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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Remember Cailin Pitt?

He was the anti-Israel student who tweeted this seeming death threat before the BDS resolution was voted down at Ohio State University:



From The Columbus Dispatch:

The tweet spread quickly, and by Thursday one Israel-oriented news site featured it under the headline, “Student threatens mass murder if Ohio University doesn’t support BDS,” an international call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

The student government voted down the divestment resolution, and by Thursday night, OSU police had interviewed Pitt. A university statement said the police department, working with the FBI, determined that Pitt did not pose a threat.

“It’s a mess,” Pitt said Thursday. “It’s pretty much my fault.” He said he regards “coming for lives” as a slang term meaning to confront someone with whom one disagrees, but he acknowledged that it could have been misunderstood.

Urban Dictionary, a slang website, says this about Came at my life: “Similar to chewing someone out, or personally attacking one’s character. Can be used in future tense such as, ‘Don’t make me come at your life.’ Or present tense: ‘I’m coming at your life right now!’ ”

Maybe. But the expression "come at your life" is not the same as "come for your life."



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From Ian:

NGO Monitor: BDS Groups Encourage Congress to Curb Aid to Israel
On February 17, 2016, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy and 10 members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, advising him to open an investigation into “gross violations of human rights” in Israel and Egypt. The lawmakers cited Amnesty International “and other human rights organizations” in suggesting that Israel has carried out “extrajudicial killings” of Palestinian terrorists. Secretary Kerry was asked to determine if these killings would restrict military assistance to Israel, as per the Leahy Law. While the small number of signatories reflects the widespread rejection of this false claim in Congress, the media impact is significant.
Anti-Israel groups who collaborated on the letter
Multiple anti-Israel organizations contributed to the letter. NGOs involved in this campaign are involved in anti-Israel BDS (boycotts, divestment, sanctions), demonization and lawfare activities. As a result of their strong political biases and their methodological errors, these groups are not accurate sources of information.
- Amnesty International– Amnesty regularly publishes methodologically flawed, one-sided reports condemning Israel and accusing it of human rights violations.
- Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)- JVP seeks to drive a “wedge” in the Jewish community over support for Israel.
- American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)- AFSC is involved in BDS campaigns on campuses and churches in the United States
- National Lawyers Guild– National Lawyers Guild, a Marxist organization, engages in anti-Israel “lawfare,”
Involvement of members of Congress in recent anti-Israel activities
- Nine of the signatories of this letter also signatories of a June 2015 letter to Secretary Kerry, claiming that Israel tortures Palestinian children during detention. The 2015 letter was organized by AFSC and Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P).
Funding
- Eight out of the signatories receive funding from JStreetPAC, designed to help elect politicians sympathetic towards JStreet’s goals. (h/t Yenta Press)
Prize to ‘nonviolent’ wife of terrorist will not be rescinded
The British-based foundation that awarded a Palestinian Authority schoolteacher a $1 million prize for teaching nonviolence will not change its decision, despite revelations that the woman's husband participated in a horrific terror attack that murdered at least six Jews, reports the Associated Press.
The Varkey Foundation awarded Hanan al-Hroub of El Bireh its Global Teacher Prize two weeks ago, in a ceremony in Dubai. In selecting her, it cited her slogan "No to Violence" and her efforts to protect Palestinian schoolchildren from the effects of living in a conflict zone. The ceremony was addressed by Pope Francis via video link.
It has since been revealed that her husband, Omar, served ten years in Israeli prison after being convicted as an accomplice in the 1980 Beit Hadassah bombing attack that murdered six Jews as they approached Beit Hadassah in Hevron. According to an Associated Press account at the time, Omar al-Hroub was a chemist who provided chemicals needed for making the bombs.
An article in the Qatari newspaper al-Araby al-Jadid drew attention to his sordid past by praising him as a "freedom fighter...who took part in one of the most daring guerrilla operations in the occupied territories."
In a statement, the Varkey Foundation said it does not look into the conduct of candidates' relatives and that the teacher was committed to nonviolence.

IsraellyCool: The Ongoing Failure Of Global Journalism
And that’s it. Just a brief mention of her husband and specifically a mention that marks HIM as a victim of Israeli violence! Now we switch from the Washington Post to the efforts of Aussie Dave here on this blog. Five days before on March 18 he posted this piece: Hanan Al Hroub, Winner Of Global Teacher Prize, Married A Terrorist.
Oh, that’s interesting, the Washington Post didn’t mention that her “lawyer” husband has a terrorist past. I wonder how that slipped past them.
But this also piqued the interest of another Israellycool contributor (JPF) and he did some investigative journalism: also known as searching for stuff in Google. He published on March 29 but this is based on the Palestine Chronicle from March 17. He found that this Global Award teacher had the following in her biography:
Palestine Chronicle global teacherHanan Al-Hroub was born and raised in the alleys of Dheisheh refugee camp… She married a Palestinian freedom fighter, Omar Al-Hroub, who took part in one of the most daring guerrilla operations in the occupied territories, the Dabboya operation, in Hebron in May 1980. When the guerrillas were being pursued in the mountains they attacked a group of settlers going from the illegal Kiryat Arba settlement to the Dabboya building near the Ibrahimi Mosque. Thirteen settlers were killed, including their military leader in Hebron, and dozens were injured. Months after the operation, the guerrillas were captured; Omar was imprisoned and spent many years in Israeli prisons before being released. It was then that he met and married his life partner who became the best teacher in the world.
You see when you look at the Palestinian media, they’re PROUD of the fact her husband murdered Jews. This husband wasn’t released from prison because he was remorseful (of course) he was released in a prisoner exchange. A journalist might want to ask her and her husband directly how they feel about this. What messages does she convey to her students about “guerrilla operations” that kill Jews? But we don’t have many journalists any more.



PMW: Danish Ministry for Foreign Affairs ignores Fatah terror promotion in PMW report
Danish Ministry for Foreign Affairs never intended to reassess Fatah's status as moderate, even if it was proven that Mahmoud Abbas' movement is promoting terror.
Ministry states it "does not share PMW's interpretation" that Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs implied that were such evidence presented, it would be cause for Denmark to reconsider its assessment.
PMW presented report to Danish ministry documenting numerous examples of top Fatah leaders promoting and glorifying terror attacks against Israelis
"We have nothing more to contribute," ministry says when urged by PMW to comment on the specific examples of Fatah terror promotion. Ministry's official response to PMW was mostly a standard EU declaration, that ignores the reality that Fatah openly promotes terror, saying merely:
Denmark "firmly condemns the terror attacks and violence from all sides and in any circumstances. We call on political leaders to work together through visible actions to contribute to calm and address the underlying causes of the tensions."
Elliott Abrams: The British Royals and Israel–Again
I’ve written before in this blog about the British royals and their refusal to visit Israel, the most recent time here.
Now we learn that Prince Charles may visit Iran.
The story in The Independent tells us that
A Clarence House [the Prince’s residence] spokesman said: “The autumn tour is not confirmed.” But the newspaper source was quoted as saying: “The prince is very keen to visit Iran. He hopes he would be able to use his role as a diplomat to further encourage the relationship and dialogue between the two countries.”
Prince Charles is said to have a strong interest in Persian history….

