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Saturday, December 3, 2016

The United Nations Development Programme has released its Arab Human Development Report 2016.

This paragraph is all the evidence you need that this agency is more interested in anti-Israel propaganda than truth.

The conflict in Palestine has even deeper roots than those in the other conflict-affected countries in the region. The Israeli occupation has been constant for more than six decades, and there are periodic outbreaks of large-scale violence, particularly in Gaza. The 1990s were relatively calm in Palestine in terms of widespread violence, but armed conflict escalated again during the 2000s with the second Intifada in 2000–2001, the ensuing Israeli intervention, the blockade of Gaza after Hamas gained control in 2007 and Israeli assaults on Gaza.
If the Israeli "occupation" is more than six decades old, that means that according to the UNDP, it started in 1948, not 1967.

And this isn't a typo. In another section, the UNDP says:
The Israeli occupation of Palestine is one of the longest lasting territorial occupations in modern history. It is also one of the most prolonged denials of self-determination to a people that has formulated its own nationhood against all odds. The freedom to live in dignity is palpably absent. Seven decades of occupation have exposed people in Palestine to deep insecurity, loss of  opportunities, desperation and profound political frustration.
Seven decades? Since before modern Israel was established!

This means that this UN agency is saying that all of Israel is occupied Palestinian territory, and Israel is illegitimate.

There are plenty of other lies you can see in just those two paragraphs (such as the idea that the second intfada was less than 2 years long.) And there's lots more, like a sidebar on that same page that says how awful things are for Gaza children, for example, if you are less than six years old, there is a "10 percent chance that you have stunted growth due to prolonged exposure to malnutrition." Yet elsewhere in the same report it shows that this is one of the best rates in the entire region, with many Arab countries suffering from 20%, 30% or (in the case of Yemen) 57% stunting!

The UNDP's hate for Israel destroys the credibility it has in trying to actually help human development. It shows that bias and hate is part and parcel of the entire UN system, as we have demonstrated before. 

And no one in Europe or the US gives a damn.

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:

Most Democrats consider Israel is ‘a burden’ on US, has too much influence on policy, poll claims
Most Democrats consider Israel to be a burden to the United States, according to the published findings of a poll released by the Brookings Institution on Friday.
The survey found a clear majority of Americans (76%) said Israel was “a strategic asset” to the US, its authors said. At the same time, they said, “a majority of Democrats, 55%, say that Israel is also a burden”; among Republicans, 24% consider Israel a burden. Fifty-two percent of Independents do not consider Israel a burden and 41% think it is.
The findings were among the results of twin surveys conducted by the think tank’s Shibley Telhami before and after the November 8 presidential elections.
Overall, “slightly more than half of Americans (54%) disagree with the concept of Israel being a burden to the US as Israel’s actions in the region generate hostility toward the United States in Arab and Muslim-majority countries whereas 40% of Americans feel this way,” the survey’s authors said. It was not clear from the published findings whether this was the specific wording of the question that was put to respondents, and whether the consequent results were impacted by such wording, with its reference to “hostility toward the United States” in the Arab world.
The surveys also showed 55% of Democrats believe Israel has too much influence on American politics and policies, while 54% of Republicans think Israel has the “right level” of influence.
Haim Saban: Keith Ellison ‘an anti-Semite and anti-Israel individual’
Jewish billionaire megadonor Haim Saban lashed out at Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison Friday, calling him “clearly an anti-Semite and anti-Israel individual.”
At the Brooking Institution’s annual Saban Forum, which is hosted and funded by the media mogul, Saban chimed in from his seat in the audience during a question-and-answer session between CNN’s Jake Tapper and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. Tapper had earlier in the session asked the Israeli minister about Ellison’s controversial bid to chair the Democratic National Committee.
While he prefaced his remarks by saying Ellison’s Muslim faith was a “non-issue” and that some of his statements now have been more Zionist than that of Zionism visionary Theodore Herzl, Saban designated Ellison as fundamentally hostile to Jews and the Jewish State.
“If you go back to his positions, his papers, his speeches, the way he has voted, he is clearly an anti-Semite and anti-Israel individual,” he said. “Words matter and actions matter more. Keith Ellison would be a disaster for the relationship between the Jewish community and the Democratic Party.”
J Street defends Ellison, says attacks only serve to silence Israel debate
Dovish pro-peace advocacy group J Street on Friday said that a current barrage of criticism leveled at US Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison's record on Israel should immediately cease, claiming such tactics only serves to silence open debate on Israeli government policy.
"The recent spate of attacks on Rep. Keith Ellison’s record of support for Israel and the Jewish community need to come to an end," a statement from the organization begins. "It is time to retire the playbook that aims to silence any American official seeking high office who has dared to criticize certain Israeli government policies."
"J Street believes that this recurrent process undermines our ability to have open, honest and productive conversations about Israel and the Middle East in our national politics, and that it does deep and lasting damage to the American Jewish community."
The statement continues by adding, "J Street has always stood for open debate, and we welcome and respect disagreements over policy questions. But responsible leaders in the American Jewish community must take care not to charge that those who are critical of certain Israeli government policies are 'anti-Israel,' or worse, and thus not 'qualified' to hold high national office."
"It is time to put away the old playbook," J Street concluded.
Meanwhile, the National Jewish Democratic Council on Friday called the attacks "false, reprehensible and shameful."

