August 16, 2018

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01/18 Links Pt2: State Department Hiding ‘Game Changer’ Report on Myth of Palestinian Refugees; Amnesty International Ignores the Weaponization of Palestinian Children

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2018/01/0118-links-pt2-state-department-hiding.html

From Ian:


State Department Hiding ‘Game Changer’ Report on Myth of Palestinian Refugees
The State Department never acknowledged having completed the report, sources said, and instead classified it.

“State had neglected to tell Sen. Kirk’s office,” said one source with knowledge of the situation. “It seems that this was intentional.”

Once the report’s existence was confirmed, Congress, in a 2017 measure, directed the State Department to provide an unclassified version of the report. This, too, was ignored, sources said.

The report is said to confirm that, as opposed to what UNRWA and its supporters claim, the number of refugees is actually in the tens of thousands, not the millions.

Richard Goldberg, a former deputy chief of staff for Kirk, told the Free Beacon that the UNRWA effort was always about exposing the myth that there are millions of refugees who still require aid.

“This is about basic taxpayer oversight of an agency that gobbles up hundreds of millions of dollars ever year,” said Goldberg, the author of the original amendment that required the report. “Are we funding a refugee agency or are we funding a welfare agency that nurtures a culture terrorism and violence?”

“There’s a moral difference when it comes to U.S. policy and foreign assistance,” said Goldberg, now a senior adviser to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “American aid for true refugees is one thing; American aid to subsidize a culture of welfare and terrorism is entirely different.” (h/t Yenta Press)

Hotovely to the BBC: UNRWA perpetuates fake refugees

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) on Wednesday spoke with the BBC about the United States’ decision to cut by half the funding it provides to UNRWA, the UN’s agency for “Palestinian refugees”.

Hotovely rejected the interviewer’s assertion that the American decision is counterproductive, saying, “What is really counterproductive is the role of UNRWA in perpetuating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

“Back in the 1950s, there were 750,000 Palestinians registered as ‘refugees’. Now, almost 70 years after the war, we’re talking about five million peoples who are registered as ‘refugees’. This is a major failure of the organization which was supposed to resettle those people who lost a war that they started – of course, we’re speaking about their grandparents who started the War of Independence which they lost.”

“There is only one version of history. They started a war after not accepting the idea of the UN Partition Plan. We need to remember that,” she added.

“The Foreign Ministry is very clear about its message: UNRWA should finish its role as an agency which perpetuates fake refugees,” said Hotovely, who also stressed the importance of foreign aid.

“Foreign aid is something that every country should provide according to the needs of the population. We’re absolutely in favor of foreign aid. This is something that is important. Humanitarian aid is important…but you need to make a major distinction between foreign aid which can be delivered by different groups and organizations and the idea that those people are going to keep living a fantasy that they are refugees, because they are not. According to international law, there is no second and third generation to refugee status.”

David Collier: Jews denied entry to eugenics libel event at the University of Warwick

Last night, at the University of Warwick, Faculty arranged a public talk that accused Israel of eugenics. Let us digest a simple truth. Like with most medical or technological innovations, Israel is a global powerhouse in fertility treatment. Every Israeli citizen, regardless of race, religion or colour, receives equal treatment. If you are Muslim and in need of IVF then no citizenship in the world, guarantees you the sort of world-class treatment that being an Israeli does. If you have doubts, talk to Prof. Foad Azem, I am sure he would be happy to convince you.

Eugenics is defined as ‘a set of beliefs and practices that aims at improving the genetic quality of a human population‘. Eugenics were most famously used as a justification for the racial policies of Nazi Germany. They are clearly associated with the Holocaust. False accusations of eugenics against Israel, places an accusing finger on the biggest victims of 20th century eugenic experiments – the Jews. The Jews are a people who lost one third of their number to genocide. You cannot spread these type of lies, which clearly fall under the IHRA definition of antisemitism, and then ignore complaints about your failure to protect Jewish students. There is something rotten in Warwick.
Dr Siggie Vertommen

The event was a talk by Dr Siggie Vertommen. It was titled ‘Anti-colonial Resistance is Fertile: Sperm Smuggling and Birth Strikes in Palestine/Israel‘. Vertommen is Marie Curie Research Fellow at the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine at King’s College London. Like many activist academics, Vertommen places her pseudo-science atop a biased and twisted view of Zionism. As Vertommen specialises in ‘the political economy of global fertility chains’ then this is what she places on top of her twisted views of Zionism.

To understand the mindset, Vertommen wrote a piece on the social unrest in Israel in 2011 and 2012. It was published as a chapter in a book. The title was: ‘Help, de onderdrukkers worden onderdrukt! Sociaal protest in Israel‘. This translates as ‘Help, the oppressors are being oppressed‘.

Unpack the title. In Israel, people are oppressors. Not the government, not a political body, not an ideology, but the people. In every other nation, social protests such as this are viewed as being carried out by those fighting for change, as opposition to the status quo. In Israel, they were labelled ‘oppressors’ by Vertommen. It perfectly demonstrates, that for Vertommen, there seems to be no way out for the Israeli whatever their views. It suggests a highly racist mindset.

