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Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Mia Khalifa is the pseudonym for a recently retired Lebanese porn star. She attracted controversy and death threats when she wore a hijab in one of her adult movies while engaging in various NSFW acts.

Now, many Arab news sites  (including Al Quds al Arabi) are claiming that:

Khalifa is coming to Israel...
...at the invitation of Naftali Bennett...
..the "minister of the economy...
...because they are having an affair."

All four of those are false. (Bennett is Education Minister, although he used to head the economy ministry.)

Other rumors connected her with the Mossad in order to help destroy Arab morals or claimed that she converted to Judaism.

Al Masdar, an Arabic site that was originally associated with The Israel Project, has fun demolishing all these rumors and making fun of Arab media for publishing and then embellishing the story.

Apparently, the source for the rumor of a link between Bennett and Khalifa  came from a satirical website The Mideast Beast last year:
Naftali Bennett...has called for a search for a star in the Jewish State after pictures and tweets of Middle Eastern porn star Mia Khalifa, born in neighbouring Lebanon, briefly topped social media searches last week.

Speaking to The Mideast Beast a spokesman for Bennett’s office stated, “having seen this travesty the minister is well aware of the economic damage that could be caused by people thinking that the hottest chicks come from Lebanon. Everybody knows the sweetest bodies in the Levant are to be found in Israel, and that Tel Aviv is party central here in the region,” he continued.

In order to reinforce this message the minister is launching a search for an Israeli porn star to rival Khalifa. “We are looking for a young professional who can outdo, outstretch, out-everything, this poor Lebanese imitation,” the spokesman stated. “Ideally they will be in the IDF because chicks with guns are always hot. They should also be extremely flexible and have an all-over tan,” he added.
It is a stretch to get from that article to the current rumor, but there has been a long time for it to form and spread.

(h/t YM)



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From Ian:

Anti-Semitism bred by ignorance... just look at our attitudes to Israel-Palestine
After misogyny it is arguably the world's oldest hatred and, as the late Conor Cruise O'Brien noted, anti-Semitism is a "light sleeper".
O'Brien contended that it is found barely beneath the surface even in literature from Shakespeare to Wilde; in public discourse even in societies with tiny or non-existent Jewish populations, and is infectious in its pervasive paranoia throughout the entire Arab and Islamic world.
The 'beast' also raises its head at times when it is least expected, as it did in west Belfast with the desecration of Jewish graves in the City Cemetery.
Politicians and religious leaders have united to condemn the vandalism, which some tried to portray as mindless drink and drug-fuelled behaviour - but now appears to have been something more organised, more targeted, more pointed. After all, the vandals used hammers and blocks to break up the headstones while a larger mob looked on encouraging their actions. There is clear evidence here of forward-planning; the graves targeted being exclusively Jewish, some dating back to the 1870s.
One theory knocking around is that the latest flare-up of anti-Semitism in Belfast is somehow related to the controversy over Celtic being fined by Uefa after their fans displayed Palestinian flags at Parkhead during a European Champions League qualifier this month against an Israeli side. Whatever the motivation, or even the rights and wrongs of the Israel-Palestine question, it is undoubtedly the case that the desecration was motivated by anti-Jew hatred.
UN Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs): Inciting Hatred, Antisemitism and Violence from the World Stage
CLICK HERE FOR FULL REPORT
Our ground-breaking report exposes the shocking antisemitism and incitement to violence that is occurring at the United Nations by means of UN-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The UN is enabling groups to spread hatred, encourage terrorism, and promote the destruction of the Jewish state from the world stage.
Democratic states, led by the United States, control the purse strings of the United Nations either from within the UN bureaucracy or through domestic policy. Getting serious about combating gross intolerance and violent extremism means putting an immediate stop to the use and abuse of the United Nations to broadcast and support antisemitism, bigotry and their lethal consequences.
Ryan Bellerose: Why It’s So Easy To Hate Jews
I know right off the bat some of you were upset, and whether you understand it or not, that was the point.
You see the question I am most often asked is why do people hate Jews so much? Shortly followed by why do people hate Indians so much? The sad and funny part is that it’s exactly the same reason. Because it’s easy. But why is it so damn easy?
You see it is really easy to hate someone you don’t know, and it is even easier when they are different from you. I am fond of saying that it’s easy to hate an abstract concept, but it’s hard to hate a person. It is very easy to lie or believe lies about someone you know nothing about. If you have zero attachment at best you will not get involved at all; at worst you will actively get involved with demonizing and delegitimizing the “other.”
Jews have dealt with this a long time. Basically your very existence rubs a lot of people the wrong way because you remind them of things they want to forget. Nobody likes the idea that they or their ancestors were ever the bad guy, and no good guys ever woke up saying “Hey today I think I will try to kill all the Jews.” Therefore, for some people, their ancestors were in fact the bad guys.
Sometimes those who are on the pointy end of hate have a tough time understanding; they cannot see the forest for the trees. They try even harder to be liked, and the end result is they come off looking weak or conciliatory when that is the very last thing they need to appear. It is as if they are fighting the perception they are the “bad thing.”



