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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

From Ian:

Edwin Black: Replacing the UN with ‘The Covenant of Democratic Nations’
For years, foreign policy critics, politicians and outraged members of the general public have been urging the US to defund and quit the United Nations. Some have advocated that a rival or successor organization should be established. Now there is a movement calling to “defund and replace” the troubled organization with a new world body: The Covenant of Democratic Nations. This writer has been a participating witness to the birth of that movement.
Just days after controversial UN Security Council Resolution 2334 declared, among other things, that Israel’s Jewish connection to the Western Wall was effectively illegal, concrete replacement action began. It started with proposing an official international conference to endorse a diplomatic convention that would be ratified by countries as a binding treaty. The entire process would be limited to nations governed by democratic principles. Each member would or could defund the United Nations, while it labored to construct a successor entity dedicated to world peace along democratic principles with equal respect for all people regardless of religion, gender, race, identity or national origin. This body would also include a mechanism to resolve disputes.
A prime mission of the new world organization would be to re-ratify, amend or nullify all acts and resolutions of the United Nations and its agencies such as UNESCO. Just as unjust American laws perpetrating slavery, Jim Crow, segregation and institutional inequality were overturned, updated and reformed, so too could the damage done by the UN. Sensibly, most CDN nations would remain as vestigial members of the UN, overseeing its collapse — just like when the League of Nations was dissolved after World War II and replaced with the present UN.
Caroline Glick: The lessons of Roosevelt’s failures
The American Jewish uproar at Trump’s actions shows first and foremost the cynicism of the leftist Jewish leadership.
It isn’t simply that left-wing activists like Hetfield and Eisner cynically ignore that Trump’s order is based on Obama’s policies, which they didn’t oppose.
It is that in their expressed concerned for would-be Muslim refugees to the US they refuse to recognize that the plight of Muslims as Muslims in places like Syria and Iraq is not the same as the plight of Christians and Yazidis as Christians and Yazidis in these lands.
The “Jews” in the present circumstances are not the Muslims, who are nowhere targeted for genocide.
The “Jews” in the present circumstances are the Christians and Yazidis and other religious minorities, whom Trump’s impassioned Jewish opponents and Obama’s impassioned Jewish champions fail to defend.
Trump’s executive order is far from perfect. But in making the distinction between the hunters and the hunted and siding with the latter against the former, Trump is showing that he is not a bigot.
Unlike his critics, he has learned the lessons of Roosevelt’s moral failure and is working to ensure that the US acts differently today.
Shmuley Boteach: Playing politics with the US Holocaust Museum
The gravest sin he committed, however, one which should disqualify him for any association with the Holocaust Museum, is his complicity in the genocide in Syria.
Like Nero, Obama has figuratively fiddled while Syria burned. After stating that Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his opponents would cross a red line that would trigger a US military response, Obama failed to back up his threat. This cowardly act was universally viewed by friends and foes alike in the Middle East as a sign of weakness, and left allies, including Israel, questioning whether they could depend on the US to protect their interests.
Fortunately for Obama, he had Rhodes to manipulate the “echo chamber” and sell the amoral narrative that America could not act to stop war crimes and genocide in Syria because it would jeopardize nuclear talks with Iran.
A bystander to genocide has no business in a position of honor or responsibility at an institution devoted to documenting past genocides and preventing future ones.
Rhodes was worse than a bystander, he was an active participant in the decision not to act to prevent the slaughter.
President Trump should call for Rhodes’ immediate resignation. In addition, a campaign should be conducted through the echo chamber calling on the chairman and the rest of the museum’s council to remove Rhodes forthwith to prevent his presence from tarnishing the reputation and mission of this vital institution.

Fascism is a disease… meet the cure: Gerry Gable
He may have just celebrated his 80th birthday, but the renowned anti-fascist activist Gerry Gable is fizzing with plans to continue his great life’s work.
And though he began his war against fascism and racism after the Second World War — and has seen off the likes of the National Front and the British National Party — Gable warns that the threat “is greater than ever. They [the fascists] are much more sophisticated and we are seeing situations where the Russians are backing them, and in turn they are recruiting not just skinheads and bovver boys, but kids from upper-class backgrounds.”
Gerry Gable’s CV defies belief in its breadth of activity, from journalist to TV documentary maker, from academic to specialist adviser to the police. His targets have included “politicians, bent cops and organised crime”, but this tough Jewish campaigner is best known for his role on Searchlight, the anti-fascist publication, and his encyclopedic knowledge of the dark world of the extreme right.
Mark Gardner, communications director of the Community Security Trust (CST) is well aware that Gable is a one-off. He says: “Gerry is extraordinary. For decades, he has made an utterly unique contribution to the fight against fascism, racism and anti-Semitism. His impact is an enduring one, because he has not only undermined the far right at every turn to all our benefits but his research also underpins our knowledge of this entire political area.”
Throughout his long career, Gable is proudest of having been a constant thorn in the side of the Holocaust denier David Irving, beginning back in 1963 when he confronted Irving in Irving’s own home.
Muslim Brotherhood Front Organizations, U.S. and Canada
The 2008 Holy Land Relief terrorism funding criminal trial resulted in multiple convictions and was touted as the one of the largest terrorism financing trials in American history. Expectations were high that the 2008 trial would be followed by further trials involving the listed unindicted co-conspirators such as CAIR USA and the Islamic Society of North America.
However, with the appointment of Eric Holder as the U.S. Attorney General in 2009, all further actions on this file appear to have been frozen. Holder would later speak at a conference supporting one of the unindicted co-conspirators.
It is not clear if the ongoing criminal investigation focuses only on those individuals leading IRFAN at the time of its delisting as a charity and listing as a terrorism entity, or if the investigation also includes those who helped found IRFAN. This may be an important distinction, as the Canada Revenue Agency stated that IRFAN was deliberately created and designed to circumvent Canadian terrorism-funding rules.
It appears possible that the Trump Administration will crack down on Islamist extremist groups in the USA. This would likely have a spill-over effect into Canada and Europe, though greater attention to border security and issues of funding terrorism.
NGO Monitor: CIDSE/NGO Political Campaign Exacerbates Friction between Israel and the EU
In January 2017, the church umbrella organization CIDSE’s Palestine-Israel Working Group (made up of 18 organizations from Europe and North America) released a document titled “No Place Like Home: A Reader On The Forced Internal Displacement Of Palestinians In The Occupied Palestinian Territory And Israel.” The working group includes: Broederlijk Delen (Belgium), Catholic Agency for Overseas Development [CAFOD] – (UK), CCFD-Terre Solidaire (France), MISEREOR (Germany) and Trócaire (Ireland). The document cited a number of political NGOs, including Adalah and Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC).
CIDSE’s press release quotes Brigitte Herremans, Broederlijk Delen’s “Policy Officer for Israel and Palestine.” Herremans is a major supporter of lawfare and BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel, and in September 2016, was denied entry to Israel. Herremans has also called on the EU “to confront Israel” over alleged “systematic violations of international law.” Similarly, Broederlijk Delen, along with CCFD, Trócaire, and others produced the 2012 report “Trading Away Peace,” which lobbied the EU to impose economic sanctions on Israel. Broederlijk Delen, along with the other CIDSE group members, also fund politicized non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including some of the organizations cited in the document.
The CIDSE document appears to be designed as a tool to be used for lobbying the European Union. The stated objective for the document is “to highlight the causes and impacts of displacement, explain the basic international legal principles relating to displacement and place this within the context of the European Union’s response” (p. 13). Indeed, each chapter has a section titled “The European Union’s Response.”
In order to Discuss Islam and Anti-Semitism Candidly, France May Need a First Amendment
France, unlike the U.S., offers no formal guarantees of its citizens’ right to freedom of speech, in part because this right is deeply ingrained in French politics and culture. But, argues Michel Gurfinkiel, two recent instances in which Jewish intellectuals were sued for writing about Islam suggests that this needs to change. Take, for example, the case of Georges Bensoussan:
Bensoussan, sixty-four, is a French academic of Moroccan-Jewish origin, specializing in the history of modern Judaism, anti-Semitism, and the Holocaust, and the author of several seminal books on these issues. . . . During a debate aired on France-Culture (France’s cultural government-run radio station) on October 15, 2015, Bensoussan remarked that anti-Semitism was deeply rooted in the family culture of French Muslims. [Paraphrasing the work of] an Algerian sociologist, Smaïn Laacher, . . . Bensoussan . . . used a colloquial French expression: “in Arab families, . . . anti-Semitism is being ingested with the mother’s milk.”
Many politically correct intellectuals or organizations charged Bensoussan of using “biological,” meaning inherently “racist,” vocabulary. Interestingly enough, no Muslim, North African, or anti-racist group formally sued Bensoussan in court. Chances are that lawyers warned about the paucity of the charges. However, one group, the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF), “signaled” the matter to the public prosecutor’s office at the very last moment. And it is the public prosecutor’s office—which, under French law, belongs to the government’s judiciary branch—that resolved to prosecute Bensoussan. . . .
Socialist primary winner in France had backing of anti-Semites
A left-wing politician in France who was endorsed by the founders of the country's Anti-Zionist Party handily defeated Prime Minister Manuel Valls in the Socialist presidential primaries.
Benoit Hamon, who supports dramatically expanding welfare payments and has called for his party to support Palestinian causes to increase its appeal to Muslim voters, beat his hard-line challenger Sunday with 58 percent of the vote in the second and final round of the balloting.
Last week, the comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala and the far-right author Alain Soral -- who along with founding the Anti-Zionist Party both have multiple convictions for Holocaust denial and inciting racial hatred against Jews – endorsed Hamon publicly. Hamon disavowed Soral and Dieudonne.
Soral wrote on his website that voting for Hamon was necessary to “knock Valls out of the race” because he is “a candidate who swore allegiance to the CRIF and to Israel be it through policy, media exposure, judicial means or by deploying the police." CRIF is the umbrella group of French Jewish communities.
IsraellyCool: Film On Arab-Israeli Women An Inconvenience For The Haters
A film about Arab-Israeli women living in Tel Aviv is making waves.
A film about Arab-Israeli women who left their villages to live in Tel Aviv has angered some traditionalists in Israel’s Arab community, who say its depiction of homosexuality and independent single women is insulting.
“In Between”, which has an Arab director and a Jewish producer, won best film at the Haifa International Film Festival in October and accolades in Toronto and San Sebastian with its portrayal of three very different women who share an apartment in Israel’s most liberal city.