Apparently the Prince lacks much interest in Biblical history, or at least enough to warrant visiting the lands where the Bible narrative took place.
The Mottle Wolfe Show: Roseanne Barr nails it, Trump starts imploding
Roseanne Barr was here in Israel this week to speak at the YNET anti-BDS conference. Also are we starting to see the Trump campaign imploding? He sure had a rough 24 hours.
New York Times Op-Ed Misleads on the True Nature of BDS
The New York Times op-ed about the BDS movement by Eric Alterman is at times both accurate and deceptively misleading. Yes, not all BDS activity at universities are antisemitic. Characterizing them as such, while many Jews promote BDS, is ridiculous. However, what Alterman fails to say is that the foundation of BDS is 100% antisemitic and anti-Zionist. The establishment and direct roots of BDS originated with the Palestine Liberation Organization, representatives of the Organisation of Islamic Conference, and Arab states, including Iran.
It is unfortunate that Alterman paints the Zionist Organization of America as “far-right Zionist,” while not referring to Jewish Voice for Peace as far-left, but rather as “pro-boycott.” He also negatively singles out Republicans, yet the fight against BDS crosses all party lines. Few, if any, have more articulately and passionately spoken out against BDS than Democratic New York City Councilman David Greenfield on the floor of the New York City Council, when BDSers raised a Palestinian flag.
Alterman’s parroting of BDS’ talking points (“brutality and self-defeating nature of Israel’s nearly 50-year occupation” and “goal of a peaceful, two-state solution”) without giving factual context or debate is inexcusable, and it falsely promulgates BDS lies. BDS’ founders and leadership have no desire for a two-state solution. Rather, they support a “One State Declaration” that will become one more Arab-majority state (with their demand for a right of return for millions more Arabs today than were living in the area in 1948). BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti himself has stated that there will be a “Palestine next to a Palestine.”
How Not to Be Silenced by ‘Breaking the Silence’ on Campus
For some, the members of the Israeli NGO calling itself Breaking the Silence (BtS) are “whistleblowers” and human rights activists; for others, they are a tiny group of dangerous messianists who tour the world promoting anonymous and false allegations of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) war crimes. The recent exposé on Israel’s Channel 2 showing how they gather sensitive and potentially classified information on IDF tactics and equipment — far removed from any human rights claims — increased the suspicion and hostility with which they are viewed by many Israelis.
This debate is important, particularly when some college students in the US are trying to push the BtS activists into Jewish and pro-Israel frameworks such as Hillel. In response, critics note that although BtS is a fringe group with a handful of activists, unfounded accusations against Israel feed BDS (the Boycott, Divestment Sanctions movement), demonization and other forms of political warfare. BtS speakers’ allegations seem persuasive simply because they are Israelis, have served in the military, and look the part of righteous whistleblowers.
In these controversies, the details appear to get lost, while vague ideological perceptions take over. BtS supporters —inc luding the CEO of the New Israel Fund (NIF), a BtS core funder — use shut-down techniques, arguing that valid criticism of the group is a “smear campaign.”
Berkeley's Tikvah: Students for Israel responds to hate on campus
From Tikvah: Students for Israel. at UC Berkeley. A poignant reminder of why checkpoints and security precautions are still needed in Israel

ALERT – NYU Grad Student Union BDS Vote Mid-April
We reported previously on the deceptive anti-Israel Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign at NYU, in which BDS supporters try to co-opt unrelated divestment movements, such as fossil fuel.
This campaign has now morphed into a boycott petition at NYU’s Graduate Student Union (GSOC-UAW Local 2110). Meanwhile the deceptive tactics continue.
This episode illustrates, yet again, the strategy of pro-Palestinian activists in taking over student governments and other associations and hijacking them for their own agenda.
If all goes according to plan, there will be a referendum on a Boycott and Divestment petition that includes a call for Academic Boycott and a call to shut down NYU-Tel Aviv). The referendum, open to all union members, is tentatively scheduled for April 18-22.
NY legislators demand suspension of CUNY pro-Palestinian group
Two Jewish New York state assemblymen have called for the “immediate suspension” of a pro-Palestinian student group from the City University of New York’s campuses.
In a letter to CUNY Chancellor James Milliken released Tuesday, Dov Hikind and David Weprin, Democrats from Brooklyn and Queens, respectively, demanded that Students for Justice in Palestine be suspended, saying they were responding to “several incidents that have left many Jews feeling fearful and intimidated,” according to a news release issued by Hikind.
Thirty-three other elected officials, Republicans and Democrats, signed onto the letter, in which Hikind described Students for Justice in Palestine as a “toxic” organization whose “true nature and belief” is “nothing short of the total destruction and elimination of the State of Israel.”
Earlier this month, the New York State Senate approved a resolution to cut $485 million in funds for the CUNY system, saying it was to “send a message” that the colleges were not taking enough action in response to alleged campus anti-Semitism.
The lies of BDS exposed yet again
Yet again, a spokesperson for the BDS movement is guilty of deliberately lying and completely misrepresenting the facts to advance this organization’s racist agenda.
By way of example, Kekana’s article claims that Jerusalem’s Christian population dwindled “from approximately 30,000 in 1944 to less than 11,000”. In her attempt to deceive her readers, Kekana’s article conveniently omits the relevant factors behind this dramatic change.
The facts are as follows:
- In 1944, the number of Christians living in Jerusalem totaled 29,400.
- During the period 1948 to 1967, the Old City of Jerusalem, home to Jerusalem’s Christian population, was under Jordanian rule. During this period, the number of Christians living in Jerusalem dwindled to 12,646.
- In 1967 immediately following the Six Day War, Israel declared the city of Jerusalem unified and guaranteed free access to holy sites for all religions.
- By 2012, the number of Christians living in Jerusalem had increased to 14,000.
- Since coming under Israeli rule, the freedom for all religions to worship at their holy sites in Jerusalem has been rigorously upheld.
Beating Swords into Law Books: A Review of “Lawfare”
Four of the chapters in the book document how the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, and sympathetic NGOs wage lawfare against Israel and how Israel defends itself. Kittrie notes that the threat of the PA waging lawfare against Israel is so acute that two years ago, “Israel decided to trade the release of dozens of Palestinian prisoners who had murdered Israelis in exchange for a nine-month respite from PA lawfare.”
One case mentioned in the book that has relevance to recent news events was Flatow vs. the Islamic Republic of Iran, in which a New Jersey title attorney, Stephen Flatow, teamed with litigator Steve Perles to sue Iran for the death of Flatow’s daughter Alisa. Alisa Flatow was killed in a 1995 suicide bombing carried out by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a terror group funded by Iran. Flatow ultimately accepted a settlement based on seized Iranian assets, but only after he “received a personal commitment from Jack Lew that the funds he was being paid were being paid from the Iranian blocked assets and that no taxpayer funds were implicated.” Lew, now Treasury Secretary, was President Bill Clinton’s director of the Office of Management and Budget at the time.
But in January, apparently to get five American hostages freed from Iran, the Obama administration (for which Lew works) agreed to release $1.7 billion in Iranian funds, meaning that the 2000 settlement with Flatow and others who won judgments against Iran ended up coming out of taxpayer money. “We all believed that Iran would pay our damages, not U.S. taxpayers,” Flatow told Newsweek in January. “And now, 15 years later, we find out that they never deducted the money from the account. It makes me nauseous. The Iranians aren’t paying a cent.”
Van Damme de-Israelizes Facebook post
Jean-Claude Van Damme visited an Israeli kabbalah center for “spiritual guidance” in the wake of last week’s terror attacks in his native Brussels.
But when the martial arts star posted a photo of himself in a cap on Facebook with the caption “Shalom from Jerusalem, Israel!” he faced a wave of angry comments within minutes.
One user said “you should say salam from palestine” and garnered over 1,300 likes. Another said “Jeruzalem is not from Israel But from Palestina” and garnered 854 likes.
Others were more pro-Israel, including one who said “Israel loves u” and garnered over 4,700 likes.
Van Damme subsequently took out the words “Shalom” and “Israel” from the caption, which now reads “Hello from Jerusalem!!”
The BBC's militant tendency
Following the atrocities in Brussels, the BBC’s flagship News At Ten programme referred to the bombers as “militants” rather than “terrorists.” Initially, I thought this was a mistake. And then the BBC did it again, this time in the context of events in Syria and Iraq where ISIS is engaging in a wholesale massacre of the innocents.
How long had the BBC been referring to suicide bombers and beheaders as “militants”? I rarely watch the BBC’s news output, so I couldn’t be sure. Someone told me that it was part of the BBC’s style guide. But, I reasoned, the word “militant” suggests someone who is belligerent or combative, e.g. a militant feminist. Not so long ago, the trade union movement in the UK was described as “militant.” But neither feminists nor trade unionists are terrorists.
So I contacted the BBC. And I explained to them that the trouble with the word “militant” is that it falls short of describing an individual who engages in acts of extreme violence with the express aim of terrorizing – of invoking fear and submission in the general population. In response, a spokesperson for the BBC told me:
“The BBC has an obligation to be impartial, independent and accurate. We use neutral language to describe news events, particularly in complex situations where any appearance of bias would undermine our credibility.”
Credibility?
BBC programme with mistranslated Arabic nominated for award
Courtesy of the Jewish Chronicle we learn that Lyse Doucet’s programme ‘Children of the Gaza War’ which was broadcast by the BBC last summer has been nominated for a BAFTA award.
“A BBC documentary which substituted the word “Israeli” for “Jews” in its translation of interviews with Palestinians has been nominated for a Bafta.
Children of the Gaza War, which aired on BBC2 in July, followed journalist Lyse Doucet as she spoke to children in Israel and Gaza in the wake of the 50-day war. […]
At the time of its airing, Ms Doucet stood by the decision to translate “yahud” as “Israeli” in subtitles on her hour-long documentary.
The correct translation for “yahud” from Arabic to English is “Jew”.
The BBC’s chief international correspondent said that Gazan translators had advised her that Palestinian children interviewed on the programme who refer to “the Jews” actually meant Israelis.”
A quick and fun lesson for Indy editors: the difference between facts and opinions
A report at The Independent, by Ben Lynfield, on Knesset legislation which would allow for the suspension of sitting MKs was not particularly problematic – at least not by British media standards. The proposed law would allow the Knesset to suspend MKs (with a 90 MK majority) if they engage in incitement to violence or racism; support armed conflict against Israel; or negate Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
Though the bill was inspired by the moral support shown by a few Arab MKs to the families of Palestinian terrorists who murdered Israelis, this law would apply to all lawmakers, not just those from Arab parties.
Though some British media outlets have predictably amplified voices characterizing it as a bill ‘targeting’ Israel’s Arab minority, the Indy’s headline accompanying their March 30th article fails to even minimally adhere to the basic journalistic requirement of distinguishing between fact and opinion.