Islam and Anti-Semitism in Malaysia
Malaysia, a majority-Muslim country in Southeast Asia, is rapidly turning to Islamic fundamentalism through the state's sharia-like legal system and the country's growing number of Islamic militant sympathizers. Malaysia's government is a federal parliamentary democracy under an elected constitutional monarchy. The country of more than 30 million people is made up of 13 states and three federal territories. It is a multi-ethnic country: Malay Sunni Muslims make up 50.1% of the population, Chinese people make up 23.6%, indigenous people 11.8% and Indians 6.7 %. However, the Malaysian Constitution declares Islam alone to be the official religion.
Malaysia is dominated by an iteration of Islamic culture that is highly influenced by the Saudi Arabian version of Islam. The use of political Islam has been a deliberate move by some Islamists in even the highest levels of Malaysian government to create a sharia-based nation. According to the Wall Street Journal, conservative Wahhabi doctrines spread by Saudi-financed imams are redefining the way Islam is practiced in Malaysia, and politicians are now competing with each other to show off their Islamist credentials. These practices are eroding the tolerance for which the country was previously known.
Recently, one of the influential opposition parties, the Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), introduced a bill that will be debated by Parliament in October. The bill would implement harsher hudud laws (brutal physical punishments for transgressions like adultery and theft) in the north-eastern state of Kelantan. In 2015, The Kelantan Assembly passed amendments to the Sharia Criminal Code, approving hudud in the state. As a result, the Democratic Action Party (DAP), a center-left, multi-racial political party, cut its ties with the PAS.
While sharia law infiltrates Malaysian society, anti-Semitism among Malaysian politicians has also been on the rise. In an interview with Al-Jazeera on June 25, Mahathir Mohamad, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, was asked about some controversial statements he had made. In 2003, he remarked that Jews ruled the world, and in 2012 he claimed that he would be glad to be labelled as anti-Semitic. In the interview, Mr. Mohamad said, "I believe I'm speaking the truth."
Anti-Zionism Is Antisemitism
Martin Luther King once said, “When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews; you are talking antisemitism.”
Never has that insight proven more accurate than today, as we witness increasing antisemitism across the world — thinly veiled as a criticism of Zionism and the state of Israel, rather than against Jews themselves.
Today, among many groups who consider themselves liberal and progressive, it is an insult to call someone a Zionist — an insult akin to calling someone a racist. Yet the irony that is ignored by all these groups is that Zionism espouses the very values these groups claim to uphold. Zionism, for example, gives Muslims and Christians the freedom to practice all their beliefs and traditions without hindrance from the state. The same can’t be said of any Arab country. And it is another irony that on the beaches of France, French police had forced Muslim women to remove their burkinis, while in Israel, Muslims face no such demands.
True liberals who share progressive values should be at the forefront of supporting Israel, rather than leading the charge against it. But their minds are so clouded with hatred and antisemitism that they have lost all sense of what liberal values even mean.
David Collier: So this is Yachad – part one: astroturf and magic tricks
Yachad have been an element of my research for two years. There is discomfort in writing about them, because they are, on the surface, representing a legitimate position. Despite my opposition to their core political argument, I focus on exposing Israel’s enemies, not criticising Zionists I disagree with.
As Yachad’s Director Hannah Weisfeld just showed us all, with her astonishingly hypocritical attack on ‘Im Tirtzu’s’ right to be heard, when you blur the lines, you can lose all your integrity. So even though I comment on them here, I am still going to try to maintain balance and insight.
Following my recent article, three Yachad activists visited my blog to argue the case. In all honesty, I didn’t believe there was much to argue. What they did was awful. I had hoped there would be some recognition of that, perhaps a belated ‘it was wrong’ shrug, acknowledging the blatant hypocrisy of their position.
Instead I faced an ‘across the board’ wave of self-righteous, elitism. Free speech and open platforms it appears, are only inherent rights on ‘their side’ of the argument. Once they turn up to defend their own group’s attempt at stifling open discussion, they justify their actions with lengthy and extremely acrobatic theoretical discussions.
What’s more, I was surprised by those who turned up to fight Yachad’s corner. And in truth, it was the discussion that unfolded, the identity of the participants and some of the strange positions that were put forward, that led to this piece being finished.
This research has been split into three parts.
California legislature passes anti-BDS bill
The California State Assembly voted 60-0 on Tuesday to send an anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) bill to the governor for approval, a week after the Senate passed it, JTA reports.
The bill, which the Senate passed in a 34-1 vote on August 24, differed from its original version introduced in April by Assemblyman Richard Bloom.
The earlier version banned the state from making contracts worth over $100,000 with companies boycotting Israel. In order to satisfy critics, who said it violated the constitutional right to boycott, the bill was modified to remove references to the Jewish state.
The version that was passed Tuesday does not prohibit companies working with the state from boycotting Israel, noted JTA. Rather, companies have to certify that they do not violate California civil rights laws in boycotting a foreign country, according to The Jewish Journal.
“The bottom line is that the state should not subsidize discrimination in any form,” Bloom said Monday in the State Assembly.
Governor Jerry Brown now has 12 days to approve or veto the measure.
By passing the bill, California joins several other U.S. states that have passed anti-BDS laws in recent months.
Czech textbooks to drop Jerusalem as Israel's capital
The Czech Education Ministry has ordered the company printing the atlases used in the country's schools to cease naming Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Army Radio reported Wednesday.
According to the report, the order followed a complaint from the Palestinian Embassy in Prague. The textbook's publisher was instructed to mark Tel Aviv as the capital instead, and was warned that refusing the order could jeopardize his ties with the Czech ministry.
Jerusalem and Prague maintain friendly ties, and the decision enraged Israel. "This is a reprehensible decision. Palestinian incitement knows no bounds, It is no longer satisfied with poisoning the minds of Palestinian youth -- now it wants to spread lies and misinformation among Czech youth as well," the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding it was in touch with Prague to reverse the decision.
According to the Prague Daily Monitor, the Palestinian Embassy complained to the Czech Education Ministry that an atlas used in elementary and secondary school, presents Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
EU: Women’s funding won’t go to Palestinian ICC suit against Israel
The European Union does not intend to fund portions of a Palestinian women’s empowerment plan that deals with building a case against Israel before the International Criminal Court, EU spokesperson Maja Kocijancic told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
The $2.1 million women’s empowerment plan, which focuses primarily on fighting the Israeli “occupation,” was developed with EU funds and organizational assistance from UN Women.
The EU, however, only intends to financially support a minor portion of the plan – $93,330 – that deals with helping Palestinian women participate in the decision making process at the local and international levels.
“This plan is a Palestinian plan and doesn’t necessary reflect the positions of... the European Union [or] the UN Women,” Kocijancic told the Post in an email in response to a story about the initiative the paper published over the weekend.
The UN and the EU supports “advocacy” and “capacity building components of the plan” that addresses “Palestinian women participation in decision-making,” Kocijancic said.
Knesset may punish MKs who call to boycott Israel
The Knesset House Committee plans to add a punishment for calling for a boycott of Israel to the legislature’s rulebooks when it returns from its summer recess at the end of October, following an exclusive report in The Jerusalem Post on MK Basel Ghattas (Joint List) calling for a boycott and sanctions against Israel in Montreal earlier this month.
House Committee chairman Yoav Kisch (Likud) said he plans to amend Knesset regulations so that there will be consequences for such behavior. The proposed change, the details of which Kisch has yet to reveal, was inspired by Ghattas’s call for a boycott of Israel at the World Social Forum, a radical left-wing conference in Montreal two weeks ago.
The lawmaker from Balad, one of the four parties that make up the Joint List, called Israel an oppressive, racist and apartheid state. He said he is pessimistic that there will be peace soon, and international sanctions were the most effective way to combat Israel. After the conference, he made similar remarks at several other events in Canada.
“It’s absurd,” Kisch said, “that we are still giving licenses to encourage boycotting Israel to our MKs. MK Ghattas has a license from the Knesset; a license to boycott the state of Israel in his travels around the world. Those licenses must be confiscated.”
Analysis: BDS initiatives and their counter-efforts play out across Europe
Prof. Jeffrey Herf, a prominent historian at the University of Maryland, wrote on his blog that the resolution is important because “support for the resolution came first of all from a department of the Humanities, which is significant as BDS has generally had more support in the humanities and social sciences than in the natural sciences, engineering or law faculties...
In view of a long history of leftist antagonism to Israel dating back to the 1960s in West Germany and to 1949 in East Germany, both the content and the origins of the Leipzig resolutions are evidence of a very different stance towards Israel evident among at least these liberal and left-liberal students.”
It is still too early to assess whether the resolution gains traction in the US, the UK and Canada, the hotspots of academic BDS.
Herf, whose book Undeclared Wars with Israel: East Germany and the West German Far Left, 1967-1989 appeared this year, translated the lengthy student resolution on his blog.
Outside of the academy, a new group – Aktionsforum Israel (Action Forum Israel) – launched a protest against hardcore BDS activists in front of a Berlin department store on Thursday who sought to discourage consumers from purchasing the Israeli carbonated drink mixer, SodaStream.
In an interview published in the Rheinische Post on Friday, Israel’s ambassador to Germany, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, said the BDS campaign’s goal to return millions of Palestinian refugees to the locations of their ancestors is in reality the aim to “wipe out the Jewish democratic character of Israel. This intention is a form of anti-Semitism.”
August is nearly over and September will be another test of countervailing BDS forces.
Anti-BDS Activists Decry Lutherans’ ‘Obsession’ With Israel
While some pro-Israel groups are decrying the Lutheran church’s “scapegoating of Israel” and its apparent movement towards embracing divestment, other Jewish leaders detect hopeful signs with the church’s most recent positions.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States, passed two Israel-related resolutions earlier this month at its triennial assembly in New Orleans, La. One resolution established an “investment screen” that will recommend where Lutherans should invest their money with regard to Israel and the Palestinians. The other urged a cutoff of US aid to Israel unless Israel meets a series of conditions and calls for the immediate US recognition of “the state of Palestine.”
Dexter Van Zile, a Catholic pro-Israel activist, who monitors and analyzes the Christian media for the Committee on Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) said, “the Lutheran Church has an outrageous obsession with Israel.” He told JNS.org the group “has been beating up on Israel for a long time, and this is just the latest example.”
David Brog, of Christians United for Israel, said in a statement that the resolutions “blame Israel and only Israel for the conflict in the Middle East. Such one-sided scapegoating of the Jewish state will only fuel further Palestinian rejection and violence.”
A Troubling Debut at the NYT
Incoming Jerusalem Bureau Chief Peter Baker filed the first story of his new tenure August 28. Given the complexity of issues relating to Israel and the fraught debates about coverage, readers might have anticipated a carefully balanced, factually nailed-down, serious piece by the new correspondent.
Instead, echoing a Haaretz story about a minor incident involving a female singer who was asked to leave the stage because she was wearing a revealing bikini top at a publicly-funded event, Baker’s debut piece veered from this trivial story to Israel "struggling with its identity and values."
This struggle, he asserts, is rooted in increasingly influential "Orthodox Judaism" which he links in a lurch of logic to "culture minister, Miri Regev," who is "seeking to deny state money for institutions that do not express loyalty to the state."
Judaism, patriotism, identity and values would be large topics for a veteran on the scene and not surprisingly ring both shallow and muddled at the same time in this piece.
In any case, the intended message is clear: Israel is supposedly veering rightward – a bad thing in The Times worldview – and Baker is plugging in items to make the point.
More substantively problematic was the incomplete and deceptive framing of Minister Regev’s efforts related to taxpayer funding of cultural events. Readers might assume her actions as characterized by Baker compel Orwellian public expressions of fealty to the state.
UK Media Watch prompts Telegraph revision to 2014 story on killing of Gaza family
Though both publications reported within the past few days on the conclusions of the new MAG report, neither updated their original stories to acknowledge this new information.
Following our communication with the Telegraph, however, they agreed to add the following addendum to their July 21, 2014 article:
We thank Telegraph editors for the addendum.
UK newspaper columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown again smears British Jews
First, note how she conflates deadly Islamic terror attacks on cartoonists, bloggers and artists with the putative “objections” expressed by “hardline” British Zionists (or Jews) to unspecified “events, debates, theatrical productions and lectures”. Additionally, it’s impossible to know what her vague accusation of “organized intimidation” by “hardline” British Zionists is alluding to.
The only concrete example of such ‘Zionist subterfuge’ she provides is in the following passage in the op-ed:
This May, Leanne Mohamad, a 17-year-old British-Palestinian pupil at Wanstead High School won a regional final in a Speak Out competition. Her talk was on the ongoing pain of Palestine. The Speaker’s Trust denied her a place in the finals. The video of her speech was taken off the official website (it has now been reinstated).
However, as the CEO of Speakers Trust made clear, Leanne Mohamad was denied a place in the finals because her speech was deemed by judges to be inconsistent with two ground rules: that the speech must have a “positive and uplifting message” and that a speaker should never engage in propaganda or in any way “inflame or offend the audience or insult others”. (See the lies and propaganda about Israel in her speech in this video and judge for yourself.) Either way, “hardline Zionists” had absolutely nothing to do with her failure to secure a place in the finals.
So, while Alibhai-Brown provided no actual examples of “censorship” or “intimidation” by “hardline Zionists” in her op-ed, she did provide another perfectly clear example of her penchant for smearing British Jewish supporters of Israel with false accusations of racism, intolerance and extremism.
BBC WS showcases ahistorical political art unchallenged
During the interview listeners heard Gilleard talking about the background to the painting:
“Some of the topics that I’m painting about are quite specific. So the very first one that I did was in St Paul’s Cathedral and they wanted me to do a painting of the Virgin Mary. So I decided that it would be a good idea to go and paint a Palestinian woman as the Virgin Mary – a refugee. It was just to show a different angle on something and it just seemed like a really nice link to the fact that there’s so many people fleeing Palestine, Syria…”
Given the fact that portrayal of Jesus as a Palestinian is one of the tactics long employed by anti-Israel campaigners attempting to negate and erase Jewish history, one might have thought that the programme’s presenter Sahar Zand would have taken the trouble to make listeners aware of the ahistorical politics behind the portrayal of the Virgin Mary as a Palestinian – if only for the sake of editorial standards of accuracy and impartiality.
However, the representative of a media organisation which earlier this year spent a significant amount of airtime discussing the alleged cultural appropriation of a pop star’s hair style, stayed silent.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Intelligence Budget Increases To Overcome Haaretz Paywall (satire)
Israeli defense and intelligence officials told reporters today that a reserve in the current budget for the Ministry of Defense will be used in part to gain access to Haaretz’s English-language online edition, which uses a paywall. That way, say the officials, the intelligence organs of the state can keep abreast of what the country’s enemies are saying and thinking.
Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman gave approval this morning for the allocation of the reserve, which formed part of the 59-billion-shekel ($15.6B) ministry budget for 2016. In signing off on the measure, the minister attested to the importance he and his staff see in gaining insight into the mentality of the forces opposed to Israel and Zionism. While many costly programs already exist to gain intelligence and inside information on the workings of enemy governments, militaries, and militias, in some cases the information can be obtained more economically and closer to home, explained defense analyst Washing Tunnpost.
“It takes years of training and preparation to get an agent and the necessary support network in place, and all that can collapse in an instant if someone messes up or the enemy gets too wise or lucky,” said Tunnpost. “From the perspective of risking assets and return on investment, this move is both a safe bet and a shrewd, efficient use of resources. A glance through Haaretz, especially the English version, is as good as having a man on the ground in, say, Pakistan, Sudan, or Iran.”
Holocaust survivor of 9 concentration camps dies at age 91
Abraham Peck, a Holocaust survivor who miraculously endured nine Nazi concentration camps, died late last week at the age of 91.
US media this week regaled the life history of the Polish-born Jewish nonagenarian who had immigrated to the United States following World War II and settled in New Jersey.
Peck, who emerged as the only member of his immediate family to survive the Holocaust was also the sole survivor from the Polish town of Szadek, the New Jersey Record initially reported. He died at his home on Thursday night.
As a teenager and young man from age 15 to 20, he was shuttled around Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz - where the identification number 143450 was tattooed on his left arm.
During the years of suffering such starvation that a measly scrap of bread provided sustenance, he also endured forced labor, disease and tragic loss.
Jewish avenger’s sole regret: No Nazis died in post-war arsenic plot
Seventy years after the most daring attempt of Jewish Holocaust survivors to seek revenge against their former tormentors, the leader of the plot has only one simple regret: that to his knowledge he didn’t actually succeed in killing any Nazis.
Joseph Harmatz is one of the few remaining Jewish “Avengers” who carried out a mass poisoning of former SS men in an American prisoner-of-war camp in 1946 that sickened more than 2,200 Germans but ultimately caused no known deaths. A recently declassified US military report obtained by The Associated Press has only added to the mystery of why the brazen operation did not kill Nazis, because it shows the amount of arsenic used should have been fatal to tens of thousands.
Still, the 91-year-old Harmatz says the message echoed into a rallying cry for the newborn state of Israel — that the days when attacks on Jews went unanswered were over.
“We didn’t want to come back (to pre-state Israel) without having done something, and that is why we were keen,” Harmatz said in a hoarse, whispery voice from his apartment in north Tel Aviv.
Despite a visceral desire for vengeance, most Holocaust survivors were too weary or devastated to seriously consider it, after their world was shattered and 6 million Jews killed during World War II. For most, merely rebuilding their lives and starting new families was revenge enough against a Nazi regime that aimed to destroy them. For others, physical retribution ran counter to Jewish morals and traditions. For even more, the whole concept of reprisals seemed pointless given the sheer scope of the genocide.
The Manila Poker Group That Rescued German Jews
Written in the 1930s by the Polish Yiddish actor Igor S. Korntayer, this plaintive Yiddish ballad describes in stark terms the dilemma faced by German Jews desperate to escape from their homeland after Hitler came to power. Suffering through a worldwide economic depression, Western nations, including the United States and Canada, imposed stringent immigration laws and rigid quotas and were unwilling to accept large numbers of refugees. In order to better identify German Jews who tried to enter the country, the Swiss government asked the German government to stamp a large red “J,” for “Jude,” in the passports of all German Jewish citizens. Thwarted from emigrating to the West, thousands of German Jews fled eastward by sea and land routes seeking refuge in Asia and the Far East, especially the open city of Shanghai.
Shanghai was unique in that the city was internationally controlled and required neither a visa, passport, affidavit, nor certificate of guarantee for entry. Jews desperate to leave Germany and who were able to do so found asylum in Shanghai. The outbreak of war between China and Japan in 1937 made immigration perilous. In September 1937, Germany sent a ship to Shanghai to evacuate its nationals from the war zone and bring them to Manila. They also took on board 28 German Jewish families. When the ship arrived in Manila, the city’s small Jewish community took charge of the Jewish refugees. This episode became the impetus for a Philippine plan to rescue German Jews from Nazi clutches.
Of all the Far East sanctuaries, only one country deliberately sought to save Jews: the Philippine Commonwealth. The rescue plan evolved from the close friendship and cooperation of a small group of men who regularly met to play poker. Their efforts led to the Philippines saving more than 1,300 German and Austrian Jews from 1938 to 1939.
State burial in Poland for WWII heroes slain by communists
Seven decades after their deaths, a state burial was held Sunday in Poland for two World War II heroes who fought the Germans but were later killed by the communists for their pro-independence activity.
The relatives of the 17-year-old Home Army nurse and a 42-year-old ensign attended the religious ceremonies along with President Andrzej Duda and Polish government officials.
The burial with military honors took place in Gdansk, in the north, where the two were captured in 1946, tortured and executed on Aug. 28, 1946. Their bodies were dumped in an unmarked pit at Gdansk military cemetery. Pavement tiles were put on top to conceal the site.
The remains of Danuta Siedzikowna, codename “Inka,” and Feliks Selmanowicz, “Zagonczyk,” were found in 2014. They were identified through DNA tests as part of government efforts to locate and properly honor thousands of Poles who fought for the nation’s independence against the Nazi Germans and then against the communists.
Only a few hundred have been found so far across Poland. They were erased from history books for decades under communism.
Celebrity endorsed Shellanoo eyeing IPO
Herzliya-based Shellanoo, a technology company focusing on mobile applications, online services and interactive artificial intelligence, is planning to go public on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in October.
The firm – which counts David Guetta, Avicii, will.i.am, Tiësto, Sebastian Ingrosso, Nicki Minaj, Benny Andersson, Dor Refaeli (supermodel Bar Refaeli’s brother) and Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich among its partners and investors – announced on its website that it has been valued at $177 million by consulting firm BDO.
The company also said the initial public offering is being presented by their lead underwriter Poalim IBI, with auditing approved by PwC.
Shellanoo is planning to raise at least $26.5 million, according to Reuters.
Shellanoo reportedly chose to list its IPO on TASE instead of Nasdaq to show other local firms that technology businesses can and should stay in Israel.
Internet entrepreneur and businessman O.D. Kobo founded Shellanoo Group in 2014.
Israeli student filmmaker’s documentary to be entered in Oscar race
A Tel Aviv University graduate has won a top Student Academy Award and her documentary will be automatically entered in the Hollywood Oscar race.
Maya Sarfaty will also receive a gold medal for her film, “The Most Beautiful Woman,” it was announced Monday by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Beneath the appealing title lies the story of a love affair between an SS guard and a young Jewish woman at the Auschwitz death camp.
In the Academy’s list of nominees, Sarfaty’s film was the only one to make the cut in the Foreign Documentary category and is therefore guaranteed of a first place gold medal when the final winners are announced on Sept. 22.
A native of Netanya, Sarfaty earned an undergraduate and master’s degree at the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television at Tel Aviv University and also graduated from the Nissan Nativ Acting School, which holds classes in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
From Damascus to Jerusalem, a 39-year-old novel reaches the big screen
It was a chance trip to Damascus, Syria in the late 1970s that led then-college student Howard Kaplan to his first stab at literary fame.
Now that 1977 book, “The Damascus Cover,” a period piece covering Syria and Israel, is in post-production as a spy thriller film starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, John Hurt, Olivia Thirby, Navid Negahban and Israeli actors Aki Avni, Tsahi Halevi, Igal Naor and a few others.
“It did well for a first book,” said Kaplan, now 66, during a recent visit in Israel. “It was successful as a spy novel because it has a good plot twist at the end. But I’d kind of given up on a movie adaptation.”
It was director Daniel Berk who pulled the 1977 thriller off the shelf of a Tel Aviv friend’s home library, and then emailed Kaplan, asking for the rights to develop the book as a screenplay. That was eleven years ago.
“He said, ‘I want to do it,'” said Kaplan. “I didn’t think much of it, it’s an old book. I didn’t even tell anybody.”
Berk emailed Kaplan each year for the next eight years, asking for permission to renew the option, until he finally raised enough funding in 2014, said Kaplan.
In Kaplan’s novel, washed-up Israeli spy Ari Ben Sion takes on the mission of heading to Syria to save the children of a Jewish family, while posing as an ex-Nazi officer. His handlers at the Mossad have other plans for him that become clear during his time in Damascus, and it’s those twists and turns that made the novel popular, said Kaplan.
WATCH: A Muslim Explains Why He Stands With Israel
Ashraf Sherjan, a secular Baloch Muslim, has a message for Israelis and the whole world




