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Saturday, February 24, 2018

From Ian:

Father of Taylor Force, US Business Student and Military Vet Murdered in Palestinian Stabbing Attack: We Are Not Suckers
Stuart Force — the father of the late Taylor Force, the American business student and military veteran who was murdered in a stabbing attack in Israel in 2016 — spoke on Friday at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) near Washington, DC, and called on the Senate to approve a pending piece of legislation, named for his son, that would cut off US government funding of the Palestinian Authority if it continues to pay monetary rewards to terrorists and their families.

“The Palestinian Authority leadership tells the world that these payments are simply social welfare payments,” Stuart Force said. “But we aren’t suckers. We know that these are US taxpayer dollars being used to incentivize and fund terror.”

“It has been emotionally distressing to relive the loss of our son over the past two years,” Force told the crowd at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. “But we have come to realize there are so many more good people in the world than there are evil ones. The evil ones seem to get all the attention, online and in the media. The good people of the world deserve better. Passing the Taylor Force Act and stopping the terror funding is a great place to start the process.”

“The House [of Representatives] has passed its version of the act,” Force explained. “The next step is to allocate floor time on the Senate, pass its version, reconcile the two, and send it to President Trump for his signature.”

“This is not a partisan issue, this is an anti-terrorism issue,” Force went on to say. “This is a right versus wrong issue. We look forward to being in the Senate gallery when the act passes with unanimous, bipartisan, support, and we can fist bump, hug, and cry, like we did in the House gallery.”
Bret Stephens: Don’t Count Bibi Out — Yet
If you follow the news from Israel, you might surmise that Benjamin Netanyahu’s days as prime minister are numbered. The police recommend that he be charged on multiple counts of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Fresh charges may yet be brought in additional investigations. A former top aide to Netanyahu agreed this week to serve as a witness against him. Press reports suggest a man clinging to power.

Don’t be so sure. If an election were held tomorrow, Bibi — as Netanyahu is universally known in Israel — and his Likud party would likely win, according to recent polls. Roughly half of Israelis think the prime minister should quit, but that’s down from 60 percent in December. Netanyahu has no intention of resigning, even if the attorney general chooses to indict him. The Likud rank-and-file remain loyal to their leader. His coalition partners may detest him, but for now they see greater political advantage in a wounded prime minister than in a fresh one.

Besides, Bibi has been, for Israelis, a pretty good prime minister. Some indicators:

Economy: Since Netanyahu returned to power in 2009, the economy has grown by nearly 30 percent in constant dollars — nearly twice the growth rate of Germany or the United States. Some 3.6 million tourists visited Israel in 2017, a record for the Jewish state. On Monday, Israel announced a $15 billion dollar deal to export natural gas to Egypt from its huge offshore fields.

Diplomacy: Netanyahu’s personal ties to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are exceptionally close, as they are with Japan’s Shinzo Abe. Israel’s relations with African countries and the Arab world are the best they’ve been in decades; reaction in Riyadh and Cairo to the Trump administration’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem amounted to a shrug. Netanyahu’s 2015 speech to Congress opposing the Iran deal, billed as an affront to the Obama administration, turned out to be an inspiration for Israel’s neighbors. And Netanyahu’s arguments against the deal now prevail in the current White House. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Palestinian ex-terrorist deported from US invited to speak in Amsterdam
Right-wing Dutch lawmakers have protested a far-left group’s invitation of a Palestinian ex-terrorist who was deported from the United States to speak in the Dutch capital.

Machiel de Graaf and Gidi Markuszower of the Party for Freedom expressed opposition to Rasmea Odeh’s planned visit in a query they submitted Thursday to Justice and Security Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus.

“Do you agree that a convicted terrorist and immigration fraudster has nothing to look for in the Netherlands? If not, why not?” the lawmakers wrote, adding: “Are you prepared to deny her entrance? If not, why?”

In the Netherlands, lawmakers use parliamentary queries to draw the media’s attention to issues and direct scrutiny of the actions of the ministers queried, who have up to three weeks to reply.

Odeh was invited to the Netherlands by Anakbayan-Europe, a Filipino communist group, and another fringe left organization called Revolutionary Unity.



TV report: Poland freezes Holocaust law, is sending team to Israel to reword it
Poland will not implement its controversial new Holocaust law for the time being, and an official Polish government delegation will fly to Israel in the next few days to try to agree on a mutually acceptable amended version of the legislation, an Israeli television report said Saturday night.

Hadashot news said that, in the wake of pressure and protests from Israel over the legislation, Poland’s Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro had stated that the law will not be implemented “at this stage.”

It said a Polish delegation was due in Israel within days to instead try to hammer out an agreed text of the legislation, which has passed Poland’s parliament and been signed by its president but not implemented to date.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry director-general Yuval Rotem called the moves “an achievement” for Israel following considerable discussion of the law between Warsaw and Jerusalem in recent weeks.
Yuval Rotem, director-general of the Foreign Ministry, October 13, 2016. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Poland’s president on February 6 signed the controversial legislation, that outlaws blaming Poland as a nation for Holocaust crimes committed by Nazi Germany.

EU president: Poland’s conduct on Holocaust risks ruining its global standing
EU President Donald Tusk warned Poland on Friday against “anti-semitic excesses” and other behavior that risked ruining Warsaw’s global standing.

Tusk, a former Polish premier, said he had told Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels that negative opinions about Warsaw were turning into a “tsunami.”

“I told Mr. Morawiecki that the situation is very serious, it directly affects Polish interests, the reputation of Poland and Poland’s standing in the world,” Tusk said when a Polish journalist asked him about tensions with the EU.

Tusk said there was a “wave that must be stopped… of very unjudicious anti-semitic excesses in statements being made in Poland.”
Poland suspends senator for posting footage from Nazi propaganda
Poland’s ruling party suspended a senator who posted online footage from a Nazi propaganda movie depicting violence against Jews to the sounds of klezmer music.

The Law and Justice party suspended Waldemar Bonkowski Thursday over his posting of the video on Facebook earlier this week, amid an acrimonious argument between many Poles and Jews over the Polish government’s passing this month of a law criminalizing blaming Poland for Nazi crimes.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu protested the law and called “outrageous” a remark by his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki, who said in defending the law that there were also Jewish perpetrators of the Holocaust.

Morawiecki was addressing during an interview on Feb. 18 claims that the law whitewashes complicity by some Poles in the Holocaust.

The debate around the law, which is opposed also by the World Jewish Congress and the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Israel, has generated an increase in anti-Semitic rhetoric in Poland, Jonny Daniels, a commemoration activist from the From the Depths group with friendly ties to Morawiecki, said. Bonkowski’s post, which Daniels said was “hateful,” is part of that increase.

Daniels, who had slammed Morawiecki’s remark as a form of “Holocaust denial,” welcomed what he called the “swift action” by Law and Justice.
Time for a ‘Polocaust’ museum, says Polish minister

A Polish government minister supported calls for a “Polocaust” museum to tell the story of non-Jewish Poles killed by the Nazis.

Deputy Culture Minister Jaroslaw Sellin offered his support on Tuesday for such a museum in an interview with state media amid already strained relations between Poland and Israel, and world Jewry, over its recently passed Holocaust law criminalizing claims that the Polish nation or state is responsible for Nazi crimes.

The Nazis murdered nearly 2 million Poles during World War II and about 3 million Polish Jews.

“I think that the story of the fate of the Poles during World War II, in the first phase — the destruction of our country by the Nazis and Soviets — and the second phase, when our country was under total occupation — deserves to be told and that the world should see this horrific loss,” Sellin told Poland’s Radio One, CNN reported.
Poland 'won't prosecute' violators of new Holocaust law
The newly passed Polish Holocaust law will not lead to criminal charges, according to a government minister.

The law, which takes effect at the end of the month, criminalizes claims that the Polish nation or state are responsible for Nazi crimes.

Deputy Foreign Minister Bartosz Cichocki said late Tuesday in an interview on Polish television that no criminal charges will be brought against offenders, but Poland will require some remedy for untrue statements, The Associated Press reported.

The law states that ascribing "responsibility or co-responsibility to the Polish nation or state for crimes committed by the German Third Reich" is punishable by up to three years in prison.

However, speaking to TVN24, Cichocki said that Poland will "react, demand clarifications, argue against them, but no means of prosecution will be implemented."
Trump says countries begged him to nix Israeli embassy relocation: ‘Don’t do it’
US President Donald Trump said Friday that moving the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem is “the right thing to do.” He spoke as the US formally confirmed that it will open its embassy in Jerusalem in May, in temporary premises at the current US consulate in south Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israeli independence.

Trump was addressing his decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv at the Conservative Political Action Conference. He said foreign countries put pressure on him not to move the embassy and begged him, “Don’t do it, don’t do it.”

Trump said the campaign against moving the embassy was “incredible,” but that the campaign in favor was also incredible. He said that ultimately, his administration “did the right thing.”

Trump’s December declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announcing plans to relocate the embassy there was met with worldwide condemnation. That same month the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning the administration’s move and calling on countries not to move their diplomatic missions to the city.

His comments come as the State Department notified Congress on Friday that the Jerusalem embassy will open in May, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel declaring independence.
Half-shekel coin bears profile of Trump
Temple organizations have issued a half-shekel coin, the likes of which the Torah mandates every Jewish male must donate to the Temple, with a weight of 9.5 grams in real silver.

On the facade of the coin is a picture of the Temple with the inscription "Half Shekel." On the other side is the figure of US President Donald Trump, alongside Cyrus, King of Persia, who made the building of the Second Temple possible. Below them is the inscription, “Cyrus - Balfour - Trump - Declaration 2018.”

The producers of the coin say that it is in high demand abroad. Prof. Hillel Weiss, Chairman of the organization “Hamikdash Betzion” (The Temple in Zion), says that the motivation to embed the image of the President of the United States on the coin is gratitude for his support of Israel and especially for the recognition of our sovereignty over Jerusalem.. "This is a historic act for which the Jewish people is grateful," says Weiss, who believes that the declaration sets off a process at the height of which the Temple will be rebuilt.

On the other hand, warns Weiss, the coin is a reminder of what happened to those benevolent kingdoms when they turned back from their great declarations. Cyrus, in the language of the sages, "missed," was swayed by factions opposed to building the Temple and halted its construction - and only ruled for three years. And the British empire, which renounced and crushed the Balfour Declaration, was shattered as a superpower on the stage of history.

"The Trump Declaration must continue with a declaration of the role of the Jews in establishing the Temple in its place. Only then will President Trump's international ambitions come true in the Middle East.”

Israeli leaders embrace U.S. decision to open embassy in Jerusalem in May
The Trump administration revealed Friday that it intends to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 14, Israel's 70th anniversary.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the US announcement as "a great day for the people of Israel."

"President Trump's decision to move the United States Embassy to Jerusalem on the coming Independence Day follows his historic declaration in December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital," a statement issued by the Israeli Embassy in Washington on Friday said.

"This decision will turn Israel's 70th Independence Day into an even bigger celebration. Thank you President Trump for your leadership and friendship," it added.

Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon praised the Trump administration on Friday shortly after the announcement.

“President Trump’s bold decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem this May, in honor of our 70th Independence Day, is a testament to the unbreakable alliance and true friendship between the US and Israel,” said Danon.

“The time is now for all UN member-states to follow in the footsteps of the US and declare that they too recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the State of Israel,” he added.

Using the traditional Jewish expression "Next year in Jerusalem," Danon pointedly said that the move will take place "this year."
Holding Out an Olive Branch? US Lawmakers Speak Out After Being Detained on the Temple Mount
US Representatives Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) and David B. McKinley (R-W.Va.) no doubt anticipated an eye-opening experience when they visited the Temple Mount on Thursday — as part of their current trip to Israel. So imagine their surprise when they were detained by Israeli police after an Islamic Waqf official (the Waqf administers the Temple Mount) lodged a complaint against them.