Pakistan on the Mediterranean
From the beginning, Erdoğan has looked at the Syrian refugee crisis not as a humanitarian tragedy but an arrow in his quiver. Inside Turkey, he has offered Sunni refugees Turkish citizenship if they settle in Turkish provinces currently dominated by the Shi‘ite offshoot Alevi sect. And, whereas the world condemns ISIS “genocide” against the Yezidi, the Yezidi who sheltered in Turkey were then victimized, again, by local AKP-run municipalities who refused to provide services offered to Sunni refugees.
Allowing Turkey to choose which refugees to send to Europe and promising to eliminate visa restrictions for Turks only rewards Erdoğan for his behavior and gives him additional leverage in his dealings with the West. Nor is this the type of policy Erdoğan’s neighbors would support. Earlier this year, King Abdullah II of Jordan told Congress, “The fact that terrorists are going to Europe is part of Turkish policy and Turkey keeps on getting a slap on the hand, but they are let off the hook.” He added that, “radicalization was being manufactured in Turkey.”
Abdullah’s message fell on deaf in ears in Washington, Brussels, Paris, and Berlin. It is Erdoğan who has the initiative as he pursues the Islamicization of Turkey and neo-Ottoman imperialism. He has built a Pakistan on the Mediterranean: an incubator of terror that markets itself as the only available partner of the West, with tragic results.
Elliott Abrams: The Erdogan Visit to Washington
To welcome Turkey’s President Erdogan to Washington, a group of several dozen former officials, foreign policy analysts, and academics have written him an open letter. The letter can be found here, and signatories include two former U.S. ambassadors to Turkey and two former U.S. senators, in whose company I am happy to find myself.
The letter begins this way:
Within the past decade, many of Turkey’s friends here were optimistic about your country’s potential to become a vibrant and stable democracy as well as an increasingly strong and capable U.S. ally. The salutary role Turkey can play, regionally and globally, has been demonstrated by the hospitality your country has extended to millions of refugees. Recent developments in Turkey, however, are deeply troubling.
The letter notes Erdogan’s assaults on free media in Turkey, the recent turn away from negotiations toward violence regarding Turkey’s Kurdish population, and use of a such a broad definition of “terrorism” that it includes writing and speech by many peaceful lawmakers, academics, and journalists.
It can only be hoped that Vice President Biden uses his meeting with Erdogan to raise these issues and let him know how troubling they are to many Americans.
WATCH: German TV parody of Erdogan sparks diplomatic row with Turkey
Turkey's Foreign Ministry summoned Germany's ambassador last week over a satirical broadcast by German television station NDR, Spiegel magazine's online edition reported on Monday.
The ambassador, Martin Erdmann, was called to the ministry last Tuesday over the NDR broadcast on March 17 that featured a two-minute satirical song mocking Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Spiegel Online reported.
The German Foreign Ministry declined to comment. Turkish officials could not immediately be reached to comment.
The report comes at a time when German Chancellor Angela Merkel is actively seeking closer ties with Turkey, a candidate for European Union membership, whose help she needs in tackling Europe's migrant crisis.
Song: Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan


Auschwitz survivor, Hungarian Nobel laureate Kertesz dies aged 86
Hungarian novelist and Auschwitz survivor Imre Kertesz, winner of the 2002 Nobel Literature Prize, died on Thursday at the age of 86 after a long illness, the state news agency MTI reported, citing his publisher.
Kertesz became a Nobel laureate for works the judges said portrayed the Nazi death camps as "the ultimate truth" about how low human beings could fall.
As a Jew persecuted by the Nazis, and then a writer living under repressive Hungarian Communist rule, Kertesz went through some of the most acute suffering of the 20th century and wrote about it in both direct and delicate prose.
He won the $1 million Nobel prize for "writing that upholds the experience of the individual in the face of a barbaric and arbitrary history," the Swedish Nobel Academy said when it awarded literature's highest honor.
In his work, Kertesz returns repeatedly to the experience of Auschwitz, the camp in German-occupied Poland where more than one million Jews and other victims of Hitler's Third Reich died.
Ceremony in Venice Marks the 500th Anniversary of the First Jewish Ghetto
On Tuesday night, at La Fenice theater in Venice, Italy, the world’s first ghetto was remembered 500 years after a 1516 decree from the Venetian Senate confined the city’s 700 Jews to a small gated island on the periphery of the lagoon. The event, said historian Simon Schama during his keynote speech, was a time to reflect on the ghetto’s dual role in both ostracizing and uniting Jews. “Our commemoration should be weighing in the balance of rejoicing and mourning,” he said. “History is not always a stroll down memory lane.”
During the ceremony, an orchestra, conducted by Israel-born Omer Meir Wellber, played Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D major, which washed over a number of luminaries in attendance, including Venetian mayor Luigi Brugnaro.
A scene from inside Venice’s La Fenice theater (Image courtesy of the author)
President of the Jewish Community of Venice Paolo Gnignati said the anniversary was an opportunity to “emphasize the capacity and steadfastness of a group that, in spite of adverse conditions, and against all reasonable expectations, succeeded in making the ghetto a place where Jewish tradition could grow.” He noted the ghetto’s five extant synagogues, the first printed edition of the Talmud, and the capacity to “to indomitably maintain [its] own strong and independent identity over the centuries, fostering cultural exchanges and influencing the surrounding society.”
It was vital to “remember all of this because of what is happening today in Europe,” added Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress. “Jews learned what happened when the world is silent and we learned it the hard way. When we face the past with complete honesty we actually create a much better future.”
Schama echoed this sentiment, saying it was “incumbent on Jews and non-Jews not to be silent” particularly in the wake of the Brussels attacks earlier this month that killed 35 people.
Gett buys UK black cabs
London’s “taxi wars” just got crazier as Gett (formerly Get Taxi) announced its acquisition of Radio Taxis, the British black cab company. Media reports cite Gett Western Europe managing director Remo Gerber saying the all cash deal is worth “several million pounds.”
“We are delighted to bring such a great business as Radio Taxis into the Gett family. Our aspiration is to provide our technology to their corporate customers,” Gerber said.
The Israeli company now has a fleet of 11,500 London licensed taxicabs, almost 50 percent of the black cabs in the city.
Gett’s buyout of Radio Taxis will give it control over Xeta, another black cab brand, and One Transport, a platform that gives businesses access to vehicles.
Rapper Wiz Khalifa to bring his 'reefer party' to Israel
Israel, get ready to be "under the influence" of Wiz Khalifa.
The American rapper and recording artist announced that he will be performing at Live Park in Rishon Lezion on June 25.
Khalifa, whose real name is Cameron Jibril Thomaz, is a prominent rap artist with numerous hit songs including "See You Again," which was No. 1 for more than two months this year on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Tickets for the show are available at wizkhalifa.co.il. This will be the North Dakota native's first-ever appearance in Israel.
Khalifa's show will be one of a number of star attractions set to rock the Holy Land in the coming spring and summer months.
Israeli companies to build smart city in Brazil
Three Israeli companies won an international competition to help create a pilot smart city in Brazil to house 20,000 residents of low socioeconomic status.
The startups won a challenge to develop high-tech solutions in security, landscaping and engineering for the future city called Croatá Laguna Ecopark in the northeastern municipality of Sao Goncalo do Amarante, the Brazilian Israelite Confederation announced Monday in its newsletter.
In most cases, the smart technology is fitted to existing cities, but the Brazilian government decided recently to try a different approach and build a smart city from scratch.
Twelve Israeli tech firms participated in the 3C Smart Cities Challenge held in Tel Aviv with cooperation from the Brazilian government; Italian group Planet Idea; the Tel Aviv University center for entrepreneurship, Startau, and the Israeli innovation center from global security conglomerate Tyco.
NYC’s phone booths 2.0 to be powered by Israel-developed VoIP
Phone booths are making a comeback in New York City – except that this time, callers won’t need a quarter to make a connection. Thanks to technology created in Israel by VoIP pioneer Vonage, those calls will be free, part of the new LinkNYC wi-fi and communications system the city has begun rolling out.
“We’ve been working with New York for the past two years to implement this,” said Sagi Duda’i, head of Vonage Israel. “Previously we were best known for our consumer applications and communications service, but we have in the past several years concentrated on the business market, and one of the results is our role in this very ambitious program by New York City.”
The free calls are part of LinkNYC’s first-of-its-kind communications network to replace over 7,500 payphones across the city’s five boroughs with new structures called Links. Each Link will provide fast, free public wi-fi, device charging and a tablet for Internet browsing, access to city services, maps and directions, as well as phone calls.
Dubai woman delivers baby in Israel, names him after IDF officer who helped her
An Arab woman who delivered her baby at the Israeli-Jordanian border crossing on Tuesday named the infant after the IDF officer who helped her give birth.
The woman, heading from Dubai to the West Bank, arrived at Allenby border crossing when suddenly she started feeling contractions. An Israeli IDF officer who was present at the scene gave her initial medical treatment at the border crossing, after which he accompanied her to a hospital in Jericho.
The woman was so thankful to the Israeli, a Druse officer who serves in the Israeli Civil Administration, that she named her baby after him – Hadi.
While Druse news sites in Israel were fascinated with the story, Palestinian news sites raised doubts about the story that was first published on Tuesday on the Facebook page of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the territories.
Vogue: 9 Reasons Tel Aviv Should Be Your Next Mediterranean Getaway
Tel Aviv is a fascinating bubble where history, culture, and what might be the wildest nightlife on earth come together. Wander its meandering streets and you’ll encounter beautifully restored Bauhaus architecture and century-old stone buildings, vibrant markets, and beautiful locals and expats sipping espressos at sidewalk cafés. Did we mention the farm-to-table restaurants and tantalizing cocktail scene? It’s all here and just steps from scenic sandy beaches and the sapphire blue Mediterranean. Here are nine reasons why Tel Aviv should be on your list.
1/9 Art and Architecture
Design Museum Holon features an archival collection and gallery spaces for permanent and temporary exhibits. But for architecture fans, the attraction is the Instagram-worthy building itself. Architect Ron Arad chose bands of Corten weathered steel that undulate around the museum’s internal spaces, like ribbons wrapping a present. Located in the city center and opened in 1932, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art houses a comprehensive collection by local and international artists. A new building of twisting geometric surfaces, designed by Preston Scott Cohen, is one of the city’s landmarks. But you don’t have to go to a museum to be immersed in art and design. In a city with the largest concentration in the world of Bauhaus buildings, fascinating architecture is everywhere you look.