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Taleb Abu Arar
Jerusalem, August 31 - A member of the Joint List alliance of Arab parties in the Knesset has demanded that the State show consistency in its treatment of the Arab minority, and allow him to vote multiple times on a single piece of legislation, as it apparently allows him to maintain multiple wives, and he must therefore be more than one person.

Taleb Abu Arar, elected to the Joint List delegation in 2015, has two wives, a common practice in the Bedouin community. Polygamy is officially illegal in Israel, but its ban is seldom enforced. Abu Arar argued today in an interview that if the State is willing to condone his adherence to certain norms of Bedouin society at odds with modern or international modes of behavior, there is no reason it cannot similarly refuse to enforce the prohibition on voting multiple times.

"If, as the authorities have stated, it is a matter of deference to existing cultural standards in the Bedouin community, that means as a man, I am granted privileges that my non-Bedouin countrymen are not," he explained. "I can marry as many women as I desire, even if those marriages are not officially recorded by the Ministry of the Interior. The various welfare institutions such as the National Insurance Institute have ways of shoehorning polygamous families into the monthly allowance system. The Knesset should, by the same token, count my votes many times, since I am performing the role of multiple men." It certainly should not penalize him, since he has suffered no consequences to having his name revealed as part of the Ashley Madison subscriber database last year.

"In fact," he continued, "the same privilege should apply to all members of the Bedouin community, who have the potential to take many wives and father many children through them. If something as severe as raping one's wife is never acted on by the police, let alone prosecuted, then it should not take much to indulge us in behavior that does far less direct physical and emotional damage. Let each Bedouin man vote several times in local and national elections." Abu Arar said such a policy would help boost the Bedouin's political, and thus economic, clout, and help combat the poverty afflicting much of that demographic, especially in the Negev.

"Of course economic prosperity can bring with it all sorts of unpleasant side effects, such as women's empowerment, and we must take care to avoid such a phenomenon," he warned. "So we will have to engineer all the economic benefits in ways that reinforce patriarchy rather than diminish it. It would be an assault on our native culture. Even the police understand that, so the rest of the State apparatus should have no problem."



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From Ian:


Khaled Abu Toameh: The "Other" Palestinians
Nearly 3,500 Palestinians have been killed in Syria since 2011. But because these Palestinians were killed by Arabs, and not Israelis, this fact is not news in the mainstream media or of interest to "human rights" forums.
How many Western journalists have cared to inquire about the thirsty Palestinians of Yarmouk refugee camp, in Syria? Does anyone know that this camp has been without water supply for more than 720 days, and without electricity for the past three years? In June 2002, 112,000 Palestinians lived in Yarmouk. By the end of 2014, the population was down to less than 20,000.
Nor is the alarm bell struck concerning the more than 12,000 Palestinians languishing in Syrian prisons, including 765 children and 543 women. According to Palestinian sources, some 503 Palestinian prisoners have died under torture in recent years, and some female prisoners have been raped by interrogators and guards.
When Western journalists lavish time on Palestinians delayed at Israeli checkpoints, and ignore bombs dropped by the Syrian military on residential areas, one might start to wonder they are really about.
Awaiting the next barrage of Palestinian propaganda
Once again, Hamas has launched a series of rocket attacks against Israeli civilian targets, including schools and kindergartens. Again, too, Israel has responded, as it must, with tactically suitable and law-enforcing retaliations. Nonetheless, and in predictably short order, the Palestinian side will surely allege a variety of Israeli violations, including the always manipulable charge of “disproportionality.”
In this connection, unassailably, the fact that the rule of proportionality under the law of war has nothing to do with equivalence will be very conveniently swept under the rug.
Significantly, recurrent Israeli resorts to force in Gaza are never gratuitous or contrived. Why should they be? Unlike their Hamas terrorist foes, Israelis deeply regret each and every resort to arms. Starkly unlike their bitterly recalcitrant enemies, Israelis receive no inherent joy from the organized killing of other human beings.
In the presumptively endless Palestinian war against Israel, every sham is carefully glossed over with a shimmering patina. To begin, Hamas always takes calculated steps to ensure that Israeli reprisals will kill or injure Palestinian noncombatants. Again and again, by systematically placing elderly women and young children in exactly those same areas from which rockets are intentionally launched into Israeli homes, hospitals and schools, Hamas openly violates the most elementary expectations of the law of war.
The almost ritualistic Hamas practice of “human shields” – the very same practice originally championed by Hezbollah in Lebanon – is more than an expression of “mere” immorality or cowardice. It also represents a very specific crime under international law. The technically correct name for this egregious crime is “perfidy.”
Jennifer Rubin: It’s not just Arab governments that want to get along with Israel
As violent and unstable swaths of the Middle East may be, there are also unintended, positive consequences of the administration’s blunders. “The conclusion is clear: today a broader regional approach to Arab-Israeli peacemaking, rather than a strictly bilateral Israeli-Palestinian one, offers somewhat better prospects of success — whether at the official, elite, media, or even popular levels,” Pollock writes. “Normalization with Israel remains controversial in Arab circles, but it is no longer taboo. For an increasing number of Arabs, the Israeli ‘enemy of my enemy’ may not be a friend, but could become a partner. The next U.S. Administration would do well to ponder this unaccustomed situation, and to adjust its policies accordingly.”
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority remains mired in corruption and ineptitude. Former deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams writes: “Municipal elections are scheduled for October 8th in the West Bank and Gaza. … The unpopularity of the Palestinian Authority and the ruling Fatah Party due to corruption, incompetence, and growing repression helps explain why West Bank voters might choose Hamas.” As in 2006, the avowed terrorist group Hamas may prevail. The difference, Abrams notes, is that since 2006 “[Mahmoud] Abbas is ten years older and his time in office is closer to its end. Until succession issues are dealt with the notion of serious Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is completely unrealistic — whatever happens at the United Nations, whatever the French suggest or the Russians try, and whatever the Obama administration or its successor believe.”
So where does that leaves everyone? The administration that continually mouthed the platitude that the “status quo is unsustainable” between Israel and the Palestinians is proving the opposite. Israel thrives economically and is embraced by new Arab friends. The Palestinians still suffer from lack of honest, democratic and competent leadership. Until the latter changes, the status quo will suit Israel just fine.