An Israeli film with an Arab director, Arab actors, and a Jewish producer, dealing with the reality of Arabs living in Tel Aviv, in a very real and human way – this is the stuff of nightmares for those falsely claiming Israel is an “Apartheid” state.
Then again, so is Israel picking an Arabic-speaking film as its submission for the Oscars in the best foreign-language film category.
Engineering student says Canadian school rejected him for being Israeli
A Canadian trade school reportedly turned down an Israeli student applicant simply for being Israeli.
Israeli civil engineering student and amateur carpenter Stav Daron, who initially spoke with Mako News reporter Ido Daniel, said that he applied to study at the Island School of Building Arts, a Canadian trade school specializing in wood construction and design.
The report cited Daron as saying he had wanted to study at the ISBA, located on Gabriola Island in the province of British Columbia, due to its expertise and prominence in the wood construction field.
According to copies of emails received by The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, Daron had been in correspondence with Patricia Rokosh, the ISBA's manager of the school and student services, since February. He mentioned that he is Israeli and wanted to sign up for a four-week course costing $2,500 CND. He had even purchased a book from the ISBA website by the school's founder in order to prepare him for the course
However, when the time came to sign up for the course, Rokosh wrote back to Daron on January 25 that the school is "not accepting applications from Israel." She said the reason was "due to the conflict and illegal settlement activity in the region."
Georgetown U Refuses Student Coalition Demand to Disclose, Cease Investment in Companies Complicit in ‘Illegal Israeli Occupation of Palestine’
Georgetown University refused a student coalition’s demand that it first disclose and then halt its investment in companies that contribute to the “illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine,” the student newspaper The Hoya reported on Friday.
According to the report, GU officials refused, on the grounds that it maintains a “standard practice” of not disclosing any of its investments. This answer was given nearly two months after the coalition “Georgetown University Forming a Radically Ethical Endowment Coalition (GU F.R.E.E.)” — endorsed by 17 student organizations — sent a letter to the university’s president issuing a January 13 deadline to divest from companies that “[perpetuate] state violence.”
The nine companies referred to by GU F.R.E.E. include Boeing, Caterpillar, Elbit Systems, General Electric and Hewlett-Packard, which the group said are “knowingly and consistently” complicit in Israeli “human rights violations” against “indigenous” Palestinians, such as “collective punishment,” “forcible displacement” and “occupation and colonization of Palestinian land.”
Faculty at Toronto’s Ryerson U Organize Holocaust Memorial Event, Following Student Boycott of Initiative to Institute ‘Education Week’ on Nazi Genocide of Jews
Faculty members and administrators at Toronto’s Ryerson University organized a Holocaust memorial event last week, a month after students boycotted an initiative to institute a Holocaust education week at the school.
The university wanted to “show solidarity with Jewish students,” said Tamar Jaclyn Lyons — vice president of the university’s chapter of Students Supporting Israel (SSI) and a StandWithUs Emerson Fellow — following the debacle at the Ryerson Student Union, in which students were heckled with antisemitic slurs and a staged walkout torpedoed the vote on creating time for Holocaust awareness, as The Algemeiner reported.
Alyssa Moses, associate director of the school’s Hillel and one of the organizers of Friday’s event — entitled “What can be learned from the Holocaust?” and scheduled to coincide with International Holocaust Remembrance Day — said students were “very moved.” Many stayed late, she added, to talk to Holocaust survivor Judy Weissenberg-Cohen, who had given a speech about her experience at Auschwitz.
Moses said about 175 people attended the program, which also included remarks from Ryerson President Mohamed Lachemi, and a display featuring students’ and faculty’s personal connections to the Holocaust.
‘Kike, You Should Be Gassed’ Note Slipped Under Door of Beloit College Jewish Student
Racist graffiti has been appearing of late at different locations on the campus of Wisconsin’s Beloit College, the student newspaper The Round Table reported, with a Jewish student having specific abuse aimed in his direction.
Last Wednesday, the student found a swastika drawn on the whiteboard outside his room. On Friday — International Holocaust Remembrance Day — a swastika and note reading, “Kike, you should be gassed for what you say & do on this campus. Be worried C**T,” were slipped under his door.
Dean of Students Christina Klawitter told the Round Table that the school is focused on “caring for the student who was directly targeted, and others who are feeling affected; on taking steps to enhance security; and on pursuing information that will allow us to hold someone accountable for this horrific act.”
Ethan Perel-Wertman, a different Jewish student, told the newspaper he is “repulsed and devastated that such a hateful act was committed on our campus. I hope this can serve as a wake up call to the Beloit community that antisemitism is a real problem that continues to exist in our country. In the coming days and weeks I will be working with other students to launch a group to advocate to Jewish students on campus and educate people about antisemitism.”
NY Times refuses to correct Middle East reporting errors
While the New York Times boasts of its "fact-based journalism," the CAMERA media watchdog organization reports on several examples of misinformation the newspaper has reported in recent weeks regarding Israel and the PA – yet refuses to correct.
The issues, in brief, are these:
1. The Times wrote, on Dec. 29, that "most governments and world bodies have set achievement of the two-state solution as official policy, including the United States, the United Nations, the Palestinian Authority, and Israel."
However, in fact, many PA leaders refuse to accept this solution. Nabil Shaath, for instance, said, "The story of ‘two states for two peoples' means that there will be a Jewish people over there and a Palestinian people here. We will never accept this." Mahmoud Abbas has made similar statements.
CAMERA – The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting – states, "New York Times editors have refused to set readers straight with a correction — despite repeated requests from CAMERA that they do so."
Could everything the media told you about Israel’s ‘eroding democracy’ be wrong?
The putative ‘erosion’ of Israel’s democracy is one of those NGO and media-driven narratives that has developed into something akin to conventional wisdom among the state’s critics – despite the dearth of any real empirical evidence attesting to such a political decline.
Such erroneous predictions, amplified within both the Israeli and British far-left, sometimes go so far as to predict “the end” of Israeli democracy. Typically, such hyperbolic characterisations are employed in response to ill-advised (proposed) legislation that would never in fact become law – or, at least, end up being significantly watered down, rendering the original concerns practically moot.
Of course, it’s extremely unlikely that more than a few actual Israeli citizens – those intimately familiar with the state’s robust democratic institutions – take such hyperbole seriously. Further, our refutations of such unhinged predictions have typically relied on annual reports by the respected human rights organisation Freedom House, which continue to list Israel as the only “Free” country in the Middle East. Reports by the Israel Democracy Institute also provide detailed comparative analyses on the strength of Israel’s democracy relative to other countries – indicating that, though serious problems do exist, the overall health of the state’s democratic culture is strong.