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I reported that Mahmoud Abbas had met a delegation of Sephardic Jews this week.

The delegation was actually of Israeli leftists of Sephardic origin, who wanted to genuflect to Abbas in order to tell Abbas, as Galei Tzahal put it, that "there are Israelis who want peace."

A rabbi from Kiryat Gat, Avraham Golan, blessed Abbas with long life, a sculptor gave Abbas a statue of his bust, and they all ended up eating what was reported to be a kosher meal in the middle of Ramallah (I wonder who the supervising rabbi was?)

Abbas, knowing that he has an audience that would unquestioningly accept any lies he says, responded by saying that the Mizrahi Jews are considered fully part of the Arab nation, that he wants to have peace talks with anyone including Netanyahu....and that he enjoys listening every day  to the songs of Israeli singer Moshe Eliyahu whose family lived in Syria.

Now Arab media is upset that Abbas said nice things about Jews.

Egyptian paper Al Arabya News (not to be confused with Al Arabiya) called the event  a "disaster" exposing that Abbas "adores Israeli singing." The newspaper is critical of Abbas in general.

It added that the blessing given by the rabbi was similar to the weekly blessings that Jews in Arab countries used to give to their political leaders as a sign of appreciation and loyalty. (Actually, that is a standard part of the Shabbat service in every prayer book, not just in Arab lands.)

It should be mentioned that the Fatah Platform explicitly calls to meet with Israeli leftists in order to help split Israeli society against itself:

Restoring our direct and strong relations with the Israeli peace camp, and revitalizing our joint action for a just peace, without mingling it with normalization with Israel, which is rejected while occupation continues.


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 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column




The case of the soldier who killed a wounded terrorist continues to create a political storm in Israel. In my last post, I noted that if in fact the soldier did not have good reason to believe that the terrorist had a suicide belt, then he violated IDF orders that a wounded terrorist who does not pose a risk should not be harmed. As more information becomes available, I am becoming more and more persuaded that the position taken by army officials and Minister of Defense Ya’alon is correct in a narrow sense: the soldier’s action was not legally justified.

But the problem is not the soldier, although he will probably be punished. How can you have an army where soldiers can violate orders and not be punished?

The problem is the orders. The problem is that we are at a point in time when the moral principles that are supposed to guide our behavior have come into conflict with the demands of the geopolitical environment in which we must survive.

Jonathan Haidt argues persuasively that moral principles seem to us to be intuitively true, and then we try to justify them. We do this sometimes with rational arguments and with appeals to authority, including, in the case of Jews, the Torah and writings of the Sages. But the ultimate source of the intuitive feeling of rightness attached to laws like “do not murder” develops from an evolutionary process. Humans are clever, and they find ways to show how reason and authority justify what they intuitively ‘know’. But this happens after the fact.

A human culture creates a consensus for those moral principles that promote the survival of the culture. These values become part of the way people perceive the actions of others. They become intuitive. Cultures that internalize the wrong principles die out.

Like any evolutionary process, moral evolution takes place in response to environmental pressures. When the environment changes, existing principles and the rules that are derived from them have to change too. This is similar to what happens in biological evolution. If a population of animals or plants living in a particular region experiences a severe change in climate, either it adapts, moves or dies out.

Today Western cultures are under attack by an Islamic jihad. The Jewish people, who share many characteristics with both the West and the Islamic world, are also a target of the jihad. Unlike the short, intense wars of the 20th century, the jihad is prosecuting a long, low-level conflict which occasionally bursts into flame along the extensive seam between the Islamic world and the West. Israel is right on this seam, and because of both its ties to the West and the Jewish people’s historical relationship to Islam, it is a flashpoint for violence.

This conflict, which has affected Jews in the Land of Israel almost since the birth of Islam, has become part of the environment in which the Jewish people lives. The importance of compulsory military service to Israeli culture is just one of the ways the conflict shapes the fabric of our lives.

In the West – Europe and North America – cultural evolution has moved in a different direction than in Israel. Since 1945, it has been touched little by war, and the greatest challenge (especially in North America) has been dealing with what has been called ‘affluenza’, the disease of having too much of everything.

The wars of the 20th century were blamed on nationalism and ethnic particularism, and the reaction elevated values of universalism, empathy, equality, and concern for all humans over concern for one’s own group. In America, the old hierarchies changed drastically after WWII, which led directly to the civil rights movement, spawning a whole new moral vocabulary.

Israel, being a mixture of the West with the Middle East, has absorbed a certain amount of the new Western morality. But both the influence of more traditional Jewish beliefs and the reality of the conflict have resulted in a sharp divergence of attitudes. This was thrown into sharp relief by the affair of the soldier, which has given rise to both extreme condemnations of his act, and demonstrations in his favor.

There is a contradiction between the official position of the Army and government, which wish to be aligned with the ‘enlightened’ West, and the reality of the conflict. In this case, enlightenment means that once a terrorist has been rendered harmless, a soldier must instantly stop seeing him as a target for possibly deadly force, and instead see an injured human being that should receive medical treatment.

Under the best of conditions, it’s a difficult for a person to make this transition, but a conflict in which terror attacks are a daily occurrence and in which the soldiers that must respond are also a target of them makes it harder. Since the soldiers are not an isolated segment of the population as in the West, but are conscripts who are everyone’s children, it’s easy to understand the fury in the streets and on social media.

This is exacerbated by the strategy of the jihadists to exploit Israel’s concern for fighting according to moral principles in order to inflict more damage. So they attack our civilian population and use their own as human shields. They take advantage of Israel’s humanitarian aid for the population of Gaza to divert materials to build attack tunnels. And they take advantage of the propensity of the West to empathize with them – at the same time that other jihadists kill westerners in their own countries – to get them to apply pressure to Israel to fight back less aggressively.

What is happening is that the moral principles of the West, developed in an age of relative peace and affluence, weaken the society that espouses them when they must confront the Islamic jihad. This is seen quite clearly not only in Israel, but in Europe where the fabric of society is currently being torn by an invasion of Muslim migrants, who are actually beingwelcomed by some of their governments and elites.