Africa and Israel's roots are long-standing and ought to bear fruit for both
Israel and Africa are neighbours and our relations go back to the biblical time of Genesis. The very beginnings of Jewish peoplehood began when Jacob and his sons wandered to Egypt — to Africa — and the story of our exodus has been a source of human inspiration and freedom for thousands of years.
In modern times, the vision for a Jewish state was connected from the start to Africa. Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern political Zionism, who posited the idea that Jews, too, should have our own homeland, also wrote in 1902 about African liberation: “There is still one other question arising out of the disaster of nations which remains unsolved to this day, and whose profound tragedy, only a Jew can comprehend. This is the African question. … I am not ashamed to say, though I may expose myself to ridicule for saying so, that once I have witnessed the redemption of the Jews, my people, I wish also to assist in the redemption of the Africans.”
And it seemed natural, in the shadow of the Holocaust, a newly founded, tiny state of Israel joined together with many independent African states, and led by then foreign minister Golda Meir to carry out Herzl’s dream, offered partnership in our shared post-colonial experiences. Israeli experts in fields such as agriculture, education, homeland security, policing and community work were dispatched, working in dozens of countries across Africa. Leaders, officials and students visited Israel to see for themselves the success of these policies as carried out in Israel.
Geopolitics is a complicated thing and countries often get swept up beyond their individual interests. So it was when, in the wake of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, nearly every country in Africa broke off relations with Israel, under intense pressure from Arab states.
‘They’re All Crazy!’ — The Language We Use When Reporting on Terror Attacks
“But I don’t want to go among mad people, Alice remarked.
Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat. “We’re all mad here.” — Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.
It has become fashionable to invoke the M’Naghten rules as soon as there is a terrorist attack in Europe. Typically, the perpetrator shouts “Allahu Akhbar” and murders innocent bystanders at some restaurant, bus stop, theater, night club or what have you. Authorities quickly follow up by darkly muttering that the terrorist was actually a person with mental-health issues. Their job is to convince the public how to engage in denial.
Whereas Freud explained 100 years ago how defense mechanisms such as denial, projection and rationalization affected human behavior, today we embrace these concepts as an integral and essential part of political correctness. For instance, politicians have suddenly become theologians and experts in comparative religion by stating that shouting “Allahu Akhbar” has nothing to do with the real Islam. Security officials, backed up by government ministers, on the other hand, suddenly transform into psychologists and psychiatrists, becoming mental-health experts. It’s a new form of multitasking.
The M’Naghten rules were formulated in 1843, after Daniel M’Naghten was acquitted of the charge of murdering Edward Drummond, whom he had mistaken for British Prime Minister Robert Peel. He had believed that Mr. Peel was conspiring against him. The court found him not guilty by “reason of insanity,” which resulted in a public outcry to the extent that Queen Victoria intervened and recommended stricter criteria for insanity.
Unlike today’s government spokespeople and security officials, the courts continue to grapple with complicated insanity issues in criminal matters, despite the input of expert mental-health witnesses.
Of course, labeling each Islamist attack as a mental-health issue could be counterproductive.
Charity group urges public trial as Gaza staffer set to face terror charges
The international charity World Vision has called for a “fair and transparent” trial for a Gaza employee arrested by Israel for allegedly funneling money to Hamas.
Israel accuses Mohammed Halabi, a manager of the aid group’s Gaza office, of diverting millions of dollars from World Vision’s budget to the Islamic terror group Hamas, helping it build underground tunnels, military bases and purchasing arms. His trial is expected to begin soon.
The comments on Monday by Kevin Jenkins, World Vision’s international CEO, came as Amnesty International also called for a fair trial amid reports that Halabi’s proceedings will be closed.
Trials for cases that Israel considers highly sensitive are sometimes held in secret.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said “it’s clear that the trial will be fair.”
A first court hearing for Halabi is set for Tuesday and is expected to be held in secret. Halabi’s legal team has appealed.
JPost Editorial: Dialogue, not diktat
What would happen if the international community made it clear to Palestinians that their only path to statehood was via direct negotiations and dialogue with Israel? What if the Palestinians were faced with a reality in which no international body or major world power condoned imposing unilateral measures on Israel? What would Palestinians do if they realized that there only hope for political autonomy was to gain the trust of Israelis? It is impossible to know because a body called the UN Security Council exists. And on October 14, in yet another misguided decision, the UNSC will hold a meeting to condemn Israel for settlement building.
Nothing will likely be said about the Palestinian Authority’s supposedly “moderate” President Mahmoud Abbas, and his refusal to enter into direct negotiations with Israel without preconditions. Nor will the UNSC mention Palestinian incitement to violence against Israel as an obstacle to peace.
The UNSC’s focus on settlements as the main impediment to peace plays right into the hands of the Palestinians: why enter into direct negotiations with Israel if respected international bodies like the UNSC accept the Palestinian claim that settlement construction must stop as a precondition to peace talks? Palestinians can put pressure on Israel and get what they want without having to make compromises of their own, as part of the give and take that is central to all sincere negotiating practices.
News that the UNSC was planning to address Israeli settlement building emerged after UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov appeared before the UNSC this week and slammed Israel for continuing to build settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
The partitioning of the Middle East
Arab propaganda has always parroted the mantra that the Zionists, in conjunction with the United States, are trying to splinter and divide Arab states in order to take control of Middle Eastern treasures, and today, too, we can see opinion pieces in the Arab press accusing Israel of this conspiracy. In an ironic twist of fate, however, in recent years the Arabs have triggered their own fragmentation, which one can assume will eventually result in some of these states being divided and new entities emerging in our region.
The Middle East is on the verge of looking very different, and it will look different for a long time to come.
One of the consequences of the Arab Spring is that it exacerbated the schism in Arab society, expanded the rift between religious and secular, between nationalists and traditionalists, and certainly between Sunnis and Shiites. The struggles that have arisen from the ongoing conflicts in several states will ultimately -- according to estimates from experts in the Arab world and the discernible mood among Arab bloggers and media pundits -- lead to their division. Although it goes without saying, these are merely projections. We already know, however, that the Middle East has become a fascinating riddle, whereby trying to guess what will happen to it is fascinating on its own.
Let's begin with Egypt: The overthrow of former President Mohammed Morsi led to a totalitarian government and power struggles between the Muslim Brotherhood and the establishment, underscored by the continuous trampling of minorities there, such as the Copts (Christians), innocent bystanders paying the price of racism and hatred.
Israel's new envoy to Egypt takes post amid warming Jerusalem-Cairo ties
Israel's ambassador to Egypt David Govrin formally presented his credentials to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday, officially becoming Israel's 13th ambassador to Egypt since the countries established ties in 1980.
Govrin was one of eight ambassadors who presented their credentials to Sisi on Wednesday, the others being the new envoys from the United Arab Emirates, Somalia, Mexico, Myanmar, Netherlands, Belgium and Greece. The ambassadors waited in line -- one behind the other -- to present their credentials to the Egyptian president. Israel does not have diplomatic relations with the UAE or Somalia. Presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef was quoted as saying that the president greeted the new envoys and wished them success.
The ceremony took place in the presence of Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry who visited Israel last month – the highest Egyptian official to do so since 2007.
Govrin’s formally becoming ambassador – he arrived in Egypt last month – comes during an uptick in ties between the two countries, with the Egyptians interested not only in close security cooperation with Israel, but also in wanting to play a role in pushing forward an Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic process.
In Saudi Arabia, signs of an effort to break the Israel taboo
Saudi state-run media appears to be softening its reporting on Israel, running unprecedented columns floating the prospect of direct relations, quoting Israeli officials and filling its newsholes with fewer negative stories on Israel’s relationship with the Palestinians.
The public shift – from outlets such as al-Arabiya and Riyadh newspaper, among other local or state-owned outlets – reflects secret, undert he-table contact between the Arab kingdom and the Jewish state that has been a work in progress for years.
But media movement marks a new phase in t hat diplomatic process, according to some experts on the kingdom, who see signs of a monarchy effort to prepare Saudi society for debate that had previously been off limits.
“The key here is that everybody understands this is not going to turn around overnight, and its probably not going to convince a lot of people. But that’s not really the point,” said David Pollock, an expert on the region at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “The point is to establish this as a debatable proposition, and to break the taboo of even debating about it – about the prospect of normalizing relations.”
“Once you’ve done that, you’ve made it legitimate,” Pollock added. “There are suddenly two sides.”
The Russia-Israel romance
What is especially interesting is how Russia views the Jewish state's military achievements. If in certain Western circles the IDF is seen as a "hunchback" deserving of criticism, the Russians see Israel's strength as something to be admired. For the Russians, military might means an independent, confident country, and only countries like that are they willing to accept as equal partners.
This situation is due to intensive work by many Israeli elements. The Israeli Embassy in Moscow, the network of Israeli cultural centers, Jewish Agency offices -- they all do work that is worth its weight in gold. Even now, at the end of summer, which is traditionally vacation time in Russia, the capital is buzzing with Israeli activity. Just this week, three major events are underway: an exhibition of giant photographs of Israeli landscapes; the Israeli Film Festival; and the IDF band's appearance at an international festival of military bands.
When the Russian media mentions Israel, the consensus is largely favorable. The Russian government has such tight control over the state media that it's clear that the affection for Israel feeds off the sentiment of the "commander." Herein lies some uncertainty about the future: What will happen to the pro-Israel approach if the government changes its stance? That's not a scenario we currently foresee, but there is real -- if unseen -- competition between Russia and Israel. Russian Jews making aliyah, one of the founding principles of the Jewish state, is seen differently by the Russian powers. In their eyes, emigration is a battle for the most important resources of all, human assets. The stream of emigrants out of Russia upsets the country.
Nevertheless, Moscow's residents cheer on the IDF band as it performs in Red Square, buy tickets to Israeli films, and crowd around the images of Israel's landscapes. Our image in the Russian capital has never been better.
The Brotherhood returns: The ballot and the Book
“WHOOPS!” seems to be all aghast officials can say. On either side of the River Jordan, the Hashemite kingdom and the Palestinian Authority have called elections expecting easy wins. Instead, to their surprise, the local arms of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group, have ended their boycotts of the ballot and are now the front-runners. The king’s men in Jordan anticipate that the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the brothers’ political arm in Jordan, will emerge from the general elections on September 20th as the largest single party. In adjacent Palestine, ministers speculate that Hamas, the Brotherhood’s Palestinian offshoot, might sweep all eight of the West Bank’s cities in municipal elections set for October 8th.
This would mark a turn for democratic Islamism, which had seemed on the verge of oblivion in the Arab world after the Brotherhood’s Muhammad Morsi was overthrown as president of Egypt in 2013. Hounded into hiding and despairing of electoral politics, Sunni Islamists across the region abandoned the ballot box for bullets and boats to Europe. King Abdullah of Jordan declared the Brotherhood “a Masonic cult” and banned it (although he eschewed the mass arrests that have taken place in Egypt). Now, both the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and King Abdullah will have to engage with the Islamists again. “We’re not Cairo,” proffers a Jordanian official.
After preaching revolution and gaining little from it, many Islamists crave the legitimacy that elections offer. They are unlikely to regain the close relationship with power they enjoyed under King Abdullah’s father, Hussein, when he ruled both sides of the Jordan. But in both Jordan and the West Bank mayhem and infighting in the ranks of the ruling parties have bolstered the brothers’ chances.
By contrast, the IAF’s headquarters is a hive of strategists and statisticians calculating campaigns and polls. It is fielding candidates in 15 of Jordan’s 23 electoral districts. Its nearest rivals struggle to muster a handful. “Only the Brotherhood has the social support, the political platform and the cross-country organisation to get out the vote,” says Curtis Ryan, an American political scientist.
Pragmatism is also helping their cause. In both Jordan and the West Bank the authorities sought to stack the ballot against the Islamists by reserving a disproportionate number of seats for groups such as Christians, Circassians and women. But the Islamists have outwitted them by reaching out to minorities. Five Christians are on the IAF’s list and Hamas, for the most part, has sidestepped the usual bombast about “resistance” and cast itself as a technocratic alternative to Mr Abbas’s corrupt and sclerotic faction, Fatah. They have also wooed Christian candidates. “The Brotherhood is going to taste the sweetness of being not just Islamist leaders but national leaders,” says Leith Shubeilat, a veteran Islamist and scourge of the Jordanian royal family.
Turkey’s Erdogan ratifies Israel reconciliation deal
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday ratified the Israel-Turkey reconciliation deal agreed upon by the two countries’ leaders in June.
