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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Arab anti-Trump Jerusalem protests
Iranian anti-government protests
Organized top-down by Palestinian leaders Organized bottom up by individuals
Anti-America and Israel Anti-Ayatollah
Predicted to set the Middle East on fire by experts.
They were wrong.
 Not predicted by experts at all.
Meaningless, could never accomplish anything. US and Israel wouldn't back down. A very big deal, even if violently put down it puts the mullahs on notice
Wall to wall media coverage hoping to find some violence that would justify the predictions  Media ignoring it (or, worse, covering pro-regime puppet rallies as legit)

The sad part is that since the "experts" and media were so invested in the Iranian deal and in supporting the regime at the expense of the majority of Arabs and Israel, they cannot now support a real grass-roots uprising against tyranny.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
Twitter has a number of metrics to determine the popularity of tweets (retweets, likes, clicking, and more general "engagement" which adds all of the others up.)

But in figuring out my most popular tweets of the year, I'm sticking with retweets.

All I have to say is, thanks Linda for helping me out so much!











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

Haaretz reports:

The Likud Central Committee voted Sunday to unanimously accept a resolution that calls on the party's leaders to move to formally annex the West Bank.
The vote by the ruling party is nonbinding and was called for in a letter signed by some 900 members of the central committee.
But that isn't what the resolution says.  Haaretz even quotes it:
“On the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the regions of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], including Jerusalem our eternal capital, the Likud Central Committee calls on the Likud’s elected officials to act to allow free construction and to apply the laws of Israel and its sovereignty to all areas of the liberated Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria.
This makes it sound like the Likud is calling to annex only the settlement blocs - areas that would remain under Israeli control in any possible peace plan anyway.

Times of Israel gets it right with its headline "Likud top body votes to annex parts of the West Bank."

How will world media report this?

We will see whether Western journalists follow Haaretz' false headline or what the actual story is.

But it shows yet again how Haaretz reports what it wants, not reality.

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

Trump says Iranians tired of having wealth stolen, ‘squandered on terrorism’
US President Donald Trump again encouraged the protesters in Iran on Sunday, saying that the Iranian people were no longer prepared to see the country’s resources “squandered on terrorism” as mass protests continued.

“The people are finally getting wise as to how their money and wealth is being stolen and squandered on terrorism,” Trump tweeted, saying that it looks like the Iranians “will not take it any longer.”

“The USA is watching very closely for human rights violations!” he said.

Trump’s tweets the previous day angered Iran’s government, leading the Foreign Ministry spokesman to say the “Iranian people give no credit to the deceitful and opportunist remarks of US officials or Mr. Trump.”

Trump’s remarks came with the Iranian interior minister cautioning that Israel, the US, and other regional powers do not understand the nature of the clashes and that their delight at anti-government demonstrations is misguided.

A third night of unrest in Iran overnight Saturday saw mass demonstrations across the country in which two people were killed, dozens arrested and public buildings attacked.

Stephen L. Miller: Iran's protests are powerful and real. Why are mainstream media outlets so hesitant to report on them?
How will the Obama Presidential Library wing look celebrating a nuclear deal with an oppressive Iranian regime that could possibly be deposed by security forces and the military joining with protesters, thirsty for democracy and a return to an Iran before the 1979 revolution?

More to the point, how will it look if the Trump administration, of all things, facilitates and encourages such change in Iran?

The prospect of this is not lost on the self-styled resistance and anti-Trump media, all too anxious to witness the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Obama Library or hand a Nobel Prize to former Secretary of State John Kerry.

Overseeing the fall of an oppressive, hardline Iranian regime that sponsors terror all around the globe – followed by the rise of a democratic Iran not interested in aggression against its neighbors – would be a foreign policy victory for President Trump, one of the biggest for a president since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

If the Iranian regime is ousted, the move would neuter Hezbollah’s primary source of funding. It would diminish Hamas at a time when the United States rightfully is moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem in defiance of the United Nations.

Replacement of the Iranian government could signal that Assad’s days in Syria are finally coming to an end, without powerful bullies to back him up. A new Iranian government would also no doubt give Russia pause about meddling in Middle East affairs – a hesitancy it did not have when the Obama administration gave Russian President Vladimir Putin “flexibility.”

Combative media reluctant to give President Trump credit for any policy victories – along with reluctance by anti-Trump analysts on the right (this one included) – should not divert our attention from Iranian citizens risking their lives to take to the streets. These Iranians hope the United States and the rest of the world do not ignore them again.
Why Can’t the American Media Cover the Protests in Iran?
Selling the protesters short is a mistake. For 38 years Iranian crowds have been gathered by regime minders to chant “Death to America, Death to Israel.” When their chant spontaneously changes to “Down with Hezbollah” and “Death to the Dictator” as it has now, something big is happening. The protests are fundamentally political in nature, even when the slogans are about bread. But Erdbrink can hardly bring himself to report the regime’s history of depredations since his job is to obscure them. He may have been a journalist at one point in time, but now he manages the Times portfolio in Tehran. The Times, as Tablet colleague James Kirchik reported for Foreign Policy in 2015, runs a travel business that sends Western tourists to Iran. “Travels to Persia,” the Times calls it. If you’re cynical, you probably believe that the Times has an interest in the protests subsiding and the regime surviving—because, after all, anyone can package tours to Paris or Rome.

Networks like like CNN and MSNBC which have gambled their remaining resources and prestige on a #Resist business model are in even deeper trouble. Providing media therapy for a relatively large audience apparently keen to waste hours staring at a white truck obscuring the country club where Donald Trump is playing golf is their entire business model—a Hail Mary pass from a business that had nearly been eaten alive by Facebook and Google. First down! So it doesn’t matter how many dumb Trump-Russia stories the networks, or the Washington Post, or the New Yorker get wrong, as long as viewership and subscriptions are up—right?

The problem, of course, is that the places that have obsessively run those stories for the past year aren’t really news outfits—not anymore. They are in the aromatherapy business. And the karmic sooth-sayers and yogic flyers and mid-level political operators they employ as “experts” and “reporters” simply aren’t capable of covering actual news stories, because that is not part of their skill-set.

The current media landscape was shaped by years of an Obama administration that made the nuclear deal its second-term priority. Talking points on Iran were fed to reporters by the White House—and those who veered outside government-approved lines could expect to be cut off by the administration’s ace press handlers, like active CIA officer Ned Price. It’s totally normal for American reporters to print talking points fed to them daily by a CIA officer who works for a guy with an MA in creative writing, right? But no one ever balked. The hive-mind of today’s media is fed by minders and validated by Twitter in a process that is entirely self-enclosed and circular; a “story” means that someone gave you “sources” who “validate” the agreed upon “story-line.” Someone has to feed these guys so they can write—which is tough to do when real events are unfolding hour by hour on the ground.

Sen. Tom Cotton: ‘We Should Support The Iranian People Who Are Willing To Risk Their Lives To Speak Out Against’ The Regime
On Thursday, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) offered his opinion on the Iranian protests:

Even after the billions in sanctions relief they secured through the nuclear deal, the ayatollahs still can’t provide for the basic needs of their own people—perhaps because they’ve funneled so much of that money into their campaign of regional aggression in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen. The protests in Mashhad show that a regime driven by such a hateful ideology cannot maintain broad popular support forever, and we should support the Iranian people who are willing to risk their lives to speak out against it.
An interesting timeline you won’t see elsewhere on the Iran protests
The developments in Iran are so remarkable at this point that it wouldn’t surprise me to see a significant change in the regime, or a credible harbinger of change, in the next 2-3 days.

I’m not predicting such a change. But I am saying I wouldn’t be surprised to see it. Things are moving fast.

I promised you a timeline in the title, and that is further below. The grab-bag of updates here is not the timeline. I think you’ll find it worthwhile sticking around.

The individual updates are astonishing. First, a map view of how widespread the protests are. They’ve been spreading across Iran since Thursday, 28 December.

Edgar Davidson: Why the media and leftists are silent on the Iranian uprising

James Zogby Blasts Iranian Protestors for Distracting Attention from Rachael Ray’s ‘Genocide’ (satire)
Calling demonstrators taking to the street against the Iranian regime “whiny prima donnas,” Arab American Institute President James Zogby demanded protests end so attention could turn back to chef Rachael Ray’s culinary tweets.

“Instead of complaining about 38 years of corrupt, theocratic rule by dictators who use murder, rape and torture to silence dissidents, these Iranian snowflakes need to let us focus on the real issues,” said Zogby. “Rachael Ray called hummus ‘Israeli.’ I mean, that is a true genocide.” (Editor’s note: Zogby did actually call Ray’s tweet “genocide.”)

Though previous demonstrations have been crushed with brutal force, fearless Iranians have rallied against the regime, tearing down posters of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. But while others are distracted by nitpicking over human rights abuses, Zogby’s own attention has remained laser-focused on the true atrocity.

“Rachael Ray said she was having an Israeli night when she ate food that is also eaten in other countries,” Zogby reiterated. “That’s why I have tweeted 11 times about it, and haven’t mentioned the stupid Iranian protests once.” (Editor’s note: This is, sadly, also true.)
David Singer: UN, OIC, EU and PLO invite Trump retaliation
Humiliating President Trump by declaring his decision recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as being “null and void and must be rescinded” - spells financial and political trouble for the United Nations (UN), the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the European Union (EU) and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

The timing of Trump’s decision can be criticised – but questioning Trump’s sovereign right to make that decision constitutes a flagrant attempt to undermine the offices of the democratically-elected US President and Congress.