In order to survive, a culture must adapt to its changing environment. Israel, unlike Europe, still has a strong particularist strain. In Europe, healthy nationalism has been snuffed out, decried as ‘right-wing extremism’, leaving only the true extremists to carry the banner of the Right. In Israel, Zionism – Jewish nationalism – isn’t dead, although the Left would like to kill it. 

Israel can defeat the jihad, but in order to do so it has to adopt what the Left would call a more ‘primitive’ code of ethics, but in fact one that is adapted to the life-and-death struggle we are in. It should place the protection of all of our people, including soldiers, above all other considerations.

It would be better if we didn’t have to do this. It would be wonderful if we could cooperate with the Palestinian Arabs – there could be an economic miracle that everyone could participate in. Palestinian children could become scientists, doctors, or teachers of something other than hate. But that isn’t the world we live in. We live in a place where it is either us or them. They are killing our soldiers, our mothers and fathers and grandmothers. Even the young ones are taught to kill. We have to stop them, whatever it takes.

If we don’t evolve, we will be erased from history like the dinosaurs.




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From Ian:

Evelyn Gordon: ISIS Makes the EU More Anti-Israel
Like every major Islamist attack in Europe, last week’s terror attacks in Brussels left many Israelis wondering whether Europeans will finally understand what Israel faces. Unfortunately, such attacks are more likely to intensify anti-Israel activity in Europe. To understand why, it’s worth reading an article from the Islamic State magazine Al-Naba that propounds a surprising thesis: Jihad against Israel doesn’t take precedence over jihad anywhere else.
The article, translated by MEMRI, argued that the “Palestine first” slogan, which has reigned supreme for almost seven decades, has led good Muslims to ignore all the other places where jihad is no less necessary, or even more so. Indeed, it said, Muslims’ top priority should be purifying lands already under Islamic control, for both religious and practical reasons. Religiously speaking, “The apostate [tyrants] who rule the lands of Islam are graver infidels than [the Jews].” And practically speaking, defeating Israel won’t be possible without first destroying neighboring Arab regimes that are its “first line of defense.” Consequently, “Waging jihad with the aim of replacing the rule of the Jews with a regime like that of those who currently rule Gaza and the West Bank is jihad that is null and void,” because it would just replace infidel Jews with infidel Muslims.
But fighting Jews also doesn’t take precedence over “fighting the Crusaders and all the polytheists in the world,” the article stressed. In fact, “Muslims everywhere should fight the infidels nearest to them,” since that’s where they have the best chance of succeeding.
That last sentence sums up why Islamic State’s approach is Europe’s worst nightmare. For decades, Europe had a cushy arrangement: All the world’s jihadists were so fixated on Israel that they were willing to overlook longstanding hatreds against “Crusader” Europe, as long as Europe would help them wage war on Israel. As Manfred Gerstenfeld pointed out this week, many European countries — including Switzerland, Germany, France and Italy — tried to take advantage of this offer: They sought deals under which Palestinian terrorists could operate freely in their countries – usually without fear of arrest, but with swift release guaranteed if arrests were necessitated by American pressure – and in exchange, the terrorists wouldn’t attack those countries.
UN Watch exposes bias of proposed Palestine investigators, incurs wrath of Palestinian delegation