Showtime's 'Homeland': Israeli Settlers 'Make Peace Less Possible'
Showtime's once-refreshingly truthful terrorism drama series Homeland has fallen further from grace. Producers of the program already admitted they'd expected Hillary Clinton to become the next President of the United States, hence they had written a female-president into the new series, but that's the least of the show's problems.
Aside from breaking with its protagonist Carrie's character arc -- turning her from a sober-minded judge of the realities of terror into a liberal, Muslim-outreach director in Brooklyn -- the series is now vilifying Israel, too.
Worst of all, the writers chose to use Saul (Mandy Patinkin) to deliver that message.
In the scene featured above, the once-pro-Israel-turned-self-loathing-Jewish character condemned his sister and brother-in-law for living in West Bank, because it makes "peace less possible." Worse, he then mocked his own faith (as if a Muslim-character would ever do the same) to drive the knife even deeper:
‘Puff Piece’ Praises Extremist, Anti-Israel MK
The Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood wrote a highly misleading profile of Israeli Member of Knesset (and ironically, anti-Israel extremist) Haneen Zoabi.
An unduly flattering profile that excludes critical context is known in the news industry as a “puff piece.” It is also a breach of journalistic ethics and a disservice to Guardian readers.
Sherwood portrays Zoabi as a civil rights activist who stands up for abused Palestinians while fighting institutional resistance to her noble cause. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Just a few of Zoabi’s dubious “accomplishments” as a member of the Israeli Knesset, that The Guardian saw fit to hide from its readers:
"Here and Now" Host Jeremy Hobson Wrong on 'New Settlements'
NPR's "Here and Now" host Jeremy Hobson is the latest media figure to wrongly report that Israel is building, or has plans to build, thousands of "new settlements," misidentifying individual residential units within preexisting settlements as "new settlements." In fact, Israel has built no new settlements in some two decades and recent announcements concern additional units in established settlements.
In a conversation yesterday with Neri Zilber, a journalist and adjunct fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, "Here and Now" host Jeremy Hobson erred ("Amid Corruption Probe, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu Curries Favor With Trump"):
Speaking of a two state solution, former Secretary of State John Kerry gave a speech about Israel and said that that two state solution is in serious trouble and that a big part of the reason for that is Israel's continuing push to build new settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Just within a few days of Trump being sworn in, Israel announced plans to build 2,500 new settlements. . . . Is it a sign of more settlements to come?
Israel is not pushing to build new settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, Israel has built no new settlements in some two decades, and, as NPR itself recently reported, the announcement in question concerned plans for 2,500 residential units within pre-existing settlements, not 2,500 new settlements. NPR's Merrit Kennedy accurately reported last week: "Israel says it plans to build 2,500 more homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank" ("Israel Says It Will Build 2,500 New Settlement Homes in the West Bank").
Holocaust Revisionism in Croatia: How Anne Frank Became Persona Non Grata
In Croatia, International Holocaust Remembrance Day was marked in the absence of representatives of the Croatian Jewish community. This was the second year in a row that the Coordinating Committee of the Jewish Communities in Croatia decided to boycott the official Holocaust commemoration event for the victims of Jasenovac concentration camp. Jewish representatives say this is proof that the government is not doing enough to counter right-wing attempts at historical revisionism.
On January 17, 2017, the traveling exhibition “Anne Frank – A History for Today” was removed from a high school in the town of Šibenik after being there for only one day. This exhibition, according to the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam, tells the story of Anne Frank against the background of the Holocaust and the Second World War. It shows photographs of Frank’s childhood in Frankfurt and Amsterdam, and portrays the rise of the Nazis and the persecution of the Jews.
The exhibition contains 30 panels containing historical information of the specific country where it is currently being shown at a given time.
Ownership of Hitler’s house to go to Austrian court — report
An Austrian newspaper reported that the owner of the house where Adolf Hitler was born is going to high court to challenge the government’s right to take possession of the property.
The challenge is in response to last month’s parliamentary approval of a government bill to expropriate the house after she refused to sell it.
The daily Kurier, in a report for its Tuesday edition, said owner Gerlinde Pommer has asked Austria’s Constitutional Court to rule against the government move.
Hitler was born in 1889 in the house in Braunau am Inn, a town on the German border.
It is not yet clear what will happen with the yellow corner house at Number 15 Salzburger Vorstadt Street, located right in Braunau’s historic center.
Seeking distance from Nazis, Poland publishes Auschwitz guard database
Poland on Monday published the first online database with the names and other personal details of nearly 10,000 staff who ran the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi German death camp.
The database, which the IPN says contains 9,686 names “is just the beginning of a wide-ranging project” that will cover the staff of other death and concentration camps that Nazi Germany set up in occupied Poland, Institute of National Remembrance chairman Jaroslaw Szarek told reporters in Krakow.
Around 25,000 names have already been gathered so far.
Szarek said the project is in part intended to curb the use by foreign media of the erroneous phrase “Polish death camps” to refer to sites built and run by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland.
Warsaw has long called out media for identifying the camps as “Polish” due to confusion caused by their geographical location.
But according to Szarek, “it is sometimes the case that this is done in bad faith due to anti-Polish policy.”
Milan marchers protest vandalism of Holocaust memorial
A large crowd marched through central Milan as a human chain to protest the defacement of a recently placed “stumbling stone” Holocaust memorial.
The marchers Saturday, estimated in the thousands, included the mayor of Milan and Italy’s justice minister.
Organized largely on social media, the march led from the Stumbling Stone commemorating Jewish Holocaust victim Dante Coen to Milan’s central train station, where there is a large Holocaust memorial. Coen’s daughter, Ornella, took part.
As they followed the route, participants were linked by a red cord, symbolizing the chain of memory.
Coen was deported to Auschwitz in 1944 and then killed at Buchenwald in 1945. The stumbling stone commemorating him was the first of six installed in Milan on January 19. It was found covered in black paint two days later.
Brazil president attends Holocaust memorial at country’s largest synagogue
Brazilian President Michel Temer attended a service at the country’s largest synagogue to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The president was invited during Sunday’s service at the Congregacao Israelita Paulista synagogue in Sao Paulo to light one of six candles in honor of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The remembrance day was officially Friday.
“Remembering the Holocaust in all its pain and anguish is preparing the future,” Temer said. “It stands to all of us as a lesson. One day may pass, one month may pass, years may pass, centuries may pass, we must remember the Holocaust for it’s a lesson for the future and for the present time.”
Other dignitaries on hand for the service included Foreign Minister Jose Serra; the state governor of Sao Paulo, Geraldo Alckmin, and Sao Paulo city Mayor Joao Doria.
Israel-China Blueconomy fund raises $150m
The fund provides Israeli companies with direct access to investments from the Chinese government.
Chinese investment fund Blueconomy Center has raised $150 million from the Chinese government and public funds for investing in marine and environmental technologies in Israel. Managed by CEO Shalom Daskal, Yuval Rabin (son of late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin) and Jacob Kaplan, the fund provides Israeli companies with direct access to investments from the Chinese government. It completed its financing round in six months, and is already considering immediate investments in four Israeli companies.
Blueconomy said it would focus on Israeli companies based on knowledge and intellectual property. In its initial stages, the fund will invest in technologies such as wind, wave, and solar energy; marine food, green and blue algae-based materials; drugs, cosmetics; artificial islands; sewage management; water purification and desalinization (in which Israel specializes); and even construction materials.
According to the fund, it is already in advanced negotiations for investments in four Israeli companies, after examining over 40 companies over the past six months.
New exhibit celebrates life of late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon
A new exhibition in central Israel celebrates the life of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, showcasing various items he used prior to his death in the 2003 Columbia space shuttle disaster.
The Columbia embarked on its 28th mission in space on Jan. 16, 2003. It disintegrated as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere on Feb. 1, 2003, killing all seven astronauts on board. A NASA investigation found that a piece of foam installation on the shuttle's external tank had broken off, compromising its structure and causing it to break apart as it re-entered the atmosphere.
The exhibition, "Objects Tell a Story," at the Air Force Auditorium in Herzliya, opened in honor of Israel Space Week. It documents Ramon's life and includes unique items, including the NASA helmet worn by Ramon when he trained to be the first Israeli astronaut in space, and the torn remnants of an Israel Air Force flag that survived the Columbia disaster.
Among the objects on display is a model of a mezuzah that accompanied him in space, a page from the journal he kept on the space shuttle, and journals from his various IAF missions, such as the Operation Opera in 1981, during which Israel destroyed a nuclear reactor in Iraq, and containers of kosher food that survived the Columbia disaster.