Trump’s decision was made in accordance with international law and American domestic law – making a mockery of those who have claimed otherwise.

The first two casualties of this unprecedented political and legal attack on America’s governing institutions could be:
the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (“UNRWA”) and
the two-state solution proposed by the 1993 Oslo Accords and President Bush’s 2003 Roadmap - as endorsed by the UN, the EU and Russia (“two-state solution”)

US Ambassador to the UN – Nikki Haley – put UNWRA clearly in President Trump’s sights for retaliatory action when she declared:

“The United States has done more than any other country to assist the Palestinian people. By far. Since 1994, we have given over $5 billion to the Palestinians in bilateral economic assistance, security assistance, and humanitarian assistance.
David Singer: UN Vote on Trump’s Jerusalem Decision Reaches New Legal Low
The United Nations General Assembly resolution on 21 December 2017 asking nations not to establish diplomatic missions in Jerusalem (“Resolution”) was adopted by 128 of the 193 member States acting in breach of three specific articles in the UN Charter.

1. Article 2(7):

“Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter Vll.”

President Trump’s decisions to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem were made in accordance with the Jerusalem Embassy Act passed on 24 October 1995 by the Senate 93:5 and the House 374:37.

Trump’s decisions fell squarely within the framework of America’s domestic jurisdiction.

Other countries wanting to follow America by locating their Embassies in Jerusalem are perfectly entitled to do so free of UN condemnation or interference.
Peter Beinart builds giant Virtue Signal that can reach Outer Space (satire)
Noted progressive critic of Israel and Haaretz contributor Peter Beinart is awfully proud of his humility. Yet even a man as low-key as Peter is about his virtues sometimes needs to let the rest of us know just how awesomely #WOKE he is. So Peter set about building a gigantic Virtue Signal on the roof of his local Food Co-Op. Dubbed the “Sanctimonitor“, this edifice is the first Virtue Signal whose beams can reach past the Earth’s atmosphere into the reaches of Outer Space. Peter explained.

“Today the people of Earth are slowly being acclimated to how virtuous I am. But what about Aliens? Will Extra Terrestrial Life be sufficiently educated to know that I somehow was able to string enough words together to compare the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the #MeToo Movement? [EDITOR’S NOTE: Yes. He Really Did This.] As a Jew I feel this is important.”

In the process of fact-checking this story, the Daily Freier contacted NASA, who confirmed that the Mars Rover is now regularly receiving Beinart’s articles from the Forward, and that the Voyager II Space Probe just received some of his Tweets supporting Obama’s Iran Deal.

The Daily Freier asked Peter if there were further steps he planned with the Sanctimonitor Virtue Signal.
At A Crossroads, Abbas’ Next Move Will Define His Legacy
Entering the thirteenth year of his four-year term, octogenarian Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is seemingly at a crossroads. Following U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the PA is, for now, effectively boycotting Washington, thereby throwing a wrench into efforts to jump-start peace talks. Internally, Abbas continues to rule over a divided people separated between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the recently-signed unity deal between his Fatah faction and Hamas having failed to materialize. Moreover, even as the local economy flounders the PA is widely viewed as being kleptocratic, a recent survey showing upwards of 70 percent of Palestinians wanting Abbas to resign.

These issues are exacerbated by changing regional dynamics that many believe have greatly reduced the prospect of Palestinian statehood, Abbas’ ostensible raison d’être. The chaos engulfing Syria, Iraq, Yemen and beyond has pushed the Palestinian issue to the backburner, while bringing into stark focus the intensifying confrontation between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran, the central conflict in Middle East.

This, in turn, has affected the way countries in the region are beginning to perceive Israel: that is, no longer exclusively as an adversary or pariah, but, rather, as a bulwark against Tehran’s expansionism and potential nuclearization. In this regard, Jerusalem has repeatedly hinted at a rapprochement with Sunni nations that has the potential to greatly increase the Jewish state’s standing with, and thus leverage with, the Muslim world.
PA recalls envoy to Pakistan after India objects to appearance with terrorist
The Palestinian Authority on Saturday recalled its ambassador to Pakistan after India expressed anger and concern over his presence next to Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed at a rally organised by extremist and radical groups in Rawalpindi.

India issued a strongly worded demarche after photos of Walid Abu Ali sharing the stage with Saeed and addressing the rally organised by the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) were circulated on social media on Friday.

Barely hours after the Indian statement, a Palestinian official told Hindustan Times: “The ambassador has been recalled from Pakistan and asked to report to Ramallah. Palestine is part of the world community and it is committed to fighting terrorism. This shouldn’t have happened.”

The Palestinian ambassador to India, Adnan Abu Al Haij, was quoted as saying that his government supported India “in its fight against terrorism” and had decided to call back its Pakistan envoy.

A statement in Arabic issued by the Palestinian foreign ministry said the envoy in Pakistan was recalled on the “direct instructions” of President Mahmoud Abbas. The envoy’s participation in the rally “in the presence of individuals accused of supporting terrorism is an unintended mistake, but not justified”, it said.

A statement issued by India’s external affairs ministry said the Palestinian side “conveyed deep regrets over the incident and assured the government of India that they are taking serious cognisance of their ambassador’s presence” at the rally. It said that the Palestinian side had conveyed that it “highly values its relationship with India and stands with us in the war against terrorism, and will not engage with those who commit acts of terror against India”.
Hamas calls US ambassador 'racist,’ says all ties should be cut with DC
The Palestinians should cut off all ties with the United States because of “racist” and “ignorant” comments US Ambassador David Friedman made to The Jerusalem Post last week, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said on Saturday.

Friedman, a driving force behind US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the embassy there from Tel Aviv, told the Post that while the Palestinians' angry reaction was expected, “We were disappointed with some of the rhetoric, which was ugly, needlessly provocative and antisemitic.”

“As we go forward,” he added, “this has to change.”

Barhoum said that Friedman's statements reflected “the ambassador’s racism, ignorance and contempt for Palestinian rights and international law. He is affirming, in this policy, that they are partners to the occupation in all of its crimes against our people and its holy sites.”

According to the Hamas spokesman, the statements “are sufficient to justify an official Palestinian declaration of cutting ties with the American administration and ending Oslo.” He said the time has come to end the Oslo process, which, he said, “has led to the relinquishment of Palestinian rights and reinforcement of the Israeli occupation.”
Government okays EU cooperation deal that excludes settlements
The Israeli government has finalized a deal with the European Union for regional cooperation that excludes settlements, the Haaretz newspaper reported Sunday, with Culture Minister Miri Regev claiming she was misled into not blocking it.

Earlier this month Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved Israel’s joining the EU’s program for Cross-Border Cooperation in the Mediterranean — which offers funding and grants for Mediterranean nations on cooperative projects in education, research, environment and more.

But the deal contains a clause which notes that it does not pertain to areas beyond the 1967 borders, including the Golan Heights, West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The accord was also approved by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home).

The deal was not discussed in a cabinet meeting, and was automatically approved after no ministers demanded deliberation on the matter.

But Regev said she believed Israel “must reject agreements that force us to de facto boycott regions or populations… barring extreme and extraordinary circumstances.” She said she saw no reason to compromise on the Israeli position “in exchange for a meager EU budget.”
Firing back at critics, PM says Israel struck Hamas 40 times recently
Responding to criticism from opposition leaders over the government’s failure to stem rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told cabinet ministers Sunday that Israeli warplanes have struck Hamas targets some 40 times in recent weeks.

“Israel views Hamas as responsible for all fire toward us from the Gaza Strip,” Netanyahu said in comments delivered before the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.

“In the few weeks that have passed since we destroyed the terror tunnel that extended into our territory, the IDF has struck about 40 Hamas targets, including another strike by the air force last night,” the prime minister added.

“All those who tut-tut in the media, people who have never borne the weight of responsibility for Israel’s security for a single minute, and also never made a single security decision — I suggest they calm down. The defense minister and myself, together with the [IDF] chief of staff, the head of the Shin Bet and the heads of the security services, are leading a determined and responsible policy that is supported by this government, a policy that has made Israel into a quieter and safer place in recent years than at any other time in decades.”
Israeli jets strike Hamas post in Gaza in response to shelling
Israeli jets on Saturday night carried out a second round of airstrikes in southern Gaza in retaliation for three mortar shells fired at Israel on Friday.

The Israeli Air Force struck a Hamas post in the coastal enclave, according to a statement from the IDF just before midnight.

Following the retaliatory raid, the army accused Iran of attempting to spark a war between Israel and Gaza terror groups and putting the lives of Palestinians in danger.

“The serious fire on Friday proved again that Iran, through rogue and extremist terrorist groups, is working to deteriorate the regional situation, is playing with the lives of Gaza residents, and may lead the Strip to an escalation [of hostilities] after years of quiet,” the IDF said.

