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Saturday, June 30, 2018

From Ian:

MEMRI: Fatah Announces 'National Campaign To Thwart The Deal Of The Century,' Publishes Posters Against The Deal And Its Initiators
Even before its terms have been publicized, the Trump administration's Middle East peace plan, known as "the Deal of the Century," has encountered harsh opposition from the Palestinian Authority (PA), on the grounds that it does not promote peace but seeks to eliminate the Palestinian national identity and the Palestinian state and to topple the Palestinian leadership.[1]Against this backdrop, PA elements have directed personal attacks at the U.S. officials promoting the deal. For example, a statement by the PA Foreign Ministry called Trump's advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner a "political novice who reads history through Israeli eyes."[2] An editorial of the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida likened U.S. President Donald Trump to "the last Roman emperor, Nero, who burned Rome down, so that the roads no longer led to it..."[3] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida columnist 'Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul called Trump "a disgrace for America and its people," whose "populist policy" is "dangerous" for the U.S. and the world at large. [4]

Harsh criticism against the deal and its proponents was also voiced by Fatah, whose chairman is Palestinian President Mahmoud 'Abbas. Recently the movement announced the launching of "a national campaign to thwart the Deal of the Century."[5] An announcement on behalf of the campaign, which was also posted on Fatah's official Facebook page, stated that its objective is "to clarify the dangers posed by this deal, which is known to be a bad deal, and explain how it can destroy our national cause [by] proposing alternative solutions that circumvent the Palestinian people's eternal rights [in favor of] humanitarian gestures and economic enticements." The announcement states further that the Deal of the Century is an American attempt "to impose [on the Palestinians] the vision of the Israeli occupation state and to end the dream of the Palestinian state and of national independence."[6]

Fatah Spokesman Osama Al-Qawasmeh announced that the movement supported the campaign and called on Palestinians to join its activities "on the ground and in the media, and in every language, in order to voice [the protest of the] Palestinian people that will not accept surrender and disgrace."[7] In addition, following the launching of the campaign, Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Muhaisin met with the heads of the movement's branches in the West Bank in order to prepare "The March of Refusal of the Deal of the Century,"[8] and also announced that protests would take place in Ramallah on July 2, 2018 against "the American crime of our era."[9]

Melanie Phillips: The hurdles in front of the Trump peace plan
President Trump’s peace plan for Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, his attempt at the “deal of the century,” will apparently soon be revealed to the world.

His envoys, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, have been making the rounds in the region to get Arab allies on board. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhau has paid a visit to the King of Jordan.

No one yet knows the terms of this deal. Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has refused even to talk to the United States about it and has presumptively rejected it sight unseen.

The message he has received, however, is that the days of using such rejectionism to stymie progress are over. If he won’t agree to these terms, the Israelis will have U.S. backing in doing what they need to do to safeguard their security. And the Arab world has indicated that it will raise no serious objection.

Abbas and his camp are in effect being told: “You lost. Now get over it.” So will they?

As has been clear for decades, there are no terms on which the Palestinian Arab leadership can ever accept the existence of the State of Israel.

Until now, the West didn’t believe that. It thought that if only Israel would give more, and then more again, there could be a two-state solution and an end to the conflict.

This merely demonstrated the delusion born of Western hubris that the agenda of everyone in the world is negotiable. It failed to grasp two crucial aspects of the Palestinian Arab story—one dating from the 1930s, and the other going back to the seventh century.

Consider this: Strikingly, the image Palestinian Arabs present to the world systematically appropriates for themselves characteristics of the Jewish and Zionist experience.
Ben-Dror Yemini: The Palestinian paradox: 70 years of perpetuating refugeeism
“The Palestinian side won by a knockout,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, the IDF’s international spokesperson.

Well, of course. That’s the result of the “wait and see” policy. Hamas knows it won’t defeat Israel in the battlefield. But it knew in advance that it would defeat Israel in the global public opinion. Hamas wasn’t the only one that knew that. Any sensible person knew that.

Israel should have made the Palestinians in Gaza, including Hamas, an offer they couldn’t refuse a long time ago. I have repeated this claim, I must say, like Cato the Elder.

Now, Hamas is proposing a hudna. The proposal’s precondition, senior Israeli officials responded, doesn’t meet Israel’s demands. Such foolishness. Not only is Israel failing to initiate anything, it is also rejecting a Hamas proposal.

When Hamas propose something, Israel should first of all say yes, and add that the hudna must be based on the international community’s terms. Does Israel have anything to lose? No.

But Israel, once again, is winning on the Gaza border and suffering a defeat in the global media. That’s what Hamas wanted. That’s what Hamas got. And the admission of senior Hamas official Salah Bardawil, that 50 of the Palestinians killed on May 14 were Hamas members, doesn’t help Israel in any way. We have lost this conflict—not because of Hamas, but because of Israeli foolishness.

The Atlantic Sends “A Muslim Among Israeli Settlers,” But Forgets to Give Him GPS
The June 2018 issue of The Atlantic includes a feature by Wajahat Ali titled, “A Muslim Among Israeli Settlers.” It’s an 8-part, 9500 word article, with each part dedicated to a different West Bank or Jerusalem neighborhood or town in which Ali talks to the residents.

There are a lot of positives in the lyrically written piece, not least that Mr. Ali attempted this feat at all. I appreciated his candid admissions that for the Muslim Student Association at his alma mater UC Berkeley, “the conflict in the Holy Land superseded all other Muslim suffering,” and that “many Palestinians I encountered [while in the West Bank] think of the people in Tel Aviv as settlers as well.” He directly quoted one of his subjects saying she “wants all the Israelis ‘to go back where they came from.’” It bears noting that Ali has suffered repercussions for writing the piece.

There are, however, some factual problems, and his conclusions are based on some untested assumptions that warrant scrutiny.

In the conclusion of his essay, Ali writes,
Two things stand in the way of actual peace. The first is the yearning of some Palestinians for all the Jews to leave. … But the second problem – perhaps the even bigger problem – is the settlements, and the exclusivist attitude that motivates the people who live in them. A two-state solution is, theoretically, the best in a basket of bad solutions. But given the dismal realities on the ground, what might be better, alas, is a one-state solution that absorbs all the Palestinians as citizens of Israel and gives everyone an equal vote and equal rights.

Ali is not the first, nor will he be the last, to claim that the settlements are the biggest impediment to peace. It’s disappointing, however, that he would make such a claim after having spent so much time meeting and talking with them, and even as he writes that, “as a result of engaging with Zionists, I found that once you allow a space for conflicting narratives, even those that might repulse you, the characters take up room in your mind and your heart. You can no longer unsee or unfeel them.”
NPR (PodCast): Halevi's 'Letters To My Palestinian Neighbor' Looks For Common Ground
Israeli writer Yossi Klein Halevi is determined to reach across the divide to Palestinians who share his homeland. He writes letters about faith and longing to an anonymous Palestinian neighbor.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: Yossi Klein Halevi left his home in New York when he was in his 20s and moved to Israel. Over the decades since then, he has tried to sort out for himself how these two peoples, the Israelis and the Palestinians, have been locked in their intractable conflict for generations. In his new book, titled "Letters To My Palestinian Neighbors" (ph), Halevi tries to reach beyond the failed politics and toxic narratives to connect with the neighbors that he does not know. Here he is reading from the opening chapter.

YOSSI KLEIN HALEVI: (Reading) We are living incarnations of each other's worst historical nightmares, neighbors. But I don't know how else to address you. I once believed that we would actually meet, and I am writing to you with the hope that we still might. I imagine you in your house somewhere on the next hill, just beyond my porch. We don't know each other, but our lives are entwined. And so - neighbor.
Abbas said to have refused US offer to meet Kushner, Arab leaders
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is said to have refused an offer to hold a meeting last week with Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, also US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, and leaders of neighboring Arab countries, according to a report on Saturday in the London-based, Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat.

Citing an unnamed diplomatic source, the paper reported that Abbas viewed the offer as an attempt by the Americans to push the Palestinians into agreeing to a peace process favorable to Israel, while also achieving the “real objective” of closer Israel-Arab ties in the region.

The offer for the meeting was proposed to Abbas via Egypt during Kushner and Mideast peace envoy Jason Greenblatt’s most recent trip to the region. The two visited Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Egypt last week to discuss a much-anticipated Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, as well as enlist humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip. They did not meet with representatives from the Palestinian Authority, as Abbas cut off all contact with Washington over Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December.

During the visit, Kushner gave a rare interview to the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds in which he urged Palestinians not to let their “scared” leadership reject the Trump administration peace plan, and voicing doubt on whether Abbas truly wanted an accord.
The West hates Israel because it guards its borders
At least, 60 percent of the Israeli population today is made up of Jewish immigrants or children of immigrants. The Jews come from about 100 countries of all colors and paths of life, but these Jews are all united in one society. If the global index of happiness and satisfaction could factor in these parameters and paradoxes, perhaps Israel would be the happiest country in the world.

It is easy to understand why the peaceful, orderly and wealthy Switzerland, Netherlands, Canada, Iceland, Denmark and Australia are at the top of the "smiling nations". These societies are not living in the midst of violent conflicts. Nor are they the target of international campaigns of isolation and boycotting. The Danes do not have at their borders thousands of weapons aimed at the centers of the civilian population.

Israel has all these.

So why is Israel the most hated country in the world, expecially in the West? Because of its border issues. The Western consensus is "post-borders" and we are witness to a new conflict about their necessity, once taken for granted, from Mexico to the Mediterranean, from Calais in France to Lesbo in Greece.

Israel and its population are probably the only Western, democratic country, barring Trump's wall with Mexico, that is going in the opposite direction of the new Western consensus of a humanity without borders.

Israel is a tiny state. From north to south, from Kiryat Shmona to Eilat, you can fly over all of Israel in about 10 minutes. If you climb on the peaks of Gush Etzion, a few miles from Jerusalem, you can see Israel from one side to the other one, west to east. It is as if from the Eiffel Tower, in France, you could see the Atlantic Ocean or the German border.
Father of Taylor Force coming to Israel for vote
Monday’s Knesset vote passing into law a historic bill aimed at stopping the Palestinian Authority from giving terrorists and their families 1.2 billion shekels a year in monthly stipends will be attended by Stuart Force, whose son, US Army Captain Taylor Force was murdered in Tel Aviv in March 2016.

Taylor Force’s murder led to the March 2018 passage of the Taylor Force Act in both houses of Congress, which cuts US aid to the PA until it stops paying terrorists and their families, as well as Monday’s vote in the Knesset, which requires the government to deduct the amount the PA pays terrorists from the taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the authority.

This will be the first visit to Israel for Stuart Force, whose son was traveling with other graduate students from Vanderbilt University studying global entrepreneurship when he was stabbed to death as he was walking on the Tel Aviv Promenade.