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Islam Maquosi, a man in his twenties, died from burns suffered after setting himself on fire a few days ago in from of a charity for people with disabilities in the Bureij camp in Gaza

Maquosi poured gasoline on himself and set himself on fire to protest against how he has been treated.

A few years ago, a Hamas jeep hit Maquosi, injuring him. Hamas refused to take responsibility for the accident that cause years of suffering to the young man.

Just another story from Gaza that you won't read about in the media.

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Hamas today honored the memory of Mohamed Zouari, who was assassinated in Tunisia on December 15, with a parade.

Zouari was the engineer behind the Abadil drone that Hamas has used on occasion. At the ceremony, they unveiled a memorial statue for him.

During the ceremony Hamas admitted that Zourani had visited Gaza clandestinely many times.

Hamas has blamed Israel and the Mossad for his assassination, and when you read the details of the operation, they are almost certainly right.

France's Liberation describes the details:
In Jerusalem there is no comment on the assassination in Sfax, although the military reporters, a small caste of about thirty "trusted" journalists with access to classified information, have eyes that sparkle and smile in the corner [when asked]. In private, most of them suggest that the services of other countries would not be alien to the operation. Others stressed that Egypt also wanted to put an end to the engineer since Hamas would have helped the Islamists linked to Daesh who are fighting the Cairo army in the Sinai desert.

In any case, the "liquidation" of Al Zoari was conducted like a James Bond movie: a truck blocked his car and two European-type killers riddled it of with about twenty bullets, of which three hit him in the thorax.

According to the Tunisian police, at least eight men were involved in the case. Four suspects, including a Belgian of Moroccan origin and a mysterious Hungarian "journalist" who met Al Zoari on the eve of his assassination before disappearing without a trace, are currently being sought. In addition, four cars (including two rental) linked to the assassination were found as well as two pistols equipped with silencers.

In order to erase the traces of the operation, hackers broke into the surveillance system of a restaurant near the place of the assassination and erased the contents of the recordings made by the cameras.
Hamas, as always, vowed revenge.

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From Ian:

Yitzhak Rabin's Vision of Defensible Borders for Israel
Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, almost everything has changed. Above all, new threats have emerged with a previously unknown military logic of their own.
The Oslo idea, in its quest to end Israeli control over Palestinian citizens, was largely realized by 1996, when Israel concluded the withdrawal of its forces from the populated territories of the West Bank. Some 90% of the total Palestinian population of the West Bank has been controlled since then by the Palestinian Authority (PA). Moreover, the Israeli presence in Gaza ended in 2005.
Eastern Jerusalem and Area C in the West Bank, held by Israel, are the minimum required for the conservation of a defensible territory. Without the buffer area of the Jordan Valley, it would be impossible to prevent the quick arming of Palestinian terrorists in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, in his last speech in the Knesset (October 1995), was resolute on Jerusalem and emphasized the crucial hold by Israel of the Jordan Valley and the lateral routes leading to it. Rabin envisaged a political entity short of a fully-fledged Palestinian state.
Rabin implemented the Oslo Accords to reshape the area delineated by Israeli security interests. As part of this effort, he led a drive to construct a network of bypass roads in Area C, without which the IDF would have had great difficulty advancing its forces during Operation Defensive Shield (2002).
Without a constant hold on Area C, Israel has no defensible borders. The way Rabin delineated the expanse of Area C demonstrates his farsighted understanding of the importance of those areas beyond the 1967 borders, which must be in Israel's full control.
Prof. Eugene Kontovorich PodCast: The UNSCR 2334 Against Israel: What Is President Trump To Do? - Podcast
(Kontovorich starts at 23:30, the first guy is terrible)
Since the Obama administration abstained from the United Nations Security Council vote on Resolution 2334 that condemns Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem, there has been much speculation as to the force, effect, and consequence of this Resolution. There are many concerns, including that this United Nations declaration may enable boycotts of Israel and that the Palestinian government might attempt to utilize the pronouncement to bring Israel before the International Criminal Court. President Trump’s has stated that he intends to alter or blunt the instrument. What will be the effect of this United Nations censure, and what are the options available to President Trump?
Prof. Bernard Avishai, Adjunct Professor of Business, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Visiting Professor of Government, Dartmouth College
Prof. Orde Kittrie, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Professor of Law, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University
Prof. Eugene Kontovorich, Professor of Law, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
PMW: “God, grant us Martyrdom... a million grooms and brides... have written the marriage contract in blood” in Fatah TV music video
A music video broadcast twice on the Fatah-run TV station Awdah featured photos of suicide bombers while the lyrics promoted death as a Martyr for the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The music video opens with a recording of Yasser Arafat infamously saying: "They [the Israelis] want me captive, exiled or dead - but I tell them: [I will be] a Martyr! Martyr! Martyr!" Excerpts from the song promote Martyrdom as an ideal. The video includes photos of two female suicide bombers who in total murdered 3 Israelis and wounded over a hundred during the PA terror campaign in 2000-2005 (the Second Intifada).
"Al-Aqsa has called, and its call is precious
For its sake, life is insignificant, even if it's precious...
God, grant us Martyrdom there
God, promise us, we beg of you...
A million grooms and brides at the celebration
Have written the marriage contract in blood on the veil
(visual of suicide bomber Wafa Idris, killed 1 and wounded over 100, in Jerusalem attack)
A million grooms and brides at the celebration
Have written the marriage contract in blood on the veil
(visual of suicide bomber Ayyat Al-Akhras, killed 2 and wounded 28, in Jerusalem attack)
Filled with desire, they are going to the Paradise of immortals
To a wedding procession with angels that fill Palestine with light."
[Fatah-run Awdah TV, Jan. 23-24, 2017]
The clip also shows pictures of two Palestinian children who died during the PA terror campaign.

Iran Defies UN Resolution With Ballistic Missile Test
Iran has defied the United Nations (UN) with a ballistic missile test in Semnan, located 140 miles east of Tehran. But the test violated UN resolution 2231, which states that the country cannot conduct these missile tests.
But Iran said these ballistic missiles do not fall under those provisions since “they are not designed to carry a nuclear warhead.”
President Donald Trump has threatened to eliminate or revamp the Iran nuclear deal. Back in January 2016, he told rally attendees that “the nuclear deal with Iran is so bad, he is close to wondering whether it was done poorly on purpose.” From The Hill:
“It’s almost like there has to be something else going on,” he said Saturday night at a rally in Biloxi, Miss. “I don’t think there is, I just don’t think they’re competent.”
Trump said he couldn’t believe the U.S. would agree to a deal with Iran that did not include the return of Americans held prisoner in Iran.
“Who would make that deal?” he asked, suggesting Tehran was celebrating as the agreement was being negotiated.