IDF reducing charge from murder to manslaughter for soldier who shot wounded terrorist
In a dramatic opening to Thursday's IDF court hearing over whether to release or keep in custody the soldier who shot a Palestinian in Hebron last week, IDF Prosecutor Lt. Col. Edoram Rigler said that they were reducing the expected charge from murder to manslaughter.
At the same time, Rigler told IDF Lt. Col. Judge Ronen Shor at the hearing in Kastina near Ashdod that they felt highly confident they would get a conviction for manslaughter, which carries heavy jail time.
A media circus has surrounded the incident with details leaked from both sides of the investigation day-after -day to confirm two polar opposed narratives. In one narrative, the killing was a cold-blooded murder. In another, it was possibly only a less serious negligent homicide with elements of self-defense from danger posed by the Palestinian who had been involved in a terror attack before being shot and immobilized by security forces.
IDF investigator's testimony backs soldier's version
Eyal Beserglick, one of the defense attorneys for the soldier, questioned the CID officer on the stand about whether or not there were concerns that the terrorist had a bomb belt on his body.
"The terrorist wasn't acquitted," said the officer, using terminology indicating that there had been no confirmation that the terrorist was not hiding an explosive at the time when the soldier shot him.
"There (were) suspicions of a combined incident with a knife and an explosive?," asked Beserglick, to which the officer confirmed there were indeed such suspicions.
Afterwards the attorney tried to press the point, asking, "does that mean that according to the testimonies there was a potential situation in which everyone could have been blown up?" The officer shied away from drawing the conclusion, stating, "I don't want to mislead."
The officer also described how at the scene contradictory statements were heard, saying, "the soldiers and the civilians, some of them said, 'call up a bomb sapper,' some of them said, 'don't call one up.'"
Shot in the Head But In Self-defence
No, not the incident in Hebron last week but in London in 2005 and the judges found the security officers were blameless with no need to investigate further.
Reported:
In their ruling the Strasbourg judges said the British authorities had taken appropriate steps after the shooting.
"The court found, overall, that it could not be said that the authorities had failed to ensure that those responsible for Mr de Menezes’s death had been held accountable," it said.
"The court noted that the facts of the case were undoubtedly tragic and the frustration of Mr de Menezes’ family at the absence of any individual prosecutions was understandable. "However, the decision not to prosecute any individual officer had not been due to any failings in the investigation or the State’s tolerance of or collusion in unlawful acts; rather, it had been due to the fact that, following a thorough investigation, a prosecutor had considered all the facts of the case and concluded that there had been insufficient evidence against any individual officer to prosecute in respect of any criminal offence."
Family of terrorist shot by IDF soldier while immobilized may refuse autopsy
The family of the Palestinian terrorist shot in the head by an IDF soldier after he was neutralized intends to file a petition to prevent the autopsy that was planned to help solve the controversial case, according to the military prosecution.
The prosecution informed the military court of the family's wishes on Tuesday. Without an autopsy linking the terrorist's death to the soldier's gunshot, it is unlikely that the soldier will be convicted of any manslaughter charges, as it is possible that the earlier gunfire that neutralized him during the attack is what ultimately caused his death.
Meanwhile, the soldier is set to attend a remand hearing at the military court in Qastina on Thursday. His remand was extended by two days on Tuesday, though the prosecution requested a nine-day extension.
B’Tselem’s track record
Material from third-party organizations such as lobby groups must be labeled to ensure the audience understands its provenance.”
Yet even this moderate approach is not observed by the Israeli media. Galatz’s Tal Levram, did not for one minute consider the source of the clip and the dubiousness of the organization behind it. He failed his listeners and violated journalistic norms.
Most of the mainstream media also lends full credence to B’tselem by including in their website article a link to its video footage but not to other clips that have surfaced showing different angles and a different version of events, even if none show the full story.
Perhaps, though, the redeeming factor is that the Israeli public does not “buy” B’Tselem’s narrative. Polls show that more than 80% of Israelis approved of the soldier’s actions.
B’Tselem will probably gain increased donations for portraying Israel as if guilty of a “war crime.”
This would be the most cynical part of this story, that the only profiteer from the demise of the terrorist is the “human rights” organization B’Tselem.
Police summon Palestinian who filmed Hebron shooting for questioning
The left-wing rights group B’Tselem says its stringer in Hebron who filmed an IDF soldier shooting a wounded Palestinian stabber last week has been called in for questioning by police.
Emad abu-Shamsiyah has faced a backlash for filming the incident, which has sparked a furor in Israel and led to murder charges against the soldier.
Far-right Israeli activists filed a police complaint against abu-Shamsiyah on Saturday night alleging that he had conspired with the two Palestinian stabbers who attacked soldiers in the West Bank city’s Tel Rumeida neighborhood.
IDF closes probe into 2014 ‘Nakba Day’ killing
B’Tselem announced late Wednesday that the IDF has closed its investigation into the killing of Muhammad Abu Daher in Beitunya on “Nakba Day” in May 2014 without filing an indictment.
IDF Lt.-Col. Edoram Rigler wrote B’Tselem that the case was being closed by Judge Advocate-General Brig.-Gen. Sharon Afek because the IDF could not shed light on the cause of Abu Daher’s death and could not find evidence that any of the soldiers or police in the area had used live fire directed at Palestinians.
He noted that Abu Daher’s family refused to allow an autopsy, and that, at most, some security forces used warning shots to disperse protesters and rioters, but without firing directly at them.
B’Tselem said the decision “exposes the absurdity” of the way the IDF approaches cases in which Palestinians are shot and the problematic leniency in using live fire.
The President’s Party Endorses Stabbings — Where’s the Outrage?
Here are a few samples of what Fatah has been saying about the terrorists and the stabbings:
On March 27, the official Fatah Twitter account posts an illustration of a large knife, with the skyline of Jerusalem on it, above the slogan, “Israel is forcing the young Palestinians to follow this path to Jerusalem.”
On March 9, Fatah’s Facebook page posts an image of a huge hand holding a knife over a map of all of Israel. On the arm are the words “The Heroic Martyr”; the map is labeled “Bashar Masalha” — the name of the terrorist who recently stabbed to death an American tourist, Taylor Force.
Also on March 9, photos of three terrorists are posted on the Fatah Facebook page, over the slogan, “Happy are the Martyrs.” The three are the aforementioned Bashar Masalha; Fuad Kassab Al-Tamimi, who shot attacked and wounded two Israelis in Jerusalem the previous day; and Abd Al-Rahman Raddad, who stabbed an Israeli in Petach Tikva the previous day.
On March 8, the Fatah Facebook page posted this about Masalha, Al-Tamimi, and Raddad: “O the pride of all O the pride of all of the young Palestinians, may your blood remain a source of true honor for the homeland for which you sacrificed all — even your precious lives. We promise you that your blood will continue to be a torch that illuminates our path, until we achieve what you died for as Martyrs. Your blood has taught us a lesson in the school of life.”
These are just three samples of an enormous number of similar Fatah declarations, which have been exposed and translated by Palestinian Media Watch.
Netanyahu pans US senator’s call to probe ‘extrajudicial killings’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hit back Wednesday at a demand from a US senator that the Obama administration investigate alleged Israeli human rights abuses and determine whether they are reason enough to cut military aid.
“The IDF and security forces are not murderers,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “IDF soldiers and Israel Police officers protect with their bodies, in a moral manner, themselves and innocent civilians from bloodthirsty terrorists set on killing them.”
He was responding to the letter sent by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy and co-signed by 10 House members to US Secretary of State John Kerry, asking that the president to look into claims of “gross violations of human rights” by Israel and Egypt, citing examples of alleged extrajudicial killings by both countries.
BESA: Israel and Europe After Brussels: What Insights Can We Share?
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Israel, which unfortunately has had a great deal of experience with terrorist violence, has much to offer Europe in its own confrontation with Islamist terror. Once Europe has internalized the reality that it is fighting a war, Israel can advise it regarding strategies like effective intelligence collection, disruption of enemy money supply, and interference with enemy access to the internet.
Can Israel be a source of advice to Europe in the next stages of the war on terror? The answer is an emphatic yes, if a basic condition is met.
Israel must be circumspect before offering advice to others. We have, after all, made our share of mistakes in this war. In a burst of optimism in the early 1990s, for example, some of our best and brightest were convinced that a notoriously two-faced fence-sitter like Yasser Arafat could be relied upon to stand up to Hamas. We have learned a great deal since then, but that does not entitle us to talk down to Europeans who are finding it understandably difficult to shed their own hopes, and some of their norms, in order to adjust to more brutal realities. To be of help, we must be sensitive to European needs and constraints.
Jordan’s King Abdullah Says ‘Terrorists Going to Europe Is Part of Turkish Policy’
Middle East Eye reports some startling criticism of Turkey from King Abdullah of Jordan, who is a nominal ally of the Turks, during a visit to Washington in January. The details of the King’s remarks are said to have been kept secret until now.
Evidently feeling snubbed by the late cancellation of a meeting with President Obama, Abdullah told a group of high-ranking congressional leaders that Turkey was enabling the spread of Islamist terrorists into Europe and pushing a “radical Islamic solution” to problems in the Middle East.
Among the charges leveled at Turkey by Abdullah, according to this report, is that Turkey is “absolutely” helping the Islamic State export oil — an accusation frequently leveled at Turkey its critics, notably including Russia, and vehemently denied by the Turkish government.
Middle East Eye also reports Abdullah saying, “The fact that terrorists are going to Europe is part of Turkish policy and Turkey keeps on getting a slap on the hand, but they are let off the hook.”
Frenchman Plotting ‘Imminent’ Attack Is Charged With Terrorism
A suspected Islamic State operative who was arrested last week had amassed a trove of guns and bomb-making equipment, including the type of explosive used in terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, the French authorities announced on Wednesday, reinforcing fears that militants are planning additional assaults on Europe.
The suspect, Reda Kriket, a 34-year-old Frenchman, was arrested on Thursday afternoon in Boulogne-Billancourt, a western suburb of Paris. That evening, the authorities raided a fourth-floor apartment Mr. Kriket had rented under a fake name in Argenteuil, a northwestern suburb that was once a popular weekend getaway and a subject for Impressionist painters.
Inside the apartment, the authorities found “an arsenal of weapons and explosives of an unprecedented size,” which led them to believe Mr. Kriket had been planning an “imminent attack,” the Paris prosecutor, François Molins, said at a news conference on Wednesday evening, describing for the first time the scope of the plot.
The arsenal included explosive materials — among them TATP, which was used in suicide bombs that were set off in Paris on Nov. 13 and in Brussels on March 22 — along with Kalashnikov assault rifles, a submachine gun, pistols, ammunition, four boxes containing thousands of small steel balls, stolen French passports, brand-new cellphones, a tear-gas canister and two computers with instructions to make explosives.
US condemns UN call for list of firms operating in West Bank
The United States on Wednesday condemned a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution that calls for setting up a database of businesses operating in the occupied West Bank, a move that Israel has called a "blacklist."
The Geneva-based council, established 10 years ago and long accused by the United States and Israel of bias against the Jewish state, adopted the motion last week with 32 votes in favor, none against and 15, mostly European nations, abstaining.
The move came less than six months after the European Union published new guidelines for labeling products made in Israeli settlements, a move Israeli officials view as discriminatory and fear could lead to an effective boycott.
The resolution, which calls for the database of enterprises to be updated annually, was passed under the Human Rights Council's agenda item seven, which covers the "human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories."
Major drop in rejections brings Israel near US visa waiver threshold
The rate of US visa refusal for Israelis dropped substantially last year, nearing the threshold that would allow Israel into the US visa waiver program.
The drop was revealed Wednesday in a release by Rep. Grace Meng, D-NY, who has advocated for allowing Israel into the visa waiver program, which allows nationals to travel to and from participating countries without pre-arranging visas.
According to the release, the refusal rate for Israelis in 2015 was 3.85 percent, down from 8.2% in 2014.
The threshold for entry into the visa waiver program is a 3 percent refusal rate. There are currently 38 countries with visa waiver agreements with the United States, which has made exceptions for some countries that exceed the threshold.
Israel and pro-Israel groups have long sought Israel’s entry into the program, which allows for 90-day visits for business or tourism. The program is seen as a facilitator for trade.
Mordechai Kedar: Land Day, the mirror reflecting the failed mirage of 'Palestine'
The demonstrations and protests that take place on March 30 in Israel are the cover up for the dismal failure of those who call themselves "Palestinians" to form a collective national entity.
These lines are being penned on the eve of March 30th, referred to as "Land Day" on the calendar of Arabs who have Israeli citizenship, and also by the Arabs living in Gaza, Judea and Samaria – in memory of six of their brothers killed in violent demonstrations that erupted on that date forty years ago as a result of the Israeli government's land appropriation in the Galilee. "Land Day" is commemorated every year at public events, but those land appropriations have long been consigned to the realm of vague memories and the public events are mainly an opportunity to raise a long list of condemnations aimed at the State of Israel.
The real truth, however, is that this day personifies the crux of the Palestinian tragedy, namely, the lack of a common goal for all those who are called "Palestinians."
The four main groups of Palestinian Arabs, described below, are the proof of the pudding.
Arab MK: Israel founded on ‘exploitation, racism, terrorism’
An Arab Knesset member reportedly accused Israel Wednesday of being a terrorist state, saying the government is responsible for systematic discrimination against Israeli Arabs.
Speaking during the main annual Land Day demonstration in the Bedouin town of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev desert, MK Taleb Abu Arar of the Arab Joint List said that Israel is working to expel Arabs from the country, according to Channel 2 news.
“Israel is a state founded upon exploitation, racism and terrorism and is committed to the continuation of the crimes of expulsion [of the Arabs from Israel],” he told the 8,000-strong crowd.
The High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, an umbrella organization of Arab advocacy groups, organized the demonstration to highlight what it says are discriminatory polices of Israel against the Bedouin inhabitants of the Negev.
JPost Editorial: Palestinian unity?
Sources close to both Hamas and Fatah are claiming that the two may have reached a breakthrough in talks taking place in Doha, Qatar. But how serious are these reports? Specific details regarding a reconciliation deal are sparse.
Some sources claim Fatah and Hamas have agreed to form a “national unity” government and hold parliamentary elections within six months.
Other, more pessimistic, reports claim the talks may have stalled and the only thing agreed upon by the sides is that neither Hamas nor Fatah officials will speak with the news media about any purported deal.
Fatah and Hamas have repeatedly failed to reconcile their differences since Hamas’s violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007.
There was the 2007 Mecca Agreement and the 2011 Cairo Agreement and, in 2014, the sides signed the Beach Refugee Agreement. But none of these has led to sustained reconciliation or parliamentary elections, which have not taken place in the West Bank and Gaza in a decade.
Both sides are quick to blame the US, Israel and other countries for sabotaging reconciliation attempts.
IPT: The Gaza Time Bomb
On the surface, the Gaza Strip looks relatively calm, with few security incidents occurring since the end of the protracted 2014 summer conflict between Hamas and Israel.
Behind the scenes, pressure within the Islamist-run enclave is gradually building again, just as it did prior to the 2014 war.
Gaza's civilian population is hostage to Hamas's dramatically failed economic policies, and its insistence on confrontation with Israel, rather than recognition of Israel and investment in Gaza's economic future.
Ultimately, the civilian-economic pressure cooker in Gaza looks likely to explode, leading Hamas to seek new hostilities with Israel, for which it is preparing in earnest.
Right now, Hamas remains deterred by Israel's firepower, and is enforcing its part of the truce. Hamas security forces patrol the Strip's borders to prevent Gazans from rioting, to stop them from trying to escape Gaza into Israel, and to stop ISIS-affiliated radicals who fire rockets at Israel.
Egypt destroys a long smuggling tunnel in the Sinai
Amidst talks between Egypt and Hamas regarding the border situation, a 3 km tunnel was found by Egyptian security forces containing weapons, engineering equipment and generators.
The Egyptian border guard destroyed a three kilometer long tunnel between Rafah, Egypt and the Gaza Strip, one of the longest tunnels discovered at the border between the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula, according to Egyptian security sources Thursday.
The tunnel's opening point, located in the house of an Egyptian smuggler from the Al Barazeel neighborhood in Rafah, Egypt is made out of concrete and steel. In addition to high quality engineering equipment, lighting, generators and communications devices were found.
Iran ‘certain’ UN won’t punish it for missile tests
Iran’s defense minister said he is “certain” the UN Security Council will not take any action over its ballistic missile tests despite calls from Western powers.
Britain, France, Germany and the United States wrote a joint letter on Monday calling for action over tests they said violated last year’s landmark nuclear deal between Iran and major powers, and the Security Council resolution that enshrines it.
They said the two kinds of missiles fired by Iran on March 8 and 9, the Shahab-3 and Qiam-1, also called the Qadr, were a breach of the resolution because they were “inherently capable of delivering nuclear warheads,” something Iran denies.
“I am certain that the Security Council and the United Nations will not respond as our actions are neither a breach of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the July nuclear deal) nor are they against Resolution 2231,” General Hossein Dehghan said.
State Dept. Declines to Address Growing Concerns about New Iran Sanctions Relief
State Department spokesperson John Kirby declined to address growing concerns from experts and Congress about the Obama administration’s reported plans to extend additional sanctions relief to Iran during a press briefing on Tuesday.
Associated Press correspondent Matt Lee pointedly asked Kirby if, “despite assurances that the Administration gave to lawmakers over the course of the negotiations on the nuclear deal,” the White House is in fact “preparing to open up a backdoor for the Iranians to use – to get into and use the [United States] financial system?”
Kirby deflected the question several times, telling Lee to direct it to the Treasury Department instead. He added that the administration intends to meet all its “commitments and obligations” under the nuclear deal with Iran, and that it will “continue to consult with Congress on the way ahead,” but failed to explicitly deny an intent to allow Iran access to the American banking system.
“I have to say that doesn’t sound like it’s going to ease any of the concerns on the Hill,” Lee commented in the end.


