed course following an outcry from Jewish groups [9].

· The verdict noted that "one peaceful way in which people can express their political views is through their purchasing decisions" and because the wines weren't labelled as products of the West Bank, Canadians were unable to "buy conscientiously [10]."

· An attempt to blacklist Israeli products in the Netherlands backfired earlier this year after a Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) supporter tweeted Hema, a supermarket chain with 525 stores, pressuring the company to remove Israeli wines from its shelves. Within 24 hours, Israeli supporters built enough momentum on social media to sell out the wines at many Hema branches and its online store.

Conversation Points:

· If Canadian courts hold that one cannot “deprive a consumer of information that they consider important to a matter of conscience”, how will they rule when some make the case that religion or sexual orientation weigh on ones ability to “buy conscientiously”?

· Considering the 200 territorial disputes in the world, is singling out only Israel’s dispute with the Palestinians a form of anti-Semitism?


2. Israel, US say they’ve conducted successful test of Arrow 3 in Alaska, JACOB MAGID, Times of Israel, July 28th 2019

4. UN body passes resolution accusing only Israel of women’s rights violations, Cnaan Liphshiz, Times of Israel, July 26th 2019

5. Ibid.

6. Ibid.

10. Ibid.

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