His country’s parliament voted to approve the pact earlier this month before it closed for a summer recess.
Relations between the former allies imploded in 2010 following an Israeli naval raid on a Turkish aid ship trying to breach Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The raid, in which IDF commandos were attacked by activists on board, left 10 Turks dead and several soldiers wounded.
Under the terms of the reconciliation agreement, Israel will pay a “lump sum” of $20 million in compensation to the victims within 25 days.
Individual Israeli nationals also would not be held criminally or financially liable for the incident.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Penn & Teller To Revive ‘Bulls**t!’ To Debunk Palestinian Claims
A duo of prominent stage magicians known for their outspoken stances on political issues and for their vocal support of skepticism toward many widely-held beliefs have announced they will produce a once-off revival of their Emmy-nominated TV show arguing for skepticism of those notions, with the special episode focused on the disingenuous, distorted, and outright false claims behind the Palestinian national movement.
Penn Jillette and Raymond Teller, one of the most famous magic acts in history, issued a press release today to the effect that “Penn & Teller’s ‘Bulls**t!'” would come back for a special one-time, two-hour episode to examine the common misconceptions, myths, and falsehoods peddled by advocates for the Palestinian cause, aiming to demonstrate that support for such a cause keeps millions of people stateless and miserable, perpetuates violent conflict, discourages a peaceful resolution of Arab-Israeli differences, and draws precious international resources away from where they are actually needed.
“I have to say our biggest regret, in terms of the topics we took on in our show, was not devoting attention to the Palestinian cause,” said Jillette, referring to the seven-year run on the Showtime cable channel that ended in 2010. “Teller and I shifted our emphasis when the run ended, but we’ve always had a nagging sense that we needed to go back and tackle this topic. It’s a source of tremendous bulls**t, after all.”
Israel, Iran and Pakistan said cooperating on landmark science project
Israeli scientists are reportedly participating with colleagues from Pakistan, Iran, Egypt and Jordan on a $100 million project to develop the Middle East’s new particle accelerator — the Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications, or Sesame.
Construction of the site, which is due to be formally inaugurated next spring in the hillside town of al-Balqa, northwest of Amman, is underway and the first experiments are expected to take place this autumn, The Guardian reported.
Sesame’s members are Iran, Pakistan, Israel, Turkey, Cyprus, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Bahrain — a group among which diplomatic discomfort is rife: Iran and Pakistan don’t recognize Israel, for example, nor does Turkey recognize Cyprus.
Iran’s participation continued even after two of its scientists, who were involved in the project, quantum physicist Masoud Alimohammadi and nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari, were assassinated in operations blamed on Israel’s Mossad, The Guardian said.
“We’re cooperating very well together,” said Giorgio Paolucci, the scientific director of Sesame told The Guardian. “That’s the dream.”
“I don’t know how many places there are where all these governments have representatives who have the opportunity to come and talk to each other,” he added.
Israel’s West Bank governing body okays 466 settlement homes
Israel’s governing body in the West Bank approved the construction of 466 new housing units in a slew of settlements on Wednesday.
Construction in the settlements of Elkana, Ofarim, Beit Aryeh, Givat Ze’ev and Har Gilo was approved by the Civil Administration’s High Planning Committee, which had been convened at the insistence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, Army Radio reported.
Two projects involving nearly 80 units in the settlements of Nofim and Efrat were dropped.
The largest single bloc, in the settlement of Elkana, east of Tel Aviv, entails the construction of 234 housing units.
The move by the Civil Administration helped the housing units pass an intermediary hurdle on the way to breaking ground.
And 179 illegally constructed units in the West Bank settlement of Ofarim, north of Ramallah, were retroactively approved.
Just earlier this week a UN envoy rapped Israel for a “surge” in settlement construction in the two months since the diplomatic Quartet called for a halt to the construction of Jewish outposts on Palestinian land. Nickolay Mladenov’s statement was rejected by an Israeli government spokesman.
Syrian rebel leader quits after interview with Israeli
Its hard to keep track of the number of rebel factions fighting in the Syrian civil war. However, one of the major rebel confederations, comprised of over 40 rebel groups with Sunni Salafist Islamic ideologies is Jaysh al-Islam - or Army of Islam.
This enormous confederation of fighting groups operates primarily in the areas around Damascus and controls territory in Lebanon. Along with fighting against the Assad regime, they also fight against ISIS and the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). They are allied with groups such as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as Jabhat a-Nusra), Ahrar a-Sham, and both the Turkish and Saudi governments.
Recently, Israeli researcher Elizabeth Tsurkov at the Forum for Regional Thinking held a rare interview with Jaysh al-Islam spokesman Islam Aloush.
"I've been researching Syria for years and have been in contact with hundreds of Syrians all over the country,as well as refugees. I've never hidden my Israeli identity," Tsurkov said.
"Over the years I've interviewed activists, fighters, civic leaders, and politicians – almost always on condition of anonymity," she explained. "This is out of their fear that they would be viewed as 'collaborators' with Israel. The only ones who let me use their names have been Syrian refugees in Europe and Turkey. There's a really big taboo against talking to Israeli media or even with Israelis. It's seen as normalization with Israel and a lack of solidarity with the Palestinians."
Tsurkov went on to explain how she met with Syrian political and military leaders in southern Turkey.
Israel shuts down Palestinian radio station for incitement in overnight raid
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) together with the IDF, Israel Police and the Civil Administration shut down the "al-Snabel" radio station in the West Bank overnight, security forces said on Wednesday.
"Al-snanbel" was located in Dura, near Hebron. The station was shut down due to their incitement of terror.
All the technical equipment and transmitters were confiscated. Five of the radios employees were arrested in the raid.
This is not the first time a media channel in the West Bank was shut down for incitement. In March, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) together with the IDF and Israel Police shut down an Islamic Jihad television station in the West Bank.
The television station, Falastin al-Yom (Palestine Today), also used social media networks to send out its content. According to the Shin Bet, the channel “calls for the carrying out of terrorist attacks against the State of Israel and its citizens.
Separately, Tuesday night, security forces also arrested eight Palestinians in the West Bank.
Six of the suspects were arrested for terrorist-related activities and acts of violence against civilians and security forces.
Why did Abbas call municipal elections?
‘Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake,” Napoleon Bonaparte once famously said. The Hamas leadership might not know the above quote, but will certainly be rubbing their collective blood-soaked hands with glee at the frankly mind-boggling decision by Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas to call municipal elections for October 8 in the West Bank.
It’s one of the strangest political moves that political geeks like us have witnessed in a long time, and judging on the number of conversations we have had with European Parliament offices, staffers and policy makers here in Brussels since the end of the summer recess last week, you might think that all the EU’s Middle East watchers are suffering an epidemic of head lice.
You see, despite the recent fiasco over Britain’s exit from the EU, it’s a commonly held and observed maxim here at the heart of the EU that most politicians call elections when they are reasonably certain of winning, and furthermore that you never ask the electorate a question unless you already know the answer. And it’s blindingly obvious to any observer of the conflict that Abbas’ popularity is at an all-time low and that Palestinian opinion is deeply divided.
Of course, one could make the claim that this division is entirely of the president’s own making, having delivered next to nothing for the Palestinian population since the previous elections 10 years ago.
Confiscated ISIS documents provide glimpse into terror group's inner workings
A packet of alleged Islamic State documents confiscated by rebel forces in Syria appear to shed light on the internal operations of the terrorist group, the US news outlet Daily Beast reported Tuesday.
While the extremist organization known as ISIS has been ravaging swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq in its quest to establish a medieval caliphate throughout the Middle East, the documents appear to further show instances of failures in the group's messianic pursuits.
As ISIS has recently suffered losses on the ground and among troops, the reportedly seized documents provide examples of operational misdoings, financial grievances by jihadi fighters, infiltrations by double agents and bureaucratic hurdles that the group's leadership has faced.
The Daily Beast claims that it exclusively obtained the official ISIS-stamped files that provide insight into the inner-turmoil afflicting various ranks of the terrorist group's expansive operations.
Elliott Abrams: The Syria Red Line, Three Years Later
It was three years ago, Labor Day weekend in 2013, that President Obama reversed himself and refused to enforce his “red line” against use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime.
What’s the outcome of that decision? In July, 2016, former Obama administration official Derek Chollet wrote an article in Politico with this subtitle: “The offhand remark spurred a massive success in Syria. Why does the foreign policy establishment consider it a failure?”
Well, here’s one answer: the fact that the Syrian regime continues to use chemical weapons. On August 25, the White House itself condemned the regime for doing so. “It is now impossible to deny that the Syrian regime has repeatedly used industrial chlorine as a weapon against its own people,” a National Security Council spokesman said. So what exactly is that “massive success?”
The Obama administration’s former point man for Syria, Fred Hof, today offered a better answer to Chollet’s question:
More than half of Syria’s pre-war population now falls into one of the following categories: dead; dying; disabled; tortured; terrorized; traumatized; sick; hungry; homeless. The regime of Bashar al-Assad is responsible for the bulk of this rampant, remorseless criminality. The administration of Barack Obama, if it stays on its present course, will make it through noon, January 20, 2017, without having defended a single Syrian civilian from the Assad-Russia-Iran onslaught.
If that is “massive success” one has to wonder what failure would look like.
Leaked Intelligence Reveals 60,000 Iranian-Backed Troops Stationed in Syria
Iran is shoring up the Syrian regime from a secret HQ in Damascus nicknamed “the Glasshouse” — and commanding a huge covert army in support of Assad, according to leaked intelligence passed by activists to MailOnline.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) claims that the theocratic state’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has spent billions in hardware for its ally Bashar al-Assad in the last five years — and runs operations on the ground from a five-floor monolith near Damascus airport.
Why Did Iran Put Missiles at Fordo?
But the questions about the S-300s at Fordo go deeper than the obvious suspicions about illicit activities or secret nuclear work in the area. Iran knows that all the talk about “snapping back” sanctions if Iran violated the deal or the possibility that force might be used if a “break out” to a weapon were detected by the U.S. is just empty posturing. The U.S. and the Europeans couldn’t wait to dismantle the sanctions on Iran, and it’s not clear what, if anything, it is that Iran could do to convince the West to re-impose them.
The brazen deployment of advanced missiles at a supposedly clean site is one more example of Iran behaving as if it knows it can violate the nuclear deal with impunity. Just as likely is an Iranian strategy of pushing the envelope in terms of compliance that will make the transition to a weapon swift and easy once all of the provisions in the weak accord expire within the next 10-15 years. We already know that Iran has been cheating on the deal as it seeks to acquire illegal nuclear technology in Europe and has also violated other agreements on the testing of ballistic missiles that have no purpose but to provide a delivery system for the bomb that they still disingenuously claim they don’t want.
President Obama’s approach to Iran was always predicated on the notion that its leaders wanted a chance to “get right with the world.” That provided the rationale for a U.S. policy of allowing Syria to descend into chaos since action there would have offended an Iran that was determined to keep its ally, Bashar Assad, in power. But while Iran was grateful for Obama’s willingness to abdicate U.S. responsibilities in the Middle East, its enthusiasm for cooperation was limited to its desire to profit from the end of sanctions and the release of frozen assets that could strengthen its economy, thereby protecting the longevity of the theocratic regime and aiding its push for regional hegemony and support for international terrorism. Since the deal was concluded, Iran has taken every possible opportunity to flaunt its defiance of the West and the presence of the missiles at Fordo is just the latest instance.
Connecting the dots between all of these pieces of evidence about Iran’s current and future plans isn’t that difficult. But doing so requires a determination to look at the facts rather than cling to the administration’s failed hopes about the deal. It remains to be seen whether the president’s successors will be prepared to think clearly about the mess he is leaving them before it is too late to do something about it.
Erdogan Admits He Made Up Coup Story After Vandalizing Gas Station While Intoxicated (satire)
Saying he was “110 percent sorry,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan admitted Thursday that he had fabricated his story about an alleged coup against his government after he drunkenly vandalized a gas station.
After a July 15 incident, Erdogan claimed that he and his government had been the victim of an attempted coup d’état, with the president narrowly avoiding an attempt by the perpetrators to harm or imprison him. The story soon unraveled, however, as it became apparent that the army was simply trying to recoup $30 for damages at a military-owned gas station restroom after a drunken Erdogan urinated behind the station and damaged a soap dispenser in the bathroom.
“I was coming from the Presidential Palace, I was highly intoxicated and I made immature allegations,” admitted a contrite Erdogan, referring to a Facetime interview with CNN Turk in which Erdogan claimed armed commandos had tried to kill him and were bent on overthrowing his government. “I just want to say to the military, to the Turkish people and to Fethullah Gulen, I am truly sorry.”
As of press time, the president had boarded a plane to Greece to avoid facing charges for filing a false police report. (h/t Ian Nairn)