MEMRI: The 'Abbas-Dahlan Power Struggle Over The Palestinian Presidential Succession
A recent focus in the Palestinian press has been the power struggle between Palestinian Authority (PA) President and Fatah chairman Mahmoud 'Abbas and former Fatah Central Committee member Muhammad Dahlan, who was expelled from the movement in 2011 and is currently attempting to influence the Palestinian agenda and to empower his supporters in the face of 'Abbas's steps to exclude him from the Palestinian political scene.
Dahlan has been demonstrating his strength in a number of ways: in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip through conferences and protests organized by his supporters there, and also through efforts to strengthen ties between Egypt and the Gaza Strip; and in the Palestinian diaspora with conferences organized by his supporters in Lebanese refugee camps and in Europe. At the same time, 'Abbas is trying with all his might to completely exclude Dahlan and his supporters from Fatah, and to end the ongoing internal conflict in the movement with an institutional resolution to be approved at the Seventh Fatah Conference, which is set for November 29, 2016.
The escalation in the power struggle between 'Abbas and Dahlan is linked to the debate on the future of the Palestinian leadership, particularly the question of who 'Abbas's successor will be. This latter issue goes beyond the Palestinian discourse, in light of efforts by the Arab Quartet (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the UAE), and especially by Egypt, to influence the composition of the Palestinian leadership by including Dahlan in it and by grooming him to succeed 'Abbas as Fatah chairman and Palestinian president.[1] On October 6, 2016, the debate over 'Abbas's successor became more urgent after the 82-year-old 'Abbas was rushed to the hospital for a cardiac catheterization.
It is notable that in interviews, Dahlan has repeatedly stated that he is not seeking the Palestinian presidency and that he supports the candidacy of Fatah official Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison for attacks he orchestrated during the second Intifada.[2] However, Dahlan's political activity, as set out below, indicates that he does aspire to attain a very influential position in the Palestinian leadership, even if not necessarily that of president.
Elliott Abrams: The United Nations General Assembly, the Golan, and Theater of the Absurd
What precisely would happen were Israel tomorrow morning to withdraw from what the UN calls “the Syrian Golan?” Would Islamic State try to overrun it and slaughter Druze living there? Would Iranian-backed militias take part of it? More likely, would the butcher Bashar al-Assad’s Iranian-backed army try to seize it? Or, most likely of all, would Hezbollah forces seize it?
How would that affect the people living there? Or the people living in northern Israel? Or the people living across the border from the Golan in Jordan?
It seems that neither “Bolivia (Plurinational State of)” nor “Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)” cares much. But who voted against this mindless resolution? According to the UN, there was “a recorded vote of 103 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 56 abstentions.”
Amazing, isn’t it? The United States and Canada joined Israel–and got the support of three tiny Pacific island nations. That means the nations of the EU abstained; not one single European country could bring itself to acknowledge the truth about this resolution.
The UK has just voted AGAINST Israel at the UN
According to UN Watch, this resolution used only Islamic terms for labelling the Temple Mount, completely ignoring the site’s biblical role in Judaism and Christianity.
Israel rightfully condemned the six resolutions that were voted against them on Wednesday. Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said, “Today’s resolutions are yet another example of the daily bias Israel faces in the UN.”
“At the same time that Israel is celebrating the historic decision to reestablish the Jewish state in our homeland, the UN continues to fund organizations and pass resolutions that do nothing to better the lives of the Palestinians.”
We at CUFI UK are shocked and saddened that the United Kingdom has supported such an anti-Israel resolution at the United Nations. We must continue to pray for our nation, lobby our MPs and leaders and educate the public on Israel.
UN Watch Salutes Canada’s Justin Trudeau for Opposing 6 Anti-Israel Resolutions at U.N.
The Geneva-based UN Watch saluted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his government’s principled stand at the United Nations on Wednesday in voting against each of six Arab-sponsored resolutions singling out Israel, part of a total of 20 unbalanced and inflammatory texts adopted each year in the ritual scapegoating of the Jewish state. See chart below listing all 6 resolutions.
“Prime Minister Trudeau is showing moral leadership by continuing Canada’s exemplary UN tradition over the past decade in joining a small handful of principled nations who are unafraid to defy the intimidation of dictatorships who use the demonization of Israel to distract attention from their horrific human rights record and failed governance,” said Hillel Neuer, the Canadian-born executive director of UN Watch, an independent non-governmental organization.
“Canada’s voting record is entirely unchanged from last year, and once again upholds the UN Charter’s principle of equal treatment of all nations,” added Neuer.
One resolution effectively calls on Israel to transfer control of the Golan Heights to Syria, oblivious to the mass killings now being perpetrated by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Another resolution condemns Israel for actions in Jerusalem, and uses only the Islamic term for the Temple Mount, ignoring the site’s biblical role in Judaism and Christianity.
“The UN’s assault on Israel this week with a torrent of one-sided resolutions is surreal,” said Neuer.
'Time to dump the anti-Israel crowd in the State Department'
As speculation continues regarding President-elect Donald Trump’s much-anticipated choice of Secretary of State, regardless of who he picks, says attorney Marc Zell, the next Secretary of State will have to ‘clean house’ in order to implement Trump’s policies.
Zell, Chairman of the Republican Party in Israel, spoke with Arutz Sheva on Thursday regarding the US State Department and the importance of Trump’s choice for top diplomat in fulfilling his campaign promises vis-à-vis Israel.
“Currently there are three [likely] candidates for the position,” said Zell, “Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and John Bolton.”
“Most of the attention has been directed towards Romney, who lost in the 2012 presidential election. He's an unlikely candidate, given the fact that he attacked Trump throughout this year’s election.”
Romney, associated with the GOP’s establishment wing, would have difficulty fundamentally changing the culture within the State Department and letting go of veteran bureaucrats, a step Zell says will be essential for fulfilling Trump’s stated policy goals.
“[Trump] needs a Secretary of State who can clean house in the Department in Washington, which is currently filled with Arab supporters. In order to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, you need to neutralize these people – which means firing them. Only people like Giuliani and Bolton are able to do that.”
Islamic State Publishes Picture of Palestinian 'Martyr' In Seeming Bid to Embarrass Hamas
On Wednesday, the Islamic State organization published another picture of a Palestinian militant who died in battle in a further bid to embarrass Hamas.
According to IS, Abu Albaraa Almaqdesi (“the Jerusalemite”), a native of Gaza, carried out a suicide attack against Iraqi forces near the Iraqi town of Hit in the Alanbar region. The attack allegedly left 10 Iraqi soldiers dead and four military vehicles destroyed.
This is the second time in a week that IS reported the death of a Palestinian member, apparently as part of a popularity contest with Hamas, which has cracked down on IS sympathizers in the Gaza Strip.
Earlier this week, IS published the picture of Abu Baker al Gazawi (“the Gazan”), who was killed in Sinai in an attack against Egyptian troops, followed by the picture of Abu Abdel Rahman Almaqdesi, a suicide bomber who died in Mosul.
A top Gaza jihadi told Breitbart Jerusalem that “the publication of the identity of Palestinian jihadists who died while fighting for the Islamic State is meant to send a message to young Palestinian militants that fewer and fewer of those still adhere to the traditional Palestinian organizations, especially the Islamic ones like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and have joined the ranks of Islamic State. Most young jihadists in Gaza were once Hamas and Islamic Jihad members.”
Senior Tehran Cleric Calls for ‘Retaliation’ After US Senate Backs Extension of Iran Sanctions Act
“Now is the time for retaliation,” a senior Iranian cleric told worshippers in Tehran on Friday, following the US Senate’s unanimous approval of a ten-year extension of the Iran Sanctions Act.
Calling the move a violation of the nuclear deal reached by Iran and six world powers in July 2015, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi-Kermani — according to the Tehran regime’s semi-official state news agency Fars — warned, “[The Americans] should know that the Islamic Republic of Iran will certainly show serious reaction against it.”
Ali Akbar Salehi — the head of the Atomic Energy Agency of Iran — was quoted by Fars as saying that, if implemented, the extension of the Iran Sanctions Act — which was also passed by the House of Representatives last month and now awaits President Barack Obama’s signature — would “explicitly violate the nuclear deal.”
Iran, Salehi was quoted by the semi-official state news agency Mehr as saying on Friday, “sees no need to make its (subsequent measures) public, but we have made the necessary predictions and are well-prepared to react (against the extension of the Iran Sanctions Act)…Our decisions will for sure be based on tact and sagacity, and not on emotional responses. The key factor here is our national interests and national sovereignty.”
Saudi woman pictured not wearing hijab faces calls for her to be killed
A woman in Saudi Arabia pictured without a hijab is facing calls for her to be killed.
Some social media users reacted with outrage after the emergence of the image taken in capital city Riyadh, with one man demanding: “Kill her and throw her corpse to the dogs”.
The photo was allegedly first posted by an account under the name of Malak Al Shehri, which has since been deleted, reports the International Business Times.
An unnamed student who reposted the image told the website that Ms Al Shehri had announced she was going out to breakfast without either a hijab or abaya; a traditional Saudi body covering.
The student said she started receiving death threats after posting proof in response to followers who had asked to see a photo.
New York Governor blacklists BDS businesses
New York state's highest elected official has created a blacklist of foreign companies that support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] movement, according to the New York Post Friday.
The Office of General Services wrote the list after Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an order in June which barred the New York State Government from investing public funds in firms that back the BDS movement.
“New York stands in solidarity with Israel today and always," Cuomo said when he signed the executive order. "This state will not stand for the politics of discrimination in any form, and we will continue to demonstrate our unwavering support for the people of Israel in the fight for freedom, liberty and democracy,” he added.
The businesses on the list are not American, state officials said Friday night. The institutions which the order prevents state agencies from investing include several European banks and businesses.
Jewish Students Urge Split from NUS Over Anti-Semitism Concerns
Jewish Students have urged their union to cut all ties to the National Union of Students (NUS) over the anti-Semitism displayed by its President, Malia Bouattia.
Jewish students, left “angry and frustrated” by Bouattia’s insults towards the Jewish community, have tabled a motion to be debated at the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) annual conference next week calling on the Union to formally cut ties with the NUS, the Huffington Post has reported.
They point to Bouattia’s use of anti-Semitic language, including her referring to Birmingham University earlier this year as “something of a Zionist outpost in British higher education”, a comment the Home Affairs Select Committee said “smacks of outright racism”.
She has also been widely criticised for saying, during a 2014 conference speech on ‘Gaza and the Palestine Revolution’, that “with mainstream Zionist-led media outlets… resistance is resented as an act of terrorism”.
And Jewish students have been forced to question why they, uniquely, are not allowed to define the terms of anti-Semitism, in stark contrast to other minority groups.
UJS President Josh Seitler said: “Like huge numbers of Jewish students I am appalled by Malia’s past rhetoric and ongoing behaviour.
Students at Ryerson University actually oppose hosting a Holocaust Education Week
It all reminds me of when I was on campus and the debates I would have with the anti-Israel students.
I used to love asking people, “Why it was that all three major political party leaders in Canada were not just simply supporters of Israel, but self-described Zionists?”
And the answer I always got was either, “well, it’s because the Jews control the media” or “because the Jews control the politicians.” That’s when the Jew-hatred comes up.
Obviously, not everyone who opposes the state of Israel is a Jew-hater. And obviously, not all Muslims at Ryerson are Jew-haters. Some of my fondest memories at Ryerson were working with student groups like the Ismaili Muslims, and for the record, the Armenians and Catholics as well.
But when you get into Jewish conspiracy theories, like the Holocaust didn’t happen or the Jews are secretly controlling everything behind the scenes, that’s when you lose legitimacy.
When I was at Ryerson I would ask members of the Palestinian student group what they thought Zionism meant, and all they could ever answer was “it means racism.” They have no idea what they are talking about.
Zionism has nothing to do with racism.
But organizing against hosting a Holocaust Education Week? That makes you the real bigot.
Ryerson University students oppose Holocaust Education Week

New Poll: More British Muslims Blame Jews for 9/11 Terror Attacks Than Al-Qaeda
Only 4% of British Muslims believe Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorist group was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, a new poll published on Friday found.
According to the poll results — which were based on a survey of 3,000 British Muslims conducted by ICM for the Policy Exchange think tank — 31% of respondents said the US government was behind the devastating September 2001 terrorist attacks — in which nearly 3,000 people were killed in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia — while 7% pointed a finger of blame at Jews.
A majority — 52% — said they did not know who carried out the attacks, while 6% chose “other.”
Asked what they would do if someone close to them was “getting involved with people who supported terrorism in Syria,” 52% replied, “Report it to the police.” 26% said they would “talk to them directly,” 20% said they would “look for help from family and friends” and 17% said they would “look for help from religious community leaders.”
More than a quarter of respondents — 26% — said extremist views do not exist within the British Muslim community.
43% expressed support for “the introduction of aspects of Sharia law into Britain,” whereas only 22% said they were opposed to this (23% said they neither supported nor opposed the idea, while 12% replied that they didn’t know).
Daphne Anson: How the News We Watch Can Shape The Way We Think: BDSer Jake's BBC Take (video)
The London Times of 25 July 1994 carried an article by the BBC's world affairs editor John Simpson entitled "When reporters act on their consciences". Unfortunately, I don't have a copy in front of me now, but from memory the springboard for the article was a recent broadcast in which BBC television reporter (later newsreader) George Alagiah abandoned objectivity to advocate for a particular cause, so outraged was he at what he was seeing around him.
Simpson evidently understood and approved, and foreshadowed more instances of the kind.
Nowadays, of course, the intrusion of BBC reporters' own sympathies and prejudices into their reportage has become, if not commonplace, then certainly a matter for concern, as indeed is the case regarding certain broadcasters on the ABC, Australia's answer to the BBC, its Middle East correspondent Sophie McNeill having before her controversial appointment made no secret of the fact that she considers herself an activist as well as a journalist.
The following 12-minute video dates to 2014. It features Jake Lynch, the BDS-happy associate professor who heads the so-called Peace and Conflict Centre at the University of Sydney. In his discussion of his background as a BBC presenter he refers to how "peace journalism" informed his broadcasts, how he steered interviews in order to incorporate it, how the BBC effectively allowed him to take the line he chose, and how useful a tool it is in shaping audience responses to international conflicts.