Earlier on Saturday, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said the three mortar shells were supplied by Iran to terrorist groups in Gaza. He described the fire on Friday as a “grave act.”
Defense minister: Mortar shells fired at Israel on Friday were supplied by Iran
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Saturday night said the three mortar shells fired at Israel a day earlier were supplied by Iran to terrorist groups in Gaza.

The defense minister also called the firing a “very grave” act.

Speaking to Hadashot News’ “Meet the Press,” Liberman said the Islamic Republic has supplied such weaponry to a number of terror groups in the Gaza Strip in the past, and therefore it was “too early” to identify the exact source of the shelling.

The IDF on Friday had attributed the fire to rockets, rather than mortar shells.

According to initial Israeli assessments, the barrage was not launched by the Hamas terror group, which controls the Gaza Strip, but by other terrorist organizations in the enclave.
Zehava Shaul, whose son Oron’s remains are being held by the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza, is led away from a ceremony in his honor after rockets are launched at Israel from the coastal enclave on December 29, 2017. (Screen capture)

The fire targeted the Sha’ar Hanegev and Sdot Hanegev regions of southern Israel on Friday afternoon. Two of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, while the third struck near a building in a community in the area, causing damage.
IDF reservists call to investigate US funding promoting draft-dodging
Reservists on Duty, an anti-BDS group in Israel penned a letter to Israeli Ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer calling on him to investigate sources of US funding which support organizations that promote-draft dodging in Israel.

The group called for the investigation following a letter published Thursday morning in which 63 youths from around the country openly declared their refusal to enlist in the IDF and encouraged other youth to do the same.

The letter, first published by Israeli daily Yedioth Aharonot, was addressed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot.

In their letter to the Ambassador, obtained by The Jerusalem Post, the group wrote: “The organization that sponsored and supported the creation and signing of this letter is called ‘Mesarvot,’ roughly translated as ‘dodging.’ Shockingly enough, this organization is financed by an American based organization called RSN [Refuser Solidarity Network].”

According to the RSN website, the organization is a non-profit organization based in Washington DC that "provides a US base of support for those who refuse service in the Israeli military for reasons of political conscience."
Assad may have retaken the Syrian Golan, but Iran is pulling the strings
The evacuation of several hundred Syrian rebels from the Beit Jinn area on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights over the weekend puts Israel in an old-new position on the border. Assad’s army is once again at the fences, just like it was from 1967 to 2011.

In the southern Golan, a few pockets of resistance remain from supporters of the Islamic State group, or as they are known locally, the Khalid Ibn Walid Army. But beyond that, the Syrians have almost completely retaken control of the border with Israel.

Only a few moderate forces remain south of Kuneitra that would maintain some relative cooperation with Israel or keep the Shiite or Sunni extremists at bay.

The actual evacuation took place quietly, and the buses carrying nearly all the rebels and their supporters have already made their way from the slopes of Mount Hermon to the last bastion belonging to the (relatively) moderate opposition, in the Idlib area.

This seemingly familiar presence — an army of Syrian regulars, disciplined and beholden to regulations, that understands the Damascus regime’s need to keep things quiet — ostensibly heralds stability. But that’s only on the surface. Over the last several years, Syrian President Bashar Assad has been forced to give up a foothold and then some to Iraqi Shiite militias, Hezbollah and, most importantly, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. His regime was saved by their intervention and he literally owes them his life, physically as well as politically.

Assad will be forced to give the Shiite crescent a foothold in the border area, and may even do so happily.
Second senior Shi’ite militia commander visits Israeli-Lebanese border
Just weeks after a top Iraqi Shi’ite commander was filmed in South Lebanon overlooking northern Israel, a senior Syrian Shi’ite militia commander has paid the same visit to the border.

Al-Hajj Hamza, the operations commander of Liwa al-Baqir, a Hezbollah-allied Syrian militia trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, was seen in pictures published on Twitter on the border with Israel.

Liwa al-Baqir, founded and commanded by Hamza’s brother Al-Hajj Khalid, is one of the main Shi’ite militias in Syria. It participated alongside Hezbollah in the battle to retake Aleppo from rebels and has played a significant role in the regime’s push toward the Iraqi border.

Hamza’s visit to south Lebanon comes shortly after Qais al-Khazali, the commander of Iraq’s Iranian-backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq militia, was seen at the Good Fence on the Israel-Lebanon border in military garb, ready to support “resistance fighters” and to come to the “rescue of Palestinians and Jerusalem.”

The video of his visit caused controversy in Lebanon, with Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri saying his visit was in violation of Lebanese law.
Fatah To Mark 53rd Anniversary With ‘Year of Confrontation’
Fatah will celebrate 53 years since its establishment on Sunday in a series of events that will begin with a ceremony at the grave of the group’s founder – former Palestinian Authority president and arch terrorist Yasser Arafat.

The celebrations will be led by Fatah Chair and PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Fatah announced ahead of the events that the 53rd anniversary of its founding will be marked by the “struggle for Jerusalem” and will be called “the year of confrontation and defense of the holy sites.”

The group posted a video clip on its Facebook page containing violent imagery against Israel, showing Palestinians – including children – fighting IDF soldiers and masked men throwing stones as well as Fatah officials leading protests.

On the same Facebook page, Fatah official and member of the group’s Central Committee Dalal Salameh is seen confronting IDF soldiers during the ongoing protests since U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
East Jerusalem residents urged to boycott Israeli school system
A committee of east Jerusalem parents affiliated with the Palestinian Authority is trying to stop the growing trend of parents there registering their children to study according to the Israeli curriculum.

A post to the "Committee of parents to students in al-Quds schools" Facebook page called on the Arab public in east Jerusalem not to register their children to schools that teach according to the Israeli curriculum in the coming school year.

"Your children's schools are calling on you to help. It is now your turn to openly say that the curriculum of the Israeli occupation, which strives to erase your children's Arab, Palestinian, Islamic and Christian identity, has begun to penetrate their minds through distortions of history and cultural concepts and values that represent our history and culture."

The organization compared the process to what it called the "great attacks of Judaization and the takeover of the holy city" and included a warning against viewing internet sites for the registration of students for the coming school year.

"The central committee of parents has decided to embark on an operation to cleanse our children's schoolbags and schools of the Judaization program," the post reads. "With your rejection of the policy of Judaizing minds, you will prove to the world that your affiliation and identity are Palestinian and that you are an extension of a nation with an Islamic Arabic culture that has continued throughout history."
Turkish Twitter Explodes with Genocidal Jew-Hatred
The statements of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan -- and those of Turks who share his worldview – are further evidence that fundamentalist Muslims oppose Israel's very existence as a sovereign Jewish state. Their ire over Trump's Jerusalem declaration has nothing to do with U.S. or Israeli policies.

Their fury stems from Jews existing in Israel as a powerful nation – not as dhimmis (second-class and persecuted people). Fanatic Muslims cannot get over the fact that Jews still live in, and are in charge of, supposedly their Muslim holy land.

To justify their rage, these radicals rewrite history. Their claims that Jerusalem is a Muslim holy city, for example, are false. While Jerusalem is mentioned 850 times in the Old Testament, it is not mentioned once in the Koran.
10 from 2017: Times of Israel staff on their most memorable reporting moments
As we look back over 2017 and prepare to move into the new year, we have gathered some of our own favorite moments from the past 12 months: interviews that broadened our horizons, encounters that touched our souls, moments that made us laugh or cry. Here, our writers describe their most memorable 2017 reporting moments.
Amanda Borschel-Dan, Jewish world and archaeology editor, writes:

Massive section of Western Wall uncovered after 1,700 years

The Israel Antiquity Authority was abuzz over the unveiling of “something spectacular” in Jerusalem’s Old City. I arrived early — the market’s shops were still shuttered — and made my way to the Jewish Quarter to the unusually well-organized press meetup point. I registered and got my press packet and bottle of water (yay, free water).

Descending narrow stairs, I was led into the bowels of the Western Wall Tunnels by a smiling 20-something guide dressed for the occasion in an unironic stewardess outfit — complete with (ridiculous) high heels.

I twisted and turned after her somehow-steady gait in the dank, dark tunnels when, suddenly… stuffy claustrophobia gave way to crisp, fresh air as we entered an enormous, unexpected cavern.
The top 10 moments that mattered to Jews in 2017
The past year was not a quiet one, to say the least.

From the tumultuous first year of Donald Trump’s presidency to a wave of bomb threats against Jewish community centers to the flood of high-profile sexual harassment allegations, Jews — like so many others — found it hard to take their eyes off the news in the past 12 months.

As 2017 draws to a close, JTA looks back at some of the moments that had the most significance for Jews, sorted below by date.

Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
The president reversed decades of US policy when he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, saying he would eventually move the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv. The decision earned Trump praise from the Jewish state, most Jewish organizations and American evangelicals — but the rest of the world was less enthusiastic. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he would refuse to meet with Vice President Mike Pence during an upcoming visit to the region and that he would no longer accept the US involvement in peace negotiations. The US vetoed a resolution at the United Nations Security Council — supported by all other 14 member states — to force Trump to rescind his decision. Days later the UN General Assembly passed a nonbinding resolution rejecting any recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, with 128 votes in favor, 9 against and 35 abstentions.
IsraellyCool: The Ten Most Shared Israellycool Posts Of 2017
What were the Israellycool posts that really seemed to strike a chord with you in 2017?