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Every week, the Palestinian Authority cabinet meets and issues a summary of their session.

This week's session was unremarkable, as most of them are, but one of the declarations highlighted the basic fact that the Palestinians' top priority never has been an independent state.

The council promotes Arab efforts to support our unchanging national rights, in particular our people's right to return, and to get rid of the occupation and the establishment of our independent Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem.
Nearly always, the "right to return" is highlighted before the other demands about "occupation." This shows that destroying Israel by flooding it with millions of Arabs is still the basic goal of the Palestinian leadership.

And every time they say they want an independent state they always include "with its capital in Jerusalem." Taking away Jewish rights to their holy places in Jerusalem is the fundamental aspect of their conception of a Palestinian state. Their demands for a state is a byproduct of their insistence of denial of Jewish rights to the holy city, not the actual goal.

After all, a state can exist without Jerusalem.

In July, the council said something similar:
The Council stressed that the refugee issue is the root of the Palestinian Israeli conflict, and that the right of return is a sacred right that is guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of human Rights...and that is no solution to this conflict without a solution for Palestinian refugees who were driven from their homes, and destroyed their towns and villages and robbed of their land and their property by force and terrorism.
The West loves to pretend that Palestinians are willing to compromise on things like "return." But most Western experts don't bother to read what they tell each other, every day, in Arabic.




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Recently, FIDH - International Federation of Human Rights held its 39th Congress in South Africa.

At the close of the conference, FIDH issued a resolution - called "Urgent resolution on Palestine".

In the resolution, this "human rights" organization discusses the recent spree of terror attacks against Israeli Jews. It doesn't condemn the attacks, though. It describes stabbing, shooting and running over Jews as "resistance" as it condemns "...the suppression of Palestinian resistance through the excessive use of force, recently manifesting in a 'shoot to kill policy' which resulted in the killing of over 200 Palestinians since October 2015."

For a "human rights" organization to describe murdering Jews as "resistance" undermines any claims it may have to morality.

Of course, since the meeting was held in South Africa, FIDH described Israel, and only Israel, as being guilty of "apartheid":

In light of the 39th FIDH Congress that is taking place in the symbolic location of Johannesburg, South Africa, and considering the developments in recent months in Israel/Palestine, FIDH repeats its call to Israel to end its longstanding occupation. FIDH also calls for Israel to end its apartheid measures and practices, discrimination policies, policies of arbitrary detention - particulary [sic] administrative detention, transfer of its civilian population into the occupied territory and the forced displacement of Palestinians from their land and homes.
Israel is the only nation in the world repeatedly accused of apartheid by FIDH.

One of the vice presidents of FIDH is Shawan_Jabarin, leader of the Al Haq NGO but also a leader of the PFLP terror group, according to the Israeli Supreme Court.

The FIDH has accused Israel of war crimes and crimes against humanity and supports BDS. It has hundreds of press releases describing alleged violations of human rights by Israel, but I cannot find a single press release or paper on its site that deals exclusively with any Palestinian human rights violations.

The organization does condemn antisemitism in Europe, but I could not find a single mention of antisemitism in the Arab world on its site.

The FIDH concern for human rights seems to have some severe limitations when those human rights are those of Jews in the Middle East.



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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Palestinian media are reporting that Hazem Ismail Haniyeh got a nice job  as a manager of the computer department with Gaza's only mobile phone company, Jawwal, the day after he graduated.

He is the son of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

I'm sure this is completely unrelated, but a year ago Hamas shut down Jawwal for five days by claiming that it was evading paying "taxes" to the terror group, instead it was paying the PA its taxes.

The cost of the company being shut down for five days in any random year makes hiring the son of a Hamas leader, as a corporate insurance policy, a very good investment.




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From Ian:

Give the UN Immunity for Terror?
The technical legality of this assertion is dubious. If any local employee of the United Nations, let alone, one of an embassy or consulate anywhere, is considered to have the immunity tradition accords actual diplomats the entire concept is called into question. It’s bad enough when real diplomats commit crimes and then are allowed to return home, albeit in disgrace. More common is when diplomats involved in spying—an activity not wholly unrelated to the business of foreign policy.
But while those with diplomatic passports must be accorded a fair amount of latitude for countries to feel free to exchange representatives, giving employees of UN agencies a free pass for blatantly illegal conduct is absurd. Even more outrageous is the notion that those who aid terrorist organizations should be treated with kid gloves.
This UN demand is especially egregious when one considers the record of both the UN and other philanthropic groups in Gaza. The same week that Borsh was arrested, an employee of the World Vision humanitarian group in Gaza was also apprehended for siphoning off for Hamas tens of millions of dollars donated from well-meaning foreigners that were intended to help Palestinian children. Another recent controversy has centered on Hamas infiltration of the Save the Children organization in Gaza. Meanwhile, the United Nations Relief Works Agency was found to have hired members of Hamas and allowed its facilities and schools to be used by the terrorists for storing weapons during the 2014 war.
But rather than take responsibility for this fiasco that occurred in their name, the UN thinks Borsh and every other Palestinian working for them in Gaza ought to be given impunity for misdirecting international aid to terrorists. Israel is right to ignore this request and to vigorously prosecute all those who abuse their UN jobs in this manner.
The UN has been a cesspool of corruption and anti-Semitism for so long that to speak of salvaging its reputation is a fool’s errand. Yet this incident shows how little the world body actually cares for the welfare of ordinary Palestinians, who are being shortchanged of desperately needed assistance to bolster their Islamist rulers’ military infrastructure. By invoking diplomatic immunity, the UN is calling into disrepute a basic principle upon which the entire structure of its efforts rests.

Kerry: ‘The Media Would Do Us All A Service’ If It Ignored Terrorism. ‘People Wouldn't Know What's Going On.’
US Secretary of State John Kerry just uttered something stupid again. This time it was in Bangladesh where he met with the country’s top officials in the capital of Dhaka and explicitly stated that the media should cover terrorism less so that "people wouldn't know what's going on." Here’s the full quote (emphasis added):
Remember this: No country is immune from terrorism. It's easy to terrorize. Government and law enforcement have to be correct 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. But if you decide one day you're going to be a terrorist and you're willing to kill yourself, you can go out and kill some people. You can make some noise. Perhaps the media would do us all a service if they didn't cover it quite as much. People wouldn't know what's going on.
The Secretary of State’s Orwellian rhetoric drew loud applause from the majority Muslim audience attending the press conference at the Edward M. Kennedy Center in Dhaka.
Kerry’s own department refused to comment on the Secretary’s shocking statements when pressed by reporters on Monday. "I'm not able to speak for Secretary Kerry,” stated a State Department spokesman.
As The Weekly Standard observes, this isn’t the first time Kerry has warned the media about covering terrorism.
BBC’s 2014 claim of an attack on a UN school shown to be inaccurate
Obviously footnotes need to be added to the relevant reports still available online in order to clarify to members of the public that the claim that the UN school was attacked is inaccurate.
Likewise, a similar clarification needs to be added to the BBC News website article titled “Gaza conflict: Disputed deadly incidents” which is also still available online and in which audiences are told that:
“Locals have told the BBC there were no militants in or near the school.”
Since the end of the conflict between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip two years ago, investigations into several of the incidents reported by the BBC have shown (see related articles below) that audiences were at the time given inaccurate and misleading information.
To the best of our knowledge, none of the specious reports which still remain available online (and form part of what the BBC terms ‘historical record’) have been amended to inform the general public of the outcome of investigations into the incidents and to correct inaccurate and misleading information included in their content. The failure to take such necessary steps risks the waste of publicly funded resources on complaints relating to those reports due to the fact that the BBC’s editorial guidelines state that if content is still available online, it may legitimately be the subject of editorial complaints.