It appears that the congressmen violated some unknown rule — because Tipton bent down to pick up a broken olive branch off the ground. His movement seems to have agitated the Waqf official who, apparently believing that the congressman was bowing as if in prayer, set off the events that followed.

The congressmen, both in their 70s, were physically removed from the Temple Mount by police officers, and frisked and detained for more than a half-hour. They were released without incident. The US politicians are currently on a fact-finding mission to explore their Judeo-Christian roots.

Speaking about the experience with JNS, Tipton said: “You know it was a little surprising. … We were going around and trying to take it all in and being rushed through, and I happened to pick up an olive branch, ironically a symbol of peace. Apparently, that broke a rule — not one that was defined. We had no forewarning going in of what to do and not to do, no instructions. … We were trying to take in what is obviously a religious site, not only for Jews and Muslims, but for Christians as well. … Interestingly, apparently they viewed something as an infraction and then chose to detain us.”

McKinley said: “We should be able to pray and reflect on the history and culture, but you’re not allowed to do that as Jews and non-Muslims. You’re pushed, literally, and they have a time frame to get you through. That’s not right. That’s why the status quo has to change, to reflect the change in culture over the past 50 years.”
Mort Klein: Mahmoud Abbas's U.N. Speech Proves He Is No Partner for Peace
Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas addressed the United Nations Security Council this week, reiterating a farrago of falsehoods and distortions that underscore his lack of interest in a genuine peace with Israel.

From first to last, Abbas relied on inventing or revising history, tampering with facts and data, making misleading statements, and engaging in pure fantasy that can only be appreciated by examining his speech in some detail.

Among Abbas’ statements, the following, in particular, stand out:
Seventy years have passed since Palestine’s Naqba, from which 6 million Palestine refugees continue to suffer from the cruelty of exile and loss of human security. They continue to wander the world after the loss of their peaceful and stable lives in their homeland.

Except that the so-called naqba was brought about at Arab, not Jewish, instigation. Specifically, it was created by the Palestinian Arab and neighboring Arab states’ decision to resort to war in rejection of the U.N. General Assembly partition resolution of November 29, 1947, which sought to create Arab and Jewish states in Palestine — supposedly, exactly what Mahmoud Abbas and the PA want now. The Palestinian Arabs were not displaced by Israel’s emergence in May 1948; they were displaced by the war to which they resorted in an effort to abort Israel.
Government backs bill that says Jerusalem not for sale
Legislation limiting the sale of land in Jerusalem to foreign and private hands is expected to receive the Ministerial Committee for Legislation’s approval Sunday.

Kulanu MK Rachel Azaria proposed the bill, signed by 61 lawmakers, in response to the Greek Orthodox Church's recent sale of its control of 50 hectares (about 124 acres) of land in the capital, containing over 1,000 housing units, to an anonymous group of investors.

The Jewish National Fund leased the land to the church between 1950 and 1952 for 99 years, which then sub-leased the land for housing purposes. The church's sale of its rights to the land raised concerns that homeowners on that land may have to pay significant sums to remain.

Azaria's bill proposes that the rights to land leased by the JNF or anyone else to the Greek Orthodox Church and were then sold will go to the state. The government will compensate whomever bought the rights from the church.

The Kulanu MK and former Jerusalem deputy mayor said: “This proposal will give a response to the thousands of residents of Jerusalem and other cities who one day found out that the homes that they owned were on land that was sold to someone unknown.

“We will not let private or foreign factors by such broad swaths of the land in Israel’s capital,” Azaria added.

Azaria said a majority of Knesset members signed her bill in order to save Jerusalemites’ homes.
Palestinians say embassy move ‘provocative’ as US announces May date
The Palestinian Authority on Friday responded in anger to news that the US administration plans to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May, and said “unilateral” moves will not contribute to achieving peace between the Palestinians and Israel.

Hamas, for its part, warned that the decision would lead to an “explosion” in the region.

PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat dubbed the decision announced earlier Friday a “flagrant violation of international law and agreements” signed between the Palestinians and Israel. The decision will “destroy” the two-state solution, he cautioned.

The State Department confirmed Friday afternoon: “We are planning to open the new U.S. Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem in May. The Embassy opening will coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary.” US President Donald Trump stressed Friday that foreign countries begged him, “Don’t do it, don’t do it,” but that it was “the right thing to do.”

Denouncing the move as “provocative to the feelings of all Arabs and Muslims,” Erekat pointed out that the US administration’s date for moving the embassy to Jerusalem coincided with the Nakba anniversary.

Nakba (“catastrophe” in Arabic) is the word used by Palestinians to describe the establishment of Israel in 1948. The US is set to redesignate its Arnona consular facility in southern Jerusalem as its embassy on May 14 — precisely 70 years after Israel declared independence. (Israel celebrates its anniversary of independence according to the Hebrew calendar; Independence Day — Yom Ha’Atzmaut — falls on April 19 this year.)

“We condemn this decision in the strongest possible terms,” Erekat added. “This decision affirms that the US administration has removed itself from playing any sponsorship role in the peace process. Because of such decisions, the US has become part of the problem and therefore can’t be part of any solution.”
Turkey: US embassy Jerusalem opening in May damages peace, tramples on law
Turkey on Saturday described as “extremely worrying” the US push to open its embassy in Jerusalem this May to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the founding of Israel.

Friday’s announcement by Washington to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem follows US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December.

“This decision shows the US administration’s insistence on damaging the grounds for peace by trampling over international law, resolutions of United Nations Security Council on Jerusalem,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

“Turkey will continue its effort to protect the legitimate rights of the Palestinian public… against this extremely worrying decision by the US,” the ministry added.

Ankara said the decision showed the US does not hear, “and worse still, does not care about the voice of the international community’s conscience”.

US officials said Congress was being notified of the impending move on Friday. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed off on the security plan for the new embassy on Thursday.

The date of the move is seen as largely symbolic, as the logistics of a permanent relocation are expected to take much longer. Most of the embassy staff could continue to operate from Tel Aviv during the early stages.
Hamas tells Nikki Haley: Your peace plan is ‘worthless’
The Palestinians won’t accept the US administration’s yet-to-be-announced Middle East peace plan, the Hamas terror movement said on Friday.

“The American announcement about a plan that would be presented soon is worthless,” said Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri.

He was responding to US Ambassador Nikki Haley, who said on Thursday that the US administration was nearly finished drafting its Middle East peace plan, which some refer to as the “deal of the century.”

“I think they’re finishing it up,” Haley said during a question-and-answer session at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics.

US envoys Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt are “still going back and forth,” she added. “They’re coming up with a plan. It won’t be loved by either side, and it won’t be hated by either side.”

Abu Zuhri, the Hamas spokesperson, retorted: “The Palestinian people reject the plan and won’t allow it to pass.”

Hamas and several Palestinian factions have vowed to do their utmost to thwart the plan, dubbing it a “conspiracy designed to eliminate the Palestinian cause and national rights.”
How Trump has made Israel's leftist generals look like rank fools
They talk in their thick Israeli self-assured accents, and are introduced to American and Israeli Jewish audiences as “Israel Generals” who “know Israel security.” These leftist Israeli former IDF officers have propagated the Big Lie claiming that there is a Two-state solution to the Palestinian Arab problem, to millions of all-to-eager to be duped Jews:

They are the “Gatekeepers.” There was even a movie made about them and their military advice.

Enter US President Donald J. Trump, who makes a simple objective declaration that Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel. And what happens? PA President Abbas begins to say in English what he has been saying in Arabic- namely, that Tel Aviv is also “occupied territory.” But the Israeli generals always knew what Abbas was saying in Arabic, so they knew the Two-State solution was a fraud to begin with. This group of Israeli generals, on whose opinions Israeli and American Jews have relied for life-and-death decisions about Israel must know that what they are saying is delusionary.

No one needs to have an Israeli security clearance to monitor what the Palestinian leaders are saying about their obssessive desire to murder every Israeli in Tel Aviv. All one needs to do is subscribe to Palestinian Media Watch, or PMW. Itamar Marcus has single-handedly done with a shoe-string budget what the Israel government didn't do with millions of dollars: Just translate exactly what the Palestinian leaders/terrorists have been openly saying in Arabic. They don’t want Judea, Samaria and Gaza, they want Tel Aviv and Netanya and they want to murder every last Jew who dares to remain when, as they hope, they begin their Jihad murder spree.

All Abbas’ recent rantings at the UN about Israel as a “colony,” that Israel occupied Palestine in 1948, not 1967, about the UN Resolution 181 and the “right of return” into Tel Aviv for the 7 million claimed Palestinian "refugees" is merely a repetition of what Abbas has been saying for years. It’s just that the left-wing Generals thought of themselves as imbued with messianic visions that ordinary human beings didn’t possess.
Time.com Corrects: No "Surge" in Settlement Population Under Trump
After communication from CAMERA, Time.com corrected a headline that referred to a nonexistent "surge" in the number of Israeli settlers during Donald Trump's first year in office. The headline asserted, "Jewish settlers in the West Bank surged since President Trump took office, an Israeli settler leaders says."
Headline: Jewish settlers in the West Bank surged since President Trump took office, an Israeli settler leader says

CAMERA informed editors that, according to the numbers in the article itself, settlement growth mildly decreased during 2017.

The amended headline now reads, "Israeli settler leader says settlements continued to grow in 2017."
UN official: Palestinian Authority chairman abuses Palestinians
United Nations Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, spoke at the 44th Annual Leadership Mission of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations about terrorism and peace in the Middle East.

The five-day conference was held in Jerusalem and led by Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Chairman Stephen Greenberg and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein.

In his speech, Mladenov noted the importance of clarity on what constituted terror, and the ability to criticize both sides when there was concern. He reiterated strongly that, “We need to be very clear in the UN what is considered terrorism and what is not. We must speak up openly and say clearly, when you go into someone’s house and slaughter a family - that is terrorism. That is not resistance, that is not legitimate.”

Mladenov also said, “There is no Middle East peace process currently. That is the reality.” He also said the Trump Administration was forced to “take a long hard look at the situation, to see what conditions are needed to have a meaningful process between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” one which he hoped would lead to the peaceful separation.

However, he noted that “this is probably the longest period of peace and quiet in a long time, especially considering the situation in the wider region, and there is one thing that bonds together all the parties, the Palestinians, the Israelis, the US and the Europeans, and that is not to make the Israeli-Palestinian conflict part of the wider mess in the region.”

Regarding Gaza, the UN Special Envoy said there was great concern about a deterioration in the situation and noted three key concerns: Social meltdown, conflicts within the Hamas leadership, and the emergence of even more extreme elements.
Saudi Arabia increases financial aid to PA
Saudi Arabia's envoy to the Arab League, Ahmed Kattan, said on Thursday that Riyadh would increase the amount of aid it provides to the Al-Aqsa and Al-Quds funds by $500 million.

The addition to Saudi Arabia's share of the financial aid to these funds will therefore increase by $70 million and will be transferred in four installments of $17.5 million each.

A statement issued by the Saudi mission to the Arab League said Riyadh will also increase its support for the Palestinian Authority (PA) budget from $7.7 million a month to $20 million a month.

In December 2017 and January 2018, Saudi Arabia transferred $40 million to the PA’s Ministry of Finance, according to the official PA news agency Wafa.

The PA has repeatedly asked for foreign donations in recent years, claiming it is on the verge of collapse due to a worsening financial crisis.