Antisemitism Rears Its Ugly Head in Puerto Rican Newspaper

Puerto Rico is going through a deep economic crisis, mainly due to heavy public debt. This subject has been addressed in numerous articles that explore causes and solutions to the crisis.

Last Monday, Puerto Rico’s largest daily newspaper, El Nuevo Día, published one more of these pieces. Actually, it wasn’t just one more. Penned by Wilda Rodríguez, it stated that “behind closed doors the most enlightened politicians speak of US power as a parallel government organized by the forces of wealth and violence (war machinery) from Wall Street.”

But these “forces of wealth and violence” to which Ms. Rodriguez referred, weren’t merely abstract figures. Ultimately, she singled out a specific culprit, asserting that “the US Congress will finally do what ‘the Jew’ — as the prototype of the real power is vulgarly called — wants.” And “the Jew,” according to Ms. Rodriguez, couldn’t care less about the situation in Puerto Rico, as “he” is “laden with his heavy itinerary of wars and profits.”

To justify and substantiate these charges, the writer resorted to citing the view of an individual in an opinion column published “more than twenty years ago” by the Israeli newspaper Maariv. Although it is a newspaper well-known in Israel, Maariv is not known abroad. Notably, a translation of the article appears on websites such as the one run by David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, and a notorious antisemite.

The original column related that the then-US administration included numerous Jews, a fact that was said to underscore positive change from the past. The tenor of the column was essentially ethnic pride on the part of Jews — a group that had often, including in America, been outside the corridors of power. The antisemitic sites that posted the column twisted it, and claimed that it was proof of malevolent Jewish dominance.

Contrary to media claims, BDS activists are not “human rights” activists

Last week, Israel published a list of twenty organisations that support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), whose leaders will not be allowed into Israel. This has led to a furious response from the BDS movement and its supporters, and unsurprisingly, the Guardian and Independent ran articles critical of the decision.

“Israel is increasing its pressure of human rights activists,” says an opinion piece in the Guardian, and similar sentiments were expressed in an article at the Independent, which suggested this would lead to wide-scale banning of human rights observers. However, these articles are misleading as they blur the distinction between BDS and other groups, and thus misrepresent the decision taken by the Israeli government.

The articles lack a very important piece of context: In Israel, tens of anti-government organisations work with complete freedom, documenting (what they perceive to be) flaws in Israeli policy – and Israel, as a free and open democracy, allows for this. The list published last week by the Israeli government does not impact the work of these organisations at all. So, an accurate analysis of the government decision would start with the question – why is BDS different? If Israel allows for anti-government organisations to operate within Israel, why is it banning people affiliated with BDS organisations?

The answer is made clear by seeing what BDS is, in its owns words. In 2005, the initial Palestinian call for BDS was signed by 160 organisations (for the record, many of these organisations, including the first organisation signed onto the call, are terrorist groups).

Tom Gross: Fecal Insults to Countries Are Objectionable—Unless the Country Is Israel

President Trump’s alleged vulgar remark last week about the homelands of certain immigrants to America has garnered much attention and generated much outrage. Very different, notes Tom Gross, were responses to the comment of the French ambassador to Britain in 2001 when he called Israel a “sh—y little country”:

When Ambassador Daniel Bernard told guests at a dinner hosted by the writer Barbara Amiel . . . that Israel was a “sh—y little country,” some journalists rushed to his defense or even praised him. For example, an article in the Independent by one of the paper’s most prominent columnists, Deborah Orr, described Israel as “sh—y” and “little” no fewer than four times. (At the time, the Independent was winning newspaper-of-the-year awards).

The French ambassador to London is not the American president, of course. But he is nonetheless the official representative of one of the world’s most important countries: a nuclear power, one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council, a G8 member, the land of égalité and fraternité and of a supposedly sophisticated ruling elite. And Bernard was not just any ambassador. He was one of then-French President Jacques Chirac’s closest confidantes, and had previously served as France’s UN ambassador. . . .

Yet when Bernard made his “sh—y” remark, the British and French press seemed to spend more time criticizing the messenger, Barbara Amiel, in whose home the remark was made, than the ambassador. Le Monde ran a front-page attack on Amiel for having had the temerity to reveal the ambassador’s comment. In the Guardian, Matt Wells denounced Amiel as “an arch-Zionist,” but had nothing but sympathy for Bernard who, he claimed “was struggling against a tide of anger from Israel.” In fact the Israeli government hadn’t made a single official comment on the matter at the time Wells’ article was published.

JPost Editorial: Shutting down the show

What was Steven Spielberg’s crime? Was it that he filmed parts of the 1993 film Schindler’s List, which tells the story of a German businessman who saved Jews during the Holocaust, in Israel? Was it because he filmed parts of the film Munich, a critical look at the Mossad, in Israel? Maybe it’s because Spielberg donated money to Israel during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

There are organizations made up of ideological boors that spend their time following these sorts of things and notifying governments sympathetic to the global hate campaign against Israel.