We Built a Bot That Trolls Twitter’s Worst Anti-Semitic Trolls
As the No. 2 most-harassed Jewish journalist on Twitter per the Anti-Defamation League, I’ve become intimately familiar with the colorful cast of anti-Jewish bigots that populate social media. There are those who will photoshop you into gas chambers and concentration camps. Others like pairing Nazi quotes with Taylor Swift pictures. Some just stick to spreading slurs and conspiracies theories. On a whole, they are a rather sad and pathetic bunch, and mostly, I just ignore or mock them.
But there is one particular type of anti-Semitic troll that I find particularly pernicious: the racists who use their accounts to impersonate Jews and defame them. The con goes like this: The troll finds a picture of a very Jewish-looking person online—typically a Hasidic Jew in full regalia—and makes it his avatar. He puts a bunch of very Jewish descriptors in his bio (“Orthodox,” “Zionist,” “enemy of the alt-right”). He then proceeds to insert himself into conversations with prominent Twitter users—conversations that will often be read by tens of thousands of followers—and say horrifically racist things. Thus, it appears to unsuspecting readers that Jews are outlandishly bigoted. The same has been done with other minorities, from Latinos to African-Americans to Muslims.
Now, it’s pretty easy to identify these trolls if one knows how to look. Their tweets are indistinguishable from alt-right racism. They regularly retweet the alt-right and other anti-Semites. And if one reverse image-searches the acount’s avatar, one can often find where it was stolen from.
The problem is, most casual social media users aren’t even aware that this sort of racist deception is being perpetrated, let alone trained to be vigilant for it. And Twitter isn’t really capable of the detective work to identify these accounts and take them down as they spring up.
Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2016 passes the Senate
S. 10, the “Anti-Semitism Awareness Act of 2016”, a bipartisan bill to increase awareness of anti-Semitism has unanimously passed the Senate. The bill was cosponsored by Sen. Robert Casey, Jr [D-PA], Sen. Ron Wyden [D-OR], Sen. Lindsay Graham, and Sen. Michael Bennet. [D-CO]
The goal of the bill was to propose definition of anti-Semitism for the enforcement of Federal anti discrimination laws concerning education programs or activities.
The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act was supported by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Federations of North America, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Senator Scott Speaks on Senate Floor about Anti-Semitism Awareness Act
Norway police: Probe of stolen Nazi camp gate may be complicated
The investigation into how an iron gate stolen from the Nazis’ Dachau concentration camp in southern Germany ended up in western Norway may be complicated because “no usable evidence” has been found, police said Saturday.
Police spokeswoman Kari Bjoerkhaug Trones said the gate with the cynical slogan “Arbeit macht frei” — “Work sets you free” — was found Nov. 28 under a tarpaulin at a parking lot in Ytre Arna, a settlement north of Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city.
“It has been there for quite some time with some junk under a tarpaulin. Our forensic teams have found no usable evidence like DNA,” Bjoerkhaug Trones told The Associated Press. The gate was now in police care, she said, adding they have no suspects.
The concentration camp near Munich was established by the Nazis in 1933. The missing gate, measuring 190 by 95 centimeters (75 by 37 inches), originally was set into a larger gate at the camp’s entrance.
More than 200,000 people from across Europe were held at Dachau, and more than 40,000 prisoners died there.
Kosovo's president bans sale, distribution of anti-Semitic books
The president of Kosovo has banned the sale and distribution of anti-Semitic literature following a complaint from experts on anti-Semitism, the Jewish Business News reported Wednesday.
According to the report, President Hashim Thaci issued the directive after his office was contacted by Ido Daniel, head of the Israeli Students Combating Anti-Semitism activism group.
The government of the small southeast European state and the European Cooperation Organization had invited Daniel and other experts in anti-Semitism and global terrorism to take part in a conference in the capital, Pristina, on combating racism and radicalization. To his shock, while walking through one of the capital's main streets, Daniel noticed that local bookstores were displaying overtly anti-Semitic books, including translations of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" in Albanian, one of Kosovo's official languages.
"It turns out that there is a whole industry of anti-Semitic literature translated into Albanian and other languages in the region as part of an organized campaign of incitement against Jews in the Balkans," Daniel said.
Amazonian Jews thrive in the depths of the rainforest
After their ancestors journeyed across an ocean from the edge of the Sahara to the center of the Amazon, their current numbers have dwindled in the wake of grim economic prospects and geographic isolation. Yet the pulse keeps beating for the Jewish community of Iquitos, Peru.
“We as a community in Iquitos are trying to create a Jewish life, which is not easy, because the conditions for it do not exist,” said community leader Rebeca Abramovitz in an interview in Spanish.
Located in Loreto, Peru’s northernmost region, Iquitos is the largest city in the world unreachable by road. Visitors must either fly in or arrive by boat along the Amazon River.
Jews constitute only a fraction of a percent of the city’s population, which numbered just under 440,000 last year. The Jewish community of Iquitos consists of about 70 individuals, led by president Jorge Abramovitz, Rebeca’s husband. (There is also a smaller population of under 40 Jews in the city of Pucallpa to the south.)
The Iquitos community does not have a rabbi, and meets for worship in the Abramovitz house. Its members represent a fraction of the hundreds of people who once practiced Judaism by the banks of the Amazon.
Britain’s Mitzvah Day brings out record 25,000 volunteers
Some 25,000 people, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan, participated in British Jewry’s largest-ever Mitzvah Day.
Organizers said the number of volunteers for the faith-based day of social action, which this year was held on Nov. 27, was the most since Mitzvah Day was first inaugurated in the United Kingdom in 2005.
Bringing together Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus and others, activities included hosting tea parties, making teddy bears, cooking meals, and collecting goods for immigrants and the poor.
Joining Khan, the first Muslim mayor of London, as volunteers were Communities Minister Lord Bourne, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Imam Qari Asim, Bishop of Edmonton Robert Wickham and numerous lawmakers.
This year’s Mitzvah Day was focused on building bridges in British society following the polarizing effect of a referendum held in May in which a majority of voters supported a British exit, or Brexit, from the European Union. The campaign to leave highlighted issues connected to immigration and integration. Following the vote, British watchdog groups reported a spike in xenophobic hate crimes and incidents.
Are you ready for IsrAction Day, December 18, 2016?
Please consider participating in this great initiative- truly a triple mitzvah- from StandwithUs:
JOIN US for IsrAction Day, December 18, 2016!
StandWithUs is partnering with North West Friends of Israel and Sussex Friends of Israel for the 3rd annual IsrAction Day 2016 in an effort to fight BDS and win BIG (Buy Israeli Goods).
Launching this year on December 18, IsrAction Day is an International grassroots campaign where people buy Israeli goods in local supermarkets and donate the purchases to the needy in their community. It accomplishes its three major goals: people are able to stand up for Israel, fight BDS and support local communities.
Purchases can be dropped off at local collection centers or to directly to the selected charity. Photos and videos can be uploaded to the IsrAction Day 2016 FaceBook group and website.

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.
The official Fatah Facebook page published an unintentionally hilarious post about the elections of the Fatah Central Committee held on Saturday:

After casting his ballot in the election of the Fatah movement, President Mahmoud Abbas said, "The electoral process is moving properly without problems, and it is a democracy by all standards and the world can see that the process is completely transparent."

I'm sure that the vote count will be reasonably accurate. After all, Abbas spent the weeks before the Fatah conference kicking out hundreds of members of Fatah who have been critical of him and banning them from the conference.

The only people left to vote are his loyalists.

That's Mahmoud Abbas' version of "democracy."

Here's a photo of the vote-counting headquarters in Ramallah:

And here is a detail of how they are counting the votes, in a post that Fatah ended up removing, possibly because it showed results that they did not want to publicize. (Or maybe because the fifth entry in the left side photo appears to show a "29" next to 27 hashes.)

Not a single computer is visible in the photo above.

People are tallying votes with pens and hash marks.

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

Friday, December 2, 2016

From Ian:

The KGB's Middle East Files: The fight against Zionism and world Jewry
Break-ins, forgeries, creating front organizations and even planting bombs – all means were justified in the battle that the Soviet intelligence agency waged against the Zionist movement, the emigration of Jews from the USSR and the world’s major Jewish organizations. Classified documents now reveal that the agency’s leaders saw Zionism as a real threat to the Soviet empire, and did everything in their power against it.
In January 1972, Operation Simon entered its final stage. A team from Service A, a key department in the KGB’s First Chief Directorate (which was responsible for collecting intelligence and special operations outside the USSR) traveled to Paris to gathered intelligence ahead of the operation. Service A was responsible, among other things, for the operations against Zionist and Jewish organizations, an issue of utmost importance as far as the omnipotent KGB head, Yuri Andropov, was concerned.
In the Soviet intelligence’s glossary, Operation Simon meets the definition of “active measures.” Their practical meaning was “aimed at exerting useful influence on aspects of interest in the political life of a target country, including its foreign policy; the solution of international problems; misleading the adversary; undermining and weakening the adversary's positions.”
Operation Simon included secretly infiltrating the World Jewish Congress (WJC) offices in Paris and copying internal material—mostly documentation on the members of the large international organization— in order to map its ties to other key Jewish organization. The Russians’ surveillance of the headquarters, located in the heart of the City of Lights, revealed that the employees did not sense any danger. While the threat of global terrorism had already been raised at the time, no one in the WJC bothered to install an alarm system or have the offices guarded at night. A KGB team obtained a key to the front door from one of the employees and copied it. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
Ruthie Blum: Note to Israelis: The US is not racist
Since Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election last month, Israelis have been engaged in a heated debate about how the victory of the billionaire businessman who gets into fights on Twitter will affect the Jewish state.
The Left, which has been fawning over Barack Obama for eight years, has been attributing all the ills of his country and the world during this period to a combination of piggish capitalism and racism ostensibly so indigenous to America that even the Great Black Hope was unable to stomp them out. Members of this very vocal sector of the Israeli media and academia are naturally appalled by Trump, but point to his success as evidence that their analysis of the character of the United States is accurate.
According to this position, it was not the failures of the Democratic Party that led to its defeat, but rather the very nature of the voting public. The holders of this view went as far as to claim that a country with such a number of yahoos and evangelical Christians was simply not ready for a woman president.
This is exactly how these same Israelis interpret the fact that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has just broken David Ben-Gurion's record for the length of tenure in the office of the premiership, though the primitive and religious voters whom they put down are Orthodox Jews and those of North African descent. Different culture, same snobbery. And a virtually identical -- delusional -- outlook on peacemaking in the Middle East.
In contrast, the Israeli Right has been celebrating Trump's win, highlighting two causes for optimism. One is the assumption that the president-elect is sympathetic to the settler enterprise -- since he does not consider it to be at fault for a lack of peace with the Palestinians -- and therefore will not respond to every additional Jewish apartment built in the West Bank with the apoplexy exhibited by the Obama administration.
Ken Livingstone's Aide Claims His Staff “Celebrated 9/11”
Atma Singh, an aide to Ken Livingstone when he was Mayor of London, has claimed he saw Ken’s staff “cheering” 9/11 as they watched events unfold in the mayoral press office:
Q: “You were in the Mayor’s Office during the actual attacks. What was your and others’ reaction inside the Mayor’s Office?”
Singh: “I watched the attacks unfolding while I was in my office as one officer had come into my office in the Mayoral corridor to inform me about them. Then, as the situation unfolded, I went into the Mayoral Press Officer’s room to watch the terrible events. I was disturbed to see a few people cheering the events. Others watched soberly and others talked matter-of-fact about the consequences for London.”
Q: “Celebrating the attacks?
Singh: “Yes.”