He was invited to come by the co-sponsors of the bill in the Knesset, Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee head Avi Dichter (Likud), who met with Force in Washington two weeks ago, and Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern.

While he is in the country, Force will attend events marking the 25th anniversary of the Oslo Accords that were organized by the Middle East Forum, which opposed them. The events will be held Tuesday at the Knesset when the Israel Victory Caucus convenes, and Wednesday night at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center.

Force will also attend a US Independence Day party hosted by American Ambassador to Israel David Friedman Tuesday at Airport City.
Gaza airborne incendiary devices spark 5 fires in Israeli border communities
Firefighters battled to fight five blazes sparked by incendiary devices flown toward Israeli communities from Gaza on Saturday.

Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen said Saturday that those who launch the kites from Gaza should be targeted, as the safety of Israelis living in the vicinity of the coastal enclave must be the first priority.

“These kites are not toys, but weapons aimed at hurting us, just like Kassam rockets and Molotov cocktails,” Cohen told the Shabbat b’Tarbut cultural event in Holon.

Israeli leaders have been split on how to respond to those responsible for the airborne arson attacks, with some calling for the IDF to shoot the kite flyers and balloon launchers on sight, while others argue that it would be a step too far.
Economy Minister Eli Cohen attends a press conference at the Ministry of Finance in Tel Aviv, January 4, 2018. (Flash90)

Since March 30, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have launched countless kites, balloons and inflated latex condoms bearing flammable materials, and occasionally explosives, into Israeli territory, sparking near-daily fires that have burned thousands of acres of farmland, parks and forests.
Israel takes in 6 Syrians, 4 of them orphans, injured in renewed fighting
The Israeli military brought in six wounded Syrian nationals, four of them reportedly newly orphaned children, into the country for treatment in a local hospital late Friday night, in a “unique and complex medical operation,” the army said.

The six Syrians were among those injured in Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s renewed offensive against the remaining rebel holdouts in southwestern Syria. Earlier in the evening on Friday, local leaders in the area made contact with Israel in order to transfer the injured, the Israel Defense Forces said on Saturday night.

“In a unique and complex medical operation by the Bashan Division, six moderately to severely injured Syrian were received and treated last Friday night, including four children. According to reports from the Syrian side, the families of the children were killed in bombings during the fighting in Syria, and the children were rushed to Israel to receive treatment,” the IDF said in a statement.

Once the Israeli troops made contact with the injured Syrians, they provided them with first aid in order to stabilize their conditions, before bringing them to an undisclosed hospital in northern Israel, the army said.
2 Palestinians killed, 5 injured in mystery Gaza Strip explosion
At least two Palestinians were killed and five injured on Saturday evening in an explosion in an apartment in the Gaza City neighborhood of Shejaiya, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.

The cause of the blast was not immediately known, but there were suggestions it was the result of mishandling of explosives.

Hadashot TV news reported that the family in whose home the explosion occurred is affiliated with Fatah, Hamas’s Palestinian rival, which was violently overthrown by the terror group now ruling Gaza in 2007.

By contrast, Haaretz reported that the apartment held firecrackers and other explosives, and cited a Palestinian source as saying there were indications the alleged lab belonged to Hamas’s armed wing.

The paper also said the two Gazans killed were 17-year-old Mouayed Hals and Dia al-Arar, also 17.
Hamas said refusing to return Israelis as part of aid package
Hamas has refused to return Israeli citizens and the bodies of IDF soldiers it holds as part of an agreement to provide humanitarian help to the Gaza Strip, an Arabic daily reported Saturday, and is conditioning any release on Israel freeing hundreds of Palestinian security prisoners.

According to the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat, Hamas is weighing three proposals seeking to address the security and humanitarian conditions in Gaza, two of which would see the terror group release the Israelis and agree to a truce in exchange for the opening of border crossings to all goods.

Hamas, however, is only willing to return the Israelis as part of an “exchange deal” for the release of Palestinians imprisoned in Israel on security offenses, the report said.

Furthermore, the terror group has indicated it does not want an agreement that addresses its weapons stockpile, the report said, nor will it agree to end the clashes on the Gaza border until the security blockade of the Palestinian enclave is lifted.

Hamas rejected on similar grounds a third proposal presented by the UN’s Middle East peace envoy Nikolay Mladenov that would include fuel shipments for Gaza’s power plant and the permanent opening of border crossings while also addressing Israel’s security needs, according to Asharq al-Awsat.
Lebanese President: If Israel attacks, we'll defend ourselves
Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Friday that Lebanon is “obliged to defend itself” in the event of “Israeli aggression”.

“I will work with the new government on improving the economy, continuing the reforms and combating corruption,” Aoun told visiting British Minister of State for Middle East and North Africa Alistair Burt, according to the Naharnet news website.

He stressed that Lebanon is “committed to the truce and Resolution 1701”, which was approved by the Security Council in August of 2006 in an attempt to end the Second Lebanon War, while underscoring that it is also “obliged to defend itself should Israel attack its territory.”

Aoun has several times in recent months issued threats against Israel. In February, he said that “Lebanon has made a decision to defend itself in case of an Israeli aggression or encroachment on its rightful access to its offshore oil and gas resources.”

Last November, Aoun accused Israel of “squatting in the southern borders” and of “violating Lebanon's sovereignty”.

Earlier that month, he warned that if a war with Israel were to occur, all the citizens of his country are willing to battle Israel.
MEMRI: Iranian Regime Dealing With First Signs Of Economic Collapse

While U.S. President Donald Trump has yet to take active measures against Iran, the Iranian regime is already showing signs of economic and political collapse, although throughout the 40 years of its existence it has presented itself as a powerful regime that benefits from popular support, a prosperous economy despite the sanctions, comprehensive economic, technological and scientific capabilities and unprecedented military abilities. Trump's May 2018 announcement about planned economic measures against Iran was enough to destabilize the country's economy and cause resurgence, on May 26, 2018, of large-scale protests in central Tehran that lasted several days. In our assessment, even if the protests die down or are repressed by the regime for a while, they will eventually recur and intensify, because the Iranian regime can offer no solution for the economic crisis except by changing its regional and nuclear policies, i.e., by directing Iran's national resources towards benefiting the Iranian people rather than promoting its goals outside the country.

Trump's Measures To Date
On May 8, 2018 Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the so-called nuclear deal with Iran, i.e., the JCPOA. It should be stressed that the JCPOA was not a "deal" in the first place, due to Iran's insistence that it would not be an agreement signed by the sides but only a joint plan of action approved by UN Security Council Resolution 2231 – just like any other resolution in the Security Council's history, many of which were not implemented. The U.S. President also announced his intention to re-impose the nuclear sanctions that had been lifted following the adoption of the resolution, and also to impose additional unprecedented economic sanctions.

However, the renewed sanctions, including oil and banking sanctions, will come into effect only on November 4, 2018. Only then will companies no longer be able to make transactions with Iran without incurring punitive measures by the U.S. Hence there was no objective economic reason for the collapse of the Iranian currency four months before this date, especially considering that the European Union actively opposes Trump's plans and is considering countermeasures to allow the Iranian regime to continue enjoying the economic privileges granted to Iran by the Obama administration. While in recent weeks some international companies have announced their intension to pull out of the Iranian market, the country is still allowed access to the SWIFT international system, a major financial lifeline of global trade.

Iranian officials likewise stress that there is no objective reason for the currency crash, and this is not inaccurate, since the crash apparently stems mainly from the Iranian public's apprehensions. According to the officials, the protests and the public's loss of confidence in the regime are the result of a plot by the Americans and the Zionists, who are employing psychological warfare against Iran since they are unable to confront it militarily.
Tens of thousands demand Iran regime change at mass exile rally in Paris
Tens of thousands of people from across Europe and the US gathered on Saturday at the Paris suburb Villepinte Congress Center for the annual meeting of the Iranian opposition "Free Iran" movement.

Waving flags of Iran, supporters of the Iran Mujahedin kept chanting in Farsi ‘’We are ready,’’ and ‘’People are dying, we will take back Iran,’’ responding to the calls of the speakers to topple the Ayatollah regime.

Wearing a blue scarf and traditional attire, leader of the National Council of Resistance of Iran Maryam Rajavi addressed the crowd, saying ‘’the overthrow of this regime inevitably requires the willingness to pay the price, requires honesty and sacrifice, requires an organization and a strong political alternative, and requires resistance units and a liberty army.

‘’We call for the establishment of a society based on freedom, democracy, and equality, which has clear demarcations with despotism and dependence as well as gender, ethic and class discrimination. We have defended and will defend gender equality, the right to freely choose one’s attire, separation of religion and state, autonomy of nationalities, equal political and social rights for all citizens of Iran, abolition of the death penalty, freedom of expression, parties, the media, assembly, unions, associations and syndicates.’’

A large American delegation, headed by former Mayor of New York and prominent Republican Party member Rudy Giuliani, a long-time supporter of the movement, took part in the event.

Also present were former speaker of the House of Representatives Newton Gingrich and former US Ambassador Bill Richardson. The delegation was mostly comprised of neo-Conservative Republicans, but also by a few Democrat figures objecting the Iranian nuclear agreement. Former Canada Prime Minister Stephan Harper headed the Canadian delegation to the event.
Our Enemies Are Right Here! America Is Not Our Enemy - Iran
Protesters in Tehran Shout: Our Enemies Are Right Here! America Is Not Our Enemy! No to Gaza, No To Lebanon!Footage posted on social media on June 25 showed protesters in various locations in Tehran marching and shouting slogans like “No to Gaza, no to Lebanon! I will give my life to Iran!” and “Death to the dictator.” In one demonstration, the protesters shouted “Our enemy is here! It is a lie that America is our enemy!”

Spain’s Anti-Israel Hypocrisy Boils Down to Antisemitism
The Spanish state of Navarre recently voted to endorse the BDS movement against Israel, calling on the European Union to impose sanctions on Israel, while slamming the United States’ decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to “occupied Jerusalem.”

More than 50 Spanish cities and regions have passed motions condemning Israel. Driven by the rise of the far-left in Spain, this proliferation of anti-Israel activism is establishing the kingdom as the most anti-Israel member state in the EU, reports the Gatestone Institute.

If Spain truly cared about Israel’s “occupation,” why does the kingdom continue to preserve its own colonialist legacy? Since 1815, Spain has occupied the Portuguese town of Olivenza, despite signing a treaty agreeing to return control to Portugal.

Spain has also refused to acquiesce to demands of Basque separatists seeking to create an independent homeland in northern Spain, while also maintaining control over the plazas de soberanía, and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, despite both being claimed by Morocco as their sovereign land.