Here are the top 10, based on shares.
IsraellyCool: The Ten Most Viewed Israellycool YouTube Videos of 2017
In 2017, people viewed videos on the Israellycool YouTube channel almost 382,000 times, representing 468,000 minutes (7800 hours or 325 days – almost a full year of viewing!)

But what were the most viewed videos on the channel in 2017?
IsraellyCool: The Ten Most Viewed Israellycool Facebook Videos of 2017
We have already seen the Ten Most Viewed Israellycool YouTube Videos of 2017. But what about the most viewed videos on Facebook? An entirely different beast.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Faced With Accusations Of Focusing Only On Israel, BDS To Also Target Vulgaria (satire)
Leaders of the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions movement that singles out the world’s only Jewish state have responded to criticism that their declared concern for human rights extends only to where Jews can be blamed, by announcing a campaign to call for political, economic, cultural, and diplomatic pressure on the European nation of Vulgaria, which also violates the rights of those under its dominion.

Mustafa Barghouti, Rania Khalek, and several other prominent BDS activists issued a joint statement this morning (Wednesday) to the effect that the movement seeks to dispel the false accusation of hypocrisy by highlighting at least one place other than Israel whose alleged misdeeds must be combated through BDS.

“We have in the past dismissed characterization of our emphasis on Israel’s oppression of Palestinians as attempts to distract from the issue,” the statement read. “However, following extensive consultations with many of our activists around the globe, we decided to make a good faith gesture to demonstrate our sensitivity to concerns that our actions match our rhetoric. We therefore call on all governments, companies, organizations, artists, academics, and institutions to cease all contacts with Vulgaria and its officials effective immediately.”

The statement continued with a description of the Vulgarian regime’s mistreatment of its indigenous population. “Baron and Baroness Bomburst must cease their depredations against their people,” it declared. “Practices such as child-catching and a ban on producing or raising children carry ominous echoes of everything we accuse Israel of doing against Palestinians, and must stop.”
Top 7 Guardian anti-Israel errors, lies and deceptions in 2017
Narrowing down an entire year of Guardian anti-Israel reporting to the seven most egregious examples is not an easy task, but, as a public service to our loyal readers, here are some errors, deceptions and outright lies about Israel in 2017 that especially stood out:

1. Guardian op-ed by Diana Buttu claims Palestinians are arrested for ‘criticising Israel’ on Facebook

Diana Buttu’s allegations in the Guardian, including her bizarre claim that Palestinians have been arrested for criticising Israel on Facebook, are both context-free and counter-factual – essentially everything you’d expect from a PLO propagandist with such well-documented record of lying about the Jewish state.

2. Guardian falsely suggests existence of Haredi-only Israeli hospitals

The Guardian’s suggestion that there are haredi-only hospitals is just absurd, as anyone familiar with Israeli hospitals would surely know. Whilst Bikur Cholim Hospital in Jerusalem likely treats a large number of Haredim (due to its close proximity to Haredi neighborhoods), like all Israeli hospitals, it treats all patients who come through its doors, regardless of religious background.
Israeli high-tech exits in 2017 totaled $7.44 billion
Israeli high-tech exits totaled $7.44 billion in 2017, 110% more than the $3.5 billion in exits in 2016. An exit is defined as a merger, acquisition or initial public offering (IPO).

Year-end figures for Israel’s high-tech industry released by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Israel (excluding exits of less than $5 million) reveal that the number of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) involving Israeli companies increased 9 percent over 2016 to 131, and 9% of those deals were worth $400 million to $1 billion.

The average price of M&A deals went down 27% in 2017 to $142 million, the first decline in five years.

Nearly half the exits cited in the report were in the computing and software sector, including cybersecurity technologies. Life-sciences companies accounted for about a quarter of the exits, Internet companies 12%, and communications companies 9%.

As for IPOs, 11 Israeli high-tech companies held IPOs on stock exchanges in Israel, the US, Sweden, the UK or Australia, raising an aggregate $414 million at an aggregate company value of $1.5 billion, a substantial increase over 2016. The biggest IPO the report cited this year was by software company ForeScout Technologies, which raised $116 million on NASDAQ in October.
New Year’s video in Times Square made by Israel’s Wibbitz
About one million revelers in New York City’s Times Square tonight will see a giant three-minute video summary of 2017’s top stories — made by Israeli text-to-video platform Wibbitz – as they wait for the 12-foot New Year’s Eve Ball to descend the flagpole atop One Times Square 10 seconds before midnight.

The video to be screened before midnight on the 25-story tower will be visible not only to the live crowds filling the square but also to TV viewers via ABC broadcast. The exposure is estimated to be worth $1.2 million.

The Wibbitz platform leverages artificial intelligence technology to transform text articles into bite-sized videos quickly, automatically and at scale for more than 500 content sites including Bloomberg, Reuters, AP, Time and Forbes.

The segments making up the New Year’s Eve clip were selected by popularity, based on the content preferences of online visitors. International news agency AP contributed the videos and photos of the selected events for the three-minute Wibbitz video.
Population of Israel: 8.8 million
The population of Israel is 8,793,000 people, 75% of which are Jews, according to data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics ahead of the year 2018.

The data also indicated that some 180,000 babies were born in Israel in the past year. Of these, 73.8% were Jews, 23.3% Arabs, and 2.9% from other groups.

According to the data, some 27,000 new immigrants arrived in Israel over the course of the year 2017.

The main countries from which immigrants arrived were Russia (27.1%), Ukraine (25.5%), France (13%), and the US (9.8%).

Most of the immigrants, some 20,200 people, arrived from Europe (75%). 4,200 arrived from America and Ukraine (15%), 1,400 arrived from Asia (5.1%) and 1,200 from Africa (4.3%).
Israel ranked No. 11 on OECD list of world's happiest countries
Israel just missed out on a place in the top 10 happiest countries on a list compiled by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development and was ranked No. 11.

However, Israel still came out ahead of Germany, the U.S., Japan, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Britain, Brazil, France and Mexico.

According to data from Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, over 93% of Israelis say they are happy or very happy with their lives. The happiest age groups were 20-24, 55-59, and 65-74. The number of Israelis aged 30-39, 45-49, and over 75 who said they were happy was lower, but still over 85%.

Israel also ranked 11th in terms of life expectancy, according to the OECD. The average Israeli lives 82.45 years, compared to the OECD average of 80.5. Countries with longer average life expectancy than Israel included Japan, Spain, Australia and most of Scandinavia. Israelis live, on average, longer than Canadians, Austrians, Belgians, Greeks, British, Danes, Germans, Americans, Turks, Poles, Hungarians and Mexicans.

The average life expectancy for women in Israel was 84.2 in 2017, compared to 79.5 in 1995 and 73.9 in 1975. The average life expectancy for men was 80.7 in 2017, compared to 75.5 in 1995 and 70.3 in 1973. Since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the average life expectancy for both men and women in Israel has increased by more than 10 years.

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"We say to him [Netanyahu], when he claims that they [Jews] have a historical right dating back to 3000 years B.C.E.—we say that the nation of Palestine upon the land of Canaan had a 7,000-year history B.C.E. This is the truth, which must be understood, and we have to note it, in order to say: 'Netanyahu, you are incidental in history. We are the people of history. We are the owners of history.'" - Mahmoud Abbas, May 14, 2011.

Dani Ishai Behan has a blog post for the Times of Israel entitled, Jesus Was Not A Palestinian, Or Even An Arab in which he argues that Jesus was not a Palestinian... or even an Arab.

He is, of course, correct and the very fact that he feels it necessary to remind us is because many Palestinian-Arabs do make ridiculous claims such as that "Jesus was the first Palestinian shaheed" and do so as part of the larger project of heritage theft against the Jewish people.

They also do so out of a not unjustified assumption concerning the idiocy and ideological blinkertude of the humanitarian racist West that enjoys blaming Jewish people for the violence against us.

This is no small matter, but it is the kind of thing that travels beneath the awareness of typical mainstream reporters.

Those who are less familiar with the Long Arab / Muslim War against the Jews of the Middle East then is Behan might wonder why he feels it necessary to acknowledge the obvious? The reason that he does so is because the war against the Jews is as much a propaganda campaign - a campaign for delegitimization - as it is a campaign of violence, terrorism, and physical intimidation for the purpose of driving Jews back into diaspora and, thus, helplessness.

The Phases of the Long Arab / Muslim War against the Jews include:
Phase 1, 1920 - 1947: Riots and Massacres

Phase 2, November 1947 - April 1948: The Civil War in Palestine

Phase 3, 1948 - 1973: Conventional Warfare

Phase 4, 1964 - Present: The Terror War

Phase 5, 1975 - Present: The Delegitimization Effort
When Palestinian-Arabs claim the Jewish historical figure of Jesus as a "Muslim martyr" they are engaged in the process of heritage theft.

The purpose of this cultural thievery is to displace the indigenous Jewish population with Arab colonists, both physically and culturally and to do so as a matter of self-righteous "social justice."

This is the insidious irony of the entire project. They are seeking to turn Palestinian-Arabs into the New Jews while transforming the Jewish people into the New Nazis. But most importantly it is to sew confusion in the minds of interested and well-meaning outsiders.