But, while blaming Israel for the PA’s financial woes, its chairman Mahmoud Abbas continues to spend six percent of the PA’s annual budget to pay $4.5 million a month to jailed terrorists and another $6.5 million to their families.
Conservatives cheer Mike Pence when he mentions Trump’s Jerusalem move
US Vice President Mike Pence earned one of his biggest applause lines at an influential conservative conference Thursday when he cited US President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Pence, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, outlined the promises that Trump has fulfilled his first year in office.

“America once again stands without apology as leader of the free world,” he said. “For decades after one president after another promised to move our embassy to the capital of our most cherished ally, on December 6, President Trump made history when the United States of America recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel.”

That got huge applause from the activists at the American Conservative Union’s annual conference, which has become a focal point of the conservative movement. Trump is scheduled to speak to the conference, being held in a Maryland suburb of Washington DC on Friday.

Pence also garnered big applause when he noted Trump’s retreat from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“This country will no longer certify the disastrous Iran nuclear deal,” he said.
CPAC Panel Addresses Misconceptions About Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Panelists at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) attempted to disband some of the biggest misconceptions that many Americans have about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Thursday.

“What’s happening today is the result of the British and the French rewiring the Middle East history in the 20th century and about 100 years of Arab rejectionism,” Aylana Meisel of the Tikvah Fund said.

The panel was moderated by Genevieve Wood of the Heritage Foundation. Yehoshua Oz of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies was also on the panel.

“There has never been a state of Palestine or a country of Palestine,” Meisel said. “The terms Palestine comes from when the Romans were controlling the area and occupying the area.”

She continued, “There has never been a nationality called Palestine,” adding that the name was created as a larger tactic in the Arab world’s war on Israel.

She said the Palestinian issue started to rise in the 1960s, and it was in response to the Jewish presence.

“It’s just completely false,” Meisel said of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas claiming a 5,000-year history.

Oz focused on a few central ideas to provide the context in which Israel should be regarded, saying, “it’s all about context,” as he pointed to two maps on a projector screen.
CPAC Panel Debates Alternatives to 'Two State Solution' for Israelis, Palestinians
The Arab world must shoulder the responsibility of the Palestinian people, who they have for years used as pawns against Israel, and the world must stop using the phrase “two-state solution,” according to guests at a panel discussion at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Thursday.

The panel, titled, “The New Jerusalem: Alternatives to the Two State Solution,” was moderated by Erielle Davidson, a scholar at Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution. Lisa Daftari, editor-in-chief of The Foreign Desk, and Jeff Ballabon, of the American Center for Law and Justice, joined them.

Ballabon argued that the world must refrain form using the phrases like two-state solution and said the question of what the alternatives to a two-state solution are “is really a question of what methods we are using.” He added, “If what you’re trying to achieve is suffrage, a Palestinian state, you are not going to achieve anything.” He noted that that responsibility should fall on the Arab world.

“Israel is the model of the solution; not the problem,” despite efforts to paint it otherwise, Ballabon said. He noted that other examples of the is are the Kurds and the Alawites and condemned Barack Obama for destabilizing the region.

“Until 2015 we called for a two-state solution. Why are we calling for any solution?” he asked. “America’s objectives should be to stabilize and protect Israel. If there’s any country in the world that looks like American exceptionalism, it’s Israel exceptionalism.”
Russia deploys advanced stealth jets in Syria with warning aimed at Israel
Russia has deployed two of its most advanced and sophisticated stealth jets in Syria, in a power move likely to draw US criticism, as the Pentagon expressed its alarm earlier this month over recent close calls with Russian planes in the war-torn country.

Satellite images published by Israeli company ImageSat International on Friday showed the fifth generation jets — two Su-57 fighter aircraft — at Russia’s airbase in the coastal Syrian city of Latakia. A source in the defense ministry confirmed to RBK news agency this week that the two planes were sent to the Hmeimim base “for a test in real conditions.” The jets are said to be a potential rival to the US’s Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, which American forces use in patrols over Syria.

The deployment came with a covert warning to Israel by a Russian official, who said that the presence of the Su-57s will doubtlessly send a political message, serving as a deterrent “for aircraft from neighboring states, which periodically fly into Syrian airspace uninvited.”

Speaking to the Russian news network Sputnik, Vladimir Gutenov, chairman of the Military Industry Committee in the Russian parliament, said on Friday that the jets “need to be tested in combat conditions, in conditions of [enemy] resistance.”
Russia tested ‘over 200 new weapons’ in Syria: MP
Russia has tested over 200 new types of arms in Syria during its campaign in support of President Bashar al-Assad, a senior lawmaker said Thursday, as Moscow was accused of taking part in airstrikes against rebel-held Eastern Ghouta.

“As we helped the brotherly Syrian people, we tested over 200 new types of weapons,” said Vladimir Shamanov, a former commander of Russia’s airborne troops who now serves as head of the Russian Duma’s defense committee.

“It’s not an accident that today they are coming to us from many directions to purchase our weapons, including countries that are not our allies,” he said.

“Today our military-industrial complex made our army look in a way we can be proud of,” he said.

Russia, a close ally of the Syrian government in the protracted multi-front war, has been accused of indiscriminate bombing throughout the conflict causing massive casualties.
Palestinian stone-thrower bitten by Israeli army dog sues Dutch breeder
A 19-year-old Palestinian man is suing a Dutch dog breeder who sold a dog to the Israeli army that the claimant said bit him during a riot in the West Bank.

Hamze Abu Hashem was bitten in 2014 while throwing stones at Israeli soldiers, according to the Telegraaf daily’s report Thursday on the unusual lawsuit. He sued the Four Winds K9 dog breeding company in the southern Netherlands for $13,500 in damages.

The company says it is not responsible for what Israel does with its army dogs.

Liesbeth Zegveld, Abu Hashem’s attorney in the Netherlands, told the Algemeen Dagblad daily that the money is for psychological damage sustained by her client. She is also seeking an injunction outlawing the sale of dogs to Israel.

“My client bears serious scars that will remain with him for the rest of his life,” Zegveld told the daily. “He is also deeply traumatized by the attack. He shakes when he hears dogs barking, he is too afraid to sleep and suffers from sleepwalking.”

Abu Hashem was imprisoned for three months for throwing stones at Israeli soldiers.
UC Berkeley Investigating Antisemitic Death Threat Targeting Jewish Professor
A message invoking an antisemitic epithet and calling for the killing of a Jewish professor was found this week at the University of California, Berkeley, the school’s student newspaper reported.

The anonymous threat — posted outside the office of a Jewish professor at Kroeber Hall — “mentioned Hitler and called for killing the professor, using an extremely racist epithet for ‘Jew,’” said Benjamin Brinner, faculty director at the Center for Jewish studies.

University leaders including chancellor Carol Christ, chair of the faculty-led academic senate Lisa Alvarez-Cohen, and student government president Zaynab AbdulQadir-Morris condemned the incident in an email to students on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, hateful messages targeted at marginalized groups on our campus are more common than any of us would like to believe,” they stated. “And while not all incidents rise to the level of requiring a police investigation as this one does, they are nonetheless damaging and odious.”

UC Berkeley’s police department has opened an investigation into the incident.

Brinner indicated that the message is a “particularly ugly manifestation” of antisemitism, which he said typically impacts students more than faculty on campus.

“In instances such as this, the target is an individual; in other instances, a swastika or some other offensive statement is posted in a public place,” he added.
French Court Denies Rape-Accused Ramadan's Release
A French court on Thursday dismissed a bid by Tariq Ramadan, the prominent Islamic scholar detained on rape charges, to be released on health grounds, legal sources said. Ramadan's lawyers had pushed for his release since he was detained on February 2, arguing his multiple sclerosis and nerve damage could not be adequately treated behind bars. The Oxford University professor, a prominent TV pundit whose grandfather founded Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood movement, denies charges that he raped two Muslim women in France.

A court-ordered medical examination last Thursday found that the 55-year-old Swiss academic's condition was compatible with detention. The day after the test, he was hospitalised for four days due to what his entourage said was a worsening of his condition. Ramadan has complained that the medical tests were only cursory and that the doctor examining him did not have access to his medical records. He refused to appear at Thursday's hearing at the main Paris appeals court.

Ramadan's two accusers went to the police in late October, both alleging that he had raped them in French hotel rooms. Henda Ayari, 41, said she had decided to accuse him publicly after the "Me Too" campaign against sexual abuse and harassment encouraged her to speak out. Ayari, a feminist activist who previously practised a conservative strain of Islam, says Ramadan raped her in a Paris hotel room in 2012. The second accuser, an unnamed disabled woman, alleges that Ramadan raped her and beat her in a hotel in the southeastern city of Lyon in 2009.

French authorities ordered Ramadan to be placed in custody after he was charged, judging him a flight risk.
German court says BDS activist antisemite, called Israeli ministers Nazis
A leading proponent of the boycott campaign targeting Israel suffered a stinging defeat on Monday after he declined to appeal a January court decision in the German city of Munich that ruled in favor of Charlotte Knobloch, the president of the city's Jewish community and a Holocaust survivor, who said the activist spreads antisemitism.

An email to The Jerusalem Post from the anti-Israel activist Abraham Melzer was cited in the Munich court decision as evidence of the activist's modern antisemitism.

He termed Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked "Nazi broads." Knobloch is permitted to repeat her statement that the anti-Zionist activist Abraham Melzer is “notorious for his antisemitic remarks.”

The obscure activist promotes the BDS (Boycott, Divestement, Sanctions) campaign against the Jewish state, Knobloch’s attorney, Nathan Gelbart, told the Post in January that “it belongs to our free, democratic system to be allowed to call phenomena like Melzer what they are: antisemites.”

The Munich court wrote in a statement that Melzer’s talk at the Hamas-affiliated “Palestinians in Europe Conference” in Berlin in 2015 “justified the call to kill, or damage, Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist religious view, and expressed an extreme hostile conviction toward Jews and the Jewish people.”

The court said Melzer’s “behavior can and may, without question, be judged as antisemitic.” When asked on Wednesday about the implementation of the court decision and whether he is a Jewish antisemite, Melzer declined to comment.
Spanish city in Barcelona province nixes BDS motion against Israel
The City Council of Montcada i Reixac in metropolitan Barcelona has withdrawn its decision to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, ACOM, an organization that combats BDS in Spain, announced on Friday.

In December, the plenary session of the city council, a town with some 35,000 inhabitants, approved a resolution to join the boycott against Israel.

The boycott motion had the support of Catalan separatists groups, including the Republican Left of Catalonia, the Catalan European Democratic Party, the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) and the local branches of the extreme-left parties Podemos and the United Left. Ciudadanos and the People’s Party, Spanish constitutional parties, all voted against the motion.

As with many previous such decisions in Spain, joining the BDS movement entails that a city council will refrain from any cooperation with Israel, its public bodies and officials in areas including agriculture, education, trade, culture and security. The city council also agrees to support BDS in every campaign for the trade, cultural, sports, academic or institutional boycotts.

In response to the resolution, ACOM presented an administrative appeal against the motion, accusing the town and its citizens of “discriminatory practice.”
Jewish grandmother sentenced to death in Iran; Holland won’t grant her asylum
To the dozens of revelers of this city’s main Purim party, a Jewish grandmother who cooks the event’s annual Persia-themed holiday feast is a rare communal asset.

Since she immigrated to the Netherlands in 2012 from her native Iran, the soft-spoken newcomer has been volunteering with the local Chabad House, preparing delicious traditional dishes with exotic spices, such as saffron-flavored yellow rice and chicken, for Utrecht’s celebration of the holiday.

Her contribution has added prestige to the event, which has been featured in regional and national media thanks to the authentic touch she adds. (After all, the story behind Purim is set in Persia, celebrating the rescue of that country’s Jews from a communal death sentence.)

But only a few of the locals who know Sipora (not her real name) are aware that she is both an illegal alien in the Netherlands and a refugee with a death sentence hanging over her own head in Iran for political offenses.

