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Friday, January 20, 2017

From Ian:

The hateful whispers that make me want to move from London to Tel Aviv
There’s a train of thought among right-thinking people in London at the moment that Israel is culpable; that it is responsible for all the ills of the Palestinians, all the woes of the Middle East. If it weren’t for Israel, they say, the world would be a better place. If you go to a dinner party you can hear things that wouldn’t have sounded unfamiliar in 1930s Germany. They say they’re just ‘anti-Zionist’ but to be anti-Zionist is to be anti-Semitic. No one is anti- any other country. No one questions, say, Iran’s right to exist.
I’ve voted Labour in the past, but these days people in the Labour party all too often say things about Jews having big noses, or controlling the media, or somehow engineering the attack on the World Trade Center. Israel is behind Isis, they say. At demonstrations people hold up placards that say Hitler was right. Those words, exactly. Much of Labour barely raises an eyebrow.
If only those people who wish ill on Israel, on Jews, could know what it’s like to hear their hatred — to live in London and hear that Jews are the puppet-masters of the world, that Israel only helps in disaster zones to harvest organs. My father would have known. He spent time in the 1940s in Nazi concentration camps, because he was Jewish. His parents and sister were murdered for the same reason. My father would feel the same dread chill, and know — first-hand — where all this blame and hatred of Jews leads. If you think I exaggerate, then tell me; where do you think it leads? It may be only the first ugly murmur, from stupid people, but it won’t end there.
I’ve been to Tel Aviv four times in five years, and it seems to me a place of positive things: hope, investment in the future, strength and patience and humour. This is why I’m thinking of moving.
David Collier: Helpless before the hatred at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)
This was my first anti-Israel university event of 2017. The start of an extremely busy time in the annual calendar. Apartheid Week, an intensive period of vicious anti-Israel activity on campus is only a month away. To highlight this intensity, this was one of only three events taking place I could have chosen. The other two were at SOAS, and Salisbury.
It was also my first event since Al -Jazeera launched a visible attack on British Jews, via an undercover operation driven from within a deeply antisemitic paradigm. As I pointed out at the time, even though sane people watched the show and saw nothing, for the antisemite, the show was the delivery of proof of Jewish conspiracy. So how would this play out on the UK campus?
The event itself was at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) campus, ‘discussing the BDS movement, its impact and importance’. Hosted by the QMUL Friends of Palestine Society, it was a Friends of Al Aqsa (FOA) event, and a bag of FOA material was handed out to all attendees.
On the panel was Ben White, Malaka Mohammed, Prof. Moshe Machover and Shamiul Joarder. The range of hate that lines up against Israel. Islamic thought, the Palestinian, the Marxist Jew, and well, the other, the British guy who attaches himself to Islamic thought and Jewish Marxists, to push a highly dubious and quintessentially hypocritical humanitarian cause.
The evening began with a short clip. I have provided just 10 seconds below, all that is needed to highlight the disgraceful distortion of history that is behind the BDS campaign:

Europe's Jihad against Israel
Resolution 2334 was as sickening a surrender to the Arab-Muslim jihad in the name of "peace," as was the surrender of UK Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to Adolf Hitler at Munich in September 1938.
The UN before 1967 did not refer to the West Bank and Gaza as "occupied" territories when they were "occupied" by Egypt and Jordan after the 1948-49 war, which the Arab states launched against Israel. The Arab states then were the "occupiers" of parts of Palestine west of Jordan until 1967, and rejected any notion of Jews having a historic connection with Palestine, which they claimed was an integral part of Arab lands.
From the time of the Balfour Declaration and the League's Mandate for Palestine until the UN Resolution 181 (1947), reference to Palestine meant land with historic connection to the Jewish people. It was on this basis that the Jews' (Zionist) claim to reconstitute their national home was given legal recognition by the League, which the UN, as its successor, was legally bound to protect.
From the Arab perspective of religion and politics there never was a "Palestinian" people, or nation, distinct and separate from Arabs as a people or nation. The jihad called by the Mufti Haj Amin el-Husseini against Jews in Palestine after 1921 was in the name of "Arabs" and Islam, and it has so remained since. According to the Hamas charter, "the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [Trust] upon all Muslim generations till the day of Resurrection."
Jerusalem, its principal city, was built by King David, a Jew, some ten centuries earlier.