For instance, it was a group calling itself the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel-Lebanon that gave the Lebanese government a heads-up about the planned screening of the newest Spielberg film in Lebanon. This is the same organization that was behind the successful campaign to ban Wonder Woman because Gal Gadot is an Israeli who served in the IDF.

The film that Lebanese were to be deprived of seeing this time, until the ban was overturned on Wednesday, is called The Post. It was directed by Spielberg and tells the story of The Washington Post’s uncovering of the Nixon administration’s lies about the US’s involvement in Vietnam.

Another film banned in Lebanon is Jungle, an Australian film starring Daniel Radcliffe. Lebanon’s censorship apparatchiks have deemed Jungle worthy of a ban because an Israeli, Yossi Ghinsberg, is behind it. The film is based on a book by Ghinsberg relating his experiences trekking through the jungles of Bolivia. Radcliffe recently told an Israeli news channel that he worked hard perfecting his Israeli-tinged English to play Ghinsberg.

Ben Shapiro: Alt-Blight: Review of ‘(((Semitism)))’ By Jonathan Weisman

In September 2015, the New York Times ran a rather peculiar chart. It was designed to elucidate just why certain Democrats would or would not vote for President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal—and it organized Democratic lawmakers by whether they were Jewish while noting how many Jews resided in their congressional districts. The word “Jewish” was highlighted in yellow. After brief but significant blowback online, the Times removed the “Jewish” indicator. The editor who supervised the chart’s publication was Jonathan Weisman, deputy Washington editor for the newspaper.

Now, two years later, Weisman has published a book about anti-Semitism—and, more specifically, about the supposedly grave threat to Jews springing from the alt-right and the Trump administration. (((Semitism))), for such is the book’s title, suffers from two grave ills. First, Weisman believes that political leftism and Judaism are identical. Second, he knows little or nothing about the political right, in whose camp he places the alt-right movement. Combine these two shortcomings with a heavy dose of self-regard, and you get (((Semitism))): a toxic brew of anti-Israel sentiment, bagels-and-lox cultural Jewishness, and unbridled hostility toward mainstream conservatism, which he lumps together with despicable alt-right anti-Semitism.

According to Weisman, Judaism derives its present-day importance from the way it provides a religious echo to secular leftism. This is his actual opening sentence: “The Jew flourishes when borders come down, when boundaries blur, when walls are destroyed, not erected.” Thus does he describe a people whose binding glue over the millennia is a faith tradition literally designed to separate its adherents from those who are not their co-religionists.

This ethnic-Jew-centric perspective leads Weisman to reject not merely Jewish observance, which he finds parochial and divisive, but the tie between Judaism and Israel, which he subtly titles “The Israel Deception.” He laments: “The American Jewish obsession with Israel has taken our eyes off not only the politics of our own country, the growing gulf between rich and poor, and the rising tide of nationalism but also our own grounding in faith.” He sneers at Jews who promote the “tried and true theme of the little Israeli David squaring off against the giant Arab Goliath.” Weisman believes, like John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, that members of both parties are guilty of “kissing the ring” at AIPAC, of “turn[ing] to mush when the subject was Israel.” In fact, Weisman says, the anti-Semitic BDS movement on college campuses “is worrisome as much for what it says about the American Jew’s inextricable links to Israel as for what it says about anti-Semitism.” In his view, “Barack Obama was the apotheosis of liberal internationalism.…The Jew thrived.”

Child rescued from Mumbai Chabad massacre makes emotional return

The top two floors of his former home still pocked with bullet holes and memories of a deadly four-day siege, Moshe Holtzberg returned to the Nariman Chabad House in central Mumbai on Thursday to unveil a “living memorial” to his parents killed in a terror attack there over nine years ago.

Surrounded by Indian media — which has affectionately dubbed him “baby Moshe” — family, dignitaries, and the nanny who saved him from the carnage of the November 2008 attacks, Holtzberg, 11, spoke about his return and invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to join him again in Mumbai for his bar mitzvah in two years.

“I am returning home. I am returning to where I was nine years ago,” he said. He called the event “festive” and thanked God for his miraculous rescue.

Holtzberg’s parents Gavriel and Rivky were killed along with four other Jews when Pakistani terrorists took over the Jewish community center where they lived on November 26, 2008.

Together with Netanyahu, the 11-year-old unveiled a memorial to those killed. Later making his own quiet dedication, his grandfather Shimon Rosenberg lit a candle for his slain daughter and son-in-law.

In Modi’s home state, cheering crowds for Netanyahu flaunt India-Israel romance

In Ahmadebad, tens of thousands of people lined the street, some waving Israeli flags, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sped past, whizzing by massive billboards with his and Indian counterpart Narendra Modi’s faces plastered on them.

In rural Dev Dholera, curious farmers and others craned their necks to catch a glimpse of the prime ministers, and hundreds of young entrepreneurs and business people cheered the leaders like rock stars.

In Sabarkantha, villagers waved at the prime ministers’ helicopters as they came in to land in a former forest that had been cleared to make way for a helipad. Dancers in traditional dress did flips, and farmers told of how many rupees they had made after training at an Israel-funded agricultural center.