Sipora, 60, was sentenced in absentia to death by public execution in 2013 by a Tehran court that convicted her of “violating Islamic rules [of the] Islamic Revolution” and “anti-regime activity.” Her crime: running an underground organization that found housing solutions for women with abusive husbands who could not obtain a divorce.
ADL sounds alarm against neo-Nazi conspiracy theorists in wake of Florida shooting
The Anti-Defamation League is sounding the alarm against alt-right conspiracy theorists who are attacking survivors of last week’s deadly Florida school shooting.

The conspiracy theorists, some of whom self-identity as members of white supremacists groups, claim that the February 14 shooting incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland was a “hoax” performed by “crisis actors.”

Others have accepted that the shooting occurred but survivors, they say, are being coached by “liberal” operatives who seek to enact more stringent gun-control laws.

“The ‘crisis actors’ theory’ often gains steam in the aftermath of mass shootings and related incidents in this country,” the ADL stated in its report published on Thursday. “A range of people on the far right contend that the US government stages mass shootings for the purpose of seizing guns and then features actors on TV to talk about the shootings to elicit sympathy for their cause.”

The ADL also noted that similar fringe theories began proliferating soon after the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which left 20 children and six adults dead.

The online attacks have mostly focused on student activists and survivors of last week’s incident, including David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez, who have been especially outspoken critics of gun control policy in the US.
El Al venture arm, Boeing join forces to scope out new air travel tech
Cockpit Innovation, a venture fund arm of EL AL Israel Airlines Ltd, said Wednesday it has formed a strategic partnership with Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company. As part of the collaboration, Boeing will invest an undisclosed amount of money into the fund, the company said.

The partnership will allow Boeing and Cockpit to jointly identify, support, and grow new technologies for possible applications in the aviation and aerospace industries, in an effort to play a role in shaping the future of these fields, Cockpit said in a statement.

“The strategic partnership with Cockpit Innovation reinforces and furthers our longstanding relationship with EL AL Israel Airlines,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Kevin McAllister. “Cockpit will provide a bridge to the global ecosystem of startups in fields that align with our strategic vision for Boeing, furthering our access into these developing sectors of the aerospace industry.”

“Combining the wealth of industry knowledge and venturing expertise of both Boeing and Cockpit with new technologies will enable amazing new opportunities for startups in the fields of travel, aviation and aerospace,” said Gonen Usishkin, the CEO of El Al.
15 Israeli firms on Fast Company 2018 most innovative list
The 2018 edition of Fast Company’s World’s Most Innovative Companies includes 15 Israeli firms among more than 350 enterprises.

Waze, the Israeli company that has transformed how drivers navigate to destinations, was ranked No. 28 on the magazine’s list of the world’s 50 most innovative companies.

Fast Company also ranked its top 10 picks in 36 subcategories, which include specific business sectors as well as the geographic areas of Israel, Africa, India, China and Latin America.

The regional list for Israel cites the following companies:
1. Syte.ai, for detecting salable goods in photos and making them easy to buy
2. Zebra Medical Vision, for providing lifesaving AI scans at $1 apiece
3. OurCrowd, for combining equity crowdfunding with recruiting
4. Airobotics, for flying full autonomous drones without human guidance for industrial use
5. Fiverr, for helping freelancers get affordable healthcare
6. Insightec, for treating essential tremor with guided ultrasound
7. Utilis, for emitting microwaves to inspect underground water pipes for leaks, helping cities save billions of gallons
8. Gloat, for finding talent for WeWork, Oracle, and Dell using applicants’ social ties
9. Flytrex, for building an urban drone delivery network
10. Forter, for spotting e-commerce fraud in real time

The list of top 10 augmented reality/virtual reality companies includes Houzz, an Israeli-founded company headquartered in California with an R&D center in Tel Aviv.




We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

Friday, February 23, 2018

From Ian:

Human Rights Groups Refused to Help 52 Arab Victims of Palestinian Authority Torture
A group of 52 Arabs, residents of the Palestinian Authority, who needed costly medical evaluations in order to apply for compensations following a court ruling finding the PA guilty of torturing them, turned to fifteen different human rights organizations for support but were rejected by 13 of them, Israel Hayom reported Friday.

Out of the 15 NGOs, only Physicians for Human Rights and the Committee for the Prevention of Torture offered assisted the applicants. The rest refused to help or ignored the pleas. The Yesh Din organization expressed their “feelings of anger and pain,” but explained that they cannot help because they only “represent victims of violations when they are harmed by Israeli authorities or Israeli citizens.”
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Another NGO, Adalah, stated they “only help the Palestinian who are suing the State of Israel.”

Amnesty International said that their organization “does not have the professional tools to address the needs of these refugees.”

Good to know.

Last August, Judge Moshe Drori of the Jerusalem District Court ruled that the Palestinian Authority is responsible for the murder, abduction, imprisonment, torture and rape of 52 Arabs who are citizens of Israel or the PA. The verdict on these cases—dating back to the years 1995-2002—described torture that included electric shocks; castration; prolonged hanging by the legs with the prisoner’s head down; pouring boiling plastic on prisoners’ bodies; pulling teeth and nails; sleep deprivation and food deprivation; as well as murder and rape of family members.
Amnesty report claims Israel ‘kills,’ ‘tortures’ Palestinian children
The recent Amnesty International Report on the state of human rights in 159 countries and territories during 2017 claims Israel is “killing” and “torturing” Palestinian children with impunity.

Its critique of Israel is more extensive and critical than those of known bastions of human rights violations, including Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.

“June marked 50 years since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territories and the start of the 11th year of its illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip, subjecting approximately 2 million inhabitants to collective punishment and a growing humanitarian crisis,” the report begins.

“Israeli forces unlawfully killed Palestinian civilians, including children... Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees, including children, remained pervasive and was committed with impunity,” it continues.

In its “Unlawful Killings” section, the document claims Israeli soldiers, police and security guards killed at least 75 Palestinians, later noting that “some of those killed were shot while attacking Israelis or suspected of intending an attack.”

“Many, including children, were shot and unlawfully killed while posing no immediate threat to life,” the reports states.

The “Excessive Use of Force” section claims that Israeli forces killed at least 20 Palestinians and wounded thousands while being attacked during riots.

“Many protesters threw rocks or other projectiles, but were posing no threat to the lives of well-protected Israeli soldiers when they were shot,” it states.
Ellison on Farrakhan Meeting: ‘There’s No Relationship,’ I’m a ‘Fierce Opponent of Anti-Semitism’ (not satire)
Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn.) said Thursday he had no relationship with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, saying he had always been a "fierce opponent of anti-Semitism."

Ellison, the vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee and a Muslim, attended a private dinner in 2013 with Farrakhan, an outspoken racist and anti-Semite who espouses conspiracy theories about Jews and whites, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

CNN host Wolf Blitzer recapped the saga, pointing out Ellison said in 2016 that his relationship with Farrakhan ended long ago.

"What exactly is your relationship with Farrakhan?" Blitzer asked.

"No relationship," Ellison said. "My political opponents keep pushing this out there in order to try to smear and distract from the key issues, but there's no relationship, Wolf. I have a clear record. I have always fought for equal rights for all people. I will continue to do so. I have always denounced and been a fierce opponent of anti-Semitism, from whatever source. I'll continue to do so."




Ben-Dror Yemini: An auto-anti-Semitic abomination
Zeev Sternhell published an article in Le Monde this week, under a title comparing modern Israel to the beginning of Nazism. Similar and identical articles have been published by Sternhell in Hebrew as well.

It didn’t start today. Sternhell has been trying to turn Israel into a fascist state for the past 40 years. For 40 years now, he has been repeating the same chorus of falsehoods again and again.

Forty years ago, Sternhell wrote about one Israel, which is liberal, moderate and educated, with a “very Western Ashkenazi nature,” compared to the other Israel, comprised of Jews of Sephardic descent, which he sees as “aggressive, radical, clerical.” Clearly, this generalization is racism, but Sternhell likely sees himself as the representative of enlightenment.

Nevertheless, Sternhell has won the Israel Prize, which is the most prestigious prize awarded by the State of Israel. Israel is, without a doubt, a special country, giving its most important prize to someone who calls it a fascist state. There is no other “fascist” state of this kind in the world. But Sternhell won’t give up. Fascism is no longer enough. Now, he’s moving to Nazism.

Criticizing Israeli policy is perfectly okay, both on issues related to the Palestinians and on issues related to the peace process and to the attitude towards Israel’s Arab citizens. That’s exactly what 80 percent of Israeli journalists and academics are doing. They are ceaselessly criticizing. This isn’t one of the characteristics of a fascist state, but Sternhell is insisting on creating a reality which has nothing to do with the facts.

According to Sternhell, Israel is a “monster for non-Jews living under its rule.” A monster, no less.
An Israeli Reporter, Undercover Among Europe’s Muslim Immigrants
In theory, Zvi Yehezkeli is the kind of reporter good liberals like to fantasize about. He covers the Arab world, speaks the language fluently, and commands the customs and tenets of Islam with impressive erudition. He goes where the story is, even if that means having the occasional murderous goon fire a semiautomatic in his general direction. And he is out to observe the world, not confirm his own biases.

Which is why it’s odd that, these days, Zvi Yehezkeli is also the reporter good liberals, at least in Israel, like to hate. After decades spent reporting on the Palestinian Authority, Yehezkeli took his family’s heritage—his parents immigrated to Israel from Iraq—and his rich Arabic and traveled to Europe, to look into the lives of young Muslims there. The result has been a stream of documentaries that began airing on Israeli television in 2012, in which Yehezkeli, often disguised as an Arab, entices his interviewees to admit the kind of inconvenient truth one rarely hears elsewhere. In Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Holland, France, and England, he mostly meets disdainful men who, having left their faltering nations for the comfort of the European continent, look at their kind hosts with nothing but contempt while adhering to an increasingly radicalized version of Islam. Pundits and intellectuals were quick to accuse Yehezkeli of racism, but viewers, in Israel and elsewhere, found his grim insights fascinating.

Yehezkeli’s latest production, a five-part series called “False Identity,” premiered on Israel’s Channel 10 last month, but thanks to the internet’s disregard for copyright, his earlier work is readily available, in translation, on a host of websites. But the question of how to go ahead and watch it is more complicated.

For those who like their schadenfreude undiluted, taking Yehezkeli’s work at face value can be a treat. There’s certainly a reptilian sort of pleasure to be had when watching the beautiful people of Europe, those long-time critics of Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians, get sucker-punched by their protégés. When two smiley young women who left the comforts of Lebanon’s Shatila refugee camp, for example, tell Yehezkeli with disgust that they do not recognize their Swedish ID cards—they collect all the financial benefits of asylum but deny any allegiance to their new Nordic neighbors—it’s hard not to feel as if the proverbial chickens have come home to roost.
IsraellyCool: Interview With Prof. Richard Landes About His New Video Doc on Media Bias
Richard Landes, former professor of history at Boston University, blogger, and long-time commentator on Middle East affairs, has just published a twenty-minute video, “Everyone Knows,” about media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Andrew Pessin, professor of philosophy at Connecticut College, interviews him about the film.

Who are you hoping to reach with the film?