Parisian intellectuals, for example, have about as much collective knowledge of the Long Arab / Muslim War against the Jews as I have about Parisian intellectuals. That is, although such people have no idea about the conflict they are constantly encouraged to view it as one between a racist, colonialist, imperialist, apartheid, Jewish, war-machine versus a small, bunny-like, native population that wants nothing more than to be left in peace to tend their sacred olive groves.

The enemies of the Jewish people, throughout the Middle East and Europe, therefore fabricated the propagandistic illusion that the Jews are interlopers on historically Jewish land while the Arab colonists are the persecuted indigenous population.

Heritage theft is part of this process.

Although transforming the historical figure of Jesus into a Palestinian-Arab is probably the most ridiculous and audacious of such examples, it is certainly not the only one.

After all, if the Arabs can abscond with Jesus they can certainly take Anne Frank which is why we sometimes see her in a keffiyeh within circles associated with antisemitic anti-Zionism.

Another obvious example, as Behan points out, is the obscuring of Jewish history on Jewish land through the widely accepted usage of "West Bank" for Judea and Samaria. The truth is that the tiny bit of land along the eastern Mediterranean was known as Judah and Samaria for millennia.

As Behan writes:
Judaea is the Roman/Latin cognate of Judah, which is itself the Anglicized version of the Hebrew name for the land: ‘Yehudah’. We are called Jews/Yehudim because we come from Judea/Judah. The languages spoken there – Hebrew and Aramaic – formed part of the basis for diaspora tongues such as Yiddish.
Yet another example - one that I find particularly toxic and obnoxious - is the effort to equate the "Nakba" with the Holocaust.

The effort is to always balance the historical claims of the Jewish side with the ahistorical claims of their Palestinian-Arab enemies.

As Bashir Bashir, professor of Political Science at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and co-editor, along with Amos Goldberg of The Holocaust and the Nakba: Memory, National Identity and Jewish-Arab Partnership tells us concerning their edited volume:
Zionism tries to treat the Holocaust as both universal and particular: it is supposed to be significance to all of humanity, but it is also the patrimony of Zionism, which has the right to decide how it is invoked and understood. Putting the Holocaust and the Nakba together in a common frame disrupts this exceptionalism and is meant to provoke new thinking that exceeds the rigid, dichotomous, and oppositional boundaries of ethno-nationalism.
To be clear, neither Bashir, nor Goldberg, seek equivalence between the slaughter of the millions of Jews in Europe and the fact that some Arabs fled Israel, and some were driven from Israel, after launching a war against the Jews in November of 1947.

But, nonetheless, they are walking an exceedingly tight rope and it is not the least bit obvious that "putting the Holocaust and the Nakba together in a common frame" does anything other than draw an ethical equivalence, despite their suggestions otherwise.

What Dani Ishai Behan very well understands, but what most observers of the conflict do not, is that there is not the slightest ethical correspondence between the Nazi slaughter of the Jews in Europe and the efforts among Jewish Holocaust survivors to save themselves and their families from the Long Arab / Muslim War that long preceded the existence of Nazis and that continues to this day.

Following the death of Muhammad in the seventh-century, the Muslims of the Arabian Peninsula conquered the Byzantine Empire and almost went forward to conquer the entirety of Europe.

I am afraid that in doing so they do not also get to conquer either Jewish or Christian history.

Jesus was a Jew and everyone knows it.

When Palestinian-Arabs claim otherwise they make themselves look like fools.

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The Fatah Facebook page is gearing up for the 53rd anniversary of its first terror attack, and it has created posters for its heroes.

Heroes like Zainab Abu Salem, who murdered two Israelis in 2004 with a suicide bomb.

 The photo of her severed head, still in a hijab, was considered a wonderful thing by Fatah.

Another Paleastinian hero, according to Mahmoud Abbas' party:  Andalib Takatka.

She blew herself up at the Mahane Yehuda market in 2002, killing 6 innocent people.

Next is Wafa Idris, the first female suicide bomber.

She killed an 81-year old man in Jerusalem.

Dalal Mughrabi, responsible for the murder of 37 in the Coastal Road Massacre:

Ayat al-Akhras, who killed two at the entrance to a supermarket:

Fatah also commemorates Shadia Abu Ghazaleh, a PFLP member who died in 1968 while preparing a bomb:

This is who Mahmoud Abbas' party is teaching Palestinian children are heroes.

But don't blame him for no peace - he is a moderate, you see.

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I am just starting to read an excellent but fairly obscure book called The Fervent Embrace: Liberal Protestants, Evangelicals, and Israel by Caitlin Carenen.

It goes through how mainstream and other strains of American Protestants dealt with Jews and Israel from about 1930-2000.

The book is well researched - and every page illuminates the thinking of Protestants in America, in sometimes shocking ways.

During the 1930s, mainstream Protestants were antisemitic. They regarded Jews as people who must be assimilated into American society, meaning to become Christians. They protested Jewish immigration to the US. Many of their charismatic leaders openly touted the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as being legitimate.

Carenen documents all of this in scholarly detail.

The Christian Century, a mainstream Protestant periodical, was one of the more influential publications of the period. (It still exists.)

In this section from the book, we see how the Christian Century looked upon Zionism - in the same way that antisemitic Christians had traditionally looked at Jews.

It is obvious that this new reading of the crucifixion was meant to apply to modern Zionism. This is perhaps the first Christian theological argument against Zionism, and it is essentially a modern twist on blaming Jews for deicide - now they were blaming Zionists.

This is an early example of what has become part of today's accepted discourse, replacing the old, bad antisemitism with the new, progressive anti-Zionism.

This mainstream view changed, in fits and starts, from Kristallnacht and through the Holocaust, to the point that the leading Protestant Zionists had a huge impact on US policy (much to the consternation of the Arabist State Department.)

But before that happened, you will find that the next article I write about the Christian Century is mind-boggling.

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Saturday, December 30, 2017

From Ian:

Khaled Abu Toameh: How Palestinians Silence Palestinians
The talk that Al-Dayeh would soon be prosecuted before a Palestinian Authority "military" court aroused further surprise. Was the former bodyguard arrested, many wondered, for committing a serious security-related offense?

Speculation on the Palestinian street even reached the point of considering whether Al-Dayeh was being charged with spying for Israel. Or, perhaps this was the man who had put the "poison" in Arafat's soup and which, according to the conspiracy theorists, led to the death of their beloved leader and hero – Arafat.

For years, Palestinian leaders and officials have been telling us, without any evidence, that Israel was behind the "assassination" of Arafat and that it was carried out with the help of a Palestinian, whose identity remains unknown to this day. Could it be, they wondered, Al-Dayeh?

None of the above. Al-Dayeh apparently did not commit any crime against Palestinian security. Nor was he involved in the "assassination" of his father figure and boss.

According to Al-Dayeh's lawyer, Rawya Abu Zuheiri, her client is suspected of "bad-mouthing" senior officials and criticizing corruption of Palestinian leaders on Facebook. Al-Dayeh, she said, has been under interrogation on suspicion of establishing and managing two Facebook pages – "Sons of the Martyrs" and "No to Corruption." The Palestinian Authority claims that both accounts were used to wage a smear campaign against top Palestinian officials and accuse them of financial and administrative corruption.

Such are the main charges against Al-Dayeh; they are not related to any security issues, according to his lawyer. He has been ordered remanded into custody for 15 days for violating the Palestinian Authority's controversial Electronic Crimes Law. His lawyer, however, says there is only one small problem regarding the charges against Al-Dayeh: The man cannot read or write, and as such there is no way he could have posted the offensive remarks on Facebook. In other words, the lawyer is telling is that the man who was entrusted with the personal security of Arafat and was his closest confidant is illiterate.
Sohrab Amari: Iranians Shatter a New York Times Myth
So much for the New York Times theory that, thanks to Trumpian and Saudi bellicosity, the Iranian people have closed ranks behind their rulers. In November, the paper’s Tehran bureau chief, Thomas Erdbrink, devoted an extended feature to making this case, and it proved wildly popular with the pro-nuclear deal crowd in Washington.

“After years of cynicism, sneering or simply tuning out all things political,” wrote Erdbrink, “Iran’s urban middle classes have been swept up in a wave of nationalist fervor.” He went on: “Mr. Trump and the Saudis have helped the government achieve what years of repression could never accomplish: widespread public support for the hard-line view that the United States and Riyadh cannot be trusted.”

Erdbrink’s argument echoed rhetoric from Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Responding to October’s announcement of new U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Zarif tweeted: “Today, Iranians–boys, girls, men, women–are ALL IRGC.”

Or not.

This week, tens of thousands of Iranians took to the streets to register their anger, not at Donald Trump or the House of Saud, but at the mullahs and their security apparatus. It was economic grievances that initially ignited the protests in the northeastern city of Mashhad. But soon the uprising grew and spread to at least 18 cities nationwide. And the slogans shifted from joblessness and corruption to opposition to the Islamic Republic in toto. These included:

“Death to [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei!”

“Death to Hezbollah!”

“Not Gaza, Not Lebanon, Our Life Only for Iran!”

“We Will Die to Get Our Iran Back!”