South Africa Cannot Claim Ancestral Land Yet Deny Jewish People the Same Right
I have supported the ANC for decades, and thus far resisted the temptation to call out the organisation with regard to its foreign policy towards Israel, but now my silence borders on sinful. The policy is disturbing because it disregards the fundamental prerequisites of foreign policy – clarity, transparency and consistency.
It has become the norm to publicly castigate Israel as a reliable scapegoat and thus redirect the public’s attention elsewhere, which is exactly what transpired soon after the ANC’s January 8 statement.
The ANC’s view on Israel is divorced from history and reality; and this is surprising, given our own recent history of dispossession.
Any people that have ever felt the yolk of colonialism should understand the plight of the Jewish people in Israel. Colonial empires thrived on dispossessing indigenous people of their land, and the only difference between us Africans and the Jews is that we were internally displaced, while the Jewish people were dispossessed and exiled.
Is it illegal or undesirable for Jewish exiles to return to their ancestral homeland, and do exiles forfeit their right to do so because they fled persecution? In the case of Israel, the world deems this undesirable – but then how is it possible for our president, Jacob Zuma, and others in the liberation movement to return from exile in 1990, yet condemn Israel for settlements and occupation?
The ANC singles out Israel for special attention based on a false pretext, yet it endorses the One China Policy – which treats Taiwan and Tibet as mere provinces of China. The Dalai Lama has been in exile since 1959, yet both the ANC and our government do not support the aspirations of the Tibetan people. The same applied when Russia annexed Crimea.
Caroline Glick: Netanyahu's shameless opponents
Over the past week, Israel was subjected to the diplomatic equivalent of a lynch mob in Paris. It received unexpected assistance from Britain, which twice in two days departed from its traditional anti-Israel stance and blocked the Paris conference’s anti-Israel declaration from being adopted as the official position of the European Union.
Also over the past week, outgoing US President Barack Obama, outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry and outgoing UN Ambassador Samantha Power used their final appearances in office to blast Israel.
On the other hand, President-elect Donald Trump and his team played a key role in bringing about Britain’s change of heart toward Israel.
While these events have been widely covered by the foreign media, they have barely been mentioned in the Hebrew broadcast media, from which the majority of Israelis receive their news.
Instead, led by Channel 2 with its monopoly ratings share, the local media spent the past week covering almost nothing but the criminal probes being carried out against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Divest This: In With the New
While America is Israel’s most important ally, it is not her only one. Fretful news stories of Israel’s impending isolation ignore that the nation’s diplomatic position is stronger today than it’s been in years, even among sworn enemies who understand the real threats to their regimes (not to mention their necks). Similarly, Israel’s growing success beyond politics (in areas like business, technology, medicine, academia and the arts) means that alliances now reach well beyond politics: into commerce, science, the academy and other important components of civil society. Indeed, it is only because of Israel’s success that there are so many products the BDSers can boycott, and so much investment they’re fighting to end.
So in addition to increasing support within the different branches and levels of American government, Israel must continue to expand friendships and relationships across the planet, regardless of how things play out in American politics (over which Israel and her supporters have little to no control) over the coming years.
With regard to what we can and cannot impact, remember that Israel’s greatest achievements and triumphs (the creation of the state, in-gathering of exiles, victory against overwhelming odds in the wars of 1948 and 1967) all took place before the current alliance with the US came into being in the 1970s. This is not to diminish the criticality of that alliance for a small nation still targeted by much larger and more powerful enemies. But it does point out that things tend to go best for the Jews when we count on ourselves, rather than others, and take responsibility for our own history – if for no other reason than our own self-respect.
Despite detente, ancient Hebrew text ‘proving’ Jewish ties to Jerusalem set to stay in Istanbul
Jerusalem and Ankara may have restored diplomatic relations in 2016, but the long-awaited thaw won’t see the return anytime soon of one of the most important ancient Hebrew inscriptions, found in Jerusalem and currently held in Istanbul, Israeli officials say.
The Siloam Inscription, a 2,700-year-old ancient Hebrew text that provides concrete historical support for a Biblical event, is one of three ancient Jewish inscriptions unearthed in the Holy Land currently owned by the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.
Despite an emphatic speech in October proclaiming the Siloam inscription’s significance to Jerusalem and the Jewish people, and the newly restored diplomatic relations with Turkey, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has taken no steps to secure the artifact’s repatriation, his office confirmed to The Times of Israel.
The ancient Hebrew text was discovered in 1880 in a tunnel hewn into a limestone hillside outside the Old City sometime in the late 8th century BCE.
JPost Editorial: Pollard’s time
By the time US President Barack Obama reads this editorial he will be winding up the last few hours of his presidency. During his last days in office, Obama has used his clemency power to commute the prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, a former US Army analyst who was convicted of espionage in July 2013 by a military court after she turned over a massive cache of defense and diplomatic records to the organization WikiLeaks.
Obama has granted a total of 1,385 commutations, establishing himself as the most clement president in recent history. Obama has issued the most combined commutations and pardons of any president since Harry Truman, and more than Reagan, Clinton and both Bushes combined.
We are asking Obama to consider one more commutation – that of Jonathan Pollard, a US Navy civilian intelligence analyst who spied for Israel over a span of 18 months in the 1980s.
Pollard has paid his price. Before being paroled in 2015 and placed under highly restrictive conditions, he spent more than 10,000 days in a series of maximum and medium-security prisons. After being sentenced, he was incarcerated in a federal prison hospital in Springfield, Missouri, where he was reportedly “routinely deprived of his clothing and his eyeglasses in attempts to humiliate and ‘break’ him.”
In 1988, he was transferred to a maximum security prison in Marion, Illinois, where he remained in solitary confinement until 1993, when he was moved to a medium- security facility in Butner, North Carolina.
What’s more, Pollard was never tried in a court of law.
President Trump puts fight against ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ at heart of inauguration speech
In a forceful, uncompromising inauguration address, US President Donald Trump placed the battle against Islamic extremism at the heart of his foreign policy as he took office on Friday, vowing to work with allies to destroy the jihadist threat.
“We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones, and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth,” he declared.
That focus conformed strongly with the mindset of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who tweeted his congratulations “to my friend President Trump” even before the 45th president had been sworn in.
Trump’s predecessors George W. Bush — who invaded Afghanistan and ousted the Taliban regime — and Barack Obama — who ordered the raid that killed Osama bin Laden — also fought extremism. But Trump has gone further than both in his use of language, suggesting that he sees the fight as a civilizational battle between America and a threat springing from the Islamic faith itself.
Report: The UN is occupying State-owned Israeli land
An investigation by the Regavim organization, which works to ensure that Israeli sovereignty is enforced over State-owned land, has revealed that part of the UN compound in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem lies on State-owned land, and that, therefore, the government can cancel the UN’s permit to reside there any time that it wishes.
The organization presented aerial pictures which prove that the UN compound infringes on about 8 acres of State-owned land which are not part of the original compound granted to the UN for its use. The Jerusalem municipality has confirmed that there are deviations at the site from the original plan, and that Police are checking the matter.
Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Environmental Protection Zeev Elkin said this morning during an interview with Radio Tel Aviv: “I ordered a check, and it appears that there is a problem there. The time has come for Israel to stop allowing itself to get beaten up by the UN, including the option of [evicting the UN from the premises].”
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely promised: “The matter will be checked in the Foreign Ministry with respect to possible steps that can be taken against the UN agencies, following the Security Council decision against settlements.”
San Diego Student Says Her View of Israel as ‘Akin to Apartheid’ Completely Changed After Visiting Jewish State
A California student who previously believed Israel was “akin to an apartheid state” had a complete about-face after visiting the country, San Diego State University’s independent student newspaper The Daily Aztec reported on Wednesday.
According to the report, SDSU political science and international security and conflict resolution senior Erin Gonzalez said she had expected the worst before her trip, but discovered the place wasn’t at all as she had envisioned. Rather, she encountered a society that embraces all religions and cultures, she said.
Gonzalez, who is not Jewish, traveled to Israel as part of a “Fact Finders” program, hosted by the school’s Hillel chapter, to enable SDSU students to experience the country and learn about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Gonzalez told The Daily Aztec that the experience also totally altered her perspective on Israeli settlements.
“Although the global community, and recently the United Nations, condemned [them] as both internationally illegal and an impediment to peace, I no longer see it that way,” she said, adding that she was surprised to discover that many Palestinians benefit from the settlement community, through employment opportunities and government benefits.
BDS and the New ‘Anti-Normalization’
In early December, Professors Cary Nelson and David Greenberg wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post about the “anti-normalization” tactic that has been widely adopted by proponents of the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel (“BDS”). As they explained, the tactic consists of preventing pro-Israel or anti-boycott arguments from even being heard, and includes shouting down speakers, or preventing speakers from even appearing on campus.
That’s what we saw when a CAMERA event at University College London last fall was disrupted, with one BDS leader present admitting that his true goal was to prevent future pro-Israel speakers from coming to that campus.
While the rationale provided for utilizing these measures is to reject any contacts between Israelis and Palestinians that “treat both parties as having legitimate grievances and aspirations,” this argument is specious. It’s illogical to ask people to take it on faith that Israelis have no legitimate grievances or aspirations. Equally striking is the fervor with which Nelson and Greenberg reported that the new BDS strategy is being pursued.
As I’ve written on CAMERA’s In Focus blog, only one conclusion can be drawn from these actions: that those setting the BDS agenda understand that the only way they win the argument is when the pro-Israel side does not have an opportunity to present its case.
Following Paris Peace Summit, Largely Forgotten 2013 French Court Ruling That Israeli Settlements Are Legal Receives Renewed Attention
A largely forgotten landmark 2013 French court ruling has received renewed attention this week following the international diplomatic summit held in Paris last Sunday at which Israeli settlements were portrayed as illegal.
In an editorial published on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal wrote, “The conference was a failure, but the conferees could have helped themselves by first checking what French courts have to say about those settlements before scoring Israel again…In 2013 the French Court of Appeals in Versailles ruled that, contrary to Palestinian arguments, Jewish settlements don’t violate the Geneva Conventions’ prohibition against an occupying power transferring ‘its civilian population into the territory it occupies.’ The law, the court held, bars government efforts to transfer populations. But it doesn’t bar private individuals settling in the disputed territories.”
The Wall Street Journal was referring to the ruling on a lawsuit — detailed here — that was filed by the Palestinian Authority against two French companies that took part in the construction of the light rail line in Jerusalem — which traverses areas the Palestinians hope will be part of the capital city of their potential future state.
The intersectionality of fools
Over the last decade, the numbers of Chinese and Indian students at American universities have substantially increased. At the same time, faculty and students have campaigned to boycott China and India over the status of Tibet and Kashmir, to reject Chinese and Indian funding, and to shun collaboration with individual Chinese and Indian researchers. There have been organized assaults upon Chinese guest speakers and propaganda campaigns inciting students to purge universities of Chinese or Indian “influence,” including that of American citizens with a Chinese or Indian background. When students of Indian background object, they are informed that, wittingly or not, they are part of a global Hindu conspiracy.
Of course, none of this has happened. It is almost inconceivable that any of it would happen. All of this, however, has been directed against the State of Israel, and against American Jewish students, since the inception of bds, the campaign for “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” against the Jewish state. This dubious selectivity is one unique aspect of bds. Another is the scale of its ambition. Generally, the introversions of Social Justice stop well before the water’s edge. There are global issues, most notably and vaguely the environment, but bds is the only form of campus activism to attack a single state internationally—and a single group domestically.
bds activists seek to curtail the freedom of others.
bds seeks to transform the atmosphere of university intellectual and social life, in order to effect changes in government and business policy. bds activists seek to control the intellectual environment, to create a “safe space” for the indoctrination of a biased and often false view of Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Thus, the practice of bds tends towards the abuse of free speech, in that bds activists frequently seek to curtail the freedom of others.
Emergency Motion for Protection of Jews at UK University With Notoriously Anti-Israel Atmosphere to Be Brought Before Student Union
An emergency motion aimed at protecting Jews at a British university notorious for its radical anti-Israel activism will be brought before the school’s student union on Tuesday, its initiator told The Algemeiner.
Avrahum Sanger, president of the Jewish Society at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, explained that the resolution he drafted seeks to tackle “issues that concern the welfare of Jewish students or make it difficult for them to both practice their religion and fully participate in university” – due, for example, to a lack of kosher food; scheduling that conflicts with Shabbat and Jewish holidays; and the silencing and marginalization of Jewish voices on campus.
Sanger recently told UK’s The Evening Standard that his peers at the school are “scared” to be recognizably Jewish, and refrain from wearing stars of David or speaking Hebrew in public. Sanger said that the intensely politically active student body is decidedly anti-Israel, promoting views that — as The Algemeiner has extensively reported — the US State Department has defined as antisemitic.
A spokesperson at SOAS said that the school is “very concerned to hear that any student is afraid to openly express their faith or belief.”
“We aim to be inclusive of all students of faith and we welcome suggestions about how to best achieve this,” the spokesperson told The Algemeiner.
Stupidity takes hold of another students’ union
I had never heard the acronym Soas before I started work at the BBC, almost 30 years ago. But as a very young producer at the corporation I was asked to fix up a story about something appalling happening in Africa — I can’t remember exactly what. Famine or cannibalism maybe. Or perhaps one mitigated by the other. The senior producer told me to get someone from Soas to explain it all. What’s Soas, I asked?
‘The School of Oriental and African Studies,’ I was informed. ‘It’s in London. It’s basically a place where we try to work out what on earth the natives are up to now.’
It was a different BBC back then. I was based in the old Broadcasting House, at the top of Regent Street. An eight-floor building — the first seven floors pretty much exclusively white. But then loads of black people working on the top floor — that was the canteen. By the time I left the BBC in 2004 things had changed markedly. The canteen was still staffed almost exclusively by black people. But now there were lots of black people several floors lower down, not serving food at all — in the ‘Community Affairs Unit’. Progress, then, of a kind.
I suspect Soas has changed quite a bit, too. As far as I can discern, it now seems to be a place for castigating whitey and especially British whitey. Fair enough — I suppose we need castigating, and it’s good for the soul. But it has got itself in the news recently as a consequence of the demands of its students’ union, which has outflanked even the students’ unions of Oxford and University College London in the cretin stakes. Which takes some doing.
Miami Officials Blast “Anti-Semitic” Israel Boycott After Vandals Target Jewish Stores
Six elected officials from the Miami area on Wednesday harshly condemned recent acts of vandalism committed near local Jewish businesses by supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, which they blasted as an “anti-Semitic and anti-Israel” ploy to undermine peace prospects.
In a letter to Miami Police Commander Albert Guerra, officials including Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, Bal Harbour Mayor Gabriel Groisman, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez, and Miami Beach Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez denounced the defacement of public property in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood with hundreds of spray-painted “BDS” stamps, which were first spotted on November 15. The letter was also signed by Sharona Whisler, executive director of the Zionist Organization of America’s Florida chapter.
The stamps were concentrated in an area with many Jewish-owned businesses, including some with mezuzot on their doorways, and were reported to the Miami Police Department by local businessman and activist Joe Zevuloni. A video taken by Zevuloni and embedded below shows some of the stamps sprayed in front of an Israeli-owned store.
The incident is being investigated as a hate crime, a decision the officials said they “strongly support.”

LA Times Fanning The Flames Of Antisemitism
The caption reads:
A historic high-rise and symbol of modernity, the 17-story Plasco was built by Jewish plastics tycoon Habib Elghanian.
I cannot find a reason to mention he is Jewish in the caption besides implying his guilt in this affair. And even if that wasn’t the case, mentioning it will certainly help with the proliferation of the usual kinds of conspiracy theories.
The report actually mentions he was executed back in 1979..for guess what.
It also stood out for its builder: a Jewish plastics tycoon, Habib Elghanian, who was executed in the months after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iran’s ruling mullahs accused Elghanian, the head of a prominent association of Jewish Iranians, of spying for Israel, which triggered an exodus of Jews from the country.