U.S. Navy: Latest Somalia-Bound Arms Shipment Originated in Iran
A large arms shipment intercepted in the Indian Ocean by French naval forces earlier this month originated in Iran, the United States Navy has said.
Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, a spokesman for the Navy’s Fifth Fleet, told CNN that the weapons were likely destined to go to Yemen by way of Somalia, though he would not indicate whether they were headed to Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
French authorities affiliated with the multinational Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) intercepted the arms shipment on March 20. After a helicopter from the French battleship FS Provence spotted an unmarked dhow in the northern Indian Ocean, French forces searched the ship and discovered “several hundred AK47 assault rifles, machine guns and anti-tank weapons,” according to the CMF. The weapons were determined to have been headed to Somalia and then seized in line with United Nations Security Council resolution 2244, which prohibits the shipment of arms to the country.
A similar shipment, also believed to be headed to Yemen by way of Somalia, was intercepted in February. Stephens said that this is the third such weapons seizure since September.
Rouhani Reportedly Cancelled Vienna Trip Due to Scheduled Protests
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s scheduled visit to Austria was canceled at the last minute due Vienna’s denial of an Iranian request to clamp down on demonstrations protesting his visit, two leading Austrian media outlets reported on Wednesday.
Rouhani was set to meet and sign a number of bilateral agreements with Austrian President Heinz Fischer on Wednesday and Thursday.
Austria’s leading newspaper Die Presse reported that Iran had demanded the cancellation of the planned demonstrations, which were organized by Stop the Bomb — a coalition dedicated to preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon — as well as Kurdish and Jewish groups, last week. However, the Austrian government refused to comply, citing freedom of assembly. In a follow-up report, Die Presse wrote that Iran “dug in its heels” on its demand, while Andreas Pfeifer, chief of the foreign policy desk at Austria’s state television, added that Iran insisted “quite fiercely” that the protests be canceled.
Saudi Judiciary Demands Capital Punishment to Curb Homosexuality
The Saudi judiciary has demanded stricter punishments, including death sentences, against homosexuals who display their sexuality in public and on social media, Okaz newspaper reported.
According to the paper, over the last six months the Saudi judiciary reviewed 35 cases of homosexuality and what it calls sexual perversion as well as 50 cases of cross-dressers.
The judiciary said that social media has ushered in a sharp rise in “perverts” displaying their “sins and obscenities,” which pose a danger to the country’s social fabric.
Saudi authorities have stepped up enforcement against homosexuality and “men’s attempts to look like women.”
This week, a Jeddah physician was arrested for flying a rainbow flag – a symbol of the gay rights movement – on his roof. He said in his defense that he bought it online at the behest of his son without knowing what it stands for. He was released on bail, pending the investigation.
Saudi Arabia turns up the heat on Hezbollah
The Saudis have initiated a major campaign to undermine Iran's ally Hezbollah, which they believe is vulnerable today. Riyadh is likely to have considerable but not complete success. It's a characteristically risky strategy.
The Saudis branded Hezbollah a terrorist organization earlier this year and then persuaded their Gulf Cooperation Council allies to do the same on March 2. Then Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef pressed a summit of Arab interior ministers to join in lambasting Hezbollah in Tunis in early March. The Arab League formally agreed to label Hezbollah a terrorist group at a Foreign Ministerial in Cairo later in the month. Only Iraq and Lebanon abstained.
Fall from grace
It's a long way from when Hezbollah was hailed as the symbol of Arab resistance to Israel a decade ago. The Saudi leadership may have been privately critical of Hezbollah during the 2006 war with Israel, but the group was far too popular for fighting Israel with punishing missile strikes to tackle publicly. Hezbollah squandered its popularity with the Arab street over the course of the next decade.
Saudi Arabia purchases drones from Israel through South Africa
A Saudi political analyst who is well known for leaking exclusive information about the royal family of Saudi Arabia on Twitter has recently reported that the kingdom buys drones from Israel, in cooperation with South Africa.
In a series of remarks he wrote on his Twitter page Wednesday, the Saudi analyst suggested that the official report released by the Saudi Defense Ministry according to which the kingdom would build a drone factory in collaboration with South Africa is false.
How a Nazi SS commando became a Mossad assassin
Help can come from the unlikeliest of places, particularly when spies and assassinations are involved.
In the 1960s a number of former Nazi scientists were assisting Egypt develop advanced rockets, which then-President Gamal Abdel Nasser threatened to use against Israel. There was even evidence that Israel's strongest enemy was building 900 rockets and possibly planning to fit them with nuclear or chemical warheads.
The Mossad refused to accept the threat lying down. Instead, it began a campaign called Operation Damocles, targeting the German collaborators.
One, a 49-year-old CEO named Heinz Krug whose company provided military hardware, mysteriously disappeared from his Munich office without a trace. Wild theories have been proposed for what happened to him over the decades, but they pale in comparison to the newly-revealed truth.
Through interviews with former agents, the Forward discovered that Krug was assassinated by a top SS officer who was working with the Mossad.
Otto Skorzeny, a former lieutenant colonel in the Waffen-SS, was one of his unit's most outstanding leaders. Hitler himself presented him with the country's top medal after Skorzeny rescued Italian dictator Benito Mussolini from captivity.
From tragedy to triumph: Terror victim becomes basketball champ
In June 2002, terror struck the Shabo family. Two PFLP terrorists infiltrated the town of Itamar and broke into the Shabo’s home.
Asael Shabo, who was 9 years old at the time of the attack, was sitting watching television with his younger brother, Avishai.
When the terrorists entered the house, they began firing wildly. Asael was badly wounded in the attack, while his mother, younger brother Avishai, and two older brothers were all killed.
Asael Shabo lost his right leg in the attack, and spent years in the hospital recovering from the physical trauma.
As part of his long rehabilitation process, Shabo became active in sports, playing basketball with the Israel Sports Association for the Disabled.
Despite his severe physical and emotional trauma, Shabo excelled in the sport, and in 2013 he was part of the Israeli team at the European Wheelchair Basketball Championships.
Muslim Zionist recognized for her contributions to IDF
Im Tirtzu, a Zionist activist organization, held a special ceremony this week in recognition of the work of Sara Zoabi on behalf of the IDF and the Zionist movement.
But Sara Zoabi doesn’t exactly fit the profile of the typical Zionist activist. A devout Muslim, Zoabi is a relative of the staunchly anti-Zionist MK Hanin Zoabi (Joint List).
Nevertheless Sara Zoabi, a resident of the northern town of Nazareth, has declared herself “a proud Zionist,” and has spent years helping minorities in Israel integrate into the IDF, and promoting Zionism in Israel’s Arab sector.
She first entered the public eye during an appearance on the Israeli cooking show MasterChef Israel. Introducing herself as an “Arab, Muslim, Israeli, and a proud Zionist” she became an instant celebrity and a viral sensation. Her son, Mohammed, has also gone public with his pro-Israel views.