“Clerics Out of Our Country!”
Elliott Abrams: The Iran Protests -- and The New York Times
The Times story is written by its bureau chief in Tehran, Thomas Erdbrink, one of the very few Western reporters (he is Dutch) accredited to report for U.S. media. Must he pull punches for fear of being expelled from Iran? After all, this is a regime that has invaded embassies (most recently, for example, the British Embassy in 2011) and in 2009 the entire BBC bureau there was shut down and the BBC’s correspondent expelled. In 2014, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian was arrested and then imprisoned for 18 months. He and his wife are now suing the government of Iran for their maltreatment and torture while in captivity.

So perhaps it is wise for reporters in Tehran to watch what they say. But the Times’s report and headline that these are merely economic protests are misleading. Both should be corrected.

Meanwhile the U.S. Department of State issued a very strong statement on these protests—which rightly regards them as political:

We are following reports of multiple peaceful protests by Iranian citizens in cities across the country. Iran’s leaders have turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. As President Trump has said, the longest-suffering victims of Iran's leaders are Iran’s own people.

The United States strongly condemns the arrest of peaceful protesters. We urge all nations to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption.

On June 14, 2017, Secretary Tillerson testified to Congress that he supports “those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of government. Those elements are there, certainly as we know.” The Secretary today repeats his deep support for the Iranian people.

The Iranian people rose up against their oppressors in June 2009. Now we are again seeing that this regime rules by brute force, is widely despised, and would be dismissed by the people if ever they got a chance to vote freely.

The Islamic Brew of Racism, Apartheid, and Slavery
While the world is in a dither about America recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, it is, predictably, totally unconcerned about the constant and ongoing practice of "legally or culturally enforced discrimination and/or persecution based on a person's race or national identity" – to wit, apartheid – in the Muslim world. Consider that:

- Arab League states discriminate against and exclude Palestinians because of their national identity.
- Palestinian refugees have been denied citizenship for two generations or more in Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.
- Palestinians have been expelled from many Middle Eastern countries – e.g., Kuwait, Jordan, Libya, and Iraq.
- In Lebanon, Palestinians must live in designated areas, cannot own homes, and are barred from 70 occupations.

And yet, every year, universities across America host Israel Apartheid Week despite the fact that "Israel actually is the only apartheid-free state in the Middle East – a state whose Arab population enjoys full equality before the law and more prerogatives than most ethnic minorities in the free world, from the designation of Arabic as an official language to the recognition of non-Jewish religious holidays as legal days of rest."

Contrast this with the fact that Muslim religiously based apartheid continues, since "Muslims historically view themselves as superior to all others and consider non-Muslims or kuffars as dhimmis." Thus, Christians, Jews, and Bahá'í remain second-class citizens throughout the Muslim world. Racism is rampant in the Arab world, and "Africans of sub-Saharan descent are held in deep contempt, a vestige of the region's historical role as epicenter of the international slave trade."

And while Palestinian refugees are championed by the Arab world, they are treated like outcasts. Khaled Abu Toameh writes, "[I]t was revealed that the Iraqi government has approved a new law that effectively abolishes the rights given to Palestinians living there. The new law changes the status of Palestinians from nationals to foreigners." In sum, "[t]he hypocrisy of the Arab countries is in full swing. While they pretend to show solidarity with their Palestinian brothers, Arab governments work tirelessly to ethnically cleanse them. Palestinian leaders, meanwhile[,] care nothing about the plight of their own people in Arab countries. They are much too busy inciting Palestinians against Israel and Trump[.]"
Palestinian envoy to Pakistan shares stage with Mumbai attacks mastermind
India harshly protested to the Palestinian Authority Friday, after the Palestinian ambassador to Pakistan shared a stage in a rally held in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi with leader of the Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist organization and mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks Hafiz Muhammad Saeed.

Indian media outlets reported the country's government announced its displeasure to the Palestinians in no uncertain terms. Spokesman for the Indian Foreign Ministry Raveesh Kumar said, "We are taking up the matter strongly with the Palestinian ambassador in New Delhi and with the Palestinian authorities."

Palestinian ambassador Walid Abu Ali's photos from Pakistan were disseminated on social media after it was reported he had attended a rally organized by the Difa-e-Pakistan Council in a Rawalpindi park.

The Difa-e-Pakistan Council, or Defense of Pakistan Council, is an umbrella organization for some 40 religious and extremists' group from Pakistan that regularly attacks India.

The organization's leader is Saeed, accused by India of masterminding the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai that claimed the lives of 173 people. Saeed is on the United Nations and United States' list of recognized terrorists, at India's request.

The rally was intended to exert pressure on Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to convene an Islamic summit meeting to "defend Jerusalem from Israel."

The Palestinian ambassador's presence at a rally organized by Lashkar-e-Taiba could be considered a slap in the face to India, who only last week voted in the UN in favor of a resolution disavowing President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Indian media reported New Delhi was "surprised and shocked" at Abu Ali's attendance of the rally. (h/t Zvi)
Why I Left Iran to Play Chess in America
Right now in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the World Chess Championships are underway. But some world champions are noticeably absent: The Israeli players were blocked from participating when Saudi Arabia denied them visas.

Chess — a game that I have loved since I first sat down at a board — is pure. It doesn’t care about gender, ethnicity, nationality, status or politics. But too often the countries, organizations and people who enforce the rules in the world of chess are anything but.

This is a subject I know something about.

I was the second-highest-ranked player for girls under 18 in the world in 2016. I am the second-highest-ranked female chess player in Iranian history. And yet my passion for the game has taken me thousands of miles away from my home in Tehran to seek citizenship here in the United States.

From 2011 until 2015 I played for the Iranian national team. I had to follow the official Iranian dress code, which requires women to cover their hair in public. I understood that being a member of the team meant that I was an official representative of the country, so I never broke the rules. But I chafed under them.

By 2015, when I was 17 years old, it was clear to me that other things mattered more to the federation than talent. Just one example: I had won the Asian championship three times in a row when I arrived at the tournament in India in 2014. I was favored to win, given my record. Yet federation officials weren’t focused on my game, but on my clothing. On the very first day of the tournament, they told me my jeans were too tight. I told them I would not participate in the round unless they stopped scolding me.

In the end, I played and won that tournament in India. But time and time again, those in charge of the Iranian national team showed that they cared more about the scarf covering my hair than the brain under it.
GOODBYE, OBAMA: Trump State Department Supports Iran Protesters, Says Iran Exports 'Bloodshed'
On Friday, the Trump Administration showed in one more way why it is 180 degrees from the Obama Administration terms if foreign policy. As peaceful protests against the Iranian theocratic and despotic regime occurred in Iran, the State Department issued a statement supporting the protesters and bluntly stating that it “strongly condemns the arrest of peaceful protesters.”

The statement also took no protesters regarding the effect of the theocratic regime on Iran, asserting, “Iran’s leaders have turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos.”

The State Department’s support of the protesters challenging the Iranian regime are a welcome sign after the Obama Administration’s pusillanimous reaction when Iranian reformers launched their Green Revolution on June 12, 2009 after the announcement that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been re-elected as Iran’s president.

On June 15, Obama would only say, “The world is watching and inspired by their participation, regardless of what the ultimate outcome of the election was,” despite the widespread conviction that the election had been stolen. As Wall Street Journal chief foreign correspondent Jay Solomon wrote in his book, The Iran Wars, the White House instructed the CIA to eschew giving help to the protesters. Solomon wrote, “The Agency has contingency plans for supporting democratic uprisings anywhere in the world. This includes providing dissidents with communications, money, and in extreme cases even arms. But in this case the White House ordered it to stand down.”
Report: 3 protesters shot dead by Revolutionary Guards as Iran rallies intensify
Three Iranian protesters were shot dead by the Revolutionary Guards at a Saturday night demonstration in central Iran, the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya network reported, citing local reports.

There was no immediate confirmation of the incident, which reportedly took place in Doroud, in the Loerstan province.

Footage from Iranian opposition websites showed thousands participating in the nationwide anti-regime demonstrations, with some calling for the death of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iranian social media accounts posted videos of demonstrators tearing down regime billboards featuring Khamenei’s photo.

A swirl of online rumors, combined with travel restrictions and a near-total media blackout from official agencies, made it difficult to verify footage.

The semi-official Fars news agency said 70 students protested at Tehran University, throwing rocks at police. They reportedly chanted “Death to the dictator,” in reference to Khamenei.
Iranian protests escalate, government cancels schools and trains
Anti-government protests broke out in Iran for the third day running on Saturday as separate state-sponsored rallies were staged to mark the end of unrest that shook the country in 2009, according to Iranian news agencies and state media.

State television showed a rally in the capital Tehran as well as marchers carrying banners in support of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Mashhad, Iran's second largest city where protests over prices turned political on Thursday.

Iranian authorities have arrested 50 people since protests erupted across the country on Wednesday.

State-sponsored mass rallies were scheduled in more than 1,200 cities and towns, state TV said - events held annually to commemorate the end of months of street protests that followed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election as president.

The Iranian government declared that trains and schools will be closed on Sunday because of the protests.
On 3rd day of anti-regime protests, Iran blames US, Israel for stirring unrest
Iranian state-controlled media on Saturday characterized the worst anti-regime protests in eight years as masterminded by American, British, and Israeli spies seeking “to stir unrest” in the Islamic republic.