Quite an allegation from a former aide…

SPME BDS Monitor: Far-Left Groups Support BDS; US Congress Pushes Back
In the wake of the US presidential election, BDS supporters have joined some far-left anti-Trump protesters, and a BDS supporter became the leading candidate to head the Democratic National Committee. In academia, the Middle East Studies Association proposed redefining itself as a political organization in order to support future BDS resolutions. Meanwhile, federal legislation to limit Israel boycotts has been introduced. The polarization of America has increased and the position of BDS as a far-left cause may shift as the political and cultural landscapes change.
The November election was a turning point in US history. In some of the protests that ensued, BDS supporters were present, along with other groups, including ANSWER and Black Lives Matter. Palestinian flags, “free Palestine” chants and calls for intifada were heard at street protests in New York and other cities. Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapters participated in the protests.
BDS support for anti-Trump protests expands the “intersectional” alliances with far-left movements, in this case ANSWER and Socialist Alternatives. Another recent example is BDS support for protests against the Standing Rock Sioux pipeline. Such alliances feature BDS activists attempting to usurp media attention, usually against the will of the hijacked cause.
The Trump election may have a direct impact on BDS. The nomination of South Carolina governor Nikki Haley as ambassador to the United Nations would see a strong BDS opponent in a critical position, as would rumored appointments for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former UN Ambassador John Bolton. If rumors are true that the Trump administration will designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, SJP and its sponsoring organizations could also be in jeopardy.
In response to the Democratic collapse, Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison put himself forward to head the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Ellison has roots in the Nation of Islam, has fervently defended antisemites like Louis Farrakahn, supported the BDS movement, is effectively a 9/11 conspiracy theorist and has encouraged rewriting the Democratic party platform to oppose the Israeli “occupation.”
Remembering a Terrible Pogrom in Yemen, 69 Years Later
When the UN, on November 29, 1947, voted in favor of the partition of Palestine, the Jews in the British-controlled Yemenite city of Aden cheered. But then, 69 years ago today, the local Muslims viciously set upon their Jewish neighbors, leaving 87 dead and many more wounded. Ofer Aderet describes the events. (Free registration may be required.)
The rioting began on December 2, 1947 and lasted three days. “On the night of December 2, the Arabs started to burn Jews’ cars in the streets,” Shimon Sasson [who was fifteen-years-old at the time], recalled. “The next day they invaded our neighborhood. The streets were totally empty. We threw bottles at them.”
A day later Arabs started to torch Jewish stores, businesses, and homes. “A few families fled their homes and ran to our house, which was in the middle of the neighborhood. I opened the door and took in five families,” whose names he still remembers.
The Jewish leaders asked the British for help. In response, they sent a unit of Bedouin policemen under British command. “That’s when the disaster started,” [the Jewish Agency representative in Aden, Ovadiah] Tuvia wrote [in a report to his superiors]. “The hooligans started to loot Jewish stores. The policemen stood aside and smiled. Another minute and you could see them assisting in the looting and pillaging.”
Global Ministries Enlists Sunday School Teachers to Promote Anti-Israel Agenda During Advent
The strategy is pretty simple.
During Advent, the four Sundays before Christmas, Israel is portrayed as an obstacle to the birth of Jesus.
During Lent, the 40 days before Good Friday, Israel is portrayed as a source of Christian suffering in the Holy Land, similar to the Roman and Jewish elites who oppressed Jesus and His followers in first century Jerusalem.
Using the stories of Advent and Lent as hermeneutics to interpret the Israel-Palestinian conflict turns it into a cosmological affront in which Israel, the Jewish state, is always guilty and the Palestinians are always innocent.
The use of these narratives to frame the Israel-Palestinian conflict also appeals to a deep-seated tendency on the part of Christians to view Jews as villains who obstruct God's purposes for humanity. It casts Palestinians as innocent Christ-like sufferers who are in no way responsible for the conflict and the suffering it causes to themselves or the Israelis.
With this strategy, so-called Christian peacemakers condone, reward and encourage more bad behavior from the Palestinians who have learned to rely on human rights activists in both secular and religious communities to broadcast their propaganda to Westerners.
This behavior also engenders mistrust on the part of Israelis who have grown tired of hearing one-sided complaints from Christians in the United States who do not have to live with the consequences of the conflict they help inflame with their distorted narrative.
Self righteous virtue signaling hypocrites and Airbnb
Airbnb is the company everyone loves to hate, until they are looking for the perfect charming low-cost vacation rental with a view of the surf. Because they refuse to discriminate against Jews who list their homes in Judea and Samaria, Airbnb has been in the Israel's hater cross-hairs for some time now.
Jewish Voice for Peace and friends launched the Stolen Homes campaign, which follows the JVP formulaic and entirely predictable modus operandi. A petition! A hashtag! Aging hippies holding signs!
No doubt the 30 billion dollar company was left quaking in its shoes. No! Not hippies holding signs!
Andy Griggs and Emma Rosenthal are members of Labor for Palestine, the Los Angeles Palestine Labor Solidarity Committee and the Cafe Intifada, and have been involved in many social media campaigns designed to demonize the only democracy in the Middle east. No one doubts their commitment to quashing the state of the Jewish people, unless of course, their personal livelihood is involved. That would be different.
Andy and Emma list rooms at their Dragonfly Hill Urban farm on Airbnb, and choose to ignore the “call from Palestinian civil society” ostensibly because it might interfere with their bottom line. They’ll endlessly harangue community organizations to divest "from companies doing business in Israel", but they can not be bothered to do so themselves.
Makes me wonder. Could self righteous virtue signalling hypocrites be at the core of the failure of the BDS movement in America?
IsraellyCool: Does Statement By Ryerson Student Union Border On Holocaust Denial?
Sorry guys, but Arab Muslims whose families lived thousands of miles away from Europe have no right to determine or revise the history of the Holocaust to suit their own pretty transparent political agenda.
Here we have it, folks. More proof that antisemitism has been normalized on college campuses, swept aside the student union execs who feel the politically correct thing to do is to accept and acknowledge Holocaust denial as a viewpoint worth discussing. Not only that, but the word “antisemitism” was not even included or even alluded to in the statement, and no acknowledgement of wrongdoing was made.
The reason given for staging the walkout was that other genocides wouldn’t be acknowledged, especially their pet “Palestinian Holocaust” that resulted in a tenfold increase in the Palestinian population in a 68-year period.
Ironically, the woman who brought forth that point of view is the head of Ryerson’s chapter of the BlackLivesMatter movement. What she did was basically equivalent to saying “#AllLivesMatter,” but of course minimization is only okay when it’s Jewish struggles. So much privilege that three-quarters of a century ago, 6 million of us were killed en masse for no reason, followed by 900,000 expelled from their homes in Arab lands, which mainstream “progressive” groups love to gaslight. But please, do go on about how we have privilege.
IsraellyCool: More Details Emerge Of Antisemitism At Ryerson University Meeting
Another amendment was proposed by a different speaker to have the event focus on all genocides and not have the event focus on just the Holocaust specifically.
“Members from [RMSA] and [SJP] tried to create an amendment that equivocated conflict in Israel and Palestine to the Holocaust, which is actually extremely anti-semitic,” Hillel at Ryerson social justice chair Aedan O’Connor said.
O’Connor also said that members from RMSA and SJP were allegedly “snickering and jeering” when Cooper was presenting her motion and that comments were made about there being too many Jewish students speaking and that they should all sit down.
Quorum was lost before any voting on the motion could begin. O’Connor and Cooper said they think quorum was lost as a result of members from RMSA and SJP purposefully leaving so the motion couldn’t be voted on.
“It was evident people were walking out as an act of silencing this motion,” Cooper said.
She said she saw over 100 people walking out. “At no other time during this meeting [was there] any call for quorum other [than] during the discussion of the motion for Holocaust education week.”
Radical BDS Activist Running for President of Britain’s Top Jewish Student Group Has ‘Definite Chance of Winning,’ Expert Says
An anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activist nominated as one of three candidates for the top leadership position of Britain’s national Jewish student organization has a “definite chance of winning” amid declining participation in the group by Zionist students, a British campus affairs expert told The Algemeiner on Wednesday.
Jonathan Hunter — co-founder of the UK-based Pinsker Centre for Zionist Education — was referring to University of York’s Eran Cohen –himself an Israeli and a Jew — who is running in the upcoming Union of Jewish Students (UJS) presidential election.
Cohen’s chances are high because his supporters are “hardcore,” Hunter said, while “the much broader constituency of students sympathetic to Israel don’t feel the urgency or want to make the effort to go on the internet and vote.”
According to Hunter, those backing Cohen aim to “subvert UJS — a body that has outwardly identified as Zionist for the last 90 years — and turn it into some fictional Yiddish, socialist, non-Zionist, all inclusive group which stands for absolutely nothing.”
Report: Egyptian Band Faces Boycott Threats After Coordinating Upcoming Show at Palestinian University With Israeli Foreign Ministry
An Egyptian rock band is facing boycott threats from Palestinian university students after it coordinated an upcoming show in the West Bank with the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the Hebrew news site nrg reported.
Massar Egbari (“Compulsory Detour”) — a four-member group founded in Alexandria in 2005 — is set to perform on Saturday at Birzeit University, north of Ramallah. However, the nrg report said, some students there have declared they will not attend the concert, claiming it would promote the normalization of ties between Israel and Egypt.
On social media sites, these students are using the hashtag #normalizationisnotcompulsory, a play on the band’s name. Some have suggested that Massar Egbari wait to come to the West Bank until after the establishment of a Palestinian state and the “liberation from the Israeli occupation.”
In 1979, Egypt became the first Arab country to sign a peace agreement with Israel, though the relationship has at times been strained over the years. Israel-Egypt ties have improved since President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi took power in Cairo in 2013, after ousting his predecessor, Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
IsraellyCool: Attention BDS-Holes Soliciting For Donations Using Paypal: You’re Doing It All Wrong!
Any money you guys (Richard Silverstein, Ben White and others) collect via Paypal is ill-gotten gains, according to your warped principles.