Unfortunately I think too few people appreciate just how far off the path of accuracy and integrity allegedly “respected” reporters and networks are capable of straying. Mainstream journalists sometimes boast about “bearing witness” to their times; I, and I hope many others will, criticize them when they (all too often) bear false witness. To that end, I’m hoping to reach a wide variety of people with this film:
Those concerned about media integrity in general, including the phenomenon of “fake news”
Students of journalism and teachers/professors willing to discuss, even teach, a serious critique of current Middle East journalism in particular
Reading and discussion groups who want to deal honestly with the Middle East
Students on Western campuses who feel great sympathy for the Palestinian cause but who, due to media failures, fail to grasp just how extreme the true Palestinian perspective is
Those individuals who are pro-Israel but who may still not realize not merely how bad the media situation is but how dangerous it is (for example in promoting global antisemitism)
Anyone concerned about the possibility that “lethal journalism” that targets Israel may also be what I like to call “own-goal war journalism” (i.e. reporting your own enemy war propaganda as news), that targets the West in general
Savvy independents in cyberspace who appreciate revelations of foolish hypocrisy


Ruth Wisse: The Enduring Outrage of Hannah Arendt’s ‘Eichmann in Jerusalem’
When Arendt volunteered to report on the Eichmann trial, it was presumed that she was doing so in her role as a Jew. . . . But Arendt actually traveled to Jerusalem for a deeper purpose—to reclaim Eichmann for German philosophy. She did not exonerate Nazism and in fact excoriated the postwar Adenauer government for not doing enough to punish known Nazi killers, but she rehabilitated the German mind and demonstrated how that could be done by going—not beyond, but around, good and evil. She came to erase Judaism philosophically, to complicate its search for moral clarity, and to unseat a conviction [that, in Saul Bellow’s words], “everybody . . . knows what murder is.”

Arendt was to remain the heroine of postmodernists, deconstructionists, feminists, relativists, and internationalist ideologues who deny the stability of Truth. Not coincidentally, many of them have also disputed the rights of the sovereign Jewish people to its national homeland. Indeed, as anti-Zionism cemented the coalition of leftists, Arabs, and dissident minorities, Arendt herself was conscripted, sometimes unfairly and in ways she might have protested, as an ally in their destabilizing cause. They were enchanted by her “perversity” and were undeterred in their enthusiasm by subsequent revelations, like those of the historian Bernard Wasserstein, who documented Arendt’s scholarly reliance on anti-Semitic sources in her study of totalitarianism, or of revelations about her resumed friendship with Martin Heidegger despite his Nazi associations.

At the same time, however, the Arendt report on the Eichmann trial became one of the catalysts for something no one could have predicted—an intellectual movement that came to be known as neoconservatism. A cohort of writers and thinkers, many of them Jews from immigrant families who had turned to leftism as naturally as calves to their mother’s teats, but who had slowly moved away from the Marxism of their youth during the Stalin years and World War II, now spotted corruption and dishonesty and something antithetical to them in some of their very models of the intellectual life.

They and their Gentile colleagues had constituted the only European-style intelligentsia to flourish in America. Most of them were only one generation removed from Europe, after all, so what could be more natural than for them to serve as the conduit of European intelligence to America? Arendt’s ingenious twist of the Eichmann trial showed them how Jewish and American they actually were—and how morally clear they aspired to be.
BDS: It’s Not Economics, Stupid!
Recently, the Jewish News Syndicate (JNS)’s editor-in-chief, Jonathan S. Tobin, wrote that the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel is simply an “annoyance to Israel.” Tobin claimed that BDS has done little damage to Israel’s prosperous economy,” and other articles at JNS — and in other Jewish media outlets — have proudly proclaimed that BDS is in decline.

While BDS may have a limited economic impact on Israel, evaluating the boycott movement in these terms is shortsighted — and possibly dangerous. Theories such as Tobin’s give a false sense of security to pro-Israel supporters, who should be vigorously battling BDS as if it was a war for Israel’s survival (which it is).

Tobin and his ilk often conflate two separate issues: 1) if the Israeli government should be in the anti-BDS business; and 2) whether BDS is succeeding or failing.

The first point stems, in large part, from Israel’s controversial decision to blacklist 20 actively pro-BDS organizations (and its members) from entering Israel.

BDS’ goal is not simply to stop Israeli settlements or to promote a peace process that leads to two states, Arabs and Jews, living together in peace. BDS’ documented goal is one state, as articulated by its founders. Therefore, I have no problem with Israel curtailing entry for people who openly work toward that country’s demise. In fact, all countries do this.

As for the second point, and specifically Tobin’s assertion that BDS is an annoyance based on Israel’s vibrant economy, my rebuttal is from a piece that I wrote after Ben Cohen wrote two years ago that “2016 may well be remembered as the year that the BDS movement targeting Israel finally died its death — in a clinical sense, at least.”
BDS Bullying Tactics: Emily Schrader and Hen Mazzig discuss with Alan Dershowitz


UC-Irvine Investigation Clears Pro-Israel Students of Misbehavior Accusations Made by Sanctioned BDS Group
The University of California, Irvine has dismissed charges that a pro-Israel group on campus behaved improperly toward members of Students for Justice in Palestine, following a months-long investigation.

Students Supporting Israel (SSI) faced allegations that it “aided or abetted” violations of university policy while hosting members of the advocacy group Reservists on Duty — which opposes the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel — at the school last year.

On May 10th, an SSI event featuring Israeli veterans associated with RoD was disrupted by a group of SJP protesters, who chanted, “Israel, Israel what do you say, how many kids have you killed today?” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

UC-Irvine administrators concluded after an investigation that SJP — which supports BDS and has disrupted other pro-Israel events at the university — violated its student code of conduct during the incident, and placed the group on disciplinary probation until June 2019.

SJP has denied all wrongdoing, and instead alleged that its members were victimized during the event. It accused SSI of aiding and abetting misbehavior by RoD activists, who were tabling a booth on campus during the week of May 8th.
Emails Expose CAIR’s Ongoing Influence in San Diego Schools
San Diego’s school board continues to work with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and enact its recommended anti-bullying curriculum — despite a July school board vote withdrawing from a partnership with the Islamist group.

A motion for a preliminary injunction filed in Federal court on Tuesday seeks to put an end to the ongoing work between CAIR and San Diego schools.

The Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF) originally sued the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) last May on behalf of several San Diego parents, arguing that CAIR — as a religious organization — cannot steer public school curriculum and programming without violating the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause (separating religion and state) — not to mention California state law.

Those concerns led SDUSD attorneys to recommend breaking off an anti-bullying partnership with CAIR last July. But school district emails obtained by the FCDF as part of the litigation make it clear that CAIR’s curriculum and program recommendations remain in play.

“Despite public statements to the contrary, Defendants have strengthened their partnership with” CAIR, the motion filed on Tuesday said. The school district is “delegating government power to a religious organization, and spending taxpayer money to advance a sectarian agenda.”

The policy creates an unequal situation that makes it a “graver sin” to rip off a Muslim girl’s hijab than to knock off a Jewish boy’s kippah [skullcap], the motion said.
IsraellyCool: Great Moments in Self-Hatred and Delusion: The Jewish Museum of the Palestinian Experience
I was just made aware about a talk on the Israel Lobby and American Policy at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. It is hosted by a group called the Promised Land Museum, who will have their Jewish Museum of the Palestinian Experience on display there (hat tip: Jackie)

So I looked into this online “museum” – and what I found was appalling.

It is hard to know where to start with this exercise in self-hatred, but I’ll try.

The museum was founded with the express goal of providing “a Jewish perspective on the Israel/Palestine conflict.” They reduce this to the “treat our neighbor as we would want to be treated” principle – giving it their own simplistic interpretation to coincide with their “liberal” values – conveniently ignoring other principles in our Torah, which provide the proper context, like:
- Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people
- The right and obligation of self-defense (which even extends to preemptive defensive war)

Turning the other cheek is not a Jewish value.

What makes this all the more infuriating is they do acknowledge “the continuous Jewish presence in the Holy Land for thousands of years.” More than that, they implicitly admit we have been here longer than the palestinian Arabs, who they say have “been living alongside Palestinian Jewish families for centuries.”

But apparently we have been very naughty. Just ask this Quaker Religion professor (because he apparently is an expert on Jewish values)
French Government Ends Funding to Radical Anti-Israel Organization
The French government ended its funding this month of a radical organization—the Jewish French Union for Peace (UJFP)—watchdog group NGO Monitor reported.

In October 2017, the Jerusalem-based watchdog had found that UJFP was receiving funding from the French government for a project against racism. However, the entity had published a book demonizing Israel, and making false accusations against Israel and France. It also produced video clips that compare Zionism to Nazism and alleging that Zionism is antisemitic.

NGO Monitor alerted lawmakers, Jewish organizations and journalists regarding the misuse of taxpayer funds. Parliamentarians submitted questions and inquiries on the issue, and the research was published by the well-known French magazine Causeur.

In February, the French government asked that its logo be removed from the UJFP website, halted the grant and demanded the return of funding that was already disbursed.
IsraellyCool: The Daily Freier Helps Reem Assil Choose a Mural for Her New Restaurant (satire)
A few hints:
Not a big fan of the Jooz. Just like Rasmea!
You said that Rasmea “was an organizer”? Well this guy started his own organization!
Like Rasmea, he was in favor of direct action, and wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.
Just like the PLO, this man also had a bit of a thing for airplanes.
Like Rasmea, this guy also looked great in a scarf!
They both ran afoul of the United States justice system.
….. Need more hints? OK!……

Unlike some men, this guy was NOT afraid of commitment.
And he proved it by marrying 4 women!
Also, he came from a wealthy family but chose to live modestly. Namaste!
He was an avid traveler, spending time in Sudan, Afganistan, and Pakistan.
Best of all, he can’t sue you for royalties!
Give up? Here he is!

I’m thinking glass mosaic. Waddya think! Holla back!
Lawfare Project Threatens Suit Against Yahoo, Google and Twitter in Spain for Proliferation of Antisemitism
The Lawfare Project threatened legal action against Google, Yahoo and Twitter in Spain for failing to address the proliferation of Holocaust-denial websites and antisemitic materials on their platforms, announced Brooke Goldstein, director of the legal think tank and litigation fund.

“Unless Google, Yahoo and Twitter take down the anti-Semitic content on their platforms, they will be taken to court in Spain and elsewhere,” she said.

Goldstein spent the past week visiting the Spanish Parliament to learn more about legislative initiatives against discrimination based on national origin. She also met with members of the Jewish community in Spain who have been subject to boycotts that restrict relations with companies that import Israeli products or have connections to Israeli citizens.

In the last week, the Lawfare Project has sent cease and desist letters to a number of search engines, including Google and Yahoo, with possible action planned against Twitter.

“Google, Yahoo and Twitter are all hosting antisemitic websites and content on their platforms, which is a clear violation of Spanish law,” said the Lawfare Project’s Spanish counsel, Ignacio Wenley Palacios. “This cannot be allowed to continue. If they do not respond positively to the cease and desist letters sent last week, we will file lawsuits against them.”
500 Icelandic physicians back bill to outlaw circumcision
Hundreds of physicians in Iceland and some of Belgium’s top doctors came out in support of a bill proposing to criminalize nonmedical circumcision of boys in the Scandinavian island nation.

The approximately 500 Icelandic physicians who backed the bill that was submitted last month to the parliament cited the World Medical Association’s Declaration of Helsinki on ethical principles.

“Potential complications should offset the benefits” of male circumcision, “which are few,” the Icelandic physicians wrote in a joint statement published Wednesday.

Advocates of male circumcision include many physicians who believe it reduces the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and genital infections.

In Belgium, several prominent physicians, including Guy T’Sjoen of Ghent University Hospital, told the De Morgen daily they also support a ban.

“As a physician, I find it very regrettable that we have thousands of unnecessary circumcisions annually of boys who can’t have their say about it,” he said in an interview published Tuesday.
German Olympic skater sparks Twitter outrage with ‘Schindler’s List’ routine
A German figure skater earned the ire of Twitter Friday with an Olympic routine choreographed to the theme music to Holocaust movie, “Schindler’s List.”