I’m willing to bet the theory that this “Zionist” somehow rigged the building to kill people will gain traction.
BBC’s Yolande Knell touts the ‘1967 borders’ illusion on Radio 4
Predictably, Knell’s response had the history of the millennia-old city beginning just fifty years ago, with no mention of the preceding 19-year Jordanian occupation of parts of Jerusalem.
Knell: “That’s right and Jerusalem has proven time and time again to be one of the most explosive issues; one of the most difficult issues to solve in this decades-old conflict, not least because of its holy sites for Jews, Muslims and Christians. And of course Israel captured the east of the city – which includes the Old City – in 1967 in the Middle East war. It went on to annex East Jerusalem, declare all of Jerusalem its united, eternal capital – although that’s never been recognised internationally. And the Palestinians are basically saying that any move for a US embassy – bringing it from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – would kill the two-state solution; this long-standing goal of international policy on this conflict. It’s enshrined in UN resolutions: the idea of creating a Palestinian state to live peacefully alongside Israel. It will be based in Gaza, the West Bank and have East Jerusalem as its capital.”
Stourton: “I think I’m right in saying the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has been in the Vatican this weekend. He’s been talking about some of this, hasn’t he?”
In her response to that question, Knell introduced the falsehood of “pre-1967 borders” – a concept which not only does not exist, but was specifically and deliberately rejected by the parties to the 1949 Armistice Agreement.
Compromised BBC backgrounder surfaces again
On January 16th the BBC News website published an article titled “Egypt court upholds ruling halting transfer of islands to Saudi Arabia“. Included in that report was an insert of background information titled “Why the Red Sea islands matter”, which previously appeared in an article concerning the same story in June 2016.tiran-art-jan-17
The insert includes the following context-free information:
“Israel captured the islands in 1956 and 1967, subsequently returning them to Egypt both times”
As was noted here over six months ago:
“The BBC did not bother to inform readers why that was the case.
“In 1949, Egypt established itself on two small and deserted islands in the straits that had never belonged to it – Tiran and Sanafir. Later, they were leased to it by Saudi Arabia. In January 1950, Egypt assured the United States Government that the occupation of the islands was in no way intended to interfere with shipping in the waters of the gulf. But soon Egypt broke its word, fortified the entrance to the straits and blockaded Israel.
FBI probing wave of fake bomb threats to US Jewish centers
Twenty-seven Jewish community centers in 17 U.S. states reported receiving false telephone bomb threats on Wednesday, prompting evacuations and an FBI probe into the second wave of hoax attacks to target American Jewish facilities this month.
The Jewish Community Centers Association of North America, a network of health and education centers, said the threatened organizations were working with police and many had resumed operations after no bombs were found nor injuries reported, as was the case after the earlier series of threats on Jan. 9.
No one claimed responsibility for the calls on Wednesday nor nine days ago, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has not named any suspects nor described a likely motive.
The FBI and the Justice Department are investigating possible civil rights violations in connection with threats, the FBI said in a statement.
"The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence, and will ensure this matter is investigated in a fair, thorough and impartial manner," the statement said.
ADL urges US Jewish institutions to be alert following bomb threats
The Anti-Defamation league on Thursday issued a security advisory to Jewish institutions across the US, after a series of bomb threats to some 30 Jewish community centers in 17 states.
It was the second wave of such mass disruption in two weeks.
The NGO said that while the threats did not appear to be credible, it nonetheless urged communal establishments to take serious measures.
The ADL received reports of bomb threats at community centers in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
“We are recommending that Jewish communal institutions review their security procedures and remain in close contact with law enforcement,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL’s CEO. “While each incident needs to be taken seriously and investigated closely, thus far we are not aware of any of these threats being substantiated.
“Federal authorities and local police departments should be commended for their rapid response to these incidents,” he added. “We remain in close contact with law enforcement and are offering our support and resources to local community centers.”
Belgian court upholds two-month sentence for anti-Semitic comic
A Belgian court on Friday upheld French comedian Dieudonne's two-month jail sentence for incitement to hatred over anti-Semitic comments during a show in Belgium, a lawyer said.
Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala, who has faced similar court cases in France, also had his 9,000-euro ($9,566) fine confirmed by the appeals court in the eastern city of Liege, said Eric Lemmens, a lawyer for Belgium's Jewish organizations.
"The appeals court in Liege upheld the verdict from criminal court in Liege," Lemmens told AFP.
He said the court warned the comedian he would be sentenced to "three extra months in prison if he fails to pay the fine."
Yolocaust What happens when you do yoga on top of a Holocaust memorial
Hundreds of thousands of selfies featuring smiling, yoga-posing, laughing people, all while visiting the 2,711 concrete slabs at the Holocaust Denkmal Berlin memorial have recently surfaced on multiple social media platforms.
The pictures in question are part of Yolocuast, an artistic initiative led by Shahak Shapira, an Israeli satirist and author who takes the images, all publicly posted on social media such as Facebook and Instagram, and edits the back drop to Nazi extermination camps.
Shapira's project serves as an artistic critique of individuals who visit sites commemorating the genocide of six millions Jews during World War II and then proceed to post pictures of themselves smiling and appearing to have a good time.
The artist named his project "Yolocaust" in an ironic word play on the word Holocaust and the term YOLO, short for "you only live once," a popular, life-affirming message people often add to their social media posts in the form of a hashtag.
The Yolocaust site describes the project as exploring "commemorative culture by combining selfies from the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin with footage from Nazi extermination camps."
Whitefish Police Force’s Wonderful Display Of Solidarity With Jewish Community
A few weeks ago, I posted about the planned Neo Nazi march in Whitefish Montana, with a Hamas-hole as a keynote speaker.
It turns out, the hater trying to organize it was unable to secure a permit (perhaps because he spelt his name wrong on the application form?), and will try again for next month.
But out of this story comes some light. The Whitefish police force has performed a wonderful gesture of solidarity with the Jewish community by having a mezuzah affixed to the outside door of the police station.
Bonus: the mezuzah is from Jerusalem, made of Jerusalem stone!
Tributes held two years after mysterious death of Argentine prosecutor
Two years after the death of Alberto Nisman, organizers of tributes to the deceased prosecutor appear hopeful that the circumstances of his death will be clarified.
Tributes were held both in Argentina and Israel on Wednesday for Nisman, who was found dead at his home in the Argentine capital in January, 2015, in the midst of his investigation into the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish Center.
“There is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel,” prosecutor German Moldes said Wednesday at a vigil in Buenos Aires. Moldes was one of the three speakers who addressed a crowd in front of the prosecutor’s unit that Nisman had led.
Moldes said that his colleague, Eduardo Taiano, who is leading the investigation into Nisman’s death, has received death threats over the ongoing investigation.
“We must continue working for the truth. How we will give up if Taiano who receives threats on his life does not give up,” Moldes told the crowd of more than 1,000 people.
Charting Israel’s aid overseas on the Israel Aid Map
For almost 15 years, ISRAEL21c has been writing stories about the incredible international aid work that Israel carries out overseas.
Whether it’s in response to an earthquake or other natural or manmade disaster, Israeli aid volunteers from the government, the army and nonprofit NGOs have been quick to respond, often reaching the disaster area before relief teams arrive from other nations.
Despite its tiny size, Israel is also involved in long-term educational, environmental and healthcare missions in countries including Kenya, Nepal, Japan, China, Vietnam, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Turkmenistan, Haiti, and Papua New Guinea.
Israel even helps the citizens of some enemy nations, treating refugees across the world, helping Syrians wounded in the civil war, or bringing children to Israel for lifesaving surgery.
And yet despite so many missions, little is known about the incredible aid work carried out by Israel. A year ago, ISRAEL21c decided to do something about that and created the Israel Aid Map. It’s a phenomenal way to show people the extent and breadth of aid from Israel.
WATCH: Gene Simmons: “Middle East Needs Israel To Exist”
We already knew KISS frontman Gene Simmons was a staunch supporter of Israel. So no surprises he would come out and say these things on Varney & Co earlier this month.

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.
From Ian:

Stephen Pollard: Unravelling the real story behind UN vote
Usually, an Israeli Ambassador would make clear any reservations and the Conservative Friends of Israel would weigh in with its own view. But almost the entire Westminster village had disappeared for Christmas. Lord Polak, CFI honorary president, was in Florida and Mark Regev, the Israeli Ambassador, was out of the country on holiday. A series of juniors were in charge. None appeared to grasp the storm about to break.
When the resolution passed and the Jewish community realised what the government had done, however, there was apoplexy in Downing Street. A source told me: “Number 10 took its eye off the ball. They screwed up badly.”
My Whitehall contacts were adamant at the time that this was a change of policy and that Number 10 had been kept fully in the loop. That week, the JC’s front page story emphasised Number 10’s role. This only added to the anger with FCO officials.
The damage of 2334 was already done. But there was a determination — not least from Nick Timothy, Mrs May’s joint chief of staff — to show this was not indicative of a new policy. Number 10 decided it would take the first opportunity to unravel the UN mess.
The opportunity presented itself almost immediately. Five days after the UN vote, John Kerry launched a withering attack on the Israeli government in a speech at the State Department. But if that was unprecedented, so was the response from Number 10 — a direct and unambiguous dismissal of Mr Kerry’s speech.
In Final Press Conference, Obama Slaps Israel. As Always.
Syria is on fire. South Sudan is unraveling. Russia is invading Eastern European states. But guess what President Obama decided to focus on in his last press conference as leader of the free world? Yup, Israel, the one and only Jewish State in the world. And by now we know that whenever Obama talks Israel it’s never a good thing.
In a parting shot to Israel on Wednesday, Obama questioned went so far as to question the viability of the Zionist project itself.
"I don't see how this issue gets resolved in a way that maintains Israel as both Jewish and a democracy if there are not two states," he croaked.
Obama’s comments come just a few weeks after he directed UN Ambassador Samantha Power to abstain from an egregiously anti-Israel UN Security Council resolution which labeled the Old City in Jerusalem, the Western Wall, and the Jewish Quarter illegally-occupied territory.
Not only did Obama refuse to concede any territory to his critics, but he ardently defended his administration’s decision to stab Israel in the waning days of his presidency.
"The goal of the UN resolution was to say the growth of the settlements will increasingly make a two-state solution impossible," he argued at the White House press conference. "It was important for us to send a signal, a wakeup call that this moment may be passing."
Obama knows full well, however, that the anti-Israel venom circulating across the Oval Office will soon be replaced by something else. On Friday, President-elect Donald Trump will take the oath of office and take hold of the levers of power. He has already signaled a staunchly pro-Israel stance, appointing an advocate as ambassador to Israel who believes that the US embassy in Tel Aviv should be moved to Jerusalem.
Enterprising Builder Thrilled About US Embassy Move to Jerusalem
The Jerusalem Embassy Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 1995, states that Jerusalem should remain a united city, that it should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel and that the U.S. Embassy should be moved there from Tel Aviv.
Every U.S. President has signed the waiver contained in the law which extends by an additional six months the time by which the embassy must be moved.
President Trump and several insiders close to him, including David M. Friedman, the man nominated to become the new U.S. Ambassador to Israel, has stated that under this president the embassy will be moved to Jerusalem.
It is unclear where, exactly, the Obama administration considered Israel’s capital to be – there were no public declarations that Tel Aviv was considered Israel’s capital. And, of course, President Obama and his State Department made it clear in the recent past that not only did they not consider Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel, they did not even consider Jerusalem to be part of Israel.
An enterprising Jerusalem builder has made his glee public about the stated policy of the incoming U.S. administration.