Wednesday’s displays of love for Israel and its leaders — some of them seemingly carefully choreographed, some apparently spontaneous — drove home the budding bromance between Netanyahu and Modi, a love affair both hope will also bloom into a tighter business and strategic relationship.

For Modi, who cut his teeth in politics as chief minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014, the visit was seen as personally significant, and while there had been signs welcoming Netanyahu in Delhi, Agra and Mumbai, they were smaller than the massive billboards in the northwestern Indian state.

While in other places, Netanyahu’s motorcade was at best a curiosity, in Gujarat, crowds lined streets, and songs were played in Hebrew in some places.

WATCH: Muslims in India burn banners of Netanyahu in protest of PM’s visit

Muslims in India’s eastern Kolkata city staged a protest on Thursday over the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the country.

Netanyahu began a six-day visit to India on Sunday (January 14) hoping to boost trade and defense ties.

Members of a regional group, All Bengal Minority Youth Federation demanded New Delhi to snap all ties with Israel over recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the same.

“We oppose the way in which Israeli Prime Minister (Benjamin Netanyahu) was given a grand welcome in our country. We demand that we should not have any relations with the Israeli President or the Prime Minister. Whatever relations were there relating to business purpose should also be ended,” Kamaru Jaman, president of the All Bengal Minority Youth Federation, told Reuters.

The protesters carried posters reading ‘Israeli PM Netanyahu is a war criminal’ and ‘Israel is an illegitimate state’ and burnt a banner with photographs of US President Donald Trump and Netanyahu.

Elliott Abrams: Trump Gets UNRWA Right

The argument for cutting funding to UNRWA is not primarily financial. The United States is an enormously generous donor to UNHCR, providing just under 40 percent of its budget. I hope we maintain that level of funding, and if the administration tries to cut that amount I hope Congress will resist.

The argument for cutting funding to UNRWA instead rests on two pillars.

The first is that UNRWA’s activities repeatedly give rise to concern that it has too many connections to Hamas and to rejectionist ideology.

But even if those flaws were corrected, this would not solve the second and more fundamental problem with UNRWA –which is that it will perpetuate the Palestinian “refugee” problem forever rather than helping to solve it. In this sense, cutting funding to UNRWA is of a piece with the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. That Israel was the sole country in the world not allowed to choose its capital, and have that choice respected, was part of the long assault on Israel’s legitimacy and permanence. Similarly, that the sole group of refugees whom the UN keeps enlarging is Palestinian, and that the only way to remedy this under UN definitions would be to eliminate the State of Israel or have 5 million Palestinian “refugees” move there should simply be unacceptable.

So the Trump administration is once again upsetting the apple cart and defying conventional wisdom when it comes to Israel. And once again it is right to demand change. Perpetuating and enlarging the Palestinian “refugee” crisis has harmed Israel and it has certainly harmed Palestinians. Keeping their grievances alive may have served anti-Israel political ends, but it has brought peace no closer and it has helped prevent generations of Palestinians from leading normal lives. That archipelago of displaced persons and refugee camps that once dotted Europe is long gone now, and the descendants of those who tragically lived in those camps now lead productive and fruitful lives in many countries. One can only wish such a fate for Palestinian refugee camps and for Palestinians. More money for UNRWA won’t solve anything.

Belgium counters US cuts with $23 million for UN Palestinian fund

Belgium has stepped in to help out the UN Agency assisting Palestinian refugees with an immediate disbursement of $23 million after the Trump administration suspended $65 million in aid for the international organization.

Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said Wednesday that “for a lot of Palestinian refugees, the UNRWA is the last life buoy.”

De Croo said he was responding to a global fundraising appeal from UNRWA in hopes of making up for funding cuts announced by the United States. The money is Belgium’s allocation for three years but because of the group’s immediate need, De Croo’s office said it will be “disbursed immediately.”

The US provides roughly one-third of UNRWA’s budget, and the agency has warned that it now faces the “most dramatic financial crisis” in its nearly 70-year history. The agency provides health care, education and social services to 5 million Palestinians across the Middle East.

UNRWA’s secretary-general, Pierre Krähenbühl, said the fundraising appeal would begin in the coming days. The agency said it is too soon to say which countries will be approached to fill the void or what services are at risk.

NGO Monitor: Amnesty International Ignores the Weaponization of Palestinian Children

On January 14, 2017, Amnesty International issued a press statement (“Israel Must Release Teenage Palestinian Activist Ahed Tamimi”) claiming, despite damning video footage of 16-year old Ahed Tamimi assaulting soldiers, that “Israeli authorities must release” her. The charges against Tamimi also include incitement to terror, such as a statement that “Whether it is stabbings or suicide bombings or throwing stones, everyone must do his part and we must unite in order for our message to be heard that we want to liberate Palestine” (emphasis added). Nevertheless, Amnesty argues, “Nothing that Ahed Tamimi has done can justify the continuing detention of a 16-year-old girl.”