Ben Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and PayPal, the US company that operates an online payments system, said they would partner in joint research and development in the fields of big data, machine learning and cybersecurity. It is the first such collaboration between PayPal and an Israeli university, BGU said in a statement.
So feel free to remove your Paypal buttons and return donations you collected using Paypal.
Meanwhile, I am very supportive of this relationship. So dear readers, you should have no qualms about clicking on the donate button under this post!
Double-Styles: Castro, Netanyahu and a tale of two Guardian editorials
The death of Fidel Castro has led to a flurry of obituaries over the past week, with some lauding him as a “hero”, and others referring to him as a “torturer and tyrant”. It is interesting to compare the Guardian editorial on the death of Fidel Castro with their editorial last year on the election victory of Benjamin Netanyahu.
The contrast between the two articles highlight some of the systemic flaws with media coverage of Israel, both at the Guardian and more broadly.
The Guardian piece on Castro is very balanced, as it presents both his positive and negative sides. The article lists his crimes – sham trials, summary executions and a situation where “power flowed from the gun, and a repressive state pointed weapons inward.” But the article then lists his achievements – “a remarkable system of healthcare and education,” as well as aid to Third World countries, such as sending 1,200 medics to Haiti. By presenting both positive and negative aspects of Mr. Castro, the article has attempted to provide a balanced picture of the man.
When the Guardian talks about Benjamin Netanyahu`s victory, this balance does not exist. Netanyahu is described as having “crossed red lines,” “dealt a grievous blow to any prospect of peace process,” and is accused of having “trampled” upon democratic principles.
A Heart-Tugging Report From a Jerusalem Refugee Camp Falls Flat With New York Times Readers
Sunday’s New York Times magazine will carry a long and heart-rending account, by a writer named Rachel Kushner, of the miserable lives of some residents of the Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem.
One of the fine things about the Internet is that even before the story was delivered to print subscribers of the Times, readers have had the chance to rebut it. The Times online commenters (at least the ones not likening Israel to the Nazis) have done a pretty good job already.
“I will look forward to Ms. Kushner’s next story from Aleppo. If she can write these many words about the ‘suffering’ Palestinians, I am sure her story on Aleppo will take up 1,000 times more column space….and will get this same top billing from the NY Times,” wrote “Ralph” from Chicago, sarcastically.
“Working Mama” from New York City wrote, “If you want to be taken seriously about the Middle East, you need to have the same standards for all players. Where are your accounts of the plight of Palestinian Arabs kept in camps in Arab nations? Where is the mention of the 800,000 or so Jews forced from their homes in Arab countries contemporaneously with the creation of Israel? Why no coherent discussion of why refugees from 1948 have failed to resettle or assimilate to new homes over nearly 70 years?”
There also are a few points I didn’t see addressed by the Times commenters that are worth adding.
UK pledges $17 million to protect Jewish institutions
British Home Secretary Amber Rudd pledged $17 million to protect Jewish schools, colleges, nurseries and synagogues in Britain.
Rudd made the pledge Wednesday at a UK-Israel conference in parliament, the London-based newspaper The Telegraph reported.
Rudd said that she decided to fund guards for all Jewish institutions after receiving 924 reports of anti-Semitic incidents, including 86 violent assaults, last year.
“Let me be clear, any attack of that kind is one attack too many. Sadly the Jewish community knows all too well what it’s like to live with the threat from terrorism and hate crime,” Rudd said.
“We take the security of the Jewish community seriously, and we will continue to put in place the strongest possible measures to ensure the safety of this community – and all other communities too,” she added.
Antisemitic incidents in Australia 2016.
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), the elected representative national body of the Australian Jewish community, released their annual Report on antisemitism in Australia, for 2016. The ECAJ Report records antisemitism in two broad categories: incidents and discourse. A link to the full report is at the end.
Incidents Data:
The twelve month period ending 30 September 2016 saw a 10% increase over the previous year in antisemitic incidents in Australia involving threats or acts of violence, as documented in the annual Report on Antisemitism in Australia published by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ).
The ECAJ, Jewish community roof bodies in each State, and other Jewish community groups logged a total of 210 antisemitic incidents during the period, including physical assaults, abuse and harassment, vandalism, graffiti, hate and threats communicated directly by email, letters, telephone calls, and leaflets. This compares to a total of 190 such incidents logged by the same sources over the preceding 12 month period.
Attacks (assault, abuse, vandalism, and graffiti) accounted for 70% of the total number of incidents, with 149 incidents. Two of these categories, the most serious categories – physical assaults and abuse/harassment of Jews – comprised 45% of the total incidents. Threats (email, letters, telephone, leaflets) accounted for 30% of the total number of incidents, with 61 incidents. There is also much anecdotal evidence of incidents which go unreported.
Stolen Dachau ‘Work will set you free’ gate found
An iron gate from the former Nazi concentration camp in Germany’s Dachau with the slogan “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work will set you free”) has been found two years after it was stolen, police said Friday.
“Due to an anonymous tip-off, police in Norway’s Bergen have secured an iron gate with the well-known text,” said Bavaria state police.
“From the picture transmitted, police believe it is highly likely that this is the iron gate that was stolen from Dachau.”
The theft of the 100-kilogram (220-pound) gate was reported on November 2, 2014, sparking an uproar, with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel calling it “appalling.”
In Holland, a Jewish journalist belatedly honored for unmasking a ‘monster’
Forty years after his reporting exposed one of the worst war criminals in Dutch history, Hans Knoop is still celebrated in his native Netherlands as a hero.
On November 23, more than a million television viewers watched a public broadcaster’s historical period drama on how Knoop, a Dutch Jewish journalist, unmasked the art collector Pieter Menten in 1976 as a monster who murdered hundreds of Polish Jews and stole their property with help from German Nazis. It was the highest rating for such a production in the Netherlands.
The host of the Netherlands’ most-watched talk show, Jeroen Pauw, last week called Knoop’s discovery “a brilliant, unmatched journalistic achievement.” He recalled how the Knoop expose led to Menten’s arrest in a country that was profoundly shocked by his ability to escape justice and amass a fortune built on pillage.
But alongside this recognition, Knoop, a father of two whose mild manners and amiable expression conceal a steely determination, has paid a heavy personal price for the discovery. Harassed by Menten’s lawyers, supporters and even other journalists, Knoop said the scoop effectively ended his career as a working journalist in a country that many believe has still not fully owned up to its Holocaust-era history.
“Things don’t always go as they should go,” Knoop, 73, told JTA in an interview.
Menten, whose belated conviction for war crimes exposed deep flaws in Holland’s ability to try collaborators, eventually served five years of a 10-year sentence — itself a concession to his advanced age — before he died in 1988 at age 81.
Over 5 weeks, Israeli paramedic aids 4,000 refugees at sea
Israel “Izzy” Papa decided to make helping others his vocation when he was in high school. The 22-year-old paramedic with Magen David Adom (MDA) started volunteering at Israel’s national emergency medical service and disaster-relief organization as a teen “because it was cool.”
“I saw some people in really awful situations and I realized that someone needs to help. I felt like I need to do it. That’s what I want to do; help people,” he tells ISRAEL21c. “It’s also so satisfying. When you save someone and he gets to live another day, that is a crazy feeling. The best feeling I’ve ever had in my life.”
Papa hit the headlines in Israel recently after becoming the first paramedic, and the first Israeli, to join the Red Cross and the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) vessel in the Mediterranean Sea.
His team included international humanitarians, security professionals, medical staff and experienced maritime officers from Malta, UK, US, Slovakia, France, India, Italy, Denmark, Canada, The Netherlands and Sweden.
Israeli MMA fighters celebrate victory in tzitzit
Two winning Israeli mixed martial arts fighters donned tzitzit, the Jewish ritual fringes, and kippahs following their victory in a competition in Israel.
Elazar Tariku and Almog Shay are both observant Jews who wear traditional Jewish garb in daily life. As each of their victories were announced on Nov. 11, with the referee raising their gloved fists in the air, a rendition of the Jewish prayer Shema Yisrael blasted over the loudspeakers.
Tariku and Shay were on the preliminary card ahead of the main event in Menora Mivtachim Arena in south Tel Aviv. Tariku, a lightweight at 155 pounds from the southern city of Ashkelon, won his second professional fight by forcing fellow Israeli Ron Becker to submit with a shoulder lock in round one. Almog, a 135 pound featherweight also from Ashkelon, took his first fight by heel hooking Russia’s Vitaly Khmeinytsky, also forcing a submission in the first round.
The winner of the main event, American welterweight Douglas Lima, settled for climbing the cage around the ring in victory.
6 amazing Israeli inventions discovered by accident
When Avram Hershko was a post-doc fellow at the University of California in San Francisco from 1969 to 1971, he made an unexpected discovery that led to his receiving the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
The professor at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology tells ISRAEL21c that he was interested in examining the mechanism that causes protein degradation in living cells. He assumed it had to do with running out of energy. Surprisingly, his experiments revealed the opposite: Proteins need energy to fall apart.
“It was serendipity,” he recalls.
A Nobel prize in chemistry
Rather than abandoning the research due to this unexpected result, he and his Technion graduate student, Aaron Ciechanover, spent years unraveling the mystery. They found that for protein degradation to occur, a “tag” or marker called ubiquitin must selectively attach to the protein – and this process requires energy.
“The lesson is that when you discover something that is not what you asked for, you should follow it up,” says the Nobel laureate.
Andrew Sachs, Holocaust escapee and lovable waiter on 'Fawlty Towers', dies at 86
Andrew Sachs, the British actor best known as the lovable Spanish waiter Manuel on the 1970s BBC sitcom "Fawlty Towers", has died aged 86.
Sachs, who played a waiter from Barcelona on the series co-created by Monty Python star John Cleese, died on Nov. 23, his wife Melody told the Daily Mail.
Sachs, who was diagnosed with dementia four years ago, was buried in North London on Thursday.
According to a report by the Association of Jewish Refugees, Sachs was born in Berlin in 1930 to a Jewish father and a gentile mother. He only realized he was 'different from his classmates' when his best friend told him that his parents had forbidden him from playing "with a half-Jew."
Sachs's father was arrested for being Jewish, but his mother's family's good relations with the police earned him a temporary reprieve. Sachs later fled with his family to London to escape the Holocaust.