On Sunday, Trump talked with King Salman of Saudi Arabia. Both men “‘agreed on the importance of rigorously enforcing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran and of addressing Iran’s destabilizing regional activities,’ the White House said in a statement.”
Fox News reported that the US intelligence community picked up the “launch due to its robust satellite network.” These satellites can identify “the heat signature of missile launches and explosions from bombs being dropped around the world.”
Israel urges Trump, UN to act against Iran after ballistic missile test
Israel is urging the world to take action after a US official said Monday that Iran carried out a test launch of a medium-range ballistic missile over the weekend, seemingly in violation of UN Resolution 2231, which forbids the Islamic Republic from carrying out such tests for a period of eights years.
The United Nations Security Council was scheduled to hold an emergency meeting on the test at the request of the United States. The US request came after Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon called for the meeting, saying of the test, "This aggression is not only directed toward Israel, it is directed toward the entire Western world."
New US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley was expected to take part in the Security Council talks. The call for the meeting was the first such request that the US has made since Haley was confirmed for her post last week.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that in light of reports of the Iranian ballistic missile test, one of the issues he will raise with US President Donald Trump during their meeting on February 15 will be the re-imposition of sanctions on Iran. He said it is forbidden that Iranian “aggression” go without a response.
Intelligence Minister Israel Katz told Army Radio on Tuesday that "there is no doubt that further sanctions on Iran are needed," following the ballistic missile test.
After Iran tests ballistic missile, Netanyahu urges rethink of ‘failed’ nuke deal
In what is being seen as a challenge to US President Donald Trump, Iran tested a 4,000 kilometer range (2,500 miles) ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, US officials said Monday.
Terming the test a “flagrant breach” of UN Security Council resolutions, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promptly demanded the reimposition of sanctions against Iran and said he would discuss with Trump a reevaluation of the “entire failed nuclear accord” that the Obama Administration and other P5+1 countries agreed with Iran in 2015.
The missile test, which Fox News reported took place on Sunday, was unsuccessful; the Khorramshahr medium-range ballistic missile flew 600 miles and then exploded, it said, citing US officials. Israel’s Channel 10 television said the failed test actually took place about 10 days ago. It said the Iranians were plainly “testing Trump,” who last week, in a phone conversation with Netanyahu, said the two would consult closely to address “the threats posed by Iran.”
Fox said the missile was launched from Semnan, outside Tehran, and that the failure involved “a reentry vehicle.” It noted that Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier Gen. Hossein Dehqhan said four months ago that Iran would start producing the missile.
UN Security Council to hold urgent talks on Iran ballistic missile test
The UN Security Council will hold urgent talks Tuesday on Iran’s test-firing of a medium-range missile said capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, diplomats said.
The United States requested the emergency consultations after the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations called for council action.
“In light of Iran’s January 29 launch of a medium-range ballistic missile, the United States has requested urgent consultations of the Security Council,” the US mission said in a statement.
The talks on Iran will follow a meeting on Syria scheduled for 10:00 a.m.
Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon said the test of the 4,000 kilometer range (2,500 miles) ballistic missile violated UN resolutions that bar Iran from launching ballistic missiles that could have a nuclear capability.
“The international community must not bury its head in the sand in the face of this Iranian aggression,” said Danon.
Israel ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon addresses the UN Security Council on January 17, 2017 (Courtesy)
Israel ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon addresses the UN Security Council on January 17, 2017 (Courtesy)
“The Security Council members must act immediately in response to these Iranian actions which endanger not only Israel, but the entire Middle East.”
Israeli UN Envoy Calls on Security Council to Punish Iran for Latest Ballistic Missile Test
Israel’s UN envoy has called on the Security Council to punish the Tehran regime following the ballistic missile test carried out this past weekend by the Islamic Republic.
“Iran has once again defied Security Council resolutions and revealed its true intentions,” Ambassador Danny Danon said in a statement. “The international community must not bury its head in the sand in the face of this Iranian aggression. The Security Council members must act immediately in response to these Iranian actions which endanger not only Israel, but the entire Middle East.”
At a press briefing on Monday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked about the test.
“We’re looking into that,” he said. “We’re aware that Iran fired that missile. We’re looking into the exact nature of it, and I’ll try to have more for you later.”
Shortly before Spicer’s press briefing, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu tweeted, “Iran has again launched a ballistic missile. This is a flagrant violation of a UN Security Council resolution.”
Republican Senator: We'll hold Iran accountable
Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Monday vowed to hold Iran accountable after reports emerged that the Islamic Republic conducted a ballistic missile test in violation of a UN Security Council resolution.
In a statement, Corker noted that UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorses provisions of the Iran nuclear agreement (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), “calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology”.
“No longer will Iran be given a pass for its repeated ballistic missile violations, continued support of terrorism, human rights abuses and other hostile activities that threaten international peace and security,” he said.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues and the administration to hold Iran accountable for this and other violations while ensuring radical enforcement of existing restrictions on its nuclear program,” added Corker.
Former Pentagon Analyst: Mixed Conciliatory-Threatening Messages From Tehran Indicate Regime Running Scared in Face of Trump Administration
All indications are that the powers-that-be in Tehran are running scared in the face of the new administration in Washington, an expert on Islamic culture and former Pentagon analyst, who was a student in Iran when the revolution began, told The Algemeiner on Monday.
Harold Rhode, a distinguished senior fellow at the New York-based think tank the Gatestone Institute, was responding to what he called “mixed messages emanating daily from the mullah-led regime – some threatening and others more conciliatory – since the lead-up to Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration earlier this month and in its aftermath.”
On one hand, Rhode said, Iranian officials continue to boast about their ballistic-missile capabilities and warn about the “consequences” of an American breach of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — the nuclear deal it reached with world powers in July 2015. On the other, he noted, “regime-affiliated clerics used a more muted tone in relation to the US in last Friday’s sermons.”
This, he assessed, “appears to show that there is an internal struggle going on among the top echelons, all of whom are unsure about how best to deal with this new reality.”
Israel Should Abandon the Clinton Parameters without Giving up on a Two-State Solution
In 2000, then-President Bill Clinton presented Ehud Barak and Yasir Arafat with a plan for the creation of a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank, based on a near-complete Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines with land-swaps allowing Israel to retain the major settlement blocs. Since then, these guidelines have been treated by politicians and diplomats in Israel and elsewhere as the natural solution to the conflict. Gershon Hacohen argues that, since much has changed since the turn of the century, it’s time for a new approach:
The [basic purpose of] the Oslo Accords, [an] end to Israeli control over Palestinian citizens, [has] largely been realized. It was already so in January 1996, when Israel concluded the withdrawal of its forces from the populated territories of the West Bank. The Palestinian population living in [what the agreement designated as] Areas A and B, or approximately 90 percent of the total Palestinian population of the West Bank, has been controlled since then by the Palestinian Authority (PA). . . .
[Now] the Israeli government must re-clarify the complex of security interests inherent in Israel’s control over Area C. In this reexamination, Israel must depart from the idea of two states as [generally understood]. . . . An Israeli reassessment has the potential to introduce a change in Jerusalem’s position by renewing its demand for the preservation of a defensible area, which depends on consistent Israeli hold over Area C. . . .
Netanyahu to meet Trump at White House on February 15
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to travel to Washington, DC, for his first meeting with US President Donald Trump on February 15, the White House announced Monday.
“Our relationship with the only democracy in the Middle East is crucial to the security of both our nations and the president looks forward to discussing continuous strategic, technological, military and intelligence cooperation with the prime minister,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, announcing the meeting.
In a statement later Monday night, Netanyahu said he “greatly appreciates President Trump’s kind invitation to Washington and his warm words about Israel.”
“I look forward to discussing with him the areas of cooperation between us that are so vital to the security and well-being of our two countries,” Netanyahu said.
The two leaders, who spoke on the phone last week, are expected to discuss several issues, chiefly among them the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Iranian nuclear agreement and ongoing aggression from Tehran.
Trump Says He ‘Always Liked Concept’ of Moving Embassy to Jerusalem; ‘Very Big Decision’ Coming Soon
There is “certainly a chance” the US Embassy in Israel will be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, President Donald Trump said in a Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) interview that aired on Sunday.
Asked by CBN’s David Brody about the potential move — which was a Trump campaign promise — the new president replied, “I’m looking at it…We are studying it very, very long and hard. You know it’s a very big decision, because every president for the last number of presidents…they’ve come in and they were going to do it and then all of a sudden they decide they don’t want to get involved. It’s a big, big decision, but we’re studying the issue right now.”
Trump went on to say, “I’ve always liked the concept of doing it, I will tell you that. I will have a decision in the not-too-distant future…We are doing very detailed studies on that, and we’ll come out very soon. I hate to do that because that’s not usually me — studies — usually I do what’s right. But this has two sides to it; it’s not easy, and I will make a decision over the not-too-distant future.”
Last week, as reported by The Algmeiner, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was non-committal about a timeline for the decision-making process on the embassy matter.
“It’s very early in this process,” Spicer said. “[A]nd his [Trump’s] team is going to continue to consult with stakeholders as we get there.”
Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem
The Trump administration is best advised to present the Embassy relocation for what it is: the long overdue correction of an anomaly in the US-Israeli relationship. To alleviate fears that are stoked by demagogues, but also nurtured by the vicissitudes of history, Washington may consider issuing a separate statement about its appreciation of Palestinian aspirations and its intent, as expressed on numerous occasions by then-candidate Donald Trump, to re-engage negotiations towards a fair resolution.
It is, however, the responsibility of Arab culture to cast the moment in a positive light, debunking the utilitarian portrayal of the event as insult and injury to the Arab and Islamic worlds, and inviting reflection on deeply entrenched, and rarely questioned corrosive memes. Undoubtedly, historically, culturally, existentially, “Jerusalem is ours.” But, it is also theirs. Herein lays the fundamental question that Arab and Israeli culture has not proven able to address self-critically: “Jerusalem is Jewish”. It is a statement that elicits discomfort at the very least, often well beyond, when uttered in an Arab setting. Yet it is not only a statement of fact, but also one of history, consciousness, and deep reality. For centuries past, the longing for a forbidden Jerusalem was at the core of Jewishness. Yet, this emotional, devotional, spiritual, bond is virtually never acknowledged in the Arab narrative. Nor is the more concrete fact that, in Ottoman times, prior to British Mandate, European colonialism, and American Imperialism, Jerusalem had most often a Jewish plurality, and at times a straight Jewish majority. The serious question that Arab culture ought to address when formulating a response to the putative US Embassy move to Jerusalem is whether the opposition stems from political considerations or from the hard resistance to accepting that Jerusalem is Jewish.
This annuls none of the Palestinian and Arab attachment to the place. From being the first Qiblah, and the third of the Two Holiest Shrines, to embodying the locus of the precarious but still alive desire to forge a Muslim-Christian Arab identity, Yes, Jerusalem is Arab, without any prejudice to its Jewish character. The Holy City may claim to be more: Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Greek, Latin. It is the task of a future generation to negotiate the many identities of the place.
Jerusalem may emerge as the first instance in modern history where one city is the capital of two nations. Today, it is the capital of Israel. To dispute this fact with credibility, one has to deconstruct Jerusalem itself. The Israeli sovereignty over the Western part of the city cannot be denied in any sincere pursuit of a just solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As long as the US Embassy relocation is within the confines of this condition, it ought to be recognized as a normal diplomatic action.