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The World Zionist Organization publishes a monthly roundup of antisemitic activities worldwide. Here are some from March that I had missed during the month.

March 3, Thessaloniki - A rally against the new electronic “card of citizen” gathered hundreds of people in front of the oversized statue of Alexander the Great in Nea Paralia of Thessaloniki, reports journalist Sofia Christoforidou.

Laypeople and members of the Greek Orthodox organization “Agios Vasileios” protested the “instruments of Antichrist and the New World Order” holding religious icons, banners, Greek and Byzantine flags. One of the banners featured the message: “No to the card of citizen. There is only one enemy: The international Zionism.”

Antisemitic publications with titles like “The Jewish-Zionist vampire Soros is thirsty for Greek blood” were available for purchase during the demonstration. The protesters shouted slogans against “the Jewish” Mayor of Thessaloniki, Yiannis Boutaris.

One of the speakers was the excommunicated Abbot Methodios, who at a similar rally in Athens a few weeks ago threatened the Jews with a “Greek Hitler”. In Thessaloniki, he suggested again that the Christians are enslaved by “the Jews”. He also said that the Jews “were cannibals, when the Greeks were building Parthenons.” His Jew-hate rant was warmly applauded, reports Sofia Christoforidou.


March 6, Berlin – a 27-year-old man broke a glass bottle on the head of a 75-year-old man near subway station Walther-Schreiber-Platz.

Police said that at around 19:00, a 75-year-old man sat near the young man on the platform at the subway station. The young man began to shout antisemitic insults at him and showed him antisemitic symbols. Later, he hit him in the head with a glass bottle, and the older man was slightly injured.


March 22, Toronto - According to the Toronto Police Service 2015 Annual Hate/Bias Crime Statistical Report, the number of hate crimes that were directed against the Jewish community last year was the largest compared to other communities.

The Jewish community is followed on the list by the black community, the LGBT community and the Muslim community.



France, March 9 - The leader of the Jewish community in France denounced Monday what he called the ‘’unbearable’’ situation of Jewish children ‘’who suffer physical and verbal abuse at public school.’’

In an interview with radio channel Europe 1 ahead of the annual dinner of CRIF, the political representative body of French Jews, Roger Cukierman declared : ‘’In many schools, Jewish children are beaten, insulted because they are Jewish.

‘’This is the reason why today out of fear only one third of Jewish children go to public school,’’ said the CRIF President.


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The Palestinian Authority never tires of telling people that it supports non-violence. But the Fatah party, which is headed by PA president Mahmoud Abbas, posted this on Facebook yesterday for "Land Day:"


Land Day March 30th

Fatah - the salt of the earth and the revolution's gun

Fatah Youth

Meanwhile, a Fatah party leader, Jamal Muhaisen of the Fatah Central Committee, said that the US is under Jewish/Zionist occupation:



He also emphasized Mahmoud Abbas' point that all the other conflicts in the region are really peripheral to the Palestinian cause, adding that the US is behind all the other Middle East fighting in order to protect Israel.

Will any reporter ever ask Mahmoud Abbas about why the party he heads continues to incite, and whether he agrees with Muhaisen? Keep in mind that Abbas cracks down hard against people who disagree with him - but he doesn't say a word against statements like these.

(h/t Ibn Boutros)

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From The New Antisemite (original story at Joods Actueel):

At least two Israelis were injured in the terror attacks in Brussels. Israel would like to fly them home and so in order to release them from the hospital, a Jewish volunteer called up the Crisis Center set up by the Ministry for Internal Affairs to ask about the procedure.

He was told that the Israeli victims could not be sent back to Israel, they can only be sent back to Palestine. The family of the victim is shocked and says that "It's just like Iran here".

This is not the first time an emergency responder decides a Jewish medical emergency is a good reason to preach for Palestine. During the Gaza war, a doctor refused to treat a 90 year old Jewish woman, and suggested to "send her to Gaza for a few hours."
Here is the English transcript of the phone call, along with audio, which tool place Wednesday afternoon:


XXX: Good afternoon, my name is XXX, I am a volunteer in the Jewish coordination committee of Antwerp. We are contacted by persons… we have 2 persons of the Jewish community that were hurt in the attacks in the airport

Crisis Centre: Yes sir

XXX: They are prepared to be transported back to Israel. Our volunteers are busy with it and take care of everything but we received information from the hospital that we need special papers from the police that they can be released. Is this correct and to who should we ask that? Can you tell me more about that?

CC: That is effectively.. I will take a look. So … they go back to Palestine.

XXX: Not Palestine, Israel.

CC: Yes, but that was before Palestine, of course. OK

XXX: Could you repeat that again, please? What is the name?

CC: That … Palestine.

XXX: Can I get your name, please?

Cc: Of course, Zakaria.

XXX: And you know only Palestine?

CC: Sorry?

XXX: You don’t know Israel, only Palestine?

CC: I know the Jews went to there, that Palestine received (opvangen) them and that there is a war between Israel and Palestine, of course. And the occupation… that’s what's on the news of course.

XXX: Can you help me with the question I have, or not?

CC: Naturally, of course. Thus they go back to Palestine and ask that they could get an attestation. Voila, it is noted.

XXX: Can I have you name again, I didn’t understand it well.

CC: Zakaria

XXX: Zakaria?

CC: That is correct.

XXX: Zakaria what? What is your last name?

CC: I am not obliged to give it.

XXX: OK

XXX; Thank you very much.

CC: You're welcome. Bye
There were several Israeli victims of the attack, including one who needed to be placed in an artificial coma.

JTA adds:
Michael Freilich, the editor-in-chief of Joods Actueel, said it “defies imagination” that a Belgian state employee would display the anti-Israel behavior that is commonplace in Arab countries. He also called for punishing the operator instead of issuing the “standard apology.”

The recording’s release follows at least four recorded cases in which people who either spoke Arabic or wore Muslim traditional garb, destroyed, concealed or removed Israeli flags at an impromptu memorial space set up for the attacks’victims at Place de la Bourse in Brussels. It features many flags, including of Arab countries and the Palestinian Authority.
(h/t Rudi)

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