As an initial matter, Amnesty’s statement is a profoundly dishonest.1 The NGO omits the fact that the court was prepared to conduct a bail hearing immediately after the submission of the indictment on January 1, 2018, but it was Tamimi’s own attorney, Gaby Lasky, who twice asked for delays resulting in the postponement of the hearing until January 15.

Setting aside the fact that Amnesty is either ignorant of the court proceedings or deliberately misleading its readership, Amnesty’s call is an affront to human rights and the rule of law. By assaulting a soldier, among other alleged offenses, Tamimi did, in fact, partake in actions that according to the law would result in her continued detention and trial. Of course, Amnesty ignores and does not condemn the broader context of the weaponization of Palestinian minors by the Palestinian Authority and armed groups to commit violent attacks, failing to hold Palestinians accountable for child abuse, incitement, and recruitment and use of child soldiers.

By praising “Tamimi’s act of defiance” and labeling her an “activist,” Amnesty detracts from any sense of childhood “mental immaturity” that demands “special safeguards and care” (to quote from the Declaration of the Rights of the Child). Similar encouragement from Tamimi’s parents reflects a deeply problematic environment endangering child welfare, yet Amnesty fails to condemn her family for its role in pushing her to violence.

Human Rights Watch: Superficiality in the Service of Violence

Should a 16-year old minor, indicted for three counts of assault, slingshotting stones at law enforcement officers, and calling for the commission of terrorist attacks including suicide bombings, be released on bail?

A blog published by Bill Van Esveld, Senior Researcher in the Children’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch (HRW), does just that (Israeli Prosecutors Throw Book at Palestinian Child Protestor, HRW Dispatches, January 14, 2018). Van Esveld throws the full weight of this NGO superpower behind a violent child offender, filmed by her mother and streamed live on social media, engaging in assault and incitement.

In the blog, he argues that the only possible outcome of the bail hearing regarding Ahed Tamimi, a 16-year old Palestinian, is to release her. By his account, any other decision would merely point to the inherent discrimination of the Israeli justice system.

In order to reach this outrageous conclusion, Van Esveld attempts to employ legalese that perverts reality and morality, and relies on his presumed ignorance of his readers. This is the same HRW employee who told Al Jazeera, “There’s really no reason why you have to arrest a young child in the first place and detain them,” apparently oblivious to the numerous incidents of minors committing murders and other acts of violent terrorism.

Senior Democratic Staffer: ‘We Do Not Care About Anti-Semitism’

A senior policy adviser to Democratic senator Patty Murray (Wash.) said her office in the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions does “not care about anti-Semitism,” according to two people who attended the meeting.

The HELP committee is currently weighing the nomination of Ken Marcus as assistant secretary for civil rights at the Department of Education. Marcus has been the target of an aggressive campaign waged by leading anti-Israel groups seeking to derail his nomination. Marcus has worked to combat the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement on college campuses and is the founder of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, a pro-Israel group.

During a meeting on November 28 with Sarah N. Stern, a former colleague of Marcus and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, a senior adviser to Murray on the HELP committee told Stern the committee does not “care about anti-Semitism in this office.”

“We don’t care about anti-Semitism in this office,” Murray’s senior adviser said. “We care about transgenders, we care about blacks, we care about Hispanics, we care about gays, we care about lesbians, we care about the disabled.”

“We don’t care about anti-Semitism in this office,” he said.

British Labour Party drops candidate who said Holocaust victims are ‘turning in their graves’ over Gaza

Amid ongoing concerns over the British Labour Party’s handling of anti-Semitism in its ranks, the party scrapped the candidacy of an activist who said Holocaust victims who “died with dignity must be turning in their graves” over how “Gaza is a ghetto being shelled.”

Michelle Harris was removed Tuesday from the shortlist of potential Labour candidates to represent the Hastings and Rye constituency in the House of Commons, the lower house of the British Parliament, the local branch of the party said in a statement.

In 2014, Harris wrote on Twitter, “I have often said that the Holocaust victims who died with dignity must be turning in their graves at the horrors done in the name of Judaism. Gaza is a ghetto being shelled.”

On Facebook, she posted in 2015 a banner reading: “Pregnant Palestinian women were deliberately shot by Israeli snipers during the recent Gaza genocide.” And in 2016 she accused Israel of “state racism” against Ethiopian Jews.

“The Parliamentary Selection Committee decided to remove Michelle Harris from the shortlist,” the constituency’s statement read. “This was a retrospective decision when new information came to the attention of the committee.” It did not name her vitriol on Israel as the reason for the removal.