Nicole Schott was slammed by social media users for her choice of music — a haunting violin theme used in the 1993 film about German factory owner Oskar Schindler who saved thousands of Jews from the Nazis.

USA TODAY sports columnist Nancy Armour wrote that, “No one should be skating to ‘Schindler’s List.'”

Ariel Helwani, another sports journalist, felt it was particularly inappropriate to have a German competitor dancing to a Holocaust-themed melody.

That view was echoed by Karen Gesell, an American figure skating coach.

“No matter how it is skated and after all these years I still have a problem with a non Jewish athlete, representing Germany, skating to ‘Schindler’s List,'” she wrote.
Royal Spanish Academy to open Ladino academy in Israel
The Royal Spanish Academy, the main institution which establishes and reinforces the use of the Spanish language worldwide, announced the creation of the National Ladino Academy in Israel.

Based in Madrid, Spain, the Royal Spanish Academy, or RAE, is the institution that centralized the normative use of the language among 23 national institutions of the Hispanic world, mostly located in Central America and Latin America.

The new academy in Israel was announced Tuesday by RAE and the president of the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language, Darío Villanueva, during a news conference following a two-day academic convention on Judeo-Spanish in Madrid.

Israel will be the 24th branch of the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language, or ASALE.

Ladino, sometimes referred to as Judeo-Spanish, is an endangered species in the linguistic world. Some estimates say less than 100,000 people currently know how to speak Ladino. (h/t Zvi)
Ohio Hits a Record $200 Million in Israel Bonds
The Ohio Treasurer’s Office purchased $52.8 million in Israel bonds on Feb. 15 to increase the state’s holding to a whopping $200 million — the first time a state has reached that figure in US history, according to the treasurer’s office.

“First and foremost, we’re making this investment because it’s a good investment for the taxpayers of Ohio,” Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel told the Cleveland Jewish News. “Second, we’re making this investment to combat the bigotry of the [BDS] movement. Third, we’re making this investment to stand with the only country in the Middle East that shares American values.”

Israel bonds are the only foreign bond held by the Ohio Treasurer’s Office, said Mandel, adding that he believes Israel bonds are mutually beneficial to both Israel and Ohio.

“I believe a strong America is good for a strong Israel, and a strong Israel is good for a strong America,” he said. “Whenever the economy and the backbone of each country is strong, it’s good for the other nation as well.”

Michael Siegal, a member of the international board of directors of Israel Bonds and chairman of the board of trustees at the Jewish Agency for Israel, praised the purchase. “I think it shows a strong commitment to democratic principles on both sides of the water,” he said.

Gary Gross, chairman of the board of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, also expressed his gratitude to the state, the treasurer’s office, and in particular, to Mandel for the investment.
Israel Donates 50 Wheelchairs to Needy Children in South Africa
Fifty colorful, lightweight child-sized wheelchairs from Israeli nonprofit organization Wheelchairs of Hope are being distributed to needy disabled five- to nine-year-olds in South Africa through the South African chapter of WIZO (Women’s International Zionist Organization) and the Israeli Embassy in South Africa.

The inexpensive, low-maintenance wheelchairs were conceptualized by Israeli couple Pablo Kaplan and Chava Rotshtein as a humanitarian mission to help children with disabilities in developing countries. The chairs were developed with the aid of professionals at ALYN Hospital in Jerusalem, a pediatric and adolescent rehabilitation center.

Bearing stickers with the message “To the children of South Africa with love from Israel,” the wheelchairs are being donated mainly through the Maitland Cottage Children’s Orthopedic Hospital in Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital in Johannesburg, The Give a Child a Family organization in Margate and Umduduzi Hospice Care for Children in Durban.

In South Africa, an estimated 600,000 disabled children cannot go to school because their parents cannot afford a wheelchair.

“The idea is not the chair itself, but the mobility and independence it gives to children who would otherwise not have any access to school or community life,” Kaplan said.
What We Thought of the Rev. Billy Graham
His willingness to embrace Israel is significant because the world in which he made his mark as an international religious celebrity was not one in which Jews were widely accepted. Nor was his advocacy for Zionism rooted in dispensationalist beliefs about Jews being converted and bringing on the end of days. Unlike some Evangelicals — and in spite of the fact that conversions were a prominent part of his ministry — Graham opposed proselytizing Jews, reminding Christians that seeking to impose faith on those who resisted such overtures was wrong.

Seen in that context, a Jewish rejection of Graham and the tens of millions of other Evangelicals not only makes no sense, but also is deeply self-destructive. Why continue to question the good intentions of people who not only think well of Israel, but also donate generously to charities that help Jews (as Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein’s International Fellowship of Christians and Jews has proved) and who only vote for candidates that support Israel with a single-minded mindset that most Jews reject.

In remembering Billy Graham, Jews can acknowledge his flaws, but they must also understand how much good he did not just for his own flock of believers, but for them as well. At a time when Israel remains beset by hatred and many are urging boycotts rooted in antisemitic animosity, friends like Billy Graham — and all the many other evangelicals who followed in his footsteps in support of Israel — should be embraced, rather than disdained. To do otherwise says more about our own prejudices against Christians than it does about the shortcomings of Evangelicals.
Israel appoints first female ultra-Orthodox judge
The Judicial Selection Committee on Thursday appointed Havi Toker to serve in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, making her Israel’s first female ultra-orthodox judge.

Toker, 41, was born in England and grew up in Bnei Brak as the eldest of 12 brothers and sisters in a well-known ultra-Orthodox family.

She began her legal career in 2003 and has since spent time clerking in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, before working as an attorney in the police investigators unit followed by the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office.

The mother-of-four’s nomination was widely praised in Haredi media.

According to the ultra-Orthodox Kikar Hashabat website, Toker defines herself as “modern Haredi,” but a friend told the outlet that she is more Haredi than modern, “even though her eldest son serves in the army.”
Ex-NBA Star Stoudemire Launches Line of Israeli Kosher-for-Passover Wines
Along with being a six-time NBA All-Star, Amar’e Stoudemire can add Israeli wine maker to his resume.

On Tuesday, Stoudemire launched a line of kosher-for-Passover Israeli wine at a news conference in New York, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.

“It’s a blessing for me and my family to be able to produce such great wines from a land like the land of Israel, so we’re constantly counting our blessings for that,” Stoudemire told reporters.

The line includes two red wine blends and one Cabernet Savignon. They are all produced, in limited quantity, at the Tulip Winery in Kfar Tikva. The wines are currently on sale in New York and New Jersey, just in time for Purim.

In 2016, Stoudemire signed a 2-year deal to play basketball with Hapoel Jerusalem, where he is also a part-owner. After helping the team win the Israel Basketball League Cup, he retired from playing last year.

During this time, Stoudemire started talking with the Israel Wine Producers Association. “Once I moved to Israel, it was the perfect connection to meet with the vineyards and go to the tastings and figure out the different blends for each bottle,” said Stoudemire.

“I prefer to keep the wines strictly from the grapes in Israel,” he said. “It’s my way of giving back to the land. I try to do what I can to stay rooted.”



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From AP:
Two Trump administration officials say the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem will open in May to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel declaring independence.

The officials say Congress is being notified of the impending move on Friday. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed off on the security plan for the new embassy on Thursday.

The officials weren't authorized to discuss the plan publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

A ribbon-cutting is being planned for mid-May, they said. Israel proclaimed independence on May 14, 1948.

A May opening would mark a significant acceleration. Vice President Mike Pence had said previously the embassy would open by the end of 2019, and Tillerson had said it could take years.

Initially, the embassy will consist of just a few offices inside an existing U.S. facility in Jerusalem. Opening a full-fledged embassy will likely cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Trump administration is considering an offer from Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson to pay for at least part of the new embassy.
Israel's Independence Day this year comes out (according to the Hebrew calendar and adjustments to avoid Sabbath violations) on April 19, not May 14.

But "Nakba Day" is celebrated every year on May 15th.

I guess if the Palestinians are going to act upset at the fact of Israel's existence on Nakba Day, they might as well add another reason and be upset at the fact that Jerusalem is Israel's capital as well.







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From Ian:

US ‘to move embassy to Jerusalem on May 14’ — day of independence declaration
The US is planning to officially move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem on May 14, 2018 — the 70th anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence, as well as Washington’s recognition of the Jewish state — Channel 10 and Hadashot news reported Friday.

According to Hadashot the embassy will officially announce the plans later in the day. The report was confirmed to Channel 10 by high-ranking Israeli officials.

The Times of Israel has not confirmed the report.

US officials had previously said the move could take many more months, and perhaps years.

Earlier Friday four US officials told The Associated Press that the Trump administration was considering an offer from Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson to pay for at least part of the new embassy.

Lawyers at the State Department are looking into the legality of accepting private donations to cover some or all of the embassy costs, the administration officials said. The discussions are occurring as the new embassy clears its final bureaucratic hurdles.

On Thursday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ended weeks of delay by signing off on a security plan for moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city, according to the officials, who weren’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly and demanded anonymity.

Sheldon Adelson offers to help pay for US Jerusalem embassy — report
The Trump administration is considering an offer from Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson to pay for at least part of a new US embassy in Jerusalem, four US officials told The Associated Press.

Lawyers at the State Department are looking into the legality of accepting private donations to cover some or all of the embassy costs, the administration officials said. The discussions are occurring as the new embassy clears its final bureaucratic hurdles. On Thursday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ended weeks of delay by signing off on a security plan for moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city, according to the officials, who weren’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly and demanded anonymity.

In one possible scenario, the administration would solicit contributions not only from Adelson but potentially from other donors in the evangelical and American Jewish communities, too. One official said Adelson, a Las Vegas casino magnate and staunch supporter of Israel, had offered to pay the difference between the total cost — expected to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars — and what the administration is able to raise.

Under any circumstance, letting private citizens cover the costs of an official government building would mark a significant departure from historical US practice. In the Jerusalem case, it would add yet another layer of controversy to Trump’s politically charged decision to move the embassy, given Adelson’s longstanding affiliation with right-wing Israeli politics.
Hotovely: '10 more countries in talks to move embassies to Jerusalem'
Israel is currently holding talks with 10 different nations over the possible relocation of their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely revealed Thursday.

Following President Donald Trump’s December 6th announcement that he had ordered the US State Department to begin work transferring the US mission to Israel from Tel Aviv to the Israeli capital, just one other country, Guatemala, followed suit.

Later that month, however, Hotovely hinted that other countries may also be interested in transferring their embassies.

On Thursday, Hotovely told American Jewish leaders that Israel is currently engaged in talks with 10 different countries regarding the relocation of their embassies.

Speaking with members of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, currently visiting Israel as part of their annual leadership mission to Israel, Hotovely briefed leaders on the progress made towards securing the embassy relocations.

"We are in a dialogue with over ten countries to transfer their embassies to our capital, Jerusalem," said Hotovely.

"We want to see at least another 10 countries that will transfer their embassies to Jerusalem after the US in the coming years."



Caroline Glick: Unlike Obama, Trump Walks the Walk on Russia
In her daily press briefing Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders rejected the contention that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russian nationals for interfering with the 2016 election proves the Trump administration is soft on Russia.

To back up her point, Sanders drew a distinction between former president Barack Obama’s policies towards Russia and President Donald Trump’s Russia policy, and insisted Trump has been much tougher on Russia than Obama was.

Sanders was right.

Not only is the administration tough on Russia, but its toughness is also a function of a hard-headed strategy to diminish Russian power in Syria and throughout the Middle East.

Russia was able to accrue its power in the Middle East through its intervention in Syria on behalf of the Bashar Assad regime and his Iranian overlords. Russia felt free to deploy its forces to Syria in September 2015 – for the first time since the Cold War — due to Obama’s strategic shift away from America’s Middle East allies and towards Iran.