David Collier: An open letter to Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue
Sirs
I recently wrote a blog that attracted considerable attention. As you can see in the comments section, three of those who responded to the piece were the Rabbi from your synagogue, a member of your board (and the Yachad chairman), and one of those who complained (an academic who conducted a survey for Yachad).
As I now understand the situation better, I would like to register my horror at the synagogues denial of a platform to the Zionist group ‘Im Tirtzu’ and I felt compelled to contact the synagogue directly. As is always my method, I do so openly.
Yachad are a tiny group of radical activists with a small and disinterested following. What they do, as all fringe movements do, is pretend they are much bigger than they are. That they somehow represent a ‘silent majority’. If you check their activity on social media, and the lack of response to it, you soon realise they are an astroturf group. They don’t engage in public political actions because nobody would show up. They do what they did here. Get three people to write a letter and pretend they speak for a mob.
This astroturf group have made at least two anti-Zionist actions in the past weeks. The first was to call on the UK government to pressure the Israeli government over Susiya. As they do this, they join hands with BDS, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Islamic Human Rights groups and so on.
The second was to make an open call to no-platform their political adversaries, Im Tirtzu. They embarked on a delegitimisation campaign that included distortions and half-truths. A deliberate and open attack on freedom of speech and a silencing of the Zionist voice.
Deporting BDS Activists from Israel – the Real Story
Earlier this month, Israel announced a new policy: to deport BDS activists currently in, or attempting to enter, the country.
BDS means “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions,” and bills itself as a human rights movement with the goal of isolating Israel in the international community. BDS activists strongly criticized the new Israeli policy as “anti-democratic,” “irrational,” and “heightened repression.”
But is any of that true?
HonestReporting’s Daniel Pomerantz debated this topic on the program “Faceoff,” on the i24 news channel.
Here is some of what he had to say on the program:
Just last year the United States deported 235,413 people, down from its usual average which is closer to 400,000.
Michael Lumish: The Raw Material Podcasts # 2: Palestinian Emirates
Heya guys, this is Michael Lumish coming atcha from the beautiful Oakland hills just across the bay from San Francisco the land of pokeymon go.
I don’t know if you guys know what this is, or not, but it’s essentially a game in which you use the optics on your cell phone to augment natural reality as you search for little pokeymon monsters.
What it really means is that you have idiots wandering around the bay area tripping over curbs, walking into passing bicycles, knocking people down in the street, and occasionally getting smashed by a MUNI bus.
But what I want to talk to you guys about today is an alternative to the two-state solution being promoted by professor Mordechai Kedar – who is a very well known figure among those of us follow Israel – and who is well-respected scholar of Arabic literature at Bar Ilan University in that country.
Kedar, and others, have been working through this idea of quote unquote Palestinian emirates.
Will Rahm Emanuel be US's next ambassador to Israel? Not so fast, says Chicago mayor
The US elections have not yet been held, and Ambassador Dan Shapiro has not yet said when he will leave his post, but Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has already vigorously denied rumors of any interest in Shapiro’s job.
Last week, Crain’s Chicago Business columnist Greg Hinz reported “an absolute delicious piece of gossip floating around that, up to a point, makes some sense: The next US ambassador to Israel could be one Rahm Emanuel.”
Nonetheless, Hinz, whose column began, “I’m not going to say it’s going to happen,” wrote that the story goes like this: “Chicago’s mayor isn’t particularly tight with Hillary Clinton. But he and potential ‘First Lady’ Bill Clinton have gotten along just fine since Emanuel worked for the then-president a generation ago. Beyond that, Barack Obama, who is working really hard for Clinton this year, hired Emanuel as his first chief of staff.
“So as the story goes, if Clinton wins this fall – and if it becomes apparent that Emanuel’s road to reelection in 2019 remains badly uphill – it would be time to look for an honorable parachute.”
Florida State Senate Candidate Calls Out Incumbent Opponent for Meeting With Palestinian Terrorist (INTERVIEW)
A Florida Democratic state senator’s meeting earlier this year with a member of a Palestinian terrorist group was a display of poor judgement that should weigh on the minds of voters, the senator’s challenger in a primary election being held on Tuesday told The Algemeiner.
Andrew Korge, who is running against incumbent Dwight Bullard in Florida’s 40th Senate district (located in Miami-Dade County), told The Algemeiner on Monday, “I believe Israel is one of our closest allies and is a country we need to work with hand in hand and my opponent definitely does not.”
As reported by NBC6 News last week, Bullard has come under fire for meeting with a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) during a trip to Israel and the Palestinian Authority in May with the Dream Defenders human rights group.
“I met with an individual who was a tour guide in [the] Old [City] of Jerusalem,” Bullard told NBC 6 News. “In terms of his political affiliations, I had no idea.”
Korge does not buy that excuse. “He’s pleading ignorance, yet he refuses to apologize,” Korge said. “At a time when the United States and the Western world are dealing with the threat of terrorism, it’s irresponsible and frankly wrong for an American elected official to go meet a member of a terrorist group. The PFLP has not only murdered innocent civilians and proudly taken credit for it, it also has ties to the Castro regime (in Cuba) and the Maduro regime (in Venezuela) and other dictators, so I’m not sure what the heck Dwight Bullard was thinking. We have enough ignorance in government, we certainly don’t need more ignorant people.”
Protest prompts Brussels Airlines to return Israeli snack to menu
Brussels Airlines announced Monday that it will reintroduce a popular Israeli snack to its menu. The item was removed from the Belgian carrier's in-flight dessert options in July following pressure by a Palestinian group associated with the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
The airline had allegedly decided to take the Achva brand halva, an Israeli sesame snack, produced in a factory located in the Barkan Industrial Park in Judea and Samaria, off its menu following pressure from the Palestine Solidarity Movement, a group that often encourages the boycott of Israeli products.
The company denied allegations suggesting it was actively boycotting Israeli products, saying the decision regarding the halva dessert "was in no way a boycott, but rather a case of a mistaken order on the part of the caterer for a product we did not request."
Israeli Ambassador to Belgium Simona Frankel met Monday with Brussels Airlines CEO Bernard Gustin, who assured her the airline had no political agenda and that it will continue to feature Israeli products on its menus, including those produced by Achva.
The Foreign Ministry had also contacted the airline on the issue, and following what was described as a "successful public diplomacy effort," it was decided the sesame snack will once again be featured on the Brussels Airlines menu.
NGO Monitor: Watchdog: Norway Should Cut Funding to Organization That Funnels Money to Pro-BDS Groups (INTERVIEW)
The Norwegian government should cease giving money to an organization that funds NGOs promoting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the head of an Israel-based watchdog group told The Algemeiner on Monday.
Professor Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, spoke with The Algemeiner after publishing a report on Monday revealing that Norway allocated over $600,000 in the second half of 2016 to the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (HR/IHL) Secretariat .
The NGO Monitor report said the “HR/IHL Secretariat is an intermediary that distributes funds to non-governmental organizations…active in BDS…campaigns and other forms of demonization against Israel. It is managed by the Institute of Law at Birzeit University (IoL-BZU) in Ramallah and the NIRAS consulting firm, based in Sweden.”
Steinberg told The Algemeiner, “We do not know what the Norwegian government knows or doesn’t know, or which part of the government made this decision. Formally, the funds are designated by the Foreign Ministry, but NORAD — the Norwegian Aid and Development framework — is in charge of funding decisions for NGOs. Whether anyone did due diligence on the HR/IHL Secretariat remains to be seen.”
Human Rights Organization Welcomes Decision by Governing Soccer Body to Investigate French Team for Anti-Israel Discrimination
The decision by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) to investigate a French team for anti-Israel discrimination is a welcome step, an official from the international Jewish human rights organization that had urged the governing soccer body to take action told The Algemeiner on Monday.
“Politics is a factor in sports, but politicizing it impugns its values of fair-play and the pleasure of the game,” said Dr. Shimon Samuels, director for international relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Center-Europe, who called on UEFA to hold the team St. Etienne accountable for banning Israeli flags during a match last week against Beitar Jerusalem at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard stadium, while allowing French and Palestinian flags to fly.
In a letter to UEFA’s president on Monday, obtained by The Algemeiner, Samuels demanded that the organization uphold its self-described neutrality on politics and religion, which is “now gravely endangered by Palestinian political agitation among local clubs.”
Rights group accuses PA, Hamas of abusing journalists
Palestinian authorities are silencing dissent by cracking down on free speech and abusing local journalists and activists critical of their policies, a leading international human rights group said Tuesday.
Human Rights Watch said both the Western-backed Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank and its rival, the ruling Islamist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip, are “arresting, abusing, and criminally charging journalists and activists who express peaceful criticism of the authorities.”
In 2007, Hamas ousted Abbas’ Fatah forces from Gaza in bloody street battles, leaving the Palestinians divided between two governments. Attempts at reconciliation have repeatedly failed, and both Hamas and the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority have periodically launched crackdowns against their rivals in efforts to consolidate power.
“The Palestinian governments in both Gaza and the West Bank are arresting and even physically abusing activists and journalists who express criticism on important public issues,” said Sari Bashi, the Israel and Palestine country director at Human Rights Watch.
HRW said that in the West Bank, Palestinian forces arrested activists and musicians who “ridiculed Palestinian security forces” and “accused the government of corruption” in statements posted on Facebook or stated in graffiti and rap songs.
Revisiting the BBC’s 2014 reports on Gaza’s power plant
Listeners to BBC World Service radio’s ‘Newshour‘ on July 29th heard Chris Morris make the following baseless allegation:
“And it is Gaza’s only power plant so there are electricity cuts in Gaza City, there could be problems with water supply because many of the area’s water pumps also rely on that power plant. So if that was a deliberate Israeli attempt to cause economic pain – which is certainly how most Palestinians will see it – then it could be fairly successful.”
Just over two weeks later, both television viewers and visitors to the BBC News website were again reminded of the story in filmed and written reports by Yolande Knell.”
A year later, the claims of deliberate targeting of the power plant were shown to be false but no effort was made to correct the misleading impressions and inaccurate information in those reports which still remain available online.
The Military Attorney General has now published the result of investigations into the July 29th 2014 incident and previous ones at that power plant.
Guardian, Telegraph claim that IDF killed Gaza family in 2014 contradicted by new report
Similarly, the Telegraph reported the following on July 21st, 2014 about the attack:
Elsewhere in Gaza, he said, Israeli tanks opened fire on the home of the Siyam family west of Rafah in the southern part of the strip, killing 10 people, including four young children and a 9-month-old baby girl.
“Without any warning at all they began bombarding us at midnight, at 2 a.m., said Dr. Mahmoud Siyam, the head of the family. “We are not related to any military or political activities. We are civilized people (living) in this area of Gaza, what crime have we committed?”