Labour Digital Guru Andrew Gwynne Member of Multiple Racist Facebook Groups

For such a Facebook expert, Gwynne’s activity on the social media site is rather eyebrow-raising. Gwynne’s personal account has joined a variety of bonkers, racist and antisemitic group. According to Facebook, Gwynne is a member of:
  • Stop Zionist USA: a group dedicated to sharing antisemitic material including pictures comparing Benjamin Netanyahu to Hitler, memes which blame Israel for ISIS and spreading Rothschild and Soros conspiracy theories
  • Truth Is Rising: a nutjob group for conspiracy theorists which has suggested ‘7/7 was an inside job’ and is awash with antisemitic material

Either Gwynne has managed to hide some pretty radical views or – perhaps more likely – he is simply blanket-accepting all the group invitations he gets from randomers. Tell us more about your Facebook expertise, Andrew…

IsraellyCool: Not So “Great” Britain

When British MP Alistair Burt was asked in parliament, what action he is taking to ensure that no UK tax-payers money ends up in the pockets of convicted terrorists, Burt was dismissive.

“Well it just doesn’t,” he said lying – and doing so pompously, with a generous dose of empirical arrogance. “We do not give aid to terrorists and the Palestinian Authority knows that.” Smug as a five-year old who grabbed the last seat in Musical Chairs, Burt sat down in a hurry.

Not only was he indifferent, defensible and protective of this scandalous sham, he outright lied by dodging the concept of “fungible money” – one of those phrases thrown around in politics often intended to dazzle, dismiss and deceive ‘The Proletariat.’ Palestinian politicians have appeared on television, even speaking in English, explaining, defending and legitimizing their paying of their “freedom fighters,” with foreign aid.

For a man who has nobly campaigned on behalf of the Yezidi victims of the barbaric ISIS genocide, when it comes to Israeli victims of a barbaric Palestinian Authority, Burt’s denial and protection of this evil entity is extraordinary because of double-standards.

Yet he is not alone in his defense of the indefensible.

New Orleans to reconsider boycott resolution cheered by BDS supporters

The New Orleans City Council wants to reconsider a resolution it passed last week that lends support to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

The resolution to boycott investments with human rights violators, which passed the council on January 11 with all five members present voting in support, mentions neither Israel nor the Palestinian territories, but BDS and anti-Israel activists claimed the passage as a victory for their cause.

Since the vote, however, City Council President Jason Williams and other council members have told the local media that they will move to reconsider the resolution at their next council meeting.

On Wednesday, Williams called for reconsideration of the resolution, saying he was not aware of the boycott movement or its mission when he and the council voted, the New Orleans Advocate reported.

Lebanon orders jail term for journalist who slammed army, Hezbollah in DC speech

A Lebanese military court handed down a six-month prison sentence to a journalist for presenting views critical of the army, a court official told AFP on Thursday.

Hanin Ghaddar, also a researcher known for her criticism of the powerful Hezbollah movement, was sentenced in absentia on January 10 over an expose at a conference in the United States, the source said.

Her sentence sparked outrage among fellow journalists and academics in Lebanon, where they said free speech and freedom of the press were once again being challenged.

The court official said the ruling found Ghaddar, a US resident, guilty of “defaming the Lebanese army, harming its reputation and accusing it of distinguishing between Lebanese citizens.”

During a conference session in Washington in 2014, a recording of which is available online, she described the situation in Lebanon as “Sunnis being clamped down by Hezbollah and the Lebanese army versus Hezbollah militia being the untouchables.”

Hezbollah is a Shiite organization backed by Iran which is represented in the Lebanese government and has a militia often considered more powerful than the national army itself.

Prominent Russian Website Publishes Virulent Anti-Semitic Screed

The Russian-Ukrainian political journalism world was stunned, but not particularly surprised, yesterday when a well known pro-Kremlin propaganda outlet published a lengthy anti-Semitic manifesto proclaiming that it was time to “drop the Jew taboo.” Russia Insider, an English language publication with a crankish history of publishing nonsense and propaganda, published the manifesto, which contained a comprehensive litany of the most vile accusations against Jews dating back more than one hundred years. “The unreasonable hostility towards Putin’s Russia, particularly coming from the US and the UK, is very much a Jewish phenomenon, and has been for centuries” the essay stipulated. It contains hundreds more sentences like that in a fourteen point manifesto which seems to have been ripped straight out of the 1930s.

The site`s stock in trade since it began publishing in the autumn of 2014 as part of a Russian government sponsored assault on the cohesion of the Western narrative is a melange of ultra-left, ultra-right, anti-Western and anti-NATO conspiracy theories, some of them going off fairly deep into the woods. Amusingly enough, the website has spent the past three years disseminating alarmist criticism of American and European support for pro- Western reforms by the Kyiv government and vociferously attacking Ukraine for supposedly having been captured by a Neo-Nazi cabal. The site`s content was regularly a shining and egregious example of the recent innovation in this conflict of outright fascists accusing other people of fascism. Such criticism included a 2014 article attacking the veracity of my own work reporting in Ukraine, which could no longer be found on the site as of press time.

The five-thousand-word long hate manifesto was penned by Charles Bausman, the founder of Russia Insider, who is widely known in Russia/Ukraine policy circles as an individual who is often to be found pontificating in the studios of Russia Today. Bausman has been linked by Anton Shekhovtsov, a preeminent expert on Russian state support for extreme right wing groups in Europe, to the Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev, who is known for his reactionary ultra-Orthodox views and ties to Kremlin operatives and for providing financial assistance to Russian led separatists and covert operations in Eastern Ukraine.