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Someone sent me this article written by Glenn Greenwald:

One gets the impression that Greenwald is far more concerned about the pro-Israel position of these movements than their anti-Muslim positions.

And indeed - he mentions Israel 55 times and Muslims or Islam only 16 times. Being pro-Israel is much more dangerous, to Greenwald, than being Islamophobic.

I will be the first to agree that Zionists should be careful about accepting support from people whose political positions have traditionally been associated with antisemitism, as well as from those whose positions towards Islam go beyond the political and into personal faith issues.Many of the groups being painted now with the broad brush of "Islamophobia" aren't, some are, and there is a lot of grey there.

But progressive Greenwald doesn't understand grey. He writes absurd sweeping idiotic statements like this:
But what is clear is that these far-right parties are embracing Israel and are often being embraced back. And that’s not hard to understand. Any party driven by antipathy toward Muslims will obviously find common cause with an Israeli government that has spent decades occupying, bombing, and denying basic political rights to Muslims. 
Yes, according to Greenwald, Israeli officials are all bigots, driven to bomb Muslims simply because of Islamophobia. It's a miracle there are any Muslims left in Israel. let alone the territories.

And their attraction to political parties who profess their love of Zionism and support of Israel is not driven by, um, their love of Zionism and support for Israel, but by their shared hate towards Muslims. His default position on Zionists is that they are haters.

Who's the bigot?

Anyone who has ever taken a walk down the street in Israel knows that Israeli Muslims have less fear of being attacked or insulted than Muslims in just about any Western nation today. Unlike many liberal Western democracies,  Israel allows minarets and burqas, and the latest "Muezzin bill" being considered would allow ear-splitting calls to prayer four out of the five times a day. Right-wing Islamophobic Israeli Jews somehow allow tens of thousands of Muslims to go to Judaism's holiest place every day. Bigoted Israel is more tolerant of Muslims than most European nations. The idea of a "burqini ban" in Israel is laughable.

I noted last summer that I witnessed giggling Muslim girls wearing full hijab and clothing at an Israeli beach, not a tourist beach, showering themselves off next to Israeli men in bathing suits. No one blinked. No one was nervous or scared of even thought twice about it - besides me, who would not routinely see scenes like that in Florida nor in France. And, no, I didn't have a wild desire to murder the giggling girls, as Greenwald implies all right-wing Jewish Zionists do.  In fact, I have more in common with them than with self-righteous far left morons like Greenwald.

Now, if anti-Muslim violence is increasing in the US in concert with the rise of the far-right - which is a reasonable assumption - then if the Israeli government has spent "decades" attacking Muslims, then why are there still so few anti-Muslim attacks in Israel? (Of course there are some, but not as many as in Western nations led by supposedly enlightened liberal governments.)

By any measure, the Likud-run Israel is more tolerant of Muslims and Islam, and accord Muslims more rights, than most other Western nations.

Greenwald only proves one thing: he is the one who is consumed by irrational hate, not Israelis.

(h/t Ronald)

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From Ian:

Caroline Glick: Israel’s constitutional identity crisis
The same flawed premise at the heart of Netanyahu’s claim that approving the bill will cause Israel to be prosecuted for war crimes stands at the heart of his claim that passing the law will increase the possibility that Obama will allow an anti-Israel resolution to pass in the UN Security Council.
The problem with this argument is that it ignores the basic fact that Obama’s desire to stick it to Israel at the UN Security Council has been a consistent feature of his presidency for eight years. Obama has wielded this threat against Israel without regard for its actual policies. He has threatened us when the government froze Jewish building rights. He has threatened us when the government respected Jewish building rights. If Obama decides to enable an anti-Israel resolution to pass through the UN Security Council during his remaining seven weeks in office, he will do so regardless of whether the Knesset passes or scuppers the settlement regulation bill.
The only thing likely to prevent Obama from harming Israel at the Security Council at this point is a clear message to the UN from the incoming Trump administration.
For instance, if President-elect Donald Trump announces directly or through an intermediary that Security Council action against Israel over the next seven weeks will induce the Trump administration to withhold US funding from the UN, UN officials will likely stuff draft resolutions to this effect into a drawer.
Netanyahu’s actions do more to harm his future relations with Trump than advance his current relations with Obama. If Netanyahu blocks passage of the settlement regulation bill, he is likely to enter the Trump era as the head of a government on the verge of collapse. Rather than be in a position to reshape and rebuild Israel’s alliance with the US after eight years of Obama’s hostility, Netanyahu may limp to his first meeting with the new president, the head of dysfunctional government beyond his control, and at the mercy of a legal fraternity and an international judicial lynch mob that he will have just empowered.
Analysis: Is the next 'Arab Spring' implosion around the corner?
After the deaths of tens of thousands of youths during the nearly sixyear- old Syrian civil war, it is difficult to know how much credence to give to attitude surveys in the region. After all, 15 Syria youths painted a slogan on a wall in the city of Deraa in 2011 declaring: “The People Want the Fall of the Regime.” The regime carted them off to torture cells. Are they preoccupied with the Israel-Palestinian conflict? As the report notes, “Young people’s awareness of their capabilities and rights collides with a reality that marginalizes them and blocks their pathways to express their opinions, actively participate or earn a living.”
The report omits any reference to the ubiquitous anti-Americanism and antisemitism in the region. The reliance on fundamentalist theology is approached indirectly: “Young people remain vulnerable to victimization by groups that misuse religion to benefit from its pivotal role in shaping identities,” notes the document.
Political Islamic movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood are cited once. There are no warnings that mirror the comments of the distinguished Middle East historian Bernard Lewis who told the Post in 2011: “I don’t think it [the Muslim Brotherhood] is in any sense benign. I think it is a very dangerous, radical Islamic movement. If they obtain power, the consequences would be disastrous for Egypt.”
Writing in his book The Arabs: A History (2009), the Oxford University Middle East historian Eugene Rogan said, “If the Arab peoples are to enjoy human rights and accountable government, security and economic growth, they will have to seize the initiative themselves.”
On December 17, many Arabs will commemorate the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian fruit vendor who on that day in 2010 set himself ablaze to protest corruption in the now-defunct police state of former president Ben Ali, and set off the Arab Spring.
The UN report largely shifts the onus to the ruling class in the Arab world to bring about change.
There will be more Arab revolts and more self-protests along the lines of Bouazizi.