Such evocative stories suggesting that Israel recklessly (or even intentionally) launched attacks on civilian targets with no military value were ubiquitous within the UK media.
However, with regard to this specific incident, the Guardian seems to have gotten it completely wrong. According to a subsequent investigation by the IDF Military Attorney General which was recently published, the family was not killed by an IDF aerial attack.
Washington Post Publishes False Claim on Israeli Government Policy
UPDATE
Following HonestReporting’s requests, the Washington Post has made a subtle yet necessary correction to the paragraph in question, which has removed the word “government.” It now reads:
However, there is no acknowledgment anywhere that a correction has been made or that an error was committed in the first instance.
Furthermore, the amendment to the sentence is also problematic. What exactly is the “Israeli right?” Such a broad label would include many on the political right, including inside Israel’s Likud Party who don’t necessarily advocate annexing Area C. Without any proper context or further definition, such a blanket claim is also inaccurate.
Sorry, Washington Post – it’s not good enough.
UK Watchdog: British Jews ‘Denied Justice;’ Despite Antisemitism Surge, Hate-Crime Prosecution Drops (INTERVIEW)
British Jews are “being denied justice” by the country’s main criminal prosecution agency as it fails to crack down on antisemitic hate crimes, the head of a UK charity and antisemitism watchdog told The Algemeiner on Monday.
“The resulting atmosphere of impunity is enabling antisemitism in our country to grow and become increasingly violent,” said Gideon Falter, chairman of the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), in reference to what he called the “woeful record” of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in combating the phenomenon.
“Earlier this year, we published our National Antisemitic Crime Audit. We found that, despite the crackdown promised in 2014, in 2015 hate crimes against British Jews surged to a new peak, with a 26 percent growth in crimes against Jews and a 51% leap in violent antisemitic crime,” he said.
One of the more significant finds of the audit, Falter said, is that “against the backdrop of major rises in antisemitic crime, the number of antisemitic crimes charges dropped.” According to the CAA, the CPS prosecuted 15,442 cases of hate crimes, “But we are only aware of a dozen prosecutions for hate crimes against Jews,” he said.
Catholic Bishop Calls Destruction of 17 Belfast Jewish Graves ‘Shameful’
A gang of youths used hammers and blocks in an attack on the walled-off Jewish section of a cemetery in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Friday, local media reported. Seventeen Jewish graves were destroyed and vandalized in the organized attack inside the cemetery. The Police Service of Northern Ireland is investigating the incident as a hate crime. Some of the graves date back to the 1870s.
Bishop Noel Treanor, head of the Irish diocese of Down and Connor, said that “these shameful acts are a blemish on our society.”
“What a tragedy and blemish then that the long-present, beloved and treasured Jewish families of our community should suffer yet again such actions of disrespect, violence to the memory of their beloved dead and the regrettable outworking of a latent xenophobia that stalks the minds of some,” Bishop Treanor said.
Inspector Norman Haslett of the PSNI said the attack was “a particularly sickening incident, which we are treating as a hate crime,” stressing that “to disturb the sanctity of a cemetery in this way is completely unacceptable and I can assure the public that we will conduct a robust investigation.”
‘Time to Stand by Ireland’s Jews,’ Declares Belfast Columnist in Wake of Cemetery Desecration
Following the desecration of 13 Jewish graves at a cemetery in Belfast on Friday, “It’s time to stand by Ireland’s Jews,” an Irish columnist wrote on Monday.
Henry McDonald of the Belfast Telegraph said that the act of vandalism “appears to have been something more organized, more targeted, more pointed” than “mindless drink and drug-fueled behavior.” According to McDonald, “The vandals used hammers and blocks to break up the headstones, while a larger mob looked on encouraging their actions. There is clear evidence here of forward-planning.”
McDonald said that some have pointed to the recent fining of the Celtic soccer team by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) over fans’ display of Palestinian flags during a recent game against Israel’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva as the catalyst for the vandalism. However, McDonald declared, “[W]hatever the motivation, or even the rights and wrongs of the Israel-Palestine question, it is undoubtedly the case that the desecration was motivated by anti-Jew hatred.”
Further elaborating, McDonald detailed the “dualistic, simplistic and narcissistic” views of many of his countrymen:
Spanish energy giant seeks to accelerate Tamar natural gas deal
Spanish energy giant Union Fenosa Gas is said to be considering accelerating its negotiations with the Tamar partnership as well as boost the gas quantities included in the deal, the Bloomberg news agency reported Monday.
The Tamar offshore gas field was discovered some 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Haifa in 2009 and is believed to have reserves of up to 8.4 trillion cubic feet. The Tamar partnership includes Texas-based Noble Energy and the Delek Group. The two also control the Leviathan, Tanin and Karish offshore gas fields.
A source privy to the negotiations said the current deal was for 6 billion cubic meters of gas per year, adding the companies were also discussing a new pricing arrangement, such as introducing floor prices. The gas is to be piped to Spain through to the Damietta liquefied natural gas plant in Egypt.
UFG and the Tamar partnership have been in negotiations for two years, and have signed a non-binding agreement for about 4.5 bcm over 15 years, Bloomberg reported.
Rafael lands €100m Lithuania missile-launcher deal
The Lithuanian Army will procure Samson Mk2 remote-controlled weapon stations mounted on 88 new infantry fighting vehicles.
The Lithuanian Army's largest-ever land system procurement has generated a major deal for Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.. Today, the state-owned defense company announced that it had signed a deal to provide the Lithuanian Army with advanced, remote-controlled, weapon stations enabling the launch of accurate Spike missiles, also produced by Rafael.
The Samson Mk2 weapon stations will be mounted on 88 Boxer infantry fighting vehicles, to be provided to the Lithuanian infantry forces by the Dutch-German consortium ARTEC. As part of the deal reported by Rafael, it will serve as Artec's subcontractor, and the weapon stations will be modified to match different armament types and calibers.
Defense establishment sources estimated today that Rafael's share in the deal will be €100 million, while the entire deal is estimated at nearly €400 million. Defense industry sources say that this is Rafael's first deal in Lithuania and that the weapon stations will be provided in 2017.
King David-era battle comes to life in new museum exhibition
The Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem will inaugurate a new exhibition next week featuring unique artifacts from Khirbet Qeiyafa, an ancient Judean city that may have played a key role in the famous biblical battle between David and Goliath.
The museum called the exhibition "In the Valley of David and Goliath" referring to the Elah Valley lying below Khirbet Qeiyafa, the valley where the famous battle between the Israelites and Philistines took place.
According to the museum, the exhibition will include "original finds from the city's ruins, its structures, gates, dwellings and many other remarkable artifacts." Visitors will also get to see up close a famous Hebrew inscription, portable shrines -- referred to as "shrine models" by archeologists -- and three iron swords.
The city, which lies close to modern day Beit Shemesh, near Jerusalem, is believed to have been inhabited by the ancient Israelites during the time of King Saul. The long archeological excavations on the site have provided some of the strongest evidence that ancient Israelites lived in the area at the end of the 11th century BCE, Archeologists say that swords at the site could have been used during the battle of David and Goliath.
Oldest human remains found outside Tel Aviv
When work began to widen route 5 outside of Rosh HaAyin 16 years ago, workers discovered something incredible; the opening to a world frozen in time.
A powerful controlled explosion designed to demolish a giant limestone boulder blocking the path of the road exposed the entrance to a giant limestone cave which had been sealed for over 200,000 years.
This 200,000 year old time capsule contained within it rare artifacts from a critical point in the evolution of humanity, and turned the cave, now called "Qesem Cave," into one of the most important pre-historic sites in the world.
Archaeology Professor at Tel Aviv University Ron Barkai is the head of digging at Qesem Cave. He discussed the international significance of the finds found there.
Jessica Alba touts Krav Maga as best prep for stunts
American actress Jessica Alba has been a Krav Maga fan for years. But now the Mechanic: Resurrection costar of British actor Jason Statham is crediting the official self-defense system of the Israel Defense Forces for her ability to perform her own stunts in the new action-thriller.
“I did all my stunts for Mechanic: Resurrection. Hand-to-hand combat is where I’m home,” Alba told Us Weekly.
The 35-year-old buff mother of two, who proved her martial-arts skills in the sci-fi series Dark Angel in the early 2000s and again in 2005’s Fantastic Four, first posted about her love for Krav Maga in 2014. She shared a video of her training, with fourth-degree black belt Michael Margolin of Krav Maga Worldwide, to her social media feeds.
“It gets you in good shape and you’re also learning a skill. It’s an effective workout because of the kicking and punching with the resistance of another individual,” said Margolin.
Now, as she does the press rounds to drum up interest for Mechanic: Resurrection, Alba – who, in addition to being a Hollywood actor is also cofounder of household products venture The Honest Company — is once again praising this Israeli hand-to-hand combat system.
‘Get ready to sweat’: Ricky Martin to shebang in Israel
Ricky Martin is coming to Israel for what will likely be an energized performance; this will be the first Israeli show for the Latino superstar, who began in a Puerto Rican boy band and achieved international success with his infectious beats during the 90s; ‘Israelis and Latinos are very similar, we’re very warm,’ says Martin, who advises you come to his show ready to move; watch the interview below.
Charismatic singer Ricky Martin is slated to come to Israel for his first ever performance on September 14. “I am extremely excited,” he said. “It’ll be an amazing event, two hours to forget all the issues in life and just to be yourself.”
In addition to looking forward to experiencing the local culture and cuisine, Martin spoke of a deeper connection to Israel. “I also heard it’s a very spiritual country, so I will allow myself to go there for a minute when I’m in Israel.”
Martin suggested music lovers planning on seeing his show prepare for an exhilarating performance. “Get ready to sweat,” he said, smiling at the camera.
Haifa team sires Intel’s ‘fastest-ever’ processor
Intel Corp. announced Tuesday its most advanced, next-level processor, whose development was led by its facility in Haifa, Israel, with the promise of a double-digit rise in computer performance, longer battery life and better security.
The seventh-generation new Intel Core enhanced 14-nanometer-plus processor, called Kaby Lake, is its “strongest and fastest ever,” Intel said in a statement, and aims to meet the demands of increased connectedness and internet use, and growing consumption of high-quality video, ultra-high-definition (UHD) premium and user-generated content, 360-degree video formats, Virtual Reality and digital sports content. It will power ultra-thin notebooks and two-in-one laptop-tablet hybrids.
Built on the foundation of the Skylake processors, which Intel launched last year and were also led from Israel, the Kaby Lake processors are more than 70 percent faster than a 5-year-old PC and 3.5 times better in 3D graphics performance, the company said in a statement.
The new processors will have a longer-lasting battery — 9.5 hours of 4K video playback — and better security, and will enable more natural and intuitive interactions of users with their PCs, Intel said.



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