German lawmakers vote to install commissioner to fight anti-Semitism

German lawmakers voted Thursday to install a commissioner who would coordinate government activities against anti-Semitism.

The lower house approved by a wide majority a motion proposed by four of the six parliamentary groups to install the official, who would be chosen by independent experts. The center-left Social Democrats called for the commissioner to be installed at the chancellery.

The decision follows a recommendation by a panel of experts and comes amid concern over anti-Semitic incidents during recent pro-Palestinian protests.

Volker Kauder, the parliamentary leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Union bloc, told lawmakers that far-right motives are behind the bulk of anti-Semitic crimes but there’s been a rising number of acts by migrants. He said “we must not allow either of these things.”
Volker Kauder, parliamentary group leader of the CDU/CSU speaks to reporters as he arrives for a meeting with the leaders of the conservative CDU/CSU and Social Democratic Party on January 9, 2018, in Berlin. (AFP Photo/Tobias Schwarz)

Amid growing over anti-Semitism among migrants from Muslim-majority countries, Sawsan Chebli, a Berlin city government official who is Muslim, suggested earlier this month that everyone living in Germany, including migrants, should be obliged to visit a former Nazi concentration camp at least once.

IsraellyCool: How Can Germans Overcome Their Guilt Over the Holocaust?

How can Germans overcome their guilt?

Some would argue that, deep down, Germans don’t have true guilt over the Holocaust. They’re just upset that they didn’t succeed.

Very harsh, but how else could one explain how Chancellor Merkel opened the doors, uncontrolled, to hundreds of thousands of people from Muslim countries steeped in Jew-hatred? And the majority of Germans welcomed them?

However, this move and more are often justified by the Holocaust. Letting in the refugees, for example, means that Germany has overcome its xenophobic past. Germany cannot be redeemed from the Holocaust if it doesn’t process its guilt and handle it in healthier ways, and this is where I come to the rescue.

For this new series on Achgut.com, a German political e-zine that is a shining light for German media in its representation of the truth about Israel, I offer the recipe for overcoming Holocaust guilt, and Jews also have a role to play.

‘Bookkeeper of Auschwitz’s’ Plea for Mercy Rejected

A plea for clemency from a 96-year-old German convicted over his role in the murders of 300,000 people at the Auschwitz death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland has been rejected, German media cited prosecutors as saying on Wednesday.

Oskar Groening, known as the “bookkeeper of Auschwitz,” was sentenced to four years in prison in 2015 for being an accessory to murder at Auschwitz. But he has not yet started his sentence due to a dispute about his health.

No one at the prosecutor’s office in Lueneburg, where Groening’s trial took place in 2015, was immediately available for comment when contacted by Reuters.

In December, Germany’s constitutional court ruled Groening must go to jail, rejecting arguments from his lawyers that imprisonment at his advanced age would violate his right to life.

Groening’s court battle was seen as one of the last major trials related to the Holocaust, during which some 6 million Jews were murdered by Adolf Hitler’s regime.

Prosecutors said Groening — who did not kill anyone himself while working at Auschwitz — had helped support the regime responsible for mass murder by sorting bank notes seized from trainloads of arriving Jews.

Leader Of Viennese Jewish Community Will Not Attend Holocaust Ceremony If Far-Right Party Is Present

The Jewish community of Vienna has let it be known that they will not attend Austria’s official Holocaust commemoration ceremony if the far-right Freedom Party (the Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs in German, commonly abbreviated as the FPÖ) is also present. “If there will be ministers there for the Freedom Party, and I’m sure there will be, I will not be able to shake their hands, so the Jewish community will not attend,” said Oskar Deutsch, president of the Jewish Community in Vienna.

FPÖ’s list of offenses is damning enough on its own (FPÖ lawmakers pointedly refused to stand for last year’s Kristallnacht commemoration, for one), but of course, the original sin of the FPÖ is its founder, an S.S. officer. The party’s current leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, once said that the persecution of the far-right in Austria was comparable to that faced by Jews during the Nazi era; Die Aula, a far-right magazine with strong links to the FPÖ, recently published an article that asserted that the survivors of the Mauthausen concentration camp were a “national plague” and “criminals.” Twenty out of 51 FPÖ representatives in the National Assembly have been members of part of nationalistic fraternities (Burschenschaften) that ban Jews.

The FPÖ’s vocal support for Israel (even as Israel has refused to deal with the party) and their hardline stance on Muslim immigration is enticing for some; just as Viktor Orban and Marine Le Pen portray themselves as the protectors of the Jewish community from future Muslim violence, FPÖ’s leaders do the same. Also like Orban and Le Pen, they seem to have little intention of owning up to their party’s fundamental anti-Semitism, and Strache himself “used blatantly antisemitic caricatures only a couple of years ago,” according to former Labor Party leader Amir Peretz.

Britain bans entry of prominent American Holocaust denier

Britain has banned a prominent American Holocaust denier from entering the United Kingdom, the Home Office confirmed Wednesday.