The Ellison Tipping Point
At best, Ellison seemed to be echoing the toxic Walt-Mearsheimer “Israel lobby” thesis, which claims American support for Israel is the result of a conspiracy that worked against U.S. interests; not the result of a bipartisan consensus that reflects the longstanding support for Zionism that is baked deep into the political DNA of this country. At worst, it was a blatant appeal to anti-Jewish and anti-Israel prejudice. The fact that IPT came across the speech because Ellison’s fundraiser was hosted by Esam Omeish, a leader of the Muslim American Society who has publicly called for “jihad” to “liberate” Israel from the Jews, puts his offensive comments in an even more damaging context.
Unlike the weak rationalizations for his past ties to Farrakhan, there is simply no way to explain away the meaning or the intent of Ellison’s remarks. An abashed Greenblatt called the statement “deeply disturbing and disqualifying.” He further noted:
His words imply that U.S. foreign policy is based on religiously or national origin-based special interests rather than simply on America’s best interests. Additionally, whether intentional or not, his words raise the specter of age-old stereotypes about Jewish control of our government, a poisonous myth that may persist in parts of the world where intolerance thrives, but that has no place in open societies like the U.S.
The main takeaway here is not Greenblatt’s embarrassing retreat. It’s the fact that Democrats have a choice to make. If, with the help of people like incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (who claims to be the guardian of Israel in Congress but has nonetheless endorsed the Minnesota congressman), Ellison is elected to head the DNC, the party will be making a symbolic statement that goes beyond the identity politics they prize so much. His elevation to the head of the party at a time when when it has few other national leaders is a sign that the Democratic drift away from Israel has reached a tipping point. Pro-Israel Democrats must either stop Ellison or quit pretending that their party is still a bastion of support for the Jewish state.
Anti-Defamation League Calls Keith Ellison’s Comments on Israel ‘Disqualifying’
The Anti-Defamation League pulled its support of Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn.) to head the Democratic National Committee after it was revealed that the congressman complained to a private audience that Israel has control of U.S. foreign policy in the United States.
“New information recently has come to light that raises serious concerns about whether Rep. Ellison faithfully could represent the Democratic Party’s traditional support for a strong and secure Israel,” wrote ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt in a Thursday statement.
A recording of Ellison’s comments during a private fundraiser in 2010 was obtained by the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
“The United States foreign policy in the Middle East is governed by what is good or bad through a country of 7 million people,” Ellison said. “A region of 350 million all turns on a country of 7 million. Does that make sense? Is that logic? Right? When the Americans who trace their roots back to those 350 million get involved, everything changes.”
Greenblatt called the comments “deeply disturbing and disqualifying,” and saidthey are based on “age-old stereotypes.”
“His words raise the specter of age-old stereotypes about Jewish control of our government, a poisonous myth that may persist in parts of the world where intolerance thrives, but that has no place in open societies like the U.S.,” wrote Greenblatt.
After ADL rebuke, DNC hopeful Ellison says Israel criticism misunderstood
On Thursday, Ellison said the audio was manipulated.
“The audio released was selectively edited and taken out of context by an individual the Southern Poverty Law Center has called an ‘anti-Muslim extremist,'” he said, referring to Steven Emerson, who has claimed the Obama administration “extensively collaborates” with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Ellison said his comments were meant to galvanize those present to be more engaged with foreign policy.
“My memory is that I was responding to a question about how Americans with roots in the Middle East could engage in the political process in a more effective way,” he said.
“My advice was simply to get involved. I believe that Israel and the US-Israel relationship are, and should be, key considerations in shaping US policy in the Middle East. Americans with roots or interests in the region should be involved in advocacy and discussions of public policy concerning the region.”
Land For Peace: Past and Future
Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don’t make. Sunday’s attack on the Golan Heights, in which the Israel Defense Forces fended off an assault by ISIS, ended with the four terrorists dead and no IDF casualties. The incident was the first direct confrontation between ISIS personnel and the Jewish state. Few would bet that it will be the last. Most Israelis are likely offering a silent prayer of thanks for the failure of past efforts by Israeli leaders to cut a deal with Damascus that would have given up the strategic plateau that dominates the Galilee. Those—in Washington and elsewhere—who are pushing Israel to concede more territory that might one day come to be dominated by Islamist terrorists refuse to learn an important lesson.
In 1992, when Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was elected, he thought Syria was Israel’s best option for peace. While Shimon Peres’s deputy Yossi Beilin was beginning the secret talks that led to Oslo without Rabin’s knowledge, the prime minister was concentrating on an effort to broker a different land-for-peace deal with Hafez Assad, the current Syrian dictator’s equally murderous father. Historian Itamar Rabinovitch, whose scholarly work was devoted to the notion that Israel had passed up opportunities to make peace with previous Syrian dictators, was appointed ambassador to the United States and chief negotiator with Damascus. But despite Rabin’s genuine desire to do a deal, the indirect talks with the Syrians failed. Assad senior had no interest in further hostilities with the Jewish state and wanted the Golan, but he never had any intention of making peace. The effort was eventually superseded by Beilin and Peres’s coup in getting the Palestine Liberation Organization to accept Israel’s offer, which brought Yasir Arafat into power in the West Bank and Gaza.
But that wasn’t the last Israeli flirtation with Damascus. During his first term in office later in the decade, Benjamin Netanyahu also dabbled with the idea of a deal with the Assad clan. He exchanged secret messages with Damascus via American philanthropist Ron Lauder. Netanyahu and his advisors have vociferously denied that they offered a full withdrawal from the Golan as others have claimed. But they admit that Assad asked for a map that would detail the border the Israelis were prepared to accept. It may be that this effort failed because Assad demanded a withdrawal up to the shore of the Sea of Galilee or due to the fact that, as was the case with Rabin’s attempt, the Syrian was never serious about peace. But either way, it’s clear that Netanyahu was at the very least prepared to give up most of the Golan.
What’s Stopping Obama on Israel?
The thinking inside the White House is that if President Obama listens to Israel’s foes and his own inclinations then it will be interpreted by Trump as just as much of a blow to him as to Netanyahu. Even though a U.S. vote or failure to veto a Security Council resolution that branded Israel as an outlaw state for holding onto any part of the West Bank and areas of Jerusalem could not be walked back by his successor, it would generate immediate blowback from the incoming Republican administration. Obama and his staff believe that it would force Trump—whose statements on the peace process have been all over the place, but who has also pledged unwavering support for the Jewish state—even more closely into partnership with the Israelis. Such a move would foreclose any possibility that Trump would follow Obama’s pattern of presenting himself as more impartial arbiter of the peace process by creating more “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel.
Of course, Trump’s supporters have insisted all along that reversing Obama’s “daylight” objective is one of his main foreign policy imperatives, and that there was never any chance that Obama’s actions could influence him to change course. But, apparently, Obama believes that Trump, like all of his predecessors, will be worn down by veteran diplomats and U.S. allies and adversaries and eventually buy in to the conventional wisdom that wrongly presumes pressure on Israel–rather than the truly intransigent Palestinians–is what is needed to achieve peace. Rather than do something that might potentially impede this process of assimilation into the culture of international diplomacy, Obama will apparently forgo the pleasure of sticking it to Netanyahu one more time.
What’s interesting about this analysis is that it runs counter to the conventional wisdom about Obama’s decision making. For example, veteran State Department official and peace processor Dennis Ross claimed in September that a U.S. December surprise for Israel at the UN would be less likely if Clinton was elected, since the president would then be inclined to allow his chosen successor to move at her own pace on Middle East peace, confident that she shared his goals. By contrast, Ross was sure that if Trump won and Obama was followed by an administration determined to walk back his daylight policy, it would provide an added incentive for Obama to issue a diktat to Israel that could not be easily reversed.
We have seven more weeks of Obama’s lame duck presidency to find out if the AP report was right. But it would be a supreme irony if Obama, who did everything he could to secure the election of Clinton (and the continuation of his policies), would decline to hurt Israel in this manner because of Trump’s victory. If Trump rejects advice to pressure Israel and instead seeks to put the onus where it should be, on the Palestinians, then Obama will have gambled and lost.
A Wise Choice for Defense Secretary
The most serious criticism of Mattis concerns infelicitous comments he made about Israel at a security conference shortly after stepping down as CentCom commander in 2013. “I paid a military security price every day as the commander of CentCom because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel,” he said. He also complained that Israel’s settlements supposedly threaten peace with the Palestinians: “If I’m in Jerusalem, and I put 500 Jewish settlers out here to the east, and there’s 10,000 Arab settlers in here, if we draw the border to include them, either it ceases to be a Jewish state or you say the Arabs don’t get to vote — apartheid.”
These remarks go over the line—in particular, his suggestion that Israel could be guilty of apartheid, given that there are 1.6 million Arab citizens of Israel who enjoy more rights than Arabs do in any Arab state. Israel has already shown its willingness to disband settlements (e.g., in the Gaza Strip) if it thought that doing so would help the cause. The real stumbling block has been the unwillingness or inability of Palestinian leaders to accept Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.
But it would be a big mistake to assume based on these one-time comments that Mattis is somehow hostile to Israel. The conservative Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) reported that its “experiences with General Mattis have been very positive, including many private discussions in the last few years on the Middle East.” JINSA went on to note: “General Mattis has notably and indisputably distinguished himself in advocating for a more robust U.S. military posture to counter, contain and deter Iran, even at the peril of his military career… General Mattis’ outlook on these issues aligns perfectly with Israel’s, which considers an aggressive Iran its greatest strategic threat, and a nuclear Iran to be an existential threat.”
I’ve known Mattis for 13 years and have never heard him say a disparaging word about Israel. To the contrary, he has spoken of his close relationships with, and admiration for, senior Israeli military officers. I am confident that Israel has nothing to fear from Mattis and that the security of Israel and America’s other allies in the Middle East will be enhanced by the tough-on-Iran approach that he advocates. How his outlook will mesh with President-elect Trump’s desire to cooperate with Russia in supporting Bashar Assad—an Iranian client—remains more of an open question.
Will Defense Secretary Mattis help or harm Israel?
The ZOA said in its statement that Mattis’ remarks were “hostile to Israel, and revealed a lack of appreciation for and understanding of the extraordinary value to American security resulting from a strong American-Israeli alliance and a secure Israel.”
The rebuke drew an unusual defense of Mattis from another right-of-center Jewish group, the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs.
Emphasizing that it does not endorse candidates, JINSA said it understood objections to Mattis’ remarks at Aspen, but commended him for his posture on broader Middle East issues, particularly his vehement opposition to last year’s deal between major world powers and Iran trading sanctions relief for a rollback of Iran’s nuclear program.
“General Mattis has notably and indisputably distinguished himself in advocating for a more robust US military posture to counter, contain and deter Iran, even at the peril of his military career, and its importance to American security and the restoration of America’s position in the Middle East – views JINSA has strongly propounded,” its statement said, alluding the reports that the Obama administration ousted Mattis because of his opposition to the deal then emerging with Iran.
A United Front? Abbas Makes Weak Plea for Palestinian Unity
This latest gesture toward Palestinian unity seems directed mostly at credulous Westerners, who want to believe that Abbas can make progress on unifying Palestine and seeking a peace deal. But the divisions between various Palestinian factions are too great to make a united front feasible.
As Abbas preaches unity and makes overtures to his militant rivals in Gaza, the Palestinian leader’s credibility is weaker than ever. Israel distrusts him, doubting both his sincerity in seeking a peace and his ability to deliver one given his inability to restrain Hamas in Gaza. Within Fatah, meanwhile, many complain that the 81-year-old leader is out of touch and too close to Israel. Abbas’ Palestinian critics have lately raked him over the coals for attending Shimon Peres’ funeral and assisting Israel in putting out wildfires. So long as such basic acts of goodwill are treated as unforgivable betrayals of the cause, Palestinians are unlikely to unify or move in a more moderate direction.
Of course, even if Abbas did manage to bring Fatah and Hamas into a single government, it would bring no assurances about Israeli-Palestinian peace. If anything, empowering Hamas in a unified government would only embolden opponents of a Palestinian state in both Israel and in Washington, which is likely to take a harder stance against Palestine under a Trump administration anyway.
Abbas’ speech may make headlines and keep international hopes for the Palestinian cause alive, which is what he wants. But we’ve seen this movie before, and any talk of reconciliation should be taken with a very big grain of salt.
INSS: Jordan-Israel Relations: Normalization in the Shadow of Political Deadlock
Progress on implementing infrastructure projects for water and energy between Israel and Jordan indicates the positive potential inherent in separating economic and infrastructure progress in trilateral Jordan-Israel-Palestinian relations from progress on a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This statement is not meant to detract from the urgent necessity of reaching at least a gradual solution to the conflict based on the idea of two states for two nations. Rather, it indicates a reality of shortages of energy resources, drinking water, ports; the need to prevent pollution of crowded population centers; and the irrationality of preventing solutions to these issues if they are made conditional upon comprehensively solving all of the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The water and natural gas agreements with Jordan, as well as the electricity agreement signed between Israel and the Palestinians (September 2016), prove that the sides can reach understandings and perhaps full agreements in many areas, and these can create a positive environment, even if they are not substitutes for political agreements.
Liberman to UN: Never mind Israel — what about Syria, N. Korean nukes?
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Thursday warned United Nations diplomats they risked becoming “irrelevant” by focusing on anti-Israel resolutions, while ignoring issues like the thousands killed in Syria and North Korea’s nuclear weapons.
Speaking to a host of foreign diplomats in a briefing at the UN hosted by the Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon, Liberman blasted the world body for a series of “anti-Israel” resolutions passed in recent weeks at the General Assembly and two especially contentious documents adopted by two UNESCO committees of resolutions that ignore Jewish ties to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and other holy sites in Israel, while highlighting the Islamic connection.
He called these decisions “absurd and hypocritical” and said they demonstrated how the UN and especially the Security Council, was “not fulfilling its role and was irrelevant to events on the world stage.”
Meanwhile the United Nations, and other world bodies, have been “unsuccessful” in trying to solve issues related to world security and that it has “become less and less relevant” in the international sphere.
French Pres. Hollande defends Saudi seat on UNHRC