JCPA: The Trump Administration: A Turning Point in Middle East Policy?
The inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States is likely to lead to a major transformation of U.S. Middle East policy. Many of the assumptions that accompanied the years of President Barack Obama will no longer be held by American policymakers.
But equally important, many elements that had in the past been fundamentals of U.S. policy and had been forgotten, and had not been part of the repertoire of the White House in the last eight years, could be reintroduced.
The first element involves Israel’s future border. Ever since 1967 when Israel captured the West Bank in the Six-Day War, the question of Israel’s future borders was governed by UN Security Council Resolution 242, which talks about an Israeli withdrawal from territories – not all the territories – to secure and recognized boundaries.
Now some people think that’s being very picayune with the language. But in fact the decision on the language of 242 was decided at the highest levels of the U.S. government, by President Lyndon Baines Johnson himself. And that language was preserved by successive U.S. presidents and secretaries of state.
For example, the Reagan administration in 1988, through its Secretary of State George Shultz, talked about the fact that Israel would never negotiate from or return to the 1967 borders. Secretary of State Warren Christopher, in a letter to Israel in 1997, spoke about Israel getting “defensible borders,” and that idea was enshrined in 2004 by President George W. Bush in a letter to Ariel Sharon that was approved by both houses of Congress.
Unfortunately, over the last eight years, Israel’s recognized rights have been eroded, culminating in the most recent UN resolution on December 23, 2016, on which the U.S. abstained, which made constant reference to the 1967 lines as its primary point of reference.

New York Times Fabricates Palestinian Support for ‘Two States for Two Peoples’
Much of the international community supports the idea of solving the Israeli-Arab conflict with "two states for two peoples," a commonly used phrase that refers to a state for the Palestinians alongside a state for the Jews. As President Barack Obama put it in 2011, "The ultimate goal is two states for two people: Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people and the State of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people."
According to a recent New York Times article, entitled "The Two-State Solution: What It Is and Why It Hasn't Happened," the Palestinian Authority government is among those parties that officially support the idea.
What do Palestinian leaders actually say? "Never." Even the less extreme portion of the divided Palestinian leadership, the West Bank-based government that has accepted the broader idea of a "two-state solution," hasn't been shy in rejecting the more specific principle of two states for two peoples. Sure, they consent to two states. But while they insist one of those states must be an Arab and Islamic state of Palestine, they refuse to accept that the other one is a Jewish state.
Melanie Phillips: The Brexit/Trump effect
In Britain, Mrs. May’s tough-minded approach to Brexit closely followed her startling reversal of decades of British foreign policy by suddenly defending Israel against its enemies. Not only did she refuse to sign the statement issued by last weekend’s anti-Israel Paris conference, but she vetoed its attempted endorsement by the EU Foreign Affairs Council.
Yet only a few weeks previously, her government had played a key role in pushing through the UN Security Council’s Israel-bashing Resolution 2334. So what changed? Britain is hoping to pull off an all-important trade deal with the US. This would hugely strengthen its hand in its negotiations with the EU over Brexit. So a cynic would conclude that Britain is merely dancing to the tune of a new, very pro-Israel president.
There may be more to it than that. There are reports that Mrs. May was blindsided by her own Foreign Office over Resolution 2334. She is known to have genuinely warm feelings toward Israel and the Jewish people.
She may, though, also be largely ignorant of Middle East history and Britain’s shameful record within it. So it’s possible that she was indeed shocked by Resolution 2334 and is determined to promote a pro-Israel policy because she believes in it.
If so, this is all of great significance. For if a country gets Israel right, the chances are it will get other big things right too. The essence of the Israel-Arab impasse is the struggle between good and bad, victim and oppressor, truth and lies. Like the Obama administration, Britain has for decades been on the wrong side of that critical divide. Now Mr. Trump and Mrs. May might change that.
The reason is the forces that have propelled both of them to power. Through Brexit and Donald Trump’s election, both the British and American publics expressed a strong desire to reassert their national identity, defend their nation against its enemies and uphold reality-checks, accountability and common sense against the ideologues whose onslaught against truth and Western values has never been stopped until now.
In other words, far from the imminent demise of civilization we may be looking at its salvation.
On the other hand it may all have gone pear-shaped by Monday.
Brave new Anglosphere: Israel revels in fresh support from US-UK-Australia triumvirate
It’s springtime for Israel’s relations with the Anglosphere. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu loves to talk about burgeoning ties with the Arab world, but in the months and years ahead, a newly formed pro-Israel triumvirate of English-speaking countries looks set to form the backbone of international support for the Jewish state.
The first and most important indication of this trend is, of course, the change in the White House. Arriving on Friday, the Donald Trump administration has made plain its intention to shut out the public daylight that Barack Obama introduced between Washington and Jerusalem, vowing all but total support for Netanyahu’s policies.
In addition, the United Kingdom has in recent weeks surprisingly and dramatically aligned itself with Jerusalem, defying European and even global consensus.
Completing the pro-Israel trio is Australia, which has long been exceptionally friendly toward Israel but recently reached new heights in opposing anti-Israel measures embraced by the rest of the world.
Canada is a fourth English-speaking country that is staunchly pro-Israel, but as opposed to the US, the UK and Australia, it has remained silent on the dramatic diplomatic developments of recent weeks. The two odd countries out are Ireland and New Zealand, whose relations with Jerusalem remain tense.
Obama, Trump and the dangers of a ‘Jewish’ president
For many Jews, the primary threat comes from the far left, which seeks to isolate and demonize Israel. For other Jews, though, the threat comes from the far right, revitalized and legitimized by Trump’s rise. There is ample hypocrisy on both left and right. Who could have imagined that left-wing Jews, who ridiculed Prime Minister Netanyahu for comparing the threat of a nuclear Iran to the 1930s, would invoke the ’30s in response to an American election, however traumatic? And who could have imagined that right-wing Jews, who constantly warn their fellow Jews against passivity in the face of threat, would dismiss the seriousness of anti-Semitic expressions only because those emerge from their political camp?
American Jews need to resist the temptation of totally identifying their preferred president with Jewish interests and values. Revering any American president as an honorary member of the tribe risks debasing Jewish identity and communal discourse. Like Obama, Trump will pursue his own agenda – sometimes overlapping with a Jewish agenda, and sometimes fatefully clashing.
Obama’s legacy is a decimated Middle East, along with the unleashing of an imperial Iran that remains on the nuclear threshold. As for Trump, he has already created a legacy – a vulgarized politics, a society poisoned against itself. Candidate Trump declared war against precisely those pluralistic values that have allowed American Jewry to become the most successful Diaspora in Jewish history.
Neither man is worthy of Jewish adulation. In the era of “Jewish” presidents, American Jews need to avoid the dangers of a treacherous philo-Semitism and maintain the integrity of their communal discourse.
Video: Obama Explains Why He Sold Out Israel; It’s Worse Than We Thought
Thank God he won’t be president again.
Obama’s fixation on the settlements makes it clear that Israel is the source of the problems with the Arabs living in it’s midst.
In his mindset, it is not Arab terrorism – it is Jewish intransigence.
Good riddance of the worst foreign policy president in recent memory.
David Singer: UN Security Council Members Trash Quartet Roadmap and Two-State Solution
The United Kingdom refused to endorse the Joint Declaration.
It is incredible that the other twelve Security Council member States present – especially the five permanent members – could approve the terms of the Joint Declaration that so materially changes what they voted for or abstained on just three weeks earlier.
They obviously engaged in cherry picking bits and pieces of Resolution 2334 that they had rushed through with unseemly haste and now have second thoughts on.
A new agreed negotiating framework for any two-State solution now needs to be constructed to replace the trashed Quartet Roadmap.
The Security Council looks decidedly stupid and increasingly irrelevant.
Donald Trump Tells Son-In-Law: ‘If You Can’t Bring Mideast Peace, No One Can’
One day prior to his inauguration, President-elect Donald Trump made an appearance at a candlelight dinner for donors in Union Station on Thursday, promising "four incredible years" and celebrating his surprise November victory.
"So I just want to thank everybody. We're going to have four incredible years. It's going to be something special," Trump said to supporters in attendance.
In his speech Trump warmly turned to his daughter Ivanka who was listening in the audience and thanked her for her support throughout his race for presidency: "In the audience we have a very special person who worked very hard, who married very well- my daughter Ivanka."
The President-elect went on to talk about his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is slated to become a senior White House advisor working on trade and the Middle East in a rare case of a close presidential family member taking a major job. "I sort of stole her husband," Trump joked.
Time to reset Israel-US ties
No one should have any illusions; the Trump administration is not going to give Israel a blank check on the settlements.
But it is unlikely to view them – and Jewish construction in Jerusalem – with the same animosity as did Obama, Kerry and many world leaders. And this, as well as seeing Iran through a similar prism, will remove constant points of friction.
Though Trump is difficult to predict, and the positions of some of his key national security team on Israel are enigmatic – for instance, the positions of Rex Tillerson at the State Department and James Mattis in the Pentagon – he has also surrounded himself with people who are strongly supportive of the current Israeli government, starting with vice president Mike Pence, and including Kushner; Nikki Haley, his nominee as envoy to the UN; Jason Greenblatt, his designated pick as special representative for international negotiations; and David Friedman, his appointee as ambassador to Israel.
In Trump’s inner circle, therefore, there will be people who will advocate for the policies championed by the current government of Israel to a degree that was sorely lacking in the Obama administration, at least since Dennis Ross left the White House as a key Middle East adviser in 2011.
“I can’t wait to start working with Israel,” Trump told Israel Hayom this week. “This weekend, relations between us officially begin.”
In other words, a new day. The expectation and hope in Jerusalem is that when it comes to Israel and the Middle East, this new day will also be a better one.
WATCH: Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat - Obama Surrendered to Radical Islam, Abandoned Israel
The Jerusalem Post reports: In a full throttled attack against US President Barack Obama, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on Thursday released a video statement accusing the outgoing president of “surrendering to the Iranian’s and radical Islam,” as well as “abandoning Israel.”
While Barkat has made no secret of his opposition to the Obama Administration’s policies toward Israel, in the brief video he uses perhaps his strongest language to date to condemn the American president, and beseech all Israeli’s to support President-elect Donald Trump.
The video, emailed to Israelis with an accompanying letter of support for Trump, comes one day before the president-elect’s inauguration, as he doubles-down on his promise to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in multiple interviews with Israeli news publications.
Ben Rhodes Attends Signing of 'Counterterrorism' Memo with Hezbollah-Tied Cuba
The Obama administration has linked U.S. law enforcement with their Cuban counterparts in a partnership “on counternarcotics, counterterrorism, legal cooperation, and money laundering,” according to a statement from the U.S. embassy in Havana.
Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes — chief proponent of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), or the Iran nuclear deal — attended the signing of the “U.S.-Cuba Law Enforcement Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)” in Havana. Rhodes has previously told reporters he and the administration are looking to bind the administration of incoming President Donald Trump, who campaigned on a hardline anti-communist platform, into as many agreements with Cuba as possible.
“I think what we were trying to do is to create as much momentum for the policy so as to make it irreversible, to enlist as many stakeholders as we could in the policy so as to make it irreversible,” USA Today quotes Rhodes as saying.
Why Both Supporters and Critics of Obama on Israel Will Miss His Ambassador, Dan Shapiro
Yesterday, Ambassador Daniel Shapiro held his final official meeting with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It marked the close of a farewell tour for Obama’s handpicked envoy to the Jewish state, and the conclusion of a five-year ambassadorial term that saw tremendous tension in the U.S.-Israel relationship. But you’d never have known of that tumult from the cordial nature of Shapiro’s last rendezvous with Netanyahu, or from the warm send-off he has received in Israel even from many on the Israeli right who have strongly opposed the Obama administration’s policy in the region.
How did Shapiro manage this remarkable feat of diplomacy in a country as fractious and contentious as Israel? It wasn’t by deviating from his boss’s positions. There was never any daylight between Shapiro’s pronouncements and Obama’s, no matter how unpopular the stance. As ambassador, Shapiro forcefully defended the Iran deal and criticized settlement expansion. Indeed, he was instrumental in formulating some of those administration positions as an adviser to Obama on Middle East matters since 2007. But he nonetheless won over Israelis across the political spectrum through determined outreach and his demonstrable concern and care for the Jewish state.
A fluent Hebrew speaker, Shapiro didn’t restrict himself to traditional diplomatic channels. He quickly made himself a fixture in Israeli media, speaking to Israelis in their own language and in their own homes, from mainstream radio outlets to niche ultra-Orthodox Jewish networks. He posted regularly on Twitter and Facebook in Hebrew, interacting with everyday citizens online. He recorded Hebrew holiday greetings for YouTube. He even went on Matzav ha-Uma (“State of the Union”), one of Israel’s premier late night comedy shows, where he was interrogated by the hosts in rapid-fire Hebrew. Humor is perhaps the hardest thing for foreign language speakers to pick up, given the differences in cultural frames of reference and the difficulty of catching quips like double entendres, but Shapiro acquitted himself with aplomb.
To Trump’s Delight, Israel To Replace the U.S. In NATO (satire)
Sources have confirmed that Israel will apply for NATO membership later this week, “just to see the look on people’s faces.”
We caught up with the playful Zionist troublemaker, as it was preparing the documentation and sipping cocktails at its seaside retreat outside of Tel Aviv. Israel commented, “I’ve got to be honest, with this ceasefire holding with the Palestinians, I’m just looking for other outlets for my kooky sense of humor. And also, I really need to keep those guys and gals of the IDF fully occupied; the last thing I need is them getting all ‘Coup d’état’ on me.”
“I reckon if we can get all the signatures and bureaucracy hammered out this week, the 36th Armored Division can be in Germany by the summer holidays. From there it’s really just a quick road-march through Poland, and given the order, we can be in Moscow before the snow starts. Trust me we’ll be bringing extra warm socks; we’ve learnt from the man with the silly mustache”
Note to Abbas: Wake up, China is reshaping the Middle East
The president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) was in Rome in the week-end to try to get the Pope, almost the ultimate super soft power, to support his cause. This diplomatic effort came after a new terrorist attack in Israel, when a truck rammed innocent bystanders, followed by a rally in Gaza to support it. These are all signs of the extreme weakness of some Palestinians and of madness in applauding terrorism.
There is madness in a very technical sense, as in losing touch with reality, because the whole regional situation has shifted, and not only because of the war in Syria or Iraq.
The Chinese plan for a new Silk Road in fact is creating completely new dynamics in the Middle East that are already changing the balance of power in the region.
The present balance of power is the historical legacy of the Turkish conquest of Constantinople in 1453 and the fall of the Roman Empire in the east.
The Turks then posed for the first time since the height of the Roman Empire’s power a monopoly on the lucrative trade with the Indies and the Far East. The ambition was so real that the sultan took on the title of Roman emperor and proceeded to move west by pushing for a conquest of the Mediterranean. The effort effectively ended only in 1683, when Turkish forces were defeated around Vienna. But in the 230 years between the conquests of Constantinople and Vienna the whole world changed, unbeknownst to the Mediterranean players.
PMW: PA threat: Trump will blow up the peace process
The Palestinian Authority continues to threaten violence as part of its intensive campaign to prevent US President-elect Donald Trump from moving the American embassy to Jerusalem. The official PA daily printed the above cartoon, entitled "Transferring the embassy," which shows Trump using a golf club to putt a lit bomb into a hole as if it were a golf ball. A dove symbolizing peace is looking out of the hole, next to which stands a flag with "Jerusalem" written on it in Arabic and English. [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 18, 2017]
PA Chairman Abbas stated explicitly that if Trump moves the embassy, it will "destroy the peace process":
"We want to hear what he says when he enters the White House - but if this step is taken, it will destroy the peace process."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 19, 2017]
"Transferring the embassy will be not just provocative but beyond provocative, and will harm the entire peace process.'"
[WAFA, official PA news agency, Jan. 17, 2017]