Trump courts Jordan’s king amid embassy, refugee concerns
King Abdullah II of Jordan’s visit to Washington this week is testing President Donald Trump’s ability to maintain key Arab alliances while cracking down on immigration from some Muslim countries and possibly moving the American Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. The next few days could provide an indication if Trump is willing to compromise.
Abdullah, a close US ally, held meetings Monday with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Vice President Mike Pence. Trump and the king were to come face-to-face on Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast, the White House said. The king also planned to meet with US lawmakers this week.
Abdullah’s trip comes as the Trump administration is embroiled in its first major Mideast controversy, sparked by Trump’s executive order temporarily halting all refugee admissions and suspending entry to the US for citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries. Although Jordan isn’t among the seven, even US friends in the region fear Trump’s move could embolden Mideast extremists and contribute to a perception that Washington is at war with Islam — which Trump’s administration insists is not the case.
Trump’s embassy decision looms even larger for Jordan.
Obama, Trump, Holocaust remembrance and Israel
That universalization of the Holocaust is as jarring to the ear as was Obama’s comment in Cairo that Israel’s legitimacy flowed from the Holocaust. But just as Obama’s words did not make him an antisemite, as some at the time – and afterward – have unfairly claimed, nor does Trump’s omission of the Jews in a statement on the Holocaust make him one, or a Holocaust denier, as some are now charging.
Indeed, we have traveled down this exact same route with a new leader very recently. Last year, on the same International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Justin Trudeau, who just two months earlier took the world by storm and won Canada’s prime ministerial election, issued a statement to mark the day that also oddly forgot the Jews.
“The Holocaust is a stark reminder of the dangers and risks of allowing hate, prejudice, and discrimination to spread unchallenged. It also reminds us that silence must never be an option when humanity is threatened,” that statement read. It too was highly criticized for its strange omission.
This year’s statement by Trudeau, by contrast, made mention of the Jews. “Today, on the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, we remember the more than six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust and the countless other victims of Nazi brutality,” it stated.
Trudeau learned. Trump might do so as well.
Holocaust memory without Jews
The annual commemoration day has undoubtedly enhanced the world’s knowledge of the Nazi crimes, but has also led, paradoxically, to a new form of Holocaust denial of which President Trump’s statement is but the latest example. By casting such a singular focus on the universal lessons of the Holocaust, the fact that Nazi ideology specifically targeted the Jewish people, and that they were the primary victims, gets lost.
Thus Baroness Catherine Ashton, then High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, issued an official statement on Holocaust Memorial Day 2014 that did not once mention Jews or anti-Semitism. It spoke of “victims” and “those brutally murdered,” called the events a “tragedy,” urged on the fight against “prejudice and racism in our own time,” and proclaimed that the EU stands for “human rights and diversity.”
The same thing happened again two years later, in 2016, when newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Holocaust Day statement memorialized “the millions of victims murdered during the Holocaust” and drew the lesson of how risky it is to let “hate, prejudice, and discrimination to spread unchallenged.” Once again, universal principles to which no civilized person would object, but devoid of any specific historical reference to anti-Semitism and the annihilation of Jews, without which there would have been no Holocaust. A subsequent tweet from Trudeau’s office vowing to fight “intolerance and anti-Semitism” was taken as an implicit apology by Canadian Jews, and this year Trudeau was explicit in mentioning Jews.
This year’s statement from the White House, then, honoring “the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust” carried out by the Nazis against unnamed “innocent people” – subsequently described even more obliquely as “the perished” – is just the latest iteration of Holocaust “memory” that “forgets” the identity of the actual victims.
Holocaust Exploitation
Why the sudden rush to Shoah analogies from people who just handed over the keys to the Middle East to the Iranians? And why did Trump leave the Jews out of remembrance of the genocide?
With Jews seeing their history exploited or distorted by both sides of the political spectrum, one might expect them to circle the wagons. Not Peter Beinart (Rhodes Scholar, Marshall “declined”), whose compulsion to cast himself as the lone hero willing to question the pieties of “the Jewish establishment” regularly overrules his critical faculties. Responding to the White House statement, Beinart found a way to blame his fellow Jews, castigating them for not condemning Trump’s executive order (which he falsely labeled a “Muslim ban”) in the language of Holocaust remembrance. Leading Jewish organizations did, of course, denounce the refugee ban; the Anti-Defamation League called it “cruel and contrary to the values of our country.” Nonetheless, this imaginary oversight by Jewish groups, Beinart said, adding emphatic insult to fact-less injury, was “much worse” than the Trump administration’s refusal to acknowledge the Jewish specificity of the Holocaust:
Even after this disgusting act of Holocaust obfuscation and erasure of Jewish history on the part of the Trump White House, there will be right-wing Jews who continue to defend the administration because Trump says he wants to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, or because he allegedly opposes Obama’s Iran deal, or because Ivanka has Jewish children and that mensch Jared Kushner has the president’s ear. Neither side would ever admit it, but in their partisan blindness these Trump-defending Jews are no different than their co-religionists on the other side of the aisle, who endlessly excused their party’s president no matter how many times he and his administration isolated Israel or insisted that an Islamist slaughter at a kosher supermarket in Paris was a “random” crime whose victims were targeted “not because of who they were but because of where they randomly happened to be.” If the Obamians, having empowered Tehran’s murderously anti-Semitic regime, are engaging in purposeful, gaslighting malevolence by analogizing a humanitarian catastrophe over which they presided to the Holocaust and blaming their domestic political adversaries for its atrocities, the Trumpkins are merely perpetrating malevolent revanchist incompetence. (h/t Elder of Lobby)
EU Foreign Minister issues prison threat to President Trump
European Union’s Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini has issued a threat directed at U.S. President Donald Trump.
Mogherini warned President Trump that he would “end up being in a prison” for his executive orders, one which temporarily halted the entry of Syrian refugees and another which seeks to begin the construction of a southern border wall, UK newspaper Express reports.
Mogherini also lectured President Trump on European history and tradition, and on how Europeans celebrate “when walls are brought down and bridges are built.”
Italian politician Mogherini played a key role in negotiating the Iran Deal or the “worst deal ever negotiated” as President Trump pointed out. She began her political career with the youth wing of the Italian communist party and made it to the post of E.U.’s High Representative on Foreign Affairs and Security Policy as a member of the ‘Party of European Socialists’.
The E.U. Foreign Minister was not the only European politician to question the legality of President Trump’s executive order putting travel restrictions on Syrian refugees and visitors from seven terrorism affected countries for 90 days. German Chancellor Angela Merkel slammed President Trump’s decision saying, “This act runs contrary to the basic principles of international refugee help and international cooperation.”
Prof. Phyllis Chesler: Trump's Executive Order is quite in order
Feminists, Hollywood celebrities, and Democratic legislators have denounced President Trumps Executive Order titled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” Demonstrators have surged at airports, class-action lawsuits have been filed, judicial restraining orders have been issued.
I do not view this Act as a “Muslim Ban” since 49 other Muslim-majority countries are not specifically excluded here. Only seven failed Muslim states, well known for training Jihadists, as well as Iran, are named. But I want to focus on something else that no one has mentioned.
As a feminist, scholar, and activist, I think this Order is long overdue.
As the author of four studies about honor killing at Middle East Quarterly, I especially welcome this Section:
“The United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes towards it and its founding principles….or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, or other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own), or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.”
The President Is Right to Give Priority to Those Fleeing Religious Persecution
The recent executive order suspending the U.S. refugee-admission program allows exceptions for members of religious minorities facing persecution in their home countries. It also instructs the Departments of State and Homeland Security, when the program resumes, “to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.” Although he finds the overall order flawed “on policy and moral grounds,” Samuel Tadros argues that it was correct in this regard:
[W]hile all communities in the path of Islamic State may be forced to flee, the refuge opportunities available differ significantly based on one’s ethnic and religious background. A Sunni fleeing Bashar al-Assad’s butchery may find a home in a neighboring Sunni country, or in other Sunni territory in Syria, but where can a Yazidi go? Surely not to Baghdad, where he would be persecuted. Is Turkey, which persecutes its own Christian population, supposed to be the choice destiny for Syria or Iraq’s Christians? Do we expect Assyrian Christians to be comfortable going to Kurdish areas? Moreover, even when/if Islamic State is defeated, the likelihood of return diminishes for these religious minorities. Does one seriously expect Christians to be able to return to Mosul, where their homes have likely been occupied by others, and where many of their neighbors stood silently watching as Islamic State targeted them? The Jewish experience in Poland following the Holocaust is a reminder of what awaits these communities.
Some may point to Jordan as a welcoming place for these minorities, and even more so to Lebanon. But in Jordan, which should be lauded for its welcoming of Syrian refugees, as in any other Arabic speaking country, they will be permanent refugees, forever housed in the camps with no future. A quick visit to a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon would enlighten anyone to what that life entails, as Arabic-speaking countries insisted on keeping Palestinians there to use as a bargaining chip with Israel. . . .
Yemenite Jew among detainees at JFK due to Trump ban
Manny Dahari, a student who worked to rescue his family from war-torn country, freed after three hours
A Yemenite Jew was detained in JFK airport for over three hours this week as US President Donald Trump issued a travel ban from seven Muslim countries, including Yemen.
Manny Dahari, a student at Yeshiva University, has lived in the United States since the age of 13 and holds a green card.
For two years, Dahari worked with the US State Department and Jewish Agency to get his family out of Yemen in a lobbying effort that ultimately saw his parents airlifted from the war-torn country to Israel last year, along with 15 other Yemenite Jews in a covert operation.
He was scheduled to fly back to New York from Israel over the weekend, but his plans were complicated by the travel ban, which initially covered US green card holders born in one of seven Muslim-majority countries, including Yemen.
Jared Kushner’s grandmother on being a refugee: ‘The doors of the world were closed to us’
Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s Jewish son-in-law and senior adviser, stayed silent as protests broke out across the country against Trump’s controversial refugee ban — which prohibits for 120 days all refugees and for 90 days citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the country.
But Kushner’s family history was thrust into the spotlight as The Nation reported on testimony of his late grandmother, Rae Kushner, in which she spoke of her struggles as a Nazi-era refugee with nowhere to go.
Rae Kushner was born in 1923 in Novogrudok, a city in Poland occupied by the Soviet Union and then Nazi Germany, to a middle-class Jewish family of six. Only three family members survived the war: Rae Kushner, her father and one of her sisters. And though her father had eight siblings and her mother had three, Rae Kushner was left with only two cousins. During the war, the Nazis turned Novogrudok into a ghetto. Conditions were bad and Nazis would come in at will and kill people.
Rae Kushner escaped the ghetto through an escape tunnel dug by Jews and lived in the woods for nine months with her sister and father. They later smuggled themselves into several countries — the former Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary — ending up in a displaced persons camp in Italy.
Amona residents given 48 hours to leave outpost
Residents of the West Bank outpost of Amona have been given 48 hours to leave the hilltop community ahead of its court-ordered demolition, according to a military eviction order posted at the site on Tuesday.
The order, which was placed throughout the outpost, said the area would be completely sealed off in two days’ time. The eviction notice was signed on Monday and posted a day later, when the 48-hour deadline went into effect.
Responding to confusion over when the 48 hours was up, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that the clock began ticking on Tuesday, and not Monday, setting the evacuation, and a possible showdown with settlers, for Thursday morning.
“The IDF is ready to evacuate the Amona outpost “in accordance with instructions from the government,” a statement from the military said.
Abbas’ advisor invents history: Palestinians have existed in this land “more than 5,000 years”
Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, at a Friday sermon in presence of PA Chairman Abbas: ”They (i.e., the Israelis) have denied our existence and our lives. They have denied that we are a people that has existed on this land from before Abraham came to it, more than 5,000 years ago. We have been on this land in a continuous existence.”
[Official PA TV, Dec. 30, 2016]