The Trump administration’s strategy is not a rhetorical flourish. No senior official has spelled it out. Indeed, Secretary of Defense James Mattis has all but denied it. Nevertheless, U.S. moves on the ground signal strongly that America’s goal is to diminish – with the hope of eliminating – Russia’s power in Syria.
Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg: Why Israel Must Respond to Iranian Aggression with Disproportionate Force
Establishing and maintaining deterrence is an uncertain art, but it is the best strategy for avoiding costly wars. For Israel, deterrence has always been the core of national security strategy, and this is still the case in the escalating conflict with the Iranian regime.

An overconfident leadership in Tehran, firmly ensconced in Syria in alliance with the Hizbullah forces based in Lebanon, will continue to probe and challenge the IDF, looking for weakness. By defining red lines and credibly threatening to impose high costs on the Iranian leadership, Israel seeks to prevent a catastrophic outcome.

But Iran and Israel have no direct means of communication. Misunderstandings filtered through a prism of distrust makes deterrence management far more precarious. The potential for miscommunications and exaggerated threat perceptions is compounded by the overheated rhetoric from Tehran, proclaiming the imminent eradication of Israel.

Israelis remember the late Iranian president Rafsanjani's declaration that Israel could be destroyed with a single nuclear weapon, and pay close attention to Iran's oft-stated Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic cartoon contests.

Iran's leaders continue to expand their power, whether in Syria, Yemen or other venues, through brinksmanship, and where they see weakness, via more aggressive means. This expansionist strategy makes deterrence towards Iran both vital and difficult to achieve.

Given these factors, what might seem to be a disproportionate Israeli response is rational and necessary in order to send an unambiguous warning as the best means of reinforcing deterrence.

The alternative is preventive attack - a less than optimal solution, but one which Israel has contemplated and prepared more than once.
Caroline Glick: Defending the rule of law
Netanyahu’s opponents insist this isn’t personal. This is about the rule of law. If he isn’t forced from office, they say, the rule of law in Israel will be undermined and Israeli democracy will be dangerously weakened.

His critics are right that these investigations endanger Israel’s rule of law. But they have the process and the threat backward.

On their face, these probes are neither supported by sufficient evidence to bring a conviction, nor do they serve the public interest. These are the only two considerations that state prosecutors are supposed to be guided by when they decide whether or not to indict criminal suspects.

In Netanyahu’s case, the police’s insufficiently substantiated, arguably specious claims are the subject of around the clock media coverage, fed by constant leaks from police investigators and underpinned by middle-of-the-night arrests of respected citizens. The undisguised goal of this media coverage is to cultivate a sense among the public – without bringing a case to court – that Netanyahu and his friends and advisers are evil crooks who stop at nothing to get their way.

If these investigations are successful in forcing Netanyahu from office, he will not be the most significant victim of this abuse. If he goes, every current and future politician will know that at any time and under any circumstances he is liable to find himself and his loved ones destroyed by abusive criminal probes. Operating under such terror, no elected leader will ever move beyond the boundaries dictated for him by politicized police investigators, prosecutors, journalists and judges.

In other words, if Netanyahu is forced from office, Israeli democracy will be critically, and possibly irreparably, debilitated.
Jimmy Carter warns against one-state for Israel-Palestine
Former US president Jimmy Carter is warning that the two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "is being overtaken by a one-state reality which will have dire consequences for Israel in the long-term."

Carter concluded that the establishment of an independent Palestinian state "is in Israel's best interest."

In a statement to the Security Council read Thursday by former US ambassador Richard Murphy, Carter said that a two-state solution "must be anchored on 1967 borders with agreed upon adjustments and with Jerusalem as the capital for both Israelis and Palestinians."

He said Gaza "is teetering on the brink of a humanitarian disaster" and warned that another war in the Hamas-ruled territory is "a real possibility—and the consequences would be catastrophic."
EU parliament politicians call for a full ban of Hezbollah
Members of the European Union parliament sent a letter on Thursday to EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, urging her to classify all of the Lebanese organization Hezbollah as a terrorist entity.

MEP Anders Vistisen, one of the three co-initiators of the letter, said:

"It’s outrageous that the European Union still has not denounced Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization. Hezbollah's growing arsenal and entanglement in regional conflicts severely destabilizes certain countries and the wider Middle East. It is high time to acknowledge that Islamist inspired terrorism is not only a threat to the Middle East, but is also the top threat to Europe's security."

The letter was signed by a cross-section of 60 members of the European Parliament. The other two co-initiators were Lars Adaktusson and Péter Niedermüller.

Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid was in Brussels at the time of the MEP letter submission and said: “As part of an ongoing effort led by myself and my friend congressman Ted Deutch [Democrat-Florida], I raised this issue today with the Ambassadors to the EU and with Foreign Minister Mogherini. Hezbollah is one entity and that entity is a terror organization. It is time for the European Union to ban the entirety of Hezbollah and stop the money, recruitment of terrorists and shows of public support which are taking place on European soil. This letter is a welcome initiative and sooner or later the European Union will have to do the right thing.”

MEP Adaktusson said, “In order to stop Hezbollah's extensive terrorist activities, the EU approach has to change. Hezbollah is one united organization, and the EU policy cannot be based on a pretend division of this terrorist organization into a civilian and a military wing.”
Palestinian killed after attacking Israeli soldiers, military says
Security forces killed a Palestinian man on Thursday in the West Bank after he attacked them, an IDF spokeswoman said.

During a violent demonstration in Jericho, Yassin al-Saradih, 33, attacked soldiers with an iron bar, the spokeswoman stated.

The soldiers then proceeded to arrest Saradih, in the process of which they fatally wounded him, she added.

Surveillance camera footage shared on Twitter shows a man running at soldiers with a large object.

One soldier then shoots the man, who immediately falls to the ground. Subsequently, a group of soldiers restrain the man, while beating him with their weapons and kicking him.

Thereafter, the soldiers drag the man away.

The army spokeswoman said the footage was of the confrontation between the soldiers and Saradih.

Saradih also tried to seize a soldier’s weapon, according to the army spokeswoman.
IDF Officer Debates Former Syrian Military Officer on Al Jazeera
Adraee, who Tablet profiled earlier this month, is known for engaging Hezbollah fighters in Arabic on social media—one of his exchanges even provoked dueling columns in the Hezbollah-aligned Lebanese newspaper al Akhbar. He and Qirata debated in Arabic, with Adraee appearing on the Qatari state television network in his IDF uniform.

Unsurprisingly, the main subject of discussion was the recent shooting down of an Israeli fighter jet by Syrian air defenses. In response, Israel claimed to have destroyed half of Assad’s air defenses. “What benefit is there to one downed Israeli jet when moments later, half of the Syrian anti-aircraft missile system was destroyed?” the show’s host, Faisal al-Qasem, asked his Syrian guest. “Is the Syrian pride in downing an Israeli plane after 30 years similar to the joy of a paraplegic who succeeds in moving his fingers for a few seconds?”

Qirata, on his end, was unperturbed by the question, answering that “The downing of an Israeli plane is not merely a passing event and it is a game changer,” he claimed.

But Adraee had the last word. “Qirata lives in Spain and therefore cannot hear the sound of Israeli aerial superiority before and after this incident,” he said. “If he were to ask his friends and relatives in Damascus whether they hear (sense) the Israeli superiority they would respond in the affirmative.”
Jewish worshipers find swastikas defacing holy site in Palestinian village
Jewish worshipers found swastikas and graffiti spray-painted on the outer walls of the tomb of Joshua bin Nun in the northern West Bank early Thursday morning, officials said.

The Samaria Regional Council said that roughly 1,000 Israelis had arrived at the holy site in the village of Kifl Haris, northwest of the Ariel settlement, to pray and study Jewish texts on what they believe to be the anniversary of the death of Moses, Joshua’s predecessor.

Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan, who accompanied the worshipers Thursday morning, referred to the vandalism a “hate crime,” and called on security forces to apprehend those responsible.

“This is a serious event. The tomb of Joshua Bin Nun is a holy site with historic importance of the first order,” he said.

Other than the graffiti, the mass visit to the site passed without incident.


Abbas taken to Baltimore hospital for routine exams
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was taken to a Baltimore hospital Thursday for a routine checkup, Palestinians said.

Abbas, 82, said he had been given a clean bill of health after visiting Johns Hopkins Hospital while on a visit to the US to address the United Nations.

“Our presence here was a suitable chance for us to make some medical checks,” Abbas told Palestine TV, according to a Reuters translation. “We actually made those checks and we are out now and, thank God, all results are positive and are assuring. This is God’s blessing on us.”

Initial reports had suggested that Abbas was rushed to the hospital, but Palestinian civil affairs minister Hussein Al Sheikh said the visit was routine.

A spokesperson for Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital, which treats many international patients, could not confirm Abbas’s visit.

Abbas had originally been scheduled to travel to Venezuela on Thursday, according to Reuters.
IsraellyCool: That Time Mahmoud Abbas Changed His Story About the Palestinian Refugees
We already know that PA President Mahmoud Abbas loves to change the palestinian narrative he puts forward. For instance, remember his claim at the UN the other day that the palestinians are “the descendants of the Canaanites that lived in the land of Palestine 5,000 years ago”? Well, he’s also claimed they descend from the Canaanites of 3,500 years ago, and the Philistines (a completely different people to the Canaanites) of 6,000 years ago. This all also contradicts a claim by his colleague Saeb Erekat, who claimed they are descended from Canaanites of 10,000 year ago.

Well, I’ve found another of his changing stories, this time regarding the palestinian refugees.

In 2014, Abbas told students in Ramallah:
Someone asked me: How [could we receive] Israeli citizenship? I said: You are returning to the state of Israel. After all, the refugees, numbered at five million, and their children – were all expelled from the 1948 territories. There is no refugee from Nablus or Ramallah. They are all from Tiberius, Acre, Safed, Nazareth, Jaffa or Beersheba. If you want to return to Israel and receive an Israeli citizenship or not – you are free [to decide].”

But almost 40 years earlier, he was quoted in the March 1976 issue of Falastine a-Thaura (then the official journal of the PLO in Beirut) as saying

“The Arab armies entered Palestine to protect the Palestinians from the Zionist tyranny but, instead, they abandoned them, forced them to emigrate and to leave their homeland, and threw them into prisons similar to the ghettos in which the Jews used to live.”
Hamas: Time to Prep for Rule Without Abbas
Fatah criticized the Hamas terrorist group on Wednesday after spokespeople for Gaza’s Hamas rulers said that Palestinians should be preparing for life after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the PA has finished its historic role.

The Palestinian president gave a speech on Tuesday before the UN Security Council in which he presented what the PA called the Palestinian Peace Initiative.

“Abbas’ speech doesn’t represent the prevailing national Palestinian position that the Oslo Accords should be canceled and that there should be no return to negotiations,” said a special statement released by Hamas in reaction to the speech.

Hamas accused Abbas of trying to “revive the process of a political settlement that has already died while begging for the resumption of negotiation.”

Official Ousama Hamdan told media outlets that, “The Palestinian Authority has finished its path and the Palestinians are preparing for the age that comes after Abbas.”

Hamdan also addressed comments given to Israeli media by the Secretary General of the Executive Committee of the PLO, Dr. Saeb Erekat, who told Israel’s Channel 2 that the Palestinian Authority has ceased to exist “and even though President Abbas will be angry with me, the true president of the Palestinian Authority is Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.”
Qatar Says Gaza Aid Spares Israel War, Shows Doha Does Not Back Hamas
Qatar is helping Israel avoid another Gaza war by funneling relief money to impoverished Palestinians with Washington’s blessing, a Qatari diplomat said on Thursday, describing the cooperation as evidence of Doha’s distance from Islamist Hamas.