Mark Weber, director of the California-based Institute for Historical Review, has questioned the scale of the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were killed.

“You are the subject of an exclusion decision taken personally by the Home Secretary on April 28, 2015 on Unacceptable Behavior ground,” the letter to Weber dated Dec. 22 from Britain’s Home Office said.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who became premier in 2016 amid political turmoil prompted by a shock referendum vote to leave the European Union, was Home Secretary at the time of the decision.

May “personally directed that you should be excluded from the United Kingdom on the grounds that your presence here is not conducive to the public good,” the decision states.

Poland jails Belarussians who stripped naked at Auschwitz, slaughtered lamb

A Polish court on Wednesday jailed the organizers of an anti-war stunt that saw a dozen people strip naked last year at the former German Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau before one of them slaughtered a lamb.

The court in the southern city of Oswiecim found Belarussians Adam B. and Mikita V. guilty of desecrating a memorial site and of animal cruelty and handed them prison sentences of a year and a half and 14 months respectively.

“Auschwitz is a memorial site, a symbol of martyrdom and a cemetery for thousands of human beings,” said prosecutor Mariusz Slomka.

“We must send a clear signal… that these kinds of stunts should never be repeated.”

Most of the 10 other defendants, aged 20 to 27, were sentenced to community service while one received a fine of 10,000 zloty ($3,000).

The group carried out the unprecedented stunt in March 2017 in front of the camp’s infamous “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work makes you free”) gate, where they draped a white banner with the word love written in red.

Amazon Refuses to Pull Cards Against Humanity “Jew Pack”

Navy’s new defense system can mislead enemy missiles

The Israeli Navy’s defense systems will soon get an unprecedented upgrade, allowing navy vessels to launch chaff rockets to mislead enemy missiles.

The upgraded system would be able to deal with all kinds of threats—both new and future ones—at sea: From the most advanced anti-ship cruise missiles—such as the Russian P-800 Oniks, also known as Yakhont—to shoulder-fired missiles—including the Russian 9M133 Kornet anti-tank guided missiles, the likes of which have already been fired at ships in the Middle East in recent years.

The system includes an algorithm that identifies and classifies any kind of projectile making its way towards the Israeli missile ship, and then programs a unique diversion plan: chaff rockets are launched from the front deck and create a “wall” over the water of hundreds of metal wires, which mislead the enemy missile into “thinking” this was the Israeli ship. This helps divert the enemy missile, only a minute or two before it was to hit the Israeli ship.

The new system’s advanced fire-control radar will know to classify such projectiles as a threat to the ship out of hundreds of other targets in the ship’s immediate surroundings.

The first of the missile ships to receive the upgrade is INS Sufa. After a successful test of the system conducted two months ago off the coast of Haifa, the system is expected to be declared operational in the coming weeks.

Revolutionary Israeli-Developed Paint Can Absorb Sun’s Hot Rays and Cool Buildings Down

Coating materials that protect against fire, water or extreme temperatures are nothing new. But an Israeli high-tech paint doesn’t just protect surfaces from the sun. SolCold actually uses the sun’s power to activate a cooling mechanism, effectively providing air conditioning without electricity.

You read that right: This double-layered coating absorbs the hot rays of the sun and re-emits that energy in the form of cold. The hotter the solar radiation the more the coating cools down, making SolCold’s paint a potentially game-changing electricity-free solution for intensely sunny climates such as Africa and Central and South America.

The Herzliya-based startup is raising funds and plans to begin trials within 18 months of closing the Series A round in the first quarter of 2018. Two commercial and one residential building in Israel and Cyprus are waiting to get the trial SolCold treatment.

Meanwhile, SolCold cofounder Gadi Grottas tells ISRAEL21c that the company has received hundreds of inquiries regarding orders and distribution rights — which he estimates to be worth around $100 million — from places including Africa, Australia, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, China, France, India, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, Philippines, Turkey and the United States.

SolCold’s product is generating interest for coating anything from chicken coops to cargo ships, malls to stadiums, cars to planes, satellites to hothouses, military equipment to apartment houses.

Last fallen soldier from Lebanon War laid to rest 31 years later

Sgt. Abraham Ajami, 50, who was wounded while fighting in Lebanon 31 years ago and has since been in a vegetative state, was laid to rest on Wednesday, with dozens of family, friends and former comrades-in-arms coming to pay their respects.

Ajami, who served in the Artillery Corps’ Reshef Battalion, was hurt in 1987, when the IDF was in southern Lebanon to create a security buffer zone to protect Israeli communities near the border.

During a firefight in the Lebanese town of Marjayoun, a shell exploded near the back end of the cannon Ajami was operating. He suffered a critical head injury and spent the last 31 years in the hospital in a vegetative state.

Over the past two weeks, he suffered from pneumonia and his medical conditioned worsened. He passed away on Tuesday night, surrounded by family and his many friends.

Ajami received a full military funeral at the Holon Military Cemetery with family, friends, and current soldiers from the Reshef Battalion in attendance.

His sister, Metuka Aspir, said “God had decided to free” her brother from his suffering.



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