The regime on Saturday warned protesters against holding fresh demonstrations, and organized rallies by hardline supporters, after protests spread Thursday and Friday into several cities including Tehran. Fifty-two people were arrested in Iran’s second most populous city of Mashhad on Thursday. State news channel IRINN said it had been banned from covering the protests.

The semi-official Fars News Agency said pro-regime demonstrators, in “resolutions” issued at the end of counter-rallies on Saturday, had warned against “any kind of move masterminded by the anti-revolutionary forces and the US, British, and Israeli spy agencies to stir unrest and dissidence in Iran.”

It claimed Washington, London, and Jerusalem played “pivotal roles” in the 2009 Green Movement protests against the reelection of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Fars said pro-regime protesters had “further reiterated their everlasting allegiance to Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei.”
Alan M. Dershowitz: Debating BDS with Cornel West
West argued that BDS would encourage Israel to make peace with the Palestinians. I replied that Israel would never be blackmailed into compromising its security, and that the Palestinians are disincentivized into making compromises by the fantasy that they will get a state through economic and cultural extortion. The Palestinians will get a state only by sitting down and negotiating directly with Israel. I told my mother's favorite joke about Sam, an Orthodox Jew, who prayed every day to win the N.Y. Lottery before he turned 80. On his 80th birthday, he complains to God that he hasn't won. God replies, "Sam, help me out a little – buy a ticket." I argued that the Palestinians expect to "win" a state without "buying a ticket" -- sitting down to negotiate a compromise solution.

The debate in its entirety – which was conducted in front of an audience of business people in Dallas, Texas, as part of the "Old Parkland Debate Series" – continued with broad arguments about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the refugee situation, the peace process, terrorism and other familiar issues. It can be seen in full on CSPAN. I think it is worth watching.

The audience voted twice, once before the debate and once after. The final tally was 129 opposed to BDS and 16 in favor. The vote before the debate was 93 opposed and 14 in favor. I swayed 36 votes. West swayed 2. The anti-BDS position won overwhelmingly, not because I am a better debater than West – he is quite articulate and everyone watching the CSPAN can judge for themselves who is the better debater – but because the facts, the morality and the practicalities are against BDS.

The important point is never to give up on making the case against unjust tactics being employed against Israel. In some forums – at the United Nations, at numerous American University campuses, in some parts of Western Europe – it is an uphill battle. But it is a battle that can be won among open-minded people of all backgrounds. BDS lost in Dallas. BDS lost in a debate between me and an articulate human rights activist at the Oxford Union. BDS is losing in legislative chambers. And if the case is effectively and honestly presented, it will lose in the court of public opinion.
Cornel West and Alan Dershowitz Debate Israeli Palestinian Conflict & BDS Movement (starts 1:30)

Five Key Moments in US-Israel Relations in 2017
Love him or hate him, 2017 was a year dominated by President Donald Trump.

The US-Israel relationship was no stranger to that phenomenon, ranging from Trump’s visit to the Jewish state in May, to his historic decision on Jerusalem in December. At the same time, some of this year’s other major stories in the Israeli-American arena had little or nothing to do with Trump.

Here are five key moments in US-Israel relations that took place during the past year:

Trump’s policy changes on Jerusalem
On December 6, Trump recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, and declared plans to eventually move the US embassy in Israel to that city. The president called the policy changes “long overdue,” and said that recognition of Jerusalem as the capital is “obvious” given that all of Israel’s government bodies — from the Knesset to the prime minister’s residence — are located there.

“This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality,” said Trump. “It is also the right thing to do.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Trump’s decision reflected the “commitment to an ancient but enduring truth, to fulfilling his promises and to advancing peace.”

A ‘new sheriff in town’ at the UN
Trump’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has been determined to change the culture of bias against Israel at the world body. At the AIPAC Policy Conference in March, Haley described herself as the “new sheriff in town” at the UN, and vowed that she would “kick [anti-Israel elements] every single time” that they displayed their bias.

Indeed, Haley has taken aim at UN bodies that have repeatedly and disproportionately targeted Israel, including the Human Rights Council and the UNESCO cultural agency. In October, the US announced that it would pull out of UNESCO due to its “anti-Israel bias.”

In the wake of Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem, Haley blamed the world body for being the real obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace, and vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that called for the withdrawal of the US recognition of Jerusalem. When the same resolution was passed by the UN General Assembly, Haley said that the vote “will be remembered.” And before the vote, she said that the US would be “taking names” of countries that supported the UN condemnation of Trump’s Jerusalem move.

Haley’s series of moves defending Israel at the UN came after the departing Obama administration, in December 2016, refused to veto a Security Council resolution that condemned Israel’s settlement policy and described eastern Jerusalem as “occupied Palestinian territory.”
Trump Is Right: Terrorism and Iran Are the Middle East’s Major Problems
If, therefore, the Arab war on Israel is a distinct conflict generally unrelated to other regional flash points, it should be obvious that for the US to declare it to be the head and font of all the region’s woes is both absurd and damaging to American interests, for several reasons.

First, it is nonsense — and nonsense is a poor and reckless basis for policy. Whatever international pieties the US thereby observes, flat-earth pronouncements of this type communicate to an Arab world that knows better a message of American incomprehension and thus a lack of credibility.

Second, an Israeli/Palestinian peace agreement, were it even presently attainable, would not solve other regional problems, which are rooted in the region’s ideological and religious pathologies.

Third, asserting the centrality of Israelis and Palestinians to regional turbulence benefits no-one but Arab despots, who avail themselves of US preoccupation with this issue to continue, blissfully unhindered, in incubating radical Islamic movements and repressing their subjects. This in turn leads successive administrations into pursuing foredoomed Arab/Israeli diplomatic initiatives, whose inevitable failure is then attributed to America and Israel.

How precisely this serves American interests has yet to be explained.

Accordingly, making a fetish of an alleged Israeli/Palestinian ‘peace process’ squanders American resources, credibility and standing.

Why should the US talk up a bogus peace process? Why should Washington go out of its way to reap failure and blame?

President Trump’s officials are still at work framing the contours of an ‘ultimate deal.’ However, if the new strategy is any guide, it will be wisely prioritizing dealing with the genuinely regional threats that confront America and its allies, not on seeking the Holy Grail of an Israeli/Palestinian Arab peace.
Anger at German FM after he repeats that Israel is an apartheid regime
German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel reiterated his description of Israeli policies in the disputed territories as embodying the former apartheid regime in South Africa, prompting fierce criticism on Friday from Jewish human rights organizations and a leading German Jewish activist.

"There are two central narratives to Jewish history in the 20th century, the Holocaust and the establishment of the State of Israel. Sigmar Gabriel has already tried to undermine the core of each of them.

By falsely claiming that Israel is an 'apartheid state,' he denies its democratic basis, which is a central tenet of Israeli statehood since its establishment, and legitimizes unjust attacks on the Jewish state for sins committed on a regular basis by all its neighbors but not by Israel," Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the head of the Jerusalem Office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center ,told The Jerusalem Post.

Zuroff, the organization's Chief Nazi-Hunter, added, "In the past Gabriel claimed that Social Democrats suffered the same fate as Jews during the Third Reich, a ridiculous assertion with no basis in fact, that undermines the uniqueness of the Holocaust and falsely relativizes the uniquely horrific fate of European Jewry at the hands of the Nazis and their helpers."
German Jewish Leader Warns That Jews May Require Police Protection As Anti-Semitism Escalates
Former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany Charlotte Knobloch claims that Jews are increasingly under threat in public and may require police protection to lead a normal life without harassment and violence.

Ms Knobloch, who is now the President of the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria, said that Jews are increasingly under threat, Die Welt reports.

“Aggressive anti-Semitism, from verbal hostility on the Internet and in the analogue world to desecration and destruction to physical attacks are commonplace in Germany,” she said.

“Jewish life can only take place in public under police protection and the strictest security precautions, or it must be completely cancelled for security reasons,” Knobloch added.

The Jewish leader spoke about several recent anti-semitic cases including the vandalism of a Menorah in the city of Heilbronn, and the cancellation of a public Menorah lighting in Mülheim/Ruhr due to security issues.
France sets up tax dept to investigate Jews
In Paris's 12th arrondissement, on Bercy Street by the banks of the River Seine, on the 13th floor of the Ministry of Finance is France's tax authority headquarters. Something has been afoot there recently that is liable to upset French Jews and spook their relations with the country in which they live. Under the radar, a secret department has been created with the sole purpose of handling tax evasion by French Jews. "Globes" can reveal for the first time the details of the secret department that is targeting Jews in France and new immigrants from France in Israel.

Sources inform "Globes" that over the past year, the tax authority in the Fifth Republic founded a special department for dealing with French Jews. The department currently has 20 Hebrew-speaking employees, and is in the process of hiring five more. This extraordinary department is one of a kind. Tax authorities do not usually establish departments targeting a specific nationality or religion. The action is astonishing, especially when the country involved is France, which is constitutionally defined as a secular republic that refrains from "marking" people according to their religion. Tax authorities around the world do establish teams to deal with sectors whose tax reporting is questionable. They target a specific market when there is concern that it contains a large amount of unreported capital, such as the real estate market or the diamond market. Setting up a specific department dealing with a designated nationality or religion, however, is not an accepted practice.