Since coming under an embargo last year by its US-allied Gulf Arab neighbors, Qatar has made its aid to the Gaza Strip — and the coordination with Israel needed for disbursement — a focus of its diplomatic contacts with the Trump administration.

“Gaza is on the verge of collapsing,” Ambassador Mohammed Al-Emadi told Reuters in an interview in Jerusalem, after he met Israel‘s regional cooperation minister and security officials.

“This is what we are preventing: a war, the next war. We don’t want the next war,” he said of some $800 million in Qatari assistance to Gaza since the last Israel-Hamas conflict in 2014.

“The work that we are doing is keeping peace for both nations,” said the Qatari relief director for the Gaza Strip.

Israel has voiced alarm at the deepening poverty in Gaza, which it and neighboring Egypt keep under embargo in what they say is a precaution against Hamas arms-smuggling.
Amid Energy Crisis, Gaza Might Dump Raw Sewage Into the Mediterranean Sea
Officials in the Gaza Strip announced on Wednesday that if Hamas doesn’t loosen its grip on fuel provisions to the coastal enclave’s towns, they will be forced to begin dumping sewage directly into the Mediterranean Sea.

“The beaches of the Gaza Strip will be completely closed, and sewage will be pumped into the sea because the municipalities are unable to provide fuel” for treatment facilities, said Gaza City municipal head Nizar Hejazi.

“We announce a state of emergency in the cities and municipalities of the Gaza Strip,” he added, noting that services to residents would be cut in half.

Last week, Gaza’s only power plant stopped producing electricity due to a lack of fuel.

Pollution from Gaza has been a decades-long concern for Israelis and other nations on the Mediterranean coast. The local waste-treatment facility, built with $100 million of international funding, does not fully function because of Hamas’s refusal to allocate electricity.
U.N.: Hamas could lose control of Gaza to ‘radicals’
“Radical groups,” among them Islamic Jihad, could wrest control of Gaza from Hamas, thereby opening the door for outside forces to control the Strip, UN Special Coordinator to the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov warned in Jerusalem on Thursday.

The reconciliation process between Hamas and Fatah is frozen at the moment, Mladenov said. Palestinian Authority President and Fatah Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s punitive economic measures have brought life in Gaza to a standstill, he added.

“People are not getting salaries. There is no electricity and no water. That increases the likelihood of the radicals taking over [from Hamas] with an agenda that would be more militant.”

New groups and outsides forces are active in the Strip, including “a number of Salafi elements” that are already operating aggressively, he said.

“What we see is one organization – watch it carefully over the next few months – Islamic Jihad, really coming out of the woodwork in Gaza,” Mladenov told the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations.

“All of the rockets that have been fired toward Israel from December of last year, came from Islamic Jihad,” he said. “This is an organization that has open links to one country [Iran] beyond the region, very open links.
Egypt, Hamas agree on lifting of Gaza border restrictions — report
Egypt has reportedly reached an agreement with Hamas, the terror group that controls the Gaza Strip, to lift restrictions on the coastal enclave.

According to a Channel 10 report Friday quoting “trustworthy” Palestinian sources, Egypt is weighing a number of measures to alleviate the poor living conditions in Gaza and has agreed to permit a freer flow of goods through the Rafah Border Crossing.

Implementing the decision, however, is dependent on Israel’s agreement, the report said.

Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas, has been in Cairo the last two weeks. The terror group said earlier this month his visit would include discussions on the economic crisis “that put Gaza on the edge of the abyss.”

Israeli military and international officials have increasingly warned of the deteriorating conditions in the Strip and the potential for renewed violence between Hamas and Israel.
Iran seen uniting Lebanon proxies against Israel, but Hezbollah turns inward
Ten days ago, the head of the powerful Iraqi Shiite militia Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba arrived in the Beirut suburb of Dahieh, a stronghold of Hezbollah, and visited the grave of Imad Mughniyeh, the former global operations chief of the Lebanese terror group, to mark 10 years since Mughniyeh was killed in a car bomb.

The attendance of the Iraqi movement’s secretary-general, Akram al-Kaabi’s, at the event commemorating a terrorist thought to be responsible for many bombings, kidnappings and assassinations sends a clear message to Israel: Hezbollah is not alone.

Kaabi made that warning explicit. “We in the Iraqi resistance stand with Hezbollah, and we will stand with Hezbollah in any Israeli attack or action against it,” Kaabi said.

The message being sent was that many regional militias, including al-Nujaba, will join with Hezbollah in its next war against Israel — a war that has already threatened by the organization’s head Hassan Nasrallah.
Europe Can’t Effectively Stop the U.S. from Reimposing Sanctions on Iran
At a recent European economic conference, the head of the EU’s Iran task force stated that, if the U.S. were to renew sanctions against Iran that had been removed pursuant to the 2015 nuclear deal, Europe need not go along. He cited the precedent of the 1990s, when Brussels used “blocking regulations” that shielded European companies from the effects of American sanctions on Iran and Libya. But, writes Richard Goldberg, the sanctions now in question are much tougher, and would give Europeans little choice in the matter:

[I]n 2010 . . . Congress passed a new law leveraging America’s greatest strength against the fulcrum of global commerce with Iran: financial transactions. After years of blacklisting most financial institutions in Iran for their involvement in various illicit activities, Congress recognized that it also needed to punish third parties for doing business with these criminal enterprises. Thus, it declared that any foreign bank that maintained a correspondent banking relationship with a designated Iranian bank would forfeit its banking relationships in the United States. . . .

If President Trump decided to enforce these sanctions again, banks around the world would immediately be at risk of losing their correspondent accounts in the United States. Blocking regulations might shield a company from American-levied fines, but they cannot shield a British bank from losing its access to the U.S. financial system. This time around, the downside of U.S. sanctions would far outweigh the upside of Iranian trade. . . . And while diplomats in Brussels may want to stare Trump down and see if he flinches, banks will not want to take that risk.

The British, French, and German governments could help avoid this potential crisis by taking a more thoughtful approach on the Iran deal. Agreeing to repudiate its sunset clauses would avoid a transatlantic train wreck today without violating the agreement for years to come. Demanding verification of the agreement with visits to Iranian military sites would be a step toward enforcing the deal, not breaking it.
Outrage as Iran justice minister set to address UN human rights meet
Critics voiced outrage Thursday that Iran’s justice minister will travel to Geneva next week to address the UN’s top human rights body, despite facing Swiss and EU sanctions over rights violations.

Alireza Avaie figures among some 100 government ministers and other dignitaries from around the world due to address the opening of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s main annual session.

Brussels and Bern have slapped sanctions on him, maintaining that as Tehran’s former top prosecutor he was “responsible for human rights violations, arbitrary arrests, denials of prisoners’ rights, and an increase in executions.”

According to exiled members of the Iranian opposition, he played a key role in a 1988 massacre of political prisoners.

Amnesty International has said nearly 5,000 prisoners were executed in a matter of months, while Iranian opposition groups put the figure closer to 30,000.
UN Watch: U.N. elects Syria to top post fighting “subjugation of peoples”
GENEVA, February 23, 2018 — A UN watchdog group is criticizing UN chief Antonio Guterres for his blessings delivered Thursday before an anachronistic UN committee charged with “decolonizing” the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar — at the same time as the 24-nation entity elected by acclamation the genocidal Syrian regime’s representative to a leadership post. “I commend this body’s contribution,” said Mr. Guterres.

UN Watch instead is calling on Mr. Guterres, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and the EU’s UN ambassadors to condemn the world body’s “absurd and morally obscene” election of Syria to a senior post on a decolonization committee that is charged with upholding fundamental human rights in opposing the “subjugation, domination and exploitation” of peoples — a propaganda victory that—like before—will be trumpeted by the Assad regime.

The election of Syrian ambassador Bashar Ja’afari took place this afternoon in the 2018 opening session of the UN’s Special Committee on Decolonization.

Chile and India Failed to Vote Like Democracies
Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch, said that outgoing President Michele Bachelet of Chile should be “ashamed” that her country joined the consensus vote, as should India. Both democracies sit on the 24-nation committee that elected the Assad regime’s candidate by acclamation.

UN Chief’s Moral Obligation to Speak Out
“It is incomprehensible for the UN on one day to lament the Syrian regime’s killing and wounding of hundreds of thousands of Syrians—to declare the regime guilty of a “monstrous campaign of annihilation” of its own people—and to then hand this gift of false legitimacy to the mass murderer Bashar al-Assad,” said Neuer.

“Today’s UN vote only helps the Assad regime portray itself a UN human rights arbiter. That’s an insult to Syria’s victims,” said Neuer. “Morally, Mr. Guterres should do the right thing and at the very least condemn the decision.”
Michael J. Totten: Russian Attack on US Troops in Syria Elicits Deafening Silence from Politicians and Press
You probably didn't hear this because few media organizations have even mentioned it, but Russia committed an act of war against the United States a little more than a week ago. No, this is not about more social media and election shenanigans. Russia mounted an armed assault against American soldiers and our allies in Syria, including Kurdish security forces affiliated with the People's Protection Units, or YPG, at a military base in the city of Deir Ezzor, the largest in eastern Syria. Russian combatants fought alongside Assad regime fighters and Shia militias armed, funded and directed by Iran.

Both the Pentagon and the Kremlin are going out of their way to keep this as quiet as possible. If you only read the New York Times story about the incident on February 13, you'd have to squint and zero in on the subtext. After the United States used air and drone strikes to obliterate incoming assailants, including dozens of Russians, American military spokespeople assured the press in calm tones that there was never any chance that Russian and American forces would clash directly in Deir Ezzor or anywhere else. The Kremlin, for its part, said any Russians who might have participated in the assault were mercenaries unaffiliated with the Russian armed forces.

The problem with the Kremlin statement is that Russian mercenaries in Syria are employed by the Wagner Group, which works for the Russian government, and, specifically, for Russia's Ministry of Defense, not for the Syrian or Iranian governments. And the problem with the American statement is that the Pentagon is asking us to assume that dozens of Russians were killed not by the bombs it had just dropped but by somebody else...or perhaps by spontaneous heart attacks or a catastrophic series of vehicle accidents.

Some fine reporters at Bloomberg News dug a bit deeper. First, on February 14, Henry Meyer and Stepan Kravchenko reported that wounded Russians were flown from the battlefield to hospitals administered by the Ministry of Defense in Moscow and St. Petersburg, belying the claim that they were freelancing for somebody else.


ISIS Destroyed Jonah's Tomb But Inadvertently Unearthed More Biblical Evidence
Archaeologists discovered an ancient palace and 2,700-year-old inscriptions about a biblical Assyrian king in tunnels the Islamic State dug under Jonah’s tomb.

ISIS bombed the biblical prophet’s tomb in 2014 and dug four tunnels beneath the Nineveh-located site to plunder artifacts and sell them on the black market. But where terrorists tried to wipe out the historical remnants, archaeologists recently made two, important biblical finds, according to Aleteia. Archaeologists announced in 2017 the sub-tomb tunnels led them to the accidental discovery of an ancient Assyrian palace. Their December 2017 published research recounts the rule of King Esarhaddon, who is mentioned in 2 Kings, Isaiah and Ezra.

“The palace of Esarhaddon, strong king, king of the world, king of Assyria, governor of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the kings of lower Egypt, upper Egypt and Kush [an ancient kingdom located south of Egypt in Nubia],” one translated inscription shows, according to Aleteia.

The inscriptions also avails Esarhaddon “reconstructed the temple of the god Aššur [the Assyrians’ main deity],” “renewed the statues of the great gods,” and rebuilt Babel and the city of Ésagila. Archaeologists also assert the king began rebuilding structures that were possibly the ancient Tower of Babel.



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