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Thursday, February 28, 2019

From Ian:

Anti-Israel Democrats Defend Past Comments At Anti-Israel Restaurant
Freshman Democratic congresswomen Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) defended their comments on Israel and its influence in the United States on Wednesday night at Busboys and Poets, a restaurant owned by a man who himself has said the United States takes "marching orders from Tel Aviv."

The Washington, D.C., restaurant was filled to capacity for the "Progressive Town Hall," which also included representatives Pramila Jayapal (D., Wash.) and Mark Pocan (D., Wis.), who heads the influential Progressive Caucus in the House. The members were introduced by restaurant owner Andy Shallal, an activist who in addition to arguing that the United States takes orders from Israel has accused the Jewish state of "terrorizing" the Middle East.

Omar, a Somalian-born Muslim from Minnesota, has found herself apologizing for comments she made about Israel that have been deemed anti-Semitic, but on Wednesday night defended her criticism of Israel and said the criticism comes just because of her religion.

"What I am fearful of, because both Rashida and I are Muslim, is that a lot of our Jewish colleagues and constituents go to thinking that everything we say about Israel is anti-Semitic because we are Muslim," Omar said. "It's something designed to end the debate."

"It's almost as if every time we say something that is supposed to be about foreign policy, or advocacy about ending oppression, or the freeing of every human life, we get to be labeled and that ends the discussion," she said. "We end up defending that and nobody gets to have the broader debate about what is happening with Palestine."

Omar Grins After Audience Member Celebrates ‘All About the Benjamins’ Tweet
As Omar was about to speak next, an audience member shouted out, "It is about the Benjamins," a reference to Omar's tweet earlier this month that said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) wanted to punish her and Tlaib's anti-Israel rhetoric because he was being paid off.

Omar grinned, and Tlaib looked to the side and smiled while taking a drink, seemingly suggesting she agreed with the sentiment, in a moment noted by Jewish Insider.

Omar also tweeted this month that AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying group, was paying off politicians to support Israel. She was eventually forced to apologize, although she said this week it was about how she made people feel, not about being anti-Semitic.

Tlaib has suggested pro-Israel politicians have dual loyalties, a classic anti-Semitic canard, and Omar has repeatedly been dogged by anti-Semitic controversies, before and since taking office. She tweeted in 2012 Israel had "hypnotized" the world with its "evil" actions, declared it's amusing to her that the Jewish state is considered a democracy, and supported BDS, which Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) has called anti-Semitism in action.


Top Four Reasons Why Rep. Ilhan Omar is Wrong about AIPAC, Israel and the Palestinians
4. Omar’s “evil doings” of Israel are actually “evil doings” of the Arabs and the Palestinians

The evil doings of Israel that Omar refers to include first and foremost Israel’s supposed refusal to permit a Palestinian state. Yet history shows it is the Arabs and the Palestinians who have stood in the way of a Palestinian state, not Israel. Opportunities for a Palestinian state were rejected by the Palestinians and the Arab states multiple times, including:
  • In 1947 UNGA 181, the so-called Partition Resolution called for creation of a Jewish and an Arab state out of the territory of the British Mandate for Palestine. The Jews accepted the compromise, while the Arabs rejected it and promised to annihilate the Jewish state the moment the British withdrew. While the Palestinians and five Arab states attacked Israel and expected to win easily, in the end the Israelis, at great cost, beat back the invaders and survived the war. The Arab states made no effort to create a Palestinian state in the Mandate territory that they occupied after the war. For example, Jordan’s King Abdullah annexed the West Bank to his kingdom.
  • In 2000 President Clinton hosted Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and Israeli leader Ehud Barak for intensive talks at Camp David. After grueling negotiations Israel accepted the so-called Clinton parameters, but Arafat and the Palestinians rejected them. The Saudi representative to the talks, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, memorably said “If Arafat does not accept what is available now, it won’t be a tragedy, it will be a crime.”
    But Arafat did turn down the Clinton parameters and instead returned home and triggered the so-called Second Intifadah, which included numerous Palestinian suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks in which over a thousand Israelis were killed.
  • In 2008, after extensive talks, then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and presented a comprehensive peace plan. Olmert’s plan would have annexed the major Israeli settlements to Israel and in return given equivalent Israeli territory to the Palestinians, would have divided Jerusalem, and also included a partial Palestinian “right of return.” According to The Washington Post’s Jackson Diehl, who had previously covered the region, “Olmert’s peace offer was more generous to the Palestinians than either that of Bush or Bill Clinton; it’s almost impossible to imagine Obama, or any Israeli government, going further.” Despite this, Abbas admitted to Diehl that he walked away.
Rep. Omar has got it exactly backwards. If there have been evil doings against the Palestinians, the perpetrators she should be upset with are the Arab and Palestinian leaders, especially Yasir Arafat and Mahmud Abbas, who did their best to nurture and perpetrate the conflict, rather than ending it on an honorable basis, all at the expense of the ordinary Palestinians Ilhan Omar claims to care about.
Omar on Anti-Semitic Tweets: I Did Not Apologize for Being Anti-Semitic
Commenting on anti-Semitic tweets she wrote earlier this month, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) said she did not apologize for being anti-Semitic during an interview with The Intercept released on Thursday.

"You've since apologized unequivocally for the tweet. You've said rightly that anti-Semitism is real. But just to be clear, I mean we're a few weeks on now, what were you apologizing for? Was it a badly worded tweet that you were apologizing for? Or was it for being anti-Semitic, wittingly or unwittingly?" host Mehdi Hasan asked around the 12:45 mark of the audio at the link above.

"Oh absolutely not," Omar responded. "I apologized for the way that my words made people feel. Oftentimes, you know, we are in places where someone will say something, and they might not know how it makes you feel and it's not acceptable, that once you express to them that this is hurtful, that you have felt attacked by their words, they should acknowledge how you feel, they should speak to that, they should apologize and figure out a way to remedy that situation."

"That's why you apologized?" Hasan asked.

"That's why I apologized," Omar said.

"And is that why you deleted your tweets this week?" Hasan asked. "The chairwoman of the Republican Party is all over Twitter suggesting that was some sort of … bad faith move on your part."

"I mean for a Republican who always makes a bad faith move to call someone out on that is laughable … The reason and the purpose of the apology was to make sure that the people who were hurt felt understood and heard, and leaving the tweets up no longer would be part of that," Omar said.





CAMERA Op-Ed: The Washington Post’s Two-Dimensional Reporting
If “democracy dies in darkness”—The Washington Post’s Trump-era slogan—then journalism dies in superficiality and bias by omission. The Post itself shows how.

“Republicans accuse Muslim lawmakers of anti-Semitism,” by reporters Mike DeBonis and Robert Costa in the Feb. 9 print edition, evaded dealing with the anti-Zionist, anti-Jewish statements and actions of two Democratic members of Congress in context.

Instead, The Post played criticism of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) as “part of a larger GOP effort to drive a partisan wedge into the traditionally nonpartisan relationship between the United States and Israel.” The Post’s op-ed pages—in a move that Seth Mandel, the executive editor for The Washington Examiner magazine, called “bonkers”—even defended Omar.

This journalistic “framing” avoided examining hostility to the Jewish state as a gateway to renewed hatred of the Jewish people. French President Emmanuel Macron got it right in 2017, stating, “anti-Zionism is the reinvented form of anti-Semitism.”

Contrary to The Post, Democrats didn’t need Republicans spotlighting Omar and Tlaib’s trafficking in, then at times back-tracking from before returning to anti-Jewish canards, including covert Israeli manipulation, dual loyalty by American Jews and Jewish money buying American political support for Israel to divide them. Not that the newspaper acknowledged it, but a growing intra-party split was visible at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Rashida Tlaib Suggests Mark Meadows Is Racist. He Flattens Her.
Tlaib's accusation came after Meadows invited Lynne Patton, a top Trump housing official who is black, to attend the hearing in order to push back on any accusations that Trump was racist.