But Spain’s most flagrant violation of its neighbors’ sovereignty came last year, when it refused to respect the autonomy of Catalonia and its desire to secede from Spain. In a referendum in late 2017, an overwhelming 90% of Catalans voted in favor of independence. The Spanish government responded by arresting Catalan independence leader Jordi Sànchez; it has jailed him for the past eight months on charges of sedition.
Leading Irish Newspaper Slams ‘Hypocrisy’ of Calls for Boycott of Next Year’s Israel-Hosted Eurovision Contest
The editorial board of a leading Irish newspaper slammed on Thursday those calling for a boycott of next year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Israel.

Such a boycott, the Irish Examiner pointed out, “would have no impact one way or the other on the policies of Israel’s government which, lest it be conveniently overlooked, represents the region’s only democracy and whose highest priority is the protection of its citizens from those whose wish is to wipe the country off the map.”

“There is in this campaign, endorsed in Ireland by notable gay and feminist activists, the refrain of hypocrisy,” the oped noted.

“The boycott brigade, marching for human rights and social justice, sees Israel’s defence of itself as a primarily Jewish state as a war crime,” it continued. “We look forward to reporting its demands for an international boycott of, say, Saudi Arabia or Iran where, when we last looked, gay and feminist activists would not be tolerated.

The Irish Examiner concluded: “Can we look forward to calls to cut off all cultural, academic and economic ties with, say, China, with its more than somewhat appalling lack of interest in human rights? We suspect not.”
Leading South African Jewish Group Pursues Criminal Charges Against Three Online Antisemites
The South African Jewish Board of Deputies is pursuing criminal charges against three people who made antisemitic statements online.

These included such sentiments as Hitler “should’ve killed you all” and “The #Holocaust Will be like A Picnic When we are done with all you Zionist Bastards.”

The three men charged are Muhammad Hattia, Tameez Seedat, and Matome Letsoalo, who issued threats on Twitter and WhatsApp.

Laden with obscenities, the messages openly threatened Jews and evoked crude antisemitic stereotypes.

Letsoalo’s tweets included, “The #Holocaust Will be like A Picnic When we are done with all you Zionist Bastards. F*ck All Of You.” Elsewhere, he referred to Jews as vermin and said Hitler should have succeeded in exterminating them.

Hattia and Seedat made their comments in a WhatsApp group. Hattia wrote, “F*ck you jew pricks. Fat nosed f*cks …. I hope you and your family die. Hitler f*cked up he should’ve killed you all.”

Seedat wrote afterward, “You f*cken Jew / Zionist will see your time coming. Make our fellow brothers and sisters suffer, but what you don’t understand is that worse will be coming your way.”
U.N. Cases Read Like 'Manual in How Not to Investigate' Sexual Assault
"On the world stage, the United Nations takes an uncompromising stance on sexual abuse, trumpeting a 'zero tolerance' policy for infractions by its employees and condemning rape laws that require a woman to show injuries to prove that she did not consent.

But within the United Nations itself, the system for examining sexual misconduct by employees is so inconsistent that investigators sometimes use those same contentious laws to help guide their inquiries - a clear example, critics say, of the broad gap between the organization's public pronouncements and its own practices...

The United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, has promised to make accountability for sexual misconduct a central part of his leadership... But to many women in the industry, these measures sidestep the deep structural problems that have allowed decades of sexism and abuse within the United Nations to continue.

They say internal investigations give greater credence to powerful men who deny wrongdoing than to the women who accuse them, and that reporting systems are so byzantine that it is often unclear how to make a complaint, or what happens to the women who do...
French prosecutors announce investigation into anti-Semitic mosque sermon
Public prosecutors in the French city of Toulouse announced Friday they are opening an investigation into a senior Muslim cleric who recited anti-Semitic religious passages and predicted Israel’s destruction in a sermon.

Mohamed Tatai, the imam of the newly inaugurated Grand Mosque of Toulouse and the leader of an interfaith dialogue group, is to be investigated for “possible incitement to hatred.”

On December 15 Tatai recited a Muslim text, called a Hadith, stating that on Judgment Day, the Muslims will kill the Jews.

The Prophet Muhammad “told us about the final and decisive battle: ‘Judgement Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews. The Jews will hide behind the stones and the trees, and the stones and the trees will say: Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him – except for the Gharqad tree, which is one of the trees of the Jews,’” he said.
The Jewish man who survived World War II in Axis-era Japan
Growing up in Imperial Japan during World War II, Isaac Shapiro’s best friend was a member of the Hitler Youth.

The friend wore the organization’s brown shirt uniform to their international school every day, but not because he wanted to — he was German and Japan was an ally of the Nazi regime, so he was expected to project support for the Fuehrer.

Instead of instilling fear into his classmates, however, the uniform had the opposite effect — his non-German peers gently teased him.

“We made fun of him — everybody at school made fun of him,” Shapiro said. “We didn’t support the German Reich.
Shapiro, now 87, lives in New York. (Ben Sales)

“He was obviously not very enthusiastic about being in the Hitlerjugend,” Shapiro added, using the German word for Hitler Youth.

Countless Jews have harrowing stories of growing up under the terror of Nazi rule, but Shapiro has a different tale of growing up under the Axis — he was one of the few Jews living in Japan at the time. He was born in 1931, the year Japan invaded Manchuria, and was living there when the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945.
From Auschwitz to America: Lessons from Europe’s killing fields
Before and during World War II, Jewish communities across Europe cried out for help. World powers were overwhelmingly silent. Jews trying to flee were turned away by countries across Europe and the Americas, with Britain blocking immigration to what is now Israel.

Unfortunately, some Jewish communities in Europe and elsewhere now downplay or even ignore the dangers the Jewish people face. We found this in some of our conversations with European-Jewish leaders, who expressed their unwavering confidence in their local government’s willingness and ability to protect them.

Jews in America today have the power to stand up, speak out, and fight back against the antisemites. We should use this power now – before it’s no longer available.

This brings us to our third lesson. We must support Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people and ultimate insurance policy for all Jews.

Israel did not exist during the time of the Holocaust. It has already saved millions of Jews fleeing antisemitism around the world. In its infancy, Israel accepted Holocaust survivors from displaced persons camps. It launched countless operations to save Jews facing existential threats across the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and Europe. In the 90s, the Jewish homeland welcomed approximately 1.6 million Jews from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, who had endured harsh antisemitism and hatred. More recently, rising antisemitism in Venezuela brought over half of the country’s Jews to Israel.

Israel has changed the game when it comes to the security of the Jewish people. This point was driven home for us during the trip, by Maj. General Amir Eshel – the former commander of the Israel Air Force, who accompanied us to Auschwitz. In 2003, Eshel led a squadron of IAF F-15s in a flyover of Auschwitz, issuing an eternal promise from the cockpit that the IDF is “the shield of the Jewish people and its nation, Israel.”

Remembering the Holocaust is not enough. We must turn the tragedies of the past into lessons for the future. Nothing less than the continuation of the Jewish people is at stake. It’s in our hands to ensure that Never Again really means Never Again.

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

Friday, June 29, 2018

From Ian:

In Menachem Begin’s Rise, Lessons for the #Resistance to Trump
No one saw him coming.

Certainly not the nation’s entrenched political class: To them, he was one part clown and one part petty tyrant. They mocked his hyperbolic way of speaking—to him, everything, from his supporters to his family, was very, very great, the best, the most—and warned that if he somehow got elected, it would be the end of democracy. But they didn’t really think he could win, so they continued to campaign at a leisurely pace and rely on the sycophantic media to present their candidate as inevitable.

He, on the other hand, campaigned furiously. Knowing that the press had it in for him, he set up a series of mass rallies all over the country. His fans came out in droves to see him. They were working class folks, and they felt that the elites had pushed them around for too long. In him, they found an unlikely messiah: He wasn’t of them, but he seemed to understand their frustrations and, most important, offer them some sort of nostalgic promise. He could make the nation great again.

Besides, the rallies were such good fun! He was funnier than anyone ever gave him credit for, and he mocked his political rivals mercilessly, commenting on their looks and ridiculing their weaknesses. Still, no one seemed too worried: There was no way, they thought, that Menachem Begin could really win the election.

But on May 17, 1977, he did, sending Israel’s upper crust into a tailspin. Anyone who wants to understand the current American political moment would do well to study Begin, who began his political life as a boogeyman and ended it as one of the greatest leaders in the nation’s history.
Ben Shapiro: How Trump Haters End Up Helping Trump
Perhaps those cheering such extreme rhetoric think they’re doing a world of good. In truth, their hatred for Trump, extended to his supporters, is actually emboldening Trump and strengthening his base of support. Even those of us uncomfortable with Trump’s character aren’t likely to side with Waters or crowds shouting down Cabinet secretaries eating dinner. Nor are we likely to go along with labeling Trumpian immigration policy Nazi-like — particularly without any serious historical references, and combined with on-the-ground activism that sometimes looks like a fair bit like brownshirt thuggery. Last week, George Will called on Republicans to vote for Democrats in order to check Trump — but no self-respecting Republican is going to vote for the people who call them Nazis and who avoid making serious arguments in favor of shouting about Orange Hitler.

The great irony is that Trump is an unpopular president by any objective measure — he’s spent his entire presidency hovering around 40 percent, despite a booming economy and a dearth of foreign crises. All the left would have to do to win over independents and disenchanted Republicans is provide some semblance of stability and decency. Instead, hatred for Trump has driven the left to polarization — and that polarization is forcing the same binary choice that led to Trump’s presidency in the first place. Trump hatred has led to disproportionate, irrational responses that have pushed people into his corner. These unhinged attacks against Trump don’t defeat Trump. They strengthen him.

Caroline Glick: The Grand Bazaar, AMIA and Lockerbie
News coverage of the large and growing anti-regime protests in Iran this week has included warnings by Iran “experts” insisting that the vocal support the protesters are receiving on social media from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is counterproductive.

Israeli and US statements of support for the Iranian people and their desire to rid themselves of the regime that oppresses them will only weaken them, experts warn. But several counter-indications make clear that these warnings should be disregarded.

In 2009, when millions of Iranians took to the streets in the Green Revolution, then-US president Barack Obama refused to support them. Like today’s experts, Obama argued that it would be counterproductive for the US to support the protesters as they demanded the overthrow of the regime that had just stolen the presidential election. Obama claimed that the US is so hated that the regime would use its support of the protesters to discredit the demonstrations.

In the event, Obama’s silence demoralized the revolutionaries who asked again and again why he refused to stand with them. Perhaps more importantly, by refusing to stand for the men and women of Iran who risked death to stand up to America’s bitter enemy, Obama gave Iran’s dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his henchmen a green light to brutally repress the revolution. Which is exactly what they proceeded to do with nary a whimper of protest from the Obama White House.

Charles Krauthammer: Why the Media Never Gets the Middle East Right
On October 24, 1993, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) held a conference at Brandeis University titled: “The Media, the Message, and Middle East Peace.” Among the speakers at the conference was Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Charles Krauthammer. To honor his memory, we are republishing his speech.

Let me begin with the good news. I brought with me a cartoon that ran in a major newspaper on July 31. It shows a bunch of people, including some children, with bombs exploding over their heads, running for their lives. Why? They are being chased by a large creature, a Tyrannosaurus Rex. But not your ordinary T Rex. This one is wearing an army helmet with a Star of David on it. This is a cartoon about Southern Lebanon. The caption reads: “Sixty million in the making, one week in destroying. Jewrassic Park, a.k.a. Southern Lebanon.” Jurassic is spelled Jew-rassic.

Why is this good news? Because it ran in the Irish Times. It is much harder to find that kind of thing in this country. However biased, unfriendly, and off-the-mark is American media coverage of the Middle East, it cannot hold a candle to the rest of the world and in particular Europe. After all, Ireland is not a country well known for its raging anti-Semitism. Yet this is your typical European view of the Israeli campaign in Southern Lebanon this summer in response to the Katyusha rocket attacks.

So my first piece of good news is this: It could be worse. (I always like to start talks with good news. Chesterton once said of Zola: “He was worse than a pornographer, he was a pessimist.” I’m here to cheer you up.)

My second piece of good news is that the anti-Israel bias in the media is, in my view, not primarily a function of malice. This is good news because malice is incurable. The bias in the media is, in my view, a compound of other factors, principally sentimentality, ignorance, laziness, and over-attention. And some of those – particularly ignorance – you can do something about.
A New History of the Israel-Palestinian Conflict Is a Study in Distortion
In the preface to his book Enemies and Neighbors: Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel 1917-2017, Ian Black claims that he tries “to tell the story of, and from, both sides,” yet, notes Asher Susser, these two sides turn out to be “the victorious Israeli villain and the vanquished Palestinian victim.” Although Black breaks with the now-popular academic view that Zionism is a form of colonialism, and recognizes the Jews’ historical and religious attachment to the Land of Israel, he fails, writes Susser, to grasp the intensity of Arab anti-Semitism or to display skepticism toward the claims of Arab propagandists and anti-Zionist historians—accepting unquestioningly, for instance, the tale of a “massacre” at Lydda. Susser also notes more subtle problems:

When it comes to Palestinian (or British) [deaths], Black’s language tends to become more graphic. During the second intifada, when Israeli missile strikes killed Palestinian operatives, meticulously singled out for their personal responsibility for the deaths of Israelis, we are told that the victims were “incinerated.” The booby-trapped corpses of two British soldiers hanged by the Irgun Jewish underground in the summer of 1947 were “blown apart” when they were cut down. But hundreds of Israelis, murdered indiscriminately by Palestinian suicide bombers in the second intifada, were always “killed,” never “blown apart.” It is only the Israelis who “incinerate” and “blow apart” [others]. . . .

Israeli leaders, Black says, have refused to admit responsibility for Palestinian suffering. He faults the Israelis for not accepting “the passionately held Palestinian demand for Israel’s recognition of its responsibility for creating the [refugee] problem in 1948.” But the responsibility shoe is very much on the other foot. Israeli leaders have been prepared, at Taba in 2001 for example, to accept their share of responsibility for the consequences of 1948. But they have never been willing to accept sole responsibility. The Palestinians, on the other hand, have never taken any responsibility for the decisions they made in 1947-1948.

Nakba, [the Arabic term used to describe Israel’s creation], means a natural disaster like an earthquake or a flood and, as Sadiq al-Azm has argued, the very use of the term is, in itself, an act of “exoneration and the evasion of responsibility and accountability, since whoever is struck by a disaster is not considered responsible for it.” The Israelis, needless to say, are entirely responsible for all their deeds and misdeeds, but they cannot also be held responsible for the decisions and actions of the Palestinians. . . .
Avi Zimmerman: "Israel is not an afterthought to the Holocaust"
Avi Zimmerman, executive director of Friends of Ariel, debunks some of the fake news and propaganda spread by Israel's enemies.

House panel unanimously advances federal anti-BDS legislation
The House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed controversial legislation on Thursday to target boycott efforts against Israel and Israeli businesses, advancing the measure to now be considered by the entire House chamber.

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act prohibits “US companies from participating in boycotts promoted by international organizations, like the UN, that target US partners, like Israel,” said Rep. Ed Royce, a California Republican who chairs the panel.

Liberal advocacy groups, however, argue the legislation poses a constitutional infringement on Americans’ First Amendment protections, which includes a constitutional right to participate in political boycotts.

Faiz Shakir, national political director of The American Civil Liberties Union, wrote a letter to House members last year saying the bill “would impose civil and criminal punishment on individuals solely because of their political beliefs about Israel and its policies.” He urged them not to co-sponsor or support the bill.

The measure’s supporters counter that, if passed and implemented, this law would prohibit discrimination on the basis of national origin, in this case, directed at Israeli companies and individuals.
Left-wing NGO crashes Birthright group to spread 'anti-Occupation' info
A group of five activists from the far-left IfNotNow Jewish organization infiltrated a Birthright group currently in Israel this week, and offered a tour of Hebron to other members of the group with the Breaking the Silence organization.

IfNotNow, which says it seeks to “end American Jewish support for the occupation,” launched a new campaign this week called Not Just A Free Trip, in which it says it is using “a diversity of methods” to teach Birthright participants about “the daily nightmare of Occupation.”

It appears that one of the methods is to actively infiltrate Birthright groups without the organization’s knowledge, and influence the other participants regarding the political conflict with the Palestinians by offering them tours and other activities without Birthright’s permission.

The five IfNotNow activists were part of the Birthright group from the outset, which was organized by Mayanot, participated in the full ten days of the trip and received the trip for free like all other participants.

On Thursday, video footage emerged on social media of one such group where an IfNotNow activist stood up on the bus at the end of a trip and offered other participants the opportunity of going on a tour of Hebron with the hard-left Breaking the Silence organization.
Yisrael Medad: Dealing with IfNotNow's "Facts"
I decided to take a closer look at IfNotNow's new Stay-After-Birthright campaign with its "Ask Us" theme:

So, I looked for their facts:

and now, I'll ask them a few questions. After all, fair is fair. First, some general ones.

This "occupation" to which you keep referring, would that be the occupation by Arabs of the territory of the Jewish national home by any chance? You do know that Arabs conquered and occupied the Land of Israel in 638CE, yes?

The Arabs who engaged in an ethnic cleansing operation between 1920-1948, expelling the Jews that survived the pogroms and murderous riots in Hebron, Gaza, Shchem (aka Nablus), Gush Etzion, Jerusalem's Old City, Neveh Yaakov, Atarot, Nahlat Shimon, Shimon HaTzaddik, Shiloach and other areas?
Holocaust museum scholar pushes fund drive for group that compares Israel, Nazis
An author, historical archivist, and curator employed by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has encouraged readers to contribute to an organization that has repeatedly published comparisons of Israel to the Nazis.

Dr. Rebecca Erbelding recently authored “Rescue Board: The Untold Story of America’s Efforts to Save the Jews of Europe.” The book focuses on a small US government agency, the War Refugee Board, that helped Jews in the final months of the Holocaust, and somewhat controversially credits then-president Franklin Delano Roosevelt for the board’s achievements.

In a tweet on June 10, Erbelding offered to send a free copy of the book to anyone who contributes $50 or more to the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) or two other charities. The AFSC, a Quaker organization, has promoted claims that Israel’s policies are similar to those of the Hitler regime.

The tweet appeared on Erbelding’s private twitter account. However, she has become a spokesperson for the Holocaust museum following the launch of its new exhibit, “Americans and the Holocaust,” which she co-curated.
Celebrities Back Right to Boycott Israel….and Be Antisemitic
A bunch of numbskulls of varying levels of celebrity have penned a letter in the Guardian, attacking Germany’s Ruhrtriennale festival’s decision to drop Scottish band The Young Fathers for their support of BDS.

You may recognize many of the signatories as the usual scum and villainy behind other similar letters.

Note the antisemitism disclaimer I bolded – the “anti-Zionist-not-antisemite” clause, as I like to put it. It is completely disingenuous, given the list of signatories includes actual antisemites.

Take Roger Waters, for example, whose antisemitism I have discussed on a number of occasions. And let’s not forget Ken Loach, who has defended Holocaust denial and attacked those who attack Jew hatred.

Meanwhile, I, for one, appreciate these letters, because it helps me determine whose “work” I can boycott.
Prof Who Suggested Israel Did 9/11 And ISIS Is Back
University of Lethbridge professor Anthony Hall doesn’t only think 9/11 was a Zionist job; no, he also thinks ISIS is in bed with Israel. The University of Lethbridge suspended Anthony, but then reinstated him. The professor was back to talk about one of his favorite topics, “Islamophobia,” earlier this month, asserting the existence of “philanthropic families of Jewish background” behind an “Islamophobia industry,” reported The Algemeiner.

This is, of course, what the left does with every privileged identity group. You can write a completely straight news piece, just sticking to the facts, but if it makes one of their special pet victim groups look bad, you’re no longer espousing truth; you’re suddenly preaching hatred. But let’s talk a bit about Anthony’s obsession with false flags. Joshua Blakeney, one of the guy’s graduate students, received a $7,714 scholarship to study 9/11 conspiracy theories. Oh and the “ongoing financial commitment of the Province of Alberta” made this possible, according to National Post.

That’s all of you Albertans out there who actually contribute to society in meaningful ways to earn YOUR money. And it’s not just scholarships…the University of Lethbridge itself is publicly funded. As for Anthony, he has a pretty middling Rate My Professors score. Some people praised him for being “extremely passionate” and an “energetic hippie with fascinating concepts” but then you get to the reviews noting his left-wing bias, claiming he “abuses the stage he receives as a ‘teacher’” and suggesting he’s not too tolerant, saying “you cannot tell people that they are wrong just because they disagree with you.”

Stephen Miller: With Ocasio-Cortez’s rise, Dems now own their loony far-left flank
When Mayor Bill de Blasio picked Bernie Sanders to swear him in for his second term, it was a sign, much like a groundhog signaling six more weeks of winter, that the heart of the Democrat Party was changing — even if Bernie himself still refuses to acknowledge that he belongs to it.

And while Sanders-endorsed candidates have floundered nationally, they got a big win last night when 28-year-old Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez breezed past establishment figurehead Joe Crowley in the primary for the relatively safe 14th District.
She has yet to offer any solutions on how to pay for her fairytale platform, of course, beyond the standard manifesto answer of taxing the rich. Ocasio-Cortez also supports impeaching President Trump, which many Democrats quietly support but candidates aren’t supposed to say out loud, as the midterm electorate might be wary of spending the next two years mired in such shenanigans.

Her radicalized anti-Israel stance became apparent in a tweet blaming Israel for the recent violence in Gaza perpetuated by Hamas: “This is a massacre. I hope my peers have the moral courage to call it such. No state or entity is absolved of mass shootings of protesters. There is no justification. Palestinian people deserve basic human dignity, as anyone else. Democrats can’t be silent about this anymore.”

She also blamed Palestinian deaths on Trump’s decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Jewish state’s capital, Jerusalem.

Along with her tweets, a former New York City Council candidate whose platform was to “defeat the greedy Jewish landlords” both volunteered for her campaign and attended her election-night victory party.
Toronto delays report into how to stop hate rallies
Last September, Pasternak formally requested a strategy for dealing with extremist rallies that are held on city property. Among his ideas was to hit rally organizers with costs.

The Al-Quds rally used to take place on the grounds of the provincial legislature, but in 2015, Queen’s Park denied organizers a permit, formally citing the PanAm and Parapan Games as the reason.

Last year, the rally moved to a municipal park just north of the legislature, despite a bylaw that prohibits protests and demonstrations in city parks. Marchers then traversed Queen’s Park, en route to the U.S. Consulate on University Avenue.

Speakers at past Al-Quds Day rallies in Toronto have referred to Israel as “a cancer,” glorified terrorism and called for Israelis to be shot. Last year’s rally featured an American Holocaust denier and police are still probing a music video from that year that allegedly called for Israelis to be stabbed, decapitated and run over with vehicles.

Following this year’s protest on June 9, B’nai Brith Canada filed a hate crimes complaint with police, alleging that a Muslim cleric from Kitchener, Ont., said that Israelis should be “eradicated.”

All rallies have featured people flying the flag of Hezbollah, which Canada considers a banned terrorist group.
h/t IsraellyCool

Facebook Weighing Ban on Anything Related to Israel-Palestine Conflict (satire)
Citing server problems and widespread user ignorance, Facebook Tsar Mark Zuckerberg is reportedly contemplating a ‘total ban’ on anything related to the polarizing Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

“Look, I’m a billionaire genius and I didn’t build this social media platform for Israelis and Palestinians to post as if they’re all suffering from OCD, and certainly not for a bunch of white people outside the region who don’t know jack shit about the conflict apart from what they see on ‘nonpartisan’ news or Wikipedia,” Zuckerberg reportedly said. “All of these Facebook Pages, Facebook Groups, and individual comments on timelines are fucking up our servers… except for The Mideast Beast. We’re all kind of fine with those idiots.”

Such a ban would mark a significant escalation in the behemoth’s efforts to censor user activity. As The Mideast Beast’s Marcus Thunderbolt reported, Facebook has also previously mulled introducing a ‘minimum postgraduate education requirement for commenting’ on Israel and Hamas’ repeated military confrontations, as well as the Arab-Israeli Conflict in general.

RELATED: Man Changes Position on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict after Reading Facebook Comments

However, despite Zuckerberg’s enthusiasm, the proposed ban on ‘anything related to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict’ is unlikely to be enforced. “We’re struggling with a concept widely known as ‘Freedom of Speech,’” said a Facebook legal expert. “I won’t lie, sometimes I wish it was known as a ‘privilege’ rather than a ‘freedom’ or a ‘right’ – kind of like having a driver’s license or health insurance in the U.S.”
'Moral inhibitions have relaxed in Germany'
Felix Klein, Germany's first-ever anti-Semitism commissioner, couldn't believe his eyes: Just weeks after assuming his post, created by Germany's Parliament this year amid concern over an apparent rise in incidents, he found out from the media that he had unwittingly become a star in BDS advocate Roger Waters' latest concert tour. Waters, once the frontman of the iconic rock band Pink Floyd, incorporated messages of incitement against Klein into his current show, because the veteran diplomat criticized banks for managing the BDS movement's accounts.

"Like many others, I was stunned when Waters, who was in Berlin as a musician, used his concert mainly as a platform to make a political statement," Klein told Israel Hayom. "I was very happy that most of the journalists in Germany condemned the fact that he turned a musical performance into a political event. I am not afraid of confronting Waters, but I would rather do it in the setting of a political debate and not in the way that he chose to do it. I was surprised that he had researched me. Me and my efforts have become well known among circles that weren't necessarily aware of my work. Waters contributed immensely to my celebrity."

Q: Have you received death threats since you were appointed commissioner?

"No. I've received a number of anti-Semitic emails. Even though I'm not Jewish, I can be targeted in anti-Semitic attacks. They claim that I'm doing the Jews' bidding, for example. The senders don't identify themselves, obviously, but I believe they are Germans."

In light of the alarmingly growing rate of anti-Semitic incidents in Germany in recent years, the local Jewish community demanded that the government take action. The ceremonious declarations made by politicians were no longer cutting it for Germany's Jews. One of the ideas that were floated was to appoint a government commissioner, who would gather and compile all the information on anti-Semitic incidents and devise plans of action to combat the phenomenon. In addition, the commissioner would then brief various government bodies on how to identify and respond to anti-Semitism.
Jewish student bullied for months at Berlin school
A senior German government official called on Wednesday for a German-American bilingual school in Berlin to take clear action to prevent further bullying after an anti-Semitic incident involving a ninth-grade student.

According to German paper Berliner Zeitung, several students repeatedly harassed the Jewish student for months on his way to and from school.

In at least one instance, another student blew cigarette smoke into his face, telling the Jewish student to think of his ancestors killed in Nazi gas chambers, Berliner Zeitung wrote.

Managing director of the John F. Kennedy School and principal of the high school, Brian Salzer, told reporters that police were involved as the "level of consequences" from the school was inadequate.

"This hurt is deep with this family," Salzer said.

Felix Klein, who holds a new government post in charge of combating anti-Semitism, told Die Welt newspaper that he was deeply shocked by the latest in a series of anti-Semitic incidents reported at schools in Berlin.
Ukrainian general implies Jews seek bloodshed

A Ukrainian military prosecutor suggested that Jews seek bloodshed in his country, prompting calls for his dismissal by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and others.

Colonel General Anatoliy Matios, Ukraine’s chief military prosecutor and a highly-decorated officer who also holds the title of deputy prosecutor-general of Ukraine, spoke about at least one Jew in an interview that the Insider magazine published Monday. In it, he named a communist Jewish theoretician, Alexander Parvus. The revolution that Parvus supported “drenched Slavs with blood for decades.” Noting Parvus’ Jewish ethnicity, Matios added: “There is always a Parvus. They want to do the same to Ukraine.”

Efraim Zuroff, Eastern Europe director for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, called Matios’ claims “outrageous and false.” Whereas Matios and other communist leaders were Jewish, “they weren’t acting as Jews. Their inspiration was in Moscow, not Jerusalem.” Matios “need to be fired,” he said. Zuroff said the “anti-Semitic implication from Matios’ words are undeniable.”

On Twitter, Dovid Katz, a prominent activist against anti-Semitism in Lithuania and Eastern Europe, wondered whether “there is any chance” that Ukraine’s president and government “would consider, you know, firing this madman? Any senior EU military official who suggested Jews wanted to drown the country in blood would be removed immediately,” Katz wrote, adding: “And you do want to join the EU, right?”
SS chief Himmler’s daughter worked for German spy agency
Germany’s foreign intelligence agency has confirmed that the daughter of top Nazi Heinrich Himmler, who led the SS, worked for it as a secretary in the early 1960s.

The BND told the Bild newspaper Friday that Gudrun Burwitz-Himmler, who herself was a notorious postwar supporter of the extreme right, worked as a secretary from 1961 to 1963.

The agency says it ordinarily doesn’t comment on personnel issues but confirmed Burwitz worked there as part of its effort to be transparent about Nazi links in its past.

Burwitz-Himmler worked at the BND at a time when it was led by Reinhard Gehlen, a controversial ex-WWII German general who also worked for US intelligence postwar and employed many former military officers and Nazis as spies.

Burwitz-Himmler died in May at age 88.
Study: US Holocaust Museum's new exhibit distorts FDR's record
A study by eight leading Holocaust historians has found that a new exhibit at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum distorts and minimizes President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s abandonment of Jewish refugees during the Holocaust.

The study, titled Distorting America’s Response to the Holocaust, is a comprehensive analysis of the museum’s recently-opened exhibit, Americans and the Holocaust.

The report has been published by the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, in Washington, D.C. A PDF has been posted at and printed copies are available by calling 202-434-8994.

The 70-page report features chapters by leading scholars in the field of American responses to the Holocaust:
Orthodox Jewish Housewife behind Secret Deal to End the Holocaust
Many historians assume SS head Heinrich Himmler stopped exterminating Jews at Auschwitz-Birkenau in November 1944 and destroyed the crematoria and gas chambers there because the Russians were coming and he was trying to hide the evidence quickly. To New York Times best-selling author Max Wallace, that conventional narrative never made sense.

As he told, “The Russians were two months away. The Germans could have killed the remaining Jews – eyewitnesses to their crimes.”

In his new book, In the Name of Humanity: The Secret Deal to End the Holocaust, Wallace reveals how a Swiss Orthodox Jewish housewife helped engineer a deception that could have spurred Himmler’s actions – and saved the lives of countless Jews.

Her name was Recha Rottenberg Sternbuch, daughter of the chief Orthodox rabbi of Antwerp. Her father’s role provided Recha with important credentials, writes Wallace. She and her husband, Rabbi Isaac Sternbuch, managed to enlist former fascist Swiss President Jean-Marie Musy in a plan to deceive his friend Himmler into thinking he should stop killing Jews at Auschwitz and end the deportation of Hungary’s remaining 200,000 Jews. By doing so, Himmler would achieve a separate peace with the West so they could turn on their common enemy, Stalin.
After fleeing Nazi Germany, Judith Kerr became Britain’s favorite storyteller
Among the 25,000 books consumed by the flames in Berlin’s Opernplatz on May 10, 1933 were those of Alfred Kerr.

An acclaimed Jewish essayist and critic who edited the theater pages of the liberal Berliner Tageblatt newspaper, Kerr’s writings had earned him the nickname the “Kulturpapst.”

They had also earned him the emnity of the Nazis; a hostility which the socialist writer heartily returned.

Given the fate to which Josef Goebbels consigned Kerr’s books, it is perhaps fitting that his daughter — who turned 95 on June 14 and is still going strong — is now one of Britain’s best-loved children’s authors and illustrators.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Judith Kerr’s first book, “The Tiger Who Came To Tea.” It was an instant classic, remains in print and is one of the best-selling children’s books of all time.

Its premise – an uninvited tiger turns up at a child’s home, and eats and drinks everything, including her father’s beer and, most famously, “all the water in the tap” – is both simple and surreal. With its accompanying sketches by Kerr, it has charmed and delighted both children and adults for half a century.
Study shows placenta treatment effective against radiation sickness
Once it was Three Mile Island, then Chernobyl – but today, the name that evokes the horror of nuclear radiation is Fukushima, the site of a tragic 2011 incident in which an earthquake and subsequent tsunami led to three nuclear meltdowns, hydrogen-air explosions, and the massive release of radioactive material into the air.

Seven years later, the Japanese government says that the cleanup of the site is nearly complete, and that it is safe to return to Fukushima. It is not known how many people died or got sick due to radiation at Fukushima, but a WHO report predicted a rise in some cancer rates in contaminated areas.

At the completion of several four-year studies, Haifa-based Pluristem Therapeutics has reported positive results that show that its placenta-based PLX-R18 cells are effective as a treatment for radiation damage to the gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow.

Under a memorandum of understanding with Pluristem, the Fukushima Global Medical Science Center of Fukushima University has been developing targeted animal models of acute radiation sickness and testing these models to evaluate the efficacy of PLX-R18 in treating radiation damage to the GI tract and bone marrow of mice. Data from the studies showed that PLX-R18 cells significantly increase survival rates, preserve GI stem cells activity that enhance the recovery of the GI system and prevent severe damage to the intestinal lining, suggesting PLX-R18 potential as a multi-organ therapy for acute radiation syndrome, the company said.

Pluristem has for the better part of the last decade been working on a cure for acute radiation syndrome, also known as radiation disease, the mass destruction of tissues and cells caused by exposure to extremely high levels of radiation, such as could occur in a nuclear catastrophe, and incorporating potentially lethal damage to the gastrointestinal tract, lung, skin and bone marrow, as well as other systems.
Researchers at Tel Aviv U. develop turn-on probes to pinpoint cancer cells
Researchers at Tel Aviv University have developed smart nanoprobes that turn on a florescent light in presence of cancerous cells, which they say “may dramatically improve” post-surgical outcomes for cancer patients.

The researchers created a so called “smart probe” that, when injected into a patient a few hours before surgery to excise a primary tumor, may help surgeons pinpoint where the cancer is situated down to several cancer cells, permitting them to guarantee the removal of more cancer cells, and with the least possible damage to surrounding healthy tissue, they said in a statement.

The interdisciplinary team behind the research was led by Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, chair of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine. The study was published in May in Theranostics.

In many kinds of cancers, it is often not the primary malignant tumor, but rather metastasis — the spread of lingering cancer cells to other parts of the body — that kills patients.
‘Summer of 2014’ – HBO Film Tells Story of Stormy Days Prior to War with Hamas
The massively popular American HBO cable company and the international arm of Keshet are currently filming a series about the stormy days before Operation Protective Edge, the 2014 summer war with Hamas.

Following the “Games of Thrones”, “Westworld”, “Oz” and “Sex and the City”, HBO came to Israel to shoot the flagship series, ‘Summer 2014,’ which describes the turbulent days preceding Operation Protective Edge.

The American cable network series, produced in cooperation with Keshet International, the international arm of the Israeli television company, will deal with riots and confrontations that took place throughout the country, including the kidnapping of the three youths Gil-Sha’ar, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach. It is being produced in three languages: English, Hebrew and Arabic.

This is a huge production by one of the largest television companies in the world, and possibly the largest international production ever to take in Israel. The set, built at a cost of millions of dollars in the Rishon LeZion dunes, is actually a reconstruction of parts of the territories and the Shuafat neighborhood of Jerusalem.

The massive production features more than 400 professionals, including actors, extras and production people. Among the Israelis participating in the production: esteemed director Joseph Cedar and Israeli Arab actor Shadi Mar’i.

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.
I just went to the Rabbis for Human Rights Weekly Torah Portion page, expecting to write a critique of whatever they wrote for this week's parasha.

Previously I wrote about how they called Abraham "cruel" for listening to Sarah and sending Hagar away, downplayed the rape of Dinah and compared Israel's leadership to the Pharaoh who decreed to murder all first born Jews.

But somehow, this week's d'var Torah actually says that Israel has the right to defend itself from Hamas-led gangs in Gaza!

By Rabbi Gideon Sylvester

The United States’ departure from the United Nations Human Rights Council has provoked great debate. But one thing is certain: in exiting the council, the USA focused the world’s attention on the absurd and abhorrent discrimination against Israel.

The USA correctly identified that too often “human rights” is a guise for savage attacks on Israel and a licence to trigger antisemitism. Tragically, Jews too have jumped on the bandwagon rushing to criticise Israel and distance themselves from the soldiers who protect our borders against enemies who show no sign of wishing to make peace.

This week’s parsha tells the story of Bilaam the man who prostituted his prophetic abilities for kings who wished to attack the Jewish people.

We watch with a mixture of horror and delight as he sets off to curse the Jewish people and finds himself outsmarted by his donkey; a dumb animal whose prophetic instincts surpass his own. As the nineteenth century Biblical commentator Rabbi S. R. Hirsch puts it, “He wants to bring about the ruin of a whole nation with his words, but finds himself forced to concede that his rage is impotent even when directed against a mere animal”(Rabbi Hirsh commentary to Bamidbar 23:22).

Clambering up rocks and hills to look down upon the camp of Israel, Balaam helps us to find perspective on our nation. He describes us as “a people who dwell apart, that cannot be counted among the nations” (Bamidbar 23:9). Rabbi Hirsch explains that the Jewish people will live in its circumscribed territory not looking to show off our power, but rather to focus on our own spiritual mission.

Rashi, sees in Balaam’s prophecies a foreshadowing of our fate, a people whose ancestral roots point to our moral fortitude, a people who must stand alone in defending its moral principles and a people who will outlast their critics (Rashi’s commentary to Bamidbar 23:9).

It takes courage to stand alone. Not every Jew manages it. Commenting on our verse, the nineteenth century head of the Volozhin Yeshiva, the Netziv cites a series of historical examples in which the Jews distanced themselves from their people, traditions and culture to curry favour with other nations. In each case, it rebounded and they ended up rejected by those to whom they sought to ingratiate themselves.

My friend Eli Ovits was an army spokesman before taking over as Chief Executive of Limmud. He told me that Israel’s military rabbinate has ruled that where necessary, military spokespeople should work on Shabbat because the battle of words is an essential element of Israel’s defence.

When Israel is under sustained and unprovoked attack from Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran, Jewish Human Rights activists take on a dual role. As ever, we must protect and promote human rights throughout our country, but our human rights agenda must also prioritise defending the right of Israelis to live in safety.

Bilaam warns us that public criticism of Israel is so often uncalled for, undignified, and inappropriate. We must stand united as a people who dwells alone; striving to live peacefully in our historic homeland.
Who knows - maybe he's even saying that the Jews who live in Judea and Samaria should be able to "live peacefully in our historic homeland."

And when he says hwo counterproductive it is when "Jews distanced themselves from their people, traditions and culture to curry favour with other nations" it sure sounds like he's talking about - Rabbis for Human Rights and similar groups.

The disclaimer at the end of the article notes that this is not necessarily the opinion of RHR. But it is still astonishing, for a group that has readily twisted the Torah to push leftist ideals, to see an article that accurately notes that human rights means human rights for Jews, too.

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:

If the Palestinians Want Independence, They Will Need to Pay a Lot More for it Now
When the Palestinians turned down peace deals - that would have given them statehood as well as a share of Jerusalem - from Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton in 2000 and 2001, and then an even more generous offer from Ehud Olmert with the backing of George W. Bush, they believed time was on their side. They assumed that eventually the Americans and the rest of the world would force the Israelis to acquiesce to all of their demands.

But that's not the way the Trump team looks at it. As far as they are concerned, Israel's economic and military strength, combined with the declining support for the Palestinians from much of the Arab world - and their focus on Iran, has altered the terms of the conflict. They view the Palestinians as the moral equivalent of a landlord stuck with an overpriced, run-down property that nobody wants.

As Adam Entous wrote recently in the New Yorker, privately, U.S. Ambassador David Friedman compared the U.S. approach to structuring a "bankruptcy-type deal" for the Palestinians. If they expect to get anything from either the Americans and the Israelis, they're going to have to take less than they initially hoped, not more.

The Trump team see the Palestinians' walking away from Barak and Olmert's offers as akin to missing out on a chance to buy Google stock 20 years ago. Much as they would like to get that bargain price they might have had before, if they want independence, they will need to pay a lot more for it now.

Abbas wasted Obama's presidency. Obama was more sympathetic to the Palestinians and more inclined to pressure Israel than any of his predecessors, yet Abbas never even met him halfway and actually undermined his efforts with futile forays at the UN.

The conflict with Zionism has never been about real estate or drawing lines on a map. After a century of Palestinians contesting Israel's right to be there, it's not clear Abbas has the will or the ability to accept a state on any terms. But the sad truth for the Palestinians is that the value of what they are likely to be offered in the future is going down, not up.
David Singer: False Narrative haunts PLO and UN as Trump courts Arab States
Nabil Abu Rudeineh – spokesman for Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas – has angrily reacted to President Trump’s intensive diplomatic efforts seeking to enlist Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia in advancing Trump’s long-awaited “deal of the century” to end the Arab-Jewish conflict. Rudeineh fulminated:

“The American delegation should abandon the illusion that creating false facts and falsifying history are going to help it sell those illusions.”

Creating false facts and falsifying history has been the province of the PLO and the United Nations (UN) for decades.

The 1968 PLO Charter declared the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the 1922 Mandate for Palestine and everything subsequently based on them to be null and void.

The United Nations publication “The Origins and Evolution of the Palestine Problem 1917-1988” (“Study”) – published by the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat for, and under the guidance of, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People – falsely claimed:

"After investigating various alternatives the United Nations proposed the partitioning of Palestine into two independent States, one Palestinian Arab and the other Jewish…”

The UN proposal – Resolution 181(II) – actually referred to:
"Independent Arab and Jewish States”…

Resolution 181(II) clearly denied the existence of any distinctly identifiable Palestinian people in 1947 – yet the Study falsified this narrative.

Caroline Glick: Erdogan's Win Means U.S. Must Cancel F-35 Sale to Turkey
When Erdogan indirectly accused the Obama administration — which went out of its way to embrace and support him – of sponsoring the failed coup of July 2016, Turkish public opinion was already primed to believe him. Since the coup — which was defeated by Erdogan’s shock troops — U.S.-Turkish relations have gone from bad to worse.

As he has cultivated hatred for America at home, Erdogan has gone to great lengths to cultivate closer ties to Russia. Russia has supported Turkey’s assaults on the Kurds in northern Syria. And Turkey has signed a deal to purchase Russia’s S-400 surface to air missile system. The latter deal lit every possible red light in Washington. As a NATO ally, Turkey is required to purchase systems that are interoperable with NATO platforms. The S-400 is not interoperable. Moreover, if Erdogan chooses to, once he receives his order of 100 F-35 combat fighters, he will be able to share the stealth technology with Russia and China and thus endanger the viability of the U.S.’s fourth-generation jetfighter.

Moreover, given his strategic ambitions, there is every reason to be concerned that Erdogan will deploy his F-35s against U.S. allies.

Cognizant of Erdogan’s anti-Americanism — which, among other things, is manifested in the imprisonment of American pastor Andrew Brunson on trumped up charges of involvement with the coup attempt — earlier this month the Senate overwhelmingly passed an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill for 2019 that bars the Pentagon from carrying out its deal with Turkey to sell Erdogan’s regime the F-35s.

Last week, the U.S. officially transferred the first two aircraft to Turkey. To a certain extent, the plane delivery was more apparent than real. The planes were transferred from a base in Texas to a base in Arizona, where Turkish flight crews and ground operators are being trained to use them. The training could last for as long as the U.S. wishes. And until it is completed, the F-35s will not be transferred to Turkey.

But the fact that they were formally transferred the week before Erdogan was elected the all-powerful neo-Ottoman leader of Turkey makes clear that the U.S. government has either not come to terms with the reality of Erdogan’s Turkey, or that it has come to terms with reality, but hasn’t figured out how to deal with it.

Fighting Bullies at the UN
The United States, under the leadership of President Donald Trump, will not stand idly by in the face of such bigotry. At the president's direction, Ambassador Haley has made it clear that America stands with Israel and will support its right to defend itself from murderous neighbors.

Unfortunately, it is clear that if the United States isn't willing to act, nobody else would. The bullies of the UN would win.

They won in 2016, when Obama shamefully refused to exercise America's veto, allowing the passage of Security Council Resolution 2334 condemning Israel and fomenting Palestinian intransigence. During that dark day at the UN, Israel was let down by its number one ally.

Obama liked to talk about how he "had Israel's back," but his words were empty.

With President Trump leading the way, the United States is once again standing up to the UN hypocrites and defending our friends.

Hundreds protest at Gaza border as balloons spark 15 fires in Israel
Fifteen fires broke out in Israel Friday due to incendiary balloons and kites launched from the Gaza Strip. Firefighters doused the blazes.

Around 2,000 Palestinians were demonstrating along the border, a drop from participation at the height of the rallies and riots in May, when tens of thousands took part.

Around 35 people were reported wounded during the protests from tear gas and Israeli fire. Several Palestinian medics were also said hurt from smoke inhalation.

Palestinians claimed a small Israeli drone downing incendiary kites and balloons was brought down in central Gaza.

On Thursday an Israeli tank fired on two Palestinians as they attempted to break through the security fence east of Rafah in southern Gaza. The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said one of the two later died of the injuries he sustained in the incident.
MK: We’ll stop kite terror, even if it means major conflict, killing Hamas heads
Likud MK Avi Dichter, a former head of the Shin Bet security service, said Friday that the incendiary kites and balloons being launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel could lead the two sides to renewed open conflict.

“Israel will find a way to stop this, even if that way turns out to be yet another military operation,” he said in an interview with Tel Aviv radio station 103FM.

Dichter, who chairs the Knesset’s powerful Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, lashed out at Hamas, which he said had been weakened by setbacks for its patron Iran in Syria and Yemen.

“These people don’t care about burning natural landscapes [with incendiary kites] — and they don’t care about burning human beings either. Israeli blood is meaningless to them. We won’t let this terrorism harm us,” he said.

He cautioned against going to war without careful consideration.

“No one likes to see this situation, definitely not residents of the south. But Israel has to consider its steps carefully…. When you launch a military campaign, you know full well that there will be casualties, so you ask yourself what are the chances that it will spark new terror or stop the current terror.”

But, he said, Israel was guaranteed to stop the kite attacks either through a technological solution or a military one.

“Hamas knows Israel’s power is by orders of magnitude greater, more varied and more effective than theirs. For over a decade they dug tunnels, and they’ve seen that dream go up in smoke before their eyes when Israel found a solution,” he said.
Hamas Arson Terrorism

Jeremy Corbyn's Gaza briefing to Labour MPs accuses IDF of 'war crimes'
A briefing document sent by Jeremy Corbyn's office to Labour MPs on Gaza accused the IDF of "war crimes" in the recent border violence, the JC has learned.

Despite evidence that Hamas ordered thousands of Gazans to try and breach the border fences with Israel, often using violent methods, Mr Corbyn's briefing accuses the IDF of "wilful killings" and "war crimes" in the violence that has left scores of Palestinians dead and many more injured in recent weeks.

One Labour MP told the JC they found the document, sent to all Labour MPs ahead of a parliamentary debate, "disgustingly one sided."

Another said: "It could have been written by Jeremy's 'friends' in Hamas."

The notes, which were sent to the JC, were designed to guide the Labour MPs to condemn how Israel's military dealt with the 'March of Return' demonstrations during a Westminster Hall debate on Gaza on Tuesday.

Assessing the background to the recent protests, the Labour document does not mention any Hamas involvement in the planning of the weekly marches, stating: "Since March 30, a Palestinian movement (called the Great March of Return') has been marching on the border between Israel and Gaza to protest against Israel's illegal blockage of the area and the humanitarian crisis it is helping to fuel."

It adds: "The protests were largely peaceful, although they regularly featured stone-throwing and the rolling of tyres at the border fence."

The notes later suggest an acceptance that "while some protesters in Gaza may have engaged in some form of violence it does not justify the use of live ammunition."
Report: Trump envoys have low expectations from peace plan
Trump administration officials believe the likelihood of a successful rollout of its upcoming Mideast peace plan are very low, three sources told Israel Hayom.

According to the sources, during Senior Adviser to the President Jared Kushner and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt have communicated this sentiment in private conversations in the wake of their visit to the region, although there has been no confirmation from the White House as to the authenticity of this report.

The pessimistic outlook is based on the Palestinians ongoing boycott of the administration in the wake of the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

As a consequence of this realization, the two are reportedly reconsidering the proper timing for the plan's unveiling. According to the sources who spoke to Israel Hayom, the two have said in private conversations that they are planning to revise the plan in the wake of the recent visit. The sources got the impression that a significant part of the plan will focus on economic development in the Palestinian Authority.

The sources say that during their visit to the region, Arab leaders told the two advisers that they were opposed to a plan that would talk directly to the Palestinian people by bypassing the Palestinian leadership. Jordan's King Abdullah was particularly against such a move and expressed this during his visit to the White House this week. Abdullah reportedly said that unveiling the plan without coordinating with the Palestinians would be a "catastrophe."
Trump team sees distortion in their messages to Palestinian leaders
Since direct communication between the White House and the Palestinian Authority broke down last year following Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the president's Middle East peace team has tried to engage its leadership indirectly, through intermediaries and the media, hoping to move on from their impasse to discuss potential paths forward in negotiations with the Israelis.

Their initial approach was to disengage: Allow PA leaders to vent their frustrations, thought Trump's peace team, and they will ultimately return to their longtime American friends and patrons. But as Palestinian leaders, in particular President Mahmoud Abbas and chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, continually increased the pace and pitch of their criticism over the course of six months, personalizing the feud and writing off any potential for amends, the public message became one-sided. The Palestinians were lobbing one earful after another at the peace team in the press, and the team kept on taking it.

​And so Trump's aides have chosen to begin speaking out in response. Their latest efforts came in the form of an op-ed from Jason Greenblatt, Trump's special envoy to the Middle East peace process, and an interview with Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, with a Palestinian newspaper. Their goal was to push back argumentatively against some of Abbas and Erekat's harshest rebukes, but both Greenblatt and Kushner took pages from their books, criticizing them personally.

​"​Dr. Erekat– we have heard your voice for decades and it has not achieved anything close to Palestinian aspirations or anything close to a comprehensive peace agreement," Greenblatt wrote. "Other Palestinian perspectives might help us finally achieve a comprehensive peace agreement where Palestinian and Israeli lives can be better."

Days later, Kushner told the Al Quds newspaper that Abbas "says that he is committed to peace and I have no reason not to believe him."

"However, I do question how much President Abbas has the ability to, or is willing to, lean into finishing a deal," Kushner said in the rare interview. "He has his talking points which have not changed in the last 25 years. There has been no peace deal achieved in that time."
'US no longer talking about Israeli concessions'
The United States is no longer pressing the Israeli government to offer concessions or symbolic ‘gestures’ to the Palestinian Authority, a senior Israeli official told Arutz Sheva, marking a stark contrast with past US administrations.

For decades, both Republican and Democratic administrations have pressured Israel to relinquish territory in Judea, Samaria, and even Jerusalem for a future Palestinian state.

Since the beginning of the Oslo process in 1993, the US has also sought other concessions from Israel to the Palestinian Authority, touching on everything from security and civil control over greater areas of Judea and Samaria, to the release of security prisoners held in Israeli jails, and the removal of Israeli towns built beyond the Green Line.

During the Obama administration, the White House demanded unilateral “good-will gestures” from Israel as a pre-condition to talks with the Palestinian Authority, including the freezing of all construction projects in Israel towns in Judea and Samaria.

Now, however, says a senior Israeli official, the US has dropped the request for concessions and “gestures” from its dialogue with Israeli leaders regarding final status talks with the PA.
A port for Gaza: Infinite imbecility?
It is difficult not to recall this rather pungent maxim—widely attributed to Albert Einstein—in light of recent reports that the Israeli government is once again raising the issue of providing a port for Gaza.

In principle, of course, it may be possible to conjure up a more preposterous and pernicious proposal—but it certainly would not be easy…

A tale of two…islands?

Yet, despite being manifestly moronic, such potentially perilous propositions have been raised regularly with perplexing persistence. Moreover, quite apart from their clearly calamitous content, what makes these inane initiatives particularly perturbing are the identities of those promoting them—typically high ranking (past and present) IDF officers and senior government ministers serving in the present government.

In the past, attention was focused mainly on the bizarre idea of creating an artificial island (detachable in times of conflict), about three kilometers off the Gazan shore, whose construction would cost billions and take a good number of years to complete.

According to advocates of this “visionary” (read “hallucinatory”) enterprise, there will be desalination plants, power stations and even an airport on the man-made maritime platform—leading one to puzzle over why on earth such projects would be more successful if they were built several kilometers out to sea, rather than on the Gazan shore itself…

In the last few days, however, a new and even more ludicrous version of the “port for Gaza” concept has emerged—reportedly with the backing of the Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman—involving another island, this time a naturally occurring one and one much further removed from Gaza: Cyprus!
Economic pressure on Iran is bearing fruit, Netanyahu says
Demonstrations currently causing unrest in Iran prove that international economic pressure against the Islamic Republic is working, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday.

The U.S. decision to withdraw from the 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose sanctions is causing "economic upheaval" and undermining public support for the government, the prime minister told an audience at the Israeli Air Force's pilot training graduation ceremony in southern Israel.

"Not only has the reimposition of sanctions not united the Iranian public around the regime, the complete opposite is happening," he said. "Many in Iran understand that the regime of the ayatollahs is wasting precious resources on foreign military subversion instead of investing in civilian needs at home."

The prime minister has been an outspoken opponent of the nuclear deal and welcomed the U.S. withdrawal in May.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu spoke directly to the Iranian people in a video recording, hailing their "courage in the streets of Iran."
EXCLUSIVE: State Department criteria for Palestinian 'pay-for-slay' aid freeze
According to the official report seen by i24NEWS, the State Department will consider assistance to the West Bank and Gaza to “directly benefit” the Palestinian Authority if it is the “primary beneficiary”, “end user” or “direct recipient” of the assistance; if the assistance “involves payment to Palestinian Authority creditors”; and if the aid provided “directly replace(s) assistance or services provided by the Palestinian Authority”.

Once implemented, these criteria would compel the State Department to no longer directly transfers fund to Palestinian Authority, contribute to international programs that divert money to it, or help to pay off the Palestinian Authority’s debts.

It is unclear, however, how broadly the State Department will interpret its own prohibition on aid that “directly replace assistance or services provided by the Palestinian Authority”.

The USAID mission in the West Bank invests in projects covering water, infrastructure, transport, energy, and sanitation. The State Department could interpret its criterion broadly, saying that the aid directly replaces services for which the Palestinian Authority would otherwise be responsible. It could also, however, opt to release the bulk of the funds, arguing that USAID makes up for a genuine need by replacing services that were not being provided.
Stabbed nine times, Shuva keeps smiling and singing
About two weeks after she almost lost her life in a stabbing attack, Shuva Malka, 18, of Migdal Ha'emek, was taken back to the emergency room of Rambam Hospital Thursday with fever, headaches and shortness of breath.

She underwent another operation Thursday afternoon, to try and fix a large tear in her lung that has not healed.

Before heading out to the operating room, Shuva and her parents, Gabi and Michal, sang together and prayed for the success of the operation.

"It strengthens us to see how much the Nation of Israel is praying for Shuva," said Michal, according to Makor Rishon. "You feel that you are not alone, and that you are not the one who was hurt, but that the Nation of Israel was hurt."

"We are simply the emissaries here, standing by a representative of the nation that was hurt, who is our daughter. It is clear to us that this is a public mission, and we are very connected and strong."
Study Finds Major Israeli Supreme Court Procedural Discrimination in Favor of Pro-Palestinian Plaintiffs
An in-depth analysis of more than 100 petitions filed in Israel’s Supreme Court against illegal construction in Judea and Samaria revealed preferential treatment given to leftist groups, according to a report by Arutz Sheva.

The newly released “Measure for Measure 2018: An Index of Judicial Parity,” published by the Regavim organization, studied petitions brought by leftist, pro-Palestinian groups against Jewish settlements as well as petitions brought by nationalist Zionist organizations against illegal Arab builders, based on data from reports in 2010 and 2015. Regavim is a pro-Israel NGO monitoring and pursuing legal action in Israeli courts against illegal Palestinian construction in Israel.

Almost all of the petitions were based on identical points of law.

The study found that for petitions filed by leftist groups against Jewish construction, the state was allowed an average of 18.5 days to file a preliminary response. For Israeli nationalist groups against Arab construction, that number soared to 30.5 days, a 150 percent disadvantage for the Jewish petitioners.

Jewish petitioners waited an average of three months longer for a first hearing. Pro-Palestinian groups were found to receive seven times more interim orders and temporary injunctions than pro-Zionist groups.
PA ordered to pay $3.5 million compensation to tortured ‘collaborator’ prisoners
In a landmark ruling, the Jerusalem District ordered the Palestinian Authority to pay compensation of 13.2 million shekels (approximately $3.5 million) to dozens of suspected collaborators with Israel who were systematically tortured while incarcerated in PA jails.

Hadashot news reported Thursday the plaintiffs hope that Israel will be able to collect the compensation from the Palestinian Authority, and that if not, it could be raised by offsetting tax revenues collected by Israel on the PA’s behalf.

The 51 plaintiffs alleged they had been arrested on suspicion of providing Israeli authorities with information and assistance.

The court last year ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in an 1,800-page summary following 90 court sessions and years of deliberations, with judge Moshe Drori saying the testimonies and evidence proved the allegations beyond any reasonable doubt.

Many of the plaintiffs were arrested by the PA’s forces from within Israeli territory — mostly East Jerusalem — and/or have Israeli citizenship. The Jerusalem court therefore ruled it had the jurisdiction to preside over the case.
Egypt to close Rafah crossing for three days
Egyptian authorities will close the Rafah border crossing with Gaza for three days starting on Friday, the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram reported on Thursday.

No reason was given for the closure.

Egyptian authorities have kept the Rafah crossing virtually sealed since a terrorist attack in the Sinai Peninsula in October 2014, though they have temporarily reopened the crossing several times since that attack, mostly for the passage of humanitarian cases.

The crossing has been open since the start of the month of Ramadan, under the orders of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, in order to ease the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Just last week, the administration of the border crossing said it would remain open until further notice.

Egypt has kept the crossing closed as it blames Hamas terrorists for providing the weapons for the lethal 2014 attack, which killed 30 soldiers, through one of its smuggling tunnels under the border to Sinai. Hamas denies the allegations.
King Of Jordan Awarded Templeton Prize For Cultivating Peace Among Muslim Sects, Joins Ranks Of Mother Theresa And Billy Graham
King Abdullah II of Jordan won the 2018 Templeton Prize Wednesday for facilitating peace between differing Muslim sects, becoming the second Muslim to win it.

Abdullah II joined the ranks of Mother Theresa, the Dalai Lama, Billy Graham, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and other distinguished historical figures as laureates of the prize. He is also the second Muslim to ever win the award, the first being Inamullah Khan, founder of the Modern World Muslim Congress, who won it in 1988. The John Templeton Foundation said the king had led a “reclamation” of Islam from extremist ideologies and fostered peaceful cooperation between Sunnis and Shiites. (RELATED: Trump Thanks Jordanian King For Calling Him Humble)

“King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, who has done more to seek religious harmony within Islam and between Islam and other religions than any other living political leader, was announced today as the 2018 Templeton Prize Laureate,” the foundation said in a statement.

The JTF praised Abdullah II for undertaking great personal risk to combat what he sees as distortions of Islam, to cultivate peace and to establish cooperative dialogue between Muslims, Christians and followers of other religions. Foremost among the king’s efforts to combat extremism was his launching of The Amman Message in 2004, which “sought to declare what Islam is and what it is not, and what actions represent it and what actions do not.”
Amid fierce fighting, Israel fears flood of Syrian refugees converging on border
Israel is preparing for the possibility that an onslaught by the forces of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad could see tens of thousands of Syrian refugees heading for the Israel border. The IDF is gearing up to prevent a mass breach of the frontier, but also to provide humanitarian aid to the displaced, military sources said Thursday.

With Russia’s help, Assad’s army has battered the south for more than a week with air strikes, rocket fire and crude barrel bombs, forcing more than 50,000 people to flee in search of safety. Many of them have fled toward the border with Israel, saying it was the safest since the regime wouldn’t dare strike in that area to avoid angering Jerusalem.

The UN has warned that more than 750,000 lives are at risk in the south, which is meant to be protected by a ceasefire put in place last year by Russia, Jordan and the United States.

Most of the 50,000-plus people who already fled have headed to the sealed Jordanian border. Officials in Nawa, a rebel-held town heavily hit in strikes on Thursday, issued a statement asking Jordan to take in refugees.

But Amman has said the border will remain closed. The kingdom already hosts more than 650,000 registered Syrian refugees and estimates the actual number is closer to 1.3 million.

With Jordan closed, Jerusalem fears they could head to the Israeli border.
Facing possible Syrian influx, Druze MK calls to set up refugee camp on border
An opposition MK called on the government Thursday to set up a temporary refugee camp to provide humanitarian aid to tens of thousands of people displaced from their homes in southern Syria by the Assad regime, who Israel estimates may arrive on its border.

“The situation on the Syrian Golan Heights cries out for a creative solution,” Zionist Union MK Saleh Saad said in a statement. “The State of Israel cannot remain indifferent to the humanitarian situation of the displaced citizens.”

“I would like to propose as a solution that we establish a temporary town on the border for the Syrian refugees which will provide humanitarian necessities until the international community can decide on a permanent solution,” he said.

Saleh, from northern Israel, is a member of the Druze community.

Israel is preparing for the possibility that an onslaught by the forces of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad could see tens of thousands of Syrian refugees heading for the Israel border. The IDF is gearing up to prevent a mass breach of the frontier, but also to provide humanitarian aid to the displaced, according to military sources.

With Russia’s help, Assad’s army has battered the south for more than a week with air strikes, rocket fire, and crude barrel bombs, forcing more than 50,000 people to flee in search of safety. Many of them have fled toward the border with Israel, saying it was the safest option as the regime wouldn’t dare strike in that area and risk angering Jerusalem.
IDF sends aid to Syrians fleeing Daraa in overnight ‘Good Neighbor’ operation
Israel transferred several dozen tons of humanitarian aid to refugee encampments in southwestern Syria in an overnight operation late Thursday, as tens of thousands of Syrians are fleeing an offensive in neighboring Daraa province by Bashar Assad’s forces and the Russian military.

The IDF said it would likely continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the area, but insisted it would not allow Syrian refugees to cross the border.

“The IDF is monitoring what is going on in southern Syria and is prepared for a variety of scenarios, including continuing to provide humanitarian aid to fleeing Syrians. The IDF will not allow Syrian refugees into Israeli territory and will continue to act to protect Israel’s security interests,” the military said in a Hebrew-language statement on Friday.

The operation lasted “several hours,” the army said, and delivered some 300 tents, 13 tons of food, 15 tons of baby food, three pallets of medical supplies and 30 tons of clothes and shoes to the refugees.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said following the aid operation that Israel was “prepared to provide any humanitarian assistance to civilians, women and children,” but stressed that “we will not accept any Syrian refugees into our territory.”

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