Palestinian asylum-seekers rush toward Canada’s open arms
In the spring of 2015, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada in Toronto granted asylum to a 60-year-old widow from the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian woman stated before the judge that she was afraid to return to Gaza because her family, which had supported Fatah, was being harassed by the rival Hamas movement.
“The appellant’s extended family has been supportive of Fatah, which resulted in a number of her family members being killed in the hostilities over the years,” say court documents that can be accessed online through CanLII, a nonprofit that posts some court documents online. “The appellant’s sons were forced to leave Gaza in order to earn a living because Hamas had blacklisted the family.”
The name of the woman — who is described as having had her home in Gaza destroyed by bombing — is replaced with an “X” in the documents because refugee claims are private under Canadian law.
Mufti on PA TV explains how to discipline a wife: “Rebuke her... beat her, [use] a small brush”
TV host: “Not with a stick or a pipe.”
Mufti: “No, no. Not in the face. Even when we hit with a handkerchief or small brush, Prophet [Muhammad] said: ‘Do not hit the face, and do not make her ugly.’ If you want to hit, hit [her] back or leg, hit in places that are not seen, and do not cause a permanent mark... Prophet [Muhammad] did not hit a single man, woman, or child, other than during Jihad for Allah. If your role model is the Prophet, it would be better if you did not hit at all. Aside from that, this [man was] beating for revenge. The beating, according to Islam, is only to convey a message to the wife: ‘I am angry with you.’ That’s all.”
[Official PA TV, Life, Nov. 24, 2016]