The only "department" ostensibly close in character to this secret French department is a new department established in the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for dealing with cases of Israelis, American-Israelis, and Americans with assets and money in Israel. This US department, however, resulted from the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) signed by Israel and the US, in which huge amounts of information are transferred by the countries about their taxpayers, and someone has to handle that information. This was not the purpose for which the department was set up in the French tax authority. (h/t Jewess)
Michael Oren says IDF should ‘shoot to kill’ suspected terrorists
Michael Oren tweeted that the Israel Defense Forces should “shoot to kill” suspected terrorists, rather than just “neutralize” them.

Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States who serves as a deputy minister in Israel’s Knesset, made the call for extrajudicial killing while tweeting Wednesday about Omar al-Abed, who was convicted on the same day of murdering three Israelis in a July attack on the West Bank settlement of Halamish.

Oren tweeted that al-Abed, whose name he spelled differently, attacked medics after being “neutralized” by Israeli forces. Israel uses the term “neutralized” to describe a suspected terrorist who no longer poses a physical threat. Oren said that al-Abed “sat healthy and smiling in court” at his military court date Wednesday, despite having committed the attack.

In July, Al-Abed entered a home in Halamish and stabbed three family members to death as they were eating Shabbat dinner. The military advocate general is seeking four consecutive life sentences for Al-Abed.

The question of when it is appropriate for soldiers to kill suspected terrorists became a divisive topic in Israel last year after Elor Azaria, an IDF medic, shot dead an alleged terrorist who was incapacitated and lying on the ground. Despite protests on Azaria’s behalf, he was convicted of manslaughter in January and sentenced to 18 months in prison, later shortened to 14 months. Leading Israeli politicians, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have called for Azaria to be pardoned, but Israeli President Reuven Rivlin rejected the pardon requests in November.

Ahed Tamimi case is about child exploitation by anti-Israel activists
The Tamimi Clan of Nabi Saleh and their Western supporters exploit children in order to obtain viral video and photographs.

The children are used to try to provoke Israeli Border Police and soldiers. If the provocation is successful, which it almost never is, they get a photo of an Israeli being brutal towards a child. In almost every case, though, there is no reaction from the soldiers, so the video and photos are spun as reflecting “brave” Palestinian children and the “weak” Israeli soldiers.

The Tamimis are experts at manipulating images and press coverage of these child demonstrators.

The leading proponent of this tactic is Bassem Tamimi and others in the Tamimi media operation. For extensive documentations, including social media, videos and images, see our posts, Bassem Tamimi and the Use of Children as Political Props and Palestinian Child Exploitation – 10-year old “Journalist” Janna Jihad.

The children are then raised as symbols of Palestinian resistance and glorified not only by Palestinian social media, but by Western left-wing anti-Israel supporters of the Tamimis.
Bassem Tamimi Promotes The Use of Children

There is nothing organic or natural to children becoming provocateurs trying to incite confrontation. It is all planned and deliberate by the Tamimis as part of their media strategy.

To Bassem, in his own words, children must be at the forefront of what he calls the “national movement,” which in the case of the Tamimis includes terror-support.

Bassem promotes even young children participating:
Three kinds of anti-Semitism in Labour ranks, Momentum leader admits
The Labour Party has three separate “categories” of anti-Semitism but has “a lot of denial” that the problem exists, the founder of the Corbynite group Momentum has admitted.

Jon Lansman, who is himself Jewish, said Labour must do more to “stamp out” anti-Semitism in the party, though he said there is no “one size fits all” solution to the problem.

Mr Lansman, 60, has successfully shifted the Labour Party to the far Left by marshalling support for far-Left candidates in the general election, as well as backing Mr Corbyn’s leadership.

The party has been dogged by growing accusations of anti-Semitism under Mr Corbyn, who has in the past described the anti-Israeli militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends”. Speaking at the Limmud Festival of Jewish learning and culture in Birmingham, Mr Lansman said: “There is anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, I think it falls into three categories.

“There’s the kind of petty remarks about big noses, which are dreadful, completely unacceptable anti-Semitism. People make petty xenophobic remarks and some are made against Jews. I don’t think there’s much of that in Labour.

“There’s the anti-Semitism that arrives from the Israel-Palestine conflict. We all understand that when that conflict heats up, it results in dreadful anti-Semitism. It shouldn’t result in that, but it does.

“The third type is extremely rare, it’s the real old-school anti-Semitism that believes in blood libels and so on. I don’t think there’s a lot of that. But there is a lot of denial of anti-Semitism.” (h/t Zvi)
Edgar Davidson: Leftists’ definition of what is and isn’t antisemitism
This actually applies not just to leftists but to most of the main stream media, including especially Jewish newspapers such as the Jerusalem Post and Jewish Chronicle which have been at the forefront of pushing the "Criticising Soros is antisemitic" nonsense (while insisting that people like Corbyn are not antisemites)..

Lorde, Did She Pick a Bad Time to Boycott Israel!
Pop singer Lorde, in explaining her decision to cancel a performance in Israel, described herself as an “informed young citizen,” who finally read up on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Billboard magazine reported on December 24.

Events of the week though have conspired to show that that pop star is far from being fully informed about the conflict and is just a recent rare trophy for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) campaign that seeks to delegitimize Israel. Though the founders of BDS are quite clear in their statements that their goal is to destroy Israel, they cloak the campaign in the language of Palestinian rights.

The campaign itself, often overstates or even lies about its successes. For years BDS claimed that the American rock band The Pixies and legendary guitarist Carlos Santana had joined the boycott Israel. Both had canceled concerts for their own reasons but subsequently performed in Israel, demonstrating that they weren’t part of the campaign.

Other artists have stood up to the pressure tactics of the BDS campaign. This year, notably, Nick Cave of the Bad Seeds and Thom Yorke of Radiohead spoke out against BDS as they performed in Tel Aviv.

Yorke called BDS “offensive” and “partronizing” in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine ahead of his bands trip to Israel.
Lorde Is Swimming in Antisemitic Waters
Come to think of it, did I mention that Lorde has not cancelled her plans to perform in St. Petersburg and Moscow? That’s odd — because the Russian government has been credibly accused not only of abetting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government as it slaughtered tens of thousands of civilians, but also of itself targeting hospitals in Aleppo. And the Aleppo campaign was merely an update of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brutal, civilian-targeting campaign in Chechnya. If Lorde accepts the logic of Sachs and Abu-Shanab, then her concerts in Russia will support all these actions, not to speak of Russian aggression in Ukraine. They will also support Russian authoritarianism, which the Freedom House amply documents in its assessment of Russia as “not free.” The Putin administration has almost no regard for political freedom, civil liberties or freedom of the press. But we won’t think Lorde’s concerts are pro-Putin, because the logic Lorde has accepted is a sort of magic logic that — what luck — applies only to Jewish states.

The singling out of Israel by the BDS movement, the United Nations and others as the country most deserving of reproach is antisemitic on its face. Nonetheless, that Lorde was hoodwinked by BDS reflects not personal anti-Jewish bias, but something worse — the infiltration of such bias into the terms of our ordinary political discourse. Lorde, like many others more or less honestly trying to do the right thing, is swimming in polluted waters.
Jerry Seinfeld spotted at Tel Aviv’s ‘best’ falafel shop
Hours after landing in Israel, the comedian Jerry Seinfeld was spotted at a well-known falafel eatery ahead of his two shows there.

Wearing a blue polo shirt and a New York Mets baseball cap, Seinfeld was photographed ordering food on Friday at Falafel Hakosem, an eatery situated half a mile east of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Israel’s Channel 2’s food critic earlier this year proclaimed the falafel joint the best of its kind in Tel Aviv, Ynet reported.

Seinfield, one of the most famous Jewish comedians of all time, is scheduled to perform at Tel Aviv’s Menorah Mivtachim Arena on Saturday night. He performed four sold-out shows in a row there during his previous visit to Israel in 2015.
2017 breaks tourism record with 3.6 million visitors
Some 3.6 million tourists visited Israel in 2017.

The figure, an all-time record, represents a 25-percent increase over the previous year, the Israeli business daily Globes reported, citing Tourism Ministry statistics.

The largest number of tourists, close to 700,000, came from the United States. Tourists from Russia represented the second-largest group, with some 307,000 tourists. They were followed by France, with 284,000, Germany with 202,000 and the United Kingdom with 185,000.
Jewish men pray at the Western Wall on June 1, 2017. (Dudi Cohen/Flash90)

Some 59% of the tourists were visiting Israel for the first time, according to Globes. Twenty-five percent said the purpose of their visit was religious or a pilgrimage. Some 24% said they were visiting relatives and friends, and 23% said they were planning on touring and hiking. Six percent came with an organized tour package.

Jerusalem was a destination for 78% of tourists in 2017, followed by Tel Aviv-Jaffa at 67%, the Dead Sea at 49 percent and Tiberias and the Galilee region at 35%.

The Tourism Ministry reported that the 2017 tourism contributed some $5.8 billion to Israel’s economy.

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