Palestinian Media Watch has reported at length on the threats and warnings of PA and Fatah leaders that religious war will break out, should Trump follow through on his promise.
The Inside Story of How John Kerry Secretly Lobbied to Get CAIR Removed From UAE's Terrorist Organization List
On Nov. 16, 2014, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) took the unusual step of designating the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and the Muslim American Society (MAS) – as terrorist organizations.
They were among 83 groups named for their connections to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
This outraged CAIR officials, who immediately began efforts to get their organization removed from the list. They found a powerful ally in Secretary of State John Kerry, who authorized State Department officials to meet regularly with UAE officials to lobby on behalf of CAIR and MAS.
CAIR already had a sympathetic ear in the Obama administration, including the State Department, that had openly embraced and legitimized the entire spectrum of radical Islamist groups falsely posing as religious or civil rights groups, which both CAIR and MAS had done.
Israel condemns planned Belgian interrogation of ex-FM Livni
Israel denounced Friday the “cynical exploitation” of Belgium’s judicial system, after Belgian prosecutors confirmed they wanted to question a former Israeli minister over war crimes allegations.
Tzipi Livni, currently a Knesset member with the center-left Zionist Union opposition party, was expected to visit Brussels next week to meet Jewish leaders in the city but “cancelled three or four days before,” a spokesman for the event said.
He said the cancellation was for “personal reasons.”
Local newspaper Le Soir said prosecutors had been hoping to question Livni over allegations of war crimes in the 2008-9 Israeli war in Gaza, when she was foreign minister.
“We wanted to take advantage of her visit to try to advance the investigation,” a spokesman for Belgium’s federal prosecutor Thierry Werts said.
Livni’s spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment from AFP, but the Foreign Ministry reacted strongly.
Ben-Dror Yemini: When brainwashing wins
Op-ed: The words ‘racism’ and discrimination’ are the only thing radical leftist speakers can say about the Umm al-Hiran evacuation. Ignoring the facts, they are turning their battle against Israel into a battle against Israel’s ‘racism.’
The left-wing bodies operated a worldwide anti-Israel propaganda machine. Haaretz published countless articles against the state. When it was presented with an article refuting the claims, it refused to publish it. Freedom of speech is reserved for one opinion only. The Rabbis for Human Rights organization outdid itself by releasing an incitement film titled “Fiddler with no Roof.” It works. Even the European Parliament adopted an anti-Israel resolution in regards to the Bedouin. Army Radio broadcaster Khen Elmaleh wrote on Facebook on Wednesday, “I would have run over a policeman too had I been forcibly evacuated from my home.”
Terror receives justifications. A significant number of the people interviewed about the issue on the public media Wednesday revealed complete ignorance of the facts. Brainwashing wins. It leads to violence and to bloodshed. On Wednesday, we received further sad proof of that.
And one more thing. In my conversations with the locals, I got the impression that they were ready for an arrangement which would allow the Yatir residents to stay where they are while evacuating the few homes in Umm al-Hiran. The situation on the ground may justify such an arrangement, despite the court rulings. But their willingness likely comes up against the inciters from Balad, the Islamic Movement and radical bodies. They don’t want an arrangement. They are not in favor of the Bedouins. They are against Israel.
Israeli security forces predict uptick in tensions as Trump inauguration looms near - Arab-Israeli Conflict
As President-elect Donald Trump is expected to officially be sworn into office later on Friday, the Israeli security establishment is preparing for possible altercations and clashes with Palestinian demonstrators.
The incoming American president has already declared in recent months his intention to follow through on several moves that are distinctly opposed to the Palestinian agenda in the region, with Palestinian political ranks vehemently protesting one specific move: his decision to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Trump's inauguration ceremony, which is slated to begin at 11:30 a.m. (EST) with some 900,000 participants in attendance, has already caused a rising in tensions in the West Bank and is expected to stir further unrest. Sources from the security establishment were quoted as saying on Friday that "we are preparing for an escalation in light of the elected president's speech. We understand that his statements can exacerbate the situation in the field."
The same sources also pointed an accusatory finger in the directions of Israeli as well as Palestinian politicians and leaders, adding that "politicians' public statements could also potentially further fan the flames."
Palestinians rescue Israeli man, 3 soldiers from West Bank town
A group of Israeli settlers, including three off-duty soldiers, were rescued by the mayor of a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank on Friday after they entered the area for as-yet-unknown reasons and were quickly set upon by local residents, the army said.
The four Israelis entered the village of Qusra, east of Ariel, on Friday morning. Once inside the village, residents of the hamlet surrounded the group and began throwing rocks at them, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
In response, the armed Israelis fired shots into the air.
The mayor of the village, Abdul Azeem al-Wadi, along with an activist from the Rabbis for Human Rights organization stepped in to rescue and detain the four settlers — who apparently came from the nearby Esh Kodesh outpost — for their own safety, according to Rabbis for Human Rights.
The group was then handed over to Israeli security forces, the army said.
Group protests after Hamas crimps movement for businesspeople
A major Palestinian rights organization expressed concern Thursday after the Hamas-led authorities in Gaza imposed new restrictions on travel for businessmen.
A new circular will restrict businesspeople from leaving Gaza through the Erez crossing into Israel unless they have paid all their water, electricity and other bills, the interior ministry recently announced.
The Independent Commission for Human Rights, a Palestinian NGO, said the move was a threat to Gazans’ freedom of movement, calling it “contrary to law.”
“It is a serious encroachment on the right of movement and travel,” a statement said.
Iyad al-Bozum, a spokesman for the Hamas-run interior ministry, argued the restrictions were necessary at a time when Gaza was suffering from huge shortages.
“It is not reasonable that businessmen and traders are well off but don’t pay their bills,” he told AFP.