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It is 1967. What would become known as the Six Day War has begun and Menachem Begin, invited by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol to join an expanded emergency cabinet, has an idea.

There is a meeting in the basement shelter of the Knesset and the news is announced that Jordan has decided to join Egypt and Syria in battle. Begin and Labor Minister Yigal Allon suggest that the reaction to Jordan's shelling of Israel should be the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem, lost in the 1948 War following a UN ceasefire. Begin urges quick action before a similar ceasefire again leave the city divided.

Moshe Dayan opposes the idea based on the human cost of expected house-to-house fighting in addition to the potential damage to Christian and Muslim holy places -- leading to a world-wide outcry against Israel and opposition to Israeli control over Christian and Muslim holy places. Instead, Dayan suggests it would be enough to just surround the Old City and wait for it to fall.

Allon responds that the Jordanian lines were crumbling and Israel could go in. More to the point, it is essential for there to be a Jewish presence both deep within the Old City and on the Temple Mount itself.

In the end, a 4am news report from the BBC that the UN is planning to declare a ceasefire leads to another meeting where it is agreed to recapture the Old City. [Source: The Prime Minsters, by Yehuda Avner, p157-9]

The rest is history.


The issues then have not changed over the years when discussing the step of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The Israeli reaction has.

The question of Congressional legislation to move the embassy came up during the 1984 presidential campaign. Democrats Walter Mondale and Gary Hart both came out in favor of the bill introduced by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynnihan, while President Reagen threatened to veto such a bill.

The response of an Israeli Foreign Ministry official at the time was less warm: "I'm very leery of trying to tread on a Congressional debate and an argument between the President and Congress, a constitutional problem of who runs foreign policy."

A decade later, in May 1995, news about what would become enacted that November as the Jerusalem Embassy Act, did not excite Israelis either. Prime Minister Rabin, suggested the Likud was behind it with the aim of "torpedoing" peace negotiations. Foreign Minister Peres tried to distance Israel from the bill, saying there was "no need for our involvement."

Fast-forward to today. During his presidential campaign, Trump made a point of talking about moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

And now he is the President.

Again, it is not so simple.

Moshe Feiglin, founder and chairman of the Zehut party, was interviewed the day after the elections -- and he predicted that once moving the embassy became a very real possibility, Netanyahu would not be any more enthusiastic or outspoken than past Israeli officials. See the video below, starting at 1:03:

Events seem to justify Feiglin's pessimism.

This past Friday, Marc Zell, chairman of Republicans overseas Israel indicated that the Israeli government did in fact have cold feet:

He followed up on his criticism the following day:

Zell even went so far as to imply that once Israel indicated its approval, plans for the embassy move could proceed right away

But when Haaretz published an interview with him the same day:
The co-chair of the Republicans Overseas organization in Israel, Marc Zell, says that recent foot-dragging by Donald Trump's White House on moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, is happening at Israel’s request.

Zell told Haaretz, citing both Israeli and U.S. sources, that “Trump has been unequivocally in favor of moving the embassy and remains so” but “he is proceeding cautiously because of concerns raised by Israeli officials.”
...Zell used Twitter again -- this time to walk back what he said:
For his part, Netanyahu came out out Sunday with an apparent response to Zell:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced support on Sunday for moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem but mentioned no time frame, after a Republican activist accused Israel of pressing the Trump administration to delay the pledged step.
Even in welcoming the idea, Netanyahu appears cautious.

Now as in 1967, a mix of of the threat of Arab violence and world disapproval appears to be the issue.

Back then, there was no time to delay, as the threat of a missed opportunity was very real. Then again, who today is as blunt and influencial as Menachem Begin?

The question is how much time does Israel really have to take Trump up on his offer, before he too decides to put the offer on the back burner or take it off the table altogether.

After all, at heart -- Trump is a businessman.

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From The Independent:

Donald Trump’s ban on travel to the US from some Muslim-majority countries has been denounced by the UN's rights chief as “mean-spirited” and illegal under international human rights law. 
Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein said: “Discrimination on nationality alone is forbidden under human rights law."

The UN Human Rights Council that al Hussein heads includes  Bangladesh, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

All of those countries ban Israelis from entering.

Because of their nationality.

(h/t David A)

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Refugees are in the news. People are pledging to help them any way they can.

And UNRWA USA is trying to cynically make money off of the phenomenon - even though the organization does not want a single "refugee" under its mandate to ever move to the US and become a citizen.

The entire point of the protests is to allow refugees to come and live safely in the US. The entire point of UNRWA is to keep Palestinians in Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria, not to give them opportunities to become citizens anywhere in the world. UNRWA teaches generations of kids that they will one day "return" and therefore they should not seek better lives elsewhere.

UNRWA calls some 2 million Jordanian citizens "refugees." They aren't.

But UNRWA-USA wants to call them that so they can raise money.

UNRWA calls some 2 million people who actually live in the areas of British Mandate Palestine "refugees" - even though they live in the land they are supposedly refugees from. They aren't refugees.

But UNRWA-USA wants to call them that so they can raise money.

UNRWA claims there are twice the number of Palestinian "refugees" in Lebanon than are actually there. Lebanon discriminates against them and they suffer horribly - but "non-political" UNRWA, not shy about attacking Israel, won't say a negative word against Lebanon. It raises money based on 200,000 phantom "refugees" who are now in Europe or spread through the Arab world.

I have no problem with UNWRA helping Syrian Palestinians with food and shelter, but UNRWA's very existence means that they cannot be taken care of by UNHCR. These real refugees from Syria cannot take advantage of UNHCR's efforts to find homes for the other Syrian refugees.

UNRWA refuses to remove any "refugees" from that status - even if they become citizens elsewhere, even if their great-grandparents weren't born in the area of the Mandate  Many are descended from people who were never refugees to begin with, but UNRWA refused to remove them from the rolls even in the 1950s. . There is no cessation clause in UNRWA's rules and regulations. Once a "refugee," your descendants can claim benefits from UNRWA for centuries to come.

This campaign is pure cynicism, and it is immoral in that UNRWA-USA is trying to fool well-meaning people who truly want to help refugees into instead donating to a giant self-perpetuating bureaucracy that wasn't meant to exist past 1951.

If you want to help refugees, give to UNHCR - which actually tries to solve the problem of refugees. Don't give to UNRWA whose existence is based on perpetuating the Palestinian "refugee" problem for generations to come.

And they know that - because the slogan here implies that UNRWA will continue to exist forever, as the number of fake "refugees" increases every year.

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.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The New York Times has an article about Israeli discussions of annexing Maaleh Adumim.

Buried in the article, not noticeable unless you really pay attention, are a couple of things that the media usually ignores altogether.

Here's one, in paragraph 15:
After eight years of little building, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just allotted 100 new building units to Ma’ale Adumim, part of 2,500 new proposed housing units around the West Bank settlements, and another 560 in East Jerusalem. 

For eight years we have been hearing about how Israel is building a huge number of houses in the territories and how that was preventing a two-state solution. And many of these charges came from Obama and Kerry.

Now that they are gone, the NYT admits that this is largely false - Israel hasn't built much at all during that time period.

Why was there no fact checking when Obama and Kerry made their statements? It isn't as if the facts were hidden; the numbers of new housing starts are public information and Peace Now has the numbers, also buried under the 8-fold counting of every single stage of building approvals making it appear that there were far more units being built than was true.

 If the New York Times cares about truth, and is so keen to call the current president a liar, than why did they not do the same for Obama's false claims?

Here's the second piece of truth that accidentally was revealed by the NYT article: a photo of the mall in Maaleh Adumim.

Two Muslim girls (and an Ethiopian child) hanging out in the mall of this "settlement."

If you read the New York Times or other media, you wouldn't think that Arabs ever appear in the Jewish communities (except as laborers.)

Here we have Arabs voluntarily going shopping in the  "Jewish only settlement" without any fear whatsoever.

Yes, sometimes the NYT reports the truth. But even when it does, you need to discover it - it won't be in the headlines or in the first several paragraphs of text.

(h/t Charlie in NY)

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