After 5-year dry spell, EU and Israel move to upgrade ties
After years in which relations between the European Union and Israel have been frosty, bilateral ties will take a significant leap forward in 2017, senior officials from both sides said this week.
In one notable sign of such warming ties, Jerusalem and the EU are in advanced talks over convening the EU-Israel Association Council, a bilateral forum on ministerial level, early next year. The last such meeting took place in 2012.
“Quite a lot of good things are happening, often unseen by the naked eye, but they are there,” Nicholas Westcott, the director of the EU External Action Service’s North Africa and Middle East department, said this week during a visit in Tel Aviv. “We hope early next year to have an Association Council, which we haven’t had for a while, to look at a ministerial level how we can take the relationship forward.”
If a EU-Israel Association Council meeting were to be held in 2017, the EU would likely be represented by its foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Israel by Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, The Times of Israel has learned.
In addition, the EU “would like to develop something we call partnership priorities,” said Westcott, who is the second-most senior EU diplomat dealing with the Middle East, after Mogherini. The so-called partnership priorities are a new instrument regulating bilateral ties that emerged of the EU’s 2015 review of its neighborhood policy program.
Report: Iran owns 4.5% share in German company building Israeli subs
An Iranian government company owns 4.5 percent of the German shipbuilding company at the center of a scandal over its provision of submarines and other services to the Israel Navy, the Hebrew-language newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Friday.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit last week ordered the police to look into allegations that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal lawyer, David Shimron, used his close relationship with the premier to push Israel to purchase several submarines from ThyssenKrupp, award the company a contract for naval vessels to defend Israel’s gas fields, and allow it to build a shipyard in Israel. Shimron was a representative of the company in Israel.
Channel 2 television said that the police inquiry — which is not yet a full-blown investigation — would focus not on the multi-billion-shekel purchase of three Dolphin submarines from the Germany company, which has dominated the headlines, but rather on a separate 2014 Defense Ministry tender for naval ships, also involving ThyssenKrupp, to protect Israel’s Mediterranean natural gas field.
According to Yedioth, the Iranian investments in ThyssenKrupp began in the 1970s, during the era of the Shah. Tehran invested some $400 million in the German company, giving it a 24.9% share that was inherited by the Islamic regime when it took over Iran in the 1979 revolution. The newspaper pointed out, however, that at this time, ThyssenKrupp was not building Israeli submarines, but was instead focused on the steel, automotive and elevator industries.
Burning the Land

Israeli Arab Firms Offer to Donate Wood to Rebuild Burned Synagogue
Two Israeli Arab timber suppliers have offered to donate wood paneling to a Conservative synagogue in the northern city of Haifa that suffered extensive damage by last week’s brush fires.
Walid Abu-Ahmed and Ziad Yunis decided to supply the wood free of charge and cover the labor costs after the congregation’s rabbi, Dov Hiyon, sought estimates for synagogue repair work, the Ynet news site reported Thursday.
“I had tears in my eyes when I heard what was happening,” Hiyon said. “It was so emotional to hear that Muslims were asking to donate to a Jewish synagogue. I’ve invited them to evening prayers to personally thank them.”
“Jews and Arabs live together in Haifa, and there is no discrimination,” said Abu-Ahmed. “We must continue with this co-existence and promote peace.”
Abu-Ahmed added that Islam was a religion of forgiveness.
“We are all people,” he said. “I call on all citizens — Arabs and Jews everywhere — to continue to live in co-existence. We all want to live happy lives.”
In Fatah Congress Address, Palestinian Authority President Abbas Praises Dead Terrorist Leaders as ‘Martyrs’
In an address delivered at the 7th Fatah Congress in Ramallah on Wednesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas praised numerous late terrorists as “martyrs,” the Elder of Ziyon blog reported.
According to the popular pro-Israel blog, the list of “martyrs” mentioned by the Western-backed Abbas during his three-hour speech included Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Islamic Jihad founder Fathi Shaqaqi, PFLP founder George Habash and pre-World War II era Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, among others.
“They are all our heroes, you will not forget them, they are immortal in our people’s memory, and the homeland of Palestine,” Abbas was quoted as saying. “Their sacrifices will not be in vain.”
According to Israeli news website Arutz Sheva, Abbas also said the PA would maintain its refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
The Jordan-based Ammon news site quoted Abbas as saying about US President-elect Donald Trump, “We know nothing about him. His people elected him. We didn’t, and if he wants to talk with us, we are pursuing that…We hope that he will be able to offer something to the Palestinian cause, to offer a solution, a sane, balanced and fair (solution).”
Senate Votes 99-0 to Extend Sanctions on Iran
The Senate voted 99-0 on Thursday to extend the Iran Sanctions Act for another ten years.
The vote follows a 419-1 vote in the House of Representatives last month. The bill will now go the president for his signature.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that it was necessary to extend the legislation “given Iran’s continued pattern of aggression and the country’s persistent efforts to expand its sphere of influence across the region.”
“We can ill afford to allow sanctions that deter and impede Iran’s development of conventional weapons of mass destruction to expire,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who supported the nuclear deal with Iran last year, said on the floor of the Senate.
“We need this legal framework to address any Iranian violations of the deal so that sanctions can be rapidly put in place if necessary,” added Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), who also supported the nuclear deal. Iran has already been found to have twice violated its limits on heavy water, a component that can be used to make a nuclear weapon.
Iranian government officials have claimed that extending the law would constitute a violation of the deal, a charge Peters called “not true.”
Trump said exploring fresh non-nuclear sanctions on Iran
US President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team is said to be considering new sanctions on Iran which would be unrelated to the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.
According to a report Friday in the Financial Times, congressional sources say the new sanctions could pertain to Tehran’s ballistic missile program and its human rights record. The Trump team is currently “sounding out” Republican lawmakers on restrictions that would not violate the terms of the agreement reached between Iran and world powers last year.
In the past year Republican lawmakers have advanced several bills proposing new sanctions against Iran over it ballistic missile program. “The big difference next year is that we will go from a White House that did everything it could to block these bills to a White House that will be in favor and maybe even sponsor some of these proposals,” a Republican congressional source told the paper.
The report said that the sanctions could be imposed in an effort to reduce Iranian support for “militant proxy groups in the Middle East.”
Iran is the chief backer of Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, having helped set up the group in the early 1980s. Since then, Iran has supplied Hezbollah with a range of weapons and helped fund its social programs in southern Lebanon, and has used the group to carry out terrorist attacks against American and Israeli targets.
Former Top Israeli Official: Iran in Rush to Arm Terror Proxies Before Trump Takes Office
Iran is stepping up the speed at which it is arming its proxies in the region due to its fear that after Donald Trump assumes the US presidency in January, its room to maneuver in Syria will be greatly hampered, a former director-general of Israel’s Ministry of International Affairs and Strategy told The Algemeiner on Wednesday.
IDF Brig. Gen. (res.) Yosef Kuperwasser, currently a senior project manager at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs think tank, was giving his take on the timing of what was reported by Syrian media outlets as an Israeli Air Force strike on Hezbollah targets outside of Damascus on Tuesday night.
Though Kuperwasser, who has held an array of military intelligence positions, said he could not confirm or deny whether such a strike actually took place, he noted that “based on past such cases, there is good reason to believe it did.”
Though its specific timing, he said, would have been a result of information Israel garnered on particular weapons convoys, in general, the IDF these days is keenly aware that Hezbollah — the Lebanon-based Shiite terrorist organization that is fighting on behalf of the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad — “has been gaining in strength.”
British Researchers Find Evidence of Iranian “Weapon Pipeline” to Yemen, Somalia
A British research group has suggested that arms shipments that were intercepted en route to Houthi rebels in Yemen this year were likely sent with the complicity of the Iranian regime, Reuters reported Tuesday.
A report recently released by Conflict Armament Research found that two of the three smuggling ships seized by Western navies in the Arabian Sea, which contained arms matching those taken from Houthi insurgents, were manufactured by the Iranian shipbuilding company Al Mansoor. According to state records, Al Mansoor is located next to a base of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
“Since 2012, Al Mansoor dhows have been involved in multiple cases of trafficking in heroin, cannabis, and more recently, weapons,” the report noted. “Analysis of the weapons suggests that at least two of the three deliveries were probably supplied with the complicity of Iranian security forces.”
The serial numbers on several of the arms shipments were sequential, suggesting that they came from a national stockpile, according to the report. The lot numbers of anti-tank weapons found aboard one of the intercepted boats also matched the production run of similar weapons that United Arab Emirate forces said they captured from the Houthis.
The report further pointed to Somali ports as an important drop-off point in the smuggling operation, and said that the warships HMAS Darwin, FS Provence, and USS Sirocco had captured more than 4,500 rifles, mortars, machine guns, and rocket launchers in a four week period between February and March of this year.
MEMRI: Iran's Mashhad Municipality Opens Military-Religious Amusement Park – To Reinforce Revolutionary Values For Children
On September 24, 2016, the Iranian news agency Raja News, which is close to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), published an interview with Child and the Future Cultural Center director Hamid Sadeghi about an event held during the second half of September that is a military-religious amusement park, called The City of Games for Revolutionary Children. Sadeghi, who operates under the aegis of the Mashhad municipality and also runs the website, said that his center had set up and inaugurated the City of Games park, and that it is open free of charge to children aged eight through 13. It should be noted that this is the second City of Games event held by the Mashhad municipality; the first was last summer (see MEMRI Special Dispatches - No. 6098, Revolutionary, Anti-West Indoctrination Of Children By Municipality Of Mashhad, Iran, July 08, 2015).
According to Sadeghi, the City of Games park has 12 stations with activity aimed at inculcating the messages of Iran's Islamic Revolution and of the revolutionary Shi'a. He stated that in the park, the children wear military uniforms and are accompanied through the stations by a guide in the role of a military commander whose orders they must obey. The children follow paths with activities including simulating fighting the enemies of the Revolution, ranging from the Iraqi enemy in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War to the current battle against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria and against the Saudi royal family. At the various stations, the children can launch plastic missiles and fire plastic bullets at targets such as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. and Israeli flags, effigies of ISIS fighters, and members of the Saudi royal family. At the final station, the children, who are blindfolded, are asked to throw a ball at a puzzle of an Israeli flag and knock it down, and then put together a puzzle of the Iranian flag.
Below are the main points of Sadeghi's interview with Raja News, along with photos that accompanied the interview:

Iran urges Kenya to free 2 charged in plot to attack Israeli Embassy
Iran on Friday urged Kenya to release two of its citizens charged by a Nairobi court with planning a terrorist act after being arrested for filming the Israeli Embassy in the capital.
Kenyan State Prosecutor Duncan Ondimu said in court on Thursday that Sayed Nasrollah Ebrahimi and Abdolhosein Gholi Safaee were arrested Tuesday in an Iranian diplomatic car while taking the pictures of the Israeli mission using a mobile phone, including when they were intercepted.
He said the two were found with video footage of the embassy.
But according to Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi, the two men are “official lawyers of the justice ministry… who traveled to Nairobi on behalf of the families of two Iranian prisoners in Kenya for a legal follow-up.”
The men, along with a Kenyan driver also charged on Thursday, had been to Kamiti prison outside Nairobi to visit two other Iranians, Ahmad Mohammed and Sayed Mousavi, serving a 15-year term for possessing explosives after being convicted in 2013.
Ghasemi said the arrest of the two lawyers had been the result of a “misunderstanding,” and called for their immediate release.

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