"Just because someone has a person of color, a black person, working for them does not mean they aren’t racist and … the fact someone would actually use a prop, a black woman in this chamber, in this committee is alone racist in itself,” Tlaib said as she took aim at Meadows.

"Meadows, a Trump ally and head of the conservative Freedom Caucus, immediately demanded a retraction," The New York Post reported. "Getting emotional, Meadows said his nieces and nephews are people of color and he rejected any notion he’s a racist."
  • The fact that Tlaib would accuse anyone else of bigotry is astonishing given the fact that she is a documented anti-Semite. Here are just some of Tlaib's actions:
  • Promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories
  • Embraced anti-Semites and alleged Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers
  • Supports anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaigns against Israel
  • Does not support a two-state solution between Palestine and Israel
  • Been photographed with Islamic terrorist sympathizers
  • Belonged to a Holocaust denier group


BBC R4’s ‘PM’ presents one-sided comment on MP’s suspension
She went on to promote a blatant falsehood:

Manson: “But a lot of groups within the Jewish community do not consider it’s a major problem, including for example the Haredi Jews who have written letters supporting Jeremy Corbyn and who I speak to quite frequently who’ve met antisemitism all their lives but not from people in the Labour party.”

Davis did not bother to clarify to listeners that Manson was apparently referring to the tiny, fringe anti-Zionist sect Neturei Karta and that over 85% of British Jews “see antisemitism as having significantly infiltrated all levels of the [Labour] party”.

Proposing that “you have a different threshold for antisemitism than other people”, Davis then brought up the Naz Shah story which Manson dismissed as “a joke made by an American Jew” before coming up with her own erroneous definition of antisemtism.

Manson: “Antisemitism broadly is hatred of Jews […] it’s hatred of Jews with – I’m told by lawyers I’ve talked to about it – with a sense of impending violence. Something very, very nasty. And it’s being stretched to be criticisms of Israel that people don’t like, criticism of Zionism that people don’t like and in some cases just quick unthinking talk.”

Failing to challenge that inaccurate definition of antisemitism – and to remind listeners that there is one accepted definition used by their own government – Davis tried to put the point that stereotypes of Jews are tolerated in a way that stereotypes about other groups of people are not. However the broadcast again ran into technical difficulties and the item was brought to a close.

As we see the producers of ‘PM’ apparently thought it satisfactory to provide audiences with an entirely one-sided view of this story based on comments on Facebook from Chris Williamson’s supporters and a representative of a tiny, extremist political group which in no way represents mainstream Jewish opinion in the UK.


UK’s Labour suspends MP who said party ‘too apologetic’ on anti-Semitism
Britain’s Labour Party on Wednesday suspended one of its lawmakers after he suggested the party had apologized too much about anti-Semitism in its ranks.

Chris Williamson, member of parliament for Derby North and a close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, will face an investigation after he said the party had been “too apologetic” to people complaining about anti-Semitism within the party.

“Chris Williamson is suspended from the party, and therefore the whip, pending investigation,” a Labour Party spokesman said.

On Tuesday, Williamson was severely criticized by fellow MPs for his remarks, which he made to the hard-left Momentum faction. He swiftly apologized but the party later decided to suspend him.

Thirty-eight Labour MPs wrote to party general secretary Jennie Formby demanding Williamson be suspended.

His “actions have brought the party into disrepute and his behavior must be investigated and dealt with,” the letter read.

A video of Williamson’s speech published by The Yorkshire Post in the city of Sheffield showed the audience applauding him.
Jackie Walker Shares More Anti-Semitic Imagery While Defending Chris Williamson
Jackie Walker spent most of yesterday evening vigorously defending now suspended Labour MP Chris Williamson from the half-hearted actions of the Labour Party, just days after she shared yet another arguably anti-Semitic image on her Facebook profile. The big hook nosed image is a standard trope..

Walker seemed particularly upset at how the Labour Party belatedly told Chris Williamson that it probably wasn’t a good idea to host a screening of her film called ‘The Witchhunt’ which defends Walker’s many bouts of anti-Semitism. She shared a supportive letter defending Chris Williamson and demanding that the film be shown in Parliament, whilst defending herself and her clearly anti-Semitic statements on the grounds of “dialogue and debate.”

Walker, a former Vice Chair of Momentum, has previously said Jews financed the slave trade, criticised Holocaust Memorial Day, and promoted conspiracy theories about Jews in the media. Despite this Williamson was determined to screen her film. Clearly neither of them have learned their lesson…

Harvard alumna: Silenced for questioning at Palestinian event - watch
Harvard graduate Vanesa Levine posted a video on Facebook earlier this month claiming, “a Palestinian man physically and verbally assaulted me because he was threatened by my words.”

In the video, which already has close to 40,000 views, Levine said she was attending a Harvard Club event at which a Palestinian guest lecturer was presenting. She described him as “spreading such lies and hatred of people.”

At the end of the event, Levine rose from her chair to ask a question, and she said she was “literally silenced by the entire room.”

Her question was how the lecturer is trying to pave the road to peace when he is teaching the next generation hatred and to kill Jews.

“How are you expecting the next generation to have peace?” she asked.

In response, she alleges that a grown man “the age of my father” came up to her, put his hands on her and tried to stop her from speaking. He tried to take the microphone, pushed her and called her a slut, she claimed.

A woman in the audience called for Levine to leave and to be kicked out of the Harvard Club.

“I said no, I earned my way here, I got my master’s degree at Harvard, you are not going to kick me out for simply asking a question,” Levine said in the video. “The entire room tried to silence me. Everyone was against me, and all I had was a simple question.”
‘Palestine Solidarity Week’ at Wake Forest University Draws Concern From Zionist, Jewish Students
Students at Wake Forest University in North Carolina are hosting a week-long campaign to support the Palestinian cause, sharing materials and organizing events that have drawn push-back from some Zionist and Jewish students.

The “Solidarity with Palestine” week — promoted by groups including the school’s chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA), but not explicitly claimed by any — includes the display of a mock wall on campus, which mimics the security barrier the Israeli government began constructing in the West Bank during the Second Intifada in response to repeated suicide bombings and other Palestinian terrorist attacks.

The mock wall includes a four-panel map that labels all of modern-day Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip as “Palestine,” above the caption, “end the occupation.” Other quotes include the phrase, “resistance is not terrorism.” The word “resistance” has in the past been used by Palestinian groups — including US-designed terrorist organizations like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad — to refer to both unarmed campaigns and violent attacks against civilians.

Members of the Zionist group WFU Students Supporting Israel (SSI) have expressed opposition to the display, posing before it with an Israeli flag and a banner reading, “Jewish are indigenous to Israel, change my mind.”


Guardian employs ‘What would Jesus think?’ trope to sell anti-Israel narrative
Though some such articles include the explicit (false) claim that Jews oppressing Christians in the Holy Land, most – such as this latest Guardian piece – are at least laced with the implicit suggestion that Israel is corrupting the birthplace of Jesus and defiling sites of religious significance.

However, if the Guardian reporter wanted to really meditate upon what Jesus would think of the modern Jewish state, he could explore the country’s record in safeguarding the rights of its Christian community, and their holy places, and how this contrasts with the persecution of Christians in the rest of the Mid-East. Or, more relevant to the topic at hand, he could report on the state’s internationally recognised advances in desalinisation and other water technologies. Israel may not be able to boast of changing water into wine, but an Israeli company (Watergen) has managed to create a device that miraculously creates drinking water literally out of thin air.