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This photo was tweeted by Israel's Channel 10 journalist Roy Sharon.

It shows the graduation ceremony of IDF intelligence officers that occurred Thursday. Two of the graduates, new officers, are religious women who are exempt from wearing uniforms because they are pregnant.

This is, Sharon notes, an appropriate integration of people in the IDF.

Haaretz noted in 2015 that the IDF is recruiting religious women, who are exempt from serving int he army and usually choose to perform national service instead. Hundreds are volunteering to join the army anyway. Military intelligence is one major focus for the recruitment efforts.

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IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Golan, Turkish Chief of Staff Akar

YNet reports:

IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Major General Yair Golan was in Brussels for the official opening of the Israeli office at NATO headquarters after it was decided that the two sides should have a closer working relationship. Roni Leshno Yaar, who submitted his credentials to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, is the first Israeli representative to NATO since the Jewish state was accepted as a partner to the organization (not a member).

In a joint meeting between the ambassador, Maj. Gen. Golan, and NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller, the Deputy Secretary said “here in NATO, we understand that Israel shares our values, and is an active and beneficial partner for Mediterranean dialogue.”

The meeting was an impressive show of support for Israel, with Maj. Gen. Golan being the highest ranking Israeli official to meet with NATO representatives. 
 This was delayed because of Turkish opposition, but now Turkey is on board, and Golan met with the head of the Turkish Armed Forces, General Hulusi Akar.

Yet there were other military leaders that he met:
Several Arab military heads were also at the NATO meeting in Brussels, and also met with Golan on the sidelines. Arab countries represented at the meeting were Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Bahrain, Kuwait, Morocco, Tunisia, and others. Discussions were held on the fight against terror amongst other subjects.
 This stunning news was buried at the end of the YNet report - but the Arab media sure noticed it.

Although the specific Arab military leaders that met Golan were not named, already the Lebanese army command has vehemently denied that any of their leaders met with him.

That sound you hear is the heads of BDS leaders exploding. They can't even get Arab army chiefs to boycott Israel!

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We reported a few days ago about how some Syrian opposition activists went to Hebrew University to plead for help  to protect the lives of the Syrians who have been slaughtered by Assad.

While the two, Issam Zeitoun and Sirwan Kajjo, were in Jerusalem, like any tourists, they visited the Kotel and put kipot on their heads out of respect for the Jewish holy spot.

Palestinian media immediately noted how they put on the kipot, as a subtle way to discredit them in the context of how they want to "normalize" with Israel, which is the horrid crime that Arab students cursed them for as they were speaking about how to save the lives of hundreds of  thousands of Syrians.

Official Iranian and Syrian media, however, highlighted their attempt to discredit the pair by saying that Zeitoun and Kajjo were "practicing Talmudic rituals at the Wailing Wall."

The biggest crime that Palestinian media could tar the activists with was wanting to "normalize" with Israel. The biggest crime that Iran and its Syrian proxies could tar them with is associating them with Judaism.

The apologists for Iran, often citing its large Jewish community, should answer why this wonderful, tolerant state is so critical of "Talmudic rituals" that their own people engage in many times a day.

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

From Ian:

Is Judith Butler the New Edward Said?
Of all the non-Middle East specialists writing on the Middle East, few have been as prolific or as indecipherable as Judith Butler. More than an academic, she has become a pop culture figure. In an age of identity politics, Butler's identity as a Marxist, feminist, lesbian practitioner of critical theory who writes prolifically about gender and transgenderism have made her among the most-interviewed active college professors. But her anti-Israel advocacy has made her a star, and a possible successor to the late Edward Said, another academic whose fame rests more on tendentious scholarship and agitprop than rigorous, objective research.
With a Ph.D. in philosophy and a professorship at UC Berkeley's Comparative Literature department, Butler might have led a career as a big name academic, which is to say very well known by perhaps as much as one tenth of one percent of the American population. But as the face of academe's Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, she reaches and influences a much wider audience.
Butler's turn away from literature and language theory in favor of Middle East politics, criticism of U.S. foreign policy, and demonization of Israel came in a collection of essays titled Precarious Life (2004) in which she focused on the effects of the 9/11 attacks on America. What many people would describe as an atrocity, Butler describes as a "dislocation from first-world privilege, however temporary." Her condemnation of terrorism rings about as hollow as Kofi Annan's or Yassir Arafat's.
Not only is Butler unwilling to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah, her tepid equivocation contains more than a hint of comradery: "Understanding Hamas, Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the Left, that are part of a global Left, is extremely important. That does not stop us from being critical of certain dimensions of both movements." Despite the great admiration that the Left has for Hamas and Hezbollah, neither group shares any of the Left's ideals and anyone claiming otherwise is delusional.
The UN’s Long, Shameful History on Israel
The Israeli English-language newspaper The Jerusalem Post was originally called The Palestine Post. It adopted its current name in 1950, two years after the creation of the state of Israel.
When the paper first appeared in 1932, the word “Palestinian” generally referred to those living in the British Mandate of Palestine. It was viewed by people everywhere as an appropriate word to describe the Jewish minority living in the area.
Languages change. Sometimes a word takes on a meaning that contradicts an earlier definition. Occasionally, different forms of a word reflect both meanings. Think of “awful” and “awesome” in English today. We can be filled with awe because something is terrible (awful) or wonderful (awesome).
In 1947, when “Palestine” still sounded like it might refer to a Jewish state, the United Nations voted to divide the territory into two countries: one Jewish and one Arab. The UN intended to create two independent states that would live together in peace and harmony.
One of the two halves — Israel — accepted its independence. The other side did not. On the day that Britain left and Israel declared its independence, five Arab nations invaded the whole territory, with the intent of conquering, and destroying, the Jewish half. Besides pushing the Jews into the sea, it was not clear what they wanted to do with the actual territory had they been victorious. Yet when the war was over and Israel controlled more land than the UN planned to give it, the remaining Arab territory went to Jordan and Egypt. There was no movement for an independent Palestinian Arab state.
Brandeis Hires Anti-Semitic Islamist With Al-Qaeda Links
In 2016, Brandeis University hired an anti-Semitic Islamist formerly linked to al-Qaeda to teach students about Islam.
Brandeis offered Boston-based cleric Suheil Laher a job in its Near Eastern and Judaic Studies department despite his long history of involvement with extremist causes. That history includes his leadership of a now-defunct charity that raised funds for jihadist causes in Bosnia, Chechnya, and Afghanistan.
This academic year, Laher is teaching two courses at Brandeis: “Introduction to the Qu’ran” and “Muhammad: Life, Teachings, and Legacy.” Given Laher’s past, what strain of Islam is he likely to promote?
Before Brandeis, Laher was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s Muslim chaplain for almost twenty years. While at MIT, he also served, from 2000, as head of a Boston-based charity named CARE International (not to be confused with the current charity of the same name). Originally named the “Al Kifah Refugee Center,” the charity was founded by Abdullah Azzam, a founding member of al-Qaeda and a mentor to Osama Bin Laden.

Deputy commander of 1976 Entebbe rescue 'Landing was trickiest part'
The July 4, 1976 Entebbe rescue and the October 18, 1977 Mogadishu raid against terrorist plane hijackers by Israeli and German commandos respectively are two of the most dramatic kidnapping rescues in modern history. But for Matan Vilnai – former minister, ambassador, and IDF general who was the deputy commander of the Entebbe rescue – the most tense moment of all was trying to land the commando force without authorization in Uganda, thousands of miles from Israel.
“The first critical moment was when we needed to land a group of heavy airplanes, which was already suspicious, because usually groups of airplanes do not fly together…and there was no GPS like today,” Vilnai told The Jerusalem Post on Monday during a two-day Hebrew University of Jerusalem conference on the 40th anniversary of the two rescues.
Vilnai said it was “critical that there were no injuries” during the landing, noting that in many operations, including the famous Bin Laden assassination, even top special forces pilots end up crashing aircraft or helicopters because of the uniquely difficult covert conditions for landing.
As the landings progressed, the flight control tower started “asking in African English: who are you and we all started to give ideas of what to say to the commander.”
“The eight Sayeret Matkal (special forces) under my command along with Doron Almog (a future major general) were on the first airplane to land, with lighting, but the second airplane had to land in a blackout,” said Vilnai.
He credited the operation’s commander and sole IDF casualty, Lt.-Col. Yoni Netanyahu, for giving critical orders as they got off the Hercules transport – orders which he said likely led to Netanyahu’s death from a sniper who likely noted his hand signals, which distinguished him as the senior officer.
'German research institute trivializes Holocaust to attack Israel'
Israel’s embassy and leading deputies in the German parliament slammed a Max Planck Institute branch for stoking hatred of Israel and Jews with a series of lectures from a pro-Hezbollah US academic who trivialized the Holocaust and is popular among neo-Nazis.
“It is outrageous that a distinguished German institution [Max Planck Institute branch in Halle] gives a stage to someone who spreads, in the best case, science fiction, and in the worst, pure incitement against Israel. Supporting [Norman] Finkelstein to maintain his academic facade is highly dangerous and an abuse of the scientific standards,” the Israeli Embassy in Berlin told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
Michaela Engelmeier, a Social Democratic deputy in the Bundestag, told the Post she was astonished that “with our history it is possible to welcome academics who play down the Nazi regime’s murder of six million Jews and present it as trivial.”
She added that the fact that the anti-Israel academic is delivering talks close to International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27 is “especially insensitive.”
She urged the Max Planck Institute to cancel next week’s Finkelstein lecture titled “Gaza: An Inquest into its Martyrdom.”
Senators introduce bipartisan anti-BDS bill
Two senators introduced a bill to protect to state and local governments passing anti-BDS legislation from lawsuits.
On Tuesday, Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., introduced the Combating BDS Act, which would increase legal protection for state and local governments that ban, limit or divest from companies “engaged in commerce-related or investment-related BDS activity targeting Israel.”
Under the measure, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions activity includes boycotting or limiting business with those in Israel and “Israeli-controlled territories.”
The bill is an updated version of a measure introduced in February by Manchin and Mark Kirk, a Republican senator from Illinois who was defeated in November.
Among the bill’s 17 co-sponsors are Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Benjamin Cardin, D-Md.
Manchin praised the bill as a way to protect American and Israeli security and economic priorities in a statement announcing the bill.
SOAS students 'scared to wear the star of David and speak Hebrew’
On the wall of the bar beneath SOAS’s student union is a quote from the Chinese civil rights lawyer Ni Yulan, entreating us all to “strive for equality”. This is at the heart of what the union considers its mission. Its executive includes both a “people of colour officer” and two anti-racism officers, while one of its four co-presidents is tasked with addressing “equality and liberation”.
Earlier this week the union was again in the headlines for its efforts to address racial inequality. In a report called Degrees of Racism the student union asked that “all academics must be prepared to acknowledge... they are capable of racism”.
A proudly-progressive stance is part of SOAS’s draw. Russell Brand and political activists are among its current student body, alongside more typical students (one on SOAS steps was debating the merits of cigarettes versus spliffs when I visited), while Jemima Khan received her MA there in 2003. The school is diverse: its 5,900 students hail from 133 countries, and it likes to celebrate this diversity.
But according to Avrahum Sanger, president of SOAS’s Jewish Society (JSoc), there is a minority that doesn’t feel able to express itself. He believes there is an anti-Semitic sickness in the heart of Bloomsbury.
IsraellyCool: University of Lethbridge Files Human Rights Complaint Against Antisemite Anthony Hall
Things seem to be going from bad to worse for antisemite Anthony Hall, with the university that suspended him now moving forward with a complaint to the Alberta Human Rights Commission.
The University of Lethbridge is moving ahead with a complaint to the Alberta Human Rights Commission in regards to one of their professors who has been suspended without pay.
Anthony Hall is a tenured member within the U of L’s Faculty of Arts and Science. He teaches Globalization Studies at the university and has a history of activism.
Hall has been criticized for spreading conspiracy theories and angered Jewish groups over many of his public statements.
In October, the university suspended Hall without pay over concerns that he contravened section 3 of the Alberta Human Rights Act.
Conference Speaker Understands Terrorism, Misunderstands Anti-Semitism
A conference that questions Israel’s legitimacy cannot constitute anti-Semitism, according to one of its speakers, John Reynolds, writing in the Irish Times. The fact that he is both a speaker at the conference and on its organizing committee are omitted from the article, displaying a lack of journalistic transparency from Reynolds and the Irish Times. The paper also has a history of publishing extreme anti-Israel articles, with one journalist saying she’s “not interacting with Zionists anymore” in response to criticism of an article of hers.
The conference is due to take place at University College Cork in Ireland, after being cancelled last year due to security concerns when it was originally meant to be held at the University of Southampton. It was roundly condemned by Jewish leaders and groups, Members of Parliament who called it a “one-sided diatribe,” and a Zionist Federation petition that garnered 6,700 signatures.
Reynolds suggests that the Israeli government attempts to stifle criticism by saying that “to criticise the state of Israel is to demonise Jewish people.” Actually Israel considers demonizing the Jewish state with lies and denying its right to exist as demonizing the Jewish people – which is what the conference does. He dismisses the Israeli embassy’s concerns that it will propagate hatred, as he says the speakers are “established scholars… committed to critical thinking and the promotion of anti-racism.”
But Reynolds himself is a former legal researcher for Al-Haq, a Palestinian NGO involved in libel, BDS and “lawfare” campaigns against Israel, and has defended rocket attacks and “resistance” against Israel as understandable.
Anti-Semitic flyers found in UC Bekeley printers and fax machines. Again.
Over the weekend, UC Berkeley computers, printers and faxes throughout the campus were found with flyers described as "anti-Semitic and homophobic". The flyers included swastikas and pro-Nazi propaganda.
Because the sender exploited open source printers and fax machines that were legally accessed via the internet and the machines were not hacked, this act is not considered a hate crime. There was a similar incident in March of 2016 targeting Berkeley and other universities across the country.
UC police Sgt. Sabrina Reich speaking to the East Bay Times said that UC’s Internet Services and Technology Department has been communicating with the offices and departments on campus to “provide information on how to update the settings on (the machines) so they can be better secured on the network.”
“This is not something we welcome in our community,”
University of Toronto Grad Student, Instructor Openly ‘Bullies’ Jews Online
A graduate student at the University of Toronto, who teaches courses at the school, has harassed Jews and supporters of Israel on social media, using the pejorative “Zios” to refer to advocates of the Jewish state, the British activist group Never Again UK reported this week.
Tadhg Morris, who is pursuing his doctorate and is listed as an instructor in the Celtic studies department on the St. Michael’s College campus, caught the attention of Never Again UK when he began to “bully” the group online. “[He]…uses [T]witter to vent out his rage” when he is “no longer [able to] suppress his anti-Semitism,” it said.
Morris — a self-described “disgruntled old lefty,” whose Facebook cover photo is a 1959 picture of the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro waving a rifle — has called Twitter users “Zio f***wit,” and referred to the Jewish state’s military as the “IOF,” standing for “Israel occupation forces.”
Never Again UK also reported an online assault by Morris against Ari Fleischer, who served as White House press secretary for the Bush administration. Replying to a tweet by Fleischer, who is Jewish, about the deadly Jan. 7 terrorist attack at the Fort Lauderdale airport, Morris wrote, “And the f****er missed you.”
Campus Watchdogs Laud Fordham University's Decision to Ban Notoriously Anti-Israel Student Group
Watchdogs lauded the recent decision by a New York academic institution to prevent a notoriously anti-Israel group from organizing on its campus.
AMCHA Initiative co-founder Tammi Rossman-Benjamin and others told The Algemeiner on Wednesday that Fordham University’s preemptive measure indicates that its administrators grasp “the hateful precedent” that Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has set elsewhere.
“Most officials at other schools do not understand what our research has clearly revealed: that the presence of an SJP or a like-minded chapter committed to opposing the existence of the Jewish state has a particularly serious impact on Jewish students,” she said. “Nor do they end up doing anything about the harmful behavior when it is exhibited.”
Aviva Slomich, international campus director for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), called it both “reasonable and commendable that Fordham is not permitting SJP to spread its hatred there.”
“SJP and its affiliates promote extreme anti-Israel propaganda; harass students and faculty members — Jewish and non-Jewish — who are known to support Israel; and are responsible for the rise of antisemitism,” she said. “How can such a group be allowed to have a presence on campus?”
Video: Reuters and Israel: Do Ethics Matter?
News organizations get a lot of their content from outside companies these days, so you probably don’t realize just how much of your news actually comes from Reuters, behind the scenes. But Reuters employees don’t always follow their company’s own rules: including its Jerusalem bureau chief. Is it any wonder we see so much bias?
Here is our critique of Jerusalem Bureau Chief Luke Baker, as referenced in the video.
And here is the interview with Reuters President and Chief Editor Stephen J. Adler.
You may also be interested in the Reuters code of ethics.
Reuters and Israel: Do Ethics Matter?
News organizations get a lot of their content from outside companies these days, so you probably don't realize just how much of your news actually comes from Reuters, behind the scenes. But Reuters employees don't always follow their company's own rules: including it Jerusalem bureau chief. Is it any wonder we see so much bias?

Here’s what the Guardian doesn’t want you to know about obstacles to a two-state solution
Before we properly examine a Guardian article (The two-state solution in the Middle East: Everything you need to know, Dec. 28th) by the paper’s former Jerusalem correspondent Harriet Sherwood, let’s first provide a short textual analysis:
In an article putatively providing readers with ‘everything you need to know about the two state solution but were afraid to ask’, here’s a count of the number of times the following words were used in the text, headline and strap line:
Settlements (4); Hamas (1); Terrorism (0); Rockets (0); Incitement (0); Extremism (0); Antisemitism (0)
As you’ll see, the appearance or absence of these words are crucial to understanding how Harriet Sherwood misleads readers over the failure of the two parties to achieve an agreement.
BBC’s Bowen tells WS listeners Israel bombs Syria ‘regularly’
The lead story in the January 13th edition of the BBC World Service radio programme ‘Newshour’ was introduced by presenter Paul Henley as follows:
“First; not for the first time, Syria has accused Israel of military aggression, blaming it for a series of explosions at a military airport on the outskirts of Damascus. The Syrian government said it had been a flagrant attack and that there would be repercussions. Their stance was possibly born of a new-found sense of confidence that things in Syria are going the way of the Assad government. Russian involvement in the war has been hugely important and the possibility of a more Moscow-friendly White House come the end of this month will be greeted with delight in Damascus. I’ve been talking to our Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen who’s on route from the Syrian capital to Aleppo; was he surprised by these accusations of an Israeli military strike in Damascus?”
The idea that the Syrian regime’s response to this incident is any different to the statements it has put out previously on similar occasions is of course not supported by reality. The term ‘flagrant’ was used by Assad spokespeople back in 2013 and the Syrian regime has threatened retaliation against Israel in the past.
IsraellyCool: WATCH: Israel Critics And Haters Engaging In Extreme Mental Gymnastics
Al Jazeera recently had a debate on the rampant antisemitism on the Left.
Naturally, the only people invited to engage in this debate were either pro-palestinian, or from the Left when it comes to Israel, being:
  • Jonathan Freedland, a frequent critic of Israel
  • Anti-Israel “Palestinian-American” human rights lawyer Noura Erakat
  • Lisa Goldman, a former olah to Israel who became extremely anti-Israel over the years and left Israel for New York, where she now never misses an opportunity to trash her former place of residence
I am posting it because it is a great example of the kind of mental gymnastics the anti-Israel side engages in to justify their position. Notice their attempt to somehow distinguish between “theoretical” Zionism and Zionism in practice. My head literally hurts.
You also have to love how Goldman’s reflexive response to the idea that there is antisemitism on the Left is “The real antisemitism comes from the Right!” Deflection much?

At Least 32 Jewish Community Centers Targeted in Second Wave of Bomb Threats
At least 32 Jewish Community Centers across the United States were subjected to bomb threats on Wednesday, less than ten days after 16 more JCCs were evacuated after similar threats.
JCCs and other Jewish institutions were targeted in the Boston, Miami, Detroit, Cincinnati, Nashville, Minneapolis, and Orlando metro areas, among others. The Anti-Defamation League reported threats in 16 states: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
Paul Goldenberg, the director of Secure Community Networks, which is associated with the Jewish Federations of North America and advises Jewish institutions on security matters, explained to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that some institutions were shut down while others stayed open, depending on the determinations of local law enforcement. “It’s the second salvo in 10 days, we’re asking people to ensure they stay in contact with local law enforcement,” he said.
“Bomb threats to Jewish communities are nothing new,” Goldenberg added in a phone interview with Reuters. “What’s extraordinary is that we had so many in such a short period of time.”
The Italian Schindler Who Conned the Germans into Letting 5,000 Jews Go Free
An early enthusiast of fascism, Giorgio Perlasca volunteered to fight for Italian forces in Ethiopia in 1935 and then went to Spain to fight for Francisco Franco. But after returning to Italy in 1939, he quickly became disillusioned with Mussolini and, to avoid military service, found himself a job procuring livestock for the Italian army, which involved traveling around southeastern Europe. His travels made him aware of—and deeply troubled by—what was happening to the Jews. After Mussolini’s fall in 1943, he found himself in Budapest. Elizabeth Salthouse writes:
[I]n late 1944, the Spanish consul to Budapest beat a hasty retreat to Switzerland leaving behind empty offices, his official consulate seals, Jewish staff, and hundreds of Jews desperate for Spanish protection. . . .
Unbeknownst to the Germans, the Spanish consulate had been quietly sheltering Hungarian Jews in eight apartment blocks under its control, but the rescue effort was jeopardized by the consul’s departure. And so Giorgio “Jorge” Perlasca stepped in, brazenly convincing Hungarian authorities that he was now the Spanish ambassador with all the powers that went with the title.
China uses Israeli tech to stay connected in-flight
Gilat Satellite Networks, an Israeli leader in satellite networking technology, solutions and services, announced today a strategic partnership with Air Esurfing, a fully owned subsidiary of Air Media Group, to transform the domestic in-flight connectivity market in China. The partners intend to utilize China’s Ka-band HTS capacity for domestic IFC services over mainland China.
“We have chosen to collaborate with Gilat due to its proven presence in China and its technological leadership in mobility baseband as well as Aero antenna terminals for IFC,” said Zhou Hong, General Manager Air Esurfing. “We see in Gilat the perfect partner to open the door for IFC in the domestic Chinese market and are excited about the joint opportunity.”
Gilat and Air Esurfing will deliver broadband connectivity to airlines throughout China.
Gilat will leverage its multi-service HTS platform that will operate with ChinaSatcom’s Ka-band capacity planned to be launched sometime in 2017. Gilat’s solution will enable continuous service exceeding 100Mbps and servicing many dozens of passengers per aircraft.
Leonardo DiCaprio showcases Israeli solar thermal plant on Instagram
American actor Leonardo DiCaprio took to Instagram on Thursday to post a photo of a future Israeli power plant that is expected to boast the tallest solar thermal tower in the world.
“The arid landscape of Israel’s Negev Desert will look like a futuristic movie in the near future,” DiCaprio captioned the photo. “The country is building the tallest solar thermal tower in the world above its dusty sands. Surrounded by 50,000 mirrors, the 250-meters high tower should be able to produce enough power for about 5% of Israel’s population when it’s concluded.
“The sunlight will be reflected by the mirrors to a boiler at the top of the tower,” DiCaprio’s post continued. “The boiler will then be able to convert them and heat water to steam to turn the turbine in a conventional power plant.”
DiCaprio was referring to the 121-megawatt Ashalim Solar Thermal Power Station, which is currently under construction in the Negev. Slated to go online at the end of 2017, the project is one of the largest of its type in the world and the first concentrated solar power plant to be built in Israel.
IC Power files for $400m NYSE IPO
The prospectus shows that of the power stations owned by the Idan Ofer controlled company in 11 countries, the OPC plant in the Negev is easily the most profitable.
Kenon Holdings (TASE: KEN; NYSE; KEN) unit IC Power Pte. Ltd. (ICP) (IC stands for Israel Corporation) has filed a prospectus with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The company did not disclose details about the offering but back in 2015 when the company first spoke of an IPO its plan was to raise $400 million, at a company value of $1.5 billion.
ICP is the main asset of Kenon, which is controlled by Idan Ofer, and has a market cap of $591 million. ICP owns a string of power stations in 11 countries, mainly in Central and South America, with three of the power stations in Peru supplying 2,189 megawatt. The company also has two power stations in El Salvador (210 megawatt), one in Chile (140 megawatt), one in Guatemala (179 megawatt), two in Panama (126 megawatt), one in the Dominican Republic (67 megawatt), three in Nicaragua (185 megawatt), one in Bolivia (228 megawatt), one in Colombia (31 megawatt) and one in Jamaica (60 megawatt).
National Library acquires treasure trove of rare Jewish texts
A copy of the Pentateuch printed in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1491 and a Venetian prayer book on parchment printed in 1549 are among the many treasures of the Valmadonna Trust Library, a collection of rare Jewish tests and manuscripts the National Library of Israel has acquired, the library announced Wednesday.
Collector Jack Lunzer started amassing the Valmadonna Trust Library over 60 years ago. The collection grew to contain over 10,000 works that chart the spread of Hebrew printing and the global dissemination of Jewish culture. Some of the standout items include an incunabula (pre-1500 print) of the Pentateuch printed in Lisbon in 1491; one of only two surviving copies of the version of the Passover Haggadah that was printed in Prague in 1556; an Ashkenazi siddur (prayer book) printed on parchment in Venice in 1549; and over 550 broadsheets printed throughout the Jewish world from the 16th to the 20th century: calendars, notices by local governments to the Jewish communities, and Hebrew alphabet study tables.
The collection was purchased at a private sale at Sotheby's New York, in conjunction with collectors of archaeological artifacts, books, and Judaica Dr. David and Jemima Jeselsohn, as well as a donation from the Haim and Hana Solomon Fund.
Amaliah-iAID mission delivers warm clothing to refugees
Israeli and Jewish American humanitarian aid organizations have launched an emergency mission to deliver warm clothing to Syrian refugees suffering from sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall in Greece. The extreme wintry weather has made life in the refugee camps even more difficult than usual.
The non-governmental international humanitarian aid organizations, Amaliah (based in New York) and iAID (based in Tel Aviv) are currently in Greece with a team of five Israeli and Jewish American relief workers. The relief workers are bringing winter clothing and blankets to refugees on the island of Lesbos.
The 1.5 tons of supplies were gathered via donations from ordinary Israelis and sorted, packed, and readied for shipment.
Tom Brady ad highlights Israeli-developed video tech
A recent ad by tech giant Intel starring New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady highlights video technology developed by Israel’s Replay Technologies that will be used by FOX Sports in its upcoming Super Bowl broadcast.
Intel’s “Be the Player” technology will provide viewers with 360-degree replays of key moments in the game.
Using the tagline “Intel 360 Replay makes anything look epic,” the commercial features triumphal music and dramatic views of Tom Brady getting out of bed, brushing his teeth and eating a dropped pancake off of the floor.
The “freeD” system developed by Replay allows broadcasters to freeze video, rotate the angle of view and zoom in on the action. It has been used in other sporting events, including NBA and Olympics games.
For the Super Bowl, 38 cameras were installed throughout the stadium for the 360-degree reconstructions. Each clip will be around 15-30 seconds long and is around one terabyte of data.
The technology was developed by Replay Technologies, founded in Israel in 2011. Replay specializes in seamless 3D video rendering, allowing a viewer to see a scene from any angle as it would be seen live.
Gal Gadot, Jason Statham launch Wix’s Super Bowl ad, the Tel Aviv-based do-it-yourself website development company, on Wednesday said it would once again broadcast a commercial during the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 7.
The 30-second spot, which will be broadcast in the fourth quarter of the NFL final, will be part of a campaign Wix will launch using YouTube Live and Facebook Live, the company said.
The campaign will showcase a series of shorts featuring Israeli actress and model Gal Gadot, who plays the title role in the not-yet-released 2017 film “Wonder Woman,” and her “The Fast and the Furious” colleague English actor Jason Statham.
One of the shorts produced will be the 30-second commercial that will be broadcast during the Super Bowl, Wix said.

Rare photos of 20th century icons planting trees in Israel
January 17, 2017 (Tevet 19 on the Jewish calendar) marked 115 years since Keren Kayemet Le’Israel-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) was founded in 1901 at the Fifth Zionist Congress in Basel.
On that same date in 1878, the first furrow had been dug in Petah Tikva, symbolically beginning the replanting and revitalization of the land of Israel for which KKL-JNF would become so well known.
Though the organization grew to include many projects in sustainability, education, tourism, agriculture, road and reservoir development and even programs in other countries to share Israeli expertise, KKL-JNF remains synonymous with planting trees.
Responsible for about 400,000 acres of forests and natural woodlands in cooperation with the Israeli government, KKL-JNF has planted some 240 million trees in the past 115 years. All these trees help mitigate effects of climate change, prevent soil erosion and desertification, create green lungs around residential areas, and promote biodiversity.
Lots of people from across the world relish the opportunity not just to contribute to afforesting Israel but to come and plant trees with their own hands.
Frank Sinatra plants a tree in the hills of Jerusalem in 1962. Photo courtesy of KKL-JNF Archive

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