Israeli technology uses a series of filters to purify the air, take out the humidity and transform it into clean drinking water.

Moreover, Holmes’ lengthy Guardian article doesn’t touch upon any genuine religious issues at stake in ongoing problems affecting the Kinneret and Jordan River, suggesting the Jesus references merely serve as an evocative hook to draw anti-Israel readers in to an otherwise dry and detail rich environmental themed piece – a journalistic device to sell a desired narrative that’s as predictable as it is cynical.
BBC portrayal of the AMIA bombing omits significant information
The final paragraph in that report reads as follows:
“In 1994, the Amia building was targeted in a bomb attack that killed 85 people and remains the country’s deadliest terrorist incident. Much of the evidence was subsequently lost or contaminated and no-one has been convicted in connection with the bombing.”

While those two sentences are in themselves accurate, is that really all the BBC has to tell its audiences about the AMIA bombing?

No mention of the Interpol red notices for four Iranian officials that remain in effect. No mention of the indictment of Argentina’s former president and foreign minister on charges of covering up Iranian involvement in the AMIA bombing. And no mention of the murder of the special prosecutor for the investigation into the bombing, Alberto Nisman.

That’s quite some omission, even by BBC standards.
Outbreak of anti-Semitism forces France to confront painful past
A surge in anti-Semitic violence and hate speech has prompted soul-searching for many in France, which has long wrestled with its history of discrimination and prejudice against Jews.

“Anti-Semitism has very deep roots in French society,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said this month after a prominent writer was accosted in the street and warned that “France belongs to us.”

The number of anti-Jewish offences reported to police rose to 541 last year from 311 in 2017, after falling for two years.

Dozens of Jewish cemeteries have been desecrated, and swastikas have been found scrawled on the doors of people’s homes. One elderly Holocaust survivor was even murdered in a grisly attack thought to be motivated in part by anti-Semitism.

France, home to Europe’s biggest Jewish community, hopes that curbing incendiary hate speech online and an increased focus on anti-racism education will help cut down on the vandalism and threats.

But the problem goes back centuries in a country with a long history of anti-Semitism, at times endorsed by the state.
Crown Heights communities seek cohesion after spate of anti-Semitic attacks
Residents of Crown Heights, a diverse New York neighborhood far from Manhattan’s skyscrapers, are trying to understand a spate of anti-Semitic attacks that has brought back painful memories.

In recent months, several people wearing the traditional black clothing and hats of the Orthodox Jewish community have been viciously assaulted — sometimes in broad daylight.

So far this year, complaints of anti-Semitic crimes have soared by 71 percent in New York, compounding a 23 percent increase in 2018.

The assaults have most impacted Crown Heights, and Borough Park to the southwest of Brooklyn.

Most of the alleged perpetrators have been arrested and the police have stepped up patrols, but the violence marks a troubling development — and for many locals harkens back to a difficult time.

In 1991, tensions between the Jewish and African American communities boiled over, erupting into America’s only anti-Semitic riot and rocking Crown Heights for three days.

The riots exploded after one of the cars in a motorcade transporting Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, head of the Crown Heights-based Chabad-Lubavitch movement, accidentally crashed into two black children.

One died and the other was seriously injured, and in the ensuing violence a Jewish student was fatally stabbed by a black teen.
Pittsburgh Presbyterian seminary’s summit has anti-Israel presentations
Speakers at a summit on racial justice in Pittsburgh used antisemitic tropes and bashed Israel.

The Racial Justice Summit was held at the end of January at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, a graduate theological school of the Presbyterian Church, the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle reported. The summit has included anti-Israel presentations at least since 2017, according to the newspaper.

Among the accusations at this year’s summit were that Israel was founded by “a political movement that was conceived by wealthy Jewish businessmen in Eastern Europe,” that Zionism is an “antisemitic lie,” and that there was no Jewish connection to the land of Israel.

Laura Horowitz, a Pittsburgh Jewish woman who attended the summit, wrote on Facebook, according to the Chronicle, that she was “angry” that “a roomful of people sat there and watched this Jew hating go on without saying a word.”

In a letter to the Chronicle, the seminary wrote that it was “saddened that this perception (that it facilitates anti-Israel sentiment) persists.”

“The Seminary community recognizes that if we are going to be one Pittsburgh, everyone must listen and everyone must be heard. We aspire to model the kind of dialogue we want our students to have when divergent political and theological viewpoints arise. In this time in our country, respectful disagreement is especially urgent. Love of neighbor does not always mean agreeing; but it does require honoring others’ humanity,” it wrote.
Antisemitic Mural in Los Angeles Found Defaced, Day After Mayor Condemns It
An antisemitic mural on the side of the Vortex community center in downtown Los Angeles was found defaced on Wednesday morning, the day after it was condemned by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The mural depicts the Grim Reaper wrapped in an American flag in which some of the five-pointed stars have been replaced by six-pointed Stars of David, which are popularly recognized as Jewish symbols. The Grim Reaper holds a missile and a dead baby. According to Aaron Bandler of the Jewish Journal, “A Los Angeles artist known as Vyal Reyes appeared to take credit for the mural on his Instagram account in January 2018.” The Vortex had earlier told the Journal that the mural was painted several years ago as part of an anti-war message, and refused to remove it.

Mayor Garcetti — the city’s first Jewish mayor — condemned the mural Tuesday. Others called for the mural to be taken down by the Vortex.

When Breitbart News arrived on the scene at approximately 6:50 a.m. on Wednesday morning, the mural had been defaced with a splash of white paint, with the words, “No Place for Hate” painted in red and yellow.

Antisemitic Statements by Mauritanian Cleric: The Jews Are Allah’s Enemies
Mauritanian cleric Muhammad Ould Dedew said in a February 12 show on Dorar TV (Sudan) that the Jews are the enemies of Allah and of economy and that they use false means to plunder the wealth of others. He said that they are behind insurance companies, casinos, lotteries, and usurious banks. He also said that the Christians are arrogant and haughty by nature. In a February 5, 2019 show on Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas/Gaza), Dedew said that there will be two great wars with the Jews in which they will be the followers of the Antichrist and in which the rocks and the trees will call out to Muslims saying that there are Jews hiding behind them. In addition, he said that the Zionists are a wretched people and that Jerusalem will be liberated soon.


Mayors Across The Globe Announce Coalition To Battle Anti-Semitism
A prominent group of mayors from different countries announced the launch of an organization against anti-Semitism called the “Global Mayors Coalition Against Hate, Antisemitism and BDS” on Wednesday.

The BDS movement seeks to penalize Israel for their treatment of Palestinians. But some consider it to be anti-Semitic because they only seek to punish one country for their behavior — the Jewish one.

Mayor Uwe Becker of Frankfurt, Germany; Mayor Gabriel Groisman of Bal Harbour, Florida; and Mayor Haim Bibas of Modiin-Maccabim-Reut, Israel, announced the coalition’s creation at the MuniWorld Conference, which is the annual international municipal conference hosted by the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel.

The group, which also included mayors from Argentina and Spain, plans to convene an annual meeting to discuss how they are working towards eradicating anti-Semitism.

Groisman, who is Jewish, has been an ardent member in the fight against the BDS movement. He previously wrote and passed the first municipal anti-BDS ordinance and the first codification of a unified definition of antisemitism in the United States.
United Airlines vows to combat antisemitism
Following several alleged antisemitic incidents during flights, United Airlines has vowed to combat antisemitism in its ranks.

The statement was made during a meeting on Monday between high-ranking United Airlines representatives and Duvi Honig, founder and CEO of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce at the Newark Airport hub.

The two parties discussed the airline’s relationship with the Jewish community, its families and business travelers.

The airline reached out to the Chamber after it publicized a recent troubling incident with a young Jewish mother, which was followed by another troubling incident experienced by an elderly Jewish couple.

During the meeting, the United officials expressed their disappointment in these events and vowed to take concrete steps to battle antisemitism in its ranks, improve customer service and prevent any similar incidents from occurring in the future.

They thanked the Chamber for bringing the relevant issues to their attention and working to build bridges between the community and the airline, which is currently the fourth largest in the nation.

At the meeting, the officials, which included Magda Morais, Managing Director of Customer Service; Matt Colbert, Director of NY/NJ Strategic Initiatives; and Jon Gooda, Director of Customer Service; listened to Honig as he shared the concerns of the Jewish community’s over the incidents and the “Chamber’s mission to build positive relationships between the community and all echelons of the business world.
12-year-old arrested for drawing dozens of swastikas on Queens school playground
A 12-year-old boy was arrested for drawing dozens of swastikas and anti-Semitic messages on a school playground in New York City.

The boy was charged on Wednesday with aggravated harassment for the symbols and messages including “Heil Hitler” and “No Jews allowed,” according to reports.

He was released by police to the custody of his mother and will appear in court at a later date. The boy’s name was not released.

The chalk drawings at PS 139 in Rego Park, in the borough of Queens, were discovered by the custodian on Friday, according to reports. School was not in session, but the playground was open to the public.

“Truly unbelievable. I am shocked that a 12-year-old committed this crime. It’s completely unacceptable and has no place in our society,” Council Member Karen Koslowitz tweeted Wednesday night.
Drones launched to help preserve Europe’s Jewish cemeteries
A private organization that wants to preserve thousands of old Jewish cemeteries in Europe is using aerial drones to map burial sites in countries where the Holocaust decimated Jewish populations that existed before World War II.

The European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative said Tuesday that teams of drone operators plan to survey 1,500 endangered Jewish cemeteries in Slovakia, Greece, Moldova, Lithuania and Ukraine this year. Once the boundaries are recorded, the sites will be enclosed and cleaned, the Germany-based organization said.

The European Union is funding the effort with an 800,000 euro grant ($911,100) at a time of rising alarm over anti-Semitic acts in some countries. This month, swastikas were painted on about 80 gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in France, and vandals damaged windows, sinks and a prominent headstone at a Jewish cemetery in northwestern England.

The chief executive of the initiative, Philip Carmel, said walls fitted with locking gates will be erected around the graveyards covered by the EU-funded project both to protect them and to re-establish a physical presence, “so people know there’s a Jewish cemetery.”
Oskar Schindler’s personal possessions hit auction block
Several personal possessions of Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who saved the lives of about 1,200 Jews during World War II, are up for auction.

Schindler’s Longines wristwatch, a compass he and his wife reportedly used in 1945 as they fled advancing Russians, two Parker fountain pens, and several other items are being sold by Boston-based RR Auction.

The belongings being sold as a package are expected to fetch about $25,000 in the auction that ends March 6.

RR’s executive vice president Bobby Livingston says the possessions are from the estate of Schindler’s wife, Emilie, who died in 2001.

Schindler, a Nazi party member whose story was told in the 1993 Oscar-winning movie “Schindler’s List,” saved Jews by employing then in his enamelware and munitions factory in Krakow. During the war years, he spent his entire fortune on bribes of Nazi officials and supplies his workers needed to survive, emerging from the war a destitute man.

He died in 1974.
Six Israeli Startups Make List of World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies
Every year, Fast Company magazine ranks the world’s 50 most innovative companies. This year, six companies from Israel made the list, and ISRAEL21c has featured all of them.

Vayyar Imaging came in No. 2 in the “Middle East” category. The company’s low-cost 3D imaging technology is used in cars, smart homes, agriculture, robotics, medicine and more. Vayyar’s sensors can see through materials, differentiate between objects and people, and map environments in real time. Vayyar technology can be of value in everything from elder care to home improvement (its Walabot device reveals any pipes or wires behind the wall before you drill.)

Innoviz makes smart LiDAR systems – the “eyes” in next-generation autonomous vehicles. Innoviz’s LiDAR sends out pulsed laser beams to measure and monitor a car’s surroundings. The company, which won an award at the 2019 CES show in Las Vegas, is now being integrated into BMW autonomous vehicles to be launched by 2021 and is opening a 4,000-square-meter production facility in China.

SpacePharma helps pharmaceutical companies conduct tests in zero gravity, a great environment for bacteria to grow faster and often stronger than on Earth. “On Earth, a petri dish allows you to grow a culture in two dimensions,” SpacePharma’s chairman Yossi Yamin told ISRAEL21c. “But with low gravity in orbit, you get a third dimension.” One of SpacePharma minilabs is integrated with the International Space Station.
Iraqi-Israeli musician finds fans from Tel Aviv to Baghdad
Singing in Arabic, an Israeli musician is winning over listeners from Tel Aviv to Baghdad, covering tunes by his grandfather and great uncle, an Iraqi Jewish duo who were once two of the Arab world's most famous performers.

Dudu Tassa's new album, El-Hajar, which in Arabic means "exile," is a mashup of modern takes on melodies made popular by his forebears, the late Daoud and Saleh al-Kuwaiti, who fled from Iraq to Israel close to 70 years ago.

"Over there, they owned a club and played in major concert halls," Tassa said, adding that his grandfather's music was adored by Faisal II, the last king of Iraq.

"In Israel, they ended up playing at weddings and bar mitzvahs," Tassa, 42, said. "There was a real sense of pain there. It wasn't easy for them."

The musician's family was among the tens of thousands of Iraqi Jews who fled in the mid-20th century to Israel, whose creation in 1948 and successive defeats of Arab armies caused bursts of popular anger and violence against Jews. (h/t Zvi)
How the Anti-Semitic Dreyfus Affair Led to the Creation of the Tour de France
France in the 1890s saw both a bicycling craze and the Dreyfus Affair, in which the Jewish officer Alfred Dreyfus was framed for passing military secrets to Germany, sparking an intense controversy. In 1899, a few years after Dreyfus’s conviction, Emil Loubert, known to sympathize with him, became president of France. Nick Gendler writes:

On June 3, 1899, the French supreme court overturned the original court-martial judgment against Dreyfus and ordered a retrial. Tensions were high when, the following day, Loubert accepted an invitation to watch horse-racing at the Auteuil Race Course. Unlike the Longchamp racecourse which was frequented by the lower classes, . . . Auteuil was the playground of the wealthy, monarchist, anti-Republican, and mainly anti-Dreyfusard classes. Loubert’s presence was seen as provocative and he was confronted by hordes outraged by the order for a retrial. The demonstration turned violent almost as soon as the president took his seat. Among those who were arrested following the fracas was the wealthy industrialist Jules Albert Compte de Dion. . . .

Pierre Gifford, the editor of the [sports] newspaper Le Vélo [“The Bicycle”], criticized the demonstration. . . . Politically, Gifford was on the left and wrote scathing articles criticizing Dion and other anti-Dreyfusards, despite many of them being important advertisers in his newspaper. Gifford’s reporting of the demonstration incensed Dion and other industrialists such as Eduard Michelin, a vigorous anti-Semite, and Gustave Clement. . . .

Dion and his allies decided to withdraw their advertising and to launch their own rival paper, L’Auto-Vélo. . . . In November 1902, as the newspaper, [now simply called] L’Auto, struggled with circulation at consistently around a quarter of that of Le Vélo, . . . a young reporter by the name of Geo Lefevre, allegedly desperate to suggest something, spontaneously floated the idea of the Tour de France as a promotional enterprise.



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I mentioned on Sunday that four men were sentenced to prison in Libya for forming a Hamas cell there.

The specific charges were that the four had acquired and shipped arms to Hamas from Libya through the Sinai and then through tunnels to Gaza.

Hamas is not denying that they are members. They merely say that they should be released because they "have never entered into any of Libya's internal affairs, and did not tamper with its security."

Which is pretty much an admission that they were smuggling weapons.

Their families say Libya should release them because there is fear that they will be extradited to Israel, which seems highly improbable.

Islamic Jihad issued a statement today supporting them, saying "Resistance is not a crime, it is an honor and pride for all those who support it."




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 Vic Rosenthal's Weekly Column

When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse. – Osama bin Laden

All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it's impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer. – Niccolò Machiavelli

It’s probably not an exaggeration to say that anti-Jewish expression of all kinds – ordinary Jew-hatred, antisemitic violence, and anti-Zionism – throughout the world are at their highest levels since the end of the Second World War.

Theodor Herzl and others thought that the normalization of the Jewish people – the change from “rootless cosmopolitans” living in other peoples’ homelands to a settled people in its own land – would bring about an end to the phenomenon of Jew-hatred.

It did not. People didn’t hate Jews any less, and the Jewish state simply provided another focus for hatred and another target for violent antisemitism.

It was also thought that if the traumatic events of the Holocaust and their historical roots in Jew-hatred were known throughout the world, there would be a wave of moral revulsion that would put an end to antisemitism. In simple terms, 1) Jew-hatred leads to mass murder, 2) mass murder is bad, 3) therefore, Jew-hatred is bad. So Holocaust museums were built, educational programs mandated, films made, and so forth.

This may have had some temporary effect, at least on overt expressions of Jew-hatred, which became socially unacceptable for a time. But it did not change hearts, and now, some years later, even the effect on overt expressions of hatred has dissipated.

For those who like to put the entire blame for the Holocaust on Hitler, the Nazis, or even Germany, I note that many British officials acted – before, during, and after the war – as though they would rather see Jews dead than in Palestine. Similar observations apply to the actions of US President Roosevelt, who had to be dragged kicking and screaming to do the minimum possible on behalf of Hitler’s victims. I don’t know or care what was in the hearts of these people, but they were aware of the Holocaust and their actions were deliberate.

Jew-hatred, both the individual kind and the kind that expresses itself as hatred of the Jewish state, is dangerous to the continued survival of the Jewish people. Indeed, many of its practitioners are acting consciously with the destruction of our people as a goal. They know what they are doing and are effectively using modern technology and psychological techniques to attack us.

As Jews, we have two general options: we can acquiesce to the disappearance of the Jews as a distinct people through a combination of violent oppression and suicidal assimilation, or we can try to preserve it.

I take it as a given that the Jewish people should survive as a people, and I place my obligation to the Jewish people ahead of my obligation to humankind in general, just as I prioritize my family over the other inhabitants of my neighborhood. These are moral axioms, first premises; if you don’t agree with me, I have no further arguments to convince you of them (and probably you should stop reading).

I wish to present a general framework for the preservation of the Jewish people. I am not proposing specific tactics, or even overall strategies – just some general principles, inspired by the writings of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Kenneth Levin, Niccolò Machiavelli, and others: I call it the Strong Jew Doctrine. I introduced the concept here, and it has application both in the schoolyards and college campuses of the West, and on the battlefields of the Middle East.

It’s based on the idea that honor, respect, and deterrence are critical for survival, and these properties – which actually inhere in those that meet and confront us, friends and enemies – depend on our use of power or our hesitance to do so.

The Jewish people have both gained and lost from their diaspora experience; but during centuries as a powerless minority, it developed an inferiority complex which interferes with its use of power, now that we have it. Over the years, Jews became accustomed to trying to buy safety with money, negotiating from a position of weakness, depending on the protection of others, and developing the capability to suffer. These strategies sometimes succeed in saving our skins and sometimes not, but they worked against obtaining the respect of others, especially our enemies. They reinforced the antisemitic conception of the Jew as weak, sneaky, and contemptible – and as someone it is permissible to attack.

We don’t have to use those methods anymore. Today we are a people with an economically and militarily powerful homeland.

When challenged, whether by a neighborhood antisemite, the UN, or Hezbollah, a Jew or a Jewish state should respond in a way that takes into account not only meeting the particular challenge, but also maximizing the respect and deterrence that accrues as a result of our actions (our enemies, in particular, should experience fear and be deterred from future attacks). In this way, we not only hurt our enemies, but become the “strong horse.” The objective should be to obtain respect, not pity.

Sometimes what we must do to maximize respect is not consistent with European understandings of humanistic morality or international law. These are hard decisions, and there is no definitive general answer. Is it more important to avoid being accused of war crimes – which will happen regardless of what we do – or to reduce the risks faced by our ground troops in urban combat? This very question regularly comes up when the IDF is forced to enter Gaza or Arab towns in Judea/Samaria, and the army bends over backwards in the humanitarian direction. We would reduce the number of violent confrontations and our own casualties if we acted more aggressively when they did occur.

Here are some principles that either derive from or are consistent with the Strong Jew Doctrine, along with some examples of their application in personal and geopolitical situations:

1.      Self-reliance is better than dependence. Accepting American military aid may seem to be advantageous for Israel, but we can do without it, it makes us dependent on an unreliable partner, and has numerous other deleterious effects.

2.      It’s good to have passive defenses against aggression, but only an active response can provide a non-temporary solution. You can prevent a bully from hitting you by keeping your guard up, but you can only make him stop by hitting him back. Iron dome can protect a city, but it doesn’t motivate the enemy to stop firing rockets (indeed, it encourages him to fire more rockets in an attempt to overwhelm the system).

3.      Never pay tribute or ransom. Some Israeli “security” officials argue that improving the humanitarian situation in Gaza or helping the PA meet payrolls helps prevent conflicts. Wrong: paying our enemies or introducing aid of any kind frees up funds for military purposes and sends a message of weakness. They are enemies.

4.      Take revenge when appropriate. We live in the Middle East. Allowing members of other tribes to kill our people and to receive relatively mild penalties send the message that killing us is permissible. Allowing the PA to pay terrorists in our prisons encourages terrorism.

5.      Restraint is not an indicator of strength. It is often the opposite. Letting Hamas burn southern Israel sends the message that we are too weak to stop them.

6.      Use collective punishments when appropriate. Polls consistently show that the majority of residents of Gaza and the PA support violence against Israel. Many towns in the PA are dominated by clans associated with Fatah or Hamas. They provide direct support for terrorists. Why shouldn’t they pay a price?

7.      Reprisals should always be disproportionate. When a bully hits you, hit him back harder. As Machiavelli recommended, when you have to hurt someone, hurt him so badly that he will not be able to get revenge.

8.      Messaging should emphasize our strength, not our victimhood. Reports of terror attacks should stress that all the terrorists were eliminated on the spot (and they should be!), not how painful the attack was for us.

9.      Never make threats that we are not prepared to carry out.

It may seem paradoxical, but the more aggressive we are, the less Jew-hatred there will be. People and nations give lip service to meekness, but honor comes from boldness and exercise of power. At the end of the day, it’s the strong horse that gets respect.



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From Ian:

The Palestinians' Automatic "No" to Peace
The Palestinian issue—once at the heart of Arab political discourse in our region—has been pushed to the margins. Mahmoud Abbas might still be able to extract a promise out of the elderly Saudi king not to go "behind the Palestinians' backs," but the entire world knows about the business his son conducts with Israel. The Arab world has a hard time understanding what the Palestinians want, and why they allow themselves to continue managing their affairs in such a failed manner.

"If you want to free all of Palestine—ahlan wasahlan ('welcome'), but you need to unite. If you want a state alongside Israel, why do you keep saying 'no' again and again when offered one?" one Egyptian TV anchor wondered.

Since automatic Palestinian refusal is a given, what exactly motivates Jared Kushner, Trump's point man on the peace process? Is he still hoping the Palestinians change their minds when they learn the details of the plan? Probably not. He didn't even bother giving an interview to a Palestinian media outlet, and instead directed his comments to the Arab world, mostly the Gulf nations (Sky Arabic, to which he gave the interview, is funded by the United Arab Emirates). In other words: he's thinking about the day after the Palestinian "no," when Arab countries could come to them and say: "You once again rejected a generous proposal, we won't remain hostages to your intransigence."

It seems farfetched, but work preparing the Arab street for relations with Israel that could be defined as "on the scale of normalization" has been going on for a few years.

"If the Palestinian leadership used the money donated by the Arabs since 1948 for Palestine, it would've already built 50 cities like Tel Aviv, 40 cities like Dubai and 30 cities like Riyadh," tweeted an Iraqi journalist this week —and got a shower of likes.

PMW: PA will cut all Palestinian salaries, except for terrorists and their families
Impending PA financial crisis follows Abbas decision to not accept Israeli transfers of approx. 670 million shekels/month after Israel decided to deduct 41 million shekels/month from PA tax money equivalent to the amount PA pays terrorist prisoners

“PA Minister of Finance announced that the [PA] government will pay the salaries of the public employees on time, but they are likely to be partial, other than the pension stipends and the allowances of the families of the Martyrs, the wounded, and the prisoners, which will be paid in full.”

PA TV: “Our Martyrs and prisoners (i.e., terrorists and murderers) are the source of our glory and pride. They are more honorable than all of us.”

PA Prime Minister: “The payment of the money to the prisoners and Martyrs' families is our responsibility, not a gift or grant but rather an inseparable part of the social contract between the state and its citizens.”

PA Minister of Finance: “There is an official decision... not to accept the tax money if even a single penny is missing from it."




NGO Monitor: Gaslighting Gaza: Initial Analysis of UN Commission of Inquiry on Gaza Riots
On February 28, 2019, the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the riots along the Israel-Gaza border, which began in March 2018, alleged that “Israeli soldiers committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law… and may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity.” The COI created a “confidential file” of “which is recommended be given to the International Criminal Court (ICC)” and to be used by governments to “consider imposing individual sanctions, such as a travel ban or an assets freeze.”

Methodological Failures
  • In contrast to professional fact-finding standards, the COI clearly established pre-determined legal and factual conclusion and merely gathered “evidence” to fit its desired outcome.
  • In preparing its report, the COI relied heavily on Palestinian sources, including Hamas and terror-linked non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Notably, the COI uncritically adopts the NGOs’ application of a domestic law enforcement paradigm – erasing the context of the armed conflict with Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups – to analyze cross-border violence.
  • The COI used anonymous and unverifiable “testimonies.” When asked during a press conference to provide details about how many of the 325 the interviews it conducted itself or how it selected the 325 individuals reportedly interviewed, the Chairperson of the COI was unable to answer the question and stated he would have to provide that information at a later date.
  • The information provided in the published summary is a near copy-paste from NGO submissions to the COI. For example, all names of Palestinian children killed were provided by Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), an NGO with ties to the Popular of Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group, i.e. one of the parties to the conflict in Gaza. (DCI-P’s submission was prepared in partnership with the CUNY School of Law Human Rights and Gender Justice Law Clinic.)
  • Reflecting the COI’s lack of expertise and muddled analysis, throughout the report, the COI mixes up the concepts of international human rights and humanitarian law and applicable rules and standards. For example, according to the Commission, the violence along the Israel-Gaza border was not a “military” or “combat” situation and therefore human rights law was the appropriate standard. Therefore, its conclusion that “human rights violations may also constitute “war crimes” is baseless, since war crimes can only where the laws of war are applicable.
  • The UN’s shoddy researching and reporting led them to write identical paragraphs about the same fatality, Mo’min Hams, on different pages of the “protected groups” section of the report.
Israel Rejects UNHRC Probe Accusations of War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity
Israel has rejected the findings of a one-sided investigation by the so-called “Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” set up last year by the United Nations Human Rights Council – the same UNHRC that maintains a permanent agenda item solely devoted to the condemnation of the State of Israel.

This is not the first time the UNHRC has attempted to charge Israel with crimes against humanity, or war crimes. Given the membership of the organization, it’s likely not to be the last, either.

“The council is setting new records for hypocrisy and mendacity, out of an obsessive hatred of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in responding to the report on Thursday.

“It is Hamas which fires missiles at Israeli citizens, throws explosive devices and carries out terrorist activity during the violent demonstrations along the fence.

“Israel will not allow Hamas to attack Israel’s sovereignty and its people, and will maintain the right of self-defense. IDF soldiers will continue to vigorously defend Israeli citizens against attack by Hamas and the [other] terrorist organizations financed by Iran, which declares its intention to destroy Israel.”

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan was likewise incensed by the findings, saying that the so-called UN Human Rights Council “bears no relation to the protection of human rights.”

Erdan said the release of “this patently false report” was a “sadly predictable step” from a body that has “long lost its legitimacy.“
Netanyahu: U.N. set new hypocrisy record with Israeli war crimes allegation
The United Nations has set a new record for hypocrisy and lies with its report that accuses Israel of deliberately shooting children at the Gaza border and possible war crimes, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

"Israel rejects outright the report of the UN Human Rights Council, which sets new records of hypocrisy and lies, out of obsessive hatred of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East” Netanyahu said.

He spoke after a United Nations Human Rights Council commission of inquiry released a report on the Hamas led border protests, that began on March 30, 2018. Israel has held that Hamas terrorists participate in the protests, which have involved attempted to infiltrate Israel and other violent border attacks. This includes the launching of incendiary devices into Israel, that have burned thousands of daunts of fields and forests.

The Palestinians have claimed that it is peaceful protest and on Thursday, the UNHRC agreed that weekly and sometimes daily events were largely no-violent.

Netanyahu rejected their conclusions., He that the IDF was responding in self defense to Hamas “which fires rockets at Israeli civilians, launches incendiary devices and carries out terrorist activities during its violent protests by the [border] fence,” Netanyahu said.

“Israel will not allow Hamas to harm Israeli sovereignty and its citizens and will protect its right to self-defense,” Netanyahu said.

“IDF soldiers will continue to firmly defend Israeli citizens against attacks by Hamas and by Iranian-funded terrorist organizations which have a declared intention to destroy Israel,” Netanyahu said.




Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne slams the UNHRC's systematic anti-Israel bias
"Australia opposes in principle the existence of Item 7 of the agenda of the Council. It is our firm view that a separate agenda item focusing on a single country situation, in this case, Israel, is inappropriate. It does not occur in any other context for any other country."




IDF hits targets in Gaza after explosive balloon damages home
Israeli warplanes struck numerous Hamas posts in southern Gaza late Wednesday night after a small bomb attached to a bundle of balloons was launched into Israel from the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave.

The explosive device damaged the front window of a home in the Eshkol region.

No casualties were reported.

The bomb exploded near the home of Rachel Danzig, whose home was almost hit by a rocket fired from Gaza during the previous spat of hostilities.

"I'm shaking right now," she said. "The balloon exploded next to my house, I thought it was literally inside the house. It's scary because there's no deterrence. My neighbor has a hole in her garden, glass is shattered all over my home and everything moved from the blast. I'm still traumatized by the first time. My neighbor is absolutely frightened. She's 70 years old and is in shock.


The opportunity of the century
The details of the Trump administration's "deal of the century" are still under wraps, but the deal has become part of the election campaign and appears likely to keep the political system in turmoil throughout 2019. The right wing is already responding negatively, both out of a sense of real danger and a desire to differentiate itself from the Likud and demonstrate uncompromising loyalty to the vision of the "complete land of Israel." The New Right party has already expressed concern that the Trump plan could bring the ax down on its vision of annexing Judea and Samaria and shelve the hope of leveraging the Likud government to make a final decision on the future of parts of the country.

It looks like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, has a favorable attitude toward the deal. This might stem from tactical consideration but it is more likely that because of his position, he is more familiar with the details of the plan than the public at large. Throughout his time in office, Netanyahu has taken a realistic, practical approach on the Arab-Palestinian issue. While he is blocking the implementation of the two-state solution, and in recent years has even caused it to lose traction in international public opinion, he has also refrained from taking the opposite steps of applying Israeli sovereignty to Judea and Samaria or annexing those areas. As part of that approach, he has opted to foster the autonomic rule of the Palestinian Authority while promising Israeli security control without harming Jewish settlement.

That policy has proven itself effective: On the one hand, it has secured relative safety and quiet, while on the other, Israel hasn't been forced to confront major questions about annexation and could maintain its Jewish, democratic character. At the same time, Netanyahu funneled resources into confronting the threat from Iran and strengthening Israel's ties with Sunni Arab states.
US peace plan said to include $25 billion in West Bank and Gaza investments
The Trump administration’s much-touted peace plan may include investments of tens of billions of dollars to the Palestinians and other countries in the region, according to a report Wednesday.

The New York Times, citing unidentified analysts with knowledge of the matter, said the funds would include around $25 billion for the West Bank and Gaza and another $40 billion for Israeli neighbors including Egypt, Jordan and possibly Lebanon.

The paper noted that other sources who had spoken to US President Donald Trump’s adviser Jared Kushner said the figures were not necessarily accurate, but confirmed that the investments would be in the tens of billions.

While the US would contribute part of the funds in question, the report said Kushner planned for most of the contributions to come from the region’s countries.


Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro schedules April visit to Israel
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has scheduled a trip to Israel from March 31 to April 4, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

The trip will take place shortly before the general election on April 9 and will be Bolsonaro’s first visit to Israel as president.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited Bolsonaro to come to Israel during a visit to Brazil at the end of December.

“We will be starting a difficult government from January, but Brazil has potential,” Bolsonaro said at the time. “So that we can overcome obstacles, we need good allies, good friends, good brothers, like Benjamin Netanyahu.”

The warm feelings between the two leaders contrasted with the previous 16 years of tension between the two countries under Brazil’s left-wing governments.

Netanyahu’s trip was the first-ever visit by an Israeli prime minister to Brazil.
Danon Anticipates Trump’s Pick for UN Ambassador
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon expressed enthusiasm for US President Donald Trump’s nominee to represent the United States at the United Nations, Kelly Knight Craft, who currently serves as US ambassador to Canada.

“With her previous experience as part of the US delegation to the 61st General Assembly, Craft is no stranger to the United Nations,” Danon told Jewish Insider.

Craft, who is from Kentucky and married to coal-mining executive Joe Craft, served as an alternate delegate to the United Nations under US President George W. Bush.

“I have no doubt she will continue the strong positions Ambassador Nikki Haley took and look forward to working with her to strengthen the US-Israel relationship,” he added.

Craft, who has close ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), was nominated last week after Trump’s initial pick to represent America at the world body, US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, withdrew from consideration after it was discovered that she previously employed an immigrant nanny who was legally in the United States, though unauthorized to work, reported Bloomberg.
Netanyahu to stand trial for bribery and breach of trust, pending hearing
In a decision that drastically shakes up Israeli politics less than six weeks before general elections, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be charged with criminal wrongdoing in three separate cases against him, including bribery in the far-reaching Bezeq corruption probe, pending a hearing.

The decision marks the first time in Israel’s history that a serving prime minister has been told he faces criminal charges, and casts a heavy shadow over Netanyahu’s re-election campaign.

Netanyahu will be charged with fraud and breach of trust in Cases 1000 and 2000, and bribery, fraud and breach of trust in Case 4000, unless he can persuade Mandelblit to reconsider in the course of the hearing process.

The attorney general detailed the allegations in a 57-page document that was released on Thursday evening.

Mandelblit, in his decision, wrote that according to suspicions the prime minister “damaged the image of the public service and public trust in it” and is suspected of abusing his position and status, and of “knowingly taking a bribe as a public servant in exchange for actions related to your position.”
Trump says Netanyahu, facing possible corruption charges, is ‘smart,’ ‘strong’
US President Donald Trump defended Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday as the premier reportedly awaited a decision on whether he will be indicted on corruption charges.

“I can say this, he’s done a great job as prime minister,” Trump said in Hanoi after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jing Un.

“He’s tough, smart, and strong. He’s very defensive, his military has been built up a lot,” Trump said.
JCPA: New Waqf Council Managing the Temple Mount
The latest confrontation over the Mercy Gate (Golden Gate, or in Hebrew, Shaar HaRachamim), which has been disputed in the past, reflects a new pact between the opponents of Trump’s “Deal of the Century” consisting of the Palestinian Authority, Turkey, and Jordan, which is concerned about its future status on the Temple Mount.

The focus of new tensions on the Temple Mount – the Mercy Gate or Golden Gate compound – has not been chosen by chance by the Waqf council (in its new, broader, extreme composition) as the arena for provocation against Israel at the holy site. The new members of the council, who identify with Fatah, Jordan, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Turkey, are very familiar with the previous rounds of the conflict over the Gate of Mercy.

They have specifically chosen it for several reasons:
  • They believe there is the potential for changing the unofficial status quo of the site that has existed there since 2003.
  • The area of the Gate of Mercy is on the Temple Mount route used by the Jews, and extremist Muslim elements are seeking to block them.
  • The present conflict is intended to give a clear message to anyone thinking of removing Jordan or the Palestinian Authority from their current or future position on the Temple Mount.
  • All of this is against the backdrop of Trump’s Deal of the Century (which is supposed to be made public after the elections in Israel in April 2019). The Jordanian-Palestinian concern is that the plan will weaken their position on the Temple Mount.
JCPA: Who Is Breaking the Status Quo on the Temple Mount?
The Gate of Mercy (Shaar Ha’Rachamim) compound is the fifth mosque that the Muslims have created on the Temple Mount. After 1967, there was only one functioning mosque there.

The Muslims are not satisfied with this, and they have been eroding the status quo over the past three decades in many ways. There is no basis for their constant protests against Israel for violating the status quo on the Temple Mount.

The Waqf and the Muslims are turning the tables and rewriting history, which they are well aware of, when they describe Israel’s attempt to close the Gate of Mercy as a breach of the status quo on the Temple Mount.

Israel closed the compound in 2005 because a Hamas-related organization was operating at the site. The closure of the compound in 2005 – first with a military order and then with a court order – was periodically extended until several months ago. However, current Muslim activities in the compound are not only an attempt to retake possession of the compound, which they held in the past (just as they held the entire Temple Mount), but they are also attempting to take a very significant step further – to establish at the compound a fifth mosque on the Temple Mount. This effort demonstrates a process that has been going on for over 30 years to increase the Muslim prayer areas on the Temple Mount and to erode the fragile status quo established at the holy sites.
IDF arrests 12 suspected terrorists, finds assault rifles
Two Carlo-type sub-machine guns and a truck were seized during overnight raids conducted by the IDF, Shin Bet (Israeli Security Agency), Border Police and Israel Police in a special joint operation, the IDF Spokespersons Office announced.

Twelve wanted persons suspected of involvement in terrorist activities and violent disturbances against civilians and soldiers were taken into custody as well and questioned by authorities.

The illegal weapons were found in the Arab community of Asira ash-Shamaliya, located near ​​the IDF Shomron Regional Brigade base. The town is under the jurisdiction of the Nablus Governorate of the Palestinian Authority.

A second operation was conducted in Idhna, a PA city of 19,000 located near Hebron. IDF soldiers seized the vehicle belonging to an individual suspected of being involved in the transfer of tens of thousands of shekels used to fund terrorist activities. The operation was part on an ongoing campaign to crack down on terror funding.
PLO’s Erekat calls on Iran to act as a ‘responsible state’ (not satire)
Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, urged Iran on Wednesday to conduct its affairs responsibly and indicated the Palestinians oppose its intervention in the Arab world.

While many Arab officials frequently comment on Tehran’s Middle East policies, the Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership rarely does so.

“We ask Iran to act as a responsible state.” Erekat told Palestine TV, the official Palestinian Authority channel. “It is playing around one time in Bahrain and it is playing around another time in Yemen. It is also playing around in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and here in Gaza.”

Iran supports a number of terror groups including Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. It also backs Houthi rebels in Yemen, the Popular Mobilization Units in Iraq and Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.

In December 2017, Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri praised Iran for its support for Palestinian terror groups.
Abbas Advisor Mohammed Ishtayeh Responds to MEMRI Analysis: We Challenge Hamas to Elections
In a February 25, 2019 interview on SophieCo on Russia Today TV, Mohammed Ishtayeh, an advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, was asked about his opinion regarding a MEMRI analysis that said that Hamas and the PLO both claim that the other no longer represents the Palestinian people (see MEMRI TV Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1433). Ishtayeh answered that the testing field for this assumption is the opinion polls and ballot boxes and that the PLO challenges Hamas to accept the idea of elections in order to return democracy to the Palestinian political arena. Ishtayeh said that attempts to discredit the opposite parties only harm the Palestinian people because they will eventually cause the international community to reject both sides. He said that reconciliation is the solution to the problem, and added that Abbas and the PLO are internationally recognized as the legitimate representatives of the Palestinians even if there is a split in authority.


Why Egypt Works to Curb Hamas’ Influence in Gaza
Egypt’s relations with Hamas have always been turbulent. Hamas was formed in 1987 as a Palestinian offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood; Egypt considers the Brotherhood a terrorist group. But Egypt shares a border with Gaza, which Hamas governs, and Egypt has often served as an intermediary between Israel and Hamas when fighting breaks out.

Egypt moved aggressively against hundreds of Hamas smuggling tunnels after the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government of Mohamed Morsi was ousted in 2013. It closed its Rafah border crossing into Gaza, except for humanitarian supplies, citing security threats. Israel has also closed its Gaza border in an attempt to stem the flow of weapons and terrorist supplies from reaching Hamas.

Egypt also revoked the Egyptian citizenship of some Hamas leaders, including co-founder Mahmoud Al Zahar.

Furthermore, Egypt is wary of Hamas’ close ties to Iran, which pours money and weapons into Gaza. Iran expects Hamas to use that support to attack Israel, while Egypt is hoping to keep the area quiet. Last month, Egypt reportedly made Hamas choose between Iran or Palestinian reconciliation with the Palestinian Authority (PA), which it is seeking in hopes of reopening borders.

Egypt and Iran have been feuding since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and the implementation of Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel. Iran has plotted against Egypt for decades.


Iraqi Politician Mithal Al-Alusi: We Need a U.S.-Led Coalition to Fight Iranian Expansion
Former Iraqi MP Mithal Al-Alusi, the leader of the Iraqi Ummah Party, said in a February 19, 2019 interview on ANB TV (Iraq) that Iraq would not be able to provide its people with food if Iran closed the Strait of Hormuz. He criticized Iran for igniting the region everywhere it goes. Al-Alusi said that Iraq and Iran are still in a state of war which Iran is taking advantage of. He explained that no Iraqi government has signed a peace treaty with Iran, and that the ties that some individuals in the Iraqi government have with Iran are dubious. Al-Alusi added that there should be a large international coalition led and sponsored by the United States in order to fend off Iranian expansion, and added that if there is ultimately a confrontation with Iran, Iraq should not fight on Iran's side.


MEMRI: Saudi Writer Lists Reasons For The Jews' Successful Integration In The West, Versus The Arabs' Backwardness
In his November 14, 2018 column in the Al-Riyadh daily, Saudi writer 'Abdallah Bin Bakhit wrote sarcastically that whoever wants to understand "the Jewish conspiracy against the world" must acknowledge the reasons for the Jews' success in the West and the reasons for the Arabs' backwardness there. The Jews, he wrote, managed to become integrated in the Western society and culture, and to achieve leading roles in it and make significant achievements, while the Arabs failed to do so. One of the reasons for the gap between the Jews and Arabs, he added, is that the Jews have few children and give them the best possible education; but the main reason is that the Jews, unlike the Arabs, adapt their lifestyle to Western norms and do not try to impose their religious values on their surroundings. That is why "we now see them standing at the pinnacles of science, culture, art, literature and politics," he concluded.

The following are excerpts from his article:

"The difference between the Jews and Arabs is large. One of the many [differences] concerns their affiliation with Western culture. The Jews are part of Western culture. Their harmonic [relations] with it are organic, and their contribution to it is endless. Looking at cinema, literature or drama, one encounters too many Jewish names to ignore. Looking at people in the media and press, one finds that the most famous and prominent names [belong to] Jews. Everyone is aware of their presence in finance and business – their traditional arena of activity – and everyone knows that they are dominant among the lecturers in universities and centers of research and learning. Take any respectable profession, and you will find that the proportion of Jews in it is conspicuously large.

"The Jewish conspiracy against the world begins at home. It begins with one small point we have completely neglected: a Jewish family never has more than one or two children. Then it devotes all its money and resources to ensuring that these two children receive the best modern education available. In terms of their numbers Jews are a minority, but in terms of achievements and involvement they are a majority. That is the essence of the Jewish conspiracy against the world, and whoever wants to confront this conspiracy, must [first of all] confront himself.

"Another [aspect of the] Jewish conspiracies against the world is that a Jew is a Jew at home, but an integrated Westerner in society. If the [Jewish] religion forbids certain practices or opposes them, observant Jews will avoid these practices, but they will certainly not fight them or try to impose their truth on others, or regard those who engage in these practices as enemies as long as they are not hurting [the Jews].
Saudi Arabia: We’d Take Syrian Refugees If We Had More Room (satire)
As the international community continues to decry about the lack of help from Arab-Muslim countries regarding Syrian refugees, the diminutive Saudi Kingdom announced today that it really wants to help its Syrian brothers and sisters but it’s unfortunately bursting at the seams.

Saudi Foreign Minister Abdul Jabbar commented; “We’re just full up right now. Imagine how you feel after Ramadan ends and you hit the buffet. Well like that. Look, go and ask Kuwait, they’ve got loads of space.”

The Mayor of Riyadh stated; “I know visitors to the Capital may be confused by what look like endless miles of empty desert, but they are mistaken. All the available land is already accounted for with our pressing need for more palaces, dune buggy racing tracks, and traditional prostitute burying grounds. That last one? Did I say ‘prostitute’, I meant ‘falcon.’”

A spokesman for the Qatari government said; “Look, we don’t want to seem like dicks but those Syrians really are the wrong kind